The Daily Gazette
October 21, 1962
From the Twentieth Regiment
In Bivouack, Near Newtonia, Newton Co., Mo.
October 9, 1862
Editor of Gazette.-I will endeavor to narrate the events that have occurred to us since
my last letter.
We reached Springfield September the 24th and as mentioned previously, encamped some two
miles outside the city. Troops were at work on several forts variously located about the
place, so as to insure it to us through all reverses that can possibly occur to our arms.
It was reported for a time that the Twentieth was to be ordered out on spade and pick
drill, but a better fate awaited us, or a fate more in consonance with our desires.
On September 29th we marched from Springfield at noon, and at 8 o'clock in the
evening, after passing through Little York, we encamped at Pond Springs, five miles from
the battle field of Wilson's Creek and about 12 to 14 miles from our previous camp.
Several other regiments accompanied us, and every preparation was made to remain some
time. Our brigade was to remain some time. Our brigade was organized and is in fair
operation; it is commanded by Col. Dye, who being detached from our regiment, leaves
Lieut. Col. Leake in command. Lieut. Lake, our Adjutant, is now A. A. G., and his former
position filled by Lieut. Stark of Co.C.
Sept. 30th.-Pleasant weather, many of the boys outside camp lines are shooting and
foraging on their own accounts. They bring with them an abundant supply of peaches,
apples, &c., gathered form neighboring orchards, which are in every case known (by the
boys) to belong to absent secesh. However, we are not peculiar in this respect. Reports
come in that when beyond cannonading can be heard in a southwest direction. Rumors of
battles being fought were prevalent at once and the expectations of those unaccustomed to
camp life were in a continual excitement. Orders came in the evening to cook three days
rations and prepare for marching.
Oct. 1st.-Wagons were loaded and everything done for leaving camp except striking tents,
which were left standing until the last moment, when almost with the order that commanded
it, down they came and were soon tied on the wagons. We marched at 12 o'clock at noon
precisely an dwindling across a magnificent rolling prairie for a few miles found
ourselves on the road to Mount Vernon. From the summit of the ridges or swells in the
prairie we could look to the front and rear and see our advancing columns, miles in
length, winding across the country. The scene was very impressive and gave as it were, a
glimpse at the pomp and circumstances of war.
Our destination and the purpose of our moving were unknown; consequently speculations
were rife, and every person met was certain to receive a perfect storm of questions about
the road, the camp, water and about all of everything relative to the fight, which every
one believed had occurred. Stray items of information were gradually gathered, and soon it
became known that a reconnoitering force of Gen. Blunt's command had engaged with the
enemy at Newtonia, and had been repulsed. The forces were very unequal, and success with
the stronger party. We stopped for the night on limited camping ground, b a stream of good
water and eight miles from Mt. Vernon.
Oct. 2nd.-We continued our march through Mt. Vernon, which is an insignificant village
with a good brick court house, to a place twelve miles beyond, where we found a very large
spring of good water, and a field overgrown with rank prairie grass, in which, though
tentless, we soon disposed ourselves for sleep. We move in light marching order, that is,
every many carries only his provision, and a blanket to sleep in, and is thus able to act
independent of tents and wagons.
Oct. 3d.-Unexpectedly, we remained in camp, and about noon had the camp regularly laid
off, tents pitched and things put in shape for life once more. At 5 o'clock orders
came to prepare three days rations and with them in our haversacks, to be ready at 7 p.m.,
to march. Flour had to be made into bread, and our beef was eating grass yet, but we went
to work with a will and formed in line at the time given to move. Various delays occurred,
and it was 9 o'clock before the command was given to move. Our column comprised
several thousand troops, and as is always the case, some little time occurred in getting
things into proper trim for a steady advance. The sky was clear and the moon nearly full,
and the boys felt inspirited by the prospect before them of burning powder, and obeyed
every order promptly. We marched some twenty-five miles by morning, and were more
soldierly in our conduct than in any march made previously.
The country is like the best of Iowa, and so much like Jersey Ridge that it as almost
equivalent to a transfer home. At the occasional halts, we fell to the ground hurriedly,
and were at once in deep sleep, which refreshed us much, though lasting for only five or
Oct. 4th.-We took some of the enemy's pickets prisoners early in the morning; passed
through Jollification, and as we approached Newtonia were urged into a double-quick, to
bring us rapidly into the supposed battle. The road was soon strewn with blankets,
overcoats, etc. from which the men had unburdened themselves. Our regiment came up
creditably, and after a toilsome march in line of battle was halted in the chosen
position, where we remained until night. Men were sent back after the thrown-away
clothing, but most of it was lost.
We learned that there had been some thousands of the enemy at Newtonia, but at our
approach they had skedaddle. Various indications of the fight on Tuesday were visible, and
a large stock of wonderful things to all be gathered up.
Just before dark, we came about two miles to this place, where we have remained, with the
Monday last, we received orders to prepare three day's rations, with which to march
at 10 o'clock yesterday morning, but we awaited the signal to move until after noon,
when with "Forward-March" the entire command moved northward, much to our
surprise, as we had counted on a journey Dixie-ward. Our eyes were soon open to he
prospect before us. Within two miles from the camp, we formed in line of battle-infantry,
cavalry, artillery, and baggage train all in position-to meet or repulse a foe.
Skirmishers were thrown out, advances made, and other maneuvers gone through with intended
as a brigade or division drill, to familiarize us with things to come in the future. After
some three hours of this fatiguing exercise, we found ourselves on the ground of our camp,
where we yet remain with wagons loaded, in readiness for instant departure. That we are
expected to move is evident; but the event that will bring the order is unknown to us, as
is everything else relative to our destin!
ation. The enemy are reported to be at Pineville, the county-seat of McDonald county, and
between us and the Arkansas line. I am inclined to believe that we shall never catch them
this side of the Pea Ridge region, and not there in a fair fight.
I will say that we are a long way from anywhere, and they can confer a great favor on us
by mailing to us postage stamps, and a thousand and one little conveniences that will come
for three cents postage, and that can not be had here for either love or money. Needles,
thread, pins, court plaster, writing paper, and old (or new) copies of illustrated papers,
magazines, etc., etc. don't neglect to write to us. We labor under many
inconveniences, and you should be glad to send us five letters for each one you
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