Seige Of CorinthFrom the 76th Regiment.
CAMP 10 MILES FROM PITTSBURG LANDING, May 10, 1862
Mr. Editor:-Since I last wrote to you a few days after the battle of Shiloh, the 76th has been on the march so much of the time that I have had but little time to write.
Our regiment remained where it bivouaced on the Monday night following the battle until Wednesday the 16th ult., when it was moved about half a mile further forward towards Corinth, to a much more pleasant location, on top of a little ridge of woodland, where we had a bountiful supply of excellent spring water near by, and a large field very suitable for battalion drill near at hand. The 20th, 78th, and 56th Ohio were our neighbors on the left and the 58th Ohio on the right. Major Gen. Wallace's Headquarters was situated immediately in our rear. A Chicago battery was also on our right, in front of the 58th Ohio. For several days we were on the front line of the army facing Corinth, but we did not occupy that position long. Gen. McClernand's and Gen. Hurlbut's divisions soon took position in front of us, and the white tents of our great army of the Tennessee were visable in every direction. This camp was by far the most pleasant one we had occupied since we left Camp Sherman. How often the boys talk about what good times they had at the old Fort, but they had not learned to appreciate them then as they do now.
On the 23rd of April, when we had been in our new camp but a week, our regiment was ordered to join two or three others in a reconnoisance in force towards Corinth, accompanied by a small cavalry force and two field pieces, numbering probably 4,000 or 5,000 men.
The reconnoisance proceeded cautiously, the cavalry and artillery in advance, about seven or eight miles. They drove the enemy's pickets, took one prisoner, and then came upon a camp of the enemy supposed to number 2,000. They made but a show of resistance and left in a hurry, leaving part of their camp equipage to be burned by our force. The artillery threw 30 or 40 shot and shell in the range of their retreat, and then we all returned to camp, having taken eleven prisoners.-Our regiment commenced the march at seven o'clock, A.M., and were in camp again by 4 o'clock, P.M. We are now encamped within a mile of where the rebel camp was burned.
On Monday, the 28th ult., our regiment was ordered to join another reconnoisance in force towards Purdy, with three days rations in our haversacks. A march of about five miles was made that afternoon to a little village called Stantonville. I looked for a store, grocery or blacksmith shop to entitle the place to a name, but could find nothing of the kind. The only sign of business was an old tannery. We bivouced that night in the woods close by, and Col. Woods and the other regimental officers occupied the deserted mansion of some secessionist who had gone to the rebel army. About midnight I found my blanket pretty well soaked, and more water under me than was comfortable; so I felt disposed to rise early. The cavalry and artillery had gone on in advance as usual, and we were left behind to support them if necessary. We put in the day drying our blankets, and speculating in our own minds where we were to go next, for soldiers and even company officers know scarcely any more about where they are to go than an ox under the hand of his driver. That day moved lazily and another night was passed in the vicinity of Stantonville. The next morning we were ordered to march again, and faced towards Purdy, expecting to go there, of course, but after moving in that direction about half a mile, we were countermarched, and came back to camp. The result, I learn, was the burning of a railroad bridge beyond Purdy, and the capture of four or five prisoners.
On Saturday evening, the 3rd of May, the Colonel's orderly entered our tent, and said: "Captain, have your company ready to march at nine o'clock to-morrow morning, with two day's rations in haversacks, &c., &c. That, thought I, means a battle, but it was not so. We were ordered to take one officer's tent and two Sibleys. The sick were all left behind. Company G was detailed for picket guard, and were left behind, about a mile in advance of the old camp, and did not join the regiment until Wednesday the 7th inst.
Our present camp is in a hard looking place, and we don't care how soon we move forward. We were ordered last night to put three day's cooked rations in our haversacks and fall in line of battle, with blankets, knapsacks and arms, and 40 rounds of cartridges in cartridge boxes, and 60 rounds about the person. This seems to be a load sufficient for a pack mule, but the soldier has to stand it. Our brave soldiers, who have to endure these hardships and bear these burdens, richly deserve the sympathy of those whose homes and government they are fighting to protect.
Very many of them are sacrificing their lives for their country, not only on the battlefield, but in their tents, from diseases caused by exposure and sometimes by the fatigue of rapid marches. Besides four companies of our regiment have never yet received a cent of pay, which certainly seems like very ill usage, after having been in two great battles. Who is to blame, I am unable to say?
Our camp is now on the main road leading to Corinth, and about ten miles distant. Mule teams by the thousand are passing here constantly going towards Corinth an returning, and 500 or 600 head of beef cattle passed towards Corinth to-day. - Cincinnati, St. Louis and Louisville dailies are plenty in camp now and are received daily, of dates only two or three days back, selling for a dime a paper. We are all in good spirits over the victories at New Orleans and Yorktown, and feel in hopes that the great rebellion will soon be conquered, peace restored, and we be permitted to return once more to our happy homes. Letters should be directed to Co.--, 76th Regiment, O.V., Gen. Wallace's Division, Army on Tennessee river. Of the letters received to-day, May 1st, is the latest date. R.W. BURT.
From: Newark True American, May 22, 1862, Newark, Ohio
Ohio Historical Society Microfilm Roll #39705
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