The war appeared to be winding down by October 1864, and but an advertisement in the Crawford Argus (Illinois) stated that a one-year regiment was being raised in Crawford County, and would be credited toward the last call for three thousand men. Having recruits credited to the county was important as it kept away the draft if the quote was met. The citizens had raised bounties by volunteer contribution which would be paid as soon as a recruit was accepted and mustered in. The new regiment would be assigned to middle Tennessee, only guarding bridges and railroad trains, according to local rumors. Easy duty and easy money. They had no trouble recruiting the 85 boys that became Company H of the 152nd Illinois Volunteer Infantry.
The following letter appeared in the Argus, the first letter sent to the newspaper from the company.
LETTER FROM THE 152d.
Camp of the 152d Ills. Vols, near Tullahoma, Tenn.
March 3, 1865:
ED. ARGUS: According to promise we avail ourselves of this opportunity of writing you a few lines, to let you know where we are. Tullahoma is a small place, 62 miles from Nashville, on the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad. We are in very comfortable quarters, at least our company is and we are enjoying it just fine. Part of the regiment are in tents, and having rather sorry time of it, as it is quite muddy. It has rained for the last forty-eight hours, and is at it at the present time, and by the way of change is now accompanied with thunder and lightning and no prospect of it ceasing for a week; but, fortunately, we have in a manner nothing to do but draw rations and eat them.
The boys are in fine spirits, save one, or perhaps two that are generally reported around camp as desperately in love ; but they have furloughs promised them inside of twelve months, which revives them.
The camp is in the finest place in the world for miraculous stories of battles just outside the pickets, pay day, extra duty, and details for the guard house, where there is fools enough to swallow, and without questioning.
This morning the pickets reported a slight skirmish, in which our men came out victorious. We have not learned the casualties. The "Johnnies" receive no mercies at our hands. There was a detail this morning to bury dead bushwhackers--nine in number, more or less, being buried every day since we have been here.
There is quite a number of troops here. The 148th and 152d Ills., the 40th Mo., the 5th Tenn. cavalry, and a battery--the same guns that "old Rosey took from the "Johnnies."
We have five men in the hospital, viz; Amos Huls in General Hospital at Camp Butler, Ills., John McCrillis and Bolivar Byers at Jeffersonville, Ind., John Ford at Nashville, Tenn., and Thomas Sanders at the hospital here. We have sick in camp Lieut. Hughes, Orderly Maxwell, and private George Graham. There is a good many cases of measles in camp.
We are under many obligations to Wm. C. Wilson, and Isaac Cunningham of Palestine, for the valuable services they rendered as to getting up our enlistment papers at Olney, Ills. They have then highest regards and best wishes of the officers of Co. H, 152d regiment Ills. Vols.
For the information of our friends at home we herewith send a list of the officers of Co H, viz: Captain-George W. Beam; 1st Lieut. William Dyar; 2d Lieut. Ferdinand Hughes
Sergeants: J.D. Maxwell; J. Cunningham; Irvine Heustis; Wm. Pierson; D.R. Whitaker
Corporals: C.A. Harper; David Buzzard; G. Reliford; H. Higgins; Adam Fritz; Nelson Moler; A.K. Alexander; Wm. McClure
David M. Barrick-Drummer
Peter Reed-Ambulance Driver.
We had some trouble after we got to Camp Butler, owing to the enlistment papers of several failing to come up. Wilson McClure of Robinson precinct; Richard Lorance and Joseph Hale and Joseph Kirk. We left them there and have heard nothing of them since.
They should be able to be mustered in without the papers. We had one deserter while on our way here from Camp Butler, viz: Lemon Followell, of Northwest precinct. We hope that the great people of Crawford county will attend to his case.
Co H 152d Ills. Vol.
Several weeks later, the Argus reported on the death of a few men in the regiment.
ARGUS-March 30, 1865
Sad news from Capt. Beam's Company-We regret to learn the following deaths, which occurred at Tullahoma, Tenn., in Capt. Beam's company of the 152d Regiment, Ills., Vols. The deaths occurred from measles; Michael Longnecker, C.S. Legg, John Cobb; Thomas Dunlap, George Graham, and T.D. Diel. There was some twelve or fifteen others sick from the same disease, but considered out of danger. This is indeed, sad news, and a severe affliction to the company, which had not been in the service over a month in the time of the death."
Headquarters 152d Illinois Infantry
June 15, 1865
Friend Harper: When at home it is very common for one to set aside Sunday as a proper time to write letters, but as soon as one crosses the Ohio, he has left the Lord's country, (It is here that the rest of the writer's first paragraph is "lost to place all smeared up letters go" and continues to the next.)
The 148th Ills. Infantry, left here this morning. The regiment is divided, one part going to McMinnville (about thirty miles from here) the other part scattered along the railroad below here, with their headquarters at Decard. I wish it had been our regiment.
The 155th Ills. infantry left yesterday. and I am told they went up the Railroad, and are going to be scattered along from Duck River, eight or ten miles above here, to Nashville, with Murfreesboro as headquarters. Both of these regiments have a have had a soft thing of it.
The 155th cheered considerable and the burden of their thoughts seemed to be "Red River and Cod fish."
This brigade has been composed of nine different regiments, and commanded by a worthy Breveted Brigadier General named N.A.M. Dudley, who belongs to the 30th Mass V. V. There is a good many scattered in the Brigade that were in Banks's men or late Red River Expedition, which you are aware turned out disastrously, and they say he run, or showed the "white feather." Hence "Red River and Cod fish." which the boys seemed to have stitched together. Whether the phrase denoted fame or disgrace I leave you to infer.
Colonel F.D. Stephenson has been away on a leave of absence for several days and returned yesterday with his lady. He is from Flora, Clay county and is all sound. The Major's lady has been here most of the time, and are living in camp. The Major and Colonel with their better halves, were in camp last night and were serenaded by the String Band.
There is much sickness in camp. Co. H has two men tolerable sick, viz: W. H. Malcom and John B. Sears, both in camp.
Corporals Nelson Moler and Albert K. Alexander were ordered to the hospital yesterday that they might be mustered out as convalescents. They have not been fit for duty but a very little when they have been with us. They went home so bad I hope they will be there in a few days. A great many of the boys have been departed home sick, but are getting over it.
The list of the "Sons of Liberty" published in your paper a few weeks since, seemed to surprise no one that was from the adjoining counties.
It is rumored that the paymaster is going to be around and give us a call. Let him come
"Q.M.S." was Quarter Master Sergeant Arvine Heustis, a 33 year old married farmer from Robinson, Illinois.
Besides the enlightening letters from Heustis, the paper also recieved news and updates from other sources which they promptly printed.
JUNE 29, 1865
Quite a severe thunder storm occurred at Tullahoma, Tenn., on the 19th last, where the 152d Ills. Vols.,are encamped. As the old guard was being relieved, and the new one placed upon duty, there was a sudden flash of lightning, followed by a terrific explosion of thunder. The guards all being at a shoulder arms, the electric fluid passed down their guns, killing one man, and wounding some thirty odd, several severely. Lieut. Hughes (Lt. Ferdinand Hughes) was among the wounded but we learn that his wound was only a slight one.
CRAWFORD ARGUS-August 17, 1865
Headquarters 152d Ills. Infantry
July 29, 1865
Friend Harper: It is universally admitted that the public have undisputed license to "go in" on the editor any time that seems most convenient. And as that time is the present with me, I will avail myself of the blessed privilege, and go down on you with camp gossip, etc., for a few minutes.
The latest "grape vine" is that the 155th are on their road home to be mustered out, and that they are already in Springfield awaiting that interesting ceremony.
We arrived here on the 11th, and have occupied the time in fixing camp. We are camped in a nice grove about a mile back from the river. in a pleasant locality. The men are getting their quarters well fixed, and are to all appearances enjoying themselves, only having one wish that they would like to see gratified, the being mustered out.
We had a rather rough time in coming down the river, owing to the lack of facilities for cooking. One thing was characteristic of our trip--that was, we dragged just the kind of rations that ought to have been issued while in camp. We drew pickled meat, and had very limited facilities for cooking. Many of the men eat their meat raw, which created great thirst, and compelled them to drink river water, which you know is not the best. As a natural consequence a great many had attacks of diarrhea; but they are now getting better. The chance for cooking was not as good as an ordinary stove would have furnish, and that for over 700 men.
When we left Tullahoma we had several boys belonging to Co. H in hospital, viz: .K. Alexander (since died), William McClure, and one other. We left three sick in hospital at Mound City, and have heard nothing officially from them since. They were Sergeant George T. Norton, Nicholas Livingston and Henry Dickey. (three above mentioned all recovered.)
The supposed "easy duty" for Company H resulted in the deaths of 16 from measles, and nearly all suffered from one disease or another. Most were paid the standard privates pay of $16 per month, but that was probably more than they could earn at home farming at that time.
The following story appeared in the Marshall Messenger on October 5, 1865. It describes the boys of Company G perfectly, and the experience of the entire 152d Regiment Illinois Volunteers and their "easy duty."
LOOKING BAD-The members of Co G, 152d Ills Vols, that arrived at home last week, look like they had been taken from a grave yard, we think, at least, if they had remained a few weeks longer, they would have been inmates of one.
Most of the Crawford county boys that died were first buried at Tullahoma, Tennessee, and later exhumed and reburied at Stones River National Cemetery.