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Armed with Prussian Muskets,
and a Ride on Top the Cars

We reached Quincy, Illinois, on the Mississippi River, late that night, and we were quartered at the Metropolitan Hotel. The next day we were sworn into the service of the United States. Several bridges had been burned on the railroad leading from West Quincy, on the west side of the river, to St. Joseph, Missouri. We were obligated to remain in Quincy until those bridges were rebuilt. After a few days at the hotel we were put into camp in the county fair grounds in the city, using the stalls for our quarters. Lieutenant Downing returned to Wyanet to secure recruits to fill the company to the maximum number of 101 men. My brother Emerson, two years older than myself, was among the recruits, which was very pleasing to me.

Another company reached Quincy shortly after we did, bound for the same place which later became Company E of our regiment. Our time at Quincy was well spent in drilling, and by the time the road was in shape, we were tolerably well disciplined. We were temporarily armed with Prussian muskets, heavy guns, with a powerful recoil upon being discharged, and from which our shoulders suffered terribly at target practice. Two trainloads of horses had been gathered at Quincy for government service, and when the repairs on the railroad were completed these horses were ferried across the river and loaded into cars. Company E was put in charge of one train as guard, and our company guarded the other one. We were now on slave territory, and although Missouri had not passed the ordinance of succession, the succession spirit was rampant in the state, and but for the presence of the U. S. troops would have dominated it. Irresponsible bodies of armed rebels roamed the state north of the Missouri river, while a large rebel force under General Sterling Price dominated the state south of the river and had just captured Lexington, September 20th, and its garrison. We had to be constantly on the lookout for roving bands of mounted rebels and for that reason some of the men were on guard on top of the cars all the time. Furthermore, we had but one small freight car for both men and baggage, and but a part of us could be accommodated in the car at once, making " upper deck " passage necessary for the others. Company E's train started several hours in advance of ours. The road was in very bad repair and progress was slow. Grades were heavy and often our train was divided to get over a grade. Sometimes we could barely make a grade with the whole train, by all the man getting off and pushing. For this reason we were about fifty-six hours in making a trip that under favorable conditions should be made in twenty four hours at most.

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Copies of of the entire diary, or sections by year, may be acquired through the Sutler's Store.
If you want additional information, contact: Email David Habura at dave.paul@ worldnet.att.net