“Little Doctor on the Black Horse” Post#10 – Army Life after the Fall of Atlanta –

“Sept. 7, ‘64 – Today I rode into the city and went to visit the prison where I was confined first. It looked natural. It is full of Johnnies now, and I had the pleasure of standing and looking at them from the same place where they used to look at me. The feeling was far different, I assure you! Later I talked to three ladies who said 7 shells went through their house, but they had gone to a hole dug in their garden and were safe. We then were ordered to forage south of Atlanta. As it got late, we stopped at the camp of the 10th Ohio Cavalry. I stayed the night with Mitch Harkness. He is a Lieutenant in the 10th. Saw several other Norwalk boys there and heard of others.”

“Sept. 25 ‘64 – Went to the news depot, and there was a placard, official, telling of a big fight in the Shenandoah Valley, in which Sheridan had badly whipped the Rebs. Glorious news! Have done nothing much today but read. Finished the Harper’s for Aug., which you sent, and started Sept. I like ‘Our Mutual Friend’.” (Dickens’ novels were very popular in the U.S., and several were published serials.) “We are living pretty well now, getting soft bread, dried apples and pickled cabbage. We signed the payroll today. When we finally get paid off, I shall buy me a new pair of pants, vest, hat and pair of boots. I have been ashamed lately of being so shabby. Even have to borrow postage stamps . . . There was a man in camp today to collect votes of Ohio soldiers. Indiana soldiers are getting furlough to go home and vote, as their state won’t allow it in the field. Politics! I don’t like it, but I suppose they are bound ‘Old Abe’ shall carry Indiana. The colonel has great news, he has a little boy. When the war is over, do you suppose you could give me a little boy?”

“Nov. 11 ‘64 – This morning I finally got my pay from the paymaster. He gave me 10 months, two more are still due. I got $1114. I sent you, by express, $700 in U.S. bonds. This afternoon I have been around paying my debts; have paid $200. It is so expensive in the field now, I can’t save much, but if we can make ends meet, I shall be satisfied. I am sitting on the ground, using my valise for a desk and a borrowed bayonet for a candlestick, placing a candle in the hole that goes on the gun and sticking the sharp end in the ground.”

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© 1961 by Harriott Benedict Wickham Barton. All rights reserved.

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