James kept a diary for the year 1863 while on duty in Mississippi and Tennessee and on the last day of the year and his last entry in his little diary he wrote:
"The year of 1863 closes with this day. It's gone and with it has gone many of our near and dear friends. Many have fallen by the hand of the invader and many have fallen by disease. It's passed and with it has passed many scenes of bloodshed and scenes of battle strife. God forbid that the new year may witness such scenes as the passed. But may it be crowned with peace and plenty and may southern arms be victorious."
1863 Civil War Diary
of James Thornton Ellis
19 year old 1st Sergeant Co.A 2nd Missouri Cavalry C.S.A.
This diary came from John Ellis, Surprize,AZ great-great grandson of James Thorton Ellis. A special thanks to him for sharing his great grandfathers thoughts and deeds during that time in history. Edited by John Ellis
It rained hard all day and we cooked rations. The wagons prepare to move from Buck Hill.
Reports of Yankees in circulation. We were paid for 2 months.
The wagons left early this morning and it's still raining. There are reports of Yankees still afloat tonight. __ __ Nothing of importance took place.
We left Buck Hill today and marched about (5?) hrs. And took up camp at the __.
Nothing of interest today. The boys are scattering over the country for something to eat. John Chandler [Co.A] got a letter from home.
Feb 20 and 21
Black eyes most dazzle in a hall
Blue eyes most please at evening fall.
The black a conquest soonest gains
The blue a conquest most retain
The black bespoke a lively heart
Whose soft emotions soon depart
The blue a steadier flame betray
That lasts and lives beyond a day
Then let each reign without __
The black all mind the blue all soul
Nothing of interest today. Rained hard all day.
Smallpox in the neighborhood, it's thought that there were one or two cases in the regiment.
News that the enemy had gotten through the __ Pass. Gen. Price arrived at __.
Today is __. The sun __ is quite comfortable. Expecting marching orders (?) __ __ today, but
got Dick E. to take my place. Baggage sent to Jackson.
Raining this morning __ __ __ __. That we would cross the river.
Still raining. Wrote a letter to send home by the first opportunity.
Orders to prepare to move. Our scouts returned from Coldwater and the Pass.
Report the Yankees still at work in the Pass. Still raining.
Raining this morning. Left Shilo and marched all day in the mud and camped at Mr. Craig's.
Clear this evening.
Marched in the direction of mouth of Coldwater. We had to swim the creeks.
Camped with Stock's Regt., five miles from Charleston, Miss.
We marched all-day and camped in the Tal(lahatchie?) valley, where we expect to stay a week.
Hard matters to get anything to eat.
Went out to get some bread baked. Beautiful day. The citizens think that March entering like a lamb will go out like a lion. The boys went hunting and killed a deer.
Went out again to get bread baked, and stayed all day with the girls (?) my "bogres" (?) Raining (?)
Was invited to attend a party. Didn't go. Col. Had all the men arrested. Went with the detail to
arrest the PM.
The men arrested were ordered to mark time, refused, were ordered to Grenada.
Sergeants (Richard) Eubank (Co.A) and (William) Craig (Co.A) were reduced to the ranks in consequence thereof.
Went to get "grub", heard that Gen. Van Dorn had had a fight at Columbia, Tenn. and captured 6,000
prisoners. Also that Gen. Bragg had whipped the Yankees. Don't know how true that is.
Very sudden orders to report at Greenwood started late in the evening and marched about 7 miles and camped. Thought that we were going to cross the Mississippi.
Started early and had to ferry the Yalobusha about a ½ mile wide. Heard that Gen. Price had crossed
the river. Very much disappointed in not going. One year ago today was the battle of Elk Horn.
Orders countermanded. Had to re-cross the river and camped 7 miles from Charleston. One year ago
today was fought the battle of Elk Horn. The yankees are still in the Pass.
Marched back to our old camp. Yankees pass Coldwater in 30 transports and gunboats. Expecting fight at Greenwood. Men return that were sent to Grenada. Tom got letter from Uncle Robert E. in Virginia.
(Note: Uncle Robert E. is Robert Sale Ellis, of Pine Park plantation, Orange C.H., VA.)
Ordered a scout to the river. Most of the Reg. Went. Returned soon not accomplishing anything, the
bottom being overflowing with water.
Rained hard all last night, had no tents, had to take it. Went to the country to get breakfast. Rained all day hard. Permission was given to the men to find shelter. Most all went. I did not go. Cleared off about ten o'clock.
Beautiful day. The birds are singing beautifully. Went out to get pork for the Reg. Ordered to the
Yalobusha River. To leave camp at 9 o'clock. Went to a party at Mr. Taylor's. Sat up all night.
Bombardment of Greenwood com __.[commenced?]
Returned to old camp and took the valley road and overtook the Reg. 5 miles below Charleston. We marched ___this __ about 4 miles and camped.
Traveled in the direction of Greenwood. Cannonading could be distinctly heard at GW. Went to the river and couldn't cross. Went then to Hardy's Station to take the cars. Order was countermanded. Yankees were repulsed at GW. (Greenwood)
Started back to our old camp in the Valley. Traveled about 15 miles and then camped. Was appointed Orderly Sergeant of Co. A. Heard firing in the direction of Greenwood.
Started early and passed through Charleston and reached our old camp in the valley. Nothing from GW (Greenwood). __ rations to __ scout.
Started in direction of mouth of Coldwater, had to swim, some of the boys got ducked. Saw but little land today, the bottom being overflowing. Camped 5 miles from CW (Coldwater), couldn't go any __. Sent on expedition to the river.
Still in camp. One of the Ark. [Arkansas] Rats stole my money last night. Col. Has gone to CE __. Heard that home folks were well. Returned to our camp in the valley. Dreamed of a "little boy."
Heard that there had been a fight at __ __ __. Yankees were repulsed. __ __ boys are fixing to go to a party. Col. had some of them arrested.
We rested today. (John W.) J. Murphy [Co.A] was sent in pursuit of some deserters but couldn't locate them. Drew money to pay their expenses of Co. while from the wagons. No news of interest.
Expecting marching orders. Heard firing in the direction of CW. (Coldwater?). Received orders to cook rations. To go on another scout in the bottoms. Got permission to go to country to get supper and went to see the girls. Stayed all night.
Woke up late and had to run 2 ½ miles to camp, expected a scolding. Went to the bottoms. Got a letter from Mc G. Heard that the __ news ______________________________________
Maj. Mc C [R. A. McCulloch?] went on expedition to the river. Yankees were there __ came very near being caught. __ back to our old camp. Clothes were issued that had been presented to us by Miss. Edmondson. Many thanks to her. No news from down river.
Rained all night. Still raining this morning. The boys are going to the shop to get their horses shod. The __ __ at Greenwood.
Still raining _________. _________. ___. Had to _____ _____. Heard music on the __. Heard that my __ __ ________.
Clear today. Returned to camp. Heard firing in the direction of Greenwood. No news from below. 2 men arrived from Missouri bought bad news. Heard that Yankees tried to pass our batteries at __ (Port Gibson?)
Heard that there had been a fight at Vicksburg, sunk one gunboat and captured one. No news from the Yazoo. Heard the Yankees had landed a __ force near Charleston. __ __ __
No news. Sutler arrived in camp with flour to sell. We had biscuits for supper. Scout returned from
Charleston, no Yanks.
Rained last night. Not very well today. Hear that from my Moulton friends. They were well. Glad to hear that Gen. Armstrong was not married. The supposition of the people was right about M___.
Mar 29 There was a storm last night of wind, rain, and hail. Very cold this morning. Still hailing. Went to Church today. Went to Mr. Booth's, heard the girls sing and play on the piano. Stayed till dark.
Still very cold this time of the year. Sent a to Ponte __. Orders to leave in the morning. Heard that Stewart __ __ __.
The last day of March. Rest of entry illegible.
We started this morning early on foot to __, about 6 miles. I thought it was 10. Part of the __ __ __ in __ for the river. Got behind with __ and got lost. Returned to land and found the rest. Opened __. Yankees __ __.
Returned to camp last night very tired. Sick and __ __ shall was hold __ see what punishment to inflict __ of Co. __. Ordered to be ready to march in the morning to K__.
Went out to get breakfast. Rest of entry illegible.
Returned to camp at Cross Roads. Some talk of crossing the river and getting up into Desoto County. Hope we will. Bob Eubank (Co.A) and Will Powell (Co.A) returned, didn't get to Memphis. The man who stole the pistols has to wear a block and chain a month.
Heard from Home. Sorry that Tump was not very well this morning. The boys brought in some potatoes for the mess. Some of the men went to stop whiskey selling in the regiment and poured out the Sutter's whiskey. Very cloudy. Commenced raining. (Note: "Tump" is Lt. Robert Stapleton Ellis MD, Jame's cousin, of the 56th VA Inf., Garnett's brigade, killed July 3, 1863 during Pickett's charge).
The Major being fond of __ became very mad and raised a fuss! But the men all __ to be in favor of those that poured it out. The Maj had to __ __ home __.
The quarrel has subsided and all is quiet. Rumored that the Yankees have been whipped in Tenn. Hope so. 4 deserters from the feds got in yesterday. They were from (MO or MD). Had a game at Ball. Became very cloudy and began to rain about night.
Cleared off this morning and the boys have gone out to take a game of Ball (baseball?). Commenced raining again. Got a pass and went out to Mr. Booth's. Spent the evening finely, with the ladies. Had music both vocal and instrumental.
Heard that the Reg. Was moving north. Kept trying to find a good time to leave but it was 3 o'clock before I could. Crossed the Yocona and got to camp at Panola about dark.
Had marching orders this morning early. Crossed the Tall(ahatchie?) and moved about 7 miles and camped at Davis Church. Heard that 2 ladies from MO had gotten to Hernando having husbands in the 2nd MO Cavalry.
Bad news today. Gen. Van Dorn attacked the enemy at __ and was repulsed with __ __ man from Memphis then __ a __ was arrested with 600 letters for the Missourians __ that her name __ __.
Very sorry to hear of the capture of Miss __. Rest of entry illegible.
Yankees came into __. Whipped the __ __ and were coming. We were ordered to meet them. Orders last night to saddle up immediately. It became very dark and cloudy and began to rain about the time we started __ so dark had to stop. Started early on double-quick __ the Co. and scared to death. Were rushed into a fight. Whipped the Yanks back. (M.) Clarkston (Co.G) was killed and two others in his Regt. were Wounded.
Yesterday's engagement added one more to the number of fights we have had and one more to the number of victories gained by the 2nd Mo. All is quiet today. Started early marching in an eastern direction. Turned our course towards Hernando where there were some Yanks. Got there and found the Yanks all gone. Glad __ __.
Started back to Buck __ (Snort). Stopped about 12 o'clock. Sent men for grub about __ rain. Orders to saddle up. The enemy was south of us. Traveled hard until dark. Camped on Jim (?) Woolf.
Don't believe Gen. Chalmers knows what to do. Started towards Looxahoma and past through the town about 12 o'clock. Heard that the Yanks were in Buck Snort (?), camped 2 miles from town. Went out to see Cousin Francis. Got back to camp found the Reg. Ready to march.
Marched all night. Gen. Scared to death I believe. Stopped to feed at Davis Church. Didn't stop long. Marched on to the river and dismounted, sent our horses across. Stayed in line nearly all day waiting for the Yanks. Crossed the river and went to camp 2 miles from T.
Stopped in camp all day had nothing to do but read until the evening. Orders came to cook 2 days rations. Ordered to saddle up. Order countermanded. Rained tonight.
Started about daybreak and traveled toward Oxford. Looked very much like raining. Got permission to go to the country. Met a man who invited me to go home with him and a very fine place it is. Sent __.
The ladies invited us to come back. Think I will go. Overtook some of the command. Began to rain. Ate dinner with an old Negro (?). Heard that our Regt. Had taken another road. Started in __ traveled about 30 miles and stopped at Lafayette Springs. Reg. Went on to Po (Pontotoc).
Started before breakfast I got to Pontotoc about 10 o'clock. Heard that the Yankees were coming. Spent the evening with some young ladies of Pontotoc.
Ordered to saddle up. Took the rocky ford road and traveled about 12 miles and camped __ to feed our horses. No Yank being near we stopped all night - rained on us. Expecting to be ordered to cross the Mississippi.
Clear this morning. Still on __. Went out to graze my horse. Orders to move tomorrow. Heard nothing from the Yankees. 2 men from Missouri didn't see them.
Left early and traveled northwest. Nothing in __ today, must be expecting Yankees. Was ordered to saddle up about dark and start to retreat.
Traveled all-night and got to the Tall River about day. Commenced crossing water all over the bottom, started about 10 o'clock to hunt for our horses. Stopped 20 miles from Oxford. Camped 7 miles from Oxford. Capt. and myself went over to Mr. Hunt's.
Yankees attacked Fort Gibson. Miss Hunts went over to Oxford to see the Brig. Pass. Accompanied them to town enjoyed myself finely. Co. ordered to M (Memphis) and __ RR. Left the ladies and went over to take the Com. Traveled hard all day and stopped to stay all night 2 miles from __.
One year ago today we got to Corinth. Started towards __. Traveled round and rained all day. I stopped to feed, I don't know where. Overtook the Company this evening.
Orders to move this morning at 2 o'clock. Traveled toward Pon about 15 miles and stopped to feed. Think we will remain until morning and let our horses rest. Heard that Gen. Forrest was coming with 4,000 men to take command of __ __ __ Miss.
Started early and marched 3 miles to feed. Rumored that there had been a fight at Vicksburg also that Gen. Forrest had taken Tuscumbia and 16,000 Feds. Traveled towards Oxford and camped 18 miles from town.
Went to Oxford and stopped. Heard that Gen. Jackson has whipped the Yanks - he was badly wounded. No news from Vick (Vicksburg). Smith whipped out.
Orders to saddle up don't know where we will go. Took the road we wished to go to Pon. Stopped about half way to stay all night. Heard that Marmaduke was in Missouri again. Very cold and cloudy been so for 2 days.
This thought that we will stay at this place for some time. Hope not. Would rather go to Oxford. Received marching orders for in the morning. Port Gibson evacuated by our forces. Jackson wounded in fight in Virginia.
Started in the direction of Panola and pass through that town about 12 o'clock and went to our old camp. Heard from Missouri today.
Two years ago today the surrender of Camp Jackson (in St. Louis, MO). Had a great deal of writing to do today making out Pay Rolls. Heard that Gen. Van Dorn had been assassinated. Gen. Stonewall Jackson died of his wounds. Memorable day.
Very busy all day writing. __ __ __ Panola today. Gen. Chalmer surveyed his troops. Grand sight returned to camp. Dick E. lost his money but met with good luck. We found it.
__ __ to being paid off. Gen. __ orders a raid into Penn (?). Nothing (rest of entry illegible)
Crossed the river at Bil__ and __ north. Got to __ found __ of __ and __ __ __ men that were left __ were dead(?) Mr.(Luther) Rowland (Co's.C & G) (?) and some were very good soldiers __ the Feds been whipped at Vicksburg.
Moved camp 2 ½ miles to be __ to water. Scout returned, Report the Yankees gone. __ __ fifteenth (?) __ that __ had taken __ __ __ __don't know what to think.
Ordered to move __ __ about __ of __ __ __ went into __ __ __.
A large boil under my arm. Got permission from __ to go to the Country and spend a day or two. Went out to Dr. Thompson's found J. Eubank (Co.A) there with some captured __. Several young ladies were there.
Stayed at the Dr's until about 10 o'clock heard very fine music. Went from there to Buck Snort. Heard that Gen. Lee had taken A. Heights. Went from BS (Buck Snort) to Cousin Francis Mc's and stayed all night.
Left Mc about 11 o'clock and met with Dr. King hunting his horse. Went to the house. The horse was and I got into a row with the __ and his __.
Stopped 6 miles from Camp. Left early and found the Reg (Regiment). Moving Camp. Camped 4 miles from town on the river. It was not long until the river was full of boys. I have a terrible boil under my left arm.
Beautiful June has come and with it is thought the great battle of Vicksburg. Reported that the last column of Gen. Johnson's Army left Jackson on the march to attack Gen. Grant's army on Big Black. Expecting good news.
Appearance of rain we __. Commenced building a bridge __ cross the river. No news from Vicksburg. Ordered to cook. 2 men from South East Missouri say that Price is at Little Rock with 8,000 men. The rest gone to Smith.
Ordered to cook 2 days rations and fire off the guns and clean them. Chalmers has heard of the Yankees. It's said that they are at __.
Scouts arrived from the upper country report all-quiet. We heard that the rebels had butchered 2,000 Negroes at Pt. Hudson it will teach the rest a lesson, which they will not forget. Can't get a word from Vicksburg.
Ordered to cook up two days rations for a scout. Think we will go to the M (Memphis) andC RR. We started about 12 o'clock and marched through Sardis and camped 8 miles south of Looxahoma.
Moved early and passed through Looxahoma. Traveled towards Wall Hill. Passed through that place about 12 O'clock. The ladies were there to greet us. Camped __ miles from town.
Left camp and moved towards Byhalia and camped 3 miles from town. Got into Capt. __ camp. Boys went after "grub" and brought it in "biscuits a plenty". Rained very hard about dark.
Pickets were run in by the Feds we were ordered to saddle up and move in that direction. The Feds came as far as Byhalia and then went back. Heard that Lee had whipped Hooker again "gone up"
Rained all night and still raining this morning. Can't hear anything on Vicksburg. It's reported by the Feds that Grant has been whipped again. Still raining.
Rained all-night - got very wet. Rained all day. Wrote a letter to send home by the first opportunity. Would have moved camp today but the streams are so much swollen that they can't be crossed.
Moved camp about 3 miles south. Sent scout to Holly Springs. False alarm in Camp tonight caused by the firing of three guns near Camp.
Went out today to get provisions for the Company and write a letter home. The enemy draws our pickets in and a skirmish took place between Co. G and the Feds.
We were ordered to the river at 3 o'clock this morning we went into an ambuscade. The Yankees came up, our pickets fired at them and they went back. I went to the shop to get my horse shod. Got lost going to the C (Camp).
Got into Camp and found the Regt. ready to move. We started towards Panola. Word came that the enemy were advancing. We went to Byhalia. The Feds had gone somewhere. 2 of the pickets were wounded and taken. Camped 1 mile from B (Byhalia).
Moved early in the direction of Looxahoma and camped 4 miles east of town. Had quite a number of orders read to us today. Think we will stay a day or so.
Still in camp. No news from Vicksburg. Prepare to open a line of communication from Panola to Gen. Price's headquarters. The Yankees charged Co E and Co G and scattered them taking 4 or 5 prisoners.
8 or 10 of the Yankees were killed in the fight yesterday. We (Co A) were ordered on a scout. Went as far as Wall Hill. Met some of Co G. Learned all we could. Went back to camp. Com.(Command) Was ready to move. Went on to Panola.
Ordered to saddle up. Train moved off. Stopped near Panola and cooked rations. Wagons moved south. Feds fired on our pickets. We moved into town.
Gen. C (Chalmers) had a fight near Hinds (whip). Started about day and moved south. Crossed the Yocona. The Feds got to the RR bridge and burnt it before we got there. Camped near the bridge. Read a letter from Miss Lucy Nicholson in the Mississippian. Nothing from Vick.
Chalmers sunk 30 boats on the Miss. The Feds went back and we crossed the Yocona and followed them. Went into Panola and found the part of the new town burnt. The bridge was destroyed across the Tall. We swam it and camped 4 miles from it.
Started before day and moved towards Looxahoma and past through town. Took the Sincota (?) Road. Stopped on the battlefield. Camped where we camped on the 26th of May.
Gen Chalmers in a "bad __" on the river. Yank in rear and front. Reported that Confederates made their appearance opposite Memphis. Stonewall's old Corps captured 9,000 Feds at Nearport (?) Ferry several days ago.
Still raining. Mr. Ginnis and Elliott came into Camp with order for men. Detailed 15 from Co A to go on a scout. Still raining.
Started on the strange scout nobody knew where. Stopped to eat dinner 8 miles north of Buck Snort. Went on to Coldwater. Put up at houses. River very high.
Went to the river. Dismounted sent our horses back to camp. Crossed the river, with guide in front we started through the woods. Crossed the river 2 ½ miles north of Germantown. Camped.
Crossed Wolf River and stopped at Mr. Nealy's until evening. Mr. Ginnis and Whip Perdue came out. - 3 got into a cart and went 6 miles and went into town on foot. Went straight to the place __ __ Mr. Ginnis had spoken for a boat.
Great to do in town last night. Pickets __ __ in ever direction. All is quiet today. Making preparation to
accomplish our design. People are __ all the time. Free American (?) Citizens of African descent especially.
Expect to get in the boat, which will take us to Vicksburg. Dispatch from Grant says Vicksburg and all its forces surrendered on July 4th.
Had to wait and see if the news was true about the fall of Vicksburg before going farther. News that Price had been defeated at Helena. Prisoners from V on way north about 2 hundred.
Fed papers say that Gen Lee has been dreadfully whipped at Gettysburg. __ ordered. Witness of another grand celebration. Part of the town was in mourning while the others rejoiced.
Got papers to go up the river to burn boats. Got ready to go when the boat pushed off and we were left. Failed again.
Papers say Gen (Pemberton?) will be compelled to surrender his whole army. The southern people don't believe that Vicksburg has fallen. The boys strut the streets as big as match(?). (2nd LT) George M. Buchanan (Co.A) started to St. Louis.
Making arrangements to get out of town with our pistols intend to commence leaving tomorrow. No suspicion has yet been aroused. Some of the boys steal a Col's boots and pants.
Part of the boys went out yesterday some today. Papers were issued __ is __being Sunday __ __ __ __ __.
July 13 and 14
Got pass to leave today. We are the last to go. Put off the parting as long as possible. Miss A. A. G. presented me with a needle case. 2 o'clock and I have to walk 7 miles. Stopped at Mr. Nealy's. 8 grown girls there. Went over to Mr. Shelbys found some of the boys there. Stayed there till night. Miss Mollie and Sallie came out with our arms one was lost. I went back to hunt it - didn't find it.
Heard of a contraband near went over and got __ went to Mr. Williams. Started at 2 o'clock and marched nearly to Coldwater, Miss.
Crossed CW (Coldwater) and pressed a cotton wagon into service. Traveled hard all-day and camped near Tuscahoma. Heard that our Comm (command) had gone south. Baggage train gone to WJ.
Traveled south all day. Part of the boys had to walk part of the way. Got to Panola and put up at houses. Heard here that our horses are below Panola.
Went down to see found it all a mistake horses were at Grenada took the cars and got to G (Grenada) about 6 o'clock found Reg.
Went to town to see Joe E. met him on the way __ went on to Gen Johnson heard that he (Johnson) had had a very hard fight and drove the enemy back. Heard that Gen had __ Mo.
Went in bathing this morning. Rumored that we would go north soon also that Gen Lee had fallen back south of the Potomac. Jackson, Miss evacuated by our army.
Reported that the enemy acknowledged having lost 60,000 men while Lee was in Maryland. Some think that we will go to Price.
Yankees attacked our forces on Morris's Island and after 4 days fighting was forced to fall back to Charleston __ asks for reinforcements - everything looks gloomy. Will E. (Ellis of Co.A?) has the chills and fever.
Rained last night. Cloudy this morning. People generally think Pemberton sold Vicksburg. Gen Johnson still falling back from Jackson. Reports that Gen Lee has fallen back south of P.
Ordered to cook rations yesterday. Started this morn to move north. Left the Command and went ahead to get my horse shod stopped at Mr. Burton's (?)
Went over to Mr. Booth's. Couldn't get my horse shod as the smith sick. Returned to the Command at the Yocona river. One year ago today was fought the battle of Courtland. Was wounded in that battle.
Got to Panola about 11 o'clock and camped on the edge of town. Called on some young ladies. Returned a knife which I had found belonging to one of them.
Yankees falling back to Vicksburg. Repairing the railroad to Jackson. No news from Gen Lee. Nothing from Charleston.
No news of interest from any point - everything so quiet that it doesn't seem that a war is going on at all. (Private) Joe Elliott joined Co A.
All still quiet - reported that the enemy had burnt Richmond and also that Gen Chalmers had been shot by someone don't think that there is any truth in the matter.
Reported that we will move tomorrow. Yankees papers(?) in Camp give an account of Morgan's raid into Indiana and Ohio. Someone stole our provisions from us.
Ordered to saddle up expect to move north. Commenced crossing the river early the boat sunk had to go to the upper ferry to finish crossing. Helped some ladies to cross and received a nice present for my gallantry a nice handkerchief very much needed. Stopped on the side of the road to graze my horse and lost my gun. Got behind the Command and took the wrong road had to ride very hard to get to Camp when the Command camped so as to call the roll. We camped 3 miles east of Sardis, on a little running brook __ in the bottom.
Laughed at for loosing my gun. Ordered to saddle up before we got through eating. Moved in a northeast direction and camped about 5 miles from our old camp on a second Sand (?) Hill(?) away in the wilderness.
There will be preaching in the woods today at 11 o'clock attended preaching. Several ladies were present. Rumored that Gen John Morgan has been captured in Ohio with his whole force. Don't believe.
Who but __ (2nd LT George) Buchanan (Co.A) should come into camp was going to bring me a letter. Didn't go to St. Louis. Went to Kentucky. Didn't stay long. Ordered to move in late morning.
Started just as the sun was peeping above the trees. Marched 7 miles without anything __. Camped between Sardis and Looxahoma and got our breakfast. I don't think that we will stay long here.
Heard from Miss Lucie Nicholson. Col got a letter from her. The people of Miss are sending petitions to Abe L. for protection (a part of the state) began to rain about dark our house fell down. Members of Co B very sick.
The man in Co B who was sick died last night. Very cloudy and still raining. __ Eubank (Co.A) got into camp from West Point. No news from Virginia.
Got a pass to go to the shop to get my horse shod stayed all night at Mr. Taylor's. Heard that Gen lee had had another fight with Gen Mead. Report that the whipped the Yankees. Not very well tonight. Could __ __ __ WM.
Went to the shop early and got my horse shod went to Dr. Eddy's and got dinner. Came on into camp and found the regiment drawn up into line on Dress Parade and inspection of arms. Still very unwell.
Two of three boys that were left in the upper country when we came off of the Memphis trip came today. Brought in a Yankee. They report the Feds preparing for a raid.
Aug 10 and 11
Just 2 years ago today was fought the memorable battle of Oak Hill (Wilson's Creek). A protracted meeting is going on now in camp. It is that the Confederated States have been acknowledged by France. Government talks of putting the Negroes into the fields if Abe does not withdraw his Negro soldiers. Gen Hardee's staff was in camp and had an inspection of the B (Brigade). Clothing was issued to the Com (command), which was donated to the Ind. Mo.
Protracted meeting still going on in camp. Many are __ changing their way. Recognition still spoken of. No other news of interest in camp.
Nothing still going on. Am very glad to see the interest taken. Reported that the Yankees are coming down. Good deal of sickness in camp. Am still unwell.
Aug 14, 15
Got a pass to go and get my gun mended. Major wouldn't sign it. I then got one signed to go to the country got dinner and heard that the Yankees are coming hastened back to camp and found it so we moved at dark towards P. marched all day today. Crossed the Yocona and camped. Very cloudy expect rain.
__ towards Grenada have various reports of Feds and their position __ __ __ We got to Granada before dark. Commenced raining. Gun __ of accidentally (?) wounded __ Col C(?)
We were on the lookout all night. Were ordered to burn the bridge cross the river. Soon the Yankees came. Part of the Reg __ __ __ __ we __ __ and the Yankees entered town from above and below. Abbie Conwell (Cornvell Co.G?) __ killed today Tho (or we) burnt all __.
Camped 8 miles from P. Marched early and moved about 11 miles __ __ to __ heard that Chalmers was coming south reinforcements __ __ __.
Went to town today. Got some watermelon. Didn't hear any news of any sort. Reported that Fort Sumpter is giving way under a heavy cannonading. It's believed that Charleston has fallen.
Still at camp at G. Several of the boys are sick. No news from Charleston or Virginia.
A dress parade today and an inspection of arms. Co A had the finest lot of arms in the reg.
Would like very much to hear from Charleston. On parade today. Had orders read to us. Also, the promotion of Major McCulloch to Lt. Col. Rained hard all day.
Out on drill today after dashing about in the old field for 2 hours we returned to camp. Was busy all the rest of this day making out Muster Rolls.
Today is Sunday. We are excused from drill. At 11 o'clock we attended preaching. Went with Lt. (Joseph)(?) Eubank (Co.A) to town to bring his horse back.
Sergt. J.R. Eubank (Co.A) was killed by a deserter from Bragg's army while he was attempting to disarm and take him on the 15th of August. The latest news from Charleston states that the Confederate troops still holds that place and the stars and bars still floats over Fort Sumpter. Bragg has not yet had an engagement with the enemy. We have good news from the West it is this that Gen Price has had a battle in which the enemy was routed. We have prayer meeting __ times a week. All men absent from the Company are to be reported as deserters after 7 days (?) __.
Summer is gone and fall is on us. Soon the fall will be gone and winter will be here. Today is a day of fasting a prayer for the benefit of the Command stationed at this place.
Ordered out to drill this morning. After drill was over I went to town to see __ Col sent me back to get the Co ready to move north. Good news for we are tired of Grenada.
Moved this morning at 6 o'clock. Dick E. requested me to stay with Joe (?) a day or two. I consented with the Capt's leave.
Joe is making preparation to overtake the Com. I went for the horses and after being presented with a snack - a bottle of wine by Miss Moore we left Grenada and stopped to stay all night with Mr. Hall (?).
At 9 o'clock we started. Traveled about 6 miles and stopped to get dinner. The place appointed for stopping tonight is Mr. Morgan's about 8 miles from where we ate dinner reached that place before dark.
Joe is unwell and my arm pains me very much. We stayed all night and went to church returned to Mr. Morgan's left about 4 o'clock and stopped at the shop.
Joe got his horse shod and we were off by 9 o'clock passed through Oxford about 3 and after riding our horses very hard got to Camp at Abbeville about 9 o'clock in the night. The boys had all gone to bed.
Great many rumors in Camp today such as the arrival of a fleet of ironclads off Charleston harbor. The confirmation of Prices victory __.
No news from anywhere today. Scout return report the enemy approaching heavy pickets sent out. Report them at N(?) I(?).
Scout sends __ this morning. Federal scout at Holly Springs again today. Expecting a raid down this way soon. It's reported that the Yankees are encamped at Coldwater above Holly Springs.
It's thought that our Reg will be increased soon by 180 exchanged Missourians who are at Richmond. We have given up all hope of ever crossing the Mississippi River.
Furloughs are granted to one out of every 25(?) men. Called for a man to go on a scout volunteered myself. Stopped that night at __.
Left early and went into Holly Springs. Expected to find the Yankees there but they were not saw quite a fine time with the ladies of the town. Went out to Mr. Alexander's to stay all night - distance 2 miles.
Returned to town. A report in town this morning that the Yankees were but a short distance from town we had to watch closely but no Yankees came. Capt __ Co __ to Reg.
Still in the neighborhood of Holly Springs it is still reported that the Yankees are near. Stayed in town tonight. Look for them tomorrow.
Was up before day and on the street watching for Feds about the time we were expected them in came some of Michel's men. Created quite an __ excitement among the __. Left town an stopped 5 miles out.
Started early and moved toward camp. Crossed the river about 10 o'clock and got to camp about 11 o'clock found the boys there who were suppose to have deserted. Great fuss in camp about the W. G. __ Co.
Turned very cold last night and still very cold this morning. Went bathing and almost froze. No news from any point. It's reported that Gen. Bragg is retreating.
Party last night in Oxford given to the officers of Chalmers Brig. On dress parade today. Orders read as usual. We are ordered to move up the river to Goodman's ferry in the morning.
Started early and after a dusty march of 14 miles we reached the crossing and camped. Our pet bear was killed through mistake. Reported 17 transports of Cavalry disembarked at Mississippi(?).
They say that they are coming down, so let them come. Expecting to something from Gen Bragg soon. It's said that Johnson is there.
Will Powell (Co.A) came into camp. His arm is now well, poor fellow. He says that he read a dispatch from Tenn. stating that Johnson and Bragg had whipped the Yankees taking 50 pieces of artillery and 4,000 prisoners.
The above report is not generally believed but it seems to have come direct from the place. Reported that there are but a small force of the enemy on the railroad.
It's confirmed that Gen Bragg has whipped the enemy and that he is now within one mile of Chattanooga and that the Yankees are crossing the river and that the town is in flames.
We wait in great expectation of some good news from Tenn. All is quiet in front.
Expecting marching orders soon. We have been ordered to prepare rations such as cooked beef, bacon and __. It's rumored that Gen Lee was in command of the army of Tenn. when they met the Yankees.
Ordered to prepare for a __ an inspection of arms at work all day making our Muster Rolls so as to be __.
Moved south with the whole Company last night. Camped 8 miles from Holly Springs and went into town this morning. Did not stay in town but moved north and formed a line. Then moved 11 miles and camped.
Started early, crossed the river Coldwater and attacked Collierville. The battle raged with firing until about 3 o'clock when we retreated. The enemy having been reinforced heavily. We took prisoners, killed and wounded about 400 of them. Camped.
The enemy allowed us __. Col. Richardson's Command fought them all day. We camped near Byhalia. We expect to fight __.
Fighting in the rear all day reached the Tallahatchie about 3 o'clock and made a stand the enemy attacked us. Began to rain night came on but still the rascals fought our left was flanked and we fell back to the Bridge.
Withdrew to the south side of the river and made another stand in the fortifications but they did not cross the river about 12 o'clock they returned north, sent scout on their rear and the rest went into camp we at Abbeville.
Moved to Oxford and camped, hearing that 2,000 infantry were coming. The scouts went into the Yankees camps and stole 16 horses (all safe).
Moved south with orders to travel on any road we pleased. Expected to find our train at Springdale but it was not there. We then moved to Water Valley where we found them camped.
Remained in camp all day. Could get no news from anywhere. Late this evening the old Col. (McCulloch) came in from Richmond, Va. He is to take command of the 1st Brig of Cavalry, Chalmers D (Division)(?)
One of the boys came in and said that a letter was on its way for me. I got it and found it was from Memphis. Ordered to march in morning.
Started early and passed through Water Valley, Springdale and Oxford. Expected to camp at Oxford but passed through without halting. Heard of battle in VA, also in Texas. Camped 2 miles from mouth of Tipp__(?)
Gen Lee took 2,000 prisoners. Gen Bragg is flanking the Yankee army and is going into Kentucky. Also the army of Texas has captured 15 Reg of Yankees. Our Cavalry is in the center of Missouri (Bully! Bully!)
Papers received confirm the report of the Cavalry raid in Mo. Turned very cold rained nearly all day. Begins to look like winter in Dixie.
No reports today from any point. Dick Eubank and McMahan (both of Co.A) attempted to go into the Yankee camp in the night and Mack was shot supposed to be mortally wounded.
Report of a battle between Lee and Meade on the Plains of Manassas. Needs confirmation. Very cold, wet and still raining. Good news from Texas. Taylor has taken Banks and 15 Reg of his men.
Gen SD Lee is stirring up the Yankees in Tenn. On dress parade this evening and any amount of orders read.
Still a cloudy and very cold. Expecting news from Chattanooga. They say that Price is moving north expecting to hear of a battle soon(?) J.D. (S.D.) Lee engaged the enemy in north Alabama.
No news from Shelby. The whole Confederate army seems to be on the move __ rumored from the army of __ Yankee report Gen falling back.
Price wounded and routed the enemy. Joe Shelby has taken Boonville, MO. Stewart moving into Penn. Expecting battle in Va.
Ordered to cook up 2 days rations of bread and be ready for a move. I went today to the blacksmith shop to get my horse shod great excitement in the neighborhood. They think that hear artillery in the direction of Wyatte.
Stopped all night with Mr. Howells last night. Hastened back to camp expecting to find the regiment gone but all was quiet. No report of fight.
Still expecting marching orders but none has come. No papers are allowed for anything. We hear nothing from Missouri.
Ordered out for muster after inspecting our arms and mustering us we were sent back to our camps to prepare for a scout. Co G and H were the companies to go. Commanded by Major Couzens (Co.E) of our Regiment. The order was soon countermanded and orders to move in the morning. We are soon to meet the enemy again is the belief of all but by no means anxious.
Started early and crossed the river at Wyatte. Had an opportunity of reviewing the old battleground. Not a house was left standing in the little town but all were burnt.
Passed through Chulahoma and camped 2 miles from Ingram's Mill. Moved to the Mill and stopped until 2 o'clock . Reported skirmishing in front. Left the mill and moved north and northwest and camped in bottom in 5 miles of Byhalia, west. At daylight we were on the move. Crossed Coldwater attacked the enemy 75 strong ran them to Collierville. Attacked the town fought 3 or 4 hours retreated (again) Buchanan, McGlovell (McDowell of Co.A?) were severely wounded. Gen still (?) slightly (?)
Had to leave Mack in the hands of the enemy. Camped 4 miles north of Byhalia. Moved south all day under a heavy march reached Wyatt and crossed the river and returned to our old camp at Abbeville. All is quiet along the Tall tonight.
Began to rain about day light and rained all day. Very disagreeable, we having no shelter. Reported the enemy was in Chulahoma last night. Caught several of the boys. Expect to have to fight tomorrow.
Ordered to Wyatte this morning. Cleared off last night - got to the river 10 o'clock and went into camp 1 mile south of the ferry. Yankees in front.
Supposed that the enemy has gone back. Scout returning confirm the supposition. A report from Bragg says Longstreet has been badly whipped. Not generally believed. Expecting news from Chattanooga.
Making preparation to go to Collierville with a flag of truce to see if we could do anything to benefit the condition of the wounded and started about 5 o'clock and put up at Mr. Alexander.
Started early with flag passed through Chulahoma reached the neighborhood of __ Mill. Put up with Mr. Hardy.
Started. Crossed Coldwater and got to Collierville. Attended to the business we went for and started back re crossed the river and putting up with Major Arnold. Reported Yankees in front.
Left Major Arnolds about 10 o'clock, passed through Byhalia. People think that the Yankees are near Holly Springs. Reached Chulahoma and put up with Mr. Phillips. No Yankees south of Coldwater.
Today is my birthday. Got to Wyatt about 11 o'clock. Got into camp found all quiet. Can hear nothing from Gen Bragg.
Went to Abbeville to make out returned Muster Rolls. Reported and generally believed that the enemy were evacuating the Memphis RR. Sent scout to see if the report is true.
Report from Gen Bragg that he had had an engagement with Thomas' army. Not generally believed. Reported that __ falling back to Richmond.
Ordered to drill every morning. No news from Tenn. or Virginia. Called out on __ __ this evening.
Ordered out on drill this morning. Dismounted and drilled skirmish drill until we were all broken down. Got a pass to take my horse to the country and went to Oxford.
Returned to Mr. __ and put up for the night. Started for camp about 10 o'clock and got there after drill. Expected to be punished for staying out after my time.
It's reported that Bragg had whipped Thomas' army and took 30 thousand prisoners lost 1,8000 killed and wounded. Don't believe.
Flag of truce just left the picket post after staying with us for 36 hours. They report an engagement between Lee and Meade. Papers state the occupation of Little Rock by Price.
Began to rain last night and still raining this morning. Cleared off about sun down. Very chilly. An order from the Commanding Gen to hold ourselves ready for inspection within 5 days.
People of Memphis confirm the report of Sherman's death. Many reports from Bragg and the great battle.
The report is not generally believed. Ordered for inspection today. All were kept in camp until dark and no inspection came. Chalmers must be making arrangements for another attack on Collierville.
Called for scout this morning. Went myself. Took the Holly Springs road and got there at 3 o'clock in the evening. Men coming in from the north scared the people very much. They thought they were Yankees.
Put up at Mrs. Finley's. Returned to town. Eat dinner at Mr. Long's. Took the Byhalia road and stopped at Mr. Arnold.
Left the Majors early bound for camp. Passed through Chulahoma just as the sun was setting and reached the river about 10 o'clock at night found all quiet in the camp.
Scout of forty (?) men under Lt. Eubank (Co.A) went out this morning in front of wheat wagons. Began to be very cloudy and began to rain about dark.
Reported that Bragg is falling back. Still raining and is very muddy in the bottoms. Marching orders for Monday with six days of rations.
Rained very hard last night. Water all over the bottom. Mounted and started to the ferry found the slough impassible returned to camp to wait till the river falls.
Went out to church today. Very cold. Returned to camp late in the evening. No sign of a move. Turned cold. This evening the river is still very high and it's still rising.
All quiet in camp and still no sign of a move. About 12 o'clock ordered to saddle up immediately. Moved east and camped 5 miles from Rockford.
The regiment began to cross the river, which was very high, at about 9 o'clock. By 3 o'clock, all were across. We took the Ripley road and traveled very slow, behind the battery, which was left with Co __. We camped 17 miles from Ripley.
Started about day and passed through Ripley about 12 o'clock found that Gen Lee with Ferguson's,
__ Richardson's and Forrest's Brigades had passed on, heading north. Took the Salzburg road and
traveled half the night, then camped 2 miles from the town which was evacuated on the approach of __ .
Skirmishing began early. The railroad was destroyed for a mile and we retreated towards Salem and
camped 6 miles north of town.
Moved northwest. Forrest and Richardson crossed into Tenn. The rest of the Command, under Lee, attacked Moscow at about 3 o'clock. Col. McCulloch led a charge and was repulsed. Capt. Gains (Gaines) was killed. The Regt. was only slightly engaged. Camped 5 miles from the field of battle.
Sleman's brigade took Lafayette without firing a gun yesterday. Our loss was not very heavy. We retreated south trying to lead the Yanks out of their holes but they wouldn't come. We passed through Holly Springs and buried Capt. Gains (Gaines) with the honors of war.
Camped south of town. We saddled up and moved northwest about 8 miles and camped west of Holly Springs. I suppose the Command will go back to the R. Road.
Ordered out to the road. We took the Chulahoma road and traveled until 2 o'clock in the evening and camped 2 miles north of Chulahoma. Began to rain about dark and rained all night.
Dec 8 and 9
Saddled up and moved in the direction of Chulahoma and passed through the town about 9 o'clock and reached Wyatte about 3 in the evening. After standing the river for about 2 hours succeeded in crossing the river. Found the Commissary Department almost destitute of provisions and letter was handed to me today from Missouri.
Dec 10 and 11
Went out to get some lumber to make a desk of and returned to camp. I was told that my sister Fannie was in Tookahoma and I started at once to meet her and our cousin Lou who was both at Mr. McCracken's. I remained with them all day. I heard all of the Missouri news and heard also of my Missouri sweetheart. She told me all of the news from all parts of the state.
Returned to camp today to make preparations to take them south of the river. Found the Regt. had moved to Oxford.
Went to town to get the lumber for the desk but the rain prevented us. Charlie __ started to Virginia today. Scout of 30 men sent north of the Tallahatchie to pick up stragglers.
Started my pass to headquarters to be approved by Gen. Chalmers. Cleared off today hope to have good weather from now on. Very cold.
My pass has not yet arrived, and I don't know what detains it. All the necessary arrangements have been made to go after the ladies.
My pass returned from Headquarters today. I hitched up the horses and started to Panola to cross the river. The roads are very bad and still raining. Stopped 12 miles from town.
Very cold this morning though clear. Passed through Panola about 12 o'clock. Crossed the river about 2 ½. Passed through Sardis at sundown and stopped at Mr. Sledges 4 miles north.
Early start this morning and succeeded in reaching Mr. McCracken's about 12 o'clock. Started after my __ 4 miles north.
At Ingram's Mill, I stopped at Mr. William's. I got the cloth and returned to Mack's a little after dinner time. I made preparations to start back in the morning the weather being very good.
I started back today. It's very cold. I drove 2 miles and turned the old hack over but nobody was hurt. Crossed the river before sundown and stopped 3 miles east of Panola.
Drove very hard all day. Took the College Hill Road and stopped with Mr. Tomlinson. John M. went on to camp.
Dec 22 and 23
Joe, Will and Tom came out this morning, and after dinner we started to the place where they were to board. I went to town to have my suit cut out so as to have it made up by Christmas. Got a letter from Moulton today. Went to town but didn't get to where the folks are. Returned to camp and found orders to move in the morning with 4 days provisions.
Moved early on the Panola road. Many guesses where we will go but none know. Camped 3 miles east of Panola.
Christmas morning. Christmas gift - we will spend this Christmas in the saddle. We crossed the river in ferry-boat and took the Sardis road. Passed through town at 3 o'clock and camped 6 miles northeast of town.
Started out on the Looxahoma road got to town about 11 o'clock and stopped to wait until Col. Slemers (?) Brigade came up - then took the Wall Hill road __ 3 miles south of the Hill. Suppose that we will got to the RR.
Passed through Wall Hill early on the Holly Spring road. Changed out course towards Byhalia. Camped between Byhalia and Holly Springs. Nothing from __.
Dec 28, 29 and 30
2nd Mo started to the RR to blow it up and capture a train of Caro (?) Reached Cold Water and crossed part of the Command. Ordered back to Command. Forrest crossed the R Road and took some prisoners at Collinsville. Camped 8 miles northeast of Byhalia. Party near Byhalia. The supposition is that we will go back south of the Tallahatchie. Reported that Feds are crossing at __ Mill. Stopped east of Byhalia to wait for them. Remained there until dark. Went in to camp. Near this place. Ordered to move light and prepare for action. Moved on the Looxahoma road expect to fight the Yanks today. Passed through and camped near Looxahoma.
Rained all night and still raining. Report of the enemy still following us. Forrest organizes his Com in this district. We expect to be in active service months. Troops still coming from Tenn.
The year of 1863 closes with this day. It's gone and with it has gone many of our near and dear friends. Many have fallen by the hand of the invader and many have fallen by disease. It's passed and with it has passed many scenes of bloodshed and scenes of battle strife. God forbid that the new year may witness such scenes as the passed. But may it be crowned with peace and plenty and may southern arms be victorious.
Return to Ellis James Thorton on the Rosters page.
Below are post war photos of James and family. Roll mouse pointer over photo for a description.
Photos courtesey of John Ellis, of Surprize, AZ, great-great grandson of James T. Ellis.
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