Our Memphis Correspondence.
Stormy Weather — Its Effects on the Soldiers — Rebel Rumors from Holly Springs — Prospects of Active Service — Demand for Sanitary Supplies — The Germans and Irish Loyal — Occupation of a Rebel's House as a Hospital — The Chicago Times Good Authoring with Traitors — Inhuman Outrage Upon a Union Family in Mississippi, &c., &c.
CAMP 114TH ILLS., NEAR MEMPHIS,
NOVEMBER 20TH, 1862.
DEAR JOURNAL: That ever convenient personage impersonal, "the weather," has been giving us serious inconvenience for a few days past, and threatens more serious consequences for the future. Rain has fallen in torrents for three days past and everything around and beneath us is saturated with water and bedaubed with mud. The men, of course, are suffering with colds, and at least one third of the regiment is, to-night, suffering with severe cough and incipient pneumonia. A few days sunshine, if we could get it, would do us a great deal of good. The roads are fast getting into that condition that would render a "forward movement" out of the question; and yet, if the rumors that reach us to-day are true, it is probable that we will see active service in a few days. Bragg has re-occupied Holly Springs with a large re-enforcement, and it is said that an army of 150,000 men is being rapidly concentrated at that point, with the view of annihilating Grant's army and marching immediately on Memphis. It is almost certain, from present indications, that a severe and perhaps a decisive battle will be fought at or near the former place before many days. The friends of the Confederacy here, say that their Generals have determined to stake the issue of the contest in Mississippi on the present movements, and if defeated, the State may be regarded as subdued. The authorities should now be active, and officers and privates should double their diligence to insure a decisive victory.
Our Sanitary Committees should also be active, for surely we will stand in need of all their contributions. Our mothers, wives and sisters should send us all the canned fruits they can spare, as such things cannot be obtained here. The citizens refuse to sell us anything at a fair price, and some are so hostile that they would destroy their own provisions rather than sell us at any price — this refers to the wealthy classes; the few poor families that are left are loyal. — The German and Irish portion of the population, to their everlasting praise, let it be written, are truly, heartily, loyal; but they are generally poor — to the extent of their ability they are willing to accommodate us.
We confiscated a portion of an old rebel's house by the name of Brown, to-day, for a hospital. We took the kitchen and dining room, and left the family (man and wife) in possession of the front part of the house; their sons and son-in-law being in the rebel army at Corinth. The old lady was terribly indignant, and exercised all the privilege of her sex in abusing Union soldiers, and narrating to us the terrible depredations of Gen. Grant's army around Corinth. On expressing a doubt as to the truth of some of her statements, she promptly referred to me to statements published in a northern paper, from which she said she derived all her information. She handed me the Chicago Times, and told me to read, and there sure enough, was a detailed account of "unparalleled atrocities," "stealing the clothes of an unborn child," &c., &c., said to have been perpetrated by the soldiers; stating that Gen. Grant and most of his officers were so humiliated and mortified at the conduct of the army, that they couldn't bear to be told of it. This paper bore date Nov. 11th, 1862. The Times is the only northern paper that circulates to any extent, among the citizens, so far as our observation has extended. Not so with the army. The Tribune and St. Louis Democrat appear to be the favorites.
As an offset to these Union barbarities, we will relate one act of Christian kindness and refined humanity committed but a few months ago by the chivalry of Mississippi, as told us by the subject of it this afternoon. The house of Mr. Hedges was entered at night, and his wife, in delicate heath, taken from her bed and carried en dishabille to jail, where she was kept for two months, for no other crime that the attachment of herself and husband to the old flag. Mr. Hedges finally succeeded in escaping from the country, and is now living but half a mile from our headquarters. He is native of Massachusetts: his wife was raised in Bloomington, Ills. Both are well educated and used to refined society. Two lovely children make up their family. Of course they welcome us with warm hearts.
This case is but one of thousand similar, and worse, committed for no purpose in the world but the gratification of at most malignant, ignorant and devilish spirit, the root and life of treason. Hear the testimony of Gen. Prentiss and "one of their own Prophets," Parson Brownlow, and then say, Are these vipers entitled to the sympathy and praise that northern traitors are heaping upon them? Or is it just in the Government to send us from our homes and families to perish with disease or fall in battle by the hand of enemies whose families we are protecting in the quiet possession of their homes and luxuries? Let the people study well, both sides of the question.
W. A. M. Capt. Co. C.