Friday, June 22, 2012

Camping at Bear Creek

Just a brief note today, to say all is well with the volunteers from Kentucky in the Seventeenth Infantry on this day in 1862.  They remain on duty at the Bear Creek Bridge which, although not as pleasant as their camp at Iuka, is a vacation compared to their previous four months. 

This light duty is divided between posts on the east and west ends of the bridge, patrols of the surrounding areas, routine equipment maintenance, and swimming at a nearby pool on Bear Creek that the soldiers ranked as first class.*  Swimming was one of the favorite pastimes of the soldiers as it provided a chance for horseplay, bathing and exercise that did not involve standing on their aching feet.

The men also had ample time to enjoy the lush countryside while doing a little hunting and fishing.  In the evenings they could relax around the campfires after a better than average meal, and write letters to their family and sweethearts.

Being held at the Mississippi-Alabama border gave rise to hopes that they might be redirected to the north. They were certainly not anxious to continue eastward to Virginia. The soldiers were unaware that Chattanooga was actually next on Halleck's agenda for General Buell..

* Blackburn, John, A Hundred Miles, A Hundred Heartbreaks, 1972,self-published, LOC 72-93774, pp.100-101

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