We received the news to-day of the evacuation of
Jackson by the rebels, where it was thought they would make a
desperate stand; but it seems as though they gave up the place
with comparatively little fighting. Where they will make their
next stand I am unable to say. But my opinion is, they are about
gone up the spout. The news from the east is very encouraging
indeed; and the time is not far distant when this rebellion will
come to an end.
The health of the boys is pretty good. A few cases of the ague still hang on, but there are no serious cases.
Clinton is ten miles from Jackson, on the railroad, and is the most bitter secesh hole I have come across in the South. I have had the honor of calling on some of the fair damsels of the Southern soil, and find them even worse than the men; which is generally the case on all topics, (not wishing to say anything against the dear creatures at all.)
You can hardly see the town for the houses, but it is a pretty situation, and could be made a nice place.
General McArthur is ordered to keep open the road against guerrillas between here and Champion Hills, but we are anxious to go back and join our old Division, and spend the summer on the Mississippi.
On the 25th day of July the regiment returned to Vicksburg and pitched camp on Walnut Hills, near the city. The terrible campaign ended; General Johnston and all the rebel army driven far east of Jackson; the Seventeenth Army Corps settles down round Vicksburg to rest and recuperate its thinned and wearied ranks. The Thirteenth Army Corps goes South; the Fifteenth goes with General Sherman to Memphis, and thence toward Chattanooga. The brave Sixty-Eighth and Twentieth Ohio Regiments still remain with the Seventy-Eighth; these three regiments have become banded together as firmly as brothers; all have shared equally in dangers and hardships, in honors and triumphs.
The effects of the long campaign upon the men begin now to be developed in disease, much sickness and many deaths.
The Brigade remains scarcely a day idle, but commence building fortifications around the city. Two hours every day are spent in drill.
August 25 The Division went on reconnoisance to Monroeville, Louisiana. The march was a hard one, and many men never recovered from its effects. Part of the way was through swamps, now dried by the summer's sun, and covered with weeds and grass higher than the horses backs; in this, rattle-snakes of all sizes dwelt as thick as fish in the river. These the men shot and killed by the thousand.
Monroeville was at length reached. The town is situated on the Washita River, and is a pleasant little place of about one thousand inhabitants; the rebel army said to be encamped there had fled; it consisted only of a few cavalry. Yankee soldiers were quite a curiosity to the natives, no Federal troops had before been seen by them. The people were living in blissful ignorance, cut off from all communications with the world, they had not received the intelligence that Vicksburg had fallen, and come into the possession of