Wednesday, June 20, 2012

June 20 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

20, Excerpt from a letter written at Camp Trousdale; Dr. U. G. Owen, 20th Tennessee, to his wife, Laura
Camp Trousdale, June 20th [18]61
Mrs. U.G. Owen
My Dearly beloved & Sweet Wife  
* * * *
I hope you are well satisfied. live well & enjoy yourself at your father's. Laura a camp life is hard, bread & meat to eat, no milk nor butter, although we get a good deal of eatables [sic] from the country, every day some of the boys getting boxes from home. Several [of] our company have been home. Several have been sick. We have a plenty of fine cold water, best spring in the state. I was beaten for Asst. Surgeon by one vote the officers only voted. Prof A Win, Maj Duffy, [sic] & Capt Rucker [sic] left for me & went home but my opponents took that advantage and would not let their votes be put in-that beat me-there is a good deal [of] excitement about it in the Regiment. Some want the Election contested because it was thought wrong. The Regiment [al officers] say that justly I am the choice. Colonel. Battle says I must have some position in the Army as a Surgeon if the war goes on. [sic] I have had an offer of a position in the Hospital. [sic] I don't know whether I will take it or not yet.
We have about six thousand men in Camp Trousdale. Several big dances every night, great excitement all the time, amusement of every kind on earth you could think of. Great many ladies [sic] visit us from the country dance &c. There is [sic] about 1500 tents stretched here it looks like a city-it is quite beautiful to see it.
We have quite a bad place to write letters-some write on drum [sic] heads some on their laps on boxes &c. We had quite a fine dinner today. Capt. Rucker brought some boxes with him. Laura [sic] the boys are worse than children about something to eat. Sometimes we get molasses, we get coffee & sugar, biscuits without lard or soda.  We soldiers make very rough biscuits. No knives & forks. We have a tin pan plate a tin cup, a tin canteen and a leather strap across our shoulder to carry water in to drink when far from water.
My dear Laura I tell you that the world has no charms for me when separated from my dear sweet little wife. [sic] God bless you.... I will try to get home by July or before. Some are very anxious to go home, but all seem to enjoy themselves very well. Some have deserted. We have some prisoners under guard now who deserted but were caught and will be tried as deserters. Dear I will try to discharge my duty as a soldier. I will not do anything to disgrace you nor myself.  I will die in the field of battle Rather  than Return disgracefull [sic]. [sic] 
Our sleeping is rather bad. I did not get but one blanket-nothing but a common blanket. My throat has been a little sore. With this exception I have enjoyed fine health. I lost my pin cushion & needles &c. I want you to make me another one....
Dear I Don't know how long we will remain at Camp Trousdale. We may be ordered from here soon. I may fall in battle in less than two months. If I do I will be a little ahead of all the rest of mankind on the road we all must travel. I hope to see you once more on earth but if I do not I want you to try [to] live honest & upright during [the] time of your widowhood & be ready at all times to die for a better world than this & finally get to heaven where parting is no more....
.... your unworthy servant,
Dr. U. G. Owen
Dr. U.G. Owen to Laura Owen, June 20, 1861. 

Enoch L. Mitchell, ed., "Letters of a Confederate Surgeon in the Army of Tennessee to His Wife," Tennessee Historical Quarterly, Vol. IV, no. 4 (December 1945), pp. 341-343; continued Vol. V, no. 1 (March 1946), pp. .60-81 and Vol. V, no. 2 (June,1946), pp. 142-181. [Hereinafter cited as: Dr. U. G. Owen to Laura].



Loyalty and ice in Memphis
The Herald of the 20th of June contains three columns of revelations upon the encouraging developments of "Loyalty" to Lincoln in Memphis, and states that citizens are rebel soldiers are coming to "take the oath"  at the rate of 350 per day. What is strange, however, unlike Lincoln, Seward, and Gen. Scott, they do not take it with ice. Notwithstanding there is a great abundance of ice in Memphis. All these columns of brags are wound up with the following extract from the Memphis Argus:
The Demand For Ice.-Never since Memphis attained the dimension of a city has as little demand existed for ice at present. Some of our dealers in the article have full warehouses, and their daily  sales amount to comparatively nothing. o­ne dealer informs us that although at this time last year his sales amounted daily to between and twenty tons, now the scarcely reach a ton. Ice is receiving the cold shoulder this season.
Think of that! With a Federal army in Memphis to aid the consumption. Is it not too plain to be misunderstood, that such is the popular detestation of the Lincolnites in Memphis that the people drink warm river water, rather than cool it with ice brought Northern invaders!
Macon Daily Telegraph, July 1, 1862



20, "I think it was too bad to shoot the poor fellow. The mistake was made in enlisting him in the first place." A Wisconsin soldier witnesses an execution in Murfreesboro
Murfreesboro Tenn.
June 20th

Dear friend,
Our Division was called upon today to participate in the execution, by shooting, of a soldier for desertion. He belonging to the 4th Ind. battery of our brigade and deserted to the enemy while we were out on a scout a few weeks ago. He was recaptured within twenty-four hours, dressed in a confederate uniform, claiming to belong to John Morgan's command. He was tried by Court-Martial and sentenced to be shot today. The entire division was formed into two lines, each facing the other about ten paces apart. The prisoner, under a strong guard, was made to walk the length of these lines. Four men marched behind him carrying his coffin. Upon arriving at the prepared grave the coffin was set down, he was made to kneel beside it, his sentence was read to him, a cap was drawn over his face, the order was given to "Fire" and the full penalty for desertion had been paid in his case. I knew this boy - only about seventeen years of age - he was physically weak, and regarded as a rather weak-minded, and this was evident by the fact that he enlisted with the enemy so near to our lines. He appeared to be incapable of realizing that he had done anything wrong. I think it was too bad to shoot the poor fellow. The mistake was made in enlisting him in the first place.
J. M. Randall
LETTERS & DIARIES: The James M. Randall Diary

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