Letter from Lieut. Jobe.
CAMP CHETLAIN, Paducah, Ky.,
Jan. 13th 1862.
DEAR COL: — I believe I have promised to write to you only when something of interest transpired, but it has been so long since I have written that I have concluded to write anyhow, and give you what little there is transpiring in and about camp.
We have been under marching orders for several days, and we are now patiently awaiting orders to "forward march."
Last Thursday noon we received orders to prepare to march at 8 o'clock Friday morning and according to order knapsacks were packed, and with ten days' provisions in our wagons, started for what we thought would terminate in a long march, and considerable fight. Every regiment in Paducah with the exception of the 40th Ill., were formed, and their countenances showed how anxiously they were awaiting the command to "forward." We did receive the command, and marched to Broadway, Paducah, distant about half a mile from our camp, when we were ordered to "halt" and "rest." After resting about half an hour we received another order which changed the countenances of the men very materially. It was to "right about march" for camp. When we arrived in camp we received "order No. 2," which was to prepare to march at 8 o'clock, Saturday morning, and about two hours afterwards we received "Order No. 3," which was that the expedition was postponed for the present, and that we should keep two days' cooked rations on hand now, and no doubt we will be ordered off soon. At least, I hope so. So much idleness has no good effect upon the troops, as it tends naturally to demoralize them, and make them discontented and restless. They must be engaged in something, and as the mud and rain, (of which we have a superabundance in this country at this season of the year,) prevents us from keeping the men employed in drilling as much as we should, consequently they engage in a great many idle pursuits which activity would prevent. Perhaps our present apparent slothfulness will prove beneficial in time come, as it enables us to become fully prepared for the contest, saying nothing of what benefit it proves to our enemy. Well, "we will make it all right in the morning."
Col. McArthur is not acting brigadier general, to fill the vacancy occasioned by the appointment of Gen. Payne to the command of the forces at Bird's Point, Mo. He will no doubt be appointed permanently. Lieut. Chetlain has been appointed to the command of Forth Smith, at Smithland, which, of course, will keep him stationed there during the war. Major Ducat, I hear, has been elected Col. of the 45th Ill. Regiment, stationed at Camp Douglas, Chicago. Adjutant Dickson is not acting assistant adjutant general of the 1st brigade, which will no doubt be permanent. Thus you see our regiment is quite destitute of staff officers. Capt. Hugunin, the senior captain, is now in command.
What interests Co. D. about as much as anything else at present, is our old daily visitor, the Argus, and it always gets a mighty warm reception. The boys cluster around eagerly listening to every line, anxious to know what is going on in Rock Island.
I send you a copy of the Soger man about Town," and I suppose you can glean from it about all the news in and around Paducah. The editors are Messrs. Mason and Slidell, both belonging to our company. Corporal Mason is the man who wrote two or three communications for the Argus, whilst I was in Rock Island recruiting. Slidell is no other than our own everlastin' Crawford. On account of his extraordinary intimacy with Corporal Mason, the boys have given him the title of Slidell.
Hoping I shall soon have the pleasure helping to take Columbus, I subscribe myself,
WM. F. Jobe.
N.B. — Capt. Lackey, Lieut. Koehler, and all the boys tender their sincere regards.
Colonel, is it not too bad; we have now been in the service almost six months and have received but one month's pay. What is the matter? Is the paymaster dead? Have you heard anything of him up your way?
Yours, &c., W. F. J.