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

Post image for A Soldier’s Diary — David Lane.

A Soldier’s Diary — David Lane.

February 11, 2014

A Soldier's Diary, The Story of a Volunteer, David Lane, (17th Mich. Vol. Infantry)

February 11th, 1864.

The Second Michigan leave today for Cincinnati, by way of Chattanooga. The sick and wounded of that regiment start tomorrow. It is thought the whole corps will be under way by a week from next Monday. The sick will be removed as soon after that time as possible—probably by the first of March. At the earnest solicitation of Dr. Crosby, I have concluded to remain and go with them. He promises, in return, to use all his influence at Cincinnati to procure for me a furlough, or leave of absence. Possibly this had an influence on my decision. I have an almost uncontrollable desire to visit my family and home this spring. It seems like I cannot be denied; I believe my prayer will be granted.

No news from the front of any importance. Rebel cavalry are seen, now and then, in small parties, across the river. Fifty-three Indians were captured and brought in yesterday. They are a sullen, ugly looking set of cutthroats.

The most potent reason, or excuse, for playing; cards, and one that seems to satisfy men who are strictly moral, is, “it serves to pass away the time.” To most soldiers, when not on duty, time passes heavily. It is impossible to procure reading matter. Men do not always feel like talking. Most men cannot sit down by themselves and indulge in calm reflection—they must have some excitement—consequently, for want of something better, they gather in knots and shuffle cards. My pastime is to dream of home and loved ones. From early morn until late at night I am busy—yes, doubly busy—for, while I do not neglect my duties, my mind is hard at work far from this cumbrous body. Annihilating space, it leaps all barriers and pauses not until by my loved one’s side.

I have just been out to see a drove of beef cattle that are being driven to our brigade. One of them fell down in the street but a few rods from here, and no amount of “encouragement” could induce him to rise.

I would suggest to our Northern farmers, if any of their cattle are likely to starve to death, they slaughter them. Their bones make excellent “soup.” I speak advisedly, for I have tried it. The mail route, by way of the Gap, has been abandoned for the present. It goes now by way of Chattanooga.

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