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ends of several rebel commands were collected, from whence they radiated and ranged over the surrounding country committing their depredations and fiendish barbarities.
At four P. M. all were in readiness; the men fell into line, each with knapsack containing blankets, extra ammunition and three or four days' marching rations. The Companies wheeled into column; the drums beat an exhilarating air; the rattle of sabres, the clinking of horses' shoes over the stony road, and the measured tread of the infantry as it filed over the hills, presented a more warlike aspect than anything the 36th had yet been accustomed to.
Cheer on cheer rent the air. The men, inexperienced as they were in campaign life, and eager for a change, were wrought up to a high pitch of enthusiasm. The troops marched well, and twilight was descending, wrapping glade and mountain in the garb of night 'ere they had wended their way over the hills and were fairly out of sight. After marching eight miles, one of the teams gave out, and was taken back to Rolla, and a six mule government team sent in its stead, escorted by eight men from Company C. The night was intensely dark; dense clouds shut out the starlight and left the command to grope its way over a rough unfrequented road that led through a country more rough and rugged than the Illinoisians had before experienced. Now they went toiling up steep hills seemingly interminable; then plunging down the precipitous slopes of others, into some deep and dark ravine. Rough strata of rock cropped out at every step, stumps and boulders littered the road, against which the men came in rough and unexpected contact, lacerating their limbs and bruising their feet. Streams were reached and forded, the troopers' horses plashing through the swift flowing water, their iron shoes grinding its pebbly bed, the infantry cautiously wading through and then marching on in silence, broken only by a savage expletive as some one tumbled over a rock or into a hole. After marching twelve miles, mostly in the darkness, they bivouacked near the banks of a stream. Pickets were thrown out, the horses tied to the black-jacks, and then the men sought repose on the cold ground, but wrapped in their blankets.
At daybreak the next morning the men prepared their coffee, cooked a scanty breakfast, and then the column was again in motion, but not marching with that precision and order observed upon the parade ground. “Rank step and arms at will,” was the order, and each man took the gait which suited him, provided he kept closed up with the company, while his musket described every possible angle but the right one. This plodding on through a wild, rough country had very little of military romance about it. On the contrary, it was downright hard work, especially for most of the men detached from the 36th, who were unaccustomed to such service.
Straggling was not allowed, but all sorts of excuses were resorted to, to go to the wayside cabins for milk and “garden truck.” What astonishing spasms of hunger or thirst attack soldiers on sight of an attractive farm house, and what sad stories of privation they have to tell when once they gain the ear of the proprietor or his family. A pretty close observer of all the phases of a soldier's life has stated that positively no soldier under such circumstances was ever known to have had anything to eat for the two previous days, though his haversack may even then be crammed to corpulency with “hard tack.” And the pleas these mousing stragglers put in when caught with plunder are sublime in their audacity.
Major English, of the 4th Iowa, observed a soldier staggering along with a great swelling under his blanket—which, from every indication, he judged to be a dead pig—whom he hailed with:
“Hello, my man, where did you get that pig?”
PECULIAR FORAGING PROPENSITIES.
“It isn't a pig, sir, it's tomatoes. You don't know, sir, how “hard it is to tell pigs from tomatoes in this blasted country.”
The Major re-adjusted his spectacles, took another look, but refrained from pressing his inquiries further.
At each halt during the day the inevitable tin cup was in requisition, boiling coffee at impromptu camp fires. Nothing seems to refresh troops when on a march so much as a cup of coffee.
At night the command encamped on Crow Creek, within five miles of Licking, which place. was reached the next day, and occupied by the infantry for four days, while Col. Greusel with the cavalry scouted the neighboring country, capturing some noted secessionists and bringing them to camp. The hamlet was nearly deserted, as the former residents, who were Union people, had been plundered and then driven from their homes, and only a few forlorn “war widders,” faded damsels and yellow haired, dirty faced children now remained. The troops found quarters in empty houses, and during the time the place was occupied detachments scoured the country and stripped it of “secesh horses, mules, cattle and wheat.
Col. Greusel with the cavalry proceeded to Houston, chasing from thence a squad of ghostly “butternuts," with whom a few shots were exchanged, but at too great a distance to be effective. On being pressed by the cavalry, they took to the brush and escaped. A secession flag was floating from the Court House, which was hauled down and the stars and stripes ran up in its stead. Notice was given to sympathizers and the aiders and abettors of treason that if the flag was hauled down or insulted, the troops would return and inflict summary vengeance upon those who did it. Fourteen prisoners were captured, including an Inspector General, Quarter-Master, Sergeant Major, and an Orderly Sergeant, who, on the return of the expedition, were
confined within the precincts of Fort Wyman, and with others set to work with pick and shovel upon the fortifications. The prisoners strenuously objected to being obliged to work, and as an ordinary rule prisoners of war are exempt from such service to their captors; but when we take into consideration that these men were the authors of much of the distress and suffering endured by Union families, followed in many cases by house burning and assassination, humanity towards them almost ceased to be a virtue. The graves of their victims send forth bloody witnesses, and the tears and agony of widows and orphans who owe their grief to these miscreants testify against them, and to labor in chains all their days would be an insufficient recompense for the fearful consequences to the country of their accursed
On the 6th, Capt. Wood with the cavalry started for Spring Valley, thirty miles distant, in pursuit of Col. Freeman, against whom the expedition was principally directed. He could not be drawn into a battle, and by his perfect knowledge of the country eluded all efforts for his capture, and only straggling shots at long range were exchanged. The property taken and brought to Rolla was valued at $15,000, which was turned over to the Quarter-Master and Commissary Departments. Among the trophies was a drum made from a hollow log, looking much like a northern bee gum, with sheep skins stretched over either end, and when beaten sent forth a lugubrious murmur unlike anything ever heard before in connection with military organization, outside the jungles of Ethiopia. The flag taken at Houston was a primitive affair, displaying artistic skill in its make up about on a par with the drum, and covered with cabalistic signs and hieroglyphics about as intelligible as Hebrew or Greek to a backwoods Indiana Hoosier. This campaign had its advantages in accustoming the men to long marches and unceasing vigilance.
STILL AT ROLLA.
OLONEL WYMAN'S expedition to the south-west showed results in the long lines of prisoners of war which were sent by him under guard to Rolla. The jail and fort were gradually filled with them, and guards detailed from the different regiments at
the post were required to prevent their escape. The 36th contributed its share in the entertainment and preseryation from harm of these highly honored guests.
Though the 36th did not participate in this campaign, yet a short synopsis of the incidents connected with it may not be out of place, as they served for many days to keep the men on the qui vive, and awakened nearly as intense an interest as if they were active participants.
The first day out from Rolla the expedition marched twentyfour miles to the Big Piney, through a drizzling rain storm, over mortar-mixed roads neither safe nor agreeable. On the 12th, the command went into camp within four miles of Wet Glaze, not far from Lebanon, in LaClede County. The pickets were fired upon during the night, which apprised Col. Wyman of the nearness of the enemy, and soon after reliable information was