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November 04, 2011

WRC in the Civil War - “Sojering” - part 2

We continue with part 2 of the account of the Civil War service of Western Reserve College students. This account appeared in the December 1862 issue of the student newspaper, Western Reserve Souvenir.

“In the latter part of August an arrangement was made for the exchange of all the prisoners of war then confined at Camp Chase. Our company was selected to conduct them to their place of destination, Vicksburg, Mississippi.

We started from Camp, Tuesday, Aug. 26th, having under our charge about one thousand sesesh, whom we were to take to Cairo, and then transfer them to the fleet that was to take them down the river. While on our way we had excellent opportunities for viewing the beautiful scenery in Southern Ohio, and the boundless prairies and interminable swamps of Indiana and Illinois. We arrived at Cairo after a tiresome journey of two days and nights, and then embarked with our sesesh friends on the steamer Champion, one of the largest and swiftest boats on the river.

We started the same day and slowly made our way through the continuous bends and shallows of the father of waters. We passed many points of interest; Columbus, Island No. 10, which so long succeeded in baffling all the attempts of our gun boats to take it; Memphis, one of the most beautiful cities of the south; Fort Pillow, and Helena, where the entire army of Major General Curtis lay encamped. After twelve days we came in sight of the steeples of Vicksburg, but were not allowed to approach the city. Here, much to our relief, we bade farewell to the rebels and started back to Cairo, arriving without any mishaps, save a slight skirmish with the enemy, who were soon put to flight by a few shells from the gun boats which accompanied us. On the 26th of September we were mustered out of the service of Uncle Sam, and hastened to our homes and friends to spend a short vacation before entering again upon our studies.

The recollections of this little episode in our life will be both pleasant and sad. We have to mourn the loss of two of our fellow-students, N.D. Gilbert, Class of ‘64, and J.C. Packard, Class of ‘65, the latter taken away suddenly from our midst, the former died after lingering for a long time. We shall cherish them in our memories as those who sacrificed their prospects and all that was dear to them in the service of their country.”

Posted by jmt3 at November 4, 2011 06:42 PM

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