Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

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“It’s queer that our regiment don’t get more recruits.”–Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, Charles Wright Wills.

March 20, 2014

Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, Charles Wright Wills, (8th Illinois Infantry)

Scottsboro, Ala., March 20, 1864.

What under the sun can I tell you that will interest you. That it is intolerably dull, bah! Have just had a long visit from Lieutenant Colonel Wright, now army assistant inspector general of the division, and Lieutenant Van Dyke, A. D. C., to our new commander, General Harrow. The lieutenant is a splendid looking fellow of about 23 years, and has served up to the time of coming into our division with the 2d Corps, Army Potomac. Van Dyke informed me that a despatch from Logan was received by Harrow this a.m., informing him that Forrest was prowling around on the other side of the river with intention of crossing and making a little dash on some part of our line. “Our” railroad from Nashville via Decatur is about completed (will be finished to-morrow) and then we hope to have something to eat once more. This railroad will be all for our corps, or at least we will get the choice of what comes over it. We are at outs with the general to-day. In the field we are not accustomed to having camp guard, considering a strong picket and the regular property alarm guards sufficient. But because two or three men got drunk yesterday, and a gun or two was fired, out comes Harrow in an order and requires a strong camp guard. It may be one of the faults of our discipline, but ’tis a fact that our men would much prefer two days of any other duty, to one of camp guard. Our court gets on slowly. Oh! We had a dance a few nights since. Northern ladies, officers’ wives, and a few “Mountain Ewes” (the poetical name given the Jackson county beauties by some genius of a Yankee). We really had a delightful time; and I understand they are to be continued, one every two weeks Anything to keep a man from getting blue. I see Abraham calls for 200,000 more. Keep asking for them Lincoln, that’s right, I’m sure there are yet many who can be spared for their country’s good in more meanings than one. It’s queer that our regiment don’t get more recruits. We need them very much, and yet I dread getting them, they are so much trouble for a year. The 26th and 48th Illinois have respectively 200 and 500 and the officers are bored terribly over them. There is to my eye, as much difference between the average of recruits and the average of veterans, as there is between the physique of a tailor and that of a blacksmith. Some of the veterans who have returned to camp, are sick of their last bargain with the United States, but the majority are right glad to get back.

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