Herman C. Hemenway Letter - Aug. 8, 1864
27th Iowa Top Banner

History of Buchanan County, Iowa 1842 to 1881
Transcribed by Tommy Joe Fulton and Peggy Hoehne

page 206

HOLLY SPRINGS, August 8, 1864.

MESSRS. EDITORS: - As I wrote you, the Twenty-seventh came down to this place on Thursday last, since which time we have occupied a tolerably pleasant position east of the town. The full effects of Van Dorn's operations at this point (in December, 1862) appears in the ruined walls of all the depot buildings, and of all the principal business buildings up town.

There are no marks indicating that business had been carried on in the place since our first occupation. Like all towns I have been in which were occupied by rebels, it is desolated; improvements of every kind are neglected, and all shows that war is abroad in the land. Alexandria, Louisiana, does indeed furnish an exception to this statement.

The whole of General Smith's forces are now said to be in this vicinity, and our regiment is under orders to be ready to march at an hour's notice. We shall likely move south to the Tallahatchie, and on to Oxford and Grenada. This, however, is mere speculation, as we have a general who develops his plans only by the orders for their execution. There is an opinion prevalent that we shall be at Memphis in a few weeks. The health of the regiment is generally good, and but few are left behind on this march. None have returned who have been furloughed since July 1st. We expect strong reenforcements when we return. The troops make great havoc of the products of the country, and thrive thereon remarkably well. Apples and peaches are ripening and are plentiful. Green corn is a staple, and considerable quantities of potatoes are developed by our best jayhawkers. On the whole we are doing well.

Promotions in the regiment have been made as follows: Sergeant G. P. Smith, company G, to be quartermaster, and Sergeant Major C. H. Lewis to be adjutant. These promotions, especially that of Sergeant Major Lewis, are considered as very fit to be made. The weather in Dixie, this summer, though warm, is entirely tolerable. The same daily breezes prevail here which afford such pleasurable relief upon the prairies of the west. Rains have not been frequent, nor has there been any lack of water. On the night of our arrival here there was a shower which was so severe and long continued as to leave scarcely a dry man in the regiment. We don't want any more like it.

The general feeling of the army is that we shall prevail. All that is required is an exercise of that fortitude which the rebels have so well taught us by their example. Of personal bravery we have enough, as is attested by every battlefield. But have we national courage and fortitude which will insure the prompt reenforcement of our shattered armies, and thus crown our arms with entire and final success? We, down here, believe it and believe that the Union is well nigh restored. But if Sherman or Grant is unsuccessful, why, try again. It is no time to go back - to yield - after having spent so many millions and lost so many thousands of brave lives. The blood of heroes slain would cry out against an abandonment of the advantages which their deaths have helped to purchase. No, we must go on, and shall prevail. More from our next stopping place.

H. C. H.