Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, Charles Wright Wills, (8th Illinois Infantry)

Camp Peoria, October 3, 1862. I suppose this is the commencement of another series of letters from your army correspondent. You can't imagine how kind of old-fashioned good it seems to be in camp again. You know, of course, that my lucky star still rules, and that I have been elected captain. I think I [...]

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Tuscumbia, Ala., August 28, 1862. The order has been issued requiring battalion adjutants to be mustered out of the service, but Colonel Mizner insists on our remaining, and being either assigned to companies or made regimental adjutant commander and quartermaster, which offices this new law provides. General Oglesby wants me very much. I was down [...]

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Note: This letter—a document written in 1862—includes terms and topics that may be offensive to many today.  No attempt will be made to censor or edit 19th century material to today’s standards. Tuscumbia, Ala., August 19, 1862. Tis the old, old, story, burning railroad bridges, skirmishing between our scouts and theirs, etc. They opened on [...]

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Tuscumbia, Ala., August 14, 1862. Things are progressing here swimmingly. Seldom have more than two bridges burned in the same night, or lose more than five or six men in one day. Scared a little though, now. The 7th went down yesterday through Moulton, where they were encamped but a few days since, and gained [...]

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Note: This letter—a document written in 1862—includes terms and topics that may be offensive to many today.  No attempt will be made to censor or edit 19th century material to today’s standards. Tuscumbia, Ala., August 8, 1862. My pet negro got so lazy and worthless I was compelled to ship him. I'll take back, if [...]

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Tuscumbia, Ala., August 7, 1862. The enemy is reported nearer us than usual to-night, and in considerable force. Have no idea they intend fighting us here though. This has been the hottest day of the summer, and I've been in the sun all day with thick woolen clothes on, wool shirts, too. I started for [...]

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Headquarters, 1st Brigade Cavalry Division, Tuscumbia, Ala., July 27, 1862 (Sunday). We received orders for our brigade to march on the 19th, and started the 21st. We only made Jacinto that night, when the colonel and myself stayed with Gen. Jeff. C. Davis, who is a very approachable, pleasant and perfectly soldier-like man. There is [...]

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July 19, 1862. I don't know whether I have any business sending such a document as I enclose, but guess its no difference. Two spies came in to-night and report that there are not more than 15,000 or 20,000 of the enemy left at Tupelo and Saltillo. Bragg took a large force with him and [...]

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Camp at Rienzi, July 17, 1862. I think there is more point and policy in that General Order 92 than in any one that has yet been issued in the West, or East either for that matter; but still I do not think it remarkable for perspicuity, and it is neither as strong nor as [...]

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Headquarters, Army of the Mississippi, July 14, 1862. General Orders No. 92: For the information of all in the command, the following explanations are given, in reference to the rights and duties of citizens of the States in which we may be stationed. 1. All citizens of the States claiming the rights, and holding themselves [...]

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Headquarters 1st Brig. Cav. Army of the Miss., Rienzi, Miss., June 29, 1862. What the deuce this army is trying to do, I cannot guess. Buell's corps moved off in an easterly direction two weeks since. Grant's is, I think, between Corinth and Memphis, and the headquarters of Pope is about four miles south of [...]

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Note: This letter—a document written in 1862—includes terms and topics that may be offensive to many today.  No attempt will be made to censor or edit 19th century material to today’s standards. Rienzi, Tishomingo Co., Miss., June 19, 1862. This is one of the few days that remind one of Illinois, although there are very [...]

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Rienzi, Tishomingo Co., Miss., June 16, 1862. We are camped here enjoying ourselves grandly. As our brigade is scattered over a line of 50 miles we just pitch our headquarters in the quietest spot we can find independent of the command. There are only two companies now out of the 24 within 8 miles of [...]

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Rienzi, Tishomingo Co., Miss., June 14, '62. We have located for a somewhat permanent stay, as the clumsy order said, in the most beautiful little town I have yet found in Mississippi. We have pitched our tents in a little grove in the edge of the burgh and are preparing to live. We have been [...]

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Camp near Boonville, Miss., June 13, 1862. This is the fourth camp that we have had to call as above. We have lived all around the burg, but to-morrow we leave. We have just got nicely arranged here after working hard all day, and now an order comes to move brigade headquarters back to Rienzi, [...]

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Headquarters 1st Brigade Cavalry Division, Camp near Boonville, Miss., June 6, 1862. I am leading an inglorious life now, nothing to do but the brigade writing and ride with the colonel when he goes out on business. The only time I am on the fighting list is when the brigade goes out, and that is [...]

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June 4, 1862. No. 10. We've been living out here a week without any tents until to-night, and General Pope is ripping and swearing because we dared to move them up here without orders. He says we shall not move a thing back. The colonel I am with is a regular army officer and he [...]

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Corinth and Hamburg Road, Miss., May 11, 1862. You remember that in my last I spoke of a reconnoisance our people made on the 8th inst. On the 9th Beauregard returned it with interest, driving our advance back some two miles and almost scaring this wing of the Eagle. He appeared on our left flank, [...]

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Near Farmington, Miss., May 8, 1862. I've been within one and a half miles of Corinth to-day. Didn't see anything especially worthy of mention, but had full rations in the way of leaden bullets whistle. Yea, and larger missiles also. For four days past our battalion has been the advanced picket of Pope's army, full [...]

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Headquarters 7th Illinois Cavalry Camp, on Hamburg and Corinth Road, May 3, 1862. I arrived here yesterday in safety. Stayed in Peoria the Monday night that I started, and was in Cairo at 9 p.m. Wednesday. Woke up Thursday morning on a boat at Paducah and devoted the day to admiring the Tennessee river. Stopped [...]

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Note: This letter—a document written in 1862—includes terms and topics that may be offensive to many today.  No attempt will be made to censor or edit 19th century material to today’s standards. On Steamer Henry Clay, off New Madrid, Mo., April 16, 1862. I finished my last in a great hurry, helped strike and load [...]

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