1861 December 14: “Rebels burned a railroad bridge across Bacon Creek”
A December 14th letter from “Quad,” published in the December 25, 1861, issue of The Prescott Journal.
BACON CREEK, Ky., Dec. 14, ’61.
DEAR LUTE:—Thinking that there might be incidents sufficient to afford subjects for a letter, connected with the “Bloody First,” I will attempt to pen them.
The regiment remained at Camp Negley six days, during which time nothing worthy of note transpired. The time being spent in resting, and taking lessons in picket duty.
On the morning of the 11th inst., we struck tents and got ready for a march. We formed in column, the 79th Pa. on the right, the 1st Wis. No. 2, 38th Ind. No. 3, and the 78h Pa. on the extreme left. In this order the brigade started en route for this place. Our baggage being safely stored away on board the cars, our wagons were used to carry our knapsacks, which was, to say the least, a matter of great interest to the soldiers. For to be relieved of a load weighing 45 lbs is a relief “devoutly longed for” by soldiers on a march.
We arrived at Bacon Creek, distant about 15 miles, at 7½ P. M., and made ourselves at home by pitching our tents and appropriating rails and sundry other combustible seecsh property.
The rebels burned a railroad bridge across Bacon Creek, 70 feet span, on the night of the 5th inst. Nothing had been done to repair it when we arrived. The next day after reaching here, one hundred men were detailed, under the supervision of Lieut. Col. Lane,1 to work on the structure. In less than 24 hours they had the bridge completed, and two trains, which were here loaded with stores for troops on the other side, passed over. The road is in good order through to Green River, distant from here about ten miles.
There are Union troops to the number of 33,000 now in the vicinity of Green River, and within a range of about 12 miles from here.
It is reported that three of our pickets were shot last night, in the vicinity of Green River.
Yesterday P. M., the “Bloody First” and the 79th Pa. were inspected by Division Comander [sic], Gen. McCook, and Company K, of the 1st, detailed as escort and guard at the division head-quarters.
The boys of Company F are all in fine spirits ; only two reported unfit for duty : John Parneeter [sic],2 present, and Wm. Cowan,3 left at West Point, and one, J. D. Putnam,4 on half duty. So I think soldiering agrees with those from the healthy climate of the St. Croix Valley.
We have had but one snow storm as yet, which disappeared the next day under a warm sun, and the weather is delightful. Sunny days, and clear frosty nights. There has been no time here that one could not keep comfortable, except early in the morning or in the evening, without great-coat or mittens. The boys, when they do any work, throw off their coats and roll up their sleeves.
We shall, doubtless, remain here for several days, as the iron bridge over Green River has been blown up by the rebels, and will be repaired before another advance is made in this quarter. It was an iron structure, said to be excelled in workmanship only by the Suspension Bridge, at Niagara, of any in the States. It will take about two weeks to make it passable for trains.
There are twenty-five rebel prisoners here. They say that Buckner has about 25,000 rebel troops at Bowling Green, and expecting re-enforcements from Tennessee daily. They report the men as suffering for want of clothing and provisions ; many of them sick. He is strongly fortified, with two hundred pieces of artillery, all of small caliber, being, with the exception of one or two pieces, six and ten pounders.
Wm. Cowan has this morning come into camp, having left West Point yesterday. He thinks he is fit to do duty, and seems glad to come “home.”
Having written as much as your readers will patiently endure, I will close.
1. David H. Lane, of Kenosha, was the lieutenant colonel of the 1st Wisconsin Infantry Regiment.
2. John F. Parmeter was from Trimbelle in Pierce County. He enlisted on September 8, 1861.
3. William H. Cowan, of Saint Croix Falls (Polk County), enlisted on September 13, 1861.
4. John D. Putnam, from Hudson (Saint Croix County), enlisted August 29, 1861. He was a wagoner.