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Letters of WILSCOT
February 26, 1863
Web Author's Notes:
The following letter was written by a 16th OVI soldier and sent to the Tuscarawas Advocate, an Ohio newspaper. The transcription was kindly provided by website contributor John M. Pierson. Spelling and grammatical corrections were not made.

The letter's author listed as WILSCOT is unknown. Speculation could be made he was Private William M. Scott, Company G, but there is no evidence to support this.

Published in The Tuscarawas Advocate, March 20, 1863

Hear What the Soldiers Say.

From the 16th Ohio Regiment.

Before Vicksburg, La.,
Feb. 26, 1863.

Editors Advocate: Since our repulse on the Yazoo, in which we were badly beaten, and the little affair at Post Arkansas in which we repaid the rebels with interest, and wiped out a part of the disgrace brought upon us by the desire of a double-star-shoulder strapped gentleman, we have been camped here at Young's Point, La., opposite, and in sight of, the rebel city which is the object of so much interest to both armies. With its fall is broken an other spinal column of the hydra-backed rebellion.

The country here is low, full of bayous, (swamps) which are the producers of frogs, mosquitoes, inconvenience and sickness. The soil is rich, absorbs much water, and consequently soon dries. The weather is very changeable, one day warm and beautiful like spring - next chilly, damp, and gloomy. It rains about one third of the time, and horrible mud is the result. Leaves are putting forth, the green grass is making its appearance, and some of the hardier plants are in bloom; yet there is scarcely a man in the whole army who does not detest the Sunny South.

Sickness prevails to an alarming extent, and makes sad havoc in our ranks. The Surgeons are blamed, the officers are blamed, the weather is blamed, and the men no doubt are most of all to blame. It is an incontrovertible fact that men in the army have to be watched like children at home, if they would be kept clean. There are exceptions. Typhus fever, and small-pox are in camp.

Dr. Brashear, of your town, fills the responsible position of Medical Director of the 13th Army Corps, commanded by Maj. Gen. John A. McClernand. His duties are arduous, but he has the reputation of discharging them promptly and faithfully, and is highly esteemed by the Surgeons over whom he has supervision.

In the Cincinnati Commercial, of the 7th inst., in a scathing article upon the inefficiency of the Medial Department of this army, the correspondent has paid Dr. Brashear a deserved compliment, which I quote:

Among those who deserve well of their country, I must not fail to mention the ever active, ever faithful Dr. Brashear, the former Surgeon of the 16th Ohio, but now Medial Director of Morgan's Army Corps. I have been able to observe this gentleman under all the circumstances which have accompanied this army, and can attest his faithfulness and energy.

I visited the canal yesterday, and passed along its whole length. A heavy force is at work, and in a short time it could be finished. It is being made sixty feet wide, and deep enough to float our gunboats. Its length is a mile and a quarter.

We have been very unfortunate lately, losing our ram, Queen of the West, and our gunboat Indianola. The former was captured up Red River, from Capt. Ellett. He would have blown her up but for some sick of the crew whom he had not time to remove. Since then a boat supposed to be her was seen below Vicksburg, and it is feared that she may have captured or sunk the Indianola, which was blockading the mouth of Red River. We have a reconnoitering force out today to ascertain whether or not our fears are groundless.

The 30th and 27th Ohio are here. The latter has part of a company of Germans from Dover. Major Hildt, Sgt. Major Haskins, and a company from your county belong to the former. John Pepper, a typo from New Philadelphia, belongs to the 83d Ohio, which is here.
More anon.


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