From the collections at the Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum. Reprinted with permission from The Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum and the Leavenworth Times. Donated by Debra Graden.
The Anthony Letters
In the Land of Dixie After A 700-Mile Trip by Steamer
Leavenworth Times, Thursday, March 28, 1957
Hqrs, 7th Regt Kan Vol
Camp Etheridge, Tenn.
June 10th, 1862
Here we are in the Land of Dixie with the most God-forsaken community I ever saw. This trip from Leavenworth was made on steamer, 700 miles in three days. We are now camped with the 8th Kans, 12th and 13th Wisc, 54th Ill Infantry, 2nd Kans and 8th Wisc Batteries, 2nd Cavalry on the ground in the fortifications of the rebels.
Gen'l Quimby commands the post, a very important one, too. On his staff I find Capt. Barton and Lieut Erickson of Rochester--a No. 1 man and good officers and businessmen. Maj Strong of the 12th Wisc, a Granville, Washington County man. Also Capt Norton, son of Reuben Norton of Easton in same regt. Whenever we go we find old acquaintances.
The labor and expense on these rebel fortifications must have been enormous--over 7 miles of earthworks. One of the strongest natural points for defense I ever saw. The rebels should have put in a year's provisions and stood a siege. With 20,000 men they ought to have held it. The mortality amongst them must have been fearful. The post surgeon estimates 7,000 graves. Most must have died from disease. From appearances their sanitary regulations must have been bad.
The ground on which our camp is made was covered with bricks, burnt logs, mud, old hay, tents, clothing, beef bones and other bones--all half rotten and putrid. For the past two days I have had 300 to 400 men policing the grounds in and around camp, hauling off and burning everything offensive. Today we begin to feel we are breathing pure air.
You know we started for Corinth, Miss., but at Cairo our destination was changed to this point. Merritt went on the first boat and went to Pittsburg Landing. The three companies with him have been ordered back by Gen'l Halleck. We expect him here today.
One company under Maj Herrick yesterday went to Moscow, 12 miles south on the Mobile & Ohio RR--this is the terminus of the road. It has not been in running order since the rebels evacuated because they destroyed the bridges.
Today, our regt is ordered to Union City, 16 miles southeast of Hickman.
When I left Leavenworth, Thomas C. Stevens of the firm of Thos Carney & Co. put on the boat 2 boxes of Sparkling Catawba and cigars with his compliments. Tom Stevens was remembered by every officer on board belonging to our regmt.
D. R. Anthony