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August 18, 2011

WRC in the Civil War - Charles Young’s Account of Company B, 85th Ohio Volunteer Infantry - Part 5

Last week we left Company B at Centralia on their way to Vicksburg for a prisoner exchange.

“We arrived at Cairo on the 28th (Thursday), and there took on 200 more prisoners from Camp Morton. We had three transports, the Champion, the largest and finest boat on the river, the Chancellor, and I think, the Pringle; but as to the last I am not certain: below Memphis we had another, the Emerald, and I am not certain which, the Emerald or Pringle, started from Cairo. We had lost two prisoners at Cincinnati in the change of cars there in the evening: they violated their parole and, I suppose made their way over into Kentucky; I was told that they lived in or near Covington. From Cairo we were escorted by the gunboats Eastport and Queen of the West.. We all carried flags of truce. We reached Memphis on the 30th, having been much delayed by the Eastport which kept getting aground. My own quarters were on the Champion with Capt. Lazelle of the Regular Army, who had been captured and paroled in Texas with Gen. Wool. Gen. Sherman was at the time in command at Memphis, and I reported to him. We staid there over night. The people were very surly and once as we (Lieut. Cutler and I) were walking through the street a couple of women spit at us.

“Here the Eastport and Queen of the West dropped us and their places were taken by the Louisville and Benton (iron-clads) fresh from Forts Henry and Donelson. The rest of our trip to Milliken’s Bend at the mouth of the Yazoo was without incident, and the whole trip was not uncomfortable except for the heat and mosquitoes. We reached the Bend, about six miles above Vicksburg, on the evening of Sept. 9th, and lay there four days, discharging our prisoners into boats sent up from Vicksburg, and receiving in exchange 350 Federal prisoners to be taken to Helena, Memphis, and Cairo. Here the Benton, I think, left us, thogh I am not sure that she did not go North with us some little distance. At any rate the gun-boat Tylor joined us here, and with the Louisville accompanied us as far as Memphis, beyond which point convoy was not considered necessary.

“The stay at the mouth of the Yazoo proved disastrous to a great many of us. The water was bad, and affected the bowels of more than half the company, causing a diarrhoea that was was very obstinate, and in many cases became chronic for years, and was ultimately fatal to several. As for myself I did not fully recover from it for nearly twenty years.”

Next week: the return trip

Posted by hxy2 at August 18, 2011 05:41 PM

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