Soldiers with cannonKentuckians fighting in the war
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B.F. Creslius

We don't know very much about this homesick Union soldier who wrote to friends about camp life and his longing for a home-cooked meal. Based on the statement he wrote and attached to his letter, he seemed to have strong feelings about Kentucky joining the Confederacy:

1862 Camp Ed Wier Nov 25
Owensboro Ky Davis Co

Miss Medora Bartles

I take my pen in hand to let you know we are all well at present and hoping these few lines may find you the same. I wood of wrote to you before now but I had no chance to write and I had a chance to write tonight your own boys started to Brandenburgh last Friday and I don't know when they will be back again and as soon as they come back we will come to Brandenburg if I can get a furlow I will come on a steamboat. I want to get a furlow for the holidays. I don't expect I can get a furlow at all it will be about Christmas when I come home. I want you to cook me a big Shanghigh chicken for dinner if you will I will fech you a Christmas gift. I wish I had one of your Shanghigh now to eat to knight all the boys is making so much fus I dont know what to write we have a fine time here in camp it is a snowing to night and it very cold to night and it is been tolerable cold for the last two weeks it snowed about 2 weeks ago. I want you to write to me as soon as you get this letter you much excuse my bad write as I am in a hurry. You will direct your letter to camp Ed Weir near Owensboro, Ky no one at present but remain your true friend on till Death.

B.F. Creslius

Medora Bartles
E. Bartles
Abigail Bartles
Charley Bartles

Mead County?

Attached to the letter is this statement written by the soldier:

Camp Ed Weir
Daviess Co, Ky
Nov. 25th 1862

The Star Spangled Banner oh long may it wave over the land of the free and the home of the Brave. If Ky tomorrow unfurls the Banner of resistance I never will fight under that Banner again. I vow her uppermost allegiance to the union a ... note one Henry Clay in the senate 1850
Heres for the union, the Constitution and the enforcement of the laws.


Owensboro-Daviess County Public Library Special Collections

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John Jackman

John Jackman was a member of the Confederate military unit from Kentucky that came to be known as the "Orphan Brigade." During his tour of duty, he made many diary entries recording his experiences. Most of the entries describe being cold, sick, and hungry. Fortunately for us, he was often too sick to fight and so survived the Civil War to publish this account. The following entries describe his experiences at the Battle of Shiloh, near Corinth, MS. In this entry, he makes fun of a fellow Confederate soldier he calls "Brown Jeans" who does not speak proper English and is unable to afford a proper uniform.

April 5th, 1862

This morning, felt completely broken down. The wagon was so heavily loaded, and behind too, I had to try it afoot again -- the train rolled past me, and I was left a complete straggler. A staff officer, in charge of the rear, ordered me back to Corinth, but as soon as he was gone, I kept ahead. The next house I came to I stopped. The lady gave me some milk and bread to eat. I felt so bad, I thought I would go no further. Soldiers were straggling along all day. That evening, there was some artillery firing towards Shiloh. Again had fever that night.

April 6th

This day will long be remembered. Soon after the sun had risen, the firing of artillery became so general, and the roar of musketry could be heard so distinctly, I knew the battle had commenced. I wished to be on the field, but was not able to walk so far. The gentleman with whom I was staying had his only remaining horse caught, which I mounted. When I bade "mine hostess" good bye, she looked very "sorrowful" -- which affected me not a little & I never knew why she took such an interest in me. The gentleman walked and kept up. Four miles brought us to Monterey, and just beyond, we met some of the wounded on foot with their arms and heads bound up in bloody bandages, & I felt then that I was getting in the vicinity of the "warfare." Soon we met ambulances and wagons loaded with wounded, and I could hear the poor fellows groaning and shrieking, as they were being jolted over the rough road. Met a man on horseback with a stand of captured colors. We were now in proximity of the fighting, and we met crowds of men; some crippling along, wounded in the legs or about the body; others, no blood could be seen about their persons -- yet all seemed bent on getting away. I now dismounted and started on foot. I never saw the gentleman afterwards, who had kindly brought me so far on the road. Being in so much excitement, I became stronger. I met a fellow dressed in a suit of "butter-nut" jeans, who was limping, but I don't believe was scratched. He asked me, in that whining way: "Has you'ns been in the fight yet?" I thought he meant some general, and asked my "brown" interrogator what troops General "Youens" commanded. He seemed astounded, and at last made me understand him. I told him "no," and went on. I afterwards got quite familiar with the "youens" and "weens" vernacular of "Brown Jeans."

While passing a hospital on the roadside, I happened to see one of our company lying by a tent wounded. I went out to see him, and there found the brigade hospital established. There were heaps of wounded lying about, many of them I knew, and first one then another would ask me to give him water or do some other favor for him. While I was thus occupied, Dr. P told me to stay with him, that I was not able to go on the field -- that I would be captured. There was no one to help him, and I turned surgeon, pro tempore. I was not able to do much, but rendered all the assistance in my power. Part of my business was to put patients under the influence of chloroform. I kept my handkerchief saturated all the time, and was often dizzy from the effects myself. It was about one o'clock in the day, when I got there.

All day long the battle raged. Occasionally there would be a lull for a short time; but the cannon were never entirely hushed. They would break out in increased thunder, and the roar of the musketry would roll up and down the lines, vibrating almost regularly from one extreme to the other. All day long the ambulances continued to discharge their loads of wounded. At last night set in, and the musketry ceased; but the Federal gunboats continued shelling awhile after dark. Nearly midnight when we got through with the wounded. A heavy rain set in. I was tired, sick and all covered with blood. But I was in far better fix than many that were there. I sat on a medicine chest in the surgeon's tent, and "nodded" the long night through.


Diary of a Confederate Soldier: John S. Jackman of the Orphan Brigade
Edited by William C. Davis. University of South Carolina, 1990.

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Samuel Bennett

Samuel Bennett, of Daviess County, was a member of the 26th Kentucky volunteers. This diary entry describes his experience as a Union soldier at the Battle of Shiloh, near Corinth, MS in April 1862.

April 6th

We heard heavy firing in our front. We marched to Savanna which was about 8 miles hear we learned that there was a hard battle Wageing at Pitsburgh Landing. We marched into Savanna just at dark. We got on board a boat and went to Pitsburgh. We landed at Pitsburgh about midnight. Here was everything that was calculated to throw a damper over a soldier. We could hear the srieks of the wounded and the banks of the river was crouded with almost panic stricken men We rested on the bank as well we could in the rain until next morning.

April 7th

We marched into the scene of action and after a hot contest with the rebels we repulsed them and put in flight to Corinth the loss of our regiment was about 84 killed and wounded the loss of our Co was one killed by the name of Elijah Hughes and four wounded one among whom was my brother whose name was William J Bennett this is the sadest disaster that I have had to encounter since I have been in the service up to this time for my brother had enlisted in the service at the same time that I did and now to be seperated from him far away from home or relatives was too much for me to undergo but such are the fates of war.


Diary of Samuel Wilson Bennett
Oct 14, 1861 to July 30, 1865
Owensboro Area Museum of Science and History

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Joshua Callaway

This letter by Joshua Callaway describes his experiences during what is now known as the "Kentucky Campaign." This military action by the Confederate army was an unsuccessful attempt to invade Kentucky and establish a Confederate government in Frankfort.

Camp near Knoxville, Tenn.
Oct. 27th 1862
Mrs. D. Callaway

My dear wife, As Mr. Brown is going to start home in the morning I will write you a short letter; though it is so cold & so late I can not write much. We have had a big snow. The ground is covered about ten inches. It began Saturday & covered the ground with 3 inches & yesterday it was very cold and a little before night it began again & this morning it was about ten inches deep, but the sun has been shining all day and it thawed rapidly; but it is very cold to a parcel of soldiers who are nearly naked and bare footed.

My dear, I scarcely know what to say about our tramps through Tennessee and Kentucky. I have not room on this small sheet to tell you of half that we have seen and suffered.

I know you must be anxious to know all about it and I am determined to tell you all when I have time and room. Suffice it to say at present that we have marched nearly seven hundred miles, traversed Tennessee & Kentucky in various directions, have met the yankees at several points, been at the taking of about six thousand prisoners & a great amount of army stores, suffered a great amount of cold and hunger and famine, have been on forced marches nearly all the time, day & night, and finally have had to evacuate Kentucky. We are now resting our weary bodies, for a few days, eight miles north of Knoxville, not knowing how soon or in what direction we will have to move.

The "unkindest cut of all" was that we had to throw away our knapsacks & all our clothes at Sparta, Tennessee, on the 5th of September, and consequently we are now naked, bare footed, dirty, filthy and lousy (with body lice only) beyond description. We have never been paid off yet. My little old blanket has long since failed & but for the kindness of my messmates who let me slip with them, I should long since have "gone under." It all feels really that we are "naked, poor, despised, forsaken." Yet, thank God most of us are well, only two of the company have died in all the round wheras when I think of it I wonder that any could endure so much but we have endured it cheerfully and are still resolved, by the grace of God to be free. Several of the company have been sick. I for one was very low for several days. The whole company thought I would die. I thought myself my time had come. For 5 days I could not sit up. I lay in the wagons & was jolted over about 130 miles of rocky mountainous road, when it seemed every jolt would take my life. I wept, cried, prayed, thought of home, wife & children, blessed & cursed the teamsters, the wagon masters, the Quartermasters, the generals, the yankees, and the ware generally, but never took any medicine. And my heart is now ... [letter ends]


The Civil War Letters of Joshua K. Callaway
Edited by Judith lee Hallock. University of Georgia Press, 1997.

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Samuel K. Cox

This is Union soldier Samuel Cox's account of the capture of Fort Donelson.

April 1862

I awoke this morning bright and early, half frozen, having slept on the cold ground without any cover save that of the Heavens, and I was almost sorry that I was not wounded on Saturday, for I felt confident that it was my last day, and I am sure that it would have been had we stormed the Fort. At sun-up we received the joyful information that the Fort had surrendered. I supposed we had about 50,000 troops, and one can imagine the noise we made, for cheer after cheer was sent up for miles around. We then marched into the Fort and there was a general stacking of arms. I talked with a great many Southerners and they seemed to think that we had whipped them fairly and were willing to surrender. I met several old acquaintances from Hartford, Ky who appeared to be glad to see me and expressed a wish that I might get through safely. (I say ditto).

We captured from thirteen to twenty thousand prisoners and a great many more made their escape through the night. General Floyd Pillow and Johnston among the rest. General Buckner said he would not go unless he could take his men with him, for they had stood by him and he intended to remain a prisoner with them. (Manly of him) There was an immense amount of army stores and may large guns, the number I do not know. We remained in the Fort but traveled some two miles and camped for the night (The spot we selected being six inches in the mud.)

I have not given, and cannot give a satisfactory account of the battle, for my pen is inadequate to the task. It would take a Clay or a Webster to picture it as it occurred. Nor can anyone who has not seen the horrors of war imagine the scenes presented in that great battle. The groans of the dying and wounded were everywhere. Men were killed in every imaginable way, some with legs blown off, and a number with their heads shot off by cannon balls. It was horrible to behold.

The number of killed and wounded I am as yet ignorant of, but will say at a rough guess, 2,000 killed and as many wounded.


Civil War Diary of Samuel K. Cox
Edited by Dr. Richard J. Reid
Owensboro-Daviess County Public Library Special Collections

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W.D. Crump

This is an account of a Confederate soldier, W.D. Crump, who was taken as a prisoner of war. The original transcript in the Library of Congress collection of oral histories contains numerous deleted sections and hand-written insertions.

"I was born in Louisville, Kentucky on August 21, 1844, and when the war broke out I went right into service. I was in Company C. 3rd Kentucky Cavalry under Commander Morgan of General Johnston's Brigade. My Company had been stationed at [McMinnville?], Tennessee, when we received orders to break camp and proceed north. We left there on the 2nd day of July, and headed for Iowa. We had several fights with the Yankees while going through Kentucky {Begin deleted text}{End deleted text} When we reached the Ohio River we crossed at Brandenburg, our Commander had detailed a squad to go ahead and capture some boats for {Begin deleted text} [?] {End deleted text} on the Ohio [ {Begin deletedtext} {End deleted text} The squads managed to get two boats, but our {Begin deleted text} [?] {End deleted text} Company ran into a Regiment of the Northern Army on Buffington Island in the Ohio River and we were taken prisoners. For awhile we were kept at Camp [Morton?] {Begin deleted text} [Indianapolis?] {End deleted text}, Indiana. Later we were transferred to Camp Douglas, Chicago. There were about 10,000 prisoners in this camp. We were not physically mistreated here but they half starved us. Our rations consisted mostly of light bread and beans. The beans were cooked in a big pot with very little seasoning in them. We could not relish such food as that, it was merely a sustenance, something to ease the gnawing hunger, but it did not (Begin deleted text} satisify {End deleted text} {Begin inserted text} satisfy {End inserted text} our appetites. At times we craved a change of fare {Begin deleted text} untill {End deleted text} {Begin inserted text} until {End inserted text} we were almost desperate. Some of the men could hardly control their desire for meat and when they could catch rats and cats, they ate them voraciously. We were allowed very few visitors, but I recall one man who came to the Camp with a dog following him. The visitor was somehow granted permission to see one of the prisoners, and when he entered the confines the dog came in with him -- but he did not leave with him. The man could not find his dog when he was ready to go and he created somewhat of a disturbance looking for him. Captain Spenable ordered a {Begin deleted text} serch {End deleted text} {Begin inserted text} search {End inserted text} to be made through the Camp for the dog, {Begin deleted text} [?] {End deleted text} {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} [?] {End handwritten} {End inserted text} developed that it had been killed and was being eaten. The prisoner who had {Begin deleted text} succumb {End deleted text} {Begin inserted text} /[succumbed?] {End inserted text} to this madness for meat was cast into solitary {Begin deleted text} [conefinement?] {End deleted text} {Begin inserted text} confinement {End inserted text}."

"As I have previously stated we were not allowed to have many visitors," Judge Crump reiterated. "I was held a prisoner for 19 months and by [adroit?] management my father got to see me twice and my mother once. My father's first [visit?] was made while I was at Camp Morton, in {Begin deleted text} [?] {End deleted text} {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} [Indianapolis?] {End handwritten} {End inserted text}. Father had been to St. Louis and was returning to our home in Louisville {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted text} when news reached him of the capture of Company C. under Morgan's command, so he came by Camp Morton to try to find out if I was among the prisoners that {Begin deleted text} [were?] {End deleted text}{Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} had been {End handwritten} {End inserted text} taken. It so happened that I was not far from the gate when my father was passing and I whistled to him and ran to the gate to talk with him, but the guard would {Begin deleted text} [?] {End deleted text} allow us but five minutes conversation together, then he reminded me that it was against the rules to talk with anyone on the outside. However I was so eager to see my father after our long separation that I only went a short distance from the gate and stood watching him. Presently the guard came over and told me that my father wished to know if I wanted {Begin deleted text} [anything that?] {End deleted text} {Begin deleted text} [he could send me?] {End deleted text} {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} [????] {End handwritten} {End inserted text}. I sent word back that I would like to have a pipe and some tobacco. When father received this daring request, he turned around and shook his fist at me. I had not smoked when I was at home, it was strictly against my parent's wishes, but father sent me the pipe and tobacco {Begin deleted text} [?] {End deleted text}anyway."

"When my mother arrived at the Camp they at first refused to let her see me, but she out-talked them and got in," Judge Crump said with a twinkle in his eyes." {Begin deleted text} [?] {End deleted text} After I was transferred to Camp Douglas in Chicago, Father and two of my sisters came up there and the [Prison?] officals would not let them see me. McLennan was Democratic nominee for president and the convention was being held at this time, {Begin deleted text} [?] {End deleted text} father went to Governor Seymour and appealed to him to intervene in his behalf with the War [Department?]. So Governor Seymour telegraphed the War Department and requested a permit for father to see me. He got it alright, but father had been so upset that he neglected to have the girls {Begin deleted text}{End deleted text} names included in the request {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} and {End handwritten} {End inserted text} [?] no mention was made of them in the order {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted text} and the stubborn officials at the camp would not allow them to accompany {Begin deleted text} [with?] {End deleted text} {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} [my?] {End handwritten} {End inserted text} father, so I did not get to see my sisters at all while I was a prisoner."

"I was offered my freedom once, on condition that I renounce allegiance to the South, but I refused," Judge Crump said in a vehement voice, trembling with age and emotion. "Robert E. Lee was one of the finest men that ever lived and I would have died in prison before I would have gone back on him and the South. But I was given my freedom about a month before the war closed when the North and the South exchanged prisoners. I was one of the men included in the exchange, and in this [war?] I was sent back south and set at liberty."

"There was nothing in my war record that I ever looked back on with regret," Judge Crump said thoughtfully. "Some of the country {Begin deleted text} [that we passed?] {End deleted text} through {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} [which we passed?] {End handwritten} {End inserted text} had been devastated by General Sherman's armies, but the Southern troops never ravaged the country and needlessly burned houses that lay in [their?] path. My company burned one house, that was while we were up in Indiana and it was utterly unavoidable."

Warren, Ivey G., January 6, 1937

Lubbock County District 17 {Begin handwritten} [?] {End handwritten}


Library of Congress
American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writer's Project, 1936-1940
Tales Of Early Days By Judge W.D. Crump

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