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About The American. (Omaha, Nebraska) 1891-1899 | View Entire Issue (Nov. 30, 1894)
I WAS THERE MYSELF"
Our Friend Tells of Three Days of
Acti Service During the War.
Sent U Van a HrWw t Emharraw the
Emaij-YUtrh the lu.mj lUd Al-rr-adj
S-nt op Smoke.
AprilS, 1SH2, my rvglment wan l
tlowJ t Crump" Landing, on the
Tennef river, lx mlW-t from Pitts
burgh Landing, or more historically
known a Shiloh.
On the tilphtof April 5, my raiment
and one othrr, making nearly 2,000 sol
dier in all, were tent to Purdy, a mall
place twelve tnllea Inland, to burn a
bridge that we thought, or at least our
commander thought, was of great value
to the enemy; but when we got there
we found the Johnle had burned it for
us, M we had our trip for nothing.
The road was wet from previous
heavy rains, and that Tenceiee mud
or clay was horrible, when mixed with
plenty of water and properly tempered
by a couple of thousand soldiers march
ing through it, and the night was so
dark that you could not see three feet
ahead of you. We marched by twos and
joined hands like the country jakes
coming in town to a circus. One of us
would come up to a right shoulder
shift, the other to a left, when one
would fall the other would pull him up;
but even that would ofton fall to keep
us out of the mud, for wo would both
slip and go down together. There was
a dead horse just in the middle of the
road, and I'll venture to say that out of
the 2,000, about l.fiOO fell over that
horso, and If a soldier's curses availeth
anything, that horse's soul must be in
We made the round trip just before
daybreak, tired, sleepy and covered
with mud, laid down, got a few hours
sleep, up again at roll call, got break
fast, when my partner and 1 took our
overcoats to a stream clone By, to wash
some of Tennessee's sacred soil off
them, for the coat that was a U. S. bluo
the night before, was a beautiful Ten
nessee yellow the next morning.
In explanation of the word partner,
soldiers in the army almost Invariably
pair off, as it is essential in more ways
than one. First, a doublo blanket will
cover two, so on a cold night we could
put our rubber blankets under us and
have four blankets over us instead of
two; another reason, if one is sick and
off duty, tho other will raak it as
pleasant as he can for him: again, in
foraging for things that are good to
eat, two are apt to get more than one,
thpn we whack up.
We hadfscarcely commenced to wash
our coats when the firing at Shiloh was
heard very distinctly where we were.
This was Sunday morning, April 6, and
a fine clear morning it was, if I remem
ber aright. C My pard said: "The pick
ets are unloading their guns at Shiloh."
I said: "Pickets be d d, did vou ever
hear of six and twelve pounders unload
Ing afterjbeing on picket? I'll bet you
a canteen of regulation, pard, that we
get marching orders in less than an
hour to help them fellows out." IHegu
latlon In the army means whit key; the
government used to ls.-ue it to the men
sometimes, and I was quite solid with
the brigade commissary. Pard and I
generally had a canteen of it between
us. Pard says: "1 11 take the bet." I
won and had half an hour to spare, for
the orderly's call was beat in less than
half an hour and ourorders were: "Two
day's grubiin your haversack and sixty
rounds'cartrldges, forty in your car
tridge box and tweny in your blouse,
and be ready to mareh at a moment's
notice. The notice came about 11
o'clock, and the whole command started
The command, as near as lean recol
lect, was as follows: First Nebraska,
Sixth Missouri, Eighth Missouri, the
pride of youn 'humble servant, Fllty
fifth Illinois, and Ninth Indiana bat
tery. I don't remember the number of
the battery; it was a full company, six
pieces. We marched about five miles,
but we took the wrong road, and when
we discovered ourselves we were almost
in the rear of the enemy, and within
half a mile of where General Prentice
and his whole brigade were captured,
ao I afterwards learned. Just here an
orderly tcame dashing up to the head of
the column, banded the general an en
velope, and in a few seconds the order
came: "Righo bout, double quick,
march," and we did it for about two
miles, when we came to a walk and
took to a road leading east until we
struck bt was called the river road
to Shiloh, and a fine wet and spongy
one it was; we had to corduroy a part
of it to get the battery and teams over.
It was about dark when we got in line,
and the firing had about ceased for the
day. We were on the extreme left of
the enemy's line; our right in a large
timber, and I would say, about a
quarter of a mile from the river. We
stacked' arms with orders not to leave
the 6tacks over ten feet, but that order
was not very rigidly kept Pard and I
got a slim supper, black coffee, sow
b and hard tack. Our stingy sup
per over, we commenced to make our
bed like so many hogs, by scratching
tome leaves and small brush together
to keep our precious hides off the
ground; but our leaves were of little
um, for in the early part of the evening
it commenced to thunder, lighten and
rain, and If the wther-clerk ever did
bis duty, it was that night, for at inter
val it teamed as though It came down
in bucketful; it would let up for a short
time, to let the HghU-tlng get lU work
in, and when the lightening would
fianh, we could see the fence, as It were,
of bajonets 1 alf a mile long.
Sleep a out of the question. Between
the thunder and lightening and a gun
boat In our rear, which was throwing
forty-two pound shells over our heads
into the enemy's camp, two miles away,
about every three to five minutes, the
dia was simply terrible, so pard
and I took our guns, stuck the bayo
nets in tho ground, threw an oil cloth
blanket over the butts for a roof, put
our knapsacks down and sat back to
back with our b'ankets around us. But
it did not last long, for the next big
shower that came, it seemed as if
a quart of water went down my back.
I says, 'let's get out and hunt a tree,'
which we did. Panl got there before
I did. The trip was made when It light
ened, for that was the only time we
could see anything. I followed him as
soon as I could, and when I was near
the tree, he said tome: "There is a
dead Johny has this tree." "How do
you know?" "Why I put my hand
right In his face." I said, "You are
sure ho is dead?" His reply was, "His
face is wet and cold as a wedge." I
said: "The rain won't hurt him any;
lets pull him out a little from there,"
so each took a leg and moved him out,
and we had the tree to ourselves; but
it was no improvement on the place we
bad left, but it was the best we could
do, for the rain found Its way to our
hides just tho same. But our cup of
experience was not quite full yet, for
half an Hour before we went to the tree,
a wounded rebel in our front, and not
over a hundred yards away, had been
to'Pfflnf? for a drink of water, and
though his clothes were wet as water
could make them, he would hollo,
"Oh, won't some one for God's sake
bring me a drink," and after waiting a
reasonable time, would raise his voice
and hollo, "Won't some cowardly Yank
bring me a drink?" I said to ard,
"Go give the poor devil a drink." "Not
by a d m sight, there may be a brick
in It." Another clap of thunder, a
flash of lightning, then more rain, an
other shell from the gunboat, and the
echo bad scarcely died away, when our
wounded Johny opened up again with,
"Ohl won't fome big-hearted Yank
bring me a drink?" I again urged my
pnrd to go. As it was his day to carry
canteen of regulation. I told him to
give it to me, and I started for the
wounded Johny with the two canteens.
I went a few yards, waited till it light,
ened and would go again. I got within
seventy feet of him, I hailed him with,
"Are you a Johny or a Yank?" "Oh!
I am a confederate, for God's sake give
me a drink." I unslung my canteen of
water and gave him some, and while
he was dr'nklng I asked him if he
would like a drink of whiskey. "Great
God," he said, "have you got some
whiskey?" He appeared to be more
surprised than he did when the ball
struck blm. He took the whiskey, and
would have' emptied it if I had not
choked him off. He thanked me very
kindly, gave me his name, regiment
and his mother's address. I unrolled
his blanket, put some brush under his
head for a pillow and covered him with
his blanket, bid him good night and
that was the last I ever heard of him,
for I suppose the whiskey put him to
sleep. He was shot through the hips,
and the lower part of him was paralyzed.
When T got back. Pard said, "What
did you find?" I told him a wounded
Johny. "Were you fool enough to give
htm all that whiskey?" he inquired. I
told him yes, and he commenced to
d m me for wasting good whiskey on
a Johny, for he said he would die any
how before morning. I handed him
the canleeu, he gave it a shake and
foiled I was lying about giving all the
whiskey to the John, and he said, "I
didn't think you was such a big fool."
It was now near morning, the thunder
and lightening had ceased, and the only
thing that marred our peace the bal
ance of the night was the gunboat firing
occasionally and an orderly going along
hunting f)r the commanding officer.
Pard and myself took a little consola
tion out of the regulation canteen and
backed ourselves up against the tree,
and he slept pretty well for an hour or
two, but every time the boat sent shells
over our heads I awoke, although I was
quite ripe for sleep, only about four
hours in two nights.
It was not later than 6 o'clock on the
iuorniK of the Tth, when the reveille
was blown, and everything was astir.
Pard and myself, wet and half asleep,
tried to l'ght a fire; he got a piece of
paper out of his knapsack, and the fire
was started; he prepared the coffee and
I took the two guns and wiped them as
dry as 1 could, while he was getting
the coffee boiled. The sun rose clear,
and as it was in the large timber and
no wind, scarcely, the air was thick with
mist or fog, we could not see much over
a hundred yards. When our coffee was
about done, a six pound shot came tear
ing through the trees from the enemy.
It went about fifty feet to the right and
about ten feet too high, and buried it
self in the ground a hundred ya-ils in
our rear, but it was near enough to
Up all coffee making. The bugle
sounded and the long roll was b at
along the whole line, and that waa the
last brek'at for many a nir fellow,
and my partrer at among that un
fortunate rumlfr. A tb Indiana bat
tery W4 jut to the right of my regi
ment It was ordered Into action in reply
to the enemy's shot, and a regular ar
tillery duel wis kep up for some min
utes, when we, the Infantry, were or
dered in, and then the bull was on for
the day, not at our end alone, but the
who!.- line. That one shot in our front
was the opening of the whole fight for
the day, and from then until about 2
o'clock In the afternoon, there was no
lull with the exception of a few min-'
utcs at a time while the artillery was
changing Mitiitton. or the infantry was
making tome small flank movement,
which was done several times In the
afternoon. My regiment was making a
flank movement on a double quick
across a sma'l ravine, when the .Tohnies
got u In range. firlngon us.killing eight
of my company outright and wounding
as many more. My pard wan one of
the killed; we were touching elbows
when he fell. It i-t hard to express
one's feelings just at a moment like
that. I slackened my gait for a mo
ment to look at poor Phil', when the
captain's shrill voice rang out, "Close
up, close up." It was well he did, for
it would have Wn certain death to the
most of us to have halted there any
time. After getting over the ravine
we were ordered to lie down to escape
the enemy's fire, and the batteries
changed position. I don't suppose we
were lying there over five minutes, but
it seemed an age to me. A thousand
things ran through my mind, but the
subject that was uppermost was poor
"hill, dead or mortally wounded; and
then the wounded Johny of the night
before came to my mind, and I won
dered If any one would give him water
if he needed it, for he had the canteen
with whlekey In it, but there was but
little left. While lying there I could
have wept like a child if I could have
done any good, and I don't know but
I did to some extent, for, as the old
saying Is, it was a time that tried men's
souls. The bugle sounded, rise up and
double quick to another ridge, then or
dered to lie down, load and fire at will,
and here all my sympathetic feelings
seemed to leave me, and all respect I
ever had for the enemv seemed gone for
ever, and I believe if I could have had
the power at that time to send the
whole confederacy to -hell at one swoop
I would have done it. The orders were,
fire at will. Well I had a will at that
time, and it appeared to me that I fired
threl shots to my neighbors two, and I
did not fire without taklnar aim either,
for I wanted to get even with the fellow
that killed my partner.
The fighting wan terrible from about
eleven till half past one or two o'clock,
when the Johnles massed their whole
force in a body of about 40,000, I was
told, and I guess we had perhaps that
many or more, and it seemed that every
gun, from a twenty-pound Parrot, down
to a forty-eight calibre rifle, was doing
duty. Just imagine 100.000 infantry
and all the artillery of both sides in
action at one time. It seemed a miracle
how any one could escape a wound of
some kind. I have seen several skirm
ishes and ha'd battles, but never heard
such an artillery and musketry as on
Anrll 7, from twelve to two o'clock.
When tbev crvild not break our line
they gave it up. and we had the field
with all their dead and wounded, and
all the dead to bury, with the excep
tion of those the rebels came in and
got under a flae of truce. I went back
next morning to wbere our dead were
collected for burial to take a last look
at poor Phil. The fellow that shot
him made a good job of it. for the ball
had (rone through bis breast and out at
the back, taking half a hand-full of the
blue cotton batting such im the soldiers
coats were lined with. I don't suppose
he ever knew what kiled him. He
was buried with the rest of the dead,
and their graves property marked.
On Wednesday afternoon, April 9, I
was detailed on tbe burying squad to
bury the dead enemy. Some had laid
on the ground since Sunday morning,
for they did not Intend to do anything
towards burying until a'ter Monday,
when they expected to rnave a large
portion of the Yankee army to bury
those who were not driven Into the
Tennessee river; for General Bureguard
made a speech to his men on Sunday
night and tola them that the next day
Monday they would drive the Yankee
horde into the Tennessee river and
make an end and a first-class job of it,
but he counted his chkkens before they
were hatched, for on fionday night the
whole force under Bu.-eguard waa five
miles from the river, on their way to
Corinth, minus many thousands of the
comrades, who were killed or wounded.
I will give you an idea of a burying
detail I mean in burying the enemy
after a big battle. There is a gang
goes with picks and shovels to dig the
trenches, which are dug about seven
feet wide and from ten to forty feet
long, and about tkree feet deep: if it is
good digging the bole may get a foot
more; the length of the ditch depended
generally on how thick the dead were,
and the number we had to bury. The
hauling detail was a four-mule team
with a driver, and four men to do the
loading, three on'ithe ground and one
In the wagon to pull them up to the
front of tbe wagon and pile them up,
for I have seen as many as thirty In
one load. We would take the load to
the nrareet trench and roll them in,
sometimes two deep to save digging.
They were not handled as you would
handle eggs and crockery, for it was
anything but a pleasant job, and you
may know the flavor was anything but
a flower garden after lying on tbe
ground from Sunday morning until
Wednesday afternoon, and the two last
days were quite warm. Why thy were
not buried sconer I don't know. All
the dead horses were burned on Tues
day. It Is less work to burn a horse
than to dig a hole, if vou have plenty
I of wood, and we had plenty of It.
If we had not buried the dead when
we did, there would likely have been
an epidemic, for the smell was unbear
able. The burying detail was furnished
whisky to drink, for one needed some
thing to strengthen his nerves and
deaden the sense of smell. By working
lively I think the dead were all buried
by Wednesday night. It appears bad
enough to kill a man, tut it seems
much worse when you have to wait until
he is decomposed, and then bury him to
keep him from killing you in return.
So you see we had to fight the enemy
twico, as it were, and your humble ser
vant was unfortunate enough to be in
It to the finish; and of my whole three
years' service, those three days and
nights were the saddest and most
lamentable of all my life, and yet it
was thirty-one years last month since
it happened. So strongly was it Im
pressed on my mind that the most
minute details of that occasion seem as
vivid as if it occurred but yesterday.
And that waa soldiering in every sense
of the word. Three days and nights
of my life will never be forgotten.
Harry II. Kirby,
Formerly of Eighth Missouri Infantry
North Omaha, Attention!
We invite your attention to the fact,
Friends, that we are still on deck at
the old stand, and are now showing a
full line of Underwear and Hosiery for
men, women and children, besides the
10,001 things that make up a variety
store. We always aim to make our
prices so that time and car-fare are
saved our customers.
Do not forget BAL D WIN'S,
1315-17 N. 24th St.
Eat Dyball'a Candles, 1518 Douglas
Show cards, For Rent cards, Business
cards, every kind of cards at the Amer
ican Publishing Co. Job Department,
1615 Howard street, Omaha.
The Value of Good Bread
is appreciated by everyone, but so few
are able to secure uniformly good re
sults. JL'his is often due to the fact that
when milk is used the character of it
is exceedingly variable; by using
Borden's Peerless Brand Evaporated
Cream you will overcome this difficulty.
When down town drop in at John
Itudd's and leave your watch, if it is out
of repair, to be fixed. 317 north 16 St.
Eat Dy ball's delicious Cream Candies.
1518 Douglas St.
If you desire to assist the cause sub
scribe for The American.
Edward Baumley, for livery, 17th
and St. Marys Ave
Just a Little Faster.
The "Northwestern" No. 6, leaving
Omaha at 4 p. m. daily, now arrives at
Chicago at 7:50 a. m., instead of 8:15,
as formerly. "Just a little faster."
Don't confuse this with the Omaha
Chicago special, which still leaves at
5:45 p. m. daily and arrives at Chicago
at 8:45 a. m.
NO NEED TO CHANGE THIS TRAIN
City Office 1401 Farnam street.
M. O. MAUL.
Successor to Urexel & Maul.
Undertaker and Embalmer
1417 FARNAM ST.
Tel. 225. OMAHA, NEB.
G. W. GILBERT,
Storm Doors and Sash.
1705 St. Marys Aue., OMAHA, NEB.
CHRIST. HAM AN
I atenmaker and Jeweler,
Fine Watch Repairing a specialty
512 South 16 Street.
C. W. BAKER,
Formerly with M. O. Maul.l
613 South 16th St., OMAHA.
LADY ASSISTANT FURNISHED.
Suits Made to Order.
Guarantees a uttifMt fit !n nil cases cloth
ing denned dyed and remodeled.
2107 01101111!? St., OMAHA.
W. N. WHITNEY'S
You can buy a Man's fi.50 Calf Double Sole Lace or Congress
You can buy a Ladies' $3.00 Dongola Welt, extension Sold
Shoe, with narrow Square Toe and Patent Leather Tips, for
and other kinds of Men's Women's and Misses' Shoes at the
1BR CBXT DISCOUNT
ZU FOR CASH : : :
The Lowest Prices on Overshoes for Cash.
W. N. WHITNEY,
103 South 15th Street,
A GOOD MOVE.
There are lots of "Ups and Downs" in this world. Our fam
ous Bakery Department has just "got a move on it" and is now
located on "OUR BALCONY," where we are selling
Best Home-made Bread 2c a Loaf.
Leave your Grocery Orders on the Balcony.
IIBRB'S SOMBTIIING GOOD:
3 lb. can Peaches 12ic
3 " Pineapple 12c
2 " Raspberries 12c
2 " Blueberries 9 c
2 " Strawberries 12c
2 " Gooseberries 10 c
2 " Blackberries 10 c
No Old Shop-Worn Stock. Always Fresh, Pure and Sweet.
CALIFORNIA DRIED FRUITS.
Tho Very Finest!
Apricots, per lb 12ic
Peaches, " . 12c
When Wo Say
W. R. BENNETT CO.,
Always at the Head
AND TRAVELING BAGS. REPAIRING DONE.
1406 Douglas Street. OMAHA. Neb.
Best Goods Id the market.
Children's and Boys' Shoes at-same Reduction for CASH, for 30 Days
C. LANG. 718 South 16th St.
O I 2
2 1 I o
2 lb. can Com 6C
2 " String Beans '. 7c
2 " Succotash 7c
2 " Tomatoes 9c
2 " Marrowfat Peas 8c
" Steak Salmon 9c
1 " Steak Salmon 15c
Prunes, per lb 8ic
Muscat Raisins, per lb 8 o
It's So, It Is So.
1502-12 Capitol Avenue.
BUY YOUR TRUNKS
WHERE THEY ARE MADE AND
PATRONIZE HOME INDUSTRY.
C. H. FORBY,
of all Kinds for the Next 30 Days,
LADIES SHOES worth Ks.00 will go at $3.75
4.00 " 3.(10
3.(10 " 2.50
' 2 50 1 "S
MEN'S SHOES " e.ilO " 450
5.(10 " 3.75
3.00 ' 2.65
" " " 2.50 " 2.00
PERFECT FIT GUARANTEED.
Teeth Extracted in the morning and New
Set made the Same Day.
Teetli Extracted Wlont Pain for 25c.
DR. WITHERS, Dentist,
Fourth Floor Brown Blk., 16th and Dooglaa,
H. K. BURKET,
Office removed from 113 North 18th street to
1618 Chicago Street.
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