Posted on Oct 14, 2012 in 1863 | 0 comments

Diary: January, 1863 – Cold and Sick

An example of a Union encampment during the Civil War

Beginning Location:  Holly Springs, Mississippi


Jan. 1

This morning very cold and frosty.  Wrote 2 letters home and 4 others.  Our company went out foraging and I laid around camp all day thinking of home and its comforts.  Still cool in the evening.

Jan. 2

This morning cold and windy with a few showers of rain during the day and weather moderating in the evening and appearance of rain in the evening.

Jan. 3

This morning woke up and raining with thunder and lightning and water running through our tent and blankets. Wet.  received a letter from Br. Thomas informing me of the death … [blurred] …

Jan 4.

Last night very rainy with heavy thunder and lightning, day fair and pleasant.  Mind heavy and sad feeling.  Finished reading the book of Psalms.  Fight at Tallahatchie.  Rebel loss 30 killed and 26 prisoners.  35 of our foraging teams, teamsters and guards taken.

Jan. 5

This morning pleasant but cool.  William unwell – time moves heavily on and my thoughts run back to the days of my youth.  Rheumatism in my knees and back.

Jan. 6

This morning order to march, draw 3 days rations and leave Holly Springs at 8 o’clock.  Rested and saw the prickly pear.  Camped at Salem 16 miles distant from Holly Springs very tired and rather unwell.

Jan. 7

Left camp at Salem at sunrise, marched 12 miles crossed Wolf Creek and went into camp on pleasant hill on the road to Grand Junction.  Health very poor.

Jan. 8

This day rested and health very poor, not able to be on duty at all.  Co. I out foraging expedition, bugler of the 6th Iowa killed by a guerrilla.  This evening went to the hospital, rested moderately well.

Jan. 9

This morning left camp Spring Hill for Grand Junction, Tenn.  Rode today for the first time.  Went into camp about 4 o’clock pm in a heavy rain which continued with but little intermission during the night.

Jan. 10

This morning cool and appearance of clearing off.  Sky clear and pleasant.  My health still poor.  Still troubled with diarrhea.

Jan. 11

This morning health better than on yesterday.  Received our mail, 10 letters from my wife and 7 from others.  Wrote one home.  Weather pleasant but cool.

Jan. 12

This morning my health poor but better than yesterday.  Moove our tents west of our old camp.  Visit the 100th in the afternoon, not able to do duty yet.

Jan. 13

This morning my health poor.  The prof dies of apoplexy* and was buried with one of Co. C about 2 o’clock.

Jan. 14

This morning waked up and found it raining.  Our Co. detailed to go out foraging, returned in the evening wet and hungry.  My health good today.

Jan. 15

This morning waked up and found it snowing which it continued to do all day and was very cold for us who had become used to warm weather.

Jan. 16

Still snowing some this morning but not quite so cold as it was though very unpleasant in our tent as we done our cooking inside the tent on a fire in a mess pan.  Co. I went on picket tonight.

Jan. 17

This morning still cold and little prospect of warm weather.  My health still poor and rheumatism in my back and hips.

Jan. 18

Weather still cold, and raw wind last night.  Of of Co. H men died and was buried today.  My health still poor and unable for duty.

Jan. 19

This morning cold and rainy and very disagreeable.  Messes all in our tents.  Thinking of home and its comforts and hoping for better days.

Jan. 20

Weather moderating a little this morning with a little rain during the day.  Health good excepting the back.  Received 2 letters from home and one from Br. Keplinger.

Jan. 21

This morning moderately warm and cloudy with some appearance of rain.  Write 2 letters, one to A. Miller and one to my father.  Health not very good.

Jan. 22

This morning foggy and cool and appearance of rain.  Clears off about noon and is very pleasant in the afternoon.  Co. I goes out on picket duty.

Jan. 23

This morning cloudy and cool, appearance of rain.  Red at sunrise.  Back very lame this morning.  Write a letter home to my family.

Jan. 24

This morning weather still cloudy then raining.  Lay in quarters nearly all day.  Dull pain in head.

Jan. 25

This morning rather pleasant with sunshine at intervals.  Wrote 2 letters, one home and one to the church.  Health good excepting my back.

Jan. 26

This morning got a pass to go to La Grange**, 3 miles west of Grand Junction.  Returned at about 2 o’clock in company with the Quartermaster.

Jan. 27

This morning cold and disagreeable.  In our quarters.  Write a letter home today. Corporal James of Co. D was buried.  Saw two locomotives that had been burned at Corinth.

Jan. 28

This morning the coldest so far this winter.  Continued cold all day. this afternoon one of Co. F’s men buried.  I went on picket.

Jan. 29

This morning pleasant but cool and frosty.  Sky clear, today the cars run off the track, killing 18 men and wounding quite a number.  This took place between the Junction and La Grange.

Jan. 30

This morning clear and cool and frosty.  Fortifications east of our camp commenced excitement in camp about the rebels being close to the Junction.  Charles Cosier came to the reg’t today.  Got 2 letters today.

Jan. 31

This morning pleasant and warm.  Boys all well.  2 men buried today, one from Co. F and one from Co. H.  Wrote a letter home and got one from G. W. Nelson.


Ending Location:  Camped near Grand Junction, Tennessee



* – Apoplexy was a term often used for any sudden death, such as a stroke.

** – La Grange Tennessee was the headquarters of Ulysses S. Grant and his army in December 1862 and January 1863 as he planned for the First Vicksburg Campaign.


Railroad Pioneer Grenville M. Dodge: The Unlikely Spymaster – an interesting article about the spy network Gen. Ulysses Grant commissioned during his campaigns to take Vicksburg, MS.

Civil War Chronology of La Grange, Tennessee


Map of Travels during January, 1863

View CFN: January 1863 in a larger map

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