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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Civil War History of the 57th Indiana (#3 of 52)

Measles, Marching, and Mademoiselles
“As was the case with all new regiments, the measles broke out among the men while in Camp Hardin. The regimental hospital was crowded with patients; and at the time orders to march were received, January 7th, there were quite a number of cases in the company quarters. In the tent which the writer had charge of, there were two cases of the measles which were dangerous. The weather was damp and rainy, and application was made several times to have the patients removed, which was invariably answered with the reply, ‘The surgeons will attend to them.’

“At 1 o’clock p.m. the bugle sounded to strike tents. After the other tents were taken down ours was left standing for the sick men inside. Finally orders were received to ‘take it down over their heads,’ and, as the only resort, we wrapped them in blankets, carried them to the hospital, and laid them in the gangway. Every other foot of space was crowded with the sick and suffering; and a load of men who had been taken in an ambulance to the City Hospital, unable to gain admittance, had returned and were being unloaded at the door.

“(later) A novel and distressing sight was presented by the poor people of the city, who came out to our camp just as we were leaving, to collect such things as were left behind. Scarps of bread, bones, old shoes, worn-out quilts, straw, chips of wood, and everything that could be carried, were appropriated in some manner.
“Our first experience on the march was rough and tiresome in the extreme. Added to this was the single rest of but a few moments during the entire march, which contributed to make the labor more oppressive. After a harassing march of nine miles, we camped near the road, in a grove, where our situation was much more comfortable than the camp we occupied in the suburbs of the city. Our beds were made from the oats-field of a secessionist who lived near, notwithstanding we were under strict order to molest nothing belonging to citizens. This order, though from Gen. Buell, was often violated, as the appearance of poultry, honey, fruit, and ‘such like’ in our camp bore ample testimony.
“On the following morning the march was resumed. At one point in particular, where two young ladies were standing in front of a large residence, waving a flag, one of them exclaimed: ‘Nothing can compare with the brave sons of Indiana.” The flag and the remarks were received with a hearty cheer.”

(First week of January, 1862, Kentucky)
Excerpts taken from “Annals of the Fifty-Seventh Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry: Marches, Battles, and Incidents of Army Life” written by Asbury L. Kerwood immediately after the war.

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