Letter, Oct. 26, 1861

Camp Fremont, (?), Oct. 26th, 1861

My Dear Little Girl:
It is with feelings of the nicest kind that I now proceed to inform you as to matters and things around and about Pilot Knob as well as other places which shall be the theme of my conversation. Yours of the 20th was received last night along with 2 of them I did not hesitate to read out (aloud) to the boys who did not get a letter. But when I came to the one in the handwriting I have learned to know, I must say I was a little shy with it.

I had began to think that I never would get another, but the long looked for came at last. I have not much to say in reply, but will try and think as I go along. Well, lets see, the last I wrote was at Madison and I believe as near as I can recollect there has been a good many crooks and turns since them with us. From Madison to St. Louis was not a try that was calculated to make one tired, but when it came to making the 5 miles through that dirty city with our overcoats on all just to make a show (that was something else). 

At Benton Barracks I found a cousin of mine who enlisted at Chicago in the 39th Ill. Inf. We stopped, I think, 2 days at that place which is now our (Regimental?) headquarters for the present. Anyhow, since we have been here we have had to do some drilling which we enlisted to do. A soldier's life is pretty hard one but I think the 8th Reg't has had a little harder row to hoe than was it's share. 

They have kept us bobbing since we came here. A right smart change. The first night we came here we were not allowed to lay down at all, for the troops that were here were all out on an expedition against the enemy who were stationed at Fredericktown (Missouri), about 21 miles distance and that concluded thy would come down and take breakfast on the following morning which although they decline doing in a short time. I think, as near as I hear (can tell) that night our troops killed 17 of their men without loosing one. Well, next morning (the) remainder of the Reg't came up and we put our tents up and went to rest in them. The first time (rest) in a good while.

Everything went on nice until last Sunday night when we started off on another trip a little further south and probable would have dined with our friends, the Secesh, the next (day) had fate not prevented us. I think they were not used to so many visitors at such queer hours and so (they) ran away leaving us to do the best we could. I think we took care of ourselves very well considering the short time allowed us.

As for myself, the Secesh as used me first rate. I have fared on the best the country afforded but we were not long to be left in this position. About 4 O'clock or a little earlier in the PM we were greeted with a salute of 28 guns from the Secesh's big guns and our artillery returned the salute by going down to where there were about 5000 of them and giving them a good many which they will have (reason) to remember. At  length we were all into it hand over fist and in about 20 minutes we had the Secesh making tracks in every direction, our boys after them. but they had to come back and satisfy themselves for having whipped them for it does not lay in the power of mortal man to catch them. In a shorter time than it takes to tell it, the old Stars and Stripes was (hoisted) to take (its) place where but a short time before had waved the Rattlesnake and Palmetto. What has happened since is not of enough interest to speak of. We have, at length, arrived (back here) at our ground with the loss of only one man from our Reg't which was killed by (in an )accident. Out total loss was 6 killed and about 50 wounded, none, I believe seriously. The rebels loss probably will exceed 300, 200 were buried by our troops.,

This, I think, is enough about such business and I will try now and tell you so you can form some idea of what the country is around here. Our camp is situated in a pretty valley surrounded on all sides by mountains. These are the prettiest mountains I (have) ever seen. One in particular that I shall speak of. The first day we stayed here I went up to the top in company with Ed Farley. On the top there is a solid rock as long as your father's house. From the top of which is planted that good old flag which we have sworn to defend and mean to as far and as long as it is in our power. From this mountain (Iron Mountain) there is a great quantity of iron melted out and (was) sent to St. Louis where it was made in files for the Rebels