Diary Entry from Allen, Charles Richard

Soldier: Allen, Charles Richard
Allegiance: Union
Unit/Service Branch: 2nd Cavalry
Home State: Illinois
Date Written: Thursday, August 1st, 1861
Location: Springfield IL
Correspondence Type: Diary Entry
Subjects: Comrades, Daily Life, Western Theater
Link Source: http://genealogytrails.com/ill/whiteside/charlesallen.html
 
From 1850 to 1861
This law was all in favor of the slave owner or slave driver. If a slave runaway from his Master in Kentucky or MO and escaped over into Ill the slave hunter could get out a warrant for the negroes [sic] arrest place the warrant in a constables hand and he could order any farmer or citizen to go with him and help him hunt the slave. If the citizen refused he was liable to a fine or imprisonment for so refusing. I am satisfied my father helped many a slave to go on his way rejoicing toward Canada to freedom. About this time Mrs. Stowes book Uncle Toms Cabin came out. In the National Era a paper printed in Washington, D.C. a paper my father used to take. I was deeply interested in that story and I think the people generally were interested in it. About this time Lovejoy was murdered by a mob at Alton, Ill and in congress there were exciting scenes and hand to hand encounters between Northern and Southern congressmen. Senator Brooks of South Carolina brutally beat and abused Senator Charles Sumner who was an invalid. All these things were happening and at the same time the South seemed determined to crowd slavery on to the North in every way possible. The Kansas trouble came up. The South wanted all of the new territories to come in as slave states while the North seemed to think we had enough of that sin for an enlightened people. I had my boyish day dreams of what seemed to me to be coming in the near future. I felt the great struggle of freedom against slavery was approaching. I had fully determined that I would have a part in that struggle. My friends often laughed at me because I talked so much about the war. They could not see any signs of a war. I only wanted it to hold off long enough for me to get my education and my strength as a full grown man. I was on a farm from 1854 to 1861. Day after day I would be plowing in the field alone. I would be thinking and studying what part I would take in the army. I would generally decide in my own mind that Cavalry or artillery would suit me the best. When the trouble commenced most everybody seemed to think that the trouble would soon be settled and seemed to think I was so foolish because I was so serious and anxious to get the farm in a shape so that I could leave it anytime. I had three chums in from town that were anxious to go when I did. We met once a week to drill. We formed a Com Ė but when the first call came I did not feel that I was ready. The 13th Inf. Regt was formed. Some of my schoolmates went in that I think was sometime in June or May of 61. we still waited and worked on long in July. The Battle of Bull Run was fought then our blood was at a boiling heat. We could not stay at home any longer. We decided to join a Com of Cavalry that was organizing in Ogle Co, Ill. I was at work in the harvest field cutting an 18 acre piece of wheat on my bro farm when my mates came to tell me that they wanted to start the next day. That night there was a party at one of the neighbors. I went to the party. There were two or three boys that were talking of going and the girls were crying over them. I said nothing about my going until the party broke up. Then I bid them all good by [sic] but as I had not made any [unintel] about going they could not believe that I was in earnest.

Aug 1st 1861
The next day I was off for the town to meet my comrades. One of the three comrades in town was a young lawyer of splendid abilities. He was married. His wife was now determined he should not go. She threatened to kill herself if he went so finally he gave it up. He died in course of a years time while we the other three are living yet. So it goes. Life is very uncertain.

Aug 2nd 1861
We left Morrison the next day on our horses. We stopped at Dixon Lee Co. I think that night we found people excited everywhere.

Aug 3rd 1861
The next day we arrived at Lane Station a village on the N.W.R.R. where they were recruiting or organizing a com of Cav.. John R. Houghtelling was getting up the com. The most of the com was from Lane Station and Oregon. The other boys were strangers to us three but Iíve soon got acquainted with them. Everybody seemed kind to us and anxious to help us get ready for the war. People were in earnest those days. We were all anxious to get started. There was about 100 of us. We were at Lane sta about 2 week before the com was fully organized. We finally elected John R. Houghtstaling Captain, Fred Bennet 1st Lieut. and A.J. Jackson one of our three 2nd Lieut. and Frank Clendenin one of the three Buglers. Soon came our marching.

August 8th 1861
We had to march to Springfield to be mustered into U.S. service. The parting from homes and loved ones came hard for the boys but it had to come. Frank, Bert and myself had the advantage of the other boy. We were almost looked at as veterans as we had been away from home for two weeks. Some of the people followed us two days or more with Provisions making our crowd seem like a holiday jaunt or a picknick [sic]. I donít re-cold [sic] how long we were on the road to Springfield but I know some of the boys were not used to riding on horseback and they got pretty tired before we reached the Capitol. When we arrived at Springfield we were sent out to a lake to camp. The camp was soon named Camp Butler.

August 14th 1861
We were then mustered into service as three years soldiers. Now we commenced to drill and we soon found out our com had the advantage of other Coms. Our Cap and Lieut Bennet was once in a cour [sic] of Cav. and knew the drill. We soon got ahead of the other com and recd the letter Com A.

Sept 1861
We are drilling now on foot and on horses. Our camp while at Springfield was in a constant excitement all the time. We were expecting orders all the time to march Southwards [sic]. The boys were easily excited. At midnight we would gather around our camp fires. Some of the boys would tell stories some sing songs or speak pieces. Some were just out of college and schools. Some were homesick all ready and others inclined to be cross and ill tempered. Every little while there would be a racket a misunderstanding. There was two or three Infantry camps near the lake. We were soon ordered to be ready to leave at a moments notice.

Sept 4th 1861
We left Camp Butler today and at Jamestown we loaded our horses on cars and went into camp at Carbondale on the I.C.R.R. [Illinois Central Railroad]. Geníl John A. Loganís home. We drilled here a short time.

Sept 11th 1861
We moved our camp to DuQuoin, Perry County, a very pleasant camp on the I.C.R.R. . Here I met an old friend and schoolmate B.F. Chandler. Became acquainted with B.F. relation A.J. Sprague. We were now drilling very hard. Had not recíd our arms yet. Think if we had we would have been started for the front.

Sept 22nd 1861
We left DuQuoin this morning for Fort Massac on the Ohio River. We traveled about 18 miles and went into camp on the banks of the Big Muddy.

Sept 23rd 1861
We went 21 miles. Passed through Marion County seat of Williamson Co or Marion Co.. Most of the natives here are in sympathy with the South. Our next ride was amongst people that were more friendly.

Sept 24th 1861
We encamped near Viennie [possibly Vienna, Il]

Sept 25th 1861
We marched to Metropolis on the Ohio River. Our provisions were very poor. The hard bread was hard sure enough. Cracker were wormy and bacon hardly fit to eat. Some of the boys made quite a row about it.

Sept 27th 1861
We drew some Hall carbines. Very poor arms. More danger behind them than in front.

Sept 28th 1861
The first gunboat I ever saw passed by today up the Ohio. The boys burned a box of hardtack in front of the Q.M. tent. I traded off my horse that I had brought from home. I had now quite a correspondence. I answered letters nearly every day. If I did not receive a letter by nearly every rail I would get homesick.

Sept. 29th 1861 Ė Sunday
We have preaching in camp every Sunday. We now commenced scouting.

Oct. 2nd 1861 Ė Thursday
We broke camp. A company of us went aboard of a boat. Went to Birds Point, Mo.

Oct 3rd 1861
We went across the river to Cairo. Went into barracks. Now we commenced our drill in earnest. Very unpleasant weather.

Oct 5th 1861
Frank Clendenin recíd a transfer to his uncles regt 8th Ill Cav on the Potomac.

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