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.

November 13, 2013

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

Lenoir, Tenn., November 13th, 1863.

As the men are confined to camp, they busy themselves by cleaning up the accumulated rubbish. Our camp begins to put on airs. The men must get some clothing before they can do so. I see no prospect of it yet. The day has been most delightful—warm, bright and mellow. The weather here, as with us at this season of the year, is subject to sudden changes. Today it may be warm as summer; tomorrow the wind may change to the north and be cold as winter. Wood is abundant and of good quality—mostly white oak and hickory. But should we stay here all winter, there will not be a tree left within five miles of here. We have already cleared about fifty acres.

Spite of appearances, I cannot think we will remain here until spring. I cannot see—perhaps I have no right to try to see—where our supplies are to come from, or, rather, how they are to come. We have only six weeks quarter rations on hand, and the roads over the mountains are nearly impassable. There is some wheat and corn in the valley, which is being gathered in for the use of the army, but this cannot last long. Such an army, like the locusts of Egypt, will soon “devour every green thing.” Even now hundreds of citizens are leaving for the North to escape the impending famine. In view of these facts, which are fully understood by every man in the regiment, one would expect them to be down-hearted and discouraged. Such is not the fact. The few men who are left are resolute, determined men, ready to suffer privation, to endure hardship, anything to advance the cause for which they are contending. An order is given to prepare for inspection. The Assistant Secretary of War is here to inspect the Ninth Corps. This may be an exception, but, as a rule, inspection means move.

I happened to get hold of a copy of the Detroit Free Press dated October 25th. From it I learn conscription has been postponed in Michigan until the 5th of November. By that time they hope to fill the quota by volunteers. I would like to see the North exhibit the energy and ability displayed by the South, but one-half seems to be asleep, the other half —mad.

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