Life in the 119th Regiment.
Mr. Editor: — Your regular correspondent from these regions, having the fear of the shoulder-straps before his eyes, and being thereby deterred from continuing his literary efforts, I am induced to try my hand at letter writing, although unused to the business, being mainly instigated thereto by the wish to keep those who have friends in the 119th Ill.Vols. somewhat posted as to the situation, as the word is now-a days.
The railroad blockade being run by the way of Memphis, lots of mail matter was distributed to our boys on yesterday morning, among which were several copies of the Whig & Republican of Dec. 20th. It was truly refreshing to once more hear from home, and not the least welcome item was the Whig & Republican.
I notice an article from an occasional which piles it on to companies A and F rather thick, and although the writer is said by phrenologists to have the organ of "approbativeness" well developed and claims to belong to Co. A or F, and hence comes in for his share of good things dealt out to those companies, whether "spiritual" or otherwise, still he thinks if your correspondent had been at Toons as long as some of us, he would have drawn the thing a little more mild. That the horses, mules, Negroes, provisions and delicacies were taken is certain. That the said honey never found its way to Co. A is sure, and that the butter never left headquarters is positively a fact. Of all these things your correspondent owing to the short time he was with us, could not be assured, so he is not to be blamed, except, perhaps for rather too ardent an imagination, which shows itself in his predicting the total overthrow of the rebel cause in the Mississippi Valley within a few weeks. God knows we would gladly welcome the hope, but experience teaches us that the game is not so near played out as he would fancy.
During this raid of Forest's cavalry upon our railroads, of which you have doubtless more full particulars than we have here, our regiment has had its share of hardships, although not favored with the chance of doing any fighting. Co's. A and D were brought from Toons and Medon to Jackson on the night of the 18th of Dec, and from that time to the 24d were on the move, and posted as the advance guard or lying on their arms, part of the time without blankets, the nights keen and frosty, giving them their first taste of the true pleasures of a soldier's life. Still the boys do not complain. Their sentiment almost uniformly seems to be that the war must be pushed on vigorously and each one seems willing and anxious to bear his share in the toil and danger of the conflict. Still there are some exceptions, and strange as it may appear, perhaps; a large proportion of the tender footed ones can be found in the line as in the ranks. In fact, we have, from observation, fully come to the conclusion that the insignia of office in order to convert a coward into a good soldier, or a ninny into a sensible man must be placed somewhere else than on his shoulders and the front of his chapeau.
The rumor has just reached us that Rosecrans has used up Bragg completely, but although we all take stock freely in Rosecrans, we fear it is too good news to come all at once.
In regard to the situation of the 119th, as far as we can learn, three companies, B, E, and H were successfully drawn off from Kenton and saved by Lieut. Colonel Taylor, and are now, we learn, guarding the repair train on the upper part of the road. Companies G and K were captured at Rutherford station and paroled. Col. Kinney, Dr. Wood and the sick of the Regiment were taken at Kenton and paroled and sent to Hickman. Companies C and D are at Humboldt, eighteen miles from Jackson. Co. A is in a cypress swamp three miles south of Humboldt, guarding a long bridge. Co. I is still at Medon, and Co. F still at Toons. Some of our boys have heard the guns in battle at a distance, but as far as we can learn not one of us has yet bled a drop for his country. But as "a living dog is better than a dead lion," the news that "we still live" will be hailed by our friends as a token that we will yet do something. In fact we are now doing something.
Since the blockade our rations have been drawn principally from the surrounding country. A lieutenant, not wholly unknown to the readers of the Whig, is one of our most successful foragers, accompanied by a squad of trusty men he will sally forth a few miles, and on reaching a hospitable Southerner's residence he accosts the chivalric proprietor somewhat as follows, while his (the Lieutenant's) countenance is wreathed in its blandest smile: "Good morning, sir; I hope I have the pleasure of addressing a true friend of the glorious Union?" "Oh certainly, sir, certainly, to be sure," and out comes the inevitable oath of allegiance. "All right," says the Lieutenant. "Well, you know these pesky secesh cavalry have torn up the railroads, and cut off our supplies and played h—ob generally," (our Lieutenant never swears,) "and we have come out to give you a chance to show your love to the old flag by contributing to us, who have come hundreds of miles to fight for you, and left our parents, our children, our wives and our sweethearts," (here the Lieutenant looks sentimental,) "and so you will please furnish our poor boys here with a good beef, a few sides of bacon, a half dozen fat sheep, a barrel or two of corn meal, a hundred pounds or so of flour, a due proportion of what sugar and molasses you may happen to have on hand, a few bushels of potatoes, and a team to haul this little batch of provisions to the camp, and the blessings of the hungry soldier will rest on your head, and you will realize the truth of the declaration of Holy Writ, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’" Such is our Lieutenant's logic, and so powerful is his eloquence that invariably on his return we have something to eat.— Long may he wave.
Our boys say they will fight secesh in this way as long as the ammunition holds out and never flinch from the fire. One fellow looking over any shoulder at the last sentence says the fire meant above is the cook's fire. Well that also is the opinion of