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The diaries of my great-great grandfather were transcribed in the early 1980s from three small pocket-sized leather-bound diaries kept by Mifflin Jennings. By the war’s end, Mifflin had been promoted to First Sergeant, Co. C, 11th Iowa Veteran Volunteer Infantry. These diaries were originally made in pencil and ink, and some have faded. The originals are in my possession or soon will be at the Kansas State Historical Society museum and research facility. Mifflin had a habit of spelling “water” and “corps” as “watter” and “corpse,” respectively. Translation comments are listed in brackets.
Mifflin Jennings was a Kansan for over 45 years after the war, but was born near Union Town, Pennsylvania, July 27, 1843. While an infant, his family moved to Guernsey County, Ohio. Then in 1854, they moved again, this time to a farm near Columbus City, Louisa County, Iowa.
When the civil war broke out and the summer of fighting at Wilson’s Creek and Bull Run did not decide the war, Lincoln made a second call for volunteers. Mifflin and his older brother, Elijah, enlisted as privates in Co. C. of the 11th Iowa. The regiment went to the front in September, 1861, after little formal drill in St. Louis, and served on garrison duty in Missouri for eight months. Mifflin began keeping the diaries in November, 1862, considerably after the Battle of Shiloh. At Shiloh, the 11th Iowa fought for the first time and like other regiments those two days, suffered high casualties, 33 dead and 160 wounded out of a present-for-duty force of 750. Nineteen of the wounded later died. A third of all the men in the regiment who would die in battle during the war were killed or mortally wounded on April 6-7, 1862. The 11th Iowa suffered greater loss at Shiloh than any other Iowa unit, and the 9th highest casualty loss of any Union regiment.
After Shiloh, during the Corinith, Mississippi campaign, the regiment was brigaded with three other Iowa regiments and the contributions of this brigade were summarized as follows:
“Prominent among these was "Hall's Iowa Brigade," of the Seventeenth Corps, composed of the 11th, 13th, 15th, and 16th Regiments. These troops were brigaded thus in April, 1862, under command of Colonel [Marcellus] Crocker of the 13th Iowa, and served together until mustered out in July, 1865. * * * [The brigade] fought in all the battles of the Army of the Tennessee, in the Vicksburg and Atlanta campaigns, marched with Sherman to the Sea and through the Carolinas, and took part in the final grand review at Washington.” Fox, William F., Regimental Losses In the American Civil War, 1861-1865. Albany, NY: Albany Publishing Co., 1989; reprint, Dayton, OH: Morningside Bookshop, 1985, Ch. 12, p. 519.The brigade was nicknamed “Crocker’s Greyhounds,” because of their hard marching ability. This all-Iowa unit produced several notable officers later in the war, including Hall who commanded a division, and W. W. Belknap, who commanded the brigade late in the war and was Secretary of War in Grant’s administration.
Illness plagued the armies during the war. Initial infantry training made Mifflin ill. After Shiloh he was granted a convalescent furlough back to Iowa. There, however, his family was going through a bout with typhus which killed four relatives. Several times the 11th Iowa regiment duty records show Jennings “sick in general hospital:” December 15-17, 1861, April 30 to June 30, 1862; August 5th to October 18, 1864. The time spent in hospital may account for the lack of diaries by Mifflin in the early part of his service. Mifflin’s only wound was a cut on his hand, probably from grabbing for his bayonet and ramrod, during the battles around Atlanta in 1864. Mifflin did not record the event, it was left to his brother, William, to mention it, thirty years later.
Elijah Jennings did not survive the war. During and after the siege of Vicksburg, he fell ill and died in late August, 1863, in the regiment’s hospital at Vicksburg. Unlike many battlefield deaths which are unmarked, Elijah’s gravestone has his name on it and is part of the Iowa section of the national cemetery at Vicksburg.
Another Jennings brother, William R. Jennings, joined Company “C” on March 10, 1864 as a 19-year-old replacement. The regiment, at the time, was home in Iowa on veteran’s furlough. William kept a diary, too, and later became a banker and state senator from Davenport, Nebraska. He penned “My Story,” which has more thorough recollections of the actions of the 11th Iowa. At the Battle of Bentonville, William Jennings served as one of Belknap’s aides. William’s recollections are inserted in double brackets at appropriate points in the narrative. Appropriate mention will be made to the Official Records, too.
After the war, on July 4, 1867, he married Mary E. Stilwell at Wapello, Iowa. He was converted in a revival at Van Meter, Iowa, in the winter of 1868 and was a charter member of the first class organized in the United Brethren Church in Van Meter. He was ordained in 1885 and continued to preach for thirty years.
In 1871, Mifflin Jennings moved to Jewell County, Kansas, just south of the Nebraska border to homestead a quarter section of land south of Webber, Kansas. His brother, William, moved to Davenport, Nebraska, a day’s ride north of Webber. There Mifflin helped charter a new church and fathered four daughters and three sons. He is buried in the cemetery just south of his homestead and as of 1998, the prominent headstone is still flanked by his G.A.R. star.
Short History of the 11th Iowa Infantry
Organized at Davenport, Iowa, September 28 to October 18, 1861.
Ordered to St. Louis, Mo., November 1. Attached to Dept. of Missouri to March, 1862.
1st Brigade, 1st Division, Army of Tennessee, to April, 1862.
3rd Brigade, 6th Division, Army of Tennessee, to July, 1862, and District of Corinth to November, 1862.
3rd Brigade, 6th Division, Left Wing 13th Army Corps (Old), Dept. of Tennessee, to December, 1862.
3rd Brigade, 6th Division, 16th Army Corps, Army of the Tennessee, to January, 1863.
3rd Brigade, 6th Division, 17th Army Corps, to September, 1863.
3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 17th Corps, to April, 1864.
3rd Brigade, 4th Division, 17th Corps, to July, 1865.
Moved to Jefferson City, Mo., November, 1861, and duty there till March, 1862.
Expedition to Booneville December 8, 1861, and to Providence and Booneboro December 14.
Moved to Pittsburg Landing, Tenn., March 10, 1862.
Battle of Shiloh, Tenn., April 6-7.
Advance on and siege of Corinth, Miss., April 29-May 30.
Duty at Corinth and Bolivar till November.
Battle of Corinth October 3-4.
Pursuit to Ripley October 5-12.
Grant's Central Mississippi Campaign November, 1862, to January, 1863.
Moved to Memphis, Tenn., January 12, 1863; thence to Lake Providence, La., January 18.
Expedition to Richmond, La., January 29-31.
Richmond January 30.
Duty at Lake Providence till April.
Movement on Bruinsburg and turning Grand Gulf April 25-30.
Battle of Port Gibson May 1 (Reserve).
Battles of Raymond May 12, Jackson May 14. Champion's Hill May 16. Big Black River Crossing May 17.
Siege of Vicksburg May 18-July 4. Assaults on Vicksburg May 19 and 22.
Expedition to Mechanicsburg May 26-June 4.
Surrender of Vicksburg July 4.
Advance on Jackson July 5-10.
Guard ammunition and subsistence trains at Vicksburg till February, 1864.
Expedition to Monroe, La., August 20-September 2, 1863.
Expedition to Canton October 14-20, 1864
Meridian Campaign February 3-March 6, 1865.
Veterans on furlough March and April. Non-Veterans garrison duty at Mound City, Ill.
Moved to Clifton, Tenn.; thence march to Ackworth, Ga., via Huntsville and Decatur, Ala., and Rome, Ga., April 21-June 8.
Atlanta (Ga.) Campaign June 8-September 8. Operations about Marietta and against Kenesaw Mountain June 10-July 2. Bushy Mountain June 15-17. Assault on Kenesaw June 27. Nickajack Creek July 2-5. Chattahoochie River July 6-17. Leggett's or Bald Hill July 20-21. Battle of Atlanta July 22. Siege of Atlanta July 22-August 25. Flank movement on Jonesboro August 25-30.
Battle of Jonesboro August 31-September 1. Lovejoy Station September 2-6.
Pursuit of Hood into Alabama October 1-26. Snake Creek Gap October 15-16.
March to the Sea begins November 15-December 10.
Siege of Savannah December 10-21.
Campaign of the Carolinas January to April, 1865.
Pocotaligo, S.C., January 14-16. Salkehatchie Swamps February 3-5. River's Bridge February 3. Edisto Railroad Bridge February 7. South Edisto River February 9. Orangeburg February 11-12. Columbia February 15-17. Cheraw March 3. Fayetteville, N. C., March 11.
Battle of Bentonville March 20-21.
Occupation of Goldsboro March 24.
Advance on Raleigh April 9-13.
Occupation of Raleigh April 14.
Bennett's House April 26.
Surrender of Major General Joe Johnston and his army.
March to Washington, D. C., via Richmond, April 29-May 20.
Grand Review May 24.
Moved to Louisville, Ky., June. Mustered out July 15, 1865.
Regiment mortality during service 5 Officers and 86 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 2 Officers and 166 Enlisted men by disease. Total 259.
There are no diaries for 1861 and most of 1862. The Official Records account of the 11th Iowa’s actions in 1861 and early 1862 are as follows:
abortive skirmish with rebels at Jefferson City, Missouri, December, 1861,
O.R. I, Vol. 8, p. 427;
at Shiloh, Official Records, Series I, Vol. 10, Pt. 1, pp. 131-132;
Corinth, Mississippi, October, 1862, O.R. I, Vol. 17, Pt. 1, pp. 360-361
[Ed. Note: the first part of the diaries are in narrative form rather than a day by day account. Jennings’ diaries begin with Grant's Central Mississippi Campaign November, 1862, to January, 1863.]
On the 2nd of November, we got orders to march to LaGrange to join an expedition under General Grant to operate against the rebels who was then concentrated on the Tallahatchie River. Three divisions left Corinth on November 2nd under General Hamilton. Our division was commanded by General [John] McArthur. We left Corinth about noon and traveled about 15 miles and camped on a small stream on the Tuscumbia River. We stopped about ten o’clock at night and lay down and slept without our supplies as our teams had not yet caught up with us yet and we were pretty tired. About 12 o’clock we were routed out by the cooks and got our suppers. After eating supper we lay down to sleep the remainder f the night. It was rather cold sleeping as we were rather poorly provided with blankets and were without tents. We left our blankets behind and expect to have them sent on to LaGrange.
The second day’s march [11/3] we were lined up by Divisions before daylight and got our breakfast. By daylight we were ready and marched all day until 2 o’clock at night and camped on a small stream 16 miles from LaGrange.
The third day’s march [11/4] we were routed out early and got our breakfast and started on the march. We expect to arrive at our destination today and marched all day and until 9 o’clock that night where we camped along a small stream near LaGrange, Tennessee. We remained in Camp LaGrange and began drilling and reorganizing the army until the 28th of November, when it was concluded to do something with the rebels, that were then fortified on the Tallahatchie River. On the 28th, the army began to move under the command of General Grant.
We marched to Coldwater. The first day [11/28] we got to camp about 12 o’clock. Second day’s march [11/29] we were routed out by the drums before dawn and by daylight was in a march and heard the rebels were where we expected to camp tonight. We marched to Holly Springs, which is very nicely situated town and we heard the rebels had left there the evening before and were about six miles from there. We went on about six miles and came against the rebel picket line. Our advance had some skirmishing with the rebels and got one man of the 3rd Michigan cavalry killed and they fell back to their fortifications on the Tallahatchie River. We camped at Water Ford one Sunday [11/30] and on Monday [12/1] evening we got orders to march with 60 rounds ammunition and four days rations in our haversacks. We heard the rebels had evacuated their works. We started on the march and marched about two miles to the Tallahatchie River and camped overnight. There part of our division was detailed to rebuild a bridge over the river, which the rebels had burned, and they put up a temporary one so that we could cross on and run the artillery across by hand.
The next morning [12/2] we crossed the river where the rebels had their fortifications and found them vacant. The rebels had skedaddled and we marched about 3 miles to Abbieville and there we built huts with our gun blankets to protect us from the rain. It was raining pretty hard and was rather uncomfortable being without tents, for our wagons could not cross the river until the bridge was repaired. We stayed there until the next morning.
Our teams came over and we moved camp about a mile. We just put up our tents and went into camp about 3 o’clock and had to remain there until the railroad bridge was built, which was destroyed over the river. We stayed and built the bridge. By [December] 10th it was ready to cross and on the 12th we got orders to march and we started on the march and went about 7 miles and camped on a small stream about 4 miles from Oxford [Mississippi]. We lay there overnight and the next morning [12/13] we started on the march and marched through Oxford about 9:00 o’clock in the morning. Oxford is a nicely situated town on the Mississippi Central Railroad. We marched about four miles from there and halted to take dinner and we have four miles to march yet. As soon as dinner was over and we rested a little, we started on over and got into camp about 4 o’clock. We put up our tents with the expectation of laying there a week or two.
The next day [12/14] we heard that the rebels had captured Holly Springs and cut off our supplies and our regiment and two others in our division received orders to go aboard one of the cars and go back to Holly Springs. We got pretty near the station and got orders to go back to camp since there were not enough cars to take more than two regiments at a time over [the river]. Marched back to camp and stayed overnight and on the next morning got orders to take the back track. At daylight we started on the march and traveled all day and camped at our old camping ground at Abbeville. Stayed overnight.
The next morning we started on the march and marched to Water’s Ford where we halted for dinner and rested. We stayed about an hour and started on the march to Holly Springs, but did not find the rebels there. They had destroyed all the government property and left. We went into camp and on Dec. 20th we were getting short of provisions here at the pleasant house. Some crackers and foraged corn and some fresh beef but we’ll have plenty of bread soon as they are getting a mill in order to grind corn.
We remain at Holly Springs until December 30th, when we got orders to go to Moscow Station on the Memphis & Charleston Railroad. We traveled all day to Forest Grove Mills overnight and the next morning [12/31] we started on. We then got within about a mile of Moscow, we got orders to go to Lafayette on the same railroad about ten miles from Moscow. We got to camp about 3 o’clock. We had to have muster for pay as it was muster day. We put up our tents and remained there for some time to guard the railroad.
The first part of January finds us lying in Moscow. We spent New Year’s day in camp. It was a rather dry New Year’s day for me. We stayed there until January 12th when we left for Memphis. We marched the first day 22 miles to White’s Station, where we camped overnight. We were then within 9 miles of Memphis.
The second day [1/13] this morning we got started on the march and marched to Memphis. We got into camp about 2 o'clock and we pitched our tents and lined up for pay. We expected to get our pay on the 15th of the month. We were paid two months pay. We remained here until the 18th when we got orders to go down river. We left camp and marched to the river to get aboard one of the boats. We lay here overnight and it rained on us last night, which was rather uncomfortable because our company had to lay on the hurricane deck.
The 19th finds us at Memphis. We lay there all day and all through the night.
The 20th still finds us lying at the wharf at Memphis. At about one o'clock we shoved off and steamed down the river. The fleet ran until about 5 o'clock when it all halted and turned up for the night. Government boats were not allowed to run after night.
The 21st the signal was given by the headquarters boat to move out and we ran down to Helena by noon. We stopped there about an hour and shoved off again. The fleet ran until night when it halted for the night. This morning [1/22] at daylight the fleet shoved off again and ran all day. We did not pass any place of any importance. At night the fleet tied up again.
This morning [1/23] the fleet shoved off again and about ten o'clock we passed Napoleon, a small town on the bank of the river and we went and came to our stopping place, at Duck Port Landing, 12 miles above Vicksburg. We lay on short that night and the next day and we got off the boat and went into camp and worked at digging on the canal that they were building opposite Vicksburg and at repairing the dike that had broken to keep from drowning us.
We stayed there until February 2nd when we got orders to go to the river to Lake Providence, Louisiana, and we got on the boat and again lay there until the morning of the 9th. We shoved out and started up the river. We arrived at our destination about dark, a distance of 60 miles. There is a lake there about 1/2 mile from the river and we have to cut a canal through from the river so as to let boats through from the river and into the lake and from the lake into Bayou Macon and from there to the Red River to get below Vicksburg. This morning [2/9] we got off the boats and went into camp on the banks of the lake on a man’s plantation by the name of Sparrow, a general in the southern army. Our regiment is camped in his yard among his shrubbery. We marched at the canal only by the 19th. The watter was let into the lake and it began to raise the lake as the land was lower than the river. It began to overflow and on the 21st of March [sic, probably means February] we had to leave there on account of the watter. We moved about three miles up the river in a cotton field and it was so wet and muddy here that it was impossible to do anything. We will have to move from here pretty soon.
We stayed until the 26th [presumably February] when we got orders to move camp again. We struck tents and marched to the river and got aboard the boat and lay at the landing all night.
The next morning [2/26] we started out and ran down the river about five miles. It was two miles below Lake Providence when we landed and got off the boat. We pitched our tents in another yard. The ground was pretty dry and not liable to be overflowed by the canal. The canal. Here is going to prove to be a failure as it will not wash out enough for boats to pass through. We remained here in camp and didn’t have anything but camp duty until the 21st of April.
[The Grand Gulf campaign began April 26, 1863.]
We got orders to move again and we struck our tents and it commenced raining. We marched to the boat through mud. It took about a mile and we all got on board and got our camp equipment on board and laid down to sleep. On the morning of the 22nd, we made up and found ourselves at Milliken Bend, about 5 miles above where we were before when we were at Duck Port Landing. About 9 o'clock we marched off the boat and the most of the 22nd was occupied pitching tents and cleaning up the camp. We remained in camp until the 26th of the month, when we got orders to turn over our tents and other camping equipment and prepare for a march. We marched about ten miles and camped overnight. We are going across by land to get below Vicksburg.
This morning [4/27] we marched about two miles and it was raining pretty hard. We were at Richmond, Louisiana, and we went into a cotton house and laid overnight. On the 28th, we began to march and marched about ten miles and camped on a large plantation -- Senator Holmes. We expect to remain here a few days. The teams has got back to Milliken Landing for provisions.
Today, April 30, we have mustered for pay. From here to the end of the Vicksburg campaign I have endeavored to keep a daily journal.
May 1, I was on fatigue, building on the roads as the roads are very bad.
May 2, today we have drill in the forenoon and afternoon. General Steel’s division passed on their way to Grant.
May 4th, we did not drill as there were troops passing all day. General Tuttle’s division passed and a part of General Steel’s division that was left behind.
May 5th, today we had drill. There were 88 prisoners that passed her on their way to Milliken’s Landing.
May 6th. Guard duty at HQ.
May 7th, Today our company was on picket. There was 120 prisoners passed here on their way to Milliken’s Bend.
May 8th, drill.
May 9th, Today there was 75 prisoners went passed here and we had battalion drill in the forenoon and drilled in the afternoon.
May 10th: Today we had regimental inspection in the forenoon and in the afternoon we got orders for tomorrow to march with two days rations.
May 11th: Ready to start at daylight. Marched 9 miles, stopped to rest and take dinner. Lay there until 4 o'clock when we started on and marched another mile to St. Joseph’s landing where we stopped for the night.
May 12th: Got up and were ready to start by 5 o'clock. On the march until about 8 o'clock when we stopped to rest and cool off as it is pretty warm. The plantation we stopped on was a very nice one, or had been nice one day before it was somewhat destroyed. There had been a nice flower garden on it but it was grown up with weeds and most of the buildings had been burned. Someday the owner and some our soldiers there … Is a great many buildings burned along this road. Is some nice corn along here. Is about waist high. At noon we were not stopped on the Bayou St. Joseph. We laid there to cool off in the evening. We started on the march and followed the Bayou all day and camped at night about eight miles from Hard Times Landing. We expect to cross the river [there].
May 13th: got started by sunup and started on the march. We marched to the landing and when we got there the boats were not there that were to take us across. We lay there about two hours and when the boats arrived we went aboard and crossed the river to Grand Gulf, that had been previously occupied by the rebels. They were pretty strongly fortified but Grant had succeeded in crossing a force in their rear and they were compelled to evacuate or surrender and they preferred the former. We went into camp and waited for General Lawman’s [J.G. Lauman’s] division. They were to relieve us.
May 14th: Today was spent in reviewing the fortifications the rebels had evacuated. This was a place that has got strong natural fortifications. The bluff rises high from the river and gives a fair view of the river. On the side of the bluffs the rebels have built forts and have some heavy guns planted, all of which fell into our hands.
May 15th, today nothing of importance going on. The camp is full of excitement from news from the east. Two boats came up from below from Farragut’s Fleet. They report all quiet at Port Gibson.
May 16th: Today nothing of importance going on.
May 17th, today had an inspection in the forenoon and news came in that Grant had taken Jackson, Mississippi and was marching on Vicksburg.
[The Iowa Brigade was in the backwash of the pre-Vicksburg maneuvering and what Mifflin relates on May 17th occurred three days earlier. As the Official Records indicate, “Grant’s army crossed the river at Bruinsburg April 30, turned Grand Gulf, and engaged the enemy near Port Gibson on the 1st and at Fourteen-Mile Creek on the 3d of May. The enemy was defeated in both engagements, with heavy loss. General Grant then moved his forces, by rapid marches, to the north, in order to separate the garrison of Vicksburg from the covering army of Johnston. This movement was followed by the battles of Raymond, May 12; of Jackson, May 14; of Champion's Hill, May 16, and Big Black River Bridge, May 17, in all of which our troops were victorious. General Grant then proceeded to invest Vicksburg.” O.R. Series I, Vol. 24, Pt. 1, p. 5.]May 18th: Today I was on picket. My regiment was out on a scout up the Black River to cut a raft loose that the rebels had built to keep the gunboats from going up the river.
[The Siege of Vicksburg]
May 19th: This morning was relieved from picket. Returned to camp. Nothing of importance going on. At 11 o'clock at night we were routed up and ordered to go aboard the boat with two days rations. We got aboard that night and were ready to start and lay down to sleep for the night.
May 20th: This morning finds us aboard the boat on our way up the river to Vicksburg or as close to there as we can get. We got up to within five miles of town and as close as the boats could go. We were there within fair view of the rebel batteries and we could see the shells bursting over the city from our gunboats that were shelling the city. The rebels saw us and thought that we were going to land below the town and they ran a battery down to the river and began firing on one of the boats of the fleet and the gunboats began firing on them. They left and didn’t bother us anymore. We were ordered to drop down out of reach of them and get wood for the boat and to await orders. We were there about three hours when we were ordered up to where we had been before and we went up to the landings and got off the boat and marched across above Vicksburg to Young’s Point, which is about 6 miles above Vicksburg. Here we got on the boat again and went up the Yazoo River to Haines Bluff to reinforce General Sherman. There has been considerable firing today. We are laying where we can see the mortar shells falling on the city, which was a nice sight after night here. We lay down to sleep on the boat for the night.
May 21st: found ourselves at Young’s Point and still there was heavy cannon fire going on. About sunup we left Young’s Point and ran up to Haines Bluff. We got off the boat about 10 o'clock and stacked arms to await orders. We were there two hours when we got orders to go aboard the boat and go back to Young’s Point again. We got on and went down to the point again and got off the boat and marched across the point again to the landing below Vicksburg. Here we got on the Boat again and crossed the river to Warrenton which is about ten miles below Vicksburg. Here we got off the boat and started to join the balance of Grant’s army. It was about dark when we landed. We marched five miles before we camped for the night. It was about ten o'clock when we got to our stopping place and have orders to lay down but be ready to fall in at a moment’s warning as we were in a place where the rebels had been that day, and we were the first of our troops in there.
[Grant’s force had surrounded Vicksburg but was too small to both lay siege to the city and fight off Major General Joe Johnston’s expected Confederate relief column. Grant ordered an attack all along the lines on May 19th and again on the 22nd, in part to test the Confederate defenses, and in part to attempt to take the city before Johnston could link up with Pemberton’s army inside the city’s defenses. O.R. I, Vol. 24, Pt. 1, p. 5.]May 22nd: This morning got up and got our breakfast and started the march. We had not gone far before we came in sight of the rebel pickets. And we formed a line of battle and threw out skirmishers. The rebels commenced falling back to their works. We advanced on them and we did not go far before we ran into their fortifications, but they had left them. We advanced about five miles in this way when we came within sight of their main works. Our skirmishers were sent up as close as possible and our regiment was sent forward as support. The rebels opened up their batteries on us and commenced shelling us. We got as close as was required and we took shelter behind a hill in a ravine to help from the shells as much as possible as they did not intend to make an assault on the works. We were there to keep them in their works. We lay there all day and the rebels shelled us all the time. They did us no damage. There was one man killed in our regiment and one wounded by the sharpshooters. After dark, we got orders to move around to where our corpse [corps] was in the line that occupied the center of the main line. After dark, so the rebels would not see us, we left there and started to join our corps. It was about 12 miles and we marched about six miles and stopped for the night. We lay down to sleep in a cornfield.
May 23rd: This morning we was routed up by the booming of cannon and picket firing. We fell into line and started without our breakfast. We marched six miles and stopped near a hospital where there were about 300 wounded that had been wounded yesterday from the charge that was made on the rebel works. After breakfast was over we laid around and watched our artillery play on the rebel works. About ten o'clock we received orders to go back to the left wing, which we had come from the night before. We marched about 6 miles again and stopped to rest and get dinner. It was pretty warm marching. After dinner was over and we were rested, we started on our march and march back to the place we had left the night before. When we got within range of the rebel batteries, they opened up on us with solid shot. We were within fair view of them. The first shot struck within 20 feet of our company but did no damage, other than to make us dodge a little. They kept firing all the time into the timber close to us, but could not get range on us after we got out of range of them. We stopped to find out where we were and had to take up our position and lay there until pretty near sundown when our regiment was sent out in front on picket. We went out in front and took up our position behind a hill so as to be behind the range of the enemy batteries. We sent out two companies to an outpost and the balance of the regiment had orders to keep their cartridges dry and fall in at a moment’s warning. We put up for the night.
May 24th: woke about daylight and fell in so as to be ready for the enemy in case they should come out, but they did not come. Last night our troops erected a fort in front of the enemy, which caused some firing from the enemy at it, but they did it no damage. They only hit it a few times. We lay there all day and in the evening were relieved by the 15th Iowa to let us go back and rest, as it was rather confining here for we were not allowed to build a fire within one half a mile where we do our cooking. Most of our victuals were eaten cold, except our coffee which we were allowed to send some men back to make. There was a good deal of cannoning along the whole line today. After we were relieved, we moved about a mile back from the works where we had put in the night. Rather more comfortable.
May 25th: Had good night’s rest. Last night our troops finished the fort that they had been working on and got a gun in it, so they can return the fire of the rebels if they fire on them today, which they will no doubt do for they have commenced it already. The firing was kept up on both sides until about 3 o'clock. There had been a flag of truce sent in to the rebels to get out wounded and dead off that had been killed and wounded in the assault of the 22nd. They were still out in the field, they being so close to the enemy that our troops could not get them. The truce was granted and the cannons stopped. There being no firing this evening today, we have been laying by and resting. We lay down to sleep at night and about 11 o'clock we were routed out by the firing of the pickets and we got into line and stacked arms and lay down by them and slept the remainder of the night.
[See Colonel William Hall’s account of these engagements and skirmishes, O.R.I, Vol. 24, Pt. 2, p. 302.]May 26th: this morning got up and found ourselves all right. The rebels did not come further last night than the pickets. They captured one post then left for their works again. This morning, the firing commenced about 7 o'clock but not so heavy as before. About ten o'clock we got orders to report to General McPherson’s headquarters and we started on the march and we had about 15 miles to march. We arrived at HQ about dark.
May 27th: This morning we got ready to march because we have to go on a scout up the Yazoo river and look after the rebel General Johnston, who is reported to be up in that direction. We marched all day and camped that night about dark. We marched 15 miles today.
May 28th: We got up and made ready but had to wait until the teams got back to Haines Bluff after provisions. About one o'clock the rations arrived and as soon as they were issued, we started on the march and went about ten miles and camped.
May 29th: This morning we got up and got our breakfast and by sunup we started on the march and marched about eight miles and came to where there were some rebels a short time before. Out company and Company “H” was sent out to reconnoiter. We marched about one mile through the timber and came back to the road we were on and lay down to rest until the regiment came up. When they came along we started up and we marched about one mile and came to Mechanicsville. We got there we and could hear the cavalry skirmishing with the enemy a short distance ahead. We piled our blankets and got everything ready for a fight for they were driving our cavalry back at us and we formed a line of battle. Our regiment was in front and sent out companies A and B as skirmishers. We advanced in line of battle about a mile. When the rebels saw infantry coming up, they became falling back to what we supposed was their main force. We soon found out there was only a small force of them and they were under full retreat. Our regiment followed them about three miles and then halted. The cavalry followed them to the Black River and we captured a wagon loaded with provisions. The enemy crossed and our troops gave up the pursuit. We camped about eight miles from the town in advance of the army to act as an advance guard if the enemy should get reinforcements. We were rather scarce of provisions. We had to forage for everything except bread, and there was a very favorable opportunity for us to get what we wanted, and we did not fail to improvise. There was a citizen that lived close by who raised a white flag when our cavalry came tin sight to keep them from firing into the house as there were some rebels concealed behind the house. When the cavalry came by, the rebels fired on them and they wounded two of our cavalry. The general ordered the troops to go and take what they could find to eat, and [the civilian[ was pretty well supplied with meat and sugar, which had not come of the way. But he did not have any bread stuffs but we were not hoarding because we had plenty of it. The old fellow was punished completely for letting the rebels fire from behind his house after raising a white flag. He was not allowed to have anything left to amount to anything. So ends today’s work.
May 30th: this morning was ordered to start back. Before we got our breakfast we marched back to where the remainder of the troops were and halted for our breakfast. We had to hurry it up for we only had half an hour to prepare and eat it. After breakfast we started on the march for Vicksburg again. We did not go to the same road we came out on. We went down the Yazoo valley. There is some of the prettiest farmland here as I have ever seen. And nice corn. A large quantity planted. There is not much cotton planted here, the ground being taken up so much by corn so as to provide the [Confederate] army with provisions. In some places there was a patch of rye [to substitute] for coffee. Our troops burned every mill on the road to keep the rebels from using them. There was one on almost every plantation which was all burned. We marched about 12 miles and camped.
May 31st This morning we got our breakfast and started on the march. We let a train of wagons pass us, which detained us for a while. About ten o'clock the train passed us and we started on again. It was getting pretty warm to march. We marched about ten miles and it was getting so warm the troops could not march. We would fall out along the road on account of the heat. We stopped at a large mill that was well supplied with watter until it got cooler and we laid there until about 5 o'clock when we started on again for Haines Bluff, where we expected to stop for the night. We got to camp after dark but did not stop at Haines Bluff. We marched two miles from there to what they call Snyder’s Bluff. We are not hearing cannon at Vicksburg, which sounds almost natural.
June 1st: Last night my shoes were stolen. Marched barefoot. Nothing of importance going on. We are laying in camp and waiting for rations and drawing some clothing. Firing is still heavy on Vicksburg.
June 2nd: Nothing of importance going on. Washed clothing and received a portion of what we could not get along without. The boys are getting a little ragged. More firing from Vicksburg but we do not know the result of it.
June 3rd. Nothing of importance going on. Firing not as heavy as yesterday. We have orders to march tomorrow mourning.
June 4th. This morning we got up and got ready to march by sunup and we started for the lines at Vicksburg, which is about ten miles. We arrived at the lines in good time and have taken up our position in the center of the line. We are about a mile in the rear of the main line to form a reserve so as to reinforce any part of the line that needs it. Our camp is in a cane break and the cane is higher than a man’s head and as thick as can be. We build huts in them so as to shelter us from the sun as that is the most troublesome of anything for us.
June 5th. Today we lay around camp. I was on duty before noon putting up tents at brigade headquarters. Heavy firing is still going on in the line. This evening Governor Kirkland [Actually, Samuel J. Kirkwood] gave our brigade a small speech. This evening our company got orders to go out on the line and work on the fortifications. We are going to go at ten o'clock but we did not go until 12 o'clock. We worked on the ditches until daylight and then we had to leave, for we cannot work in the daytime as we were within a quarter of a mile of the rebel works. When it began to come day, the rebels began to fire on us and we withdrew back to camp here.
June 6th, in camp, sleeping mostly. Still hear firing going on in the lines.
June 7th, in camp, but not much firing in the lines going on as before.
June 8th, Nothing of importance going on.
June 9th: Today still in camp. In the afternoon took a walk to the front to see the works. They are getting along well. They are within fifth yards in someplaces of the rebel works and still getting closer every day. I took my gun with me and fired thirty rounds of cartridges at the portholes of the enemy works. Once in a while a rebel showed himself, but not long enough to get a shot at him. There is not much damage done, only to keep them from firing on our troops with their artillery. After rambling around and amusing ourselves by firing our guns we returned to camp.
June 10th: Nothing of importance going on. Rained all day, which is disagreeable in the can break. We have sheds made of canes and our gun blankets over them. Keeps most of the rain off us.
June 11th. I am on guard. Things still gives and as usual we have orders to move the camp at a moment’s notice.
June 12th: This morning got orders to move to a better camp where there is watter. We moved a mile to the rear of where we were and went into camp and fixed us bunches of cane which makes a nice bed.
June 13th: Today we went on picket with four days rations and started out about 3 o'clock and marched four miles and came to the pickets we were to relieve and sent out companies for outpost. The remainder of the regiment went into camp for the night.
June 14th: This morning we were routed out at 3 o'clock and ordered into line and fell in until daylight so if the enemy should make a dash on us we would be ready. This is the general rule when the enemy is in the country near, or supposed to be near. When it came day, we got our breakfasts and lay in camp until four o'clock when we got orders to move to another road. Three companies marched down the road and at headquarters we moved about a mile from where we were on the other road and went into camp. Stopped in an old cotton house and set out one company for outpost duty and other two companies made themselves as comfortable as possible.
June 15th: This morning up early as usually to be ready if the enemy comes out, if there are any in the neighborhood, to be ready for them if they were thinking of coming out but they did not come so we went to work getting our breakfasts and eating it. After breakfast I was out with a scouting party of ten men but we did not find any thing and we returned to our quarters. Things are quiet here and we can hear firing in Vicksburg.
June 16th, up before daylight and in line as usual. All quiet except firing at Vicksburg. At five o'clock this evening we went on picket with our company, or rather outpost, for us, for we were on picket all the time we remained there. Our company has to go on duty every third day.
June 17th. Up early and into line. Nothing of importance going on. At five o'clock relieved and returned to our quarters.
June 18th: Today in camp. Nothing of importance going on. Still hear firing at Vicksburg.
June 19th: We are in camp until five o'clock this evening when we went out to relieve the company that is on outpost.
June20th. Today on picket. Nothing of importance. At five o'clock we are relieved from picket duty and return to camp.
June 21st. Nothing of importance going on.
June 22nd: Today in camp until five in the evening when we went out to relieve the company on picket. This evening we had orders to move tomorrow morning.
June 23rd. Up early and got breakfast to be ready to start by 6 o'clock. We had things loaded and ready. Marched a mile to join the regiment and marched another two miles from there and halted for expedition to get in motion and by noon all was ready. We started on the march. We are going out to look after [General Joe] Johnston, which is reported to be in the neighborhood of the Black River. We marched 10 miles and halted. This evening had a good rain.
June 24th. No sign of the rebels. Quiet morning. It is likely we’ll remain here for two or three days until we find out where the rebels are.
June 25th: today we are in camp. Some troops have gone to the front to reconnoiter and find out if there are any rebels in the county.
June 26th: Today we’re still in camp with nothing important to do. Along toward evening we git ordered to March and we get ready to go. Orders were countermanded. We have orders to go tomorrow at 5 o'clock.
June 27th: This morning we routed out about 2 o'clock and were to get ready to start early and we got going and marched four miles onto another road. We went into camp the remainder of the day and spent it fixing up bunks and sheds to make us as comfortable as possible.
June 28th: Today we are in camp. Nothing of importance going on. We can still hear the roar of cannon at Vicksburg.
June 29th: our company out on picket today. Things all quiet along the lines. No sign of the enemy yet.
June 30th: Relieved from picket duty and sent to camp. This afternoon mustered for pay.
July 1st: Today in camp with nothing of importance going on. In the evening we got guard duty.
July 2nd: Relieved from guard duty this morning and nothing much else.
July 3rd: This morning our company goes on picket duty. This evening our regiment went out to the Black River, which is two miles from here. Johnston is reported to be there trying to cross and the troops have gone out to meet him.
July 4th. This morning finds us still on picket. We will not be relieved from here this morning as the troops are all out in front. There is some cannonading going on in the direction of the Black River. About 10 o'clock the news comes out that Vicksburg is surrendered with 27,000 prisoners. It surrendered this morning. This evening we set out to join our regiment on the Black River. We could see the rebels on the opposite side of the river and our artillery is playing on them.
July 5th. There are no rebels in sight this morning. They have no doubt heard of the surrender and they think that the sooner they get out of here the better for them. We are ordered back to our old camp and got back about 10 o'clock. Things have changed considerable. The firing has gone off on the opposite side of us. General Sherman is going out with a large force after the rebels. And they have to retreat or give battle.
July 6th: Got two months pay. Nothing of importance going on.
July 7th - 10th The company is in camp and alternates at brigade headquarters guard.
July 11th: This morning we were routed out at 4 o'clock and received orders. At daylight we started and marched to the Black River where we joined a train of 240 wagons that we have to guard to Jackson, Mississippi. We marched until 11 o'clock and stopped to get our dinners near the Champion Hill battlefield. We lay there until after 3 o'clock when we started and marched until after dark. We came to camp about 2 miles from Clinton (Miss.)
July 12th: This morning was ordered out before breakfast and marched to Clinton where we stopped about 15 minutes and ate breakfast. We then started on our journey. We arrived about 10 o'clock which was within 8 miles of Jackson. There was considerable cannonading going on there. We lay in the woods all day waiting for the train to unload provisions so we can guard it back again. We have orders to be ready to march at 3 o'clock tomorrow morning.
July 13th: Got up at 2 o'clock. Marching by 3 o'clock. Had 76 prisoners to take back with us. We did not have to march more than a mile when we got into the wagons as they were empty. There was plenty for all to ride in. We arrived at the Black River about dark, a distance of 30 miles. We met our brigade going out to the front as we came in. We are not at our old camp. We’re about 8 miles below the railroad. We expect to go back to Jackson as soon as the train is loaded. This evening I was detailed for guarding the prisoners.
July 14: Prisoners was taken to HQ and turned over to the provost marshal. We remained in the camp on the bank of the river waiting for the teams to lead.
July 15th: There is talk this morning that we’ll get started back today about noon. Got orders to march about 3 o'clock. At the appointed time we started and marched about 6 miles to Edebers [looks like] station, where we camped for the night as to be ready to start when the train came along tomorrow.
July 16th: This morning the train came along, distributing the men along the train as it came so that we will have all parts of it guarded. We had not gone far when we heard of a guerrilla band ahead of us and we expected to have a brush with them. We came to where there had been a pioneer corps camped and they [the guerrillas] had captured them and their teams and burnt their wagons, but they were gone when we got to within four miles of Clinton. We had a brigade coming out to meet us as they were afraid we would be attacked and they were sent out to reinforce us if there should be any trouble. But we arrived in Clinton all safe where we found our brigade camped. We also went into camp and the train went on to Jackson.
July 17th: This morning as soon as the breakfast was over the first thing we got to build was shades for us. We were camped in a meadow and the sun was very hot. Before we could get our shades completed, the orders came for the company to go on picket and we dropped everything and went out.
July 18th: This morning we were relieved from picket and returned to camp and spent the day in camp.
July 19th: Had company inspection after breakfast. Mostly in camp. This evening we had preaching by our chaplain.
July 20th: Did my washing this morning and after dinner the orders came to move camp. Moved about 1/2 mile and went into camp. It was very hot today. This evening, there were a lot of prisoners coming in from Jackson. There is about 500 of them.
July 21st. Went to see the prisoners. Most of them are tired of the war and want to go home and quit fighting. They estimate Johnston’s force at 25,000. About noon, received orders to march to the Black River as Jackson has been evacuated and the troops are all returning to Vicksburg. At 3 o'clock we started on the march, eight miles, and camped on the railroad from Benton to Raymond. Today was warm. It was about the hottest day we’ve marched this summer.
July 22nd: At daylight began marching until 10 o'clock when we came to Baker’s Creek. Here we halted for the remainder of the day and night. Rained this evening, which was very acceptable since the roads are dusty.
July 23rd. Was on the march by daylight and we marched to the Black River. Here we were allowed to rest but we did not remain there long. Marched about 3 miles from the river where we camped the rest of the night.
July 24th: Got up early for breakfast so as to be ready to march. This evening got orders to be ready to march at 4 o'clock tomorrow morning.
July 25th: started marching at 4 o'clock but did not march far. Marched 2 miles back to the Black River and went into camp. We’re staying here until relieved by General Steel’s division.
July 26th: Heavy rain this evening, rather uncomfortable when it was falling.
July 27th: Today washing in the forenoon and got orders in the afternoon. At 8 o'clock we got on the march towards Vicksburg. Marched 8 miles and camped.
[For the first time the 11th Iowa sees the city they’ve helped invest for a siege.]July 28th: Morning was routine. Up early by the drums and got our breakfast. By daylight we started on the march and about 9 o'clock came to Vicksburg. After marching around through the town we went outside of the fortifications north of town. This was rough country. There is not level ground enough to camp a brigade in one area and it is so hot we can hardly stand up. We put up shade to protect us from the sun.
July 29th: Hard rain, which was uncomfortable with the shelter we had. Nothing of importance going on.
July 30th: On guard.
July 31st: Returned from guard and remainder of the day in camp.
August 1st: Detailed to go to Young’s Point after our regimental tents. We got up there about noon and went to work loading our tents onto the boat and we loaded until 6 o'clock and got half of them on and the boat had to go down to Vicksburg. We have to wait until tomorrow to finish.
August 2nd: About 9 o'clock the boat came up and we went to work to finish our work and we got through and went to Vicksburg and there was a detail from camp to unload the tents. We went into camp.
August 3rd: Most of the day occupied today putting
up our tents and fixing our camp. Fixing it up so we are a little more
comfortable. We expect to stay here for some time.
[The regiment stayed in this tent camp for nearly three weeks, with nothing much happening. During this time Elijah Jennings was becoming increasingly ill. Vicksburg had fallen, but the Mississippi River still had choke points on it where Confederate raiders could fire on Union shipping. The Iowa Brigade participated in the “Louisiana Expedition’s” march to Monroe, Louisiana, and back. Except for calvary skirmishing, there was little fighting. The Union force marched 155 miles, destroyed a few abandoned Confederate camps and confiscated 50,000 bales of cotton.]
August 21st: We left camp in the afternoon and marched to the river, boarded a boat, and started up the river. We went to what is called Goodrich’s Landing, which is 85 miles above Vicksburg. We arrived there about daylight.
August 22nd: The morning of the 22nd we assembled and got breakfast and started our march up about two miles up the river and camped the remainder of the day.
August 23rd: We started out march and marched back to the landing where we had to get off and take an easterly direction through the country. It was very arm and we had a hard road to travel in warm weather. It was an old road and had not been traveled and the weeds had grown up to they were higher than a man’s head and there could be no air to get to us so we suffered a great deal in the heat. And there was no watter on the road and we had about ten miles of this kind of road until we came to watter. When we came to watter we camped for the remainder of the day and night. The name of the stream (if stream it might be called) is the Tributary Tensas. There was a great many of our men who gave out because of the heat.
August 24th: We started in marching to Bayou Macon, a distance of 7 miles. Here we had to wade the streams and after crossing we halted the remainder of the day and night to dry our clothing. We got wet crossing. Here were met rebel cavalry and our cavalry had a skirmish with them, but they did not wait for the infantry to come up. We have not passed many plantations the last two days march. Most of the country is flat and swampy and it was perfectly dry now. But in some seasons of the year it is covered with watter from ten to 15 feet deep.
August 25th: This morning we are started on the march. We started early and marched until 2 o'clock when we halted for the remainder of the day and night. We stayed on the Bayou and did not know the name of it, and it is in a deserted looking area. All the land is the same as we passed today. We did not pass more than one or two plantations. There is a great many men of ours getting sick, having nothing but swamp watter to drink.
August 26th: This morning we started on the march and marched six miles to the ___ river [perhaps the River aux Boeufs], which is a nice stream. Here we halted a short time and started at 2 o'clock when we camped for the remainder of the day. The name of the place is Arks ridge. This is the nicest country around here that we have passed through on this march.
August 27th: This morning we started on a marched
until 11 o'clock and stopped to get our dinners and water the teams and lay
there until 4 o'clock and started another march about 4 miles. We camped
but did not get to camp until after dark. We camped on a ridge. I
did not learn the name of it, but it is eight miles from Monroe, which is where
we are going. It is reported there are some rebels there.
[The Monroe campaign lasted until early September, but this was Mifflin’s final entry in this volume of his diary. On August 31st, with the Stevenson division at Monroe, Louisiana, Elijah Jennings died of consumptive chills in the regimental hospital at Vicksburg. Mifflin learned of it when he came back to the camps in mid September. The entire regiment took time recuperating from the Monroe campaign, and Mifflin was ill again, in regimental hospital. That fact is pointed out in the following letter Mifflin received from his father, Benjamin, dated November 8, 1863 about the situation back in Iowa at that time. Having lost one son, Benjamin wanted Mifflin to get his likeness taken and sent home, just in case something happened. Benjamin was an ordained deacon, thus he addressed all persons as “brother:”
I take my time to pen you a few lines to let you know how I am. I am well at the preasant [sic] time and I hope by the time this reaches you that you will be enjoying the same blessing. Well, I must tell you what we are doing. We have commenced gathering our corn. We have not got much gathered yet. It has been so wet and muddy that we could not husk all the time. Our corn is pretty good considering the season. Some of it will average about 40 bushels to the acre. Well, I have said enough on that subject. I must tell you about the boys that have inlisted [sic] since I rote last.
Eck Buffington and Sidney Hall are at Davenport in the 11th [Iowa] Cavalry. The boys is still leaving you see. I thought when you left that you would be at home before this time, but for my part, I cannot see as the thing is any nearer an end than it was when you left. I think if the western troops had of went to work when you was shelling Vicksburg the thing would have been about played out. I hope there will be a draft and take all cowardly copperheads but Mifflin they all look cheap since the election. I am ready any time to volunteer to fight the rebels in the north or in the south, and I would prefer beginning at home but the lection had a pretty good effect on them.
Well, Mifflin I was very sorry to hear that you still had the ague. I think you had better get a furlough and come home until you get well. I think you might as well be at home as to be a laying there sick for sick men can’t do much I the army. And if you can’t get a furlough and can get a discharge you had better get it and come home and if you have not got money enough to fetch you home, borrow of some of them that has it. I expect that if you haven’t got it there is some that has and if you don’t come home I want you to get your likeness taken and send it to me. We received that testament right as soon as this comes to hand If you are able.
Taylor has been working while Mother and me has been to granpapas and he has spoken his mind about you coming home if you can’t get it furlough he wants you to take good care of yourself and if there is anything that you want write to us and if there is any chance to send we will send anything that you want and if there is anything but the ague bothering you we would like you to write where you are when you can send them home.
Elijah’s funeral will be preached two weeks from today. I have nothing new to write so I will close hoping these few lines may find you well.
Your brother as ever,
B. Jennings.Private family Letter in the Author’s Possession.
[After the narrative Mifflin Jennings’ first volume concluded. On the final pages he wrote the following record of his pay while a member of the Union Army. The fact that there are several entries, below, between September and December, 1863, indicates that he had the ability to make diary entries during that time but chose not to. The regiment participated in the forced march to Canton, Mississippi, in October, 1863, but he does not mention it.]
Amount of money sent home since enlisting:
Left when home on furlough, $120.00; sent April 24, 1864 from Davenport, Missouri, sent January 1, 1865, from Savannah, Ga, $81.00.
Loaned while at home in personal furlough after discharge, $85.00.
Amount of money rec’d from Government since enlisting December, 1861, $12.10
[In late 1863, the Union’s manpower about exhausted, yet the government faced possibly the last, and bloodiest, year of the war. Many of the “three year” men who enlisted in 1861 were being asked to reenlist as “veteran” volunteers. They were paid a bounty and given a lengthy furlough. Most of the 11th Iowa’s 3-year enlistments had expired but, like Mifflin, most reenlisted. In addition, the regiment’s officers went back to Iowa to recruit replacements to help fill the ranks. Mifflin reenlisted on December 31, 1863.
Mifflin’s younger brother, William H. Jennings, joined the regiment on March 10, 1864, while the regiment’s “furlough camp” was in Memphis. Mifflin spent part of March and April at home. William arrived in the regiment’s camp on March 18, 1864. William’s notations from his Recollections called “My Story” are in italics font.
During this time, Sherman was preparing his 100,000-man army for the Atlanta campaign, scheduled to begin on May 7, 1864.]We left home on the 22nd of April  after being home 30 days and went to Davenport where we were ordered to report. On the 24th we were paid off and on the 25th left there for Dixie. We came down on the cars. We arrived at Cairo where we found most of our Corps. We drew tents and that same night came down and took up the line of march at 8 a.m. Marched to Tecundra Colt, a distance of 50 miles and embarked aboard a steamer.
The amount of money received from the government since January 1, 1864, received in March, $180.00, which was my old bounty and backpay up to January 1st. Received at the same time $73.00 of which $60 was my advance bounty, and $13.00 was a month’s pay in advance which we were to have for our reenlisting.
Reenlisted on 24th of April, 1863 [sic. Probably means 1864] in which there was $50 bounty which we were to have at the first regular payday and one monthly pay, which paid us up to the first of March.
Sunday, May 1, 1864, today was a busy day with us as we were signing the payrolls and turning over our old guns and drawing new ones. In the evening we got orders to get on the boat to go up the river.
May 2nd: This morning we woke up and found the boat was running and we were within ten miles of Paduka, Kentucky, and when we got in sight of the place, we were allowed to load our guns since they were expecting rebels in there. But there was nothing there and we disembarked. The boats returned to Cairo for the remainder of the boys.
May 3rd: worked in camp most of the time. In the afternoon went to town. Nothing of importance going on. Boats have not returned.
May 4th, in camp most of the day. Got orders for the evening. Boats have come from Cairo with our baggage.
11th Iowa Regiment leaves for Huntsville, Alabama. Huntsville is a staging area for McPherson’s Corps and army.
May 5th: This morning we are routed at 4 o'clock and as it was light, we embarked. At 7 o'clock we started. We passed Fort Henry [on the Tennessee River] at 5 o'clock. Sailed until about midnight.
May 6th: Began going up the Tennessee this
morning. About 5 o'clock in the evening we arrived at a place called
Clifton, [TN] where we disembarked and went into camp.
[Sherman officially begins the Atlanta campaign on May 7th. The 17th corps, however, was mostly home on veteran furlough and, like Mifflin’s regiment, still enroute to the Chattanooga area to reform for combat operations. Clifton, Tenn., was the staging point for the 17th Army Corps. The Iowa brigade is now part of 4th Division, 17th Corps, commanded by Major General Frank Blair.]
May 7th, this morning our tents were handed out to us and we put them up and in the afternoon we were detained for picket and we were on picket all day and night.
May 8th, This morning was relieved. Nothing of importance going on. In the evening we had dress parade and then went after boards to fix our tents.
May 9th: At 8 o'clock we had camp inspection and after inspection, company drill and in the afternoon had battalion drill and parade.
May 10th: This morning we spent on picket. It rained in the evening and all night.
May 11th. This morning was relieved from guard and returned to camp. At noon we had orders to prepare to march. About 2 o'clock started on the march and marched about 7 miles to a small creek called Hardin Creek and went into camp there. We have a lot of cattle to guard.
May 12th: Today I am in camp for inspection at 2 o'clock. Nothing of importance going on.
May 13th: This morning had company inspection. Remainder of the day in camp.
[While the 11th Iowa was resting and refitting, part of Sherman’s forces fought the battle of Resaca, May 13-16th.]
May 14: Inspection as usual. This evening we received our mail for the first time we came here.
May 15th: This morning had a general regimental inspection and this evening received orders to prepare to march with three days rations.
May 16th: By 3 o'clock routed out and by 5 o'clock started on the march and marched to a place called Sells where we camped for the remainder of the day and night. Marched 17 miles.
May 17th: at 3 o'clock routed out by drums and marched until 9 o'clock where the remainder of the column passed us by. The column passed us and we started out by 5 o'clock and marched until 9 o'clock. [Entries faded out]
May 18th: We were ordered to start with our company but we were on guard, and we did not start up until about noon. Marched slowed all afternoon. Had 11 creeks to cross, and had to ford three of them. Marched 14 miles and camped 4 miles from Lawrencville [Lawrenceburg, 10 miles west of Pulaski, Tennessee], which was about 2 o'clock when we got into camp.
May 19th: This morning was routed out at daylight and at 4 we started on the march and marched until 10 o'clock when we stopped for dinner. At 2:30, we started towards Pulaski where we stopped about 6 o'clock.
May 20th: Today I was on guard. We received orders to turn over our knapsacks and have them repaired, and then march tomorrow.
May 21st: This morning I was up at 3 o'clock and at daylight the guard was relieved and by five o'clock we were ready to march and marched 15 miles before we stopped, to the Elk River [Elkton, TN]. We had to ford the river.
May 22nd: This morning up at three and by 5:30 started the march and had a long march, 16 miles [towards the open country southeast of Elkton] and camped at 2 o'clock. Camped on the bank of a small creek. [17th Corps was assembling in Huntsville, Alabama, per instructions to Major General McPherson from Sherman. See O.R. I, Vol. 32, Pt. 3, p. 276-277.]
May 23rd, Marched to a hill where we arrived at 10 o'clock. Went into camp and its been warm marching today. Our recruits and some nonveterans joined us.
May 24th, today was in camp the rest of the day. This evening got orders to turn over our tents and prepare for a long march.
May 25th: This morning we picked up our knapsacks and started our march. Marched another 17 miles and camped for the night at 7 o'clock.
[Instead of going up the Tennessee to Chattanooga, and then south to rejoin the army, Blair devised a base of operations for his corps from Huntsville, striking out southeast to intercept Sherman’s army northeast of Atlanta.]May 26th: This morning at 7 o'clock we started and passed through Moor’s Mill [Mooresville]. At 2 o'clock we stopped and got into Decatur, Alabama, and camped for the night. There is some skirmishing going on across the [Tennessee] River.
May 27th: This morning nothing going on. Began marching about 2 o'clock and marched 7 miles and camped in a wheatfield about midnight.
May 28th: This morning at 6 o'clock we started on the march and marched about 2 miles and crossed a creek that was rather uncooperative. As we crossed it, most of the men had to wade in. After crossing we marched for 15 miles and camped for the night at Somerville, Alabama.
May 29th: This morning at 9 started our march but did not make very good time in the forenoon. In the afternoon we marched 17 miles and camped overnight. [rest is unintelligible.]
[Several pages of the diary, which lists individual dates and leaves an inch or two for writing, are torn out for the May 30 to June 4th entries. However, on previous empty pages in March, Mifflin changes the dates and writes as follows:]May 30, 1864: This morning at 9 o'clock we marched and have rough roads and not much watter. We crossed the Georgian mountains and had 7 miles to go before we got to watter. We marched 16 miles and camped at a town by the name of Warrenton.
May 31st: Left camp at 2 o'clock and marched all day. We later had to go over a portion of the same mountains and camped on Short Creek. It was 1 o'clock when we got into camp. Marched 16 miles.
June 1st:: This morning at 5 o'clock and marched on the mountain until noon. We left them and struck out on more likable country. At 2 o'clock we camped by a creek, after marching 14 miles.
June 2nd: Today we are in camp, laying over at Wills Creek. [Near Collinsville, AL.]
June 3rd: This morning left camp about 5 o'clock and march about 18 miles and camped on the Coosa River [near present day Gaylesville, Alabama]. It was about 6 o'clock when we got to the river.
June 4th: I was detailed for forage this morning. The regiment left camp about 6 o'clock and we had to recross the river as we headed toward the trees. We marched 16 miles and got into camp about 5 o'clock.
June 5th: This morning left camp about 7
o'clock and marched 16 miles to Rome, Georgia where we are camped on the bank of
the Coosa River.
[William Jennings’ My Story indicates the regiment left Huntsville on May 26th and marched 174 miles in 11 days.]June 6th: At 7, we started marching and marched 17 miles and had a very hot day for marching. Arrived at camp about 4 o'clock and we camped for the night.
June 7th: This morning started on the march at 11 and marched 13 miles, camping on the Etowah River. We passed through Cartersville [GA.] about 5 o'clock.
June 8th: This morning left camp at 7 and
marched 12 miles and camped for the remainder of the day and night at Acworth
[Sherman’s official reports indicate that 17th Corps officially joined Sherman’s western army for the Atlanta campaign on June 8th.]
June 9th: Today we are in camp and I was visiting my old acquaintances in the 25th Iowa. No news from the front.
June 10th: at 6:30 started on the march and marched about 9 miles where we came to the rebels encamped at a place called Big Shanty, where there is considerable skirmishing going on this evening, but nothing of importance to our regiment.
June 11th: Today about 10 a.m. we were routed out in a hurry and marched about 2 miles and came within sight of the rebel works and we halted and began to build fortifications. We were about a mile from rebel works. There is considerable skirmishing going on, but no damage.
June 12th: Today we’re laying behind breastworks that we put up last night. There is skirmishing going on.
June 13th: This morning our company was sent out on skirmish line. There was considerable skirmishing but there was no damage. The rebels do not show themselves much.
June 14th: This morning we were relieved from the skirmish line and returned to the fortifications. There is considerable skirmishing.
June 15th: This morning the rebels opened up some of their batteries on us, and at noon there was a general advance made. We advance to about one half mile to their skirmish line and drive them away. We marched back and forth across this position and lost some men. There were 11 wounded and one killed.
[On June 15th, heavy skirmishing on the 17th Corps left flank caused a general skirmishing advance. The 11th Iowa’s brigade movement supported that flank attack, which failed. Other 11th Iowa diarists like Alexander Downing indicated that on the 16th, the 43rd Mississippi was ordered to charge the Union lines and their colonel instead ordered them to reverse arms and marched them up to the 11th’s line and surrendered. “Many of the 1000 rebels captured this date did not fire. Great discontent in the ranks of the rebels …” ]
June 16th: Today there was skirmishing going on and at 8 o'clock we received orders to move and marched a mile to the left and took up our position. We had to build fortifications all night as we had nothing to protect us.
June 17th: Today we are laid up behind
breastworks. There is very little going on. There was some wounded
by sharpshooters on our left, who were wounded slightly.
[William H. Jennings described it differently: “ *** [T]here was a general demonstration made along our lines, threatening a charge on the rebel works. Generals Thomas and Schofield … charged and captured Lost Mountain with considerable loss. … Our Captain Joseph Neal was slightly wounded in the shoulder by a rebel sharpshooter, and several men in our regiment were wounded on a skirmish line.”]
June 18th: Today it is raining. It is reported that the rebels are going to leave tonight, by their prisoners. We have orders to fall in at a moment’s notice.
June 19th: This morning there was a squad of rebels came in and reported that the rebels have left. The rebels are firing from some of their works. We have possession of their main works, but it is not certain that they have left yet.
June 20th: this morning at 2 a.m. the cannonading commenced, and at 2 p.m. we received orders to move out in a line. We moved 1 and 1/2 miles and came to the old rebel lines where we stopped. The cannonading continued this evening and was very heavy and there is considerable musketry going on all night.
June 21st: This morning there was some firing going on, but not so heavy as yesterday. This evening I was detailed for guard at about 11 p.m. and heaving firing commenced and kept up most of the night. It was on the right of the lines.
June 22nd: This morning the guard was relieved and still considerable musketry firing going on. There’s been some shelling into our camp this evening. Our company was sent out on a picket duty this evening.
June 23rd: Today still on skirmish line, and there is cannon firing going on both sides. About 10 o'clock a.m. there was heavy artillery fighting commencing that lasted 2 hours on our part of the line. And on the afternoon there was a heavy artillery duel along the whole line. About 10 o'clock we were relieved and returned to camp.
June 24th: Today we are in camp. Little firing going on in our lines. We advanced a little without difficulty. A few skirmishers were wounded.
June 25th Nothing going on. Heavy artillery firing on our right. Our part of the line very quiet and the rebels have fired but one gun on our front and that was without damage.
June 26th: Today we dug in all along the
line. There is a short fired occasionally from both sides. More
firing than usual.
[The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain on June 27th was the major engagement of the entire Atlanta campaign. On the 4th of June, Major General Joseph Johnston abandoned his entrenched position at New Hope Church and retreated to the strong positions of Kennesaw, Pine, and Lost Mountains. He was forced to yield the two last-named places and concentrate his army on Kennesaw, where, on June 27th, Generals Thomas and McPherson made determined but unsuccessful assaults. Five days later, Sherman moved his army by the right flank again and found Johnston had abandoned Kennesaw and retreated across the Chattahoochee. The nearly 2100 Union casualties had been unnecessary. One of the mortally wounded brigadier generals who led Sherman’s main attack was Sherman’s former Leavenworth, Kansas, law partner, Colonel Dan McCook.]June 27th: This morning we were ordered to move at a moment’s warning, and about 7 o'clock we moved into the works and the skirmishers charged on their rifle pits, and we were repulsed with considerable losses. There was considerable firing all day along the line.
June 28th: Today there is shelling from their side. No damage done. This evening five companies of our regiment were sent out on picket duty: C, D, E, F, and G.
June 29th: We were on picket about 200 yards from the rebel pickets, and remained on picket until 8 p.m. when we were relieved.
June 30th: Morning we were routed out at 2 a.m. and got into line. There was heavy firing and we supposed it was a general attack, but we were not bothered and lay down again and waited for muster.
July 1, 1864. Today in camp. About 4 o'clock there was a flag of truce come out from the rebel lines. Have not heard what it was for but it is supposed that it did not amount to much as the artillery opened on their position soon after the flag went down.
July 2nd: This morning we gave orders to be ready to move. At 8 p.m. we started on a march and marched over rough roads and hills and by midnight did not find a camp.
July 3rd: Midnight of this date still finds us blundering along the road, not knowing whether we were awake or asleep. Part of the time it was light and after breakfast we started on the march and marched about 10 miles to the right of the lines. We took our position and our company was sent out on the skirmish line. We drove the rebels about 1/2 mile and made them fall back.
July 4th: Today we are in camp until 4 p.m. until ordered forward. Went forward 1 1/2 miles and came to the rebels. They began to fall back before our skirmishers. We followed them for about 1 mile and we came upon their line of works. We began to grope at their works. At dark we fell back 3/4ths mile and dug in.
July 5th: This morning at 8 o'clock we got on the advance again to where we were the evening before and the skirmishers charged their works and found the main Confederate lines had left. We followed them three miles and came to another line and they began to shell us. This evening I went on picket.
[This was the battle of Nick-a-Jack Creek. The 11th Iowa made a charge on the rebel rifle pits. There were several skirmishers killed and wounded. William Jennings wrote of the same battle, “Some of the officers of the brigade wanted to charge the rebel works, others thought the works were too strong. Colonel Hall was riding up and down the line saying, ‘The Iowa Brigade could take hell!’ … The rebel guns were concealed behind works. One of their batteries opened fire on us and … our battery was silenced. The charge was abandoned … for about an hour there was the liveliest cannonading that I heard in the war.”]July 6th: Today we were on picket. This evening we were relieved and returned to our works.
July 7th: Today we lay behind our works. This evening the rebels concluded they could make us believe they were going to charge our works. They opened a heavy fire from their batteries and started charging. Their shells did not bother us.
July 8th About 12 o'clock we were routed out by firing on the pickets, which resulted in firing for 15 minutes, and then we lay down again. Rebels fired a few shots.
July 9th: Today, little going on. Picket firing. Some artillery firing on our side. The rebs have not fired on this date on our front.
July 10th: This morning at daylight we found the rebels had left their works and at 6 p.m. we moved forward and occupied their works and commenced fortifying them. They have crossed the river.
July 11th: The rebels are in sight on the other side of the river. This evening our company was sent on picket.
July 12th: The rebs have not fired much this evening. We were relieved and went back to camp. We had a nice rain this evening.
July 13th: Today little picket firing. About 10 o'clock we received orders to move one mile and camp in the timber.
July 14th: We are not troubled with the rebels, as we are far enough out of each they do not trouble us.
July 15th: A little picket firing.
July 16th: At 2 p.m. we were ordered formed up to be ready to move by 5 o'clock. We marched 7 miles and halted at the evening. We started on the march to near Marietta, Georgia, a distance of 7 miles. We camped at 10 o'clock.
[The 11th Iowa was holding the stationary part of the line while other corps in Sherman’s army enveloped the Confederate lines. As Confederate General Joseph Johnston was readying his command for a counter-attack on the Union forces from behind the strategically important Chattahoochee River, he was relieved of command by Gen. John Hood, on July 17th. At the time this change of command took place, McPherson’s army, which included 17th Corps and the Iowa Brigade, had swung east to Roswell, Georgia, and crossed the Chattahoochee river.]July 17th: This morning we marched 18 miles, then began marching again. We passed through Roswell about sundown and crossed the [Chattahoochee] river and marched about 9 miles and camped.
July 18th: this morning we started on the march and marched slowly. We went about 8 miles and camped on Peachtree Creek for the night.
July 19th: This morning at six a.m. we fell in
line but did not get started until 8 a.m. and at one we halted until six when we
started marching again. Went another six miles.
[The battle of Peachtree Creek. General Hood attacked McPherson’s columns late on the afternoon of July 20th. Union loss was 1,600 and Confederate killed and wounded were 2,500.]
July 20th: this morning we started on the march about 8 o'clock moving slowly. About noon we passed through Decatur and came to the rebels soon after we passed through town. We drove them about 3 miles and came to their works. This evening we are out on picket.
[William Jennings’ description is more complete: “The rebels were strengthening their works by felling trees. … When daylight came we could see two men chopping at a tree, about 400 yards distant. Brother Mifflin and I shot several times at them but they continued chopping. Finally we doubled our cartridges and fired. When the smoke cleared, the tree was standing but the men were missing. That morning about sunrise, Sergeant Moor of our company was coming from another post to ours and when near our post was shot and mortally wounded. He died next day. When he fell, brother Mifflin and comrade Dodds of our company ran out and carried him into our post. A shower of rebel bullets came thru the rails of the post as they ran in. About noon that day a charge on the rebel works was ordered … When the charge was ordered out company deployed as skirmishers and went forward. For some reason our regiment did not leave the works. The 13th Iowa charged across an open cornfield. It lost 90 men killed and wounded in twenty minutes. Our company lost some wounded and missing.”]
July 21st: This morning the rebels fired on us some and about 8 o'clock we made a charge on their works and carried their first line of works on our left but our brigade had to fall back to their old works. The left held their position in the evening. We moved to the left.
[The positioning the night of the 21st put the Iowa brigade on the extreme left of McPherson’s line, near the top of a hill where they could see the city of Atlanta. They were the flank of the Army of the Tennessee. Onto that flank, Hood was pulling Hardee’s corps out of the rebel lines in Atlanta and moving them to hit the flank. Poor Yankee cavalry work left the line exposed without knowing where Hardee’s attack was coming. Hardee’s attack on July 22nd hit the Iowans like the crossing of a “T”, a dead-on flank attack. Next to Shiloh, the 11th Iowa was to suffer its worst casualties of the war.]July 22nd: This forenoon nothing going on. At noon we were attacked by the enemy and fought them all afternoon. The rebels drove us about one fourth mile. We lost 20 killed and wounded and missing. There was a great many rebels killed and the ground is covered in front of our positions.
[William Jennings wrote: “Our brigade was then on the extreme left of Sherman’s line at Atlanta. The 16th Iowa being the last regiment with the 11th, next to a battery of guns placed in the road between the regiments. We threw up strong works … Brother Mifflin [and others] were sent out front to reconnoiter … We heard muskets in our rear … In a very short time our pickets came running into our works. The firing was increasing in our rear. In a few moments we could see the rebel battle line coming out of the woods charging across an open cornfield in front of us. The command was given us ‘ to move by the right flank, double quick.’ I started running and Comrade Stobber, in the file ahead of me, was shot from the rear and fell dead in the trench. … Comrade Washburn and some others were sitting down with their backs to the works. Washburn said, ‘Jennings, lie down, you’ll get shot.’ ‘I am going while there is still a chance,’ I said. He was taken prisoner and sent to Andersonville. We ran up the line of works two or three hundred yards then were ordered over the works. From this position we could see the rebel troops closing around the 16th Iowa.” William and Mifflin Jennings were part of a Union counterattack led by Captain Cadle, which failed when the rebels counterattacked along the Union works. “During their last charge,” WHJ wrote, “the colorbearer and colonel of the 45th Mississippi regiment got clear on our works … several flags and 150 prisoners were taken … Hood was finally driven back within his lines, having lost at least 2,200 killed. His wounded and missing swelled his losses to at least 8,000.”
[Lt. Colonel John Abercrombie, commanding the 11th Iowa at this battle, reports in the official reports that the enemy “drove in our pickets front, right and left … while the enemy was found closing in on both flanks. Our line being curved we were receiving a heavy cross-fire, when the order came to move by the right flank. Moving to the right about 300 yards, we halted and crossed to the other side of our line of breast-works, engaging the enemy. * * * It is highly gratifying to report that the officers and men of the regiment did their duty gallantly and faithfully throughout. I would mention, as among those entitled to favorable notice, Capt. John W. Anderson, who, with a part of his company and a number of scattering men, successfully held the inside of the small fort on the hill while the enemy were on the outside in strong force. I think I may say that to him and the men with him is due, to a great extent, the holding of that work, to lose which would have been disaster to us. * * * Maj. Charles Foster was wounded early in the action, faithfully in discharge of his duties. Captain Neal was killed instantly by grape-shot late in the afternoon at the fort. Captain Barr is missing. Captain Rose missing; supposed to have been wounded and captured. First Lieutenant Cassell missing. First Lieutenant Caldwell killed. First Lieutenant Pfoutz wounded. Second Lieutenant Wylie wounded while gallantly in discharge of his duty.
I would make honorable mention of Sergt. Maj. John G. Safley, who with First Sergt. John A. Buck, K Company (afterward killed, brave fellow), with a party of picked up men, numbering thirty or forty, made a dash over the works held by the rebels, bringing back more than their own number as prisoners, amongst whom were a colonel and a captain. In the sally Safley was wounded, but not believed to be serious. During the action a Confederate flag was captured and brought over the works by Private Haworth, of Company. B, now in his possession; also, a banner belonging to the Forty-fifth Alabama was brought over by Private Siberts, of Company G, which was placed by him in the hands of Lieutenant Safely, provost-marshal of the brigade. During the action I sent to the rear 93 prisoners under guard.” O.R. I, Vol. 38, Pt. 3, p. 599-600]
[As a result of these battles and the high casualties, Confederate General Hood fell back, which began the 40-day siege of Atlanta. Almost all of the 16th Iowa was captured at this battle. General McPherson was killed in this action near the position of the 16th Iowa while trying to rally the Iowa brigade in a counterattack to save the 16th Iowa. McPherson was a favorite of Grant and Sherman. Sherman was so devastated by the loss of McPherson that for the only time in the war other than the loss of his own son, Sherman wept. Based on Abercrombie’s account, Major Charles Foster and Sergeant Major John Safley were nominated for the Medal of Honor. O. R. I, Vol. 38, Pt. 3, p. 597.
July 23rd: This morning I was out front of the men after our captain [Neal] was killed and the ground is covered with dead rebels. There is not much going on today. The rebels do not appear to want to try us again.
[WHJ’s version: “Next morning I was … on my way back to the regiment and stopped at our field hospital, where there were many dead and wounded. The army surgeons were busy caring for the wounded. The army surgeons were busy caring for the wounded. They had arranged temporary tables, made of rough boards, on which the wounded were placed to amputate their limbs. At the end of those tables, I saw piles of legs and arms two to three feet high. … Mifflin had been wounded in the hand the day before with the end of his ramrod, while trying to dislodge a bullet fast in his gun. … On the 21st and 22nd of July: killed, 8 from our company, including two orderly sergeants, one lieutenant, and Captain Neal. Wounded and missing, 19.”]July 24th: Today there is some picket firing going on but the rebels do not appear to want to make another attack, as they have had enough of it for the present. They deport themselves pretty well.
[The death of Sergeant Moor on July 20th and the loss of all the orderly sergeants on July 22nd allowed the officers to choose additional sergeants in Company C. In November, after the Atlanta campaign, Mifflin was promoted to sergeant.]
[This last statement is grudging respect for the rebels army that kept coming at the Iowa Brigade even though incurring terrible casualties from which Hood’s Army never recovered. The southerners who captured the 16th Iowa were Govan’s Arkansas brigade of Cleburne’s division. A few weeks later, Govan’s brigade, what was left of it, was captured in the battles around Atlanta.]July 25th: Today picket firing. The rebels do not show themselves much. There is no appearance of their going to attack us again. There is a report that they are going to try us once more.
July 26th This morning our pickets advanced and found the enemy in position and they fell back to their old position. Nothing important going on. This evening we received orders to be ready to move.
July 27th: About midnight [
26th] we started on the march and marched all night and most of the day
and in the evening found ourselves on the extreme right of the army. We
camped about 10 o'clock.
[Sherman’s army was not large enough to completely encircle Atlanta at the outer defenses. Sherman kept moving men around and probing for weakness. McPherson’s Army of the Tennessee was the unit that did the probing. This night movement of McPherson’s two corps set up the Battle of Ezra Church. Hood came out of his defenses again and attacked McPherson’s positions but this time the Union force was not surprised and Hood did little damage to the entrenched Union line. Union loss was 600. Hood’s loss were much higher, 2,800.]
July 28th: this morning the troops commenced moving into position [on the right southwest of Atlanta]. The rebs advanced on 15th corps and there was a general fight in which the rebels were repulsed with heavy loss. Four men were killed in our regiment.
July 29th: Today I was out over the battlefield where the dead was being buried. There is a great many rebels left on the ground. The day ended all quiet except for some skirmishers.
July 30th: This morning we were ordered to move and went 1/2 mile to the right and relieved some of 15th Corps to allow them to move further right. There is little skirmishing.
July 31st: Some picket firing today on our
front. This even we moved our camp a short distance to the
left. Nothing of importance going on.
[Hood’s efforts at sallying forth against the Union lines to try and break the siege were over. Now Sherman set his men into a siege of Atlanta. Nothing came into the city, or was allowed out. Not even civilians. Union army officials took the position that it had been clear for months that Atlanta was the goal of Sherman’s army. Any civilians left in the city had to share the future and the dangers as any rebel soldier would share. After the city fell, Sherman allowed civilians to leave because he did not intend to leave an inhabitable city behind him. Many civilians left in the city during the siege were children.]
August 1st: Today some shelling going on from both sides. We are building fortifications to advance the line a short distance. This means we moved into our works and had to return because they were not finished.
August 2nd: A detail was sent out this morning to finish the works and about 1 p.m. we moved into the works and fixed up our camp. Picket firing.
August 3rd: This morning at 7 o'clock our company was sent out on picket. No firing on our front as the rebels have not showed themselves. There is considerable skirmishing going on to our right side and left but we do now know the results.
August 4th: This morning at 8 o'clock we were relieved and returned to camp. About 3 p.m. the skirmishes was advanced, which caused some sharp firing which was kept up all afternoon and most of the evening.
This firing on August 4th was an effort by Major General Schofield’s Army of the Ohio and General Palmer’s division to take the Sandtown Road near Atlanta and block the last remaining railroad into and out of Atlanta. Sherman wrote Palmer that this road and the railroad beyond it “must be taken if it costs half your command.” O.R. I, Vol. 38, Pt. 5, p. 356.At this time, however, Mifflin Jennings is becoming ill. The constant movement in and out of the trenches and open air living is getting to his health. He is eventually hospitalized for convalescent purposes from August 5th through October 1st. [William Jennings also reports illness but he remains with the company until August 14th .]
August 5th: Today it was more quiet than it has been for the last two days. There is still some picket firing. I am unwell but some better than yesterday.
August 6th: Today I am laying in camp. There is heavy artillery firing going on this afternoon. I am not so well today as usual.
August 7th: This morning I was sent to the hospital to the 8th Division hospital. This is a pretty rough place here.
[At this point he was sent to division hospital, where the badly and mortally wounded are gathered. It obviously left an impression on Mifflin, who is not given to saying much. For someone who had spent the time in the trenches as he had and had seen violent death up close, one would think he could cope with hospital scenes. It must have been ghastly to provoke such a notation from a three year veteran of Shiloh and Vicksburg.]
August 8th: Today I am some better and think that I will be able to return to the regiment in a day or two if I get no worse.
August 9th: Today returned from hospital. The regiment had advanced about 1/2 mile and built works. I am at the old camp with some of the other boys that is not able to go with the regiment. The rebels are giving us a shelling this evening.
August 10th: Today I am not yet well. There is some heavy skirmishing going on. The rebels gives us some shell in our part of the world. [This may mean his convalescent hospital area received some stray rounds.]
August 11th: Today there is considerable skirmishing going on. I am yet unwell. The cannonading is let up on both sides.
August 12th: Considerable shelling going on between both parties and considerable picket firing. I am yet unfit for duty.
August 13th: Today shelling is left up, as usual and picket firing still goes on. Two a.m. yet unfit for duty. Think I am improving.
August 14th: Today there is but little firing going on with the exception of the picket. This evening was sent back to the division hospital.
August 15th: This morning was examined and about noon we were started for Marietta. It was rough riding in government wagons. We arrived at Marietta about 9 o'clock p.m. at the general hospital.
August 16th: Today I am laying around in the
bed feeling somewhat sore from the ride that we had yesterday.
[William Jennings’ account indicates they were both sent to the division hospital on August 14th. Division hospitals were designed for assisting short-term illness or minor wounds. Major illnesses and wounds were sent up the chain of command to hospitals designed for that purpose. Whatever Mifflin had contracted had made him relapse. Both Jennings brothers were assigned to a wagon train that was taking the seriously ill to Marietta, Georgia, north of Atlanta near the Union railroad, which had been a major field hospital for Sherman’s army. His hospital had been in Marietta since the Union force had crossed the Chattahoochee River before the battle of Peachtree Creek. This was a major hospital that prepared the men for a long ride back up the railroad to Chattanooga and thence to northern hospitals. Apparently, the Jennings brothers were very ill. After August 16th, came a nine day period without any entries in Mifflin’s diaries. He opened each page in the diary and marked an “X” in the corner of each page. The next entry is August 25th.]
August 25th: Today I was examined and sent to the convalescent camp with a number of others of our corpse [sic]. We cannot go to the regiment for a few days as the report is that they are on the move.
August 26th: Today we are putting up our
quarters to stay in so as to be as comfortable as possible.
[His next entry is September 6th. During his illness, on August 31st, Hood split his army and sent General Hardee against Howard’s 15th and 17th Corps. Howard was strongly entrenched and after two hours defeated Hardee. In a running battle at Jonesboro, Sherman’s forces captured General Govan, whose forces had captured the 16th Iowa on July 22nd. On September 1st, Atlanta falls to the Union Armies, and Sherman begins preparing for his march to the sea, to destroy much of the Confederacy’s infrastructure.]
September 6th: Today the order came down for all those who want to go to their regiment could have a chance to go tomorrow and I calculate on going if nothing happens.
September 7th: this morning we got up and ready to start by 6 o'clock and we marched through town and about 2 the train came along and we were soon on our way for Atlanta where we arrived about 10 o'clock an went to the convalescent camp for the regiment.
September 8th: Today about noon we got orders to go to our regiments. There is about 500 convalescents belonging to the Department to go. We had to march about 7 miles where we found our regiment near a town called Fairport [sic].
September 9th: This morning at 2 we were ordered to move. We moved about 3 miles and halted and in the evening we took up our position for camp.
September 10th: Today we are a cleaning up camp. There is some prospects that we will be here for some time. We received our knapsacks that were left at Huntsville.
September 11th: Remained in camp. Nothing of importance going on.
[Mifflin’s entries stop and do not resume until October. William Jennings remains in hospital until mid-September.October 1st: Today about 1 we received orders to be ready to move at half past 2. And at the appointed time we started and marched about 7 miles southwest along the Montgomery railroad and camped for the night.
Hood’s Confederate forces had abandoned Atlanta in early September, moving southwest into Alabama. They had regathered themselves and were roaming around outside the periphery of the five Union corps which had occupied Atlanta and were busy turning the city into a “Gibraltar” for military operations in the deep south. Sherman wanted to cut loose from his supplies along the Chattanooga to Atlanta corridor, and sweep south and east to Savannah, “making Georgia howl.” He could not do that so long as Hood’s Army of Tennessee was in the neighborhood. He devised a plan to have most of his force under Major General George Thomas push Hood into Tennessee, keeping Thomas’ force between Hood and Sherman’s supply line into Atlanta. Only with that accomplished could Sherman turn his attention on a smaller force attacking Savannah. Thomas’ attack against Hood began October 1, 1864. The army found itself back north of Atlanta moving over the old killing grounds of Kennesaw Mountain and Big Shanty, and Allatoona, looking for Hood. October 4th and 5th, one of Hood’s corps attacked the Union garrison at Allatoona, with heavy Confederate loss. In a series of skirmishes that October, Sherman’s three armies pushed Hood back along the mountain passes that the 17th Corps had crossed in June, back toward Huntsville, Alabama. October 26th, Sherman decided all that Hood was doing was leading the Union further from his Atlanta base. In northwest Georgia, Sherman finally decided on his march to the sea: “To remain on the defensive would have been bad policy for an army of so great value as the one I then commanded, and I was forced to adopt a course more fruitful in results than the naked one of following him to the southwest. I had previously submitted to the Commander-in-Chief a general plan, which amounted substantially to the destruction of Atlanta and the railroad back to Chattanooga, and sallying forth from Atlanta through the heart of Georgia to capture one or more of the great Atlantic seaports. This I renewed [with Grant and Halleck] from Gaylesville, modified somewhat by the change of events.” O.R. I, Vol. 39, Pt. 1, p. 582-583.]
October 2nd. This morning at half past 5 we started on the march and marched about 4 miles and came to the rebel picket. Had some skirmishing with them and they fell back as we advanced about 2 miles further and they took a short rest and took the back road and marched about 1 mile.
October 3rd: This morning at 6 a.m. we started on our way and marched to our new campground. This afternoon we received orders to turn over our tents and prepare to march tomorrow morning at half past eight.
October 4th: We started on the march and marched in the direction of Marietta. We marched about 18 miles and camped about 4 miles from Marietta.
[WHJ reports Hood’s cavalry was retreating towards Tennessee and required union forces chase them down.]
October 5th: We marched southwest of Marietta about 7 miles and camped about 2 miles from Marietta. The rebels are reported to be on our front.
October 6th: Today received orders to move but at noon they were countermanded. We remained in camp all day. Nothing of importance.
October 7th.: Today received orders to march and at 9 o'clock began to march. We marched southwest, passing through a town called Powder Springs and camped a mile from there.
October 8th: Morning up at 6 o'clock we started on the march and returned to camp. Came back on a different road than the one we went out on, and cut off about three miles. Arrived at our old camp at 11 a.m.
October 9th: at daylight we received orders to march through Marietta and on north to Big Shanty where we camped about 10 miles from where we started.
October 10th: Today at noon our company was detailed for forage duty and w were out about ten miles and returned to camp and received orders to march about 12 o'clock.
October 11th: This morning, daylight, we
halted at Ackworth Station. After breakfast we started the march and
marched to the river where we camped for the night.
[The Iowa brigade and their division appear to be marching back and forth between Marietta and Ackworth station, which is the old Kennesaw Mountain battlefield, a sort of roving patrol en force searching for any effort by Hood’s command to strike Union positions.]October 12th: This morning at 6 o'clock we began a march and passed through Cartersville [going northeast along the federal railroad line from Chattanooga to Marietta.] Soon after we started we marched to Kingstown, where we halted a short time and then started in the direction of Rome [westerly ]. Marched about halfway there and camped about 9 o'clock.
[WHJ reports in his recollections, My Story, written in the 1890s, that while in Kingston, Georgia, the brothers received word that their mother had died in Iowa. The army did not grant bereavement leave for enlisted men.]
October 13th: Today we are in camp all day. At five p.m. we started on the march and marched in a northeast direction, straight into the timber and over ranges and struck the railroad where we took the train for Resaca, where we arrived about daylight [14th].
October 14th: Today we lay around all day and move out on the line and took our position. We heard the rebels have left here about midnight. We were out and heard some skirmishing, but it all quieted down as soon as it got dark.
October 15th: We received orders in the morning to march at 8 o'clock and began. We marched 15 miles until we came to the rebel skirmishers. They were soon routed and we started on. We had to pass through Snake Creek Gap where the rebels had cut timber in the road in an attempt to slow us down.
October 16th: This morning we marched on rough roads. Marched 18 miles and camped for the night.
October 17th: Today we marched all day and at night we received orders to march and went four more miles. In camp for the night.
October 18th: This morning at 7 o'clock we started on the march to Lafayette [just west of the Chickamauga battlefield]. Halted for dinner. At 1 o'clock we started and they marched to the Chattooga River and camped there, 15 miles.
October 19th: started on the march in the morning and halted, starting again. Marched to a small town called Chattooga, where we camped for the night. Marched 16 miles.
October 20th: Took up the line of march at 7:30 and marched to Gaylesville, Alabama and camped for the night. Marched 15 miles.
October 21st: This morning took a detail out to forage. The regiment marched about two miles and camped. The boys of our company whose term of service was up have been mustered out.
October 22nd: Today we are laying in camp. The non-veterans started for home. I was washing.
October 23rd: In camp. At 5 o'clock we had a company inspection.
October 24th: At noon there was excitement in camp caused by some troops firing their rifles. We were ready in a few minutes for a fight, but it soon quieted down.
October 25th: Nothing of importance going on.
October 26th: In camp. Nothing going on.
October 27th: Camp as usual. All
quiet. Some reports the rebels are crossing the Tennessee river.
[Gaylesville is strategically located on the Alabama side of the Coosa River between Huntsville and the railroad running from Talladega, Alabama to Rome, Ga. Sherman’s Headquarters was at Gaylesville this period of time. He makes his decision here to go to Savannah, the famous March to the Sea. In a letter to Major General Henry Halleck, Sherman writes, “I have sent the Fourth Corps, General Stanley, back to Stevenson. This corps is about 15,000 strong. I will also send all the men not suited to our long march, but they will answer for defending posts. These, with what General Thomas has, will enable him to hold Tennessee, and in a few days I hope to be all ready to carry into effect my original plan. No doubt Hood has gone off toward the west, about Decatur, and may attempt and succeed in crossing the Tennessee, although that river is high and patrolled by gun-boats. If he attacks fortified places he will soon cripple his army, so that Thomas can dispose of him.” Sherman’s prediction of what Thomas could do to Hood came true at the Battle of Franklin (Tennessee) a few weeks later. O.R. I, Vol. 39, Pt. 2, p. 461.October 28th: The regiment is preparing for review at 4 o'clock this afternoon. At the appointed time we formed for review. We move tomorrow.
October 29th: At 6 a.m. we started on the
march and marched through Cedar Bluffs, [Alabama, near the Georgia border], and
crossing the Coosa river. Our company was detailed to help the teams
across the river. After they were across we found corn and made it to camp
about 1 a.m. [30th].
[William Jennings is promoted to provost marshal with General William Belknap’s brigade headquarters. He leaves company “C,” serving the rest of the war on the brigade staff.]October 30th: This morning at half past six we started on the march and were detailed for forage duty and marched to Powder Springs and camped there, marching 12 miles. [ Note: Powder Springs is northeast of Atlanta, and is the destination of the entire march, not the daily march].
October 31st: This morning we held our regular muster day and remained in camp with nothing of importance going on.
November 1st: This morning at 8 we started on the march and marched [southeast] ten miles to Cedar Town and camped for the night.
November 2nd: At 7 a.m. we started a 12 mile march to Waynesville and stopped for the night.
November 3rd At 7 o'clock started the march and passed through the Altoona Mountains, and marched to Dalas [sic, Ga.] and camped for the night.
November 4th: At 8 we started and marched ten miles and camped near Lost Mountain.
November 5th: This morning at 7 we marched toward Marietta and marched within four miles of town and camped for the night. Total of 10 miles.
November 6th: Received orders to march to Marietta and marched 8 1/2 miles and camped near the town.
November 7th: This morning was a scare. We got some cavalry firing off their guns. After it was over I was detailed for picket duty.
November 8th: This morning at about 10 o'clock
I was relieved from picket. The election is going off today very quietly
and there appears to be little fuss [rest is unintelligible
[Lincoln was reelected in 1864. Union soldiers from Iowa, regardless of age, were allowed to vote. This tactic may have been used to dilute Democrat votes for former General George McClellan, the “Peace-Democrat” candidate. Lincoln was helped immensely in this close election by Sherman’s successful capture of Atlanta. Lincoln carried the popular vote 55% but swamped McClellan in the electoral vote, 212-21. Several big states -- Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Maryland and Indiana -- carried for Lincoln only by virtue of the military vote. McClellan even carried Sangamon County, Illinois, where Lincoln lived for 23 years before becoming President.
The same day that Lincoln was reelected, Mifflin Jennings was promoted to Sergeant. Alexander Downing, another 11th Iowa diary writer, pointed out that “Our regiment is strong for Old Abraham, 314 to 42.]
November 9th: Today was in camp. Received orders to be ready to move out at a moment’s notice to turn up the railroads.
[Sherman, before leaving on the march to the sea, was going to cut loose from his supply line in Chattanooga by destroying his own railroad.]November 10th: Still in camp. Rebels reported nearby.
November 11th: Today in camp.
November 12th: This morning was a disaster for
the pickets. The regiment was ordered out to tear up railroads near Big
Shanty. Remained on picket. The regiment was ordered to be ready to
march at 9 o'clock.
[Began the March to the Sea]
November 13th: At 9 o'clock we were relieved and started on the march and marched 15 miles and camped for the night on the Tree Creek. [Probably means Peach Tree Creek, site of the earlier battle, just north and west of Atlanta.]
November 14th: at 8 o'clock we started towards Atlanta. We marched through the town and two miles south of the town to camp at 1 o'clock.
November 15th: At 8 we started on the march in a southeast direction from Atlanta. Marched 15 miles and camped for the night.
November 16th: This morning at 7 we started and marched 17 miles and camped two miles from the line, near McDonough.
[The roads to McDonough, Ga., 20 miles southeast of the Atlanta, was where the Iowa brigade anchored McPherson’s line when the July 22nd attack by Hood decimated the brigade and led to the capture of the 16th Iowa, and several copies of the 15th, 13th and 11th Iowa.]November 17th: We headed in a southeasterly direction this morning and marched 20 miles and camped about 6 o'clock on the banks of a small creek.
November 18th: This morning at 7 we began a march of 7 miles until a bridge was laid across and at ten o'clock we crossed the Ocmulgee River and camped about noon.
November 19th: We started about 8 and passed through Monticello . At about 5 o'clock we camped about four miles from town. Marched 13 miles today.
November 20th, we took a line of march and about 9 a.m. and marched through Hillsborough [sic, although maps of the era show it as Hillsboro]. We marched until 7 p.m. and camped having covered 17 miles.
November 21st: Began a march at 7 o'clock. It being muddy our regiment was detailed to go with the train. We marched about 11 miles and camped.
November 22nd: This morning at 8 o'clock and marched to Gordon Station with the train and caught up with the division. We joined it again and marched 15 miles and camped about one mile from Irwinton
[Gordon Station, also known as Gordon, was a point where railroads intersect connecting Macon and Milledgeville. By following the track of this railroad southeast, the army could march all the way through Georgia into Savannah. By this time, Sherman’s march included three corps, 60,000 men, the 15th, 17th, 20th and 14th corps, each wing about ten miles apart, cutting a swath through Georgia that was twenty miles wide. This date the 14th Corps was driving the Georgia government from its seat of government, Milledgevile]November 23rd: passed through Irwinton and marched 7 miles and camped. Considerable skirmishing in front of us this evening. We were on picket.
November 24th: There is skirmishing yet this morning. By evening we are relieved of picket. The regiment was ordered to tear up railroad. We had orders to be ready to march tomorrow.
November 25th: began the march at 5 a.m. and marched to the Oconee River and remained there until 10 a.m. and started back. Marched to Atharys Station [Emmett, Ga.] and took another road to the river. Marched on until 5 p.m. and camped two miles from the river.
November 26th: This morning in camp, waiting for a bridge to be built. At 2 o'clock we took a line of march and crossed the [Oconee] River and marched two miles from the river and camped.
November 27th: Took up the line of march at 9:30 a.m. and marched very slowly on account of swamps. Marched 6 miles and camped at 9 a.m. near Sandersville, Ga.
November 28th: Took up a line of march at 8 o'clock and marched steadily. Marched fifteen miles and camped at 4 o'clock.
November 29th: Began march at 7 o'clock. Marched 16 miles. Camped at 5 o'clock.
November 30th: Began march at 9:30 and marched slowly because of swamps. Marched 8 miles and camped at 4 p.m. near the Ogeechee River. Rebels were forming skirmishing lines in our rear.
December 1st: took up a line of march at 6:30 and crossed the river. Marched 4 miles back west on the railroad and destroyed the track. We started back to Burton Station and started our own march, covering 5 miles, stopping a t 4 o'clock. [ approximately between Sebastopol and Herndon on the railroad.]
December 2nd: Began the march at 7:30 and marched to a small river. Halted until a bridge was laid over. We crossed the river on the railroad and the wagon trains crossed on the pontoons. We camped at Millen. [The crossroads railroad town between Augusta and Savannah.]
December 3rd. Took up a line of march and marched 4 miles on the railroad and destroyed it. We marched one mile from there and camped at 2 p.m. We received orders to march again and moved to Scarboro which was four miles, then camped.
December 4th: Took a line and marched steadily and camped at 6 o'clock at Cameron Station. Marched 17 miles this evening and was detailed for picket.
December 5th: Marched 9 miles and took a line of march up the railroad and destroyed tracks for about a mile and returned to the road. Marched steadily to Oliver Station [on the Savannah & Atlanta railroad] at 4:30 p.m.
December 6th: Today was in camp. Rebels were fortified. Some firing but they did not make a stand here. Nothing of importance.
[The 17th Corps basically followed this railroad southeast into Savannah, tearing it up as they went.]
December 7th: took up the line of march and marched 16 miles and camped at 3:30.
December 8th: Marched slowly on account of swamps. Went 9 miles and camped.
December 9th: At 8:30 some skirmishing on the front. Marched 11 miles and camped at the station.
December 10th: Took up a line of march and
appeared to be skirmishing in front of the corps. Marched 5 miles and sent
forward a line of battle and set up some works. Rebels shelled us some
here. Has been one killed and four more wounded in our brigade. At 5
p.m. we were ordered to move to our right about 200 yards and we had to build up
another line of works. At dark the firing ceased.
[Major General Giles Smith, the Iowa Brigade’s division commander, indicates that the division formed a line across the Georgia Central, and Savannah and Charleston railroads, near their junction, three miles from Savannah. The rebels had disputed their advance all day, and the Yankees met with loss while gaining their position. O.R. I, Vol. 44, p. 154.]
December 11th: received orders to move when relieved at 12 o'clock. Were relieved by 14th corps and took up a line of march and went six miles to the right and camped. Our regiment was sent forward to picket.
December 12th: At 8 a.m. we drew off from the
picket line and marched about 9 miles and camped.
[William Jennings made an entry into his diary about this time concerning guerrilla tactics of mining the roads, similar to what occurred later in other wars, including Vietnam: “As we draw near [Savannah] our march was impeded by a shameful and cowardly mode of warfare, introduced by the rebels and worthy only of savages. Torpedoes were buried in the road near all springs of water, which exploding beneath the pressure of the foot, scattering mutilation and deaths around. Many solders were killed and wounded in this infamous way. General Sherman adopted the severe but justified precaution of compelling the rebel prisoners of war to go in advance and remove the death traps.” Interestingly, in the Official Records, there are mentions of torpedoes exploding on the line of march during the Carolinas campaign, and use of torpedoes by men in Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, but not during the March to the Sea. In June, Sherman had previously authorized sending carloads of rebel prisoners over railroad lines where the rebels were likely to use pressure torpedoes in the line, O.R.I, Vol. 38, Pt. 4, p. 579.]
December 13th: Today we were in camp. There is firing along our lines. We get good news in the evening. They report that Fort McAlister is taken today. I was on fatigue duty.
[Ft. McAlister was a key fort on Savannah harbor to the south of the city.]
December 14th: In camp. Some Skirmishing going on.
December 15th: Today in camp. Heavy cannon fire going on. Received orders to be ready to move.
December 16th: Took up a line of march and
marched to the Ogeechee river and camped. Marched 4 miles to our boats which
have come up from the mouth of the river with rations.
[The March to the Sea was successful. Sherman’s army was now supplied by the Navy off shore with supply ships. Fourth Division of the 17th Corps had marched from Atlanta to Savannah, 300 miles, and destroyed 28 Mlles of railroad.]December 17th: Today I was on fatigue and cutting and winging timber to build a wharf.
December 18th: Today in camp. Received orders to be ready to march tomorrow. This evening I received a commission as First Sergeant of Company “C”, 11th Iowa.
December 19th: Routed out by the drums and at 1 o'clock took up a line of march to Savannah. Marched 8 miles and halted.
December 20th: Today in camp. Considerable cannon fire going on and most of it is our guns. Received orders to go out and build our works, but before the time came, the order was countermanded.
December 21st: The report came this morning that the rebels have left [Savannah]. We took up the line of march to find them, and went to Savannah and did not find them. Covered 9 miles.
[No further entries in December. On Christmas Day, 1864, Sherman rode triumphant through the quiet avenues of Savannah. On the 26th, he telegraphed Lincoln which read: “I beg to present to you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah, with 150 guns, and plenty of ammunition. Also about 25,000 bales of cotton.” The entire march to the sea had cost 63 killed and 245 wounded. The main part of his army remained in Savannah about a month, which accounts for no entries in the diary.]Memoranda in the back of Volume II, of the Journal:
Amount of cash paid for rations by Peter Duffey, December 31, $2.00 March 7,
Paid by Joseph McCoy, $3.25, December 31st and $0.50 on January 5th.
James Ashford, $0.25 on January 25th
Samuel McLevy, $0.75
G.B. Waltz, W. Jennings, $0.50
Crackers Purchased:In May, June, September, and October, Late November and early December, consisting anywhere from $0.25 to $0.30 per packet.
[Mifflin Jennings’ third volume was actually just yellow writing paper folded in half and tucked in the second journal. Because it was written in pencil, the entries are hard to decipher. His first entry is January 15. During this interim the Iowa brigade was at Savannah, Ga., through January 6, 1865. Then they embarked on troop transports and moved up the South Carolina coast to Beaufort, S.C., about 20 miles from Savannah, and disembarked. They stayed in Beaufort until January 10th, when the moved three miles further out, encountering the rebels at Pocotaligo creek, at noon on January 14th, engaging in slight skirmishing.]
January 15th: It was reported the rebels vacated the positions held last night.
[By January 15th, 17th Corps was at Pocotaligo, S.C., along the Savannah and Charleston railroad. At the Comba river, the southern forces appeared to make a stand on the 14th, throwing up works. There was a thought that there might be a battle for the Comba river, since the ground around it is very swampy. But as Union forces gathered, the Confederates withdrew. Major General Oliver O. Howard, leading the Army of the Tennessee, was thankful, since “the position was a very strong one to carry and thoroughly fortified.” Blair’s 17th Corps, was covering the approaches to Pocotaligo, and Howard directed him to reconnoiter toward Salkehatchie and Robertsville, to make contact with Slocum’s corps. O.R. I, Vol. 47, Pt. 2, p. 54. Pontoons were at a premium for the army because there was so much swampy territory to negotiate, which slowed Sherman’s advance.]January 16th: Today the regiment moved and we were relieved and joined the regiment and went into camp. At a plantation near a racetrack and received orders for general inspection tomorrow.
January 17th: It is noon and we are making preparations for inspection. At the appointed time the regiment was formed and inspected. Major General Pope came by and was the inspecting officer. Also the 9th Brigade of the First Division of 17th Army Corps.
January 18th: remained in camp until the 29th when
we received marching orders and at ten o'clock and marched to brigade
headquarters. After dinner, marched 6 miles and camped.
[No entries until January 30th. However, William Jenning’s recollections, My Story, indicates that on January 25th, the Iowa Brigade was sent by boat down to the Savannah River and sent via the Atlantic to Beaufort, North Carolina.]January 30th. Took up a line of march at 8 a.m. and marched for 3 1/2 miles and camped. Ordered out to reconnoiter but the order was countermanded before the time came. Remained in camp.
January 31st: No entry.
February 1st: Took up the line of march and marched slow on account of swamps. Marched 8 miles and camped. [ unintelligible - probably that they left from the Salkehatchie bridge, S.C.,]
February 2nd: Our regiment on rear guard. Marched very slow until dark when we crossed a large swamp and the train got out of the way. Travel real fast now. There was a report came back that the rebels had attacked the train and we began to move back to find out what was the matter and when we got back to the rear they reported they made a mistaken report. We marched back to camp where we arrived at ten o'clock.
February 3rd: Stayed in camp the forenoon. Took up a march across the Salt Catcher River which is about 1/2 mile wide and we’ll have to wade it and the water is one to three feet deep. We were posted on the side where they were expected to come out and they advanced and stopped the advance. A few shots fired and the rebels fell back. We came out of our works and formed a line and advanced without much opposition. Was sent out on skirmish line and did not find anything to amount to anything. This evening rebel cavalry threw up some dust that was part of our picket line on our right, there was some fighting in front of the 15th Iowa regiment and they did put up some kind of a battle there near Pocotaligo Creek. During the night we built some barricades on the picket line and expected to remain there overnight. At 7 o'clock we were relieved by the first brigade of our division and we returned to camp and lay down and slept soundly, though we were pretty wet and it rained at intervals all night.
February 4th: This morning we were routed out early in order to meet the rebels if they should come through. They did not make their appearance. At 9 o'clock we started out to see what was in front. We did not find any rebels. We marched up the river about 9 miles to Rivers Bridge, where the first division of 17th Corps had crossed. We met our train and camped near the bridge. About 11 a.m. and in the early afternoon we got orders to get up and put up works and our works were completed before night.
February 5th: company inspection today, and picket this evening.
February 6th: Marched slow because of swamps. Marched 4 miles and camped.
February 7th: Marched very irregular on account of swamps. Marched to Sudaway Station, a distance of ten miles. At 4, we were ordered to burn a railroad bridge[over the Edisto river], a distance of five miles. When we came to the bridge, there was firing. The rebels were there and they fired the bridge and crossed the river. The bridge being completely on fire, we returned to camp. Marched 20 miles.
February 8th: Took up the march 3 miles on the Augusta and Charleston Railroad towards the Rider place and commenced destroying the road. Our regiment destroyed 1/2 mile of the track and we returned to the camp. Then we were ordered to march to brigade, another mile. We camped.
February 9th: At noon marched 6 miles. Camped near the South Edisto River. Rebels were on the opposite side of the river. They were firing on some of us. About dark the skirmishers crossed the river and the rebels left without fighting [ near Binnaker’s Bridge]. First Division crossed the river at night.
February 10th: Nothing of importance going on.
February 11th: took up a march at 7 o'clock and crossed the river. Marched 13 miles and camped near the North Edisto River. Rebels are on the opposite side and, as usual, there is skirmishing going on.
February 12th: Received orders to march at daylight but did not move until 8 o'clock. Relieved 3rd Division. Moved down the river to cross there. Cannonading going on across the river. At 12 o'clock we were ordered to the river and were there an hour and the 3rd Division effected a crossing and the rebels began to leave. Our front we crossed the river on the fragments of the bridge the rebels had destroyed most of. We marched into Orangeburg, a station on the Branchville and Columbia Railroad and situated near the river. We found no rebels there. It was a very hic [sic] place. The rebels set fire to the buildings which is destroyed considerable of the town. We marched through the town and camped on the east side of the town.
February 13th: Marched 9 miles on the Branchville and Columbia railroad. Halted and began destroying the track. Our regiment destroyed 1/2 mile of track. After it was completed, we marched 4 miles and camped.
February 14th: Marched 23 miles and camped at 3 o'clock.
February 15th: Marched very slowly because we were in the rear of the 15th Corps. In the afternoon we left the road that the 15th army corps was on and marched pretty fast until we camped about 8 miles from Columbia [the capitol of South Carolina]. There is some cannonading across our front.
February 16th: This morning received orders to march but did not start until noon. Our regiment was on train guard and marched very irregularly. Marched 8 miles and camped in front of Columbia about one mile from the city at 7 p.m. on the opposite side of the [Saluda] river from the town.
February 17: Work up and found our lines inside the city. There was a company of the 13th Iowa crossed the river in a small boat and found the rebels had left the city. The company marched to the statehouse and raised the flag. At 2 o'clock we received orders to march across the Saluda river and halted until 8 o'clock. We started on and crossed the Broad river one mile from the Saluda. Marched two miles toward the city and camped one half mile from the city.
[While the remainder of the army were laying pontoons across the Saluda and Broad Rivers, the Iowa Brigade’s Brigadier, W. W. Belknap, crossed over this company of the Thirteenth Iowa, under Lt. Colonel J. C. Kennedy, in a small flat-boat that he had fitted up for the purpose, and driving the rear-guard of the enemy from the town, entered and planted their colors upon both the old and new capitols in advance of all other troops. William Jennings indicated in his recollections that he was allowed to go on this expedition, too, as Belknap’s aide. South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union and this act of replanting the flag over the capitols was probably planned ahead of time. Men of the Iowa brigade were the first into the city.The Iowa units were credited by Confederate authorities as having caused the fire on the 17th which consumed a third of the city. Sherman argued in his official report that while he had given written orders to his men to destroy public buildings and anything that could be of use to the Confederates that did not include private homes. However, a wind was blowing and Sherman, stung by criticism that he had burned Columbia, the cradle of the Confederacy, by design, argues Brigadier General Wade Hampton’s Confederate cavalry set some fires to burn public records and these smoldering fires, set off by the wind, spread and the city began to burn. Men from three divisions labored to save houses. Brigadier General Orlando Poe indicated, that the fires were due to the fact that citizens gave liquor to the troops until they were drunk and beyond control. He also indicated that escaped Union prisoners “excited the intoxicated soldiers into acts of violence.” Poe commented on the long night and day fighting fires: “The burning houses, lighting up the faces of shrieking women, terrified children, and frantic, raving, drunken men, formed a scene which no man of the slightest sensibility wants to witness a second time.” O.R. I, Vol. 47, Pt. 1, pp. 22, 171.]
February 18: Marched through the city and out over the Columbia and Richmond d railroad. Five miles from town our regiment destroyed a mile of track and marched two more miles.
February 19th: Received orders to remain in camp. Today ordered out to support some regiments that was out destroying some railroad. Marched out 8 miles and destroyed some railroad but did not find any rebels. Returned to camp.
February 20th: Marching northwest. Marching
fast and marched 13 miles and got dinner then went out to destroy the railroad.
[For the next week, the Iowa brigade and Fourth Division were considerably in front of the rest of the 17th corps. They marched through Simpson's Station, Winnsborough, Poplar Springs Post Office, Liberty Hill, and Patterson's Cross-Roads, destroying ten miles of railroad and marching 261 miles.]
February 21st: Marched slowly until we came within four miles of camp.
February 22nd: Tore up another 1/2 mile of railroad. Marched on the passed through Winnsborough. Marched through town and camped. Cannonading at our right.
February 23rd: Started early and marched steadily and came to the rear of the 15th Army Corps where they were crossing the Catawba River. Halted two hours for them to cross the river and then marched on. Crossed the river on pontoon bridges and marched to Liberty Hill, a small town.
February 24th: Took up a line and marched steadily. Our division being in front, marched 15 miles and camped.
February 25th: The other division has not come up. Our division takes the advance. Took up a line of march with our regiment on train guard. Marched steadily and came to a creek that we had to wade that averaged one to two feet deep. It was very cold crossing the creek. We walked 1 1/2 miles and camped.
February 26th: Near Big Lynch Creek the regiment was ordered out to build a bridge across the Creek. We worked until 4 o'clock [27th] in the morning then returned to camp.
February 27th: Layed in camp until 5 p.m. The First Division went down to the creek and lay all day until they got the bridge completed across the swamp. Went across the swamp one mile and went into camp.
February 28th: At 11 o'clock acted as rear guard for the corps. Travel very irregularly and went into camp at 9 o'clock. Not very good roads. After supper we were ordered to put up works since we’ll be here until the remainder of the army comes up. They are some distance behind us.
March 1st: Today we are in camp and have muster and have not had time to muster yesterday. Some skirmishing reported in front.
March 2nd: Today in camp. Received orders to march but they were countermanded. Remained in camp.
March 3rd: came to the advance of the 15th Army Corps. Waited for the 17th Corps to pass through. We were within one or two miles of Cheraw [on the Pede River] and camped.
March 5th: Marched through the town [Cheraw] and crossed the Pede River, which is near the town.
March 6th: About 2 p.m. passed through Bennetsville, and camped one mile from town. Marched 6 miles today.
March 7th: Marched 8 miles and passed through very rich country. Forage is plentiful.
March 8th: Passed through very swampy country and the roads are bad. Camped near Floral College. Rained all day, disagreeable.
March 9th: Company C, D and E were detailed to go back to Floral College to guard the town until First Division came up. Remained there until relieved by the First Division. We started out to join our regiment and found the regiment in camp. Rained hard.
March 10th: Marched steadily across the Little Rock Fish Creek. Had to form a stream and camped one mile from the stream.
March 11th: Our regiment was on train guard and started about 4 a.m. Marched steadily until we got to the Big Rock Fish creek. Halted until the teams could cross the river. Marched very fast until we came to where the brigade was camped within one mile of Fayetteville [N.C.] The town was taken about noon. There was but little opposition and our advance some skirmishers were going on.
March 12th: Today in camp. Two boats come up from Wilmington on the Cape Fear River. They brought us news of importance to us.
March 13th: Took up the line of march and marched to the Cape Fear River and halted until 4 o'clock when we crossed. Marched 2 more miles and camped.
March 14th: Remained in camp until noon. Moved two miles on another road to camp.
March 15th: Very slow because of swamps. Camped 4 miles near the South River.
March 16th: Marched to the river and waited for the bridge to be finished. We crossed the river and marched 10 miles to the swamp creek where the bridge was burned. Our regiment was sent across the creek for picket duty.
March 17th: This morning the bridge being finished the troops came over and passed our regiment. We were on train guard. About dark we left the train and started for camp. Before we got into camp, we were ordered back to help the train up. Worked until 10 o'clock and got the train up. Went into camp.
March 18th: Took up a line of march. Very slow.
March 19th: irregular march on account of swamps.
March 20th: This morning at 1:30 a.m. were routed out and ordered to be ready. We marched fast until daylight and came where the 15th Army Corps was halted. We waited two hours for them to pass. The First Division of our corps also passed us. We marched pretty fast until 4 p.m. when we came upon lines. We formed our line of battle and company C, D and A were sent out on a skirmish line. We advanced one half mile and halted putting up barricades and stayed overnight. There was considerable firing going on both sides of us. Marched 21 miles today, but nobody hurt. The brush is so thick we cannot see any of them, not them us. Firing kept up all night.
[The Battle of Bentonville]
March 21st: At daylight we were ordered to advance our lines. Swamp in front of us. We crossed it and advanced to a top of the hill and did not find the rebels as close to the swamp and they did not fire on us until we had got our position. When they opened up on us, there was no damage except to make us stick close to our trees. We put up barricades and remained there for two hours when we were relieved by the 15th Iowa. We returned to the regiment and received orders to move quickly. About noon the regiment was detailed to put up works but before we finished fighting commenced on our left and continued all day and the remainder of the night. We brought out our skirmishers and drove them in, but they could not hold their position. Fell back to our former position and held it during the day’s fighting. Continued until dark. Pretty heavy firing during the night caused us to fall in after we went to bed.
March 22nd: Heavy firing. About 7 a.m. news came from the skirmish line that the rebels had left during the night. Our regiment was ordered out to support the skirmishers. Went out to the main line of rebel works and were out about one hour and ordered back to our works. Nothing more.
[Bentonville was the last great battle. The 52nd Ohio in the 15th Corps left rebels on both sides of their works, since the regiment fought until it was without ammunition and then was captured briefly, until other Union regiments came to their rescue. Many rebel attacks seemed to charge over and over without firing, perhaps because they were out of ammunition. The Southern Cause died at Bentonville. The 11th Iowa lost 3 killed and 16 wounded, with 7 captured or missing. Federal loss was 1,300. More than 1,900 Confederates were killed or wounded. That was many of the men Johnston had left.]March 23rd. Army took up the line of march for Goldsboro where we expect to get some rest. Moved all day, 12 miles.
March 24th: Marching to Goldsboro, a distance of 7
miles and camped on the east side of the town. Remained in camp until 9th
[The 11th Iowa and Fourth Division remained in Goldsboro, North Carolina, through April 9th. On that day, Lee surrendered at Appomatox Courthouse. Sherman and Johnston began negotiations to end the war for Johnston’s army. During this time, April 14th, Lincoln was assassinated but Mifflin made no comment in his diary. Between April 9th and the 19th, Mifflin’s regiment moved towards Raleigh, marching there April 10th. By the 15th, he was at Jones’ Station on the North Carolina Railroad. April 19th they moved back into camp near Raleigh. That is where he takes up his narrative again.]April-June, 1865
We moved back 4 miles from Raleigh, and went into
camp. They have a very nice area for a camp here, and we remained in camp
until the morning of [April] 23rd when the news came that the terms of Johnston’s
surrender had not been accepted by the authorities in Washington. We were
ordered to move out to the rebels and marched about 7 miles and went into Jones’
plantation [Jones’ Station] and we had orders to move the next night [24th]
but when the time came the orders were countermanded. We lay over the 24th
and 25th and moved back to our old camp and remained there until the 29th.
[Sherman signed a separate document of surrender on April 26th, and the last Confederate army in the field surrendered. The entire army was ordered to Washington. Sherman sent his sick and wounded to Wilmington, N.C. and home via the navy’s support craft. The healthy ones were to march to Washington.]April 29th: We started our journal as we suppose home, but we do not know. We struck out in the direction of Richmond. We marched to the Meuse River and camped. Marched 11 miles.
April 30th: We were in camp. Today is our muster
[Beginning May 1st, Sherman’s army marched towards Richmond, averaging 15 to 25 miles per day, arriving there May 9th. His descriptions were that of a sightseer.]May 9: Took up the march at 2:30 in direction of Richmond and arrived at Manchester, camping near the city. Marched 15 miles. Manchester is on the south side of the James River opposite Richmond. We had a fair view of Richmond from here where we are camped. We remain in camp the 10th and 11th.
May 12: Crossed the river and marched through Richmond, north out of the city. Marched slow since 20th Army Corps was ahead of us and the roads were bad. Marched ten miles and camped near the Chickahomnie Creek.
May 13th: Marched slowly in the forenoon and were passing through the Chickahomie Swamp and in the afternoon we marched pretty lively. Marched 10 miles and camped at Hanover Courthouse.
May 14th: Marched one mile and had to halt and let the train across the Pomansky [Po?] river. We occupied the forenoon in crossing the river. About 2 o'clock we marched 15 miles and camped.
May 15th: took up the march at 6 a.m. and marched 20 miles before camping at 5 o'clock.
May 16th: Passed through Fredericksburg about noon and crossed the Rappahannock River and marched steadily [towards Washington].
The May 16, 1865, entry was Mifflin’s last entry in the diaries. His brother, William, writes of the Fredericksburg portion of the march, “On the way we crossed over several battlefields in Virginia where we saw the bones of legs and arms of the dead protruding from the ground. There was an offensive odor from the field.”
On May 19th, Sherman’s Army of the West reached the
Potomac across from Washington. After sprucing up, on May 24th, with
Mifflin and William’s Fourth Division leading the entire 17th Army Corps, they
fixed bayonets and in parallel lines of rifles, participated in the Grand Review
of the Armies, marching in front of the reviewing stand with Sherman, Grant and
President Andrew Johnson. The review lasted all day. William
described the parade: “We marched from the capitol to the White
House, fully a mile, the line of march was visible with all its
impressiveness. Great flags waved across the streets and along the
sidewalks and spectators, thousands upon thousands, stood along the sidewalk
spellbound. … In front of the White House had been erected a platform
upon which Andrew Johnson, then President, Generals Grant and Sherman and many
other noted generals, together with many state officials and governors of
northern states, reviewed the marching host. This was our grand and final
Mifflin Jennings survived four years of the civil war, only to almost die on his way home. June 5th the Iowa Brigade was mustered out, and the regiments loaded onto steamboats for the trip down the Ohio. On June 7th, William Jennings reports that near Cincinnati, “the boat carrying our regiment struck a snag and sank in a few moments to the top deck. Many of the soldiers jumped overboard. The boat got near shore and all were rescued. When the accident occurred Mifflin was on the lower deck. He grabbed his gun and ran to the upper deck but lost his baggage. I was on another boat with the brigade headquarters when the accident occurred.”
William concluded, “The fleet arrived at Louisville on the 14th of
June. We remained here awaiting discharge and transportation until the
16th of July. Mifflin obtained a furlough and went home and did not
Ron Smith 1999