Letter to Governor Ramsey from Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Columbus Andrews of the 3rd Minnesota Regiment describing the regiment’s arrival at Cairo, Illinois, and requesting that the regiment be reassigned, away from the “miserable filthy hole” of Cairo.
Cairo Ill. Tues. evening
Jan. 27. 1863.
The regiment arrived here at eleven last night and remained in the cars till this morning. We left Chicago Sunday evening at eight o’clock. The Central Co. ought to have got us in here before dark yesterday as they promised when we left Chicago. Considering bad crossing of Mississippi at LaCrosse our trip from Winona, which we left Friday morning, has been safe and expeditious.
We find no special orders for us. Gen. Tuttle in command here, only has power to send us as far as Memphis. Even this he does not propose to do immediately, but as I understand him, until some other troops come to relieve us. The 128th Ill. and two companies of 35th Iowa have been here some time. The 128th Ill. moves to Mound City. It is reduced to nothing scarcely by sickness deaths, and desertions, though one of the new regiments, and goes to Mound City to recuperate. It has been doing Port guard service here, and considering what a miserable filthy hole this is I do not wonder the regiment is demoralized. And as things now look we are to relieve this regiment! It looks as if we were to be kept here an indefinite length of time to guard among other things saloons in this mud hole. We have today gone into the disease breeding quarters which the 128th Ill. vacate; and tomorrow are to receive 100 stand of arms and commence guard service with. Just think of the demoralizing effect of this if it should be permitted to continue, when we are needed in the field and are extremely anxious to get there to be kept back in such a place as this doing guard service? I should suppose the two companies of 35th Iowa were enough for that duty. The protection of the town of course depends on the gun boats; and from the numbers of naval officers about I should think that force here was sufficient.
There are some Enfield rifles here, and more are consigned to the ordnance officer here; but he cannot supply us without authority from the ordnance officer with Gen. Grant. There are no accoutrements here and they must be sent for from St. Louis. Considering that our friends (?) in Washington have been informed of our wants and interests, and that they have been [entreated] to have us supplied with first class arms and sent under Gen. Rose[n]crans—and weeks ago too, it is strange nothing has been done for us, and that we are permitted to be stopped here to wait for accoutrements and to do unimportant guard duty—at a time too when eventful battles are expected. We feel great indignation at this state of things. It is monstrous to keep such a regiment as ours back a day. You know we have done a good deal of work to get the regiment together; and now to see it disgraced and demoralized by detention here is beyond our patience[.]
I hope you will immediately stir up the authorities in Washington. Have us immediately supplied with the best arms and sent under Gen. Rose[n]crans or to Vicksburg. Then if at such a time as this the country can afford to retain a regiment like ours in unimportant service in Cairo let the responsibility fall where it belongs. I feel sure however the Sec’y of War or Gen. Halleck either will order us on on knowing the facts.
Lt Col. 3d Minn.
See whole letter: 1863-01-27_Ramsey_combined
Diary entry by Myron Shepard of the 1st Minnesota Infantry Regiment, who enlisted in 1861 as a private in Company B. He would be promoted to sergeant, first lieutenant and second lieutenant with various companies in the 1st Minnesota by the war’s end.
On Tuesday January 27th, Shepard writes:
Rains most all day slowly. I get another letter from Ella announcing the death of Lewis. I was writing him at the time, But I destroyed that letter and answered Ella’s instead of it. Oh this is too hard! The choicest spirits of our land are sacrificed as victims of this miserable war. Death’s doings are relentless and come in peace as well as war. He would have chosen to die at Antietam[.]
A very dark day!
January 27, 1863, Letter from C.C. Andrews, Letters Received—3rd Regiment. Minnesota: Governor: Ramsey. Records. Minnesota Historical Society. State Archives. Minnesota Historical Society. [111.E.20.4F]
January 27, 1863 Diary entry by Myron Shepard, Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 1863 Diary. Myron Shepard Diaries, 1862-1864. Minnesota Historical Society. [P231]