These letters were written by John Caleb Lockwood (1811-1891) while serving as quartermaster sergeant of the 30th Iowa Infantry during the Civil War. He mustered in on 24 October 1862 and mustered out on 5 June 1865. His parents were John A. Lockwood (1759-1811) and Priscilla Blackiston (1774-1858). He was married in 1835 to Susanna Wilson Mitchell (1816-1864) with whom he had at least nine children. With his second wife, Nancy A. Ryder (1827-1897), he had two more children. Two of his sons also served in the war: Edwin Jaynes Lockwood of Co. G, 11th Iowa Infantry, and Alfred Oliver Lockwood as a civilian sutler.
Lockwood moved west to Iowa from Middletown, Delaware in 1842. He had attended public schools in Delaware and pursued a mercantile business. He continued the business in Iowa and in 1854 was elected by Louisa county to be their representative in the Iowa Legislature. After his term ended, he was appointed in 1856 by the Governor at Register of the Des Moines River Improvements. In 1859 he moved back to Louisa County and was appointed Postmaster. He continued his mercantile business where he remained until the break out of the Civil War. He entered the army in the fall of 1862 as quartermaster in the 30th Iowa Infantry where he remained until the close of war.
One of the stipulations for purchasing deeds to lots in his new town, was that no intoxicating liquors were to be sold on his land. He purchased land on the Mississippi River known as Walling’s Landing, and laid out the town of Port Louisa. He also held the esteemed titles of Rep. to Iowa Legislature, and Postmaster. (State Historical Society of Iowa resources, Ancestry websites)
[Editor’s Note: There are twenty letters appearing below presented in chronological order that were part of a larger collection known as the John Caleb Lockwood letters. Fifteen of the letters were purchased by an acquaintance of mine who asked me to transcribe them and publish them here. Five of the letters (6, 13, 14, 15, and 20) were not purchased by my acquaintance and, consequently, I cannot verify the accuracy or completeness of the transcriptions as they were done by someone else who clearly had some difficulty with them. All of the letters appearing here were written by John C. Lockwood with the exception of letter number eight which was written by his son, Edwin Janes Lockwood of the 11th Iowa Infantry.]
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER ONE
On Board Steamer Minnehaha [at Keokuk, Iowa]
Monday 3 P. M., November 3, 1862
My dear Sue,
We are now just about to start, steam up, and shall very soon be on our way south. We left camp early yesterday morning. The regiment left about 6 but having some business to settle up, I was the last to leave. When I got to the wharf, I found the regiment and all the teams strung along the levee, having refused to go on the boat assigned to us as it had already several hundred horses on it and was otherwise cluttered up. So the Old General ([Samuel R.] Curtis) came down himself and soon got another boat—a very comfortable one—so that we are now very comfortable. The adjutant & I have a good room in the Ladies Cabin alongside the Colonel [Charles H. Abbott] & family who accompany us to Helena. I have my desk in the Ladies Cabin also where I can write as we go down, will will probably take some 3 or 4 days.
The 25th Iowa from Mt. Pleasant arrived here this morning and I went up to see them, meeting many acquaintances. They marched out on the levee and were soon marched back again with orders to go today for Helena too. Will leave here tomorrow. Among the officers of the 25th are Col. [George Augustus] Stone, Professor [John Allison] Smith of the public school, A[lexander] Lee, &c. &c.
An Illinois regiment also arrived today and have just passed down. Suppose we shall have lively times at Helena. Col. [Asbury B.] Porter is on board on his way to join his regiment at Helena. We have plenty of tents and equipments generally. The asst. wagon master told me that it took about 80 wagons to transport our equipments, stores, &c. from camp to the boat. It made a long train.
I called on R. J. Lockwood today. He was surprised to see me in uniform. Was very clever and agreed to forward my watch when it comes. I have been too busy to visit Rev. Eben. I wrote to him to come in but have not heard from him. My health continues good. With much love to you all. I must close as the boat is about starting.
Your affectionate husband, — J. C. Lockwood
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER TWO
Headquarters in Camp
Saturday afternoon, November 7th 1862
My dear Sue,
After a pleasant trip, we arrived at the wharf at Helena about 12 o’clock night before last, remained on board the boat till after breakfast, when we commenced unloading. The Col., Lt. Col., Adjutant, Surgeon, & myself took horses & started in search of a suitable camp ground which we soon found in a grove immediately on the river bank about half mile above the town where we at once sent our tents with men to put them up. I then remained at the boat superintending the removal of our stores & equipments which occupied the balance of the day. Early in the evening I came out to camp and not having my tent arranged for sleeping, I accepted the invitation of our chaplain to sleep with him. And after partaking of his hospitality of some nic nacks brought from home, hearing him read some from his [Christian] Advocate, and having family prayer, we retired and slept soundly., ready to rise at reveille and enter upon the duties of another busy day.
Among the first acquaintances I met on landing was Doc. [Benjamin] McClure [9th Iowa Infantry] and Rev. [Pearl P.] Ingalls who were surprised and glad to see me. I have since met other acquaintances making me feel more at home. Rev. [Andrew J.] Kirkpatrick, chaplain of the 4th Cavalry, called to see us this morning.
We stopped several hours at Memphis, giving us an opportunity of taking a good look at that pleasant city. The Captains took their companies out and marched them through the city and fortifications. I strolled around at pleasure and as I was strolling through the public square [Court Square] (where I picked the enclosed magnolia leaf), one of our company marched in, and it done me good to see them in a ring around the marble bust of General Jackson to which they showed their respects with presenting arms. Upon the marble pillars upon which the bust of the general stands are cut the words, “The Federal Union—it must be preserved.” The words “Federal” I noticed were defaced as though it was intended to be obliterated. ¹ I thought I could see from the countenances of the citizens that we were not very welcome visitors.
While standing in the street talking to some of our men who I met, Col. John M[urray] Corse came up and seeing me there and in uniform, he seemed to be completely taken by surprise, remarking, “Is it possible that you are in the army?” He immediately took me around to his boarding house, his wife & son being there also, who soon accompanied us in a walk. John has been there for about 4 months. I also met Bartroff (formerly of Mt. Pleasant) at Memphis.
At Cairo where we stayed for several hours, I had the pleasure of taking the hand of the brave Col. [James Madison] Tuttle [2nd Iowa Infantry]—the hero of Fort Donelson—and heard him relate some of his exploits in that battle.
Mrs. Col. Abbott is still with us. Came out to camp and dined with our mess today, She leaves on the Minnehaha on her return this evening and I send this letter by her. Wish you could be here to see how snugly we are getting fixed up. Expecting to stay here at least six weeks—perhaps longer. There is said to be some twenty thousand troops here now and will be largely increased rapidly. I think our mission is to go down and open the Mississippi river—the very thing I would like to have the honor of taking a part in.
Having a good deal on hand to attend to today, you will please excuse haste. I will write to some of the children soon. Must now try & steal time to drop a few lines to Edwin. Hoping to hear from you very soon. Direct your letters to me at Helena, Arkansas via Cairo, Illinois.
Your affectionate husband, — J. C. Lockwood
Love to all of course.
¹ According to Thomas Hawley, US Surgeon at the General Hospital in LaGrange, Tennessee, who visited Memphis in March 1863, “Jackson’s monument, as tis called, but is only a bust mounted on a square pedestal with some few ornaments. In all about four feet high, yes 7 or 8, the features are good about life size surrounded by an iron fence. The renegade [Gen. Meriwether Jeff Thompson disfigured the word federal in Gen. Jackson’s immortal saying, ‘The federal union it must and shall be preserved.’ Magnolias, cedar, pine and spruce and rose trees are growing finely.” The bust may now be seen in the Shelby County Courthouse lobby in Memphis.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER THREE
Headquarters 30th Regt. Infantry
1st Brigadem 2nd Division
Army of Eastern Arkansas
November 17, 1862
My dear Wife and Family,
The labors of the day and evening being over, now past 9 o’clock, I take my seat in our comfortable tent at my convenient desk and with my mind traveling up the Mississippi toward home, sweet home, I pen these lines. The Major, my tent mate, has turned in and is comfortably snoring, having had a very busy day and no doubt, his rest is sweet. The fire is blazing cheerfully in our brick fireplace as cosily as it used to do in the old mansion of my youthful days, of which it strikingly reminds me—and our camp is remarkably quiet tonight—scarcely a sound save the hoarse cough of a youth in the chaplain’s tent nearby who the chaplain has taken in tonight to attend to. Poor boy, he would be much better off at home for its doubtful if he ever gets there alive. About the age and temperament of Johnney. I suppose his desire to see the army and some of the world will end in the soldier’s grave. For the first time since leaving home, I felt lonely and somewhat depressed in spirits for awhile on yesterday evening on my return to camp.
Sunday last was a day of great excitement at Helena. On Saturday morning the Col. called me aside and enquired whether i had bread & provisions sufficient for 400 men to leave that afternoon and judging from the issue of 40 rounds of cartridge to each that something was up, I soon discovered that a large force were about to start on some expedition, which I afterward found was to be by river. The detail of 400 from the 30th with their blankets, knapsacks, & haversacks and fully equipped marched out of camp (accompanied by Col. and Lt. Col.) to the boat in waiting at the landing on Saturday evening.
Finding next morning that they had not yet left the wharf, the Major and I came down, and such another army, I never before saw as was there congregated—cavalry, infantry, and artillery—twelve steamers apparently crowded all over and the banks of the river lined for perhaps half mile or more, still embarking, and occasionally a boat dropping out and leaving downstream. I rode up and down the levee amid the exciting scene and noticed the boat (“Decatur”) on which our boys were start down. After going down about two miles, it turned about and came back while I remained. I soon discovered something was wrong. The Captain of the boat had accidentally, in handling a pocket pistol, shot himself through the body and they brought him ashore on a litter. He was still alive and I have not heard from him since. The boat, after some delay, went on.
The fleet contained it was said some ten thousand men. Where they have gone or what to do, but very few are apprised of here. But it is supposed they have gone up White river to destroy some rebel fortifications building there. I think some two or three gunboats accompanied them.
Well, on my return to camp, I of course missed the 400 men (besides officers) of my family, and during my absence one had died in the hospital and I must provide for his burial. Dispatched my sergeant in the ambulance with an order for a coffin. On his return, the soldier was wrapped in his blankets in his coffin in presence of his son (another soldier) and with the fife & drum playing a mournful dirge, he was carried to the soldiers’ cemetery, leaving camp about dark. These scenes, as I before said, cast a gloom over my mind for a time, but the exciting, busy scenes of a camp life soon dispel in a measure such feelings.
Tonight our regiment was called in for more than we could spare, for picket guard of which we sent out [ ] for twenty-four hours. A line of picket guards extends in a circumference of some twelve miles, encircling the entire camps stationed in this vicinity.
After the return of the expedition below, I will write to some of you again. My health continues good, with continuing camp appetite, A col. who was going the rounds of the picket guard tonight called and took supper with me, remarking that he had not had so good a meal since he had been in the service. Goodnight. I must turn in.
Tuesday morning. Weather mild and showery. I feel the need very much of an almanac and can’t find one in Helena. Send me one by mail for 62 & 63 both. Have not received my watch yet. Did you send it?
I received a letter today from Edwin under date of the 12th at Grand Junction, Mississippi, on the road to Holly Springs where they expect to meet the enemy and have a fight, but I am informed that the rebels have evacuated Holly Springs. Ed had not read my letter written from here. When I hear from him, I shall know more about transferring him or of forwarding his things.
Wednesday morning. Weather clearing off. Very pleasant. Health first rate. No news from the expedition below. One told that the Iowa 1st Cavalry have arrived and encamped near the Fort and that the Iowa 19th Infantry is near. Shall be glad to meet the boys of the 19th when they get in. I rode along the lines of the 4th Cavalry as they were waiting for transportation in the levee on Sunday last to find Lue Dean and other acquaintances. Found Capt. Spearman of Mt. Pleasant but did not find Dean.
Major Dewey was out on duty yesterday making the rounds of the outer picket. Returned after night covered with mud. It is an awful route to travel—so rough and hilly. I rode out last Sunday some two or three miles. The road leading along on the top of very high ridges, so sharp that a roadway had to be cut down in some places ten feet deep & just wide enough for one wagon. It would be difficult for the enemy to approach this place in a large body.
With much love to you all. From your affectionate husband, — J. C. Lockwood
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER FOUR
Headquarters, 30th Reg. Iowa Infantry
1st Brigade, 2nd Division
Army of East Arkansas
Sunday afternoon, November 23, 1862
My dear wife and family,
Your truly welcome favor of the 13th came to hand last evening bearing the pleaing tidings that “all is well,” but it seems that you had not received any letters from me since my arrival here. Having written some, I hope you have received them all ‘ere this. I noted that Alfred has got all his wood sold and presume at very good price, considering its quality, and as you say he has sold that at the end of the store (which I thought of keeping for winter wood), I suggest that he has a good lot of the remaining scattered wood at Odessa hauled in for use of house and store, it being good and dry, the rough. It will be better than green wood. And perhaps Mr. Cunningham will cut some for us just adjoining the Port, or on the channel piece, and any wood cut up there he must keep in account off and credit on account of Channel [?] Co. Same as Odessa, credit to Odessa Co.
Has Mr. Herron hauled the logs to mill at Odessa? If not, try and have it done and have the maple logs sawed into stuff suitable for furniture manufacture & have Winder or someone to stack it up carefully.
How much money have you now on hand? Let me know and all about what the boys think of doing at business. I hope that Big & Sis with their family are with you by this time, and settled ready for business. Shall hope to hear from them very soon. You say that Arnold was taking the wood from Odessa but said nothing about paying. Hope he will not fail in his agreement, but it may be necessary to give it strict attention and prep the matter if not paid soon, as he has done well with wood and probably received the money for it by this time.
I hear nothing from Weed & Co. yet about our settlement. I am sorry to hear that Mr. Law & Kuhn have come to blows instead of compromising their difficulty. Hope that my dear Libby has returned from her visit to Wapello and that her & Sobera [?] are making good use of their precious time in learning all they can at school. Do my dear children improve this coming winter in improving their minds, and Alfred too may improve himself greatly, if he will apply his mind to study during his leisure time. Do so my dear son while you have the opportunity and the assistance of Big and your Sister during the winter, you may find in after life that it was a time well spent. Don’t know, but it is possible that I may have some active service for you and Johnny to perform by next spring. There is no telling what this war or my wanderings may bring about in our destiny.
Well, the “great expedition” has been made. The fleet has returned—arrived night before last—and our boys got back to camp yesterday morning under the general impression that the expedition was a failure. There not being sufficient water to admit of the fleet going up White river (where they intended going to destroy a fortification, &c.) so after dispatching some foraging parties through the country, gathering in beef, cattle, mules, Negroes, &c., they returned.
Being on my way from camp to town, I met our men coming in and after saluting them, I joked them as I passed the lines about their having taken Vicksburg, opened the Mississippi, &c. Presently here came their squad of contrabands—men & women (quite a little drove)—trudging along with their bundles. It was really amusing—the whole scene.
Today, while resting on my cot in my tent with an appetite for dinner (our old backs only allowing us two meals on Sunday), one of the Captains sent in one of his newly acquired contrabands with a nice dish of prepared codfish & potatoes, and having the waiter take a stool, I had an interesting conversation with him as I enjoyed the lunch. He being quite an intelligent fellow, told me about his escape &c. and how much he likes the Yankees, they being “such nice folk, and dress so fine, &c, &c.” He got to the boats by skiff from the Mississippi side. I asked him whether the darkies through his country knew about the President’s Proclamation. “O yes,” said he. They all expect to be free after the 1st of January. I asked him how they found it out. “Oh,” said he, “the overseers are not allowed to tell us anything, but the ‘Big’ folks talk about it around the table or before the house servants and they tell it to those who they can trust, and so it goes around.” I was told afterward that Joe thinks the Quartermaster a very nice gentleman indeed. The poor fellow seemed willing to go anywhere or do anything in reason for the Yankees.
Again the funeral dirge was played through our camp today. Another fellow soldier received his final discharge last night. Our Pastor gave us a good short sermon this morning and this afternoon we had a Union Meeting at our camp of several regiments—Rev. Ingalls preaching for us in his usual good style. It looks odd that during the religious exercises of camp, so varied is the surrounding scenes. Tonight a very interesting and devoted speaking & prayer meeting is being carried on near our tent while I write.
The weather continues delightfully pleasant though cool enough at night to make a good fire comfirtable. The leaves of the large trees have generally fallen off, but I notice a good deal of greenness yet among the bushes, peach trees, &c. and the canes and bunches of mistletoe continue quite green.
Professor—rather, Commissary Grey is intending to publish and account of the White River trip. I forgot to tell you that our portion of beeves &c. was turned over to the quartermaster, so I am now having fed my 5 steers ready to butcher whenever needed.
Did not Libby & Johnny promise to write to Pap? Would be glad to have a letter from them and Delf & Sarah May. Am always glad to receive the information he writes to me about. Keep me posted. Alf—have not received my watch yet but hope Richard will forward it soon or someone of the numerous boats coming down. Keep me informed about the weather so that we can compare.
With much love to all and kind regards to the folks generally. Your affectionate husband, — J. C. Lockwood
Monday afternoon—just received my watch all right without any cost or charges. Handed to me by an old acquaintance of John Dodge from Council Bluff.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER FIVE
[On board steamer Stephen Decatur at the mouth of the Yazoo River, 25 December 1862]
[First half of 8+ page letter is missing; starts on page 5; end of letter is missing.]
…a pass from his Colonel except the quartermaster who is allowed to pass to and fro on business which I have had occasion to do sometimes today. Also men are detailed to go on shore with an officer for fuel, rails, &c. and for cooking their rations.
The fleet dropped down during the afternoon to the mouth of Yazoo river where we now lay in company with some half dozen, formidable-looking gunboats. Being now within about 12 miles of the supposed fated city of Vicksburg, we seem to be laying here awaiting further orders, or perhaps to make reconnoissance and get a good ready for the grand descent upon the enemy. Should not wonder at any moment to hear the roar and feel the shock of the booming cannon. In meantime, our officers are enjoying themselves in social conversation &c. around the cabin just now. One is engaged singing in a lively time, “Dixie.” while two others accompany him with the violin.
Can it be that this is Christmas Day? It is hard to realize the fact. The general expression throughout the vast assembly being, “how very warm” while the profuse perspiration was being wiped from the brow. Can it be that my family at home are hovering over a heated stove or perchance having the pleasure of a sleigh ride, while we here in Louisiana are sweltering with the heat on a little exertion? Just now while the beautiful and appropriate song of “Sweet Home” is being sung, my thoughts and affections take swift wings twelve hundred miles northward and sweetly commune with my dear family who are gathered together most likely about now (8 ½ o’clock) in the family circle, entertained by the innocent pranks of my dear grandchildren while probably the sympathizing thoughts and warm affections of my dear family follow the writer down, down, and still farther down the Mississippi, and no doubt with anxious words are expressing their wonder as to the whereabouts and welfare of the writer, now comfortably seated at his snug desk in the Ladies Cabin of the Steamer Decatur. Feeling that we are all under the parental care of our Heavenly Father, I trust that it is well with you all as it is with myself. Let us, my dear family, continue to trust in God, that I feel this night as strong determination to try and serve Him, even while surrounded with the exciting scenes and immorality of a large army, as I have felt for years past. I feel that I am in the line of duty, while serving my country, and as all good soldiers discharge their duty cheerfully and faithfully, so I feel tonight.
After the entertainment of singing &c. in the early part of the evening, the chaplains being absent on another boat for awhile, the Colonel called upon Commissary Gray for a speech, to which he responded in a short and very appropriate address, followed by our most excellent Lt. Col. and a few remarks by the Colonel and one Captain, when our chaplain came in and closed with one of the best addresses he has given as yet, full of incentives to duty—military, civil, and religious—very appropriate to the occasion and the day. Closing with singing very lustily & heartily the beautiful hymn, “Come let us anew our journey pursue” and a prayer and as we sung the lines embracing the words, “Eternity’s near” I could but reflect, how true that might be to some of us, standing probably on its very verge, the prospects being that we shall soon be in battle.
Past 11 o’clock. Orders just made for a detail of two companies to go with the quartermaster as escort tomorrow morning at 6 o’clock on a foraging expedition for fresh meat, &c. &c. Again, good night. Duty calls and I must be up and off early.
Friday morning. Up by 4 o’clock ready for the ordered foraging trip, but orders having come from headquarters to move, the above order was countermanded. Started up the Yazoo about 9 o’clock. Went up some 10 miles, landed the troops, teams and company stores. The army being tonight lying on their arms or nearby ready & waiting for orders to march. I am just told that our General Commanding has demanded the surrender of Vicksburg or the removal of the women & children, receiving the reply, “We are ready.” Don’t know what moment we may be ordered forward. Shall however soon retire and if possible get some rest preparatory for the anticipated deadly conflict. One more, good night. Weather very warm today & tonight. Expect to go forward trusting in God through whose mercy and protecting Providence and your prayers, hope to be preserved harmless and permitted again to mingle with my dear family at home.
Sunday evening [December] 27th [28th]. The teams & stores all except about one company and six teams & wagons being ordered on board, we went some mile miles further up when we again landed and our Brigade disembarked and formed in a field near the place of landing and about 4 o’clock moved across the country toward Vicksburg about 10 miles distant. There being a levee thrown up about a hundred yards or so from the shore, the troops mostly formed in line of battle on it, presenting a grand appearance as regiment after regiment with their teams and ambulances and the artillery all in motion as far as they could be seen for the timber in the distance. The Boys generally in fine spirits, laughing and joking, as lively as though on their way to a festive party, and those unable to go regretting that they too could not join in.
All my stores being left on board the boat, and there seeming to be no special necessity for my accompanying the army, I remain in charge of stores at present though may be called to follow, if necessary, which I am desirous of doing. During the time of forming this afternoon, distant cannonading was going on for some time, probably from the gunboats up the river, either shelling the woods or some batteries along shore. Soon after the troops had got under way, our portion of the fleet dropped down to near our place of first landing and we now lay immediately in front of the splendid plantation and former residence of the late A. Sidney Johnston—the rebel general who fell at the Battle of Pittsburg Landing last April. ¹ This once beautiful situation immediately on the banks of the Yazoo river (some 10 miles from its mouth) vividly portrays the [paper crease] of war. The standing brick walls of a once large & splendid mansion, the standing chimneys of some 16 negro quarters which were built around a square park and all apparently about alike, good size & well built houses, together with the smoldering remains of a splendid mill and cotton machinery nearby, nearly all a complete wreck. Even the entire surroundings, picket & board fencings around the house and tastefully laid out garden are now nearly all destroyed affording good fuel for the boats and the soldiers to cook by. As I walked around the premises this evening, the soldiers were busily engaged cooking their supper with the remaining and teams engaged hauling the rails from the plantation for boat use. Beautiful evergreens shade the front yard of the principal mansion which has not escaped the ride hand of the vindictive soldiers. Truly the Southern people are suffering severely and are…
¹ Biographies of Albert Sidney Johnston make no mention of his ever owning a plantation on the Yazoo River, much less having a residence in Mississippi. Yet numerous period accounts in letters and newspapers of Porter and Sherman’s expedition up the Yazoo River state that marines from the ironclad gunboat Benton under the command of William Gwin were sent ashore to burn “the plantation house with its sugar refinery, sawmill, cotton gin, and quarters for three hundred slaves” after they were fired upon by Confederates from this location. They claimed this plantation belonged to Albert Sidney Johnston but it actually belonged to a man named William H. Johnson.
[Editor’s Note: The following letter was lifted off the internet and I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the transcription.]
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER SIX
Headquarters 30th Iowa Infantry
!5th Army Corps
Monday evening, January 12, 1863
My dear wife and family,
We in company with our fleet arrived near this place on Friday evening last, drove up to within about two miles of the fort—a very formidable structure held by some six to eight thousand rebels (mostly Texans). That night [we] placed out strong pickets who reported next morning the noise of [ ] chopping by the rebels, showing that they were getting ready to defend their position. Saturday [was] occupied mostly in disembarking and forwarding regiment to the field, and being one that took the fire that night. The gunboats moving up about a mile and threw a few of their missiles which seemed to have driven the enemy behind their breastworks, leaving their large and well-constructed barracks with quantities of camp stores…to the mercy of our troops who of course appropriated more to their own use, and enjoyed largely the quantities of cornbread already baked, cornmeal, pork, etc.
Yesterday afternoon (Sunday), the army having got into position, the gunboats moved up and, in connection with the land force, opened fire on the fort & rifle fire and for some for hours there having the battle waxed toward? causing the earth to buckle for miles around and many a poor fellow to bight the dust. About four o’clock the white flag waved from the fort, which with all its appurtenances was surrendered to our General McClernand amid the immense cheers and huzzahs of our forces—our Lt. Col. Torrence of the 30th [Iowa] being the first to plant our flag on the rebel ramparts. The General, in compliment to the 30th, favored us with the rebel flag of which our Boys are very proud of course.
My business called me mostly about the boat on yesterday and not caring to explore myself into the camp of the flying shells—which I could plainly see bursting in the air and dashing the water high in the air. I could see so ? to the ? nearest approach quartermaster to the scene of action. A little after sundown the transports were ordered up to the fort and I have spent most of the day in looking over the battlefield, fort, and barracks—and all the awful ghastly sights which have come under my observation today, I shall never forget. The lost and many bodies of the dead scattered along their rifle pits (which are about a mile in length) were horrible indeed. A ball seems to have taken both feet clean off from one poor creature; his shoes with his feet in them setting by his dead body. Another with his cuticts? torn from his body and dashed against the side of the guard work &c. &c. along the lines. The ground was also strewn with dead horses all over the battleground. I noticed our entire team of six noble white horses all piled together dead near a battery. The General of our regiment (Thair) had a very fine horse shot from under him. I have not yet counted the entire loss on either side, but you will get it by the papers. Our loss is six killed and thirty eight wounded. Several officers attending the wounded.
I suppose the prisoners will be sent south for exchange for parole. They are a hardy looking set of men cheerful but comfortable clothing, mostly have on war? goods. Many of them are said to be conscripts and I have told our men that they do not fire a gun during the battle and would not ? ? declaring they would fight to the last. The breaking up of their hornets nest will result in good, as they were getting very nicely fixed up besides their formidable fort & extensive rifle pits they had a very extensive barracks composing several hundred very comfortable cabins regularly laid out in streets. It being a camp of instruction from how they could slip down to the Mississippi (Some forty miles) and aiming to capture our boats as in the case of the “Blue Wing” which had eighteen bags of mail matter and a large quantity of ammunition on board for our fleet. The mail matter mutilated of it was found yesterday bloody scattered around their barracks over which they tell us they had a great deal of sport. A portion of the ammunition was found in the fort and around.
There are several old buildings scattered around. Several larger brick businesses, houses, showing this to have been an old trading post. A portion of the army will probably go into quarters here for a time to rest and recover from the long confinement (over three weeks) on the transports. Still trust your letters to Helena to follow us. As Ed says your letters believe I was ? gratified upon the reception of several letters today, yours of the twenty-ninth Dec. with Susan and Rev Paul’s and one from John D. I was so glad to hear from you all and of your continued welfare. Depend upon it, my dear Sue and children, that I shall try to take care of myself if only for your own dear sakes whose hope to rejoin in health probably by the approaching spring.
I hope the boys will just go along do the best they can under the circumstances using their own judgement. Our regiment have received no pay yet have nothing late from Edwin, whose transfer I have given up for the present. I must write him tonight, I am so glad that Alfred & Johnny, with Big and Sis are with you. I have seen enough of the soldier’s life and fate as not to wish anymore of ? in the ranks of a private unless real necessity demands it. If Alf is with health it is not so bad, but the poor private receives but little sympathy in many instances it being sometimes hard to distinguish between real and figured. I hope the children to all continue in their studies, I must now close this hasty letter by again giving you all renewed taking of the affections of an absent husband, father and friend. With kind regards to all the citizens write often. — J. C. Lockwood
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER SEVEN
On Board Steamer [Stephen] Decatur
Lying at Napoleon, Arkansas
Headquarters 30th Iowa Infantry Vol.
Sunday evening, January 17th 1863
My dear Family at Home,
In the multiplicity of engagements, I have deferred the answering of Alfred and Libbie’s letter of the 9th December, received just before leaving Helena. I hope they have not concluded that I do not set enough value upon them for they afforded me much pleasure, and in looking over it again tonight, my affection would wing away up the Mississippi on whose bosom we are once more waiting orders. Lib mentioned that she and Sis were engaged there making Christmas presents for the children—that she wished she could get one to me. I’ll take the will for the deed, Libby. I seldom, if ever, undress and remove my garters (a present last Christmas) but that I think of my pet, the giver. I am so glad to see that you are secure to enjoy yourselves together so well. That was my object in getting you all together and hope that each one will strive to promote each other’s happiness—in every possible way—and that the children will all make good use of the present winter at school. Also be regular in their attendance at Church and Sabbath School. Lit, Coant, Alf, Johnny, Libby, Nellie, Alfie, Sarah and Delf—a pretty good string, helps to fill up the Sabbath School from Lockwoods.
Now for Alfred who seems to have been bothering about the division of the wood at Odessa and Channel [?] All the old wood remaining on hand when I left, either on bank or in the woods, I wished sold on my own account—paying whatever expense attending its hauling or sale out of the proceeds, and keep an account of each separately. I think you will notice by reference to the Ledger that I have credited Odessa Co. with all the wood I had chopped. The Channel Co. I could not give full credit till you had got all hauled, you will however find memorandums in pencil that may be useful to you on those accounts.
Now for all that you and Bog shall get cut, I suppose you will have to be governed by the price going this winter, though I think that 25 C for the Odessa and 30 for the Channel wood is enough under the circumstances. You have done right in getting it hauled up to the poet, and as you have had a good deal of trouble with the wood, and its “all in the family.” If you prefer to take it in the rank at a specified price, you may do so, and allow your Mother whatever you and her can agree upon. I think she will be careful that you and Big so not cheat her. I therefore leave the matter among you.
About the logs cut by Perryman, you will find by his account on Ledger that we guessed them off, and closed his account and I think I credited them so to Odessa Co. You must examine the ledger more where you will find memorandums in pencil explaining such as I thought would not be clear. I intended to have sawed out of those Perryman logs—enough to fill the warehouse, for which the logs would have to be sawed the proper length. Mr. Low would give the number needed of each length and he knows how I wanted the foundation of the warehouse fixed, which I would like carried out and finished—whether it will pay to get any more lumber sawed or not is a question, you must judge of that. If you do have anymore sawed, let it be such as will do for flooring for the warehouse, if possible, pile so that it will dry without warping. The fence posts belong to the Co. You done right in letting Brown go into the Kitchun as I hope they will take care of the property then. If he fixes the bottom of the fever he can have a good garden in the Spring if he remains.
I suppose you have your hogs killed and packed. Am pleased at your good luck in finding them. You will notice Brown account was unsettled. You will have to task his account partly for a few days work done, &c. Be careful he does not get in your debt—or any other of your workmen. They will do it quick by misrepresenting the quantity chopped &c. and fair promises.
Enclosed find a plot of the battleground, fort &c. of Arkansas Post furnished by one of our officers who went through the battle this day a week ago. It will give you some idea of our position. I went through the fort and saw the powerful effect of the balls from gunboats—knocking about 2 feet from the muzzles of two of their 3 big guns—10 feet long, 2½ feet diameter, 10-inch bore 3 inches thick. The casements around these guns were wood-splintered and awfully disturbed though built of 3 thicknesses of about 2 feet size logs, firmly fastened, and covered with railroad iron, which the balls from the boats sent flying high in air.
Before we left, men were set to work leveling the walls and the hundreds of comfortable quarters were fired. We have been having quite a little winter for several days. Several inches of snow and weather quite cold. More moderate today and raining tonight.
We expect to go with the fleet down to Milliken’s Bend and go into camp there soon as the troops certainly need recruiting from their long confinement to the boats. General Grant has been here and I’m told that our transports are to return for his army after taking us down. So there is yet another prospect of Ed & I meeting near Vicksburg. Another mail today & no letter for the Quartermaster—delayed in the route probably. Write to me often, my dear family, if its only a few lines and send paper occasionally.
With much love for you all, I bid you goodnight. Take a [ ] and go to bed.
Devotedly yours, — J. C. Lockwood
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER EIGHT
Camp near Vicksburg, Mississippi
January 30th 1863
My dear Mother,
Thinking you would be anxious to hear from me again, I thought I would write this afternoon. We arrived here about a week ago. We are now about five miles from Vicksburg on the opposite side of the river in Louisiana. I am now staying with Pap. He has had an attack of the piles but is getting better now and will soon be able for duty again. Prof. Gray came up to our camp about 6 miles above here yesterday & told me Papa was unwell so I came down to stay with him a day or two. He is getting along very well now. I still have very good health and the other Port [Louisa] boys are well.
I believe I wrote you last from Memphis. We was there about a week and was paid two months pay there. We came down the river on the Maria Denning with three other regiments so we was pretty badly crowded. Our company had to go on deck among the mules. We had to sleep in a pile of stone coal but we got along first rate. We was on the boat just one week. We got very tired of the old thing, but we moved off at last and have got a very nice camp now.
I came down and hunted up Pap the next day after we got here. He was glad to see me and you better believe I was glad to see him. We have been having very disagreeable weather for the last week but it has cleared up now and I hope we will have pretty weather again for awhile.
Pap just received Alf’s and Libby’s letters of the 3rd and 4th inst. We was glad to hear that you all keep well. Libby gave a very nice account of how she spent her Christmas. I believe I told you how I spent my Christmas in Holly Springs over a pot of mush. That was all we had and no salt in it. We had lots of fun over it.
We can’t tell how long we will stay here. It may be some some time but I don’t think we will have much fighting to do at Vicksburg. I think we can siege them out. We are at work now digging a canal so as to get closer to them without getting in the way of their batteries. We can see the city from here very plain but it is six miles off. They have tried several times to reach this point with their heavy guns but they can’t make it out. I will send you a map of the city and our camping ground so you can have a rough idea how the thing stands. Vicksburg is on a high hill is the reason we can see it so far.
I have not made out yet to get a transfer and think it is doubtful whether I can or not. If I can’t, I think I can be detailed to help in the quartermaster department for awhile. But while we are so close together, it won’t make much difference for we can get to see each other once in awhile.
I am in hopes this rebellion will soon be “squashed” and then we will all be at home together.
The boots Pap brought me from home fits first rate. I got them just in good time too for it has been very muddy ever since. Have you ever heard if Asbury Vandervort is alive yet or not? Or has he got home? We can’t get any news of him at all. His discharge papers were sent to him some time ago while we were at Grand Junction.
We had a very nice time while we were at Memphis. I was in the public square and saw Jackson’s Tomb and where the rebs had defaced it, trying to chip out the sentence, “the Federal Union must be preserved.” It can be read yet. Memphis is a very nice place. There are some very fine, costly buildings there. We stopped at Helena but did not see much of the place as we was not permitted to leave the boat. I saw Charley Lash on the levee. Lu Dean was there but I did not get to see him as he was on picket and could not come to the boat.
Well, I believe I have nothing more to write of interest. I will stop until I go back to the 11th. I guess I will tomorrow.
Give my love to all. Kiss all the little ones for me and don’t let them forget their “Old Uncle Ned.” Write soon and often.
I remain your affectionate son, — Ed [Edwin Jaynes Lockwood]
Saturday evening, January 31st
I came back this afternoon from the 30th Iowa. Pap is nearly well but he was right sick when I first went to see him. I found a letter from Johnny when I got back. I will answer it before long. — E. J. L.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER NINE
Headquarters 30th Iowa Infantry Vols.
In Camp near Vicksburg
Sunday evening, February 8, 1863
My dear Sue,
Having an opportunity for sending this tomorrow, I thought best to drop you at least a short letter to inform you of my improving health as I fear you may be uneasy about me from the tenor of my last few letters. I am again on duty and my returning appetite encourages me that I shall soon be alright again. Have been riding around attending to the business of our regiment & personally today. Having left the boat, am again in camp on the landing where I and my sergeant are camping, taking care of some quartermaster’s stores and attending to business generally. Our business being a good deal on the boats makes it convenient for us to be here. Our regiment having encamped some half mile back in a field, having removed from their first ground on account of the rising water.
Edwin was down to see me again today. Spent several hours very pleasantly together. Took dinner with us of soup made of desiccated mixed vegetables, a nice article and very suitable for me. Ed seemed to enjoy his dinner. He says their division of the Army are about moving up the river some 60 milesm though it’s hard to tell about our movements. I have suspended my efforts for the present of getting Ed in our regiment though something may soon turn up to bring it about, He and I will try and work matters for the best.
Still waiting for the grand order to move on to Vicksburg or to move back upstream. Hope we are getting a good ready. I wrote a long letter tonight to Annie Lord and as it is getting late, I must close and retire to rest. Hoping the few hasty lines may relieve you of some anxiety on my account, So goodnight my darling ones.
Most affectionately. Yours truly, — J. C. Lockwood
Monday morning—Up and stirring early. I forgot to mention last night the joyful reception on Friday of your kind favor of the 26th January. It done me good to see your own dear familiar hand writing and to hear from you all as doing well. May kind Heaven continue over us all his protecting care and Edwin brought down a long letter from Sis. So we exchanged letters as we have done before—he reading mine and I reading his.
I forget whether I answered Libby’s letter or not but I’ll write to her and Johnny after awhile. I am so glad to hear they are trying to do right and hope they will get all the good of the school they can and study at home. I received your letter with Bro. Paul and have answered it. Also wrote again to John D. lately. I fear that John has lost his health forever and that he will not be with us long. I am glad you sent my letter to Bro. E. but would like him to return them as I may wish to refer to them some day. I wrote to him twice but received no reply.
I hope Sis & Big will not feel slighted that I have not directed more letters to them as I consider them embraced in my own dear family. I must try and get down to see the land they are cutting across the bend here, I rather think it will prove a failure though. Must wait & see. Again goodbye. — J. C. L.
I also forgot to speak of the weather. Since I last wrote you we have been having some winter. Whether it is because of the presence of so many Yankees or not, I do not say, but for several nights the ground—or mud—froze hard enough to almost bear up a horse, making ice in buckets and small ponds from ½ to ¾ inch thick, and making fires in our tent very comfortable.
I have just met with Dr. Marsh of Mt. Pleasant who is returning home sick. He agrees to bear this letter and mail it somewhere. Our Vicksburg neighbors seem to be patiently waiting for our attack, preparing I presume, to give us a warm reception when we do. The boat rings. I must close. Send me 20 stamps.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER TEN
Headquarters 30th Iowa Infantry Vols.
In camp front of Vicksburg
Sunday, February 15, 1863
H. B. Paul
My dear Son,
Your extremely brief letter of the 2nd inst. has just reached me and although so very short and unsatisfactory in detail, yet I am glad to hear from you, being the first that I have heard since my absence and here let me beg of you not to wait in future till a few minutes before the arrival of the mail before commencing to write a letter to me. I have been waiting and hoping for some time past to receive a long letter from you and Alfred conjointly, giving me a minute account of my business affairs left in your charge, and of how you were progressing in your own little matters yourselves. But in the few lines just received you have merely glanced at a part.
You mention having sold the wood at Odessa to a Muscatine man. I thought Arnold took it all. Have you settled with Arnold and Weed & Co. and collected what is due me of them. I am very desirous of knowing about these things as it may require my personal attention if you cannot affect a satisfactory settlement with them. Please remember that every little item of news or business transaction about home will be very interesting to me, and perhaps necessary for me to know. Relative to the logs at Odessa, I gave directions in a former letter and as to any that will not pay for sawing, you and those in charge out there will have to exercise their own judgement.
I am glad that you are making progress in chopping wood but fear you will have an unfavorable winter for hauling it out as I learn the weather continues so mild. I would try to get all out of the low bottom.
Relative to your case in court, I am not prepared to make out an affidavit. I fear that I don’t remember distinctly enough what you wish to prove by me. Perhaps you had best get your attorney to make out one as we talked the matter over, and send here for my signature—or get the case deferred till it can be attended to in justice to yourself—or perhaps by representing the case to Prentiss he can assist you and get the papers here in time. I want to help you out of that matter if I possibly can. What is Low doing at Odessa? Have you cut any wood on the Channel for Low?
How are you all getting along in the living line and how are you situated in the house? Now you & Sis get at it and give me all the little particulars. I want to think of you as you are, and my dreams of home as I lay sometimes in my tent, half wakeful, will probably be less confused. What progress are you and Alf making toward collecting in my old notes and accounts? And what have you done toward settling with my St. Louis creditors? For mercy’s sake, keep me posted on all these matters on which you must know I am anxious for I want my business there brought to as near a close by spring as possible so that we may be prepared for any emergency or any changes that may present itself for the best. It is possible that I may be in some locality so situated somewhere that I may call you and Alf to join me at short notice with all the means you can command to enter into some business that will pay better than anything you can do at the Port. At any rate, there will be no harm in being ready. By spring I hope we shall receive our pay when I shall have some ready means to add with yours in any operation that may seem to provide most profitable. These suggestions I grant are rather speculative, and may so end, but take my advice and be ready. I am beginning to see and learn what is doing & being done around me, and feel as though I would like to be in for a share.
Well, we and our Southern brethren across the river still continue somewhat like the Jews & Samaritans—very little dealings between us, except in the shape of lead & cast iron occasionally, watching each other very carefully and getting ready for a grand Union Meeting at some future day. The two last nights were nights of some interest. Night before last, another of our best gunboats [the Indianola] ran the gauntlet taking advantage of the extreme darkness about 12 o’clock. She ran the blue-kick under a very heavy fire from the enemy which roused us from our slumber and presuming what was up, I laid still listening to the awful war and fearful squall of the heavy cannon & their missiles as they went whizzing through the air but without injuring the boat. Last night—as though in competition with the night previous—heavy artillery opened upon us in awful grandeur in shape of an extremely heavy storm of thunder, lightning & pouring rain—the loud claps of thunder causing me fairly to cringe in my cot. But our double roof tent kept us dry and we came through all safe.
Our regiment is very much reduced by sickness as well as many others of the new regiments in the field here. Thank God my own health is still improving so that I am daily on duty.
Received a letter from Ed today. Said he had also written home so you’ll hear with much love for you all, great & small, and hoping to hear more lengthy from you before long.
I close. Yours truly, — J. C. Lockwood
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER ELEVEN
Headquarters 30th Iowa Infantry
February 28, 1863
Mrs. S. M. Paul
My dear daughter,
Your esteemed favor of the 19th January reached me today, being as you see a long time on the way, and as such is the case, I will show you my appreciation of it by a prompt reply.
I notice my dear child that you all seem to have the same failing—that of waiting till mail day before writing. Consequently your letters are most hurried and sometimes have to be broke abruptly off by the arrival of the mail boy. I am afraid that some of the letters are lost both ways as I average a letter a week to some of you. The last letter I have received before yours, from home was from your mother and Alf under date of 5 February.
I suppose you have heard long ere this of Ed & I meeting here though we did not get to stay together long. I however have some hope yet of getting him with me though these things often move slow in the army. Have received two letters from him since he went up to Lake Providence. Says in his last of the 22nd that he has received a letter from Mother of the 9th.
You mention of Libby’s having written. Have I not answered my dear little daughter’s letter yet? If not, it has been an oversight and must be attended to. It does me so much good to hear so good accounts of my dear children, Johnny & Libby, that they seem determined to make good use of their time behaving themselves so well and turning their attention to their studies in which they seem to be getting along so well. Such news from my own sweet home, and of those I love so dearly, does my very soul good, enables me to look forward with strong hope and confidence that all my children will be an honor to themselves and to their parents, while passing through the journey of life. I judge from your Mother’s letter that your children escaped the measles which seemed to prevail at your writing. Nor does Mother say anything about the result of your protracted meeting.
Please present my kind regards to Bro. Prather and say to him I have not forgot my duty though the Quartermaster’s Department is calculated to try the faith and patience of anyone—as a quartermaster remarked to me one day in the midst of some troubles, “Is not this enough to make a man swear, I’ll say Hail Columbia anyhow.” Swearing is awfully prevalent in the army and especially among the mule drivers.
We have been having a great deal of rain here. Consequently the deep mud prevails, though the weather is now quite pleasant—the trees beginning to show the variegated colors of spring. I had a pleasant ride & walk (together) today down to the far-famed canal being cut across the bend of the river here so as to admit boats below and avoid the batteries of Vicksburg. It may be a success but I doubt it. The hands at work on it were mostly negroes. All seemed to be quiet today along our lines and also with the enemy. I hope that something decisive & successful will be done ere long for it’s tedious waiting thus.
Our Brogade are being mustered for pay and we expect to receive a part, at least, next week. I am afraid that the boys will not be able to get their wood all hauled if they depend on their own teams. Do they keep you supplied at the house with plenty of good dry wood? I want to think of you as living as cosily and pleasantly as possible. If the boys get behind in their supplies, you and mother must stir them up with a sharp stick.
We have a regimental bakery now which we run day and night, giving the men mostly soft bread greatly to their gratification as they get so tired of hard crackers.
Tell Alf I received the Almanac for which I am much obliged. I can now tell when Sunday comes. While we remain here, you had better all direct my mail matter “Near Vicksburg via Cairo” as they may be datelined at Helena. The boys have not mentioned of any business they had engaged in outside of wood. Hope they may manage to make it pay them, and the spring may develop something to operate in for cash.
I must here again express my gratification at your all being together during my absence and hope it may not only be very agreeable to you all, but that it may pay you [ ].
With much love for you all, my dear family, and a thousand kisses from Grand Pap for the baby. Also present my kind regards to all the neighbors and as often as convenient, write to your affectionate father, — J. C. Lockwood
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER TWELVE
Headquarters 30th Iowa Infantry Vols.
In Camp near Vicksburg
Wednesday, March 18, 1863
My dear Wife & Family,
Our worthy Major having resigned his commission is now making his arrangements to start for home and may possibly get a boat up tomorrow. Therefore, I have thought best to drop you a letter tonight and have it ready. I wrote you a few days ago in which I gave you encouragement that I would probably be with you ‘ere long. But you must not make any certain calculations in that respect as there are so many uncertainties connected with the army life. I am making arrangements for resigning my commission, having already received the Surgeon’s Certificate, and intend pushing the matter through as fast as prudence dictates though it may take some weeks to get it approved by all the parties through whose hands it has to pass. My opinion is that a trip home will restore my accustomed vigor of health, and if so, my intention is to return to the army as soon as it would be prudent for my health & as business matters would dictate and bring along a stock of sutler’s stores as I find that the sutlers here are making a grand thing of their business. Now that the troops have been paid off and the probability is that the payments will continue to be made more frequently, consequently will keep money more plenty in the army. I am well convinced that had I now a stock of goods suitable for the trade, I could very soon double or treble my stock provided I could retain my health and escape the vicissitudes incident to the following of an army. But all these calculations depend upon numerous circumstances and cannot be dwelt upon with any certainty yet in order to carry them out, should everything suit. I would again say to the boys, have everything ready with as much money or produce collected as possible, by the time I may arrive at home. Then we can talk the matter over and see what will be for the best.
From indications for the past few days, there seems to be an onward movement toward the grand object of taking Vicksburg. a great many troops have passed our camp with five days provisions, but what the object is, we don’t know. It, however, looks ominous.
The work on the canal across the bend is the river still progresses. Our dredge boat being now at work about midway through but the enemy are trying to harass them as much as possible, and while I write, their cannon is booming about ever 10 or 15 minutes, throwing shell from the opposite bank, and although our present camp (having lately moved to a more pleasant site) is about 3 or 4 miles distant, we feel the jar in the air though. Up to last account, no damage had been done. There are now about 150 of our men on picket duty in that immediate vicinity.
I have no late news from Edwin. Think likely his division are yet at Lake Providence or else on their way with others toward the scene of action.
The weather is very pleasant now indeed—quite warm for several hours during the middle of the day. Vegetation coming forward rapidly. We have recently added to our mess the luxury of a milk cow, furnishing us with good rich milk—a great luxury for a soldier in camp.
You mention again in your last about my sending the affidavit to [ ]. I suppose he has received my letter ‘ere this explaining my reason for not doing so. My recollection not serving me sufficiently in the case. I hope he got the case deferred or settled satisfactorily.
Thursday morning. Up early. Met one of our men from below who brought up a deserter from the rebel side. Said he belonged to the battery opposite the canal and escaped in an old skiff, being a conscript. Gives a hard account of rebel fare—very scarce & high. Says there are about 25 hundred in Vicksburg [and a] good deal of sickness.
Today will be a busy one for the quartermaster & clerk issuing clothing to the regiment. We were paid up to the 1st of January and the paymaster told me that they expected to pay again soon.
If Alf was only here now with even two or three hundred dollars worth of stuff to suit the soldier, he could make it pay. I have frequently noticed persons ret[ ing] apples from a barrel which he would take to some thoroughfare where a crowd would gather around & soon buy him out. Prices varying from 8 for 10 cents to 4 for a 25 cents. A young man told me today that he paid $15 for a barrel of apples. But one great difficulty is in getting permission and transportation for goods from the North, which I presume hinders many from coming.
Friday. Major not off yet. Young Barchoff from our neighborhood called to see me today. Said he saw Ed a few days ago at Lake Providence. All well. Said five gunboats have passed Port Hudson and part of them are coming up. I’m told that our forces have gained considerable advantage in rear of Vicksburg about where we fought them before. It is now thought that there will not be much fighting, yet we expect to be in possession or have control of the river soon. Col. Abbott was on board one of Commodore Farragut’s boats and had an interview with him a day or two ago. Think likely we shall be able to pitch our tents on the hills of Vicksburg ‘ere long, which will be an agreeable change from these low grounds.
Had another talk with the Colonel about my resignation. He seems loathe to give me up. Don’t know how it will go yet. If I don’t return, I may send for Alf to come down.
With much love to you all and kind regards to neighbors. I remain as ever, yours truly, — J. C. Lockwood
Will send my likeness first opportunity.
[Editor’s Note: The following letter was lifted off the internet and I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the transcription.]
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER THIRTEEN
My Dear Wife & family,
I and Alf have just returned from the hills in rear of Vicksburg where the effective portion of our regiment are now quartered. Went up the Yazoo about ten or twelve miles and balance of the way by land. You will probably have received the intelligence ‘ere this reaches you of the sad disaster of the 30th [Iowa] Regiment in the loss of our Colonel and Major and men in the battle of Friday last while making a charge on the enemy’s breastworks and I attended to the melancholy duty this morning of attending to the burial of the Col. & Major. As soon as we received information of their deaths (which was not till day before yesterday afternoon), I set about searching among the fleet for metallic coffins for the purpose of sending their bodies home, but could find only one, in which we put the body of Col Abbott. But by the time we reached them, we found it impracticable to embalm them and had to bury them.
The charge made on Friday was a simultaneous one all round the line and proved a most disastrous one to our army, without gaining any advantage that I hear of. I have not heard the entire losses of the whole, but ours as a regiment were severe for the number engaged, having 13 killed and 50 wounded—some 3 of whom have since died. I visited the hospital boat (which lay where I spent last New Years Eve) and the sight was truly heart rending. Found one of our lieutenants—a noble fellow—with his leg amputated and it was remarkable with what patience he endured his misfortune. In reply to my expression of regret, he calmly remarked it is only the fate of man.
Col. Abbott was gallantly leading his men, waving his sword, when he received the fatal ball in his chin—going through his head upon his face. The major (J. D. Milliken) was at his post and remarking to the men, “Men of the 30th, will you follow me?” to which they replied “we will” and as soon as they reached the spot fatal to the Colonel, he also received his death wound—a ball passing through his body. It was a sad sight to look upon this morning as the remaining portion of the brave 30th [Iowa], gathered around in the form of a hollow square about the graves of their commanders, while Lieutenant Col. Terrence and the chaplain of the 4th Iowa Infantry addressed them. Many were the tearful eyes and sad countenances of the soldiers. They had just been led by those officers on an expedition of over a month’s duration and from 175-200 miles march of very successful triumphs. This being their first disaster they had become more than ever attached to those who had fallen.
We have now got the enemy in very close quarters entirely surrounded, and I should judge from the loads of spades & picks being sent out yesterday, that the intention now is to entrench and besiege them—though there is some talk of undermining some of their works and blow them up; also of making another charge on their works. We, however, feel very confident of final success, not withstanding they are fortified tremendously strong. It is an awful hilly broken country for miles around the city. I passed several of their abandoned fortifications on my way to the regiment—up to a few hundred yards in rear of an Iowa Battery, which was sending a few cards over to them this morning in shape of shells. Through the numerous ravines among the hills are running springs of good water, occasionally breaking from the rocks, the first of which I have seen in this Southern country. And there is a great deal of very fine timber, among which are beautiful, large and very tall poplars, peaches, plums, and mountain cherries, or a kind of plumb. Scattered through, and growing wild, loaded with fruit. The peaches as large as a good sized hickory nuts at present also blackberries and mulberries which are nearly ripe. The army have had a fine treat on the dewberries around here, which have been very abundant and very beautiful to the health of the army. I & Alf have had but one good mess yet we colluded soon to occupy the heights in the rear and near the city, if not the city itself as our camping grounds.
As we returned in our ambulance from the regiment today, it was an interesting sight to see the train of six mule trains of some 3 to 4 miles in length—mostly loaded with provisions—winding their way to the army from the landing, where lay some 15 or 20 large boats, and around which is truly a lively scene. Sutlers doesn’t seem to be doing very much just now. The army is so scattered and deeply intent on taking Vicksburg that the sutlers seem to be waiting the grand result. Alf has not engaged in anything yet but assisting in all he can, and an opportunity may open up after a while. He is seeing and learning a great deal. The bearer of this letter is the Colonel’s orderly who we send up with the Colonel’s horses and other affects to Mrs. Abbott to whom I intend writing tomorrow. Oh what an awful shock it will be to her and her two fair little boys. This sad catastrophy.
I intended going over to see and deliver to the Col. the things sent by Mrs. Abbott, on the day that I did go—not knowing that he had fallen—which was the day after my arrival. But such is the fate of thousands of bereaved ones at the present. Major Milliken leaves a larger family I am told one son in the regiment.
My health continues very good appetite first rate, still gaining in weight. Alfred is also very well and joins me in love to you all, not forgetting our pets, Nellie, Affie, and Libby, and also Delf and Sarah. All seems to be quiet around Vicksburg at present writing. Nothing late from Ed.
Affectionately, — J. C. Lockwood
[Editor’s Note: The following letter was lifted off the internet and I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the transcription.]
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER FOURTEEN
Headquarters 30th Iowa Infantry Vol.
3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 15th Army Corps
Camp rear of Vicksburg, Mississippi
Tuesday evening, June 16, 1863
My dear family,
Your various favours of the 30th ult. came to hand yesterday, relieving my mind of some anxiety—that being the first intelligence from home since we left, except thru Libby’s letter to Ed from a few days after we left. When I took my seat to write, I was in a quandary to whom I should address myself, whether to Big, Sis, or Libby, and finally conducted to embrace you all in the endearing term of my own dear family—as I presume my letters are considered common stock anyhow. We were so glad to hear of the continued good health of you all and hope that you may continue to receive kind Heavens gracious blessings.
Alf and I have truly come to be very thankful for our continued good health and for our comfortable situation thus far. We still remain in the same camp, quite a comfortable situation, and our vast army still besieging the fated city—upon which they are making slow but (I think) sure approaches by means of Rifle pits and new and formidable Batteries. I saw this morning while riding out, an immense Gun on its way to the front. I took it to be about 10 inch bore, and at least 10 feet long—flanked by 13 yoke of oxen and I was also told today that there will soon be 300 cannon in position on the entire line around the city, and that when they were ready it was the intention to open upon the city from the whole line in rear and from the gunboats in front. I leave you to judge of the noise, and of the result. I expect these old hilly surroundings will tremble as they have not done since their formation. I have heard considerable musketry today. Presume our Boys are disposed to get too sociable—drawing up rather too close for their liking! But our men keep protected by the rifle pits. Occasionally, however, one receives a fatal shot and a few are being wounded.
Yesterday a squad of Negro men were at work in a trench near our camp, when one received a shot in his arm, making amputation necessary. Chloroform being administered, the poor fellow commenced singing a song, apparently happy & seemed to be unconscious of the operation. I noticed that the Negros seem to be doing good service as laborers but as yet have not seen any performing any military duty, though I’m told that there is a Battalion over the river about Milliken’s Bend of whose action I presume you have heard ‘ere this as they were attacked by the rebels and how they finally drove them, slaying them like sheep. There are a great many Negros of all ages, sexes, and colors, in this vicinity. It is a curiosity to see them encamped in various kinds of shelters, scattered all over these vast hills and valleys, and a great many of them, men and women, in the employ of the army in various ways.
Our army, larger as it is, seems to be reinforcing large additions being recently made, among others. I am told the 19th Regiment arrived at the landing on of the Yazoo last week, but was informed that they had been sent on our left wing. Have not yet met any of them. Alfred visited the 11th Regiment on Saturday last. Took dinner with them, and the same afternoon they were ordered off, probably to Black River—all well. They seem to be kept on the move, which is probably one reason of their enjoying so good health. Alf says the boys begin to count the balance of the time they have to serve by months.
I suppose that Libby is in Mt. Pleasant with Molly about now, and hope she and Nellie have a pleasant visit. Am glad they enjoyed their visit to Burlington. I hope you have had the pleasure of a visit from John Daud Leisor ‘ere this. How glad I would have been to have met with them. If still with you, give them my love and say to them I would like to have a letter from them at first convenience. I was pleased to notice Susan, that you have been out visiting to Mrs. Robinson’s and enjoyed your visit so much. Hope you will visit your good neighbors as frequently as convenient. It will be pleasing and agreeable, no doubt, to all partaking, and prevents you from missing the absent ones so much. Now do, my dear Sue, enjoy yourself all you possibly can. Don’t suffer the blues to overtake you. But trust in Him who overrules all our destinies. Let us hope that, ‘ere long, we shall all meet at home, after having performed our various duties for our country.
Alf, still waiting for an opportunity to get at business for himself—in the meantime is helping me. Has gone today over to Young’s Point on business for me. Will probably return tomorrow or next day. Are moving over our convalescent camp tents, &c. &c. I presume there is great anxiety felt by the friends & relatives of the soldiers now engaged in this struggle for Vicksburg. I don’t wonder at Sis dreaming about Ed, but I am thankful that as yet Edwin is alright—or was last week, and judging from the prudence of the officers, gives me hope that he will escape misfortune. Ed says his General refused to go into the charge which proved so fatal on the 22nd Regiment as he saw the impracticability of success, and that certain death awaited his men were he to go in. He therefore declined, and was ordered elsewhere. Let us hope & trust for the best, til this calamity is overpast.
While I now write, I am being treated to good music in an adjoining tent. The violin, flute, and banjo when together makes very agreeable music.
On Sunday afternoon last we had a good sermon from the chaplain of the 26th Iowa, encamped immediately adjoining us. The last was a pleasant Sabbath better observed by our regiment than has been usual. Our colonel has issued a circular requiring us all as officers to have our business so arranged (as practical and consistent with the public service) that we may keep the Sabbath as a day of rest and religious duties. Rather quiet along the lines near us tonight but an occasional bang of a cannon in the near batteries keep us reminded that we are at the seat of war and that they are on the alert. Hoping under God’s parental care to enjoy a good night’s rest, I now bid you good night – J.C. Lockwood
[Editor’s Note: The following letter was lifted off the internet and I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the transcription.]
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER FIFTEEN
Headquarters 30th Iowa Infantry Vols.
Camp near Jackson, Mississippi
Wednesday, July 22, 1863
My dear wife & family,
Yours and Johnny’s letter of the came came to hand a few days ago. Was bery glad to hear from sweet home and the dear ones there, while out here in an enemy’s country and surrounded by enemies. My last letter was perused amid the din of battle then going on—the cannon balls & shell flying thick and fast through camp—and just as I was about closing a letter to Alf, one of the dreaded missiles struck a tree at the end of the house in which I was writing (a square frame building) and rolled down on roof where several others passed nearby, tearing through the trees, looked as though they had got the range of some 2 mortars. One, a round ball, came rolling along (being pretty well spent) and upset the coffee of one of the soldiers, quite to his discomfiture, but none of our regiment have been hurt on this trip. The 25th Iowa on the opposite side of the road had two killed and two wounded by some shells. Indeed, we have to acknowledge with gratitude the superintending Providence that has been extended towards us.
As I have been riding around on business, I have had the shell to strike first on one side and then on the other—others passing over, whizzing through the air, causing my faithful horse to dodge and stick up his ears and her rider would involuntarily pay his abeyances to the given messenger of oaths as it passed over. But thank God, these scenes were soon brought to a close and the rebels thought best to evacuate their stronghold and give up the city, of which our forces have taken possession, the enemy having retreated eastward toward Meridian. They were well fortified by earthworks extending the entire front of the city, having Pearl river in their rear. In my last, I mentioned that I was then realizing what it was to be a soldier in the field, and witnessing the awful effects of war. Since then every day has presented new scenes of devastation and destruction.
Having moved our camp nearer to the city to a now comfortable place, I have several times visited the city—and how truly sad the scene that presents itself on every hand as we pass around through the once proud and beautiful city of Jackson; the black walls and lone chimneys and still smoldering ruins of whole business blocks, Hotels and once splendid residences now laid waste, part of which was done on the first visit of our troops here in May. And from the time of our first coming in sight of the city, the Heavens have been made murky by the black clouds of rising smoke through the day and the nights have been lit up by the towering flames of burning buildings in almost every direction. And where the fire has not visited, the plundering soldier has—to scatter, tear, and slay. Truly this people are now being severely punished—as they richly deserve—for their disloyalty; not only the city but the surrounding country for many miles is being laid waste as we are all foraging for everything eatable and anything else useful to us. I noticed that since we came here, our stack of fortune has increased considerably. We are now seated on fine hair seat and cane bottom mahogany chairs. And as I pass around the numerous camps, it is remarkable to what extent the soldier has appropriated to his present comfort the use of bed stands, chairs, etc. brought from the surrounding mansions.
The citizens were certainly fixed up here with a great deal of luxury—splendid mansions with the most beautiful surroundings of evergreens and shrubbery. While passing through the streets of Jackson, I noticed a very prominent looking residence, and calling on a negro man in front to know whose it was, he informed me, “this is the Governor’s Palace, where the Governor of Mississippi lived, Sir.” I passed on thinking how rapidly such notions of aristocracy and monarchy were being brought to naught.
The poor slaves flock to the city and camps in droves, apparently delighted with the progress of events. Upon the order of General [Joseph E.] Johnston, the women and children and family generally were sent across the river to camp in the woods in the rear during the fight. It is pitiable to see them now, returning to their desolated houses—if they are so fortunate as to find any home on their return. It is enough to bring the tear to the eye of even an enemy. In fact they are completely conquered and I am just informed that some two hundred prominent citizens have petitioned our generals for protection from future destruction of their property, acknowledging the utter failure of the Southern Confederacy. This, with other indications looks like bringing the war to a speedy close which is the general impression through the army. Yesterday, after the sending to our regiment of a communication from Genl. Sherman of what had been done and was being done, our Colonel had the entire regiment to sing the Star Spangled Banner and then Sweet Home believing we would soon be permitted to be there.
It is wonderful how well our army stands this southern climate now in mid summer, marching around and performing their duty, tearing up and burning railroads, &c. &c. My health is yet pretty good and improving. Have been suffering some inconvenience from a cold sitting in my teeth for a few days past. The first night I slept in a house I took cold. I now make my bed on the ground under our tent and am getting alright again, living well on confiscated mutten, beef, &c., green corn, & fruits.
I hear from Alf [and that] he is quite lonesome without us. We are now waiting, resting, and expecting orders to march every hour. We expect to camp about ten miles back of Vicksburg, near Black River, in the vicinity of the 11th Regiment [and] move all our camp and equipment over there. It is a pleasant place and the probability now is that we shall spend some time there. We expect to meet a large mail on our return and shall hope to hear from you all again. After we have got settled in camp I will write you again. Hope you are all well and prosperous. With much love to all the children, Johnny, Libby, Nellie, Afie, Delf, & Sarah and with kind regards to all the citizens of the Port and vicinity, I remain yours devotedly, — J. C. Lockwood
P. S. Our washer woman came out with us as cook; also does our washing by the way.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER SIXTEEN
Quartermaster Department, 30th Iowa Infantry
Camp near Black River Bridge, Mississippi
Thursday. August 27, 1863
Mrs. S. S. Paul, my dear daughter,
My Commissary Sergeant, Joseph W. Prugh, leaves camp in about two hours for his home in Burlington on a furlough for of 30 days and I embrace the opportunity of dropping a few hasty lines and of forwarding my ambrotype which I had taken in camp on my birthday. You may keep this for your own and I will have another or some photographs taken when I go to Vicksburg again (which will probably be soon) for your Mother. Alf intends having his taken as he can get time to go to the artist’s. He is very closely confined to business now that one of the partners (Mr. Gage) is absent. And Mr. Hale also intends leaving fr the North very soonm intending to leave their business in charge of Alf and myself till Gage returns.
Your very welcome favor of the 8th inst. came to hand several days ago being the last news we have had from home though several mails have arrived lately. O do write to us often, my dear ones at home. It is so agreeable to have letters from home and when they are delayed, we soon begin to fear that something is wrong—that sickness, perhaps, prevents your writing. It seems a long time since I received a letter from your dear Mother. True a letter from any of you is always heartily welcome, and for which we feel grateful to any of you, my dear children. But the familiar hand of your Mother seems to possess a peculiar charm.
I am so glad and thankful that you all seem to be getting along as well as you are, but often regret that you are not now comfortably and pleasantly situated. I am becoming anxious to know how your healths are continuing during this sickly part of the season. Has Big and Nellie entirely recovered their health? Hope next mail will relieve my mind. Have we not great cause of gratitude for such good health as Alf, Ed, and I all enjoy here? It is remarkable how well Alf stands it, and grows fat. It is very pleasant to have him with me. He seems to be much respected from the Colonel down.
The weather has been quite pleasant for days past. Cool enough of mornings to make fire very comfortable. We are now enjoying ourselves in camp living well, spending a portion of our regimental savings for sanitary stores such as we do not draw from the company. Have spent some six hundred dollars this month for potatoes, canned tomatoes, peaches, blackberries, dried fruit, pickles, fish, Catawba wine, whiskey (for making bitters) &c., and have over a thousand dollars on hand at present. O if I could only have you all here with me. Would I not be at home? Indeed, had I known as much [as] I now do, I should have encouraged your Mother to have come down and made us a visit while we remained here, but the uncertainties of our movements are so great that I feared to do. But Mrs. Torrence determined to venture and is now here. Arrived on the cars this morning and dined with us. Had no trouble at all in getting down. Good fortune seemed to attend her trip all the way, even on her arrival here. I happened to be out near where the cars stop with some soldiers with me on business. Seeing Mrs. Torrence on the cars and thinking it might be her, I sent a part of my men to wait on her for which I received the very grateful acknowledgements of the Colonel who of course is highly delighted to see his wife after a separation of over ten months now. We may remain here a month or six weeks longer and probably shall. Now what do you think of having Mother accompany Mr. Prugh on his return? What say you all? Do as you think best.
I wrote to Johnny a day or two ago by mail. Will write to Mother and Libby soon. Must close as the sergt. is about ready to start. With much love for you all, my dear ones. I remain your affectionate father, — J. C. Lockwood
Enclose find 20 dollars.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER SEVENTEEN
Headquarters 30th Iowa Infantry Vols.
Corral Camp at Cherokee Station, Alabama
Tuesday, October 27, 1863
H. B. Paul, my dear Sir,
I left Iuka for our camp on Sunday morning last finding them about three miles east of the station. Soon after my arrival in camp, orders came for a forward move. Tents to be struck, camp and garrison equipage to be loaded on the wagons and ready to start back for this place by 1 o’clock. The troops, ambulances & one wagon to be ready to move forward at 3 o’clock. In obedience to which I made the necessary arrangements, laid down and took a nap, up at 12, stirred up the boys, got the wagons loaded and at 1½ o’clock bid them goodbye, started, being the advance regiment of our brigade. Arrived on the ground assigned us, orders to leave our wagons loaded and teams hitched up ready in case of necessity to proceed farther. Laid down and got another good sleep. Orders in the morning to unhitch but keep the harness on, next to water, and toward evening that we could unharness.
So you see how careful it is necessary for us to be in the enemy’s country and they on the alert to take every advantage. All this move was made with the least possible noise—no beating of drums or sounding the bugle or hallowing of the men, as is usual or such occasions. So that it no doubt looked rather strange to the occupants of the splendid mansion near which we are corralled when they awoke next morning and found about 25 acres of wagons and mules in their front, and their rails disappearing on the campfires lighting up the scene. The regimental quartermaster being in command of his own train, all subject to the command of the Quartermaster of the Brigade and so on. Consequently O am here awaiting further orders. Sent out yesterday and today on foraging expeditions for grain, fresh meat, &c. &c., of course we live well, this being a rich neighborhood. The Boys are coming in with fresh pork, mutton, chickens, vegetables, &c. The mansions around in sight are palace like, with splendid surroundings of shrubbery, &c.
About two hours after we had left camp, the Brigade moved forward, soon meeting the pickets of the enemy and by early morning they were engaging them with some half dozen pieces of artillery, supported by infantry, driving them forward, killing and wounding as they went. Up to last account received from one surgeon who returned here yesterday evening, they had advanced some 8 miles and the 30th [Iowa] had escaped unhurt up to that time. We anxiously await news from the front today.
Upon my arrival at the regiment on Sunday evening (although warmly received by both officers & men), I missed the warm and hearty reception usual from our loved and lost Col. Torrence, who, upon my rejoining them at Iuka, run to meet me, hallowing out, “Why here is the quartermaster,” grasping me with both hands and bidding me welcome. And as we gathered around the campfire at Headquarters in the evening, I could but miss from our usual circle the number of line officers since I last met with them—one captain killed & three wounded. The wounded being sent to Iuka where I left them in the hospital, doing as well as could be expected. There was two wounded Rebels also brought in with our wounded who were in the same hospital receiving the same care as our own men. One, I noticed, who seemed to be quite an intelligent young man lying alongside of one of our captains. He had lost a leg, was disappointed at the kind treatment received at our hands, saying we fought them like men and treated him like a brother.
I must now tell you of the escape of our Surgeons who were near being captured—the Rebels no longer respecting or excepting even them as formerly, but if taken are held and used in their own department. Two of our surgeons & staff (one being the 1st Surgeon of our Regiment) having stopped at a plantation house in rear of the army where they were dressing wounds and amputating limbs of the wounded, which they had finished and got started off in the ambulances for this place (having taken beds & pillows to make them comfortable)—intending to proceed on to the front when the Division Surgeon came back under full speed of his horse, informing the others that the enemy had captured the Division Medicine Wagon with its attendants, and that to save themselves it was necessary to make a hasty retreat, which they were not long in doing, those having horses were off at full speed. Our surgeons’ negro waiter having a lame mule was taking along their provisions in a box [and] hearing the alarm, threw away his box of provisions (and being a stutterer) remarked to the doctor as he spurred his mule onward—“M–Mister, D–d–obson is g–going aheads,” and ahead he went to the no small amusement of the retreating party. Those on foot going on treble quick, overtook the ambulances, getting hand halts around of same, made good their escape, and as they looked back saw the house surrounded by rebels. Our surgeon lost about all he had of clothing except what he had on. He was glad, however, to escape with his carcass.
Upon my arrival in camp, I received your letter of the 20th September enclosing the photographs of my dear Sue, and Johnny, all of which I was truly gratified to receive although I regret to notice that my dear Sue shows the effect of her tedious sickness. Notwithstanding it does me good to look upon them—so dear to me. I regret that my friends are so very slow in paying what they owe me, so as to enable you to pay it over to Bro. E. as I am very anxious to get him paid off. All I can now say is to do the very best you can, using your own judgment. Relative to the corn delivered by Mr. Porter, I think you will find some entry of it in the Grain Book. I had written a receipt but he did not care for it, and you may yet find.
I suppose that Alfred and staff arrived at home all safe, as I cannot under existing circumstances give any advice as to what he had better do. He and the rest of you will have to exercise your own judgment.
One evening while I was staying at Iuka, I witnessed the sacking of a sutler from whom the boys took about six thousand dollars worth. I was glad then that I was not a sutler. They sacked several others the same night I was afterward told. Though all who know have goods at Iuka and here are doing well, Gage intends to follow the regiment with a new stock.
You did not say how you was making out in business. I am told that business is generally good and money plenty up North. I often which I was there engaged in some kind of paying business again, but when I can get off from present engagements is now uncertain. Hope by spring anyhow, upon some terms—perhaps sooner. In meantime, keep a sharp look out, do the best you can for yourselves. Get a settlement with Arnold and you can have wood cut on the island if you do, and should think best to do so. Please see that the buildings at Odessa are not injured.
Relative to the affidavit, send me all the memorandums you can and I’ll do the best I can in the case.
No late word from Edwin. With much love to the children and all the family, and kind regards to the neighbors and Lambert & Margaret.
Yours truly, — J. C. Lockwood
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER EIGHTEEN
Quartermaster Department, 30th Iowa Infantry
Camp near Bridgeport, Alabama
Thursday evening, December 10, 1863
My very dear family,
The welcome home messenger from Sis, and Alf, of the 24th ult. has come to hand—also one from Johnny written at Denmark. I am so glad to notice that you are all doing so well, that my dear Sue’s health continues to improve, but regret that she still continues to suffer from the piles which keeps her so feeble. Do my dear one be careful of your diet, and procure such remedies as you think will help you, or send off and get such things as you think will be suitable diet, let the cost be what it may. Health, you know, is very precious. O how I long to see you, to help nurse and comfort you just now did circumstances admit of it. You need not wonder to see me pop in upon you one of these days, should I be able to get off after we have got more settled, for I must confess that I want to see you all very much and especially now that your health is so poor. But I’ll try to hope for the best and that you will soon regain your health again. Do keep me constantly informed.
The regiment coming ahead arrived here on Saturday morning last. We with the transportation got in on Sunday afternoon, when we pitched tents and are getting fixed up for living at home again though in all probability we shall be ordered forward in a few days as we expect to be towards Huntsville, Alabama, in the vicinity of which it is possible we may remain in camp for a longer time though that will depend upon circumstances.
You mention that you was quite uneasy about me until the receipt of my letter from Stephenson. I suppose it was hard for you to find out our whereabouts during the three weeks that we were “cut off from civilization” trailing our way along through the valleys and over the hills & mountains of an enemy’s country. It really felt almost like getting back to civilization upon approaching the first Federal camps a few miles from Stephenson where we could once more get some news from the outer world, what was going on &c.
With the exception of our losses in the battle about Chattanooga, we have been very fortunate. The men have generally improved in health and we have met with but trifling accidents with our transportation. Alf will remember our bakery. We have taken it the whole rout. It broke down a few miles this side of Chattanooga but the Boys fixed it up and got it through. It has been the object of great curiosity all along the rout, and many have been the queries as to what it was. The citizens, both of the towns and country people would enquire, “What is that?” The boys would answer them as they fancied but generally told them it was a land gunboat, or that we had Gen. Grant in it, &c. &c. I have often heard the remark, “There goes the gunboat.” I have often been amused at the quaint remarks of the Boys while on the march. It was often necessary for me to pass alongthe train and as “Wash”—my waiter—would sometimes follow me on the little “white honey,” I could hear the remarks, “There goes the Quartermaster and orderly,” and sometimes “Sara”—the Major’s man—would be following along mounted on a “picked up” mule, and then the remark would be, “There’s the Quartermaster and staff.”
After rising at 4 o’clock, taking breakfast by daybreak, & being on the move till after night which was often the case, Oh it was so pleasant to come in sight a mile or two ahead of the kindling camp fires of the advance column. On getting into camp, the first thing was to gather rails or wood—but generally rails, make up a rousing fire, when “Aunt Julia” would get supper, bake biscuit, fry meat, make coffee &c. while the boys hunted up weeds, grass, corn stalk, cotton or whatever was most convenient as foundation for our bedding. In meantime, we would gather around the fire and talk & laugh over the events of the day &c. &c.. Supper over, turn in & sleep loudly till the shrill sound of the bugle or reveille of the drum called us to duty again. I was generally among the first astir, call up the wagon master so as to have all ready to take our places in the line of march.
During the day we took our lunches on the road. Aunt Julia would prepare enough and took along on headquarters wagon so that whenever I got hungry, I would ride up and call on her and she would hand me out some biscuit or hard tack, a chicken, or turkey leg, pig or whatever we happened to have so I enjoyed many a dinner as I rode along with my canteen hanging to my saddle, which I could fill at pleasure at the numerous fine springs & running brooks along the rout. If it rained, why we let it rain, but halted not, turning down the rim of my hat and buttoning up my army great coat & fixing a rubber blanket over my lap & legs. I have rode all day through the pouring rain—at night dry off before the fire and all right again—though we had general good weather while on the march, though some mornings quite frosty. I have walked out some of those frosty mornings among the men who had not put up tents and they looked almost like piles of snow as they lay in bunches around, their blankets white with the heavy frost of the night. But they seemed to sleep soundly regardless of what kind of weather was outside their blankets. But a portion of the time when the regiment left us at Shell Mound and went forward to meet the enemy, they suffered many privations during the several days of cold and wet.
At the taking of Lookout Mountain, our regiment was stationed one night near its summit where it was so steep they had to brace themselves against trees and stumps and their bayonets stuck in the ground to prevent them from sliding down the precipice. For several hours they dare not make fires for fear of the sharpshooters of the enemy on the summit above them—-and they suffered with cold. But that night, or early next morning, the enemy evacuated. They had, however, stubbornly resisted the approach of our troops and I am told that during the fight, a bog or clouds intervened between those fighting below and they who occupied the summit, thus protecting our troops from the fire of the sharpshooters. It reminded me of the cloud that protected the Israelites from their enemies of olden times.
While we lay encamped in Chattanooga Valley, it was interesting to see the clouds floating along between us and “Lookout” and below its peak. As we crossed over [paper torn] one fourth of the way up, with our wagons, it was more like [paper tear] than anything I had before witnessed, the mules fairly scrambling up ledge after ledge of rocks. Along this road the rebels had built forts to shell the city & valley below, I suppose. Our forces are now busily engaged in rebuilding the railroad from here to Chattanooga so that supplies may be more readily conveyed to our army stationed there. General Rosecrans must have had a hard time to get supplies while hemmed in by the enemy as he was. I’m told that five thousand mules died there—mostly starved to death, I suppose. Our teamsters ventured out and confiscated forage for our animals or they too would have gone hungry. They also got flour, meal and meat that the rebs had left in their haste. They were building winter quarters about two miles out from Chattanooga but we soon spoiled their calculations when the “Vicksburg Gophers” got after them, Some who had fought against us at Vicksburg told our boys after being taken prisoners that they recognized the yell when our boys charged on them. I believe they are more afraid of the Western troops than the “Star boys” of the East, thousands of whom had been laying there in sight for months past. The victory gained here is a severe stroke on the rebels, and I do hope may hasten the crushing out of the rebellion and that the plans now maturing will bring them to terms—that next spring will open with restored peace. “So mote it be.”
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER NINETEEN
Quartermaster Department, 30th Iowa
Camp near Woodville, Alabama
March 23, 1864
H. B. Paul
Yours of the 12th instant is at hand. Am glad to hear of your improving health and must congratulate you upon the event of another little responsible being added to your family circle. Am glad to learn that it and its mother are doing well, and I also notice that “Sis” has anticipated my choice of a name for the little stranger as you will see by my last letter in which I suggested the endearing name of its grandmother. Thus let it be named, and may it live to honor the name and pattern the many virtues possessed by its lamented grandmother whose name it bears, and thus be useful as was she. Present my congratulations also to Mr. & Mrs. Collins for the like blessings received, with the same wishes.
I regret very much to hear of the loss and sad bereavement of our friend Linc Stephen in the death of Anna. Present them with my warmest sympathy and sincere condolences in this their great affliction. May kind Heaven grant them patient submission and meek resignation to this affliction. Providence, how unexpectedly verified in this case is the proverb that, “In the midst of life, we are in death.” But thank God, “though we die, ” yet shall we live again. How [ ] citizens succeeded in making up the loss sustained by Mr. Kuhn. Hope they may be liberal as they have been so very unfortunate. I will do my part in settlement of what he is owing me. Relative to the settlement with Mr. Arnold, you did right in not making settlement on the terms he requires. If Leonard will refer to our agreement, he will see that the insurance was to have been affected by him, which he failed to do. And if I choose to take the risk myself, it is an unreasonable request of him that I should now pay him the premium, having returned the property to him in as good—if not better—condition than when I took it. Possibly upon your reasoning the case with Leonard, you and him can effect a settlement. You can also refer the case to Mr. Prentiss and if necessary put the business in his hands, if you think best.
I have written to R. J. Lockwood of St. Louis that if you or Alfred called on him to let you have the amount named. It is rather singular that we hear nothing from Mr. Townsend relative to the Odessa business. I wrote to him while at home requesting an answer here but have received not yet. If they should hear from him, I would like to know.
Master Alfred it seems has some notion of improving his education some further at Denmark School—a good idea. He could not probably spend his time and money to a better advantage. If he concludes to do so and needs any help, I will do all I can for him gladly.
It seems that Wapello was trying to play sharp with our township relative to the draft. Am glad you succeeded in getting your rights. Should the present call for 200 thousand require a draft in our township, and you or Alf happen to be drafted, try to get to the 30th [Iowa] so that we may be together. Our regiment continues in excellent health and spirits—have but two in the hospital. Had 16 new recruits from Iowa yesterday besides several old members who had been off at hospitals &c.
The probabilities are now favorable for us to remain here for at least several weeks—perhaps months yet—though active arrangements are being made in the department for a grand movement when all things are ready.
Mr. Morgan has not yet made his appearance among us as seemed to be anticipated a few days ago. For several nights past, the guard has stood before or watched all night in my tent awaiting the signal of his approach (the firing of a cannon) upon which the regiment were to be called to arms and form in line of battle & await further orders. Prepared to greet Mr. Morgan with a warm reception. All seems quiet, however, at present. No word from Edwin yet. What can be the reason of his long silence? I am getting anxious on his account. General Sherman now has his headquarters at Nashville in command of this department.
Night before last & yesterday morning we were surprised by an unusual heavy snow. Twelve measured inches deep which is now going off, melted by a genial sun. Our evergreens (cedars) were completely born down by the snow.
I hope [ ] will have the house finished up ready by time you move. If not, get him to finish it as I directed. You can have a very good garden there is properly broken up, grubbed & cultivated. I should be glad to visit you after getting all fixed there. Maybe I will enjoy that pleasure during the season/ Hope you & Alf will attend to fixing up our lot in the graveyard. Have Mother’s grave fixed & sodded, flowers &c. planted in proper time. Don’t let Mr. Low fail in getting the enclosure made and up. Has the tombstone man been around yet? The one opposite Mr. Eiklebebergh House, Muscatine, told me he would buy those stones at the Port and allow the worth of them toward a lot for Susan’s grave. See to it if you please—and as soon as ascertained, I wish to order a sett.
Johnny still gives us some trouble to control him but seems to be learning. We both keep in good health. Johnny has attempted to write several letters home to Nellie, Libby, &c. but he wrote them so carelessly that I would not let him send them. I intend writing to Libby soon. Wrote to Sis a few days ago.
With much love to all the children and Delfs, Sarah. Tell Nellie to kiss her sisters often and “Judy” for grandpa.
Yours truly, — J. C. Lockwood
P. S. Say to Sis that she need not send the photograph of Mother as it might get injured passing through the mail.
[Editor’s Note: The following letter was lifted off the internet and I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the transcription.]
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER TWENTY
[May 27, 1864, Battle of Resaca]
Miss Martha Ellen Paul
My dear little niece,
Your very nice and interesting letter to your Uncle Johnny dated May 8th has been received, and as Johnny had gone over with the regiments to the front, I opened and read it with much pleasure, and when I went to the front, I took the letter for Johnny to read which pleased him, and as he could not answer it now, while in the field, and I am here at leisure, I concluded to write to you myself, believing that you will be glad to hear from Grandpa, and when your Uncle Johnny has the opportunity, he will write you again, and tell you about the “war” through which he has passed, and is now passing.
I wrote to your Ma, when I was about to start from here to the regiment some ten days ago, and will now tell you something about my trip, what I saw etc. I left here in the morning by railroad, passed through Ringold to Dalton, where we laid over till next day. Slept in the porch of a deserted home. Had a serious accident on the road the evening I was there, killing our men and wounding two so that they likely died too. Saw the Sanitary Committee here preparing about a barrel of coffee and quantities of beef tea, &c. to give to the wounded & sick soldiers as they passed from the front to the rear. This is one of the many uses made of the Sanitaries so liberally contributed by the kind friends of the soldier. Reached Resaca next day and here found that our regiment had been in a hard fight, losing some 25 to 30 killed & wounded. Found one of our surgeons among the wounded at the hospital where I stayed all night with them. Poor fellows, I was so sorry to see so many of them so cut up. Among the first I saw was one of the drummers with one leg off. Our captain and a private I thought would likely die. Resaca was strongly fortified and it took hard fighting to take it and drive the naughty rebels away.
But a great many of them were killed and wounded too. I went over the battlefield some, but they had just finished burying the dead. Passing on I reached Kingston (about 80 miles from here) finding our regiment nearby resting for two days, but Johnny—instead of resting as he should, was running around about the deserted plantation houses picking up books, &c. that were scattered around. Among other things he brought in a crib bed on which he slept under his little shelter of bushes, saying to me next morning, “Oh I slept so good; it reminded me of home,” and I am told by one of our men who left there that day after I did, when the army was about marching that he saw Johnny getting his bed on a mule, which I suppose the Wagon Master has furnished him to ride. He keeps in good health and seems to stand the trip (though a hard one) very well. Oh Nellie, it would make you stare with wonder, could you see the big army we now have in Georgia.
Great fields alive with soldiers, mules, horses, wagons, and ambulances—and the big cannons strung along for miles and in every direction. I do hope they will give the naughty rebels such a whipping this time, that they will be willing to quit, and let us all go home.
I wrote to your aunt Mollie yesterday a long letter. Sent her some flowers from Lookout some of them I have also sent to you. The paper they are on was cut out by one of our soldiers and presented to me. If you will get some pretty colored paper and paste on the underside it will look better. I have also got some fixes to send to Libbie soon as I write to her again. I am glad that your Ma & Pa got your uncle Alfie to return to Denmark. I admire his patriotism but I would prefer his staying with Libby as present, she would be so lonely without him, and she can depend upon him as her protector. Was glad to notice that he fixed his dear Mother’s grave while at home. I recd. Rev. Prather’s letter and memoir of your lamented grandma. Copied and forwarded it to Mr. Crooks for publication, ordering copies sent to numerous relatives and friends East and West.
I can’t tell now how long we should be detained here waiting the result of the present campaign. The army moved forward last morning with 20 days rations – going toward Atlanta, Georgia.
With much love to Pa & Ma and your dear little sisters Affie & Susie. Also to Delf and Sarah. With kind regards to all the citizens of Odessa & Port Louisa & neighborhoods around, I remain your Affectionate Grandpa — J. C. Lockwood
3 thoughts on “1862-64: John Caleb Lockwood Letters”
Never heard of these letters before. Fascinating reading. John was my ggg grandfather. My gg grandfather was the Alfred mentioned in the letters. Thank you.
Glad you found them.