Monday, November 01, 2004

Civil War Letter: Charles W. Brouse, Tennessee 1863

Name: Anthony Meeks
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This letter appeared in the Indianapolis Daily Journal on February 6, 1863 on page 3 column 3.
The spelling and punctuation are unchanged from the original publication.

One Hundredth Regiment An extract from a letter from Captain Chas. W. Brouse, company K, 100th regiment, to his parents, dated January 15th, written from Grand Junction, Tennessee, which is about 40 miles south of Memphis:

“I received two letters from you last night. You cannot tell how glad I am to hear from home; but few of our letters come to hand. — We fear that few reach our friends. “From Memphis we were ordered to College Hill; from there to Holly Springs; thence to Tocapatapa; subsequently we returned on the I same route to College Hill, where we took a road to the right, passing through Abbeyville and camped about five miles north of the village for the night. “On the following Sabbath, at 2 p.m., we were ordered to march immediately, and we marched ten miles that evening by 9 o’clock and camped ten miles south of Holly Springs. Leaving at daylight next morning, we arrived at Holly Springs at noon. I immediately sought for Wm. H. Smith. On the way I met T. A. Goodwin, looking very well. We called on Smith and spent an interesting hour.
At this place the rebels destroyed a large amount of property and government stores.

“Col. Murphy, who was commander of the post, is now undergoing a trial before a court martial at Holly Springs. Lieutenant Colonel Heath is a member of the court. “On Monday, January 6th, we marched in a northeasterly direction to Salem, Miss., by 5 o’clock p. m., 16 miles, Major Parrott commanding the regiment. The next evening we camped at Smith’s Mills, where the same rebel force that attacked Holly Springs made an attack on us, but were repelled by one company of Hoosier boys.

“We arrived at the Junction on the 10th inst., and camped on the north of the town on low ground. It had rained all day and the ground was very soft. About midnight it commenced raining in earnest and continued until morning. We were without tents. In company with my Lieutenant we had the fly belonging to the Major’s tent for a covering. About one p. m. the water made a break over the ditch around us, and in less time than it takes me to tell it the water was about three inches deep, entirely covering our blankets. You can imagine it was not very pleasant standing in the water pulling on our socks. — When I went to put on my boots they were half full of water. After dressing we stood in the rain the remainder of the night

“I must stop writing for the present, as I have business at Lagrange, General Denver’s headquarters. It is a neat little town of about 2,500 inhabitants. It contains some good houses, mostly frame. HICKORY GROVE, Jan. 14. I returned last night to my command and found all well. At home you no doubt would think it strange for one or two men to go 15 or 20 miles from camp without a guard, but this is frequently done. While at Tocapatafa Chaplain Munn and myself rode over to Ox-ford, 18 miles, and returned the next day. The next morning after the flood, Colonel McDowelI detached companies K, E and H, to report 8 miles up the W. S. Railroad for guard duty, where we arrived at dark.

Our camp is on the east side of the railroad. We think our position is a good one. We have a block-house made of heavy logs; also a stockade, two bake ovens in which we bake all the light bread we want, and we have plenty to eat. We have just received our tents for the whole regiment, and hope never to be without them again. I have just received your letter of the 7th; it contains the latest news we have. We were glad to receive the Daily Journals you sent me; they go the rounds in the company, but they come very irregular; the last mail brought 15 copies. We are now of Grant’s army, Denver’s division, McDowell’s brigade. Our letters should be directed via Memphis, with request to forward to the 100th regiment, Indiana volunteers. We have had hard marching, but little fighting. We are getting along very well in the company and with the officers of the division. My health is better than it has been for years.

How glad I am to receive advice from my parents; I am trying to carry it out, and so are many of my brave boys. Wise, Collis, Bollinger, Cherry, Wirt, Smith, Norwood, and Spratt, and most of the other boys, are very well and wish to be remembered to their friends at home. This day I have the painful duty of writing to the parents of John Hoag, of my company, who died on the 1st. It will be a hard shock for his aged parents. I would have sent him home, but all communication was cut off at that time. We buried him with the Union soldiers in the grave-yard at Holly Springs, and marked his grave. John was a good boy, always ready to do his duty. This is the second one of my little band we have buried. The other was Colclazer.

If you could see how this country is laid waste, houses and farms destroyed, it would make your heart ache, but as the boys say, it is all on account of rebellion. Write soon, and tell me how things are going on in the North; how the President’s proclamation is received by the people. It suits us much; we are ready and willing to return home and fight traitors there if it must be so. In this I think I speak the sentiment of almost the entire army.” . .

Notes: Charles Brouse was born on December 30, 1839 in New Albany, Indiana. He was the first child of John A. and Mary Catherine (Downey) Brouse. He enlisted in the army on August 7, 1862 at Indianapolis, Indiana. He was given a captain’s commission and placed in command of Company K 100th Indiana Infantry. At the Battle of Missionary Ridge on November 25, 1863 he was severely wounded while leading his men in the attack on Tunnel Hill. He was discharged from the army on January 16, 1865 due to the wound that he suffered at Missionary Ridge. He married Margaret Caroline Thorpe on December 25, 1867. They had the following children: John, Mary, Louise, Richard, Julia and Helen. He served as pension agent in Indianapolis from 1869 to 1873. After his service as pension agent he worked in real estate in Indianapolis. On May 16, 1899 he was given the Congressional Medal of Honor for his conduct at the Battle of Missionary Ridge. He died on October 26, 1904 in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is buried in Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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