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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

Letter From The 35th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

Contributor:
Dallas Bogan on 13 September 2004
Source:
original article by Dallas Bogan
Return to Index to see a list of other articles by Dallas Bogan

Camp Bourbon, Paris Co., Ky., Nov. 2, 1861.

Dr. Scott:

The 35th Regiment still remains at the above camp. When it will take up the line of march, and for what destination, is not known to our company officers--much less to the writer, who is nothing more than a "high private." The camp is daily full of rumors about marching and a hundred other things, all of which are nothing but the idle wishes of some of the boys who give vent to them, and ere an hour they perambulate to the remotest corners of the camp as coming from headquarters. I doubt whether the Colonel himself knows when he will leave, or where he will be ordered to. If he does, the policy of war to keep such things secret.

Camp Bourbon is located at the Fair Grounds of the county of that name, within the vicinity of Paris, the county seat. It is a beautiful location for a camp, the ground being high and rolling and thickly sodded with blue grass. The buildings in the fair grounds are ample and of the most approved style for the purposes they were erected, far surpassing those of a like kind in our own Ohio. On these grounds are annually exhibited the finest cattle in the United States, as well as jacks and mules. There is a company of wealthy men chartered, who follow the business of importing fine blooded stock from foreign countries, members of which take up their residences in Europe and other countries, to buy them up and import direct to the ample and luxurious blue grass pastures of "Old Bourbon." Here they are crossed and reared by intelligent stock raisers, and sold to neighboring counties and States at a great profit to the company.

The health of the regiment is getting "billious," there being some two hundred or more on the sick list. Our company buried one yesterday--John Brock from Hamilton, I believe. Two or three more of our company are dangerously ill. Our Captain, Parshall, has been on the sick list most of the time since we left Hamilton, but is now on duty, yet far from being well. The sanitary regulations of the camp, or rather the surgeon, is anything but satisfactory. A stout young man of our company took sick and was sent to the hospital. At one time he was very low, and after remaining in the hospital until he became convalescent, but weak and emancipated, he was sent by the surgeon, against his entreaties, to his bunk, and after sleeping on the cold, damp ground for a few nights, he relapsed, and is now a raving maniac in the hospital, with little hopes of his recovery. It may be all right for a soldier to be so treated by an army surgeon, but a private physician would be drummed out of any community, who would treat a patient thus. Quinine and calomel are a panacea for all the ills of camp life with our surgeons, and unless a different system of better nursing is pursued, more of our brave boys will die from "doctoring" than by the weapons of our enemy.

Our regimental quartermaster comes in for a full share of complaint, and justly, too. He certainly is a very inefficient officer. Our rations are short in quantity and inferior in quality. Our company sent back the rations of meat yesterday, because it was rotten. Whether the fault is carelessness, incapacity or speculation on his part, I cannot tell. One thing, however, is certain; unless he mends his ways materially, there will be a rebellion among loyal men, and he will hear something more potent than sour bread, a name given him at Camp Frazer by the boys, for buying sour flour and baking it up for rations and forcibly ejected from his office.

"Old Bourbon Whiskey" is a welcome to all lovers of the ardent, and being in the immediate neighborhood of where that vegetable grows, the boys occasionally indulge in it to their satisfaction. When I say boys, I mean officers and all, even to our Chaplain, who if rumor is correct, was seen once trying the virtues of "Old Bourbon" at the bar. Well, what is more natural than that for him to do so? Being our spiritual adviser, he necessarily should deal in things of "spirit;" and from the motions of some of the boys who imbide, "Old Bourbon" gives them spirit enough to face the devil and get in the guard-house.

When Brigham Young kicked up a muss and wouldn't obey Uncle Sam's laws, an army was sent to Salt Lake to make him toe the mark. But Brigham knows human nature, and as soon as our army got into his domain, what does he do but array his wives and all the pretty women of his disciples in their best garb, to meet the officers of the advancing foe. Brigham gave the officers the liberty of his city and his women met them on all sides with smiles and encomiums, and the consequence was, they, and not the Mormons, were captured. So with our regiment. The women of Old Bourbon are capturing all our officers. Our Captain, I am sorry to say, was captured at Camp Frazer by the ladies, and is still held a prisoner in this camp, although he leaves a happy family at home to mourn his loss. Our Second Lieutenant is ditto, only more so, being continually exposed to cross-fires of bouquets from the ladies of Old Bourbon. But his case is not bad, having left at home to claim him as a whole like the former. But being both good looking, it is hoped they may survive the shock, and return to their first love. Our First Lieutenant is crinoline- proof, none of that expensive stuff being seen near him. The boys are impatient to be on the move--they want to see the enemy and smell powder. One of our Corporals knocked a Secesh heels-over-stomach for hurrahing for Jeff Davis the other day, just to keep his hands in. There is fighting material in Co. F, and when the time comes to display it will be forthcoming. Our Captain is a stranger to fear, yet prudent, and the boys all like him. Our Lieutenants are good, well respected officers and manned as the best of any regiment.
The discipline is rather strict concerning leaving camp. In Mexico, when in the vicinity of towns, the troops off of duty could go at any time. Here we are confined to the limits of the camp; and the consequence is, when we do get out, the boys lay in a good cargo of "Old Bourbon," whereas, if let out at will, most would take a "hotn" and come back sober. Those who come back overladen with spirits go to the guard house, and are forever prohibited from leaving camp again. The consequence of this, the guard lines are broken, and squads of men go to town at night without leave. There would be less men in the guard house and not half the liquor drank, if we were allowed free access to town when we wanted to go.
J.W.W.


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This page created 13 September 2004 and last updated 28 September, 2008
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