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Neal Dow Arrives in Deepest Dixie Transcript
Head Quarters of the 13th Me. Vols.
Dear Governor –
We are here in the Gulf of Mexico after many perils from too much water first – then of too much land! What our next perils are to be I cannot well say, unless it is to be from Mosquitoes against which we have had many warnings. I cannot tell where we are to go or what we are to do. There are too few of us and as we are all too green, for anything else than Galveston, and too green, I think, for that.
If weather and health will allow we can get our Reg’t in decent shape in a month or two for service, but they know very little yet of duty in the field in the presence of an enemy. But the 13th, we think, will compare favorably with any of them.
Our wood lies 4 to 5 miles from Camp at the other end of the Island, and our men have to get it all without teams. The men go in large numbers, make a raft, and drag it along the shore, a very tedious process, occupying much and taxing our men very severely. From three to four hundred men are off on labor every day, not military – so you can see we have not an easy time.
We are away from the Army, and we feel the deprivation very much. Important events are now transpiring (or ought to be) every day, inspiring our friends with new zeal and fresh hopes of speedy triumph, while we know nothing of them. By every mail we hope to hear of Memphis taken or evacuated – of the descent of the Mississippi – of the evacuation of Savannah – a successful forward movement on the Potomac – and generally of the near probable collapse of Rebeldom.
I think Capt. Archer had better resign, he cannot be of the least service to us now, even if he is well, he is too far behind in tactics and cannot come within sight of the duties of his position. If Capt. Swan cannot come on at once, he should resign also – and we have the material here to supply their places.
Very truly and respectfully yours,
Confidential – Major Heseltine is under arrest, but does not deserve it. Gen. Butler told me yesterday that he would release him if he would request it. I should have done it today, but the Major cannot make up his mind to consent to any request at all in any shape, but I think I shall do it tomorrow in a way not to compromise him in any way. I want and need his assistance in our battalion drills and the general discipline of the camp.
When and if I get home I can tell you many things of our experiences that I cannot write.
If any vacancies occur in our Reg’t., we wish them to be filled by promotions in a way to promote the interests of the Corps & I am sure you will pardon the suggestion as you can have other desire in the matter.
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