History of Buchanan County, Iowa 1842 to 1881
Transcribed by Tommy Joe Fulton and Peggy Hoehne
LETTER NO. XCVIII.
SAME PLACE, December, 22nd.
FRIEND RICH: - I wrote you last evening, putting the loss of property to the United States by the rebel raid on this town, on the twentieth instant, at two millions of dollars. I have just returned from the place where the depot buildings used to be, and now think I underestimated the value of property destroyed. It is true that all that was destroyed did not not belong to the United States, but it is a direct injury financially to the Government, of more than the amount stated. There must have been at least one hundred cars burned, a vast amount of wagons and ammunition, two engines, commissary stores, etc. The citizens of the town who were instrumental in giving the rebels aid are known, as all the prisoners were paroled, and all the cotton buyers, sutlers and citizens remain unparoled. These men will be punished, so says Colonel C. C. Marsh, commander of the district. We arrested one man, and sent him up to the colonel this morning; charged with murder and assisting the rebels. They will, after a while, learn to behave like men. It is reported that ladies shot at our soldiers out of their houses, when they were fleeing from the rebel cavalry.
Colonel Gilbert has just returned from headquarters, and reports that we are to remain here for a few days at least. As soon as communication is opened with the north, we will send our letters, that all our people may know that the Twenty-seventh Iowa is safe, except those taken from the hospital. They were Jos. Bryson, A. B. O'Conner, James Stanley, D. Tracy, D. M. Scott, L. W. Scott, and James Mitchell, all of company I; Brown, of company C; A. Stangier and Phineas Smith, of company B, and Smith, of company K. Among the prisoners taken by the rebels in this place, I have just learned was S. M. Langworthy, who had just resigned as quartermaster of our regiment, and was on his way home. He lost everything, horse, sword, pistols, blankets, overcoat, etc. All the cotton in town was burned, and all the sutler stores destroyed. In this work of destruction the rebel cavalry were assisted by the citizens of this place. That they will be severely punished, I feel satisfied.
Later. - Since writing the foregoing, one of the men taken from our hospital, Phineas Smith, of company B, has been here. He says that the rebels run them off some twenty-five miles, and paroled them, and they are now back at our camp on the Tallahatchie, all safe. He says that there were twenty-two rebels who made the raid upon the hospital; that they said they were supported by a large band lying back, and that men were constantly leaving, and others coming into their band along the road.
This satisfies me that these same citizens that we are protecting every day, are the ones that act as guides to the rebels in their expeditions against us. The more I see of the course taken in this war, the more disgusted I get.