Letter from Scott, James

Soldier: Scott, James
Allegiance: Union
Unit/Service Branch: 23rd Infantry
Home State: Wisconsin
Date Written: Wednesday, October 29th, 1862
Location: Lexington, Ky
Correspondence Type: Letter
Subjects: Commanders, Comrades, Daily Life, Enemy, On the March, Rumors, Strategy, Warfare, Western Theater
Camp near Lexington, Ky.,

We have just had another jolly old march of twenty five miles yesterday. We left Paris yesterday morning and got here at sundown about as tired as usual after such marches. There was a good many of the boys fell in the rear. There is several of the boys has the ague and marching goes rather hard with them. I did not feel very well myself yesterday morning and last night. I was about used up so I did not do any thing after we stopped, and when supper was ready I drank about a quart of good coffee and went to bed and slept sound to morning, got up feeling fresh as a daisy and ready for another march if necessary, but I think from the way we are fixing up we will be apt to stay here for some time. We have a splendid camp ground and as nice weather as ever I saw. The snow that fell last Saturday night was all gone by Monday noon and the weather since then has been very pleasant and warm. We have our tent fixed up the best that we have had it for some time, and Frank and I has a table fixed up for our own special benefit and got ever as comfortable as circumstances and the place will permit. I wish you folks could see our camp. The whole country as far as you can see is white with tents. There is forty eight thousand troops here at present. Gen. Wright's Division meets here to reorganize into Brigades. We are in Brig. Gen. Burbridge's Brigade and he goes in for protecting Rebel property where ever he finds it. The officers and soldiers of the Brigade are all down on him for he won't allow us to draw our regular turkeys and chickens, but our old Colonel came, and the shenanigan's on him. This morning he did not put the guards out till ten o'clock and nearly all the Regiment was out and Company B got its share. We got about eight bushels of potatoes, a fine lot of turnips, and cabbage, besides chickens and geese, enough for a good mess or two. The Warren boys are camped about a half mile from our camp. I intend to get a pass tomorrow and go and see them.

Saturday noon, Nov. 1st

Our stay in Lexington was of short duration. Yesterday morning at 4 o'clock we were woke up by the morning gun and hurried out to roll call and the following orders read to us to have our breakfast over at 6 o'clock, our knapsacks packed, and our tents struck, rolled and loaded at 6 1/2 and every thing ready to march at 7 o'clock for Nicholasville, a small town 16 miles from our camp. When the time came we were all ready and on the road. We passed through all the principal streets of Lexington. For as old a place, it has a poor appearance. The houses are all built in the oldest style with stables and negro huts close up to the streets. The only thing I saw about the place that interested me was [Henry] Clay's monument which is certainly an object of interest to every soldier that visits Kentucky. The basement of it is 40 feet square and I should think it was 15 feet high with some three or four gates going into the vault. Then there is a offset of several feet then it rises up I should think 10 or twelve feet. Then there is a column of marble 86 feet high with a statue representing a man thirteen feet high, making in all 126 feet. His son that was killed in Mexico is buried there with the old Statesman of Kentucky. Clay's old plantation is 1 1/2 miles east of the city. We did not come close enough to see it very well but it is a nice farm and well fixed up. As we came along I met Tom Morris, Chas. and John of the 96th Ill. Reg., all looking very well. I saw Lamont's boy yesterday moving just before we started. He is in the 22nd Wis. Reg. Him and several more came down to see us start. We have good camping here but as soon as we get it fixed up comfortable we have to move as usual I expect, although they all say that we will stay here a month. We met 300 men from eastern Tenn. on the road to Cincinnati to escape the draft. They were a hard looking set, ragged and dirty and half of them barefooted. They say the Rebels are rather destitute of provisions and clothes. They say that they are deserting as fast as they can get away. The report here today is that there is an armistice of sixty days entered into between the North and South and every one is prophesying that the war will be settled between this and spring but I have saw nothing in the papers that I could come to any such conclusion, although I do believe that it will be settled yet by compromise for it never can be settled by fighting the way they are doing now. There is now an army of some 90,000 men here in this state doing nothing but running the Government in debt for they manage to keep just three weeks behind the Rebels all the time. The two last camps that we occupied the Rebels occupied three weeks before we came in. We were mustered for pay this forenoon, but when we get it is hard to tell. The Captain says that we will get it in about two weeks. We have to be mustered every two months whether we get it or not. We will have regular mail while we stay here. This is the terminus of the Kentucky Central R.R. It is not worth while sending papers. There is not more than half that is sent that ever gets here, for when they get to Cincinnati there is so many of them that they can't send them, so they throw away what they send. I have received some five or six since I came to Ky. I should like to have you send one or two after the election. We have considerable excitement here at present about the election. Write often. Direct to Nicholasville, Ky.

Jas. Scott