Diary Entry from Allen, Charles Richard

Soldier: Allen, Charles Richard
Allegiance: Union
Unit/Service Branch: 2nd Cavalry
Home State: Illinois
Date Written: Thursday, November 13th, 1862
Location: Grand Junction, Tenn.
Correspondence Type: Diary Entry
Subjects: Combat Description, Commanders, Comrades, Daily Life, Sickness, Warfare
 
May 23rd 1862
I am having some fever with a great deal of headache. Look like I was a going to be taken down sick.

May 23rd – 29th 1862
I was too unwell most of this time to do much duty. Last night was very sick all night. Some of my friends from their Reg’t called on me. Now I am out of my head most of the time. This is written when well enough. Camp within 5 or 6 miles of Corinth

May 30th 1862
Boys are gone with troops to the front. I am alone and very sick. I can hear heavy cannonading an occasionally an explosion. Think Confederates are evacuating Corinth. I am so sorry I can’t be with the Com but here I am alone no friend to bathe my aching head. It is hard to be sick when kind friend are by your bed side to sooth and comfort you but how much harder to be alone. No loving hand to soothe your sorrows. Then if you have the knowledge in your heart that you have a Saviors love to help ou in your hour of trial and distress you can bear the trial alone but if you have not that hope how sad your lot. The boys were hurried out quick this morning but came back about one o’clock with the news that Corinth was evacuated. So Gen’l Halleck has let the Confederate army slip out. Boys went off again with three days rations.

June 1st 1862 – Sunday
I was visited by one of our surgeons. He ordered me moved to a hospital. The country is full of hospitals and it is no wonder. We have the worst water to use I ever saw not fit for hogs to drink, covered with a scum. Well the Dr. sent an ambulance and moved me to a hospital about 5 miles from where we were encamped. Some of the boys came to see me. Charles Curry came here with me. He is not as bad as I am he can wait on me some. He gets water. This is a miserable place for a hospital. There was a good well to get water from but a careless heedless nurse dropped a bottle of strong medicine in the well so it was ruined for our use and being one of those drilled wells there was no way to clean it out. The only chance for water then was to bring it from a spring about 2 or 2 ˝ miles from the camp so they had it hauled in barrels and it would soon get warm not fit for a sick man to drink. So Charlie used to get as many canteens as he could carry and go to the spring. He could not make more than one trip a day. I drank a great deal of water. I guess that was all that saved me. The most of the sick laid on the floor in the plantation house but the boys put up a tent for Charlie and me. Charlie was very patient and kind. I don’t think I could have made it through if it had not been for his care. There was 4 or 5 doctors. I don’t know how many patients. There was presume at least 100 of them. There was only one Dr. that seemed to care whether he done anything or not. He said that there was wine and canned fruits sent there for the sick but that the doctors were using up everything of that kind on themselves. It was a distressing sight to look into that house and see the poor fellows setting up on the floor. That is those that could and trying to clean the vermin off their poor wasted bodies. I never want to see such a sight again. Wagon loads of the dead would be taken out every morning. Halleck was killing more by his slow moving along over that swampy sickly country than any battles that have been fought. We were running short of provisions. I could not eat anything they brought to me. Soon the Dr. talked of deserting the camp but the one Dr. said he would stay by us.

13th June 1862
The Dr. stopped a supply train going from Corinth to Pittsburg Landing after supplies and made them load as many on their wagon as were able to ride and take them to the Landing. Charlie begged them to take us along so they laid me in the bottom of the wagon on one blanket. Some of the boys died before the train started. Don’t know how many died on the way. Each wagon was drawn by 6 mules. The roads were just as the army left them. Were what some call cordroy [sic] roads. That is where ever there had been mud holes, the Army had laid down rails, poles anything so that the Artillery could be hauled over. The teamster were in a very bad temper because they had been stopped so long and they had but little time to spare. They had to make the Landing before night as there was no escort along and the guerrillas were thick and they were liable to be attacked any time. They didn’t not want to be out in the wood after dark so they could not pay much attention to us that were sick. They drove over those rough roads whipping and cursing their mules almost incessantly. Such a ride I hope no one that knows me will ever have to endure what I did that day. I often wonder how I stood that ride. One place at a small stream the train stopped a few minutes to water their mules. I begged them to lay me out on the ground and go on but they would not. I was blood from head to foot. My clothes were soaked with blood. They got to the Landing along towards night. They laid us sick that were still alive on the ground in front of a boat that was fixing to load up with the sick and wounded. I don’t know much about what happened about that time think I was unconscious most of the time. Think that I had be laying there sometime when an ambulance backed up and somebody laid me in it and drove off. Pretty soon they stopped and laid me out on the ground again in front of another boat that was getting ready for the sick. Then some one came and examined me and gave me some medicine. Heard them talking as in a dream. Think on of them said he won’t live until morning. Though how foolish that ride was to suffer so much just to die right off. Soon Charlie came to me and roused me up to eat something. Could not eat but water and washed some of the blood off and put on some clean underclothes. And then I fell asleep. Woke up after awhile. They were carrying me on to the boat. We laid on the deck of the boat that night. In the morning I was covered with blood again.

Jun 14th 1862
Today we were furnished bunks or sleeping births on the steamboat. Seemed so comfortable that tears would come in spite of me. I was so weak and tired.

15th June 1862 – Sunday
We are steaming down the Tennessee River going toward home. How nice I felf for awhile the motion of the boat seemed just like a cradle but after awhile my feeling began to change. Soon it seemed to me as though I could not live. Every motion gave me the most intense agony. How I did suffer. No on can tell that has not been though the same trouble. How I would have enjoyed that ride if I had been well but oh how sick I was. By the time we reached the Ohio River I had improved some but not enough to be landed at Cairo as a good many of the boys were. If I had landed there I would have been sent home.

20th June 1862
Landed at Keokuk, Iowa. Was taken to a large brick hospital. Now I have regular attendance of physicians. Think there surely will be some chance for me to get well. [C.R. Allen’s words added to the upper portion of the line] Post Hospital. Now some days I would be well enough to write a letter but had to keep pretty still most of the time. We had a good many visitors from the city. Very nice people.

4th Jul 1862
My brother Platt came here to visit me. We had a good visit. Got permission to go down town. Went to the barbers shop. When he came to shampoon [sic] me my hair all slipped off.

7th Jul 1862
My brother went home. He was very much disappointed. He expected he could get permission for me to go home with him but could not. The Dr. had very strict orders no to let any of the boys go home.
[Added to left page margin with an indication it is to start under the 15th June 1862 – Sunday heading:] Started down the Tenn. River June 16th 1862. Hospital Boat City of Memphis arrived at Keokuk, Iowa June 21st 1862. It seemed rather hard as we were within about 150 miles of home. I believe I would have improved faster if I had been home. Now Charlie and me would wander around town when we were able to get out of the hospital or answer letters from friends. Along about Aug. 1st Rebel Gen’l [Sterling] Price came up through MO threatening St. Louis and other large towns. One of his companies had the audacity to come up not far from Keokuk and run into a town below in Mo. There was a small Com. of Inf. Cadets in k. They had a small military band. The people were considerably scared up. Finally they sent their band around to the two big hospitals for volunteers to go down and drive the Johnies out. Well all of us that could carry a gun began to roll out and to fall into line. The first thing they knew they had nearly a Reg’t of men. Men that smell powder. The Keokuk Com/ had a small armory with a lot of old muskets. We was soon armed and marched down to the stream ferry boat which took us down to Alexandria [Iowa] but by the time we got there the Confederates had skedaddled and gone. They had sacked one or two stores. We marched around some and by that time we were all pretty weak and hungry. Just about noon here came a boat load of the good women of K. with boiled ham, bread and butter and such. Maybe we did not but I think we did. In our line we had Col - an Brigadier Gen’l & Cap. & Lieut. All the same as high privates in the rear rank. We went back to Keokuk in the afternoon and then went down to Alexandria again about 8 o’clock in the evening. Stood guard until 1 o’clock in the morning and then took care for Sand Prairie [Iowa] about 20 miles from K. and left the train. Marched across the prairie about 7 miles to the Des Moines River arriving at a little town on the river about daylight. We was hopes that we could head off the Com. of Rebs but they had an hour and a half the start. If ever there was a played out crowd that army of invalids were one. I could hardly stand up. We arrested 7 or 8 persons and took about 100 head of horses. We stared back to K. arriving there about 6 o’clock in the evening. We took in all about 30 prisoners.

Aug 8th 1862
We commenced our journey back to the Reg’t.

Aug 12th 1862
We stopped at St. Louis ate breakfast at the hospital and went from there to Schofield Barracks. Stood guard at McDowell’s College.

Aug 13th 1862
Started again for Dixie Land on the steamer Rowena.

Aug 15th 1862
Landed at Columbus, Ken. Found Com. B of the 2nd here.

Aug 16th 1862
Left Columbus on the Cincinnati & Ohio RR for Corinth. Found Com. C at Union City and Col. Hogg & Com. D at Trenton, Com. M at Humbolt. Arrived at Corinth about 10 o’clock in the eve. Found the boys alright. Now most of our time is taken up with guard and drill. I have not got well enough to do very hard service. Have very sore eyes caused by the dust.

Sep 29th 1862
I was detailed as Orderly for Gen’l [Alexander McDowell] McCook who was left in command of Corinth while Gen’l Grant was at the Battle of Iuka. My eyes were to bad to go with the Com. When Grant came back I had charge of his head quarter tent and he came walking up. I did not know him and stopped him until I caught sight of his shoulder straps and then I knew him. I begged his pardon. He says that’s all right and asked me about my eyes. He remembered me carrying orders for him and Halleck after the Battle of Shiloh. Asked me where I had been. Talked with quite a little bit. He then excused me from any more guard that day.

Sep 27th 1862
27 of us left Corinth on the RR with Gen’l Grant and [Edward Otho Cresap] Ord’s Head Quarters for Jackson. While loading our horses on the cars I was kicked very bad by one of the horses. Wonder it did not kill me. I did not know much for awhile. The boys picked me up and carried me to the cars. We rode all night. I suffered terribly doubtful whether I ever get over it. I doctored myself about two weeks when a Surgeon came here. Went to him for medicine. He ordered me discharged but the Captain said he would put me on light service if possible so I concluded to stay in the Com. About the 27th of Oct. I commenced to go on picket and do guard duty.

Nov 2nd 1862
We went out with a foraging train. We went to Boliver [possibly Bolivar, Tennessee] 2 days trip. The ride was pretty hard on me. We met our Reg’t here at Boliver.

Nov 3rd 1862
Got back. Troops are leaving Corinth, Bolivar and Jackson. Supposed to go to Holly Springs. We left camp at daylight. and arrived at Jackson about 10 o’clock at our old camp.

Nov 12th 1862
We left camp early this morning supposed for the Reg’t camped near Bolivar.

Nov 13th 1862
We pass through Bolivar on the 13th. We passed the battle ground where Col. Hogg [Lt. Col. Harvey Hogg, F & S companies] of our Reg’t was killed. We camped near Grand Junction, Tenn.

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