Diary Entry from Allen, Charles Richard

Soldier: Allen, Charles Richard
Allegiance: Union
Unit/Service Branch: 2nd Cavalry
Home State: Illinois
Date Written: Wednesday, January 1st, 1862
Location: Within 15 miles of Paducah, KY
Correspondence Type: Diary Entry
Subjects: Civilians, Commanders, Comrades, Daily Life, On the March, Sickness
Nov 7th 1861
Lieut. Jackson was thrown from his horse and nearly killed. Today was the Battle of Belmont fought. I was on gaurd [sic] in Cairo during the day and night.

Nov 26th 1861
We moved camp over across to Birds Point, MO on the Miss. River. We have a beautiful camp near the Father of Waters. Here we can see three states Ill, Ken and Mo. The Ohio River comes sweeping down between Ill and Ken. The Miss joins the Ohio and divides Ill from MO. What a beautiful sight. The Miss River current crowds the banks of MO at Birds Point and is continually wearing and cutting away the banks and shores of Birds Point. The old plantation of Birds is gradually being washed away. The river gets closer to the old stone residence. It is even now at the front gate of the lawn in front of the house. This man Bird has another plantation about 2 miles up the Miss River. He was a very wealthy slave holder and a very strong Secessionist. His slaves were all run off some time ago. We go out to Charleston and along the Miss River. We pass through some very fine heavy timber and pass by some nice large lakes that connect with the Miss River. These lakes are full of ducks and geese and crane.

[Added to left page margin:] I helped unload the boats that came back from Belmont. Helped take off Geníl Grants horse. The horse was wounded.

Nov 26th 1861
The weather is quite cold although we are encamped in the edge of some heavy timber. We get the north wind from off the Miss River which is full of floating cakes of ice now. A great many of the boys are coughing and have very bad colds. The results of rideing [sic] in the rain sleet and snow storms. Once in awhile we have a brush with Confederate Cavelry [sic] so we are getting some practical lessons in warfare but not much drilling. We scouted and picketed the different roads out from Birds Point and drilled what time we had to spare until the 27th of Dec 1861.

Dec 27th 1861
We moved across the Miss River back to Cairo again.

Dec 30th 1861
Left Cairo by steamboat to Paducah Ken where we commenced to make a permanent camp building sheds for our horses. The weather was most miserable rainy and sleety. We drew new Freemont [sic] tents laid floors to our tents bought small stoves that we could cook on in each tent. Each tent would hold 18 of us. We had to stand picket guard out about 3 to 4 miles from town in the timber. We had just about got settled down to a routine of picket and scouting when we began to hear rumors of a general movement of all the troops and we were cautioned by our officers to be ready at most anytime to receive marching orders. We were green enough yet to think that the gov sent us here to go into winter quarters. There was now at this place a division of infantry and our regít of Cav and 2 com of the 2nd US Cav under the command of Geníl W.H. Smith. I think that was his name. He was a U.S. Regular Officer fine looking and very strict. He was as fine looking officer As I ever saw with very white mustache looked every inch a soldier. He rode a fine horse.

Jan 15th 1862 Ė Wednesday
We were ordered out all that were in marching condition. We left Paducah about noon . Our Regít was in the rear of the brigade of Inf.. Went about 10 miles the first day. It was raining nearly all the time. Cold chilly rain. Of course the roads soon became muddy and slippery. The orders were very strict against foraging. The Geníl place guards all along at houses and we were not allowed to burn any rails while we were waiting for the wagon train to get out of our way and at night we had to cut down timber for camp fires which seemed pretty hard.

Jan 16th 1862
Our Com A was the rear guard. We had to travel slow on account of the wagon train. Boys looked gloomy enough. We were cold and wet. Some of us would start up a song and try to keep up our spirits by singing comic or sentimental songs but some of the boys were inclined to be morose and sullen. We camped near Mayfield the 2nd night. I think the force was about 5000 perhaps more.

Jan 17th 1862
Our Regít took the advance. Com A in advance guard which was a great deal pleasanter for us. We camped that night about 7 miles of Murray.

Jan 18th 1862 Ė Saturday
It rained all day.

Jan 19th 1862
Com A and B left the Infantry in camp and went on to Murray. We occupied a large empty livery stable. Here we found 400 of infantry here that had come from Paducah on the river boats. Most all of the citizens had deserted the town expecting a battle but as one side could not do the fighting alone there was no fight. We were truly glad that had gone and left their latch strings to their doors on the outside or any way the door were very easily opened and their smoke houses were filled with hams and their chickens were very tame. We had plenty to eat. Some of the houses had been deserted just as the families were sitting down to supper. Of course we did not let any of their good victuals spoil. We dried our water soaked uniforms that night and next day it was very fortunate for us that the good citizens were out. Our Geníl relaxed his strict discipline for we had been marching seven days in a cold chilly rain. The citizens began to come back to their homes. Our chaplain preached them and us a good sermon in the morning and evening.

Jan 20th 1862
The main army came up. We moved out about 4 miles and waited for the army to come up.

Jan 21st 1862 Ė Tuesday
We camped about 2 miles off the Tennessee River. Here we scouted and destroyed some Confederate property also on the 22nd.

Jan 23rd 1862
We commenced moving back towards Paducah, Ken. I donít know just what we intended by this move out here. Presume it was more to drill the troops and get them used to marching. We had to move very slow on account of the bad roads. Only went 6 miles today.

Jan 24th 1862

We got within 15 miles of Paducah. Here we expected to be attacked by troops from Columbus Ken.