Burns, Robert – January 17, 1864

Michigan Civil War Collection

Click here for this soldier’s biography:

Regiment: 4th Michigan Calvary

Battles Mentioned:

Historical Figures: George Crook, Robert H. Minty, William T. Sherman

Head-Quarters 1st Brig., 2d Cavalry Division,
Huntsville Ala
January 17 1864
My dear Davidson
“Here we are again” as the
Merry man says rushing into the ring, and trans-
forming himself into a wheel or revolver of some
kind. We arrived here on Thursday headed
by a brass hand and a Brigadier General We
left Pulaski with few reqrts and a very small
command, and have retired into winter quar-
ters in this “quondam” beautiful village. Even
since we left here we cind a change for the
worse. Nearly every house is filled with soldiers
and the place looks dilapidated. The inhab-
itants look on in silent despair and submit.
Genl Sherman’s command arrived here a few
days after our departure and occupied the
town. I am in command of the
remnants of our Brigade consisting of Head
Quarters escort and about 200 of the 4th Regulars
The 7th Penna and 5th Iowa have gone home to

reenlist as veteran volunteers, as I wrote you be-
fore; the 4th Michigan are now all at Chat-
tanooga and the 4th Regulars proper are near
Pittsburg Landing, so you see that your brother
can command the Brigade and still be but
“small potatoes” I have my quarters in the
house of a cousin of Mrs. Peter Dox of Geneva, and
for the first time since last July, the night before
last slept in a bed between sheets. I have not
yet arrived at the civilization of going to church,
but next Sunday I think I shall make the attempt
I suppose nothing more will be done by our
army until the return of the new three years
men in March. Then we will move onward.
I received your enclosing a letter from Eliza
Waterman a day or two after I wrote you from
Pulaski. Glad to hear that all are well and rejoiced
to receive another letter from her. Since the receipt
of yours we have had no mail. We have yet no
rail road connection here and the mails are
very irregular. Papers we have not seen in a
long while. Now and then we get a Nashville Un-

ion. Have heard from none of my friends
since my last. Do not yet know officially
that Willy is married, but presume so.
You perceive that I write in better spir-
its, than in my last. Can’t account for it on
other ground, than that I have a fair cigar,
a blacked fair of boats and a clean paper
collar. Dress does very much to reconcile one
to this world. My condition otherwise is un-
changed. I still enjoy my usual good health
and regularly consume my full rations. Col
Minty is yet in Murfreesboro. Nothing has
been done in his case. We hope his name is
in the list of promotions before Congress.
Let me hear from you again soon. When
you write do not direct “4th Mich Cav’y” or
it would go to Chattanooga. but send here “1st
Brig” &c. Good bye. Yours affecly
J. Davidson Burns Esq
Kal zoo

January 18th
Yours of 3rd inst received this P.M.
You can readily imagine what a tickling
machine it was to me. A letter like “a baby is
a well spring of pleasure” in this house.
Genl Croaks told me this afternoon that the 4th Regulars were
expected here in a few days and we were to soldier it easily
until the summer campaign should open. I shall remain
with that Regiment. Indeed I have been with them so much
that I am at home with them as much if not more
than my own regiment. A great many of our offi-
cers are going home on leave of absence, but I can
not get away. I am now the only one of the Brigade
officers left several of them having gone home and the
others scattered around the country on various duties.
It would be of no use for me to apply and I do not
wish to crowd the [ ? ]. You know how much
I would like to see you. I hope before a year from this time
to be at home for good.
A. Iswon left about $150 in my hand when he died which I can-
not send North. How much have you wine? If I should draw
on you for that amount in favor of Mrs. Iswon, could you hon-
or the draft? If not I must wait until the Pay Master comes around
again. Shears should have paid me some $30. I suppose he did.
Not much money can be laid up here now. Living is very ex-
pensive as we have to pay for everything we get. When on the
march or scouting around, a great many things find their
way to our tables without costing much. It is different now as
we can’t forage. Give my love to Madge when
you next write her and tell her I am taking the best of care
of the share of hers she sent me. Good night
Yours R. B.