MissouriFrom the 76th Regiment
U.S. Transport Champion
on the Mississippi River
Above Cairo, Sunday, Nov. 16, '62
Mr. Editor:--The 76th is once more going "Away down South in Dixie." We Struck our tents and commenced our march from Pilot Knob, on Wednesday morning the 12th inst. and arrived at St. Genevieve between ten and eleven o'clock on Friday. The roads were good and we marched through on quick time and sometimes pretty near "double quick."
Our camp was laid out with seeming expectation of staying, perhaps a week or more at St. Genevieve, but before next morning's dawn orders came to prepare to embark by 7 o'clock A.M., and by that time we were marching up the river to the landing to the tune of "Away down South in Dixie," no doubt appropriate to the occasion. It was not until this morning about daylight that we were ready to start. Our lively, energetic, and good natured Quarter-master was busy all day yesterday and I don't know how long last night getting the necessary supplies for the inner man and getting wagons, horses, mules &c., in their proper places aboard the boat. But now we are afloat and the question to be solved is, where are we now going. The general impression seems to be that we are going to Helena; but, where from there, that's the question.
Whether we go with Gen. McClernand's great expedition to open the Mississippi or cross country to Little Rock will break upon our minds about the time we start for one or the other. The river is still low and the bars are quite troublesome and now while I write the Champion is fast on one and is puffing and blowing to get off. The Champion is a splendid boat, 265 feet long and 60 wide, and is said to have cost $60,000.
Monday Nov. 17th 3 o,clock P.M.-- We got on the bar last night a little before dark and have just got afloat again, after setting out the spare and the deck hands and working with them all night through the rain and more than half of o-day. A boat came along about dark last night and took the boys ashore on a large island, and they had no very pleasant time of it in the rain, many of them being without blankets or greatcoats, but that is one of the things not uncommon in a soldier's life of which we have all had some experience before now. I think our Regiment has been much benefited in health by our month's sojourn in Missouri. It is not without some regret that we leave the state, but anywhere to close this protracted war.
The review of our Division at Pilot Knob which I spoke of in my last letter from there, took place on the appointed day and as I predicted, Gen. Davidson gave our Regiment the praise of being equal in drill and appearance to any he had seen in the East. We are now, just before dark, passing Cape Girardeau, a small place on the Missouri side. Direct all letters to the Regiment to Cairo, and they will follow us. Lieut. R.W. BURT.
From: The Newark True American November 27, 1862
Ohio Historical Society Microfilm roll #39705
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