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CAPT. MERRILL'S STORY.

405

but hunger levels the best of us, and so it did him, for on the afternoon of the third day he left the table filled with disgust, but he was filled with soup, too.

To
say

that he was shocked at the kind and manner of dispensing rations, was nothing compared to his unutterable disgust at finding, on examination, his garments covered with “ graybacks." This completely knocked the dignity out of him, but being a very sensible baron, he finally laughed the thing off by saying that when he got back to Russia he “ vould hav a good long shoke on ze boys.” He remained with us about six weeks, when he was exchanged through the Russian Minister, and on his arrival at Washington, wrote for the press a very faithful account of our trials, which was .copied in the Richmond Examiner, we, through our “warm smoke" man, obtaining a copy. .

Commissioner Ould came in about the first of May, informing us that there seemed no hopes of an exchange, and that our Government had sent us clothes—pants, shirts and blouses. We needed the clothes. Being without needles and thread, some of the company would have made a very distressing appearance in any garden.

The goods were brought in--a box containing about twentyfive suits, for three hundred officers. “ More were sent, but they were captured (?) by the Confederates," said the Commissioner. Our 36th squad of four, in the lower room, received one shirt, which we wore by detail, two days on and six days off. The duty in this case was light. One blessing we had, and that was water-plenty of it, and good. We had, too, some very fine singers, and they fairly inocculated the walls of that prison with our national and patriotic melodies. So touching were they to the ears of the guards at times, that they often came in to listen -always giving an order on such occasions. Of the many officers together and constantly arriving, but one feeling actuated them—that of liberty to again take the field. The best of harmony prevailed throughout the whole time of imprisonment.

Near the first of June, at midnight, guards appeared with lights, the Adjutant commanding us to prepare for immediate departure from the prison. In silence—a silence that was almost mournful—each one proceeded to obey the command, for all thoughts were busy at the unexpected relief and the future. All filed out into the street, where we remained for half an hour, then were ordered back into the prison, as "some little difficulty with the enemy had interrupted communications," said the Adjutant. The “ little difficulty ” proved to be a cavalry raid, in which our troops got within eight miles of Richmond, so we learned from a wounded officer brought in the next morning. All took the matter of returning coolly, feeling assured that release would soon come.

And so it did. On the third of June, again at midnight, we were marched out and to the depot, took the cars for City Point; arrived about three o'clock in the afternoon, boarded the steamer “State of Main,” and were under the old flag. Without bustle or confusion she steamed from the dock, and when our captors were no longer in sight, as if an unseen hand had touched the magnet, there broke from those four hundred and fifty throats in song, “ The Star Spangled Banner.” The silence was broken, and the five months of captivity ended.

Of the six prisoners of the 36th at Libby at that time, but two are living, Lieut. Col. Frank Campbell and the writer. Capt. Wakeman and Lieut. Smith were killed at Chicamauga, Col. Miller at Kenesaw Mountain, Capt. Hobbs died about two years ago from a wound received at Chicamauga. A great many incidents relating to the imprisonment may have passed from my memory during the past thirteen years, but the main features are as fresh to-day as then, and I hope they may remain so in time to come.

CHAPTER XXV.

[graphic]

MURFREESBORO.

FTER the battle, the army was disposed to the south

of Murfreesboro, in such a way as to defend the different approaches to the town. Our brigade was stationed on the banks of Stone river, about three miles south of town, on the Shelbyville Pike. The

encampment was named “ Camp Bradley,” in compliment to Col. Bradley, Commander 3rd Brigade. Some one has said that the worst thing next to a defeat is a victory; and certain it is that a great battle, even if it results in victory and holding the objective point, brings terrible exhaustion and disorder. Men and officers are literally worn out, and life for a time seems a burden, while the gaps which death and wounds have made in the ranks of both officers and men, not only weaken very materially the force of the army, but necessitate "such changes as for a time throw business into almost inextricable confusion and perplexity. The wounded must be cared for, the dead buried, the promotions and changes necessary to carry on army life must be made ; then reports, company, regimental, brigade, division and corps, must be made out, and every care taken to secure the property and pay of every wounded and dead man, and whoever is familiar with the minute details connected with army reports, knows that this is a stupendous task. Yet all the routine of military life must go on. The enemy must be watched, the army clothed and fed, defences thrown up, and everything done to make past success secure and prepare for further efforts.

Everything that could be was done at once for the care of the wounded. As early as Monday morning after the battle, a train of ambulances took to Nashville a large number that could be moved, and on the following Thursday, Dr. Pierce and I accompanied another train from our division. It was long after night when we arrived, and as we went around from church to church, and from building to building, all occupied as hospitals, it seemed for a time as though we should scarcely be able to dispose of our suffering charge. And indeed it was not until after midnight that we secured a resting place for our last man, and could ourselves lie down and sleep.

The next day we spent in visiting the wounded of our immediate acquaintance, many of whom could not contain their joy at seeing some one from the regiment. The severely wounded who could not bear so long a journey were brought into the Court House and the private houses of Murfreesboro. Surgeons were detailed to care for them, and everything possible for their comfort and recovery was done. The wounded of the 36th who thus remained were cared for incessantly, not only by our own surgeons, Young and Pierce, but by the officers and men of their own companies, and it was particularly touching to see the tender interest which the men felt in their suffering comrades. They would send their gifts by me as I started to visit them, and on my return to camp I was plied with every enquiry as to their condition and prospects. But for many of them there was no

A DOUBLE VICTORY WON.

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hope, and one after another, after exhibiting a patience and hopefulness truly heroic, succumbed to their fate, and quite a number whose names appear in the list as wounded, were soon counted

among the dead.

Among all the feelings which characterize a soldier, none is more worthy of notice than the solicitude with which he waits to learn how the news of his deeds is received at home. The Army of the Cumberland was conscious of having achieved a great victory, and it waited to learn what the country, and especially the loved ones at home thought of it. For awhile communication was broken and uncertain, but at last there came pouring into camp, bushels of letters and papers, filled with praises and congratulations. No language seemed too strong to express the pride and joy of the people.

It was found, too, that we had been fighting a double battle and had won a double victory. The sympathizers with the South in some of the Northern States, and especially in Illinois, emboldened by the delays and the recent disasters in the army of the Potomac, had determined on an attempt to embarrass and even change the administration in Springfield, and call home the Illinois troops. But the victory at Stone River, and especially the determined spirit of the army, checked their plans. They felt that the army was in earnest and would stand no trifling, and when, by and by, Gov. Yates prorogued the Legislature, even without any appropriations for carrying on the Government, the people felt relieved. All these events were discussed in camp with the intensest interest, and joined with the enthusiastic praises of all loyal hearted people, seemed to make some compensation for the sacrifices and agonies of the battle-field. But the friends at home were not contented with sending letters and congratulations—they sent delegations of citizens to visit us and, if possible,

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