Manuscript of Civil War Lieutenant W. R. McComer

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Manuscript details battles and scenes of battles, which occurred mostly in Mississippi, written by a member of the 2nd Ohio, later of the 83rd Ohio. (Manuscript lacks p. 22.)

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11 literally ran over by the men in their eagerness to enter claimed that the white flag was raised without his knowledge or concent ^and^ that he had not and would never surrender, not not withstanding his ^expostulations^ he and 5000 of his men were put aboard transports and sent to Memphis, with ^the addition of^ two full regiments that came in the darkness of the following night ^within the confines of the earthworks^ and were marched from their stacked arms to be informed that they were prisoners of war.

It is needless to say that this victory had the desired effect upon the men: and we were again headed for the Mississippi to inaguerate the ^second and more^ earnest work^ of takeing to take of taking Vicksburg. The river was very high, The levees had been neglected and the country was in^un^dated, ^for miles^ with only now and then a dry spot suitable for camps

Vicksburg is directly opposite the peninsula formed by an immense bend 30 miles around and but two miles accross. We landed at Young's Point a few miles above for the purpose of cutting a canal accross histhe peninsula which would leave the city several miles inland. The work was prosicuted with vigor ^and^ with the hope that when a certain depth was reached the current

Last edit 6 months ago by guest_user
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12 would do the rest unfortunately the point selected was above the angle at which the current struck the shore and the project failed. This discouraging circumstance, the labor it entailed and the exposure endured, coupled with the unfavorable situation of the camps & had a serriously depressing effect and subjected the men to every disease known to medical science. The most alarming "epidemic" however was from another cause, and came to be known as Emancipation fever. A Major and fifty men so afflicted left one of the Illinois regiment in a body. The victims of the other maladies were buried in the levee the only place where a dry grave could be secured and thousands of the best men of the Army of the Tennessee found an honorable burial along side of the great Father mother of nations. The history of the deserters interested us no more.

As an accredited artist for Frank Leslie's Illustrated newspaper, I was able to contribute a sketch now and then. I had forwarded an illustrated account of the battle of Arkansas Post. The papers arriving about this time brought me into notice which I mention as the sequel to the incident I am about to relate would indicate

Last edit about 2 years ago by Bernie
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13 would indicate.

I took my company to relieve the advanced pickets, composed of men of the 23d Wisconsin of our brigade, The orderly ^of my company^ was a man of such proportions as to make me appear ludicrously small, and excited comments to which I took exceptions, and as a consequence measured my length in the mud On my feet in an instant I struck the officer ^who had tapped me^ with the flat of my sword, and The men of our respective companies took a hand and ^we^ came near having a battle there and then then and there

I had just finished posting the pickets when an orderly summoned me to division headquarters; covered with mud and smarting at the indignity I had received, my feelings can better be imagined than described. After making myself as presentable as the soft mud would allow admit. I repaired to the Generals office in a plantation house near the levee, expecting to court martialed, and possibly sent home in disgrace. To my astonishment ^however:^ I was informed that a friend had just sent in a pair of fine Mallard ducks, that dinner would be served shortly and after the meal I would be informed what was required of me, General Smith was a peculiar man, some thought him a martinet, Certainly his

Last edit about 2 years ago by Bernie
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14 was peculiar singular punishment I dont know that I was ever more hungry, bur recall very distinctly the fact that I didnt enjoy that dinner [excepting?] perhaps the wine that I indulged in, hoping that it enable me to make the best of the situation if called upon to answer the charge of which I felt guilty. All things come to an end so had the dinner and When I was leaving the table, the general approached me with a small pocket compass in his hand, and said "Lieutenant I want you to make me a map of the country about here, showing the picket lines, A man who can make nice pictures ought certainly be able to make a good map."

Under the circumstances I couldn't decline and determined to try, but replied that I would try so mounted the horse in waiting, and accompanied by a staff officer rode to the picket lines, to the great satisfaction of the men I had left ^there^ in the morning I plodded about until I thought I had a pretty good understanding of the lay of things, then began seaching for instruments and material, I was directed to the Head Quarters of Genl George W. Morgan. just vacated, by that victim of emancipation fever: His engineer was there and at work. The sketch he was engaged upon, was found upon examination to be, the very map I was ordered to make

Last edit about 2 years ago by Bernie
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15 I told Captain Lyon that I was interested in his work and would enjoy making a finished drawing of the map he was engaged upon if he would permit me to make another for myself. He readilly acquiesed after labouring assiduously for two days and a [night?] the work was accomplished

In the meantime General McClemand and his chief of staff in search of better quarters visited the house and casually examined the work I was engaged upon, my name rank and regiment were inquired and the circumstance incident passed out of my mind.

The map was taken to General Smith and delivered, (without allusion to the formative circumstances,) He was profuse in his compliments and hoped I would be available for future work of the same character, but said nothing about permanent staff duty at which I was greatly disappointed

As it transpired the ^my^ chagrin was of short duration. A few days later I received an order from Corps Head Quarters to report as Acting Topographcal Engineer and the balance of my service in the Vicksburg campaign was performed in that capacity.

Last edit about 2 years ago by Bernie
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