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1863 November 5: “Gen. Crocker … is fast becoming unpopular with both officers & men”

November 5, 2013

The original letter is in the Edwin D. Levings Papers (River Falls Mss BO), in the University Archives and Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

Natchez Miss.  Nov 5th, 1863

My Dear Parents,

                                 Your letters of the 14th and 19th ult. [October] are at hand; the latter came yesterday.  You have had to pay double letter postage again on my letters, it seems; and I doubt not you think I am a careless fellow.  I will not excuse myself on the ground of ignorance of the postal regulations; I was short of stamp at the time & thought I would see how much a stamp would bear — now I know.  Hereafter, expect to catch a weasel asleep, if I again impose on you extra postage.  We also received yesterday the Tribune and two Homoeopathic tracts.  I have read one of them & was much interested.  I was also delighted with your letter, the weight of evidence &c.¹  I think, should I ever return from the war, I will take some pains to examine the system.  To reject facts because they do not harmonize with reason, is perfectly absurd.  There are many wonderful phenomena in nature which reason, is perfectly absurd.  There are many wonderful phenomena in Nature which reason can not explain; and for the simple fact that such is not its her province.  Reason is a very good guide in investigation, but not always reliable, and for obvious reasons.  Reason had a distinct and limited sphere of action, & never works out of that sphere.  The trouble is men push her out of it & try to exact from her impossibilities; and because they fail to obtain a solution of their questions, they say “these things are not reasonable”; therefore, untrue.  The “hidden causes” in nature are not given to man us to know; at least, we have no evidence to the contrary.  We see & deal with their “effects” only; and it appears reasonable, so to speak, that for all practical purposes, the Creator of all things, deems them sufficient.  What progress would we make, if we cast aside facts because unaccountable?  The subject to me is full of interest.  I think some day I will read your letter to the Capt.  I don’t care what he may say.  I can tell him the “world moves, nevertheless” if he dos’nt [sic: doesn’t].

Well, the election is over; and the Copperheads have been dealt another deadly blow I trust.  No election returns from the state yet, but no uneasiness as to the result.  The 12th polled 522 votes, & 510 majority for Lewis.  Dixon last spring received 628 majority.  The falling off is due to death & sick leaves.  Co A. cast 62 votes for the state officers, none for “Coppers.”  On the County ticket Elwell [Joseph S. Elwell] did not run well.  [paragraph break added]

I am sorry to say Gen. Crocker [M. M. Crocker], Div. Commander, is fast becoming unpopular with both officers & men of the entire Div.  It is believed he is violating both the spirit & letter of instructions from the War Dep’t.  Complaints are numerous & frequent.  I believe him a regular Schofield man [John M. Schofield].²  The secesh are favored & curried & the consequence is we are ridden right over by them.  This is a fact.  I never shall forget this treatment of us when over in La.  He let us have all the sheep of an old rebel, (a large flock, of them, mind you,) & put guards over the only well of water around, & not a drop could we get of it, — had to use muddy water to cook our mutton.  But this is nothing to other meanness of which is alleged guilty.  Something, it is hoped, will be done for his removal.  Lauman [Jacob G. Lauman] is popular with the Div., with notwithstanding the Jackson affair,³ — never heard a word of condemnation of him since that time.  [paragraph break added]

You will be glad to hear we are out of our miserable tents & in nice, new barracks which we have built.  We [have] plenty of room & are fixed up better than ever before.  The weather is very rainy to-day.  The paymaster will visit us in a few days.  That box of clothing &c has not come yet, — will probably be here shortly.  Shall get overcoats & send them home in spring.  Homer is asleep, but well.  No war news afloat of importance.  I forgot to say fifer Walker4 of our company & for some time local reporter of the “Natchez Courier” is just ordered to his Co. by Crocker, for the reason he is too strong an abolitionist.  But I must stop.  Write soon.  Yours affectionately Edwin

1.  Today we abbreviate et cetera as “etc.”
2.  Ed is accusing Crocker of being sympathetic to the Confederates.
3.  Lauman was relieved of duty by General William T. Sherman shortly after the capture of Jackson, Mississippi. General Ord accused him of failing to properly execute orders and that his wanton disregard of the orders led to heavy casualties. He returned home for the rest of the war without being given a subsequent command.
4.  Henry J. Walker, from Delona, was a musician in Company A of the 12th Wisconsin Infantry. He will be promoted to Chaplain in 1864.

Edwin Levings letter of November 5, 1863, from the Edwin D. Levings Papers (River Falls Mss BO) in the University Archives & Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Edwin Levings letter of November 5, 1863, from the Edwin D. Levings Papers (River Falls Mss BO) in the University Archives & Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls

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