Article from the April 11th, 1863 edition
of The Detroit Advertiser and Tribune, page 4, column 8.
the 21st Michigan
Duty - Review by General Rosecrans - Compliment to Michigan Troops - Preparations
for a Battle.
Shafer, near Murfreesboro, Tenn.,
Special Coor. of the Advertiser and Tribune.
Soldiering has its pleasant as well as unpleasant phases and
we have learned to bear both equally well. As yo are aware, the 21st is in
camp about a mile from Murfreesboro, performing the ordinary duties of troops
in an enemy's country. Of these, picket duty is one of the most important ones,
and is generally performed with the greatest strictness. This is as it should
be. One half the disastrous defeats to our armies have resulted from surprises
occasioned by carelessness on picket duty.
It may not be uninteresting to learn of some of the most important
incidents that have transpired within the last few days, to commence with the
review of our division by Major Gen, Rosecrans, on Monday, March 23d. The day
previous, we were informed at dress parade that our division would be reviewed
by the General commanding, this department, and were requested to make our
preparations accordingly. Knapsacks were packed, overcoats strapped on top,
accoutrements and clothes brushed up, and the arms brightened up where it was
necessary. The beautiful flag presented to us by the ladies of Ionia, was displayed
on Monday by the side of the stars and stripes, which is the only battle
flag allowed to be carried. It will be remembered that the old national
ensign carried by our regiment on two battle-fields, was badly riddled with
the missiles of the enemy when brought out of the hard-fought contest at Stone
river. It has been replaced by a new silk national flag.
At 10 A. M. the different regiments moved out on a large open
space not far from camp which was indicated as the ground for our review by
a camp color placed there. After half an hour spent in assuming our respective
positions on the ground, the General made his appearance, and with a smiling
countenance and touch of the hat, acknowledged the salute of the line. We will
remember the compliment of the General, of which Michigan may feel proud: "Michigan
men? Indeed! I wish we had more of them." The review being ended we march
by regiment to our respective camps, the bands playing.
The next day our regiment went on grand guard and remaining twenty
four hours. When we returned, dinner was in order, but hardly had the preparations
commenced, when the order came, "The whole brigade will march for Salem
immediately." Dinner is hurriedly disposed of, haversack are filled with "hardtack," canteens
filled, &c,. We are ready in a twinkling, and soon on the way to Salem.
We march about two hours, halt in a piece of woods, form in line of battle,
stack arms, unsling blankets and haversacks, and then, as is usual in such
cases, every man goes on double quick to the nearest rail fence, and returns
with a rail or two on his shoulder. Next a fresh supply of water is in order,
which is not always the best, but here springs are abundant. Fires are next
build. A detail of fifty men and three officers from each regiment goes on
picket. Arrived at the proper place, the detail halts, is divided into three
reliefs, outposts are established and sentinels posted. Those who remain at
the station stack arms, and build small fires. Sentinels are relieved every
two hours, the outposts every four hours, the station every twenty-four hours;
the whole force expects to be relieved in five days. Thus sufficient reset
is allowed to all and everyone goes off pleasantly. It rained quite hard one
night, so that we were threatened with a severe soaking. Next day, however,
the sun shone out in all its splendor, making us forget the drenching of the
previous night. As we expected, we were all relieved by another brigade and
a battery on the fifth day. We returned to camp and have since been quietly
drilling and preparing for the supposed coming conflict. An occasional shot
is heard in front.
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