Letter written by Major Charles Baskerville of the 2nd Battalion MS Cavalry, to Brigadier General Daniel Ruggles at Corinth, MS from the bank of the Tennessee River. Baskerville writes that he is planning to report to Colonel Mouton of the 18th LA Infantry at Pittsburg Landing, TN, and that he needs all the forces currently in Corinth and Iuka. He is particularly interested in the company commanded by Captain Matthews at Iuka. In a note on the opposite side of the letter, Baskerville writes that Captain Reeves has offered his company. The events detailed in the letter precede the battle of Shiloh.
By order just at hand from Col Mouton I shall repair immediately to him –
I need all my forces now at Corinth & Iuka May I suggest that you send them to rejoin my command near Pittsburg –
The Company commanded by Capt Matthews at Iuka & now used as artillery can at this moment be of great value to me as Cavalry
Capt Matthews could again resume the its Artillery Drill when the emergency is not so great – I have no information to report further than the Confirmation of the fight at Pittsburg yesterday & send you a dispatch from Col Mouton. I learn but not reliably, that they have been fighting at Savannah, your Obt Svt [Obedient Servant]
March 2nd/62 Chas Baskerville
Major Comd’g 2nd Batt
Capt Reeves, the Bearer, from Noxaber Country Mis has today reported to me, that his command wish to join me.
I would be gratified, sir if you would Sanction it
Letter written by Private Bryant L. Vincent of Company K, 12th IN Cavalry, to his friends, from Murfreesboro, TN. Vincent writes that he has been in three hard battles, but has come out safely. He mentions defeating Confederate Lieutenant General Nathan Bedford Forrest, and comments on the way that Union Major General George H. Thomas “whipped” Confederate General John Bell Hood in Nashville. Vincent describes the battles he has been in since leaving Tullahoma, TN, including the Battle of Overall’s Creek. Another saw his brigade guarding a forage train under heavy fire until they received reinforcements. He writes that he has gotten used to the sounds of cannons and musketry, and they will have to wait until he returns home to fully explain what battle is like. Vincent remarks that the hardest part of being a soldier has been the rations, as food has been scarce for several weeks. The railroad to Nashville has been torn up, and several bridges have been burned.
Murfreesboro Dec 22 64
I rec[eived] 3 letters this morning I am well and doing well I have been in 3 pretty hard fought battles since I have been at murfreesboro but I have come through all staraight all though sometimes I thought I would not I have seen some awful hard marches. but it is all in a fellows life time and I guess the fighting in this part of the country is nearly done [???] for we have whipped old Forest here three times and the way Thomas has whippped Hood in front of Nashville will be a caution to him not to try it again and
but a small part of his forces will ever get across the Tennessee for they said when they came up here that Victory or no Victory they would not go back again we started from tullahoma Nov 30 and got here Dec 2 we marched day and night, the first fight was Sunday the 4 of Dec it is called the battle of overalls creek, the next fight was the 6 of Dec we had to support a battery the revel artillery was playing on our artillery and our co lay right behind the battery and the way the shot and ball came was a caution we lost 2 men both wounded from our co I do not know how many from the regt the next fight was wednesday the 14 our Brigade went out to guard a forage train
we fought all day and were surrounded on all sides just at night as we had got the wagon loaded with corn and got on to the pike they commenced harder than ever in front and rear we made up our minds we were gobbled and we should have every one of us been taken if it had not been for reinforcements coming out but they fought hard before they gave up. I have got so the noise of cannon and muskets dont bother me much for I have been within sound of it about all the time for 3 weeks, I wish I could give you some idea of what a battle is but I havent room to do so by letter and I will have to wait untill I get home then I can tell you something about it
[Thad?] is well [???] is not very good but I guess he will be better before long we shall probably start for tullahoma tomorrow, and when we get settled there you can send the box. I am glad you could not send it for it would be nothing but a trouble here I wrote to you the day before we left tullahoma and told you not to send it but I guess the letter did not go through, I dont know how long before this one will but I will have it ready, the hardest has been the rations we have been obliged to live on all most nothing for the last 3 weeks we have drawn only one hard tack and one pint of meal for 5 days rations and had it not been for parched corn I believe we would have starved the railroad is badly torn up between here and Nashville and several bridges burned but there is a large force at work on it and before long we will have a plenty of rations but I have written a long letter and I must close Vincent
-Page 1, continued at top, upside down-
you must not worry about me for I am all right and have probably seen the hardest I will have to so, you said something about homsick I aint homsick, it is pretty cold here
Bryant L. Vincent, from Pulaski County, IN, enlisted as a private in Company K of the 12th IN Cavalry on November 14, 1864. He survived the war and was mustered out on November 10, 1865. Being a new recruit, his youth and inexperience is fully evident in this letter. The war obviously remained somewhat of an adventure to him despite the hardships he was compelled to rapidly cope with.
Letter written by Private J. P. Graves of the Warren County MS Light Artillery, Army of TN, to his sister, from Tuscumbia, AL. Graves writes that he has been scouting recently, which he likes better than artillery service. They get better food, and he gets to travel all over the country on horseback. Hes mentions that Lieutenant General Stephen D. Lee’s Corps is across the Tennessee River, while Major General Cheatham’s and Lieutenant General Stewart’s Corps are camped nearby. Graves expects they will soon move into the middle of Tennessee, and writes of a rumor that Richmond, VA, has fallen. Graves is hoping to get furlough for Christmas.
Tuscumbia Ala Nov the 8 1864
I thought I would write to you this morning as all of the boys has gone off ond a scout except a few. the last time I wrote to you was at Jonesbourough I believe; you must excuse me for not writing to you sooner as we have had so mutch scouting to do. I like scouting better than Artilery service; we can get more to eat and travel all over the country I rode my horse down so I will have to get me an other one but that is very easy don as their is a grate many Tories in this county we can get horses from them We drawed clothing yesterday I drawed a jacket a pair of pants and shoes; we expect to draw blankets and overcoats pritty soon. we need them right mutch as
the weather is getting pritty cool Bud came over to see us yesterday he is well and enjoying fine health. Lees corps is a cross the Tennessee river; Cheathams & Stuarts Corps is camp a round this place I expect a move will be made in to middle Tennessee pritty soon frome all appearances. The troops are all willing to goe as they have been clothing and shoeing up the army. It is reported hear that Richmond has fallen; It is all so reported that the troops refuse to charge; that can never be said of the army of Tennessee! we have all ways had double numbers to contend with. all the Generals made a speach to the troops the other day amongst them was Beaureguard he tole the boys he would be with them in the hour of battle I am going to try and get my furlough a bout christmas so you must look for me in a bout
two months. Tell Sunny Clem he must have his dogs well train by christmas, so we can goe opossum hunting. I have got a splendid burnside rifle it is a breech loading gun I can shoot a partregs [partridge] head off evry time with it, it was captured frome the yankees. I must close as it is getting so cold I cant write give my love to Ma & Sallie and tell them I will write to them as soon as I can Believe me as ever your Brother
J P Graves
Direct your letters to Shannons scouts in care of Col. Cofer provo marshal Gen
J P Graves
J.P. Graves enlisted on March 20, 1864 in Dalton, GA in Captain Swett’s Company L, the Warren Light Artillery. He survived the war and is shown on a muster roll of Confederate soldiers paroled at Greensboro, NC on April 26, 1865.
Letter written by Private Henry S. Clark of Company C, 15th IL Infantry, to Frank W. Fuller, from the camp of the 15th IL near Pittsburgh Landing. Clark writes that the previous night, his regiment was ordered to fall into ranks, and the 4th Division was ordered to support a wing of the army that had been attacked by Confederate forces. However, after marching for about a mile, the order was countermanded. General Hurlbut informed them that General William T. Sherman had been attacked, but was able to drive back the Confederate forces. Clark thinks they will have a hard battle in the next week. He advises Fuller not to come, as they have plenty of men at the moment. Clark is sending Fuller some “Tennessee script” that he captured from a “live secesh at Fort Donelson.” This letter was written the day before the Confederate surprise attack at Shiloh.
Camp of the 15th Ill
1st Regt. 2nd brigade of the 4th Division Department of west Tenn. Pittsburgh landing Tennessee River Apr 3rd
Yours in haste
P.S. Well Frank I suppose that you are looking rather anxiously for news from this quarter, but when I received your very kind letter of the 19th, 24th, &c, a day or two since, I thought the show was rather poor for me to give you any (news) but this morning I can give you a little, last night about half past seven we received orders to fall into ranks immediately with
guns and equipments ready for action, the Regt was soon formed in line of battle awaiting further orders meantime the news came that the right wing of our army had been attacked by the Rebels in force and we, the 4th Division, were ordered out to support them, after standing in ranks about 15 minutes we received orders to move on, accordingly, we started forward the other Regt’s of our brigade soon joining after we left camp the whole division was soon moving until after going about one mile we were halted, there waited about 20 minutes when the order was countermanded, Gen Hurlburt came along about that time and gave the particulars of the case Gen Sherman had been attacked
but not in force, by a strong reconnoitering party, he had driven them back at a loss of 11 killed and several wounded among the killed was a Major and Capt the Rebels loss was 27 killed and 12 prisoners, number of wounded not known, it appears that we were ordered out thorough mistake of messenger sent from Sherman to Hurlburt, Sherman sent orders to have him to hold his Division in readiness to march out, thus it ended for the present, though probably before another week rolls around we will have one of the hardest battles of the war, how it will terminate God only knows, we think however that we can clean them out, but as the issue is near at hand I shall not brag, but I feel now as though I could stand up to the rack “fodder or no fodder.”
You asked me if we wanted any more help. I can’t say, but I rather think that we have got plenty of help, and I would advise you not to come at present, if at all, though of course use your own judgment, but I must say, John [Pvt. John F. Clark, Co. A, 12th IL Cavalry] was very foolish to go, a man who has got a family has no business here, I thank you for your kindness in sending those stamps, although I had plenty for present use, there is no way of getting them here, and I should have been obliged to go without when they were gone, as they cannot be bought here for love or money.
I enclose you some Tennessee script, which I got of[f] a live secesh at Fort Donelson I should have sent a more interesting memento if I had been able to but there was no opportunity to send things from there
Look to hear from me soon again and remember me as ever
your true friend
Henry S. Clark, from Lysander, IL, enlisted in Company C, 15th IL Infantry as a private on May 24, 1861. The 15th Ill. Inf. lost severely at Shiloh as a part of Veatch’s Brigade in the Hornets’ Nest on April 6, suffering about 250 casualties, including 42 dead. Clark survived the Battle of Shiloh and went on with his regiment which also participated in the Siege of Corinth, MS and the last phase of the Vicksburg Campaign. Clark mustered out on May 25, 1864