The Civil War: Soldier Calls Own Troops Dirtiest Brutes
Great-grandfather writes of life in Union infantry, includin dirt and lice.
My mother was Ella Fagen Robinson
(1887-1973). In her possession, she had a series of letters written during the
Civil War by her grandfather, Abraham Bennett, during his service with the
Second Iowa Infantry, Fourth Division, 15th Army Corp of the Union Army.
1864: "John W. Moore and I bunk
together. We have a good bed of straw, plenty to eat, plenty of river water to
drink. I was put on top of the stagecoach at 8 p.m., where I stayed until
daylight. We have two days rations. I haven't been examined; we passed between
two doctors and held up our hands; that was all. I must tell you what I got –
an overcoat; beau pants; two shirts; two drawers; two pair of socks; one fine
hat with the eagle-bugle and a fine feather on it; a splendid blanket; and a
good oil cloth to keep warm and dry.”
am at Nashville
now in the biggest house I ever saw – five stories from the ground. I am
sitting on my knapsack, writing on my knee."
"The big house I was in ... in Nashville
fell down (two nights after we stayed there). It killed 300 men. You see, I was
8, 1865 – from Savannah, Georgia: "1 have got some good hope of going home
in the spring. We got the news today that Georgia has called her state
31, 1865 – from the field in Georgia:
"We are the dirtiest looking brutes you ever saw after a few days' march ...
and lousy is no name for the lice. They pretty nearly eat some of us up some
10, 1865 – from South Carolina: "We marched 22 miles today ... we are
sweeping the country of everything – horses, cattle, hogs, flour, meal,
potatoes – burning the dwellings; burning up fencing; just cleaning it