FROM MEMPHIS TO NASHVILLE - REJOINING THE REGIMENT
(Jefferson Moses became ill at Vicksburg, was sent to Webster General Hospital in Memphis, and then received a furlough and returned to his home near Freeport, Illinois. His diary begins as he returns to Memphis in October, 1863. His initial diary entries tell of his time in convalescence camps in Memphis and Nashville. He returns to his regiment in January, 1864. This also tells of his journey on riverboats on the Mississippi, Ohio and Cumberland from Memphis to Nashville which took 12 days due to the frequence of getting stuck on sand bars.)
October 15, 1863
I landed at Cairo and got aboard the Liberty No. 2 for Memphis. It cost me $1.25 from Cairo to Memphis for deck passage. It cost me $12.00 to come down from Freeport. It took me the great part of 3 days four nights to come from Freeport to Memphis. The first thing that I do I wrote a letter to father. After I had wrote the letter I layed down and slept a little while. Then I got up and ate my supper which consisted of a piece of toast a cup of tea and a little lump of butter. It is now night and try and take good rest but not knowing what is a head of me but I put my trust in God.
October 16, 1863
I left the Webster hospital and com to Fort Pickering to the convalesant camp. There are still soldiers coming in the convelesant camp and there are some go out ever daily.
October 21, 1863
It is very mudy around our tent and prety cold. We have no fire in our tent and it is very cold and damp. It is very unhealthy at present. The orderly has just been here to get some men to help buery soldiers that died here in the hospital.
October 26, 1863
Today I am on guard again. This is the second time that I have been on since I am in camp. Today I am guard at the old prison about a half mile from the company that I stay in. They have a lot of deserters in that they caught and a lot of men that had furlows and stayed over the time (unidentified words) that their furlow where not out yet but on what purpose I cant tell. They are so hard looking (unidentified) of men that I ever saw. We had to guard them till the rations were dealt out. They got their rations cooked which consists of two crackers and a little piece of meat and a pint of tea or coffee for a meal.
November 10, 1863
Today all that belong to the 15 and 16 army corps are to leave for Nashville. I didn't hardly know what to do so I wait until nearly night. Then I went up and gave my name in for to go to Nashville. So this evening I am on the steamer Mary E Forsyth for Cairo. There are three hundred and some 80 or so on board. Have all of diferent regiments. We all lay in the engine room right on (unidentified). It is prety hard but still it dont mater mutch where a soldier lays.
November 12, 1863
We landed here on the wharf at Cairo about mid night last night. Probably we will haf to lay here all day.We had quite a time of it to day.
November 13, 1863
To day we are on the Ohio river sailing like (unidentified). We have had good luck so far. We passed several steamboats. This morning we had quite a time to get our rations. The old capt he issued to some and to ther he (unidentified) not issue. So they boys they got their donder up. Some swore they would push him in the river. We didnt get no rations until ten o clock.
November 15, 1863
We got off the sand bar last evening and now are on an other. One night at the Cumberland river or at mouth of the Cumberland. They are trying to get off now. We are now geting on a other steamboat and that will carry us to Smithland about two mile. Then the old Bob Ray will (unidentified). We are now on an old steamboat that lies at the port of Smithland.
November 16, 1863
This morning the old Bob Ray (this may have been the steamboat Rob Roy rather than Bob Ray) come up to us and now we are all a traveling for the old boat. We are now in the Cumberland river. It is a prety normal stream. Today we run over some rock. I can tell you it fairly raised the old Bob Ray.
November 19, 1863
We are still here and have been for three days (Bob Ray has been stuck on a sand bar). I can tell you the boys did some (unidentified) foraging since we lay here. Their is a man with a large family. The (unidentified) prety rough with him when we first landed. He had about 30 head of sheep and a lot of hogs and chickens and geese. They cabbaged them all.
November 20, 1863
Well we are on the old steamboat yet and dont know when we will get off. To day we passed the old battlefield Fort Donelson (early Union victory at Fort Donelson February 14-16, 1862). It is a prety hard looking place so it is. It is full of high bluffs. The river is very low at present but the steamboat that we are on is a very light boat. We lay at Clarksville, Tennessee. It is a prety nies little town.
November 21, 1863
Last night we lay a while at a town called Clarksville. We lay till about ten o clock. Then they steamed up the river and run till about two o clock in the night. Then the morning they shoved out again. We had to stop and load on some rails for they were out of fuel. We are on the river yet. It is very hilly and (unidentified)have some very high and steep hills. The boys seem all to be in good humor all the time.
November 22, 1863
We are at our journey end at once or at least off the steamboat.We landed here at Nashville last night at about 9 o clock. Nashville is a right smart town for all can see. This evening we are in the convalesent camp here at Nashville. This is (unidentified) place the ugliest place that I ever saw.
November 25, 1863
This morning I got off of guard last night at 11 o clock. I was relieved then I went to bed and this morning about 9 o clock the corpal come and wanted me to go on guard but I laid still. I did not go on. That is the way we do guard duty here. I stood last night about as long as I thought my time time was up. Then I made tracks for the tent.
November 27, 1863
Their were a lot of men come in to our camp again to day. I read in the pappers that the colonel of my regiment was killed ( Colonel Holden Putnam was killed at Missionary Ridge on November 25. ). I am sorry if it is so. To day their were 6 more men come in our tent. We are crowded prety well.
November 29, 1863
We had our dinner which consisted of a little coffee and a little meat that wasn't fit for a dog to eat but still if a man hasnt nothing he has to do best he can.
December 6, 1863
This morning I went to the doctor and got some medicine for me. It is very lonesome today. I wish the cruel war was over so I do.
December 18, 1863
To day a got a letter from home. So my father had sent me some money by Express. I went down and got it with out any trouble.
December 20, 1863
To day is sunday and a very lonesome day. This morning I herd a small sermon preached over across the road in a battery company N. It was one of these old sanitary christians from Michigan. He done tolerable well. He is around almost every day bringing some kind of book and pappers to us to read. (The Sanitary Commission was composed mostly of women and was responsible for such functions as diet, hygiene, and caring for the sick and wounded in Army camps. There was also a Christian Commission that distributed food and medical supplies in addition to serving their spiritual needs. Moses wasn't differentiating between the two organizations as he refers to the "sanitary christians" both here and in his January 1, 1864 diary entry.)
December 21, 1863
I also weighed myself today. I weigh 172 pounds. That is the most I have weighed in my life.
December 23, 1863
Yesterday there was one of the boys arested and put in the Penitentiary for not having a pass. He was in there two days. At noon he was released and come up to the tent. I can tell you he hates it. His name is George Baker. He belongs to the 31 Iowa company. He is prety good felow. To day the sergent that is in the tent that I am he got on a detail to guard a house some place in town. I think he will stay their all winter.
December 24, 1863
This morning we had role call and all those that were absent were droped off the role call. To day I had my picture taken over. I had it taken and it didn't suit me. I had my coat off and I told him that I wanted them taken over. I had to pay 10 cents more.
December 25, 1863
To day is Christmas and a very nice day. This day a year ago I was in or near Holly Spring (Mississippi). I was sick at the time so I could not enjoy myself and to day I am at Nashville Tenn and the regiment at Brigeport (Alabama). I wish I was at home to day.
December 26, 1863
I went down to town and come across two of my company. They were wounded at Mission Rige. One was shot through the leg and the other was wounded through the arm or on the shoulder. One was Henry Hockman J P Garman. They took me by surprise. I was sorry for them. They are on their way home. They will leave to day at 8 o clock for Freeport. I am glad to see them go home. The one is my partner. He was at home in september the same time that I was and now he is on his road home again.
January 1, 1864
To day is New Years again. One more year past and gone and a new year come and a very cold morning. To day the lady of the Christian Sanitary Commission gave us a lot of pies. I can tell you they were very good. They were mince pies.
January 2, 1864
We are all packing our nap sack for the front. This afternoon we got orders to fall in to go to the baracks. We went down and it was very cold.
January 3, 1864
This morning we were roused up to get redy for to go on the (unidentified). We had to get up at 2 o clock. It was very cold. We passed through the roughest country that I ever saw. We passed through a tunel that was cut through a rock. It was about a half mile or mor through. We got to Stepenson ( Stevenson, Alabama) at about eight o clock. Then we had to go to head quarter to answer to our moves.
January 6, 1864
To day I left Stephenson for my company. I got on the cars and landed here at Larkensville (Alabama) and found all of the boys that were left. I was glad to see them all.