Ltr #59 Red River, Memphis, Guntown by H. B. Talbert
[The next two entries are
from Harrison B. Talbert's
CIVIL WAR DIARY.
The cotton was probably delivered
to Alexandria, Louisiana.]
Red River Expedition
March 26 Money pd Craig
for hauling cotton $73
26288 lbs cotton delivered.
June 6 th
Captured Lake Chicot Arkansas.
[Lake Chicot or Old River Lake]
[On June 10, 1864, near Guntown, Mississippi, the noted Confederate General Forrest vigorously attacked Union General Sturgis from Memphis, Tennessee.]
Camp near Memphis Tenn.
June 17th 1864
I am again blessed with this great privilege of writing acknowledging the receipt of Fathers Letter (written by you) on the 15th inst bearing date of the 5th [being only 10 days in the mail], which was a welcome visitor indeed. I began to feel very anxious to hear from home, at the same time I blamed none of you, but felt sure letters had been misplaced going both ways and your letter convinced me of this fact. I had heard that Albert & William had gone in the hundred days service. And I am glad they went, for that length of time will barely iniatiate them and will learn them a little what a soldiers duty is. They will also learn if their health is such as will admit of soldiering. I hope they will conduct themselves respectfully, and I wrote them a letter encouraging them to do so. We went into camp here the same day that we disembarked [from the steamboat] and have laid here since; The sam[e] day (the 10 [th]) our arms met with a sad defeat at Guntown, Mississippi which is another specimen of bad generalship. Old Sturgis came in with Grierson and his cavalry command, and reported the rest of his men captured, but in a day or two, to our surprise and joy they all came in but about 2000 which was killed, wounded or captured; these men blame Sturgis with this disastrously defeat. This expedition was 8 or 10 days marching out there (140 miles) and a good many straglers retraced their steps here in two days and nights. They kept pace with the cavalry not knowing any of our men was in the rear of them. But the main force was four or five days getting in here, and some of them were in a critical condition traveling until their feet were skinned and swollen to twice their original size. Some rebel cavalry harassed their rear until within 24 miles of this place. The troops here are under orders to be ready to march at a minutes notice, but I think we will get to rest some time here. [Three days ago] On the 14th inst Capt Cockefair with the veterans started home on their furlough, and I suppose some of the boys will go to see you as two or three promised me they would, and they can give you the news in detail of our expedition up R R [Red River]. However I will answer your inquiry the best I know how. Cockefair is still our Captain, I suppose you was misinformed through the newspapers, which I noticed had his name [as] Crawford. And as to his loyalty & fighting qualities I have some doubts although he done amazingly well on this expedition, he was prompt in obeying orders and stood to his post and done his duty like a hero. I think I have wrote about all that is necessary as the boys can tell you all the news, although I could write much more if the space was larger, but I want to send one letter composed of one piece of paper. Hoping these few lines will reach you and find you all as they have me & Frank, well and hearty. I will close. With great esteem I remain your Brother
[The 100 days' service that brother Albert and cousin William entered was with the 132nd Regiment, Indiana Infantry. It was organized May 18, 1864 at Indianapolis and mustered out September 7, 1864. The unit was immediately assigned to duty as Railroad Guard in Tennessee. Before the 100 days were out they also served at Stevenson, Ala. and Nashville, Tenn.]
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