By Donald C. Elder III

William Henry Harrison Clayton used to be one in every of approximately 75,000 squaddies from Iowa to hitch the Union ranks throughout the Civil battle. owning a highschool schooling and more advantageous penmanship, Clayton served as an organization clerk within the nineteenth Infantry, witnessing battles within the trans-Mississippi theater. His diary and his correspondence along with his kinfolk in Van Buren County shape a special narrative of the daily soldier lifestyles in addition to an eyewitness account of serious battles and a prisoner-of-war camp. Clayton participated within the siege of Vicksburg and participated in operations opposed to cellular, yet his writings are particular for the descriptions he offers of lesser-known yet pivotal battles of the Civil warfare within the West. battling within the conflict of Prairie Grove, the nineteenth Infantry sustained the top casualties of any federal regiment at the eld. Clayton survived that conflict with in simple terms minor accidents, yet he was once later captured on the conflict of Stirling's Plantation and served a interval of ten months in captivity at Camp Ford, Texas. Clayton's writing unearths the complex sympathies and prejudices ordinary between Union squaddies and civilians of that interval within the country's historical past. He observes with nice disappointment the brutal results of conflict at the South, sympathizing with the plight of refugees and lamenting the destruction of estate. He excoriates draft evaders and Copperheads again domestic, conveying the intra-sectional acrimony wrought by way of civil warfare. eventually, his racist perspectives towards blacks display a typical yet ironic angle between Union squaddies whose efforts helped bring about the abolition of slavery within the usa.

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Direct your letters to Springfield and they will follow the regiment. Page 24 I believe I will quit writing and make some molasses out of sugar. Give my respects to all. I remain ever your affectionate son. Wm. H. H. S. I wrote to Uncle Nide while at Springfield. This leaves me enjoying good health, and I hope it finds you the same. <><><><><><><><><><><><> Cross Hollows, Arkansas October 23rd, 1862 Dear Father & Mother, I embrace the present opportunity of writing a few lines to you. Since I last wrote to you from Cassville we have done some pretty hard marching.

In the rear is the cooking & eating houses with tables & a furnace to cook upon. There are hydrants which furnish river water for washing & cooking. The drinking water is got out of wells. It is a very difficult matter to get out of this place. A soldier has to have a pass from his capt. signed by the col. & countersigned by the commander of the post. The company is now divided into messes of 14 each. We get better food & more of it than when the whole company messed together. There are grocery stores & a meat store, 3 or 4 daguerrotype or ambrotype38 establishments, a bookstore & nearly everything we could wish besides insides the enclosure.

By the summer of 1862, Clayton's home area of Iowa had already felt the effects of the Civil War. S. Army units in the months after the firing on Fort Sumter. They participated in the northern victories at Ft. Donelson, Pea Ridge, and Shiloh. Clayton chose instead to remain in Iowa to help his father and mother run the farm. But when the state of Iowa issued its call for new recruits in August 1862, Clayton felt that his fourteen-year-old twin brothers, George Washington Clayton and John Quincy Adams Clayton, could help his parents sufficiently with the farm work to allow him to leave.

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