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March 19 - 22, 1862
Duncan A. Huling
3rd camp south of Nashville, Tennessee
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A little "darkey" was asked to day what made a white boy so much whiter that him. He said that God poured water on the ground and sprinkled ashes on it - that made white boy. But he put coal on ground instead of ashes - dat made darkey.
Third camp south of Nashville
March 19th 1862
We were out and on the way by day light. Our brigade is in the advance to day. It is reported that we will go to Murfreesboro though we have to take a very round about way on account of the rebels burning all the bridges on the direct route. We have traveled about 25 miles to day! We passed through Murfreesboro after dark and arrived here about one hour after night. Owing to it being so very dark we could make no choice of camp ground but piled down on the brush where ever we could. I am on guard we have 40 men and 10 reliefs so it is easy work. We traveled through mud and water from 2 inches to a foot deep. This has been a very very hard march to day & all for nothing for the rebels made good their escape before we started.
Fourth camp south of Nashville
March 20th 1862 Thursday
When daylight came this morning we found that we had camped in a awful place with out any water in a half mile, fit to use. So the Colonel and General Turchin went to look for a better place. We have moved 3 miles to our new camp. It is a beautiful place on the farm of a man who is so wealthy he does not know what he is worth. He has over 150 Negros. His slave quarters are placed 5 miles from his residence on the same farm. He is a rank Secesh, has 2 sons in the rebel army, and drilled a company himself. We arrived here about 3 o’clock. All the boys were soon at work hunting up boards and straw, fodder and hay to make beds of. I had got me some fodder and old clapboards to lay on
...but I need just one more board to make my bed long enough. There is a fellow making the boards fly from an old hencoop, so I will get one more board. Now I have put my hand on it to pull one off but I hear the Lieutenant Colonel howling for us to stop. Why Colonel says, the owner is a rebel, is he not and then everyone else is helping themselves. Should you steal because others do Sir is his answer. I sounds, I’ll fix you, lieutenant, tell Captain Miller to reduce this corporal to the ranks for stealing. My God what a punishment not so much that I am reduced but for stealing. I am sure I did not intend to steal, for I never did do so. But Captain says he will do all he can to save me. I do not know how it will be yet - 24 hours will tell.
March 21st 1862 Friday
Captain told me this morning that he would see the Colonel and do all he could for me and that if I had to be reduced to a private that he would appoint me again just as soon as there was a vacancy. I believe he will do all he can for me. He says it is not just, yet he can not help me farther than to talk in my favor & try to turn the Colonel’s mind on the subject. Well thanks be to God and to the efforts of the Captain, the thing was all set to right again. I would not have been reduced for two months wages. For it was for stealing. Oh how I hate to have such a charge against me when I know I never did steal. But tis all right now and I am pronounced innocent. How glad I am that I am cleared of such a sin for I was innocent.
March 22nd 1862 Saturday
I washed a few pieces this morning and just as I got through our company was ordered out on inspection. Our knapsacks were closely inspected as some Silver ware had been stolen on the road and the officers were trying to find the thief. It appears that this war is one that permits commissioned officers to take what ever they can lay there hands on while the poor private must pinch nothing or he is pronounced a thief. Our Regiment is detailed as picket guard to day, we go out at 1 o’clock. A little darkey was asked to day what made a white boy so much whiter that him. He said that God poured water on the ground and sprinkled ashes on it - that made white boy. But he put coal on ground instead of ashes - dat made darkey. One of the old darkies
…says his master gave him 200 blows with a paddle with anger holes in it for not letting the overseer whip him. After he had hit him 200 times he took a knife and cut the blisters open and then gave him as many more as he wanted to. One of the young men told me that Morgan had often made him get out of bed at 12 o’clock at night to feed his horse and then he (Morgan) got in bed with his (the slave's) wife. As we passed through Murfreesboro the darkies shouted for joy. They all appear to think that we had come to free all of them. The slaves are suffering here on the plantation for something to eat. The Negroes here are all very ignorant. There is but one on this plantation that can read and he would have to suffer worse than death if he would learn any of the rest of them
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