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Letter from a soldier in the 69th Ohio Volunteer Infantry

[There was a Simon Young in Co. H. He enlisted as a private and mustered out as a corporal. N. Elvick]

Head-quarters 69th Reg. O. V. I. Murfreesboro, Tenn., April 16, 1863

Mr. Harper:
     I reached Murfreesboro last week, after a disagreeable trip of seven days from Gallipolis, finding a great change in my Regiment.—Scarcely an officer remains who started with us from Ohio little over a year ago. The footprints of disease and death are plainly visible in our midst. Within the last month the "Pale Horse" has visited our company, and taken from among us two of our best and most highly esteemed soldiers. A number of others are in the Hospitals, wounded and sick. In the late battle of Stone River, where this regiment won a name for itself high in the standard of gallant deeds and victorious charges, 160 of its members suffered from rebel bullets. Capt. Counseller, of Company H, who fell on the last day's fight, while leading a charge on a rebel battery was killed instantly, by a cannon ball. We lost a brave officer and a good soldier. His place, however, is filled by one his equal in all the attributes that constitute a good soldier, Lieut. Edward R. Black, of Pickaway county, Ohio.
     On the tenth of the present month, we were inspected and mustered—Company H, as usual, carrying off the praise as being the best equipped and most prompt company in the regiment. In fact the whole regiment were highly and deservedly complimented. We are in the 14th Army corps (Gen. Thomas) 2d Division (Gen. Negley) and 2d Brigade, which, until a day or two past, has been commanded by Col. T. R. Stanley, of the 18th Ohio, and formerly a State Senator from the Gallia District. Gen. Turchin now has command. There is, perhaps, no man in the service who is more respected and esteemed by the men than Col. Stanley. By his affable, Christian-like manners, he has endeared himself to the regiments of this brigade. He was in the thickest of the eight days' fight here—always at the head of the brigade—encouraging his men and showing himself to be, in every way, worthy of the high position he held. Day-before-yesterday, while the 69th was on battalion drill, he bid us farewell in a beautiful speech, during which he was cheered with many long and loud huzzas. Col. S. leaves this brigade without an enemy, and with the prayers and good wishes of every man in it.
     We are encamped on the South side of Murfreesboro, and have the handsomest camp we have ever had. There has been a vast amount of labor expended upon it, and is not yet finished. The streets are regularly laid out, and beautifully decorated with cedars. As far as the eye can reach, nothing presents itself to the view but one vast military camp, and no sound greets the ear save the incessant din incident to a soldier's life. The same monotony exists day after day, relieved only, occasionally, by the sight of some fractious soldier, "walking his beat" with a rail on his shoulder and knapsack buckled on his back, or undergoing some similar punishment for his shortcomings. These cases, I am glad to say, are very rare—so much so, indeed, that in our regiment, a guard-house has never been put up. The men are well behaved and do not grumble at duty.
     Last Friday, a little excitement was created in camp by the announcement that a body of rebel cavalry, variously estimated frorm 250 to 800, had successfully attacked a train of cars between here and Nashville, capturing a number of prisoners, and destroying the train, after having "appropriated" about $15,000 of soldiers' money, (which had been started to their families and friends) besides other things they could "conveniently carry off."—It was, doubtless, a portion of the command of the ubiquiotis Morgan or Forrest.
To give you some idea of the fabulous market prices here, I will state that butter is worth $1 per pound; eggs 60@70¢ per dozen; cheese 40¢ per pound; and other products in proportion.—Groceries are but little in advance of Ohio prices, since the occupation of Murfreesboro by the Federal army. I do not apprehend that the rebels will attack us here—they will not engage Rosecrans when it can possibly be avoided—they have tried him and his Western troops to their entire satisfaction, I imagine.
     Nous verons [sic - correct spelling is nous verrons, or we'll see.]

The Gallipolis Journal
May 7, 1863

Transcribed by Eva Swain Hughes

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