Monday, July 9, 2012

Another Fine Spot

Captain Cox, still hopeful of finding a home for the summer, thinks this must be the place as he writes in his diary on the evening of July 9, 1862.

--Reveille this morning at 3 o'clock, and we started for our new camp, some four miles distant.  Arrived about 6 o'clock and immediately pitched tents for the summer, no doubt.  This is a pretty good place to camp and convenient to good water.  I am now in hopes that we may be permitted to remain here for at least a few weeks, if not longer, for we have indeed undergone many hardships and privations since we left Kentucky and it is time for us to rest.  Wrote a letter to Josie today.*

Striking camp and getting on the road is becoming routine for the boys in blue.  They made pretty good time between reveille at 3:00 and setting up a new camp four miles down the road at 6:00.  If the Seventeenth is to have a place to stay for the summer, which they sorely need, it is becoming apparent that a tent camp will not be it.

Not to belittle the accomplishments of Buell's Army in the spring of 1862, but the 17th Kentucky, along with the 31st & 44th Indiana had more battle experience than most of his men due to their temporary assignment in the Army of the Tennessee.**  Their charge of the fortified hillside at Fort Donelson was one of the turning points of the battle.  Their performances at the Peach Orchard, Wicker Field and  "Grant's Last Line of Defense" on Sunday at Shiloh were second to none.  And when Buell arrived that night to retake the eastern half of the battlefield,  they helped form the right flank under Generals Hurlbut, McClernand and Sherman  that swept the western half and eventually drove the Confederates from the field.  So Captain Cox can't be blamed for believing they were due some soft duty.

*Cox, Samuel K, Civil War Diary 1862-1865 of Captain Samuel Kennedy Cox, courtesy of Daviess County Public Library, Kentucky Room, archived manuscript, p.19.

**According to Dyer's, their neighbors from southern Indiana who had also steamed from Calhoun, Ky and fought under Cruft (at Fort Donelson) and Lauman (at Shiloh) were currently assigned as follows:  the 31st Indiana was nearby in Col. S.D. Bruce's Twenty-second Brigade of Nelson's Fourth Division and  the 44th Indiana was in the Fourteenth Brigade of General Crittenden's Fifth Division with other regiments from Calhoun.

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