Richard R. Hancock

Saturday, 28th.—According to previous instructions (see under 25th instant), Col. Rains, with his regiment, McNairy’s Battalion and Falcond’s section of artillery, moved out from Barboursville in the direction of Laurel Bridge, while Colonel Cummings, with his detachment and about fifty wagons, moved out for the Salt Works, and Colonel Statham moved so as to support either of the other detachments if necessary.

Colonel McNairy was ordered to take the advance with Harris’s, Payne’s and Allison’s Companies. Our Colonel had not gone far along the London road before he threw out flankers as well as an advance guard, with instructions to keep a sharp lookout for the enemy. Thus, we moved on without any incident worthy of note until we struck the enemy’s picket, within three miles of their camp. Our advance guard captured three of their picket and chased the rest (six or eight) into camp. Colonel McNairy then fell back a short distance, sent a messenger to meet Colonel Rains, and awaited his arrival with the infantry and artillery. As soon as Rains caught up, the command moved on again with McNairy’s three companies still in front. We met a citizen who said that the enemy was lying in wait for us. So we thought that we would sure have our first engagement, then and there. Before reaching the enemy’s camp, Colonel McNairy was ordered to halt, and Colonel Rains took the advance with his regiment, leaving orders for McNairy to hold his battalion well in hand, ready to pursue if he (Rains) should succeed in routing them. On reaching, the Federal camp, and finding it deserted, Rains’ men raised a war-whoop that must have made the Federals believe, if they were in hearing, that 10,000 men1 were after them. Then dashing forward in pursuit, our battalion went as far as London, took down a Union flag, but did not overtake any of the fugitives. The citizens caught the panic—men, women, children and negroes—nearly all, either fled with the Home Guards and Federals to Camp Wildcat, some thirteen miles beyond London, or went to their neighbor’s off the main road. How strange! that they should think that we were making war on women and children!

As it was now about nightfall, our battalion moved back about two miles and rejoined Colonel Rains, encamped where the Home Guards had been camping.

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1 Colonel Walford estimated our force at “from 5,000 to 7,000.”—See Rebellion Records (Garrard to Thomas), p. 280.

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General Fremont's Army

Jefferson City, September 28th. Yesterday, at eleven o’clock, we were informed that the General would leave for Jefferson City at noon; and that those members of the staff who were not ready would be left behind, and their places filled in the field. At the appointed hour we were all gathered at the depot. The General drove down entirely unattended. Most of the train was occupied by a battalion of sharp-shooters, but in the rear car the General and his staff found seats. The day was cloudy and damp; there was no one to say farewell; and as the train passed through the cold hills, a feeling of gloom seemed to pervade the company. Nature was in harmony with the clouded fortunes of our General, and the laboring locomotive dragged us at a snail’s pace, as if it were unwilling to assist us in our adventure.

Those who were strangers in the West looked out eagerly for the Missouri, hoping to find the valley of the river rich in scenery which would relieve the tedium of the journey. But when we came out upon the river-bank and looked at the dull shores, and the sandy bed, which the scant stream does not cover, but through which it creeps, treacherous and slimy, in half a dozen channels, there was no pleasure to the eye, no relief for the spirit. Late in the afternoon we approached a little village, and were greeted with music and hearty cheers, —the first sign of hospitality the day had furnished. It was the German settlement of Hermann, famous for good cheer and good wines. The Home-Guard was drawn up at the station, files of soldiers kept the passage clear to the dining-room, and through an avenue of muskets, and amidst the shouts of an enthusiastic little crowd, the General passed into a room decorated with flowers, through the centre of which was stretched a table groaning under the weight of delicious fruits and smoking viands. With little ceremony the hungry company seated themselves, and vigorously assailed the tempting array, quite unconscious of the curious glances of a motley assemblage of men, women, and children who assisted at the entertainment. The day had been dark, the journey dull, and the people we had seen silent and sullen but here was a welcome, the hearty, generous welcome of sympathizing friends, who saw in their guests the defenders of their homes. They were Germans, and our language came broken from their lips. But they are Germans who fill the ranks of our regiments. Look where you will, and the sturdy Teuton meets your eye. If Missouri shall be preserved for the Union and civilization, it will be by the valor of men who learned their lessons of American liberty and glory upon the banks of the Rhine and the Elbe. We think of this at Hermann, and we pledge our German hosts and our German fellow-soldiers in strong draughts of delicious Catawba, — not such Catawba as is sent forth from the slovenly manufactories of Cincinnati, for the careful vintners of Hermann select the choice grapes, and in the quiet cellars of Hermann the Catawba has time to grow old and to ripen.

We at length extricate ourselves from the maze of corn-cakes and pancakes, waffles and muffins and pies without number, with which our kind friends of Hermann tempt and tantalize our satiated palates, and once more set forth after the wheezing, reluctant locomotive, over the rough road, through the dreary hills, along the bank of the treacherous river.

At ten o’clock, in ten weary hours, we have accomplished one hundred and twenty miles, and have reached Jefferson City. The train backs and starts ahead, halts and backs and jerks, and finally, with a long sigh of relief, the locomotive stops, and a gentleman in citizen’s dress enters the car, carrying a lantern in his hand. It was Brigadier-General Price, commanding at Jefferson City. He took possession of the General, and, with us closely following, left the car. But leaving the train was a somewhat more difficult matter. We went alongside the train, over the train, under the train, but still those cars seemed to surround us like a corral. We at length outflanked the train, but still failed to extricate ourselves from the labyrinth. Informed, or rather deluded, by the “lantern dimly burning,” we floundered into ditches and scrambled out of them, we waded mud-puddles and stumbled over boulders, until finally the ever-present train disappeared in the darkness, we rushed up a steep hill, heard the welcome sound as our feet touched a brick walk, and, after turning two or three corners, found ourselves in the narrow hall of the “principal hotel.” We were tired and disgusted, and no one stood upon the order of his going, but went at once to sleep upon whatever floor, table, or bed offered itself.

This morning we are pleased to hear that the General has resolved to go into camp. Of course the best houses in the place are at our disposal, but it is wisely thought that our soldier life will not begin until we are fairly under canvas.

All day we have had an exhibition of a Missouri crowd. The sidewalk has been fringed with curious gazers waiting to catch a glimpse of the General. Foote, the comedian, said, that, until he landed on the quays at Dublin, he never knew what the London beggars did with their old clothes. One should go to Missouri to see what the New-York beggars do with their old clothes. But it is not the dress alone. Such vacant, listless faces, with laziness written in every line, and ignorance seated upon every feature! Is it for these that the descendants of New England and the thrifty Germans are going forth to battle? If Missouri depended upon the Missourians, there would be little chance for her safety, and, indeed, not very much to save.


Fremont’s Hundred Days in Missouri was published in three installments in The Atlantic Monthly. The anonymous author appears to have been a member of Fremont’s staff with a disdainful bias towards Missourians, even those who were pro-Union.

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Elisha Franklin Paxton

Camp near Fairfax C. H., September 28, 1861.

I will close a delightful Sunday evening in answering your last letter, received a few days since. I heartily sympathize with you, Love, and our dear little Matthew in your wish for my return. My absence does not press more heavily upon your heart than upon my own. But we must not suffer ourselves to grieve over the necessity which compels our separation. We must bear it in patience, in the hope that when I return we shall love each other all the better for it. I have had the offer from Gov. Letcher of a Commission as Major. I was much flattered by the compliment, but declined it, as I would be assigned to duty at Norfolk. Feeling that I was more pleasantly situated and could render more efficient service here, I preferred to remain. I was very much tempted to accept it, from the consideration that it would probably afford me an opportunity of passing by home on my way; but I thought this should not make me deviate from what my judgment approved as my proper course. I replied that I would accept the appointment if assigned to duty in this brigade, but would not leave it for the sake of promotion.

 

The weather begins to feel like frost, and hereafter we shall, I fear, find a soldier’s life rather uncomfortable. Sleeping in the open air or thin tents was comfortable a few weeks since; but when the frost begins to fall freely, and the night air becomes more chilly, lying upon the ground and looking at the stars will not be so pleasant. Then we shall think in earnest of home, warm fires, and soft beds. I think I shall get used to it. I have seen many ups and downs and begin to fancy that I can bear almost anything. In November I suppose we shall find comfortable winter quarters somewhere, or shall build log cabins and stay here. I went down to see Mat some days since, but did not find him.

Jim Holly came this evening and tells me he has the pair of pants which you sent me, and that Waltz will bring some more things for me. You need not get the overcoat; my coat for the present answers a very good purpose, and if I find hereafter that I need an overcoat, I will send to Richmond for it.

And now, Love, as I have taxed my eye about enough, I will bid you good-bye. I trust that you will make yourself contented. I shall be all the happier knowing that you are so. Give a kiss to our dear little boys for me; for yourself accept a fond husband’s best love.

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rebellion record

September 28.—A foraging expedition from Gen. Franklin’s division was sent out in considerable force from their encampment. They went eight miles from Alexandria to Edsall’s Hill, on the Orange and Alexandria railroad. The pickets of the rebels retired to Springfield station, a mile and a half beyond Edsall’s Hill. The detachments which went out for forage, had s fine view of the country, but saw no signs of the enemy having had defences of any kind. The foraging party was quite successful in obtaining large quantities of hay, corn, and oats, which they removed to camp. There was no molestation from the enemy. A company visited the Mount Vernon estate of John A. Washington, and brought away about eight hundred bushels of wheat, near five hundred bushels of oats, and seventy-five barrels of fish; all of which was stored in the commissary’s depot at Alexandria.—National Intelligencer, Oct. 1.

—At Cumberland, Md., a Union meeting was held. Speeches were delivered by Messrs. Bradford and Maffit. The “wickedness of the rebellion was portrayed in its true colors; and the deceitfulness of secession under the hypocritical guise of a ‘peace party,’ was fully exposed.”— Cumberland Civilian, October 3.

—The Fourth regiment of New Hampshire Volunteers, under the command of Colonel Thomas J. Whipple, passed through Jersey City, N. J., en route to Washington. The regiment is well provided with all the necessaries peculiar to the movable soldier, and has twenty-two baggage-wagons, one ambulance, one hospital, and ninety-five horses, which are provided entirely for accommodation and comfort. It numbers one thousand men, who are armed with the Enfield rifle.

Colonel Whipple is well known as having bravely borne himself in the Mexican war. He is from the same State as the volunteers he now commands. On the 9th of April, 1847, he was made a First Lieutenant of the Ninth infantry, and in the following month he was placed on the staff of his regiment as Adjutant. He was appointed Volunteer Aide-de-camp to Brigadier-General Lane, and distinguished himself in the battle of Atlixco. He resigned from the service on the 23d of February, 1848; but now he is again found ready to take the field.

—Munson’s Hill, Va., was evacuated by the rebels this morning. About ten o’clock the pickets reported to General Richardson that the rebel pickets had been drawn in, and subsequent observation confirmed the report. Information of this fact was telegraphed this afternoon to General McClellan, who at once crossed the ferry at Georgetown with his Staff, and rode to Bailey’s Cross Roads. They then followed the course of the railroad to Upton House and Hill. They saw only half a dozen horsemen on Munson’s Hill. General Wadsworth moved to the right and front with a body of skirmishers, and Captain Colburn, of General McClellan’s Staff, skirmished to the left, without encountering any of the enemy. General Richardson then moved forward with a body of troops toward the hill, the rebel horsemen retiring as they approached. They entered the work with out difficulty, and found that the rebels had taken every thing of value with them. Eight regiments were moved forward to the outposts. A portion of Richardson’s Brigade and a portion of McDowell’s Division occupy Munson’s Hill.

The fort on Munson’s Hill is a closed work, and a great deal of laber has been expended upon it. The site was not well selected, as it is fully commanded by Upton’s Hill, which is now held by the national forces.—(Doc. 61.)

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day_david_l

Sept. 27. Ten companies are now on the ground. Colonel Upton made us a visit today. He is to be our commander. I have known the colonel for several years past at our militia musters. He commanded the old 9th regiment, one which stood second to none in the state. I regard the colonel as a very fine man, and an able military commander. Under his command I have no fears but that our regiment will make a record that not only themselves, but the state will be proud of.

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Rutherford B. Hayes

Sewell Mountain, General Cox’s Camp,
September 27 (Saturday or Friday, I am told), 1861.

Dear L —: — We are in the midst of a very cold rain-storm; not farther south than Lexington or Danville and on the top of a high hill or small mountain. Rain for fifteen hours; getting colder and colder, and still raining. In leaky tents, with wornout blankets, insufficient socks and shoes, many without overcoats. This is no joke. I am living with McCook in a good tent, as well provided as anybody in camp; better than either General Cox or Rosecrans.

I write this in General Cox’s tent. He sits on one cot reading, or trying to read, or pretending to read, Dickens’ new novel, “Great Expectations.” McCook and General Rosecrans are in the opposite tent over a smoke, trying to think they are warmed a little by the fire under it. Our enemy, far worse provided than we are, are no doubt shivering on the opposite hill now hidden by the driving rain and fog. We all suspect that our campaign in this direction is at an end. The roads will be miry, and we must fall back for our supplies. My regiment is fourteen miles back on a hill. When clear we can see their tents.

Just now my position is comparatively a pleasant one. I go with the generals on all reconnaissances, see all that is to be seen, and fare as well as anybody. We were out yesterday P. M. very near to the enemy’s works; were caught in the first of this storm and thoroughly soaked. I hardly expect to be dry again until the storm is over.

Good-bye, dearest.

Affectionately,

R.

Mrs. Hayes.

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taft_horatio_nelson

FRIDAY 27

It has rained nearly all day and is very windy tonight. Called at office of Sec’y Chase. He and the Assistant Sec’y (Harrington) have both gone to NY. I was at the “White House.” Mr Scheopf, who is soon to be a Brigadier Genl, was there waiting to see the Prest. I had a conversation with Maj Watt. He says that Mrs L. always succeeds, and is enlisted in my behalf. I was at the pat office an hour, business very dull there. Spent evening at home.

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The three diary manuscript volumes, Washington during the Civil War: The Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft, 1861-1865, are available online at The Library of  Congress.

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Richard R. Hancock

Friday, 27th.—We remained at Barboursville. Colonel Rains ordered his demi-brigade to cook three days’ rations and be ready to move early the next morning.

We were now in twenty miles of the enemy’s camp at Laurel Bridge. Col. Brown, who lived near London, was in command of the Home Guards at that camp. Colonel Wolford, with a part of his regiment, was also in that vicinity.

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General Fremont's Army

St. Louis, September 27th, 1861. For four days the headquarters have been ready to take the field at an hour’s notice. The baggage has been packed, the wagons loaded, horses have stood saddled all through the day, and the officers have been sitting at their desks, booted and spurred, awaiting the order for their departure. It is not unlikely that the suspense in which they are held and the constant condition of readiness which is required of them are a sort of preliminary discipline to which the General is subjecting them. Yesterday the bodyguard left by the river, and the staff-horses went upon the same steamer, so that we cannot be detained much longer.


Fremont’s Hundred Days in Missouri was published in three installments in The Atlantic Monthly. The anonymous author appears to have been a member of Fremont’s staff with a disdainful bias towards Missourians, even those who were pro-Union.

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rebellion record

September 27.—To-day Major-General Dix and staff, Brig.-General Duryea and Major Belger proceeded to the Relay House, Md., for the purpose of reviewing and presenting the Fourth Wisconsin regiment, Col. Paine, with a stand of colors. The regiment was drawn up in line and presented a truly martial appearance. When the presentation was about to take place, the divisions on each flank of the battalion were wheeled to the left and right, forming a three-sided square. The color guard was marched forward from the line, the colors then brought forward, when Gen. Dix addressed the regiment in the most patriotic and impassioned language. Col Paine replied in the same lofty sentiments and with burning eloquence, which spontaneously drew from his regiment acclamations of eternal fidelity to the emblem of our country’s glory—after which the colors took their place in line.—Baltimore American, Sept. 28.

——-

Late addition to Volume 3:

 

September 27.—A battle was fought near Shanghai, in Benton County, Missouri, between a body of Kansas troops, under Montgomery and Jamison, and the advance guard of Ben. McCulloch’s army and some of the State Guard, under Judge Cheneault. The rebels were driven back with considerable loss, and pursued forty miles, when Montgomery fell back on Greenfield. Great alarm was felt by the rebels in Springfield lest Montgomery should attack that place, and the troops there rested on their arms for several nights.—(Doc. 75.)

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day_david_l

Sept. 26.  Being the first company on the ground, and not having tents, we bivouacked last night in Agricultural Hall. Sleeping on a hard pine board was new business to most of us, and Morpheus was courted in vain. The boys, however, made a frolic of the night, and more unearthly noises and sounds never greeted my ears. I think the rebels would never need hear the sound of our guns to frighten them, if they could hear sounds like those. Several other companies arrived on the ground this morning, and this afternoon all hands are busy pitching tents.

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Arkansas True Democrat [Little Rock], September 26, 1861

We respectfully suggest to the county court of Pulaski county, the propriety, if not the necessity, of levying a tax, under the provisions of the ordinance, of the convention of May 11th and 30th; and to issue county scrip, based upon and anticipating the tax. The families of volunteers must not be permitted to suffer or want. If the matter is left to voluntary contributions, a few will do it all, while the niggardly will stand aloof. It is a melancholy truth that we have wealthy men in our county who have done nothing, or next to nothing, for the great southern cause. Perhaps one has given a horse, another a gun, or some such small matter, and taken good care to let everybody know of their liberality! they are able to give thousands, and if they had any patriotism, would give it. We can reach these men by a tax, and in no other way. For this reason it has been strongly urged that such a tax should be levied. We submit the matter to the county court.

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Arkansas True Democrat [Little Rock], September 26, 1861

Some of the military companies raised during the present war have assumed queer names.—We have “avengers,” “invincibles,” “fencibles,” and “rangers,” without number. In our State we have, or had, a company of “yellow jackets,” another of “hornets” and one called the “sassafras invincibles.” In Texas they have one called “the Yankee hunters.” In Alabama one is styled “the rosin heels.” Wild cats, tigers, rattlesnakes, and bears, have furnished names for other companies.

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Alexander G. Downing

Thursday, 26th—We had no drill today. Instead of drilling all went to meeting. President Lincoln issued a proclamation asking that the day be observed as a day of fasting and prayer, and our company attended service twice today, in a body. The war has cast a gloom over the whole country; people are beginning to believe that it will be a long siege before it is over with.

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taft_horatio_nelson

THURSDAY 26

We have thought considerably today of taking another house and remaining in the City. But decent houses for rent are extremely scarce now. Two months ago half the houses (almost) were empty and for rent. I was at the “White House” last evening. Saw Maj Watt and called at the residence of Gov Chase. He was not at home. Today have nearly finished packing up. It has been the National Fast day, business suspended all over the City & stores closed. Julia has gone to stay with Matty Hartly. Chas & Sallie called just at Dusk.

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The three diary manuscript volumes, Washington during the Civil War: The Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft, 1861-1865, are available online at The Library of  Congress.

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Richard R. Hancock

Thursday, 26th.—According to Zollicoffer’s orders of yesterday, the several detachments named (except Companies B and C of McNairy’s Battalion that did not move to Barboursville till the next day), marched (sixteen miles) from Camp Buckner to Barboursville, the county seat of Knox County, Kentucky, leaving their tents at the former place.

It was said that only three families remained in town, and this showed the strong “Union sentiments” of that town. Our men put up in deserted houses. 1

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1 The larger portion of the household furniture was left in many of the dwellings; therefore, the writer, as well as a good many others, had the pleasure of occupying a good Kentucky feather bed the two nights that we remained in Barboursville.

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General Fremont's Army

THE narrative1 we propose to give of events in Missouri is not intended to be a defence of General Fremont, nor in any respect an answer to the charges which have been made against him. Our purpose is the more humble one of presenting a hasty sketch of the expedition to Springfield, confining ourselves almost entirely to the incidents which came under the observation of an officer of the General’s staff.

General Fremont was in command of the Western Department precisely One Hundred Days. He assumed the command at the time when the army with which Lyon had captured Camp Jackson and won the Battle of Booneville was on the point of dissolution. The enemy, knowing that the term for which our soldiers had been enlisted was near its close, began offensive movements along their whole line. Cairo, Bird’s Point, Ironton, and Springfield were simultaneously threatened. Jeff Thompson wrote to his friends in St. Louis, promising to be in that city in a month. The sad, but glorious day upon Wilson’s Creek defeated the Rebel designs, and compelled McCulloch, Pillow, Hardee, and Thompson to retire.

Relieved from immediate danger, General Fremont found an opportunity to organize the expedition down the Mississippi. Won by the magic of his name and the ceaseless energy of his action, the hardy youth of the Northwest flocked into St. Louis, eager to share his labors and his glory. There was little time for organization and discipline. They were armed with such weapons as could be procured against the competition of the General Government, and at once forwarded to the exposed points. History can furnish few parallels to the hasty levy and organization of the Army of the West. When suddenly required to defend Washington, the Government was able to summon the equipped and disciplined militia of the East, and could call upon the inexhaustible resources of a wealthy and skilful people. But in the West there was neither a disciplined militia nor trained mechanics. Men, indeed, brave, earnest, patriotic men, were plenty, —men who appreciated the magnitude and importance of the task before them, and who were confident of their ability to accomplish it. But to introduce order into their tumultuous ranks, to place arms in their eager hands, to clothe and feed them, to provide them with transportation and equipage for the march, and inspire them with confidence for the siege and the battle, —this labor the General, almost unaided, was called upon to perform. Like all the rest of our generals, he was without experience in military affairs of such magnitude and urgency, and he was compelled to rely chiefly upon the assistance of men entirely without military training and knowledge. The general staff and the division and brigade staffs were, from the necessity of the case, made up mainly of civilians. A small number of foreign officers brought to his aid their learning and experience, and a still smaller number of West Point officers gave him their invaluable assistance. In spite of all difficulties the work proceeded. In six weeks the strategic positions were placed in a state of defence, and an army of sixty thousand men, with a greater than common proportion of cavalry and artillery, stood ready to clear Missouri of the invader and to open the valley of the Mississippi. At this time the sudden appearance of Price in the West, and the fall of Lexington, compelled the General to take the field. We will now confine ourselves to the narrative of the incidents of the march to Springfield, as it is given in the journal which has been placed in our hands.


1. Fremont’s Hundred Days in Missouri was published in three installments in The Atlantic Monthly. The anonymous author appears to have been a member of Fremont’s staff with a disdainful bias towards Missourians, even those who were pro-Union.
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A likeness of Jones when he was editor  and majority owner of the Daily Madisonian during President John Tyler's administration.

SEPTEMBER 26TH.—Had a conversation with the Secretary to-day, on the policy of sending Union men out of the Confederacy. I told him we had 15,000 sick in the hospitals at Manassas, and this intelligence might embolden the enemy to advance, capture the hospitals, and make our sick men prisoners. He said such prisoners would be a burden to them, and a relief to us. I remarked that they would count as prisoners in making exchanges; and to abandon them in that manner, would have a discouraging effect on our troops. He said that sending unfriendly persons out of the country was in conformity with the spirit of the act of Congress, and recommended me to reperuse it and make explanations to the people, who were becoming clamorous for some restriction on the egress of spies.

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rebellion record

September 26.—Capt. Stewart’s cavalry, numbering seventy-five men, to-day encountered forty rebel cavalry at Lucas Bend, Ky., whom they pursued into Jeff. Thompson’s camp at Belmont. Four rebels were killed, five captured, and many wounded. The remainder escaped to the woods. The Federal troops captured all the guns and pistols they could bring away with them. No Federal troops were injured.

—the Thirty-fifth regiment of Ohio Volunteers took possession of Cynthiana, Kentucky.

—at Louisville, Ky., W. G. Querton, formerly one of the editors and proprietors of the Courier, was arrested for aiding the Southern rebellion.—The turnpike bridge over Green river, near Mumfordville, was burned by rebels.
—J. B. Archer, Captain of the steamboat Commercial, was arrested, but bailed in ten thousand dollars. The beat was also seized, but released on security being given to surrender her on demand to the Federal Government.— Louisville Journal, September 28.

—The Twenty-first regiment of Ohio Volunteers, left Findlay for Camp Dennison.—Ohio Statesman, October 2.

—Is accordance with the recommendation of the President of the United States, published August 12th, this day was observed as a day of fasting and prayer.

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Sept. 25. Under escort of the Milford Brass Band, we marched through a few of the principal streets to the depot. Here a large concourse of citizens had collected to give us their best wishes, and see us off. We now began to realize some of the discomforts of a soldier’s life. There not being passenger cars enough to accommodate us, we were crowded into two box freight cars for South Framingham, where we changed to passenger cars for Worcester. Arriving there, we marched to the city hall, where we took dinner. From there we marched to the agricultural grounds’ west of the city, where we are to encamp. This camp is named Camp Lincoln, in honor of Ex-Governor Lincoln of Worcester.

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