vacation for pleasure. It is celebrated
for its fine springs of water, of which there were several varieties,
cool and pleasant, warm and sulpherous.
The town contained many large and beautiful residences, but now
presenting the evidences of the sad desolations of war. The homes
of wealth and comfort, where the youth sported in princely grandeur,
are deserted and shattered under the tramp of contending armies.
At noon an order come
by telegraph for the Division from Bolivar to return that night
to Corinth. It was now about 3 P. M., and a march of nearly
thirty miles was not very comforting to troops who had been on
duty night and day for nearly two weeks. The rumor was current
that General Breckinridge was moving upon Corinth with a heavy
force, if possible to capture it before the troops would return
from Iuka. We immediately about-faced, and marched twelve miles
that evening. We rested till day-light, when the regiment started
for Corinth, marching about eighteen miles in less than five hours.
We encamped in the same place we left a few evenings before,
tired and nearly exhausted for want of rest and sleep. The men
went to the stream and washed, and put themselves in order to
enjoy a few days rest; this being promised them by General Grant,
provided the enemy were willing. The idea of a week's rest was
inspiring to us under such circumstances, but such comfort was
short-lived. Just as we had finished dinner an orderly came for
General Leggett's Brigade to report at the depot without delay,
and go by cars to Bolivar, Tenn., leaving transportation to follow.
Bolivar was then nearly surrounded by the enemy, and fighting
had already commenced.
In a short time we were on the way, and arrived at Bolivar about
midnight, and found all quiet. The enemy in force were within
five miles of the place, intending to make a vigorous attack in
the morning, but the news of reinforcements reached them, and
therefore they left for parts unknown.
The next day our camp equipage arrived, and we pitched
tents in a beautiful grove, and enjoyed the rest that General
Grant promised us. After the battle of the 30th of August, General
Hurlbut's Division was ordered from Memphis to Bolivar, which
increased our force at this place, and relieved us of much duty.
The regiment spent much of its time in drill, in which it became
very thorough, under Colonel Wiles, who soon became noted for
one of the best drilled officers in the service. I feel assured,
from extensive observation, he could not be surpassed.
The people in this community are now beginning to
feel the effects of war. Many are becoming impoverished, and
experience destitution in all the necessary demands of physical
life; consequently trains go daily loaded with refugees North.
The depot is crowded with men, women and children, who have fled
from the tyranny of proscription, and the uncomfortable prospect
of starvation. The poor and the non-slaveholding go North, the
oligarchy South. Society is broken up, the men having entered
the rebel army, and the women crowd together, consolidating homes,
to unitedly struggle with destitution and hopeless prospects.
Slavery, the great pillar of Southern society and all enterprise,
is beginning to tremble, and with it must fall the whole fabric
of social, spiritual and political economy. It decides the status
of human society; it supports the Southern Church, which ceases
here to be universal, but local and peculiar to itself; its religion
extends not beyond the peculiar institution. The negro with his
cotton, is king, and holds absolute control of Southern destiny.
This forms the great educational force of the people, who are
as devoted to it as the Hindoo
to Vishnu. Slavery is connected with all their thoughts and identified
with all their interests. The rebellion is one of its most direct
results, and to suppress the rebellion without