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XI. THE SOLDIERS GO HOME
June 9 1865. Reveille sounded at midnight & the Genl sounded at 30 minuts till 1 A.M. & the boys was all up & soon had the things all packed & ready to start. It had stoped raining & we had 4 wagons to our regt to hall our baggage & started at 1 A.M. & the road was very muddy. & we got to the City. & I asked leve of the Coln to go & see Levi P. & I looked for Levi & could not find him as he was at another Hospital & I got to the depot at 4:30 A.M. & the train crossed the Cumberland River at 4:45 & switched & stoped. The train was box cars with plank seats. & 9 cars for the 10 Companys. The Train started at 5:35 A.M. & runn very regular. & we passed through some beautiful country. We saw ripe wheat & very nice corn & every thing in the farming line looked very nice. We got to Galiton before 8 A.M. It is 36 miles from Nashville. We passed through two Tunnels. & I layed down & slept & we passed through Franklin Ky & stoped in Bowling Green Ky before 1 P.M., 71 miles from Nashville Tenn. There was plenty of everything to eat brought to the Cars at the stations to sell. We passed through another Tunnel before 4 P.M. & soon stoped at Cave City 100 miles from Nashville. We had to stop very often to let trains pass us that was goying to Nashville. We passed over the Green River Bridge after 5 P.M., 111 miles from Nashville near Mumfordsville. It had rained along the road. We Passed through some Mountaineous Country & some very nice country. We saw some wheat cut & saw them cuting wheat as we passed through the country. We passed through Elizabeth town at dark, 145 miles from Nashville. We passed through a very long tunnel under Molders Hill in the night about 150 miles from Nashville. It rained hard. We layed down to sleep.
June 10th 1865. We arived in Louisville Ky at 1:30 A.M., 185 miles from Nashville. & at day light Jno Anderson & some other boys & my self got our breakfast for 50 cts a piece. It stoped raining. We started at 7 A.M. & when we saw old Indiana shore we raised a loud yell. & we got on the Boat to Cross the Ohio River at about 8 A.M. O what thoughts passed through my mind while we was crossing the Ohio River & in fact all the time since we started home. I would see the boys looking so pleasing & cheerful & I could feel so my self part of the time & Rejoiced to think a fiew of us were goying home to our friends. But I could not help thinking (Neither did I try to) of the many good soldiers of our Company & our Regt that we was leveing behind us who had bin killed or died of sickness & deseas caused by the exposier that soldiers are daily subject to in camp life. Some of the bravest of the 79th Ind fell on the many differant hard fought Bloody Battle fields of the late 4 years Battling with the rebellious South & Perhaps the bones of some of the heroes of our regt are today bleaching on some of the battle fields of the South, but under circumstances comon to waring it could not be helped at times. But they are no less thought of. Neither does it destroy their happiness hereafter. & we should not forget them & those who pined away in the hospitals, for they have sacrefised their lives on the alter of our Country & altho they was not shot & died on the battle field they died no less honorable for they did what they could.
I remembered that when we went across the Ohio River a little less than 2 years & 10 months ago our regt nombered about 965 altogeather. & now we come back across the river with about 350 altogeather according to gov O.P. Mortons count. O I could but ask god to cheer & comfort the friends of those we leve behind & Protect & Provide for the familys of the deceased for no other Power is so great to the needy as gods. & no friend so near to those who will accept god as their Comforter.
The boys of our regt would not let any darkeys cross the river on the boat with us & told them they should not go on the Cars to Indianapolis with us. When we landed at the wharf on the Indiana side & we steped off the boat we raised a loud & cheering yell & loud laughter followed as we marched up the wharf to Jeffersonville. We was met by several & greeted by the Coln & Lt Coln of the old 9th Ky. We stacked arms at Depot & I got shaved & boots blacked. The boys of my Company wanted me & Cardell to request Coln Knefler to let them get off the Cars as it was Saturday & go home & stay till Monday & then come to Indianapolis. & we did so & Coln Knefler Came in the Car & as[ked] Co "I" how many wanted to stop at their homes & come to Indianapolis Monday on first train. & they all spoke out,"I do." Well Said he you can all stop at the stations nearest your homes. & I got the Coln to write them a pass & he made arangements with the Superintendent of the Road to take the Comp who would get on at Columbus, Taylorsville, Edinburgh & Franklin, with out Pay on the first passenger train Monday as they were all entitled to the Transportation. & gave the Pass to Sergt V. F. Browning who stoped at Taylorsville. & we started about 10 A.M. & I was goying to go on up to Indianapolis to help Cap take care of the baggage. But he told me to stop at Edinburgh or where I wanted to. & he would take care of the baggage. It rained hard while we was on the cars. Wm. Criteser stoped at Columbus & Browning & Jas. P. Johnson at Taylorsville & about 18 at Edinburgh & the rest of my Comp was to get off at Franklin. I got off the cars at Edinburgh at a little after 4 P.M. & felt Proud to think I had landed in the City of Edinburgh* once more. I saw several I use to know. I went to Mr. Vandorns to stay all night. & I was much pleased to find them all alive & well that I had left 2 years & 10 month ago. & they seemed glad to see me again. & I felt almost as though I was at home while I stayed at their quiet home where I use to live before I enlisted.
* A small Indiana village.
Sunday June 11th 1865. I was not awakened by the Reveille as usualy before, but after sleeping good on a feather bead, the first I had slept on since I left Indiana in 62. I awoke late. It was a beautiful day. I went to church & Babtising & Sabbath School & had a Pleasant time with the friends & a long chat with a young Ladie. & it seemed very much like old times to be with the Ladies of the north.
June 12th 1865. At 9 A.M. all the boys were ready & wating for the cars & the Jeff Passenger Train arived at 10:47. & we started for Indianapolis. & the cars was crouded but I found a seat in the Ladies Car. I saw S. P. Oyler & Dan W. Howe & several friends. We arived in Indianapolis a little after 12 M. & I got in a street car & went to the State house, where our regt was colectiong & I saw Grand Pa & Ma Evens & my step mas daughter & mas sister Mrs Hinesley & other friends who were wating for me to come. We then went to the soldiers home to get our reception dinner which the ladies of Indianapolis had Prepaired for us. & we had a very good reception dinner & returned to the State House yard the stand to hear the speaking. & the Proceedings are as follows. (this is not a full & exact copy of the Proceedings but as it was in the Journal)
After speaking we went to the Arsnal & turned over all the guns & accoutrements & then went to the court house & atached a Pay roll to our muster out rolls & had the Boys to sign them & it was after night when we got them dun & the Boys was all alowed to go home & return friday to get their Pay & discharges. After Capt & I witnessed the signature on the rolls & went to the Depot to see about some baggage, I got in the street car & went up Illinois Street toward Grand Pas & when I got off ove the St Car I think if Grand Pa had not bin at the St Car wating for me I would have bin knocked down & robbed by a thief who told me the direction to Camp Carrington, suposing I wanted to go there. Just as I was geting out of the St Car, I did not make him any answer but steped out & comenced talking to Grand Pa after I walked around the car. & we started off & he was following us up & said it is time to turn to the left. & Grand Pa looked around & said who is this you have with you & I said I did not know him & I did not think he spoke to me & went on talking to tell Grand Pa why I was so late & he soon spoke again & said hant you goying to turn to the left. We both took the hint. & Grand Pa whirled around & said we know where we are goying & we dont turn to the right or the left. Who are you? & the fellow said one by my self & he [was] gon in less than a very short time for Grand Pa spoke vary loud & fast. & I think had he not bin along the fellow would have knocked me down & robbed me. But he would not have got much for we was not paid off yet. But he must have thought I had bin paid & he could get me to separate from Grand Pa.
June 13 1865. It rained very hard. I put my time in at hunting for Geo Evens till nearly noon, as the 70th Ind & other regts had come in. I saw a good many of my old acquaintance & friends. I hered from home. They was only tolerable well.
June 14th 1865. Geo Evans went in the City to pass time as we were very lonesome. I set & had my negative taken & ordered 3 dozen Photographs for $10.00 to give to the boys of my Comp & officers of the regt. We went to Uncle Thomas Evans. The 12th 68th 88th & 100th regts of Ind Vols came in. There was a salute fired & a reception dinner & Speaking at the State house yard. I got a certificate of non debtedness which was no truble as I had not bin accountable at any time for any thing while I was a commissioned officer. & I tryed to get my pay but I was two late for the office was shut. It rained hard.
June 15 1865. I writ home. I received two letters. I had my measure taken for a Coat Pants & vest for $76.00. I got my papers fixed up by paying two dollars & got Part of my pay. I drew $477.60 for the time I was a Commissioned Officers & the 3 month Pay Proper included. I bought a revolver & 100 cartrages for $14.00. I was goying to watch for the robbers. I comenced Paying my debts as fast as I come to any one I owed anything. Geo Evans & I went to church & they had a good prayermeeting.
June 16th 1865. It rained a little. I was told each of the officers have to make out a discharge for their selves & send them to the mustering officer of the 3rd Div 4th Corps & have them signed & sent back to us. We all met at the State house, then at the court house & then had orders to go to Camp Carrington to be Paid & I took nearly all of our Comp up on the Street Cars & Capt & I Paid the fare. The Boys was paid & got their discharges & started for home with glad hearts & high heads. O how glad I was for them that a fiew were promited to live through the many dangers of a soldiers life. I gave out 28 discharges as Co."I" was paid & there was two men had come to our Comp since we left Nashville. & their discharges were left in the hands of the mustering officer to be sent to this plase. They will get them soon. I pray to our great Maker that our brave boys who have fought by my side aften & proved their true hearts & valor & Patriotism to their Country may now strive to be more useful in gods church & be more obedient to gods laws than they were before entering the service of our Country. As they have bin so luckey & spaired through so many dangers. I took the parting hand with a good many of my best friends & perhaps I will never see them again. But if I dont I shall always remember them & hope to meet them in a world where seperation will be no more. The 70th & 82nd Regts & others had their reception if I mistake not.
June 17th 1865. I got all my Pay & it amounted to($699.00) Six hundred & Ninety Nine dollars at this Pay day. Dunlap told me that Coln Knefler had told him that himself & Wm. B. Lewis, Orderly Sergt of Co."A" & Fred Hartman, Orderly Sergt Co. "D" was to have Commissions as second Lieutenants in accordance with a late order to promote all worthy men to fill vacancies but not muster them. I got some Citizen Cloth & set for more Photographs as the Negative they had took before was not good. I expect to exchange Photos with all my Company & the officers of our (79th) Regt. I received letters containing good news except Levi said he was goying in the regular army for 5 years but I dont believe it. I put my money in the Bank as it was not safe to carry it with me. & as money is not picked up around the roots of Every tree it stands us soldiers in hand to save all our hard Earnings.
Sunday 18th [June] 1865. I went to class meeting & Preaching & Sabbath School & Enjoyed my self fine.
[June] 19th 1865. I started to Kosciusko Co. on a visit & met with a welcome reception & enjoyed my self well for the People seem to be over Joyed to see the returning soldiers & respect them very high whether they ever saw or knew them or not.
Saturday [June] 24th 1865. I left Kosciusko Co. & landed at Noey Huntzingers in Madison Co. at night & Sunday 25th I went to Daniel Huntzingers & spent one of the pleasantest weeks in my life visiting my relation - with Miss Mollie Huntzinger (one of my Cousins) although it was a rainy weak & I came very near geting a good ducking in Stoney Crick while trying to cross Sunday morning July 2nd goying to church. I had the pleasure of hearing a good sermon & attending a very interesting Sabbath School & singing. I got acquainted with some of the youngsters which made my visit very interesting to me.
Monday July 3rd 1865. I took the parting hand & kiss with friends who wished me well with tears in their Eyes. I reached Indianapolis late & received letters with good news. Levi writ that he had bin mustered out & expected his Pay & discharge soon & desired me to meat him at the Depot on the 4th or 5th & convey him to some of our relation.
July 4th A.D. 1865. I was requested by my Company at Pay day to meet them at Franklin. & I went to Franklin & when I stoped I found that nearly all of the members of the company (I) had gon to Edinburgh as they had made differant arangements since I saw them & only saw a fiew of the boys but past the day the best I could & I [it] was a uncomon hot day. I returned to Indianapolis on the 5th & watched for Levi, but as he did not get his pay as soon as he anticipated he did not arive till the Evening of the 7th & he had run a very narrow escape, as a party of men had laid a plot to kill & robb him when on his way from the Pay Masters office to the Cars at night, but they were defeated in their plan & he was not harmed. & I was so glad to know that we were both spaired to get to old Hoosier state again.
Saturday 8th 1865. We started to our old Neighborhood & saw a great many of our old neighbors & school mates & were welcomed by all. Even the buternuts tryed to show friendship but I was posted in who was union & who was not. We missed some near & dear friends when we met around the differant family tables who we use to love & respect & enjoy our selves with but such cannot be avoided & stoped. It was very rainy but we Enjoyed ourselves fine. & we stoped some time in Edinburgh & the surrounding country & in Franklin & was detained a while by the high waters destroying the railroad. We arived in Indianapolis late in the night of the 27th of July & on the 28th I spoke for 4 dozen more Photographs & 29th we started to Madison Co. & Enjoyed a very pleasant visit among Friends & relation. & we returned to Indianapolis on 3rd of August & packed our 4 valises & one trunk & made arangements to start home Monday 7th but Levi took sick on the 5th & Comenced takeing medicine. I went to the Journal Office & got some information concerning geting this memorandum printed. & subscribed for the Weekly Journal & ordered it sent home so it would be coming till I got home. I attended Class & Church & Sabbath School & enjoyed my self fine on Sunday 6th & on Monday 7th I called in Dr Eli Huntsinger of this city to see Levi as he was geting very sick. & I set up giveing medicine till midnight as Levi was geting very low & needed Proper attention to recover & I was very unwell my self. & had a high fever & head ache & misery in my breast.
Tuesday [August] 8th 1865. The Dr came & left medicine for Levi & told me I looked like I was about ready to take down sick & was liable at any time to take sick just the same way Levi did. & I told him I had fever & felt very bad the Evening before. He gave me some medicine & told me to come to his office next day if Levi did not need him to visit him.
[Aug. 9, 1865] I writ a letter home to let them know why we did not come home. On the 9th I felt very bad & Levi was some better. I went & got some medicine & paid the Dr Bill $5.00. & I was very unwell all day & in bed the most of the time & had fever & I lay my sickness mostly to working & wating on Levi while takeing medicine my self.
Augt 10th 1865. I felt a little better & Levi comenced seting up in bed a little.
Augt 11th 1865. Levi & I were still gaining strength & geting better.
Augt 12th 1865. Just 3 years ago Levi & I were sworn in the U.S. service & we are glad that we went to serve our Country, for we have bin paid well for What we have don. I went to the U.S. Court room to see Fred Knefler as he is a clerk in the office. I had quite an interesting chat with him. He told me he would aid me in any way he could in geting my book Published if I get it Printed.
Augt 13th 1865, Sunday. I attended Church & enjoyed my self fine. Thomas Evans Preached. I remembered that Levi & I left home just 3 years ago today & took the parting hand with a good many of our friends who I have not seen yet & Some that I will never meet in this world. Oh how anxious we are to get home.
Augt 14th A.D. 1865. at 3 A.M. we got up. & a hack that I had spoke for came & we took our leve from Grand Pa Evens. & we went to the Depot & took the Lafeyette & Chicago train at 4:40 A.M. & landed in Chicago at 3:35 P.M. & we learned that the train would not leve for Burlington till midnight & we went through the City & took a view of the small ships that sailed on the lake & we went on the court house & viewed through a large spy glass the City & the lake all dotted with sails large & small & all the surrounding Country. We passed the day very well except we was very anxious to be goying on toward home. The North Part of Indiana I did not like for it was nearly all under water where the Prairie was & where the timber grew it was very scrably. We left Chicago at midnight & I slept a little but not much. As well as I could see we passed through a good Country. & after daylight on the 15th we passed through a splendid part of Illinois. We got to the Missippi River at Burlington at 11 A.M. & crossed the River. & we had to wate for the train to leve Burlington for Edysville till 4:30 P.M. & we got to Ottumwa till a little after dark & we had to change cars & left for Edysville in 30 minuts & arived in Edysville Iowa after 9 P.M. Oclock at night & went to _________ Hotel & stayed all night.
Augt 16th 1865. we started on stage line early & arived at Charlton, Co Seet of Lucus Co. at 9 Oclock at night.
Augt. 17th 1865. we took the stage Early & passed through some beautiful Country. & it seemed like I could hardly put up with stage driving as it seemed like I wanted to be sailing fast for home. We arived at the plase for us to get off ove the stage at about 4 P.M. & we left our trunck & valises & did not let grass grow under our feet. & when we got in sight of home we saw Pa at Neighbors House & he saw us & knew us at first sight. I knew him as soon as I saw him. He started toward us & said hold on there. & said I will not runn but walk fast. & he thanked god that we was promited to meet again on earth. Pa said he had not received our letter stating that we was sick & he thought we had bin murdred & robbed at Chicago comeing through. & was very uneasy. We was met By Ma & the children on the Prairie & welcomed to our new home where we made good use of time talking & O how thankful I was to think that god had let his kind hand & protecting Eye reast upon us while we was gon batling for our Country. & brought us through so many dangers & promited us to return home again & find that all the family were alive that we had left but two were not at home.
Dear readers if you ever left home for 3 years you can guess how glad we were to meet Each other & how we thanked our god when we bowed before him again around the family Alter.