St. Louis and Camp Jackson
- [A soldiers view. Written by Harrison B. Talbert after his unit the 3rd Ind. Battery (Indiana not Independent) Battery had seen action, lived in the wilderness, and helped with refugees.]
Camp Jackson St Louis Mo
November 8th / 63
[.....] We are all rejoiced at the change that has been made in positions since I last wrote. We left Rolla [by railroad] on the 2nd inst [of this month] and arrived safe at this place the same evening. We are camped about three miles west of the river in the outskirts of town, the street cars run with in two hundred yards of camp and our boys hardly ever let them go or come empty. We have got the nicest camp here that we ever have had since we have been in the service it seems as though we have just emerged from a great wilderness into civilization and for my part I dont care how long we stay here but it is generally thought by all that we will not stay here long but our final destination is not known. Our Battery is in good trim, our harness & carriages look splendid since they have been fixed up, and our horses are in tolerable good fix. [.....]
Camp Jackson St" Louis Mo Nov" 29th 1863
Dear Brother Alpheus;
[.....]. I think if we winter here, that we will shortly move into the barricks. We see quite easy times here. Our forage, wood, water and rations are all delivered to us here in camp. Wood sells for $8.00 per cord [pile 8’X4’X4’] here in the city, that alone costs Uncle Sam considerable but he is liberal and gives enough to answer our purposes. When we was paid off I concluded to send some money home, but since [then] my teeth has been bothering considerable, and I have concluded to spend apart of my earnings in getting them repaired. I also have spent some in getting photographs, I exchange with the boys and if nothing happens I will get about two dozen together and then I expect to get an album and send all home.
Some twenty four of our boys have reenlisted into the Veteran Corps, and several more of them are talking of reenlisting. I would not be surprised if one half the Battery went in before spring. That $402.00 bounty is a great inducement to most of the boys, but money is no inducement to me. I will never enlist for the sole purpose of money. Our boys got between $100.00 & $200.00 upon reenlisting, and they spend it upon the rule of come easy, go easy. Several of them has bought a full rig of citizens clothes, and they pass as such through all parts of the city. A soldier can go or come at his leisure during the day, but at night they have to [have] a pass signed by the Post Commander and resigned by the Provost Martial and then it is not respected if caught in certain places, but it will pass me in any place I want to go. [.....].