2

Brackett's Cavalry.

CAMP AT BLACK RIVER, Mo., in the Field,
March 17th, 1862.

EDITOR ARGUS: It may be unprofitable, and stale, to an interprizing journalist, to publish much of the war correspondence that is likely to find its way to his "sanctum." — In palliation of this annoyance, if it is so regarded, we urge the fact, that nearly all the officers and soldiers composing the forces now in the field, from the state of Illinois, have many relatives and friends at home, who are readers of the different country journals, and it is through this medium that they learn with greater facility that any other, of the whereabouts of doings of those of us who are fortunate enough to be in the service of our common country. There are four full companies from the neighborhood of Rock Island, now in the 9th regiment, Illinois cavalry. Company A, Capt. Burgh, is composed, almost exclusively, of residents of your city and surroundings. Companies B, D, and H, are from Henry county, mostly from Geneseo. No troops could add more luster to the service than those, whose friends will be likely to come within the range of your publication. Indeed, all the troops comprising this command, are among the noblest specimens of western yeomanry, the bone and sinew of patriotism and enterprise! The state of Indiana has two companies in this regiment, of which that, or any other state, might well be proud.

Your are doubtless fully apprised of all material matter connected with this command, up to the time of its leaving Camp Douglas — possibly you have traced us to Benton Barracks, and, perhaps, to Pilot Knob. From this latter point, we have been constantly on the march, so that the readers of the Argus could hardly keep posted of our whereabouts.

The 9th Illinois cavalry, Col. A. G. Brackett commanding, took up its line of march from Pilot Knob, en route for Arkansas, on the 5th of march. Our column consisted of about eleven hundred men — nearly twelve hundred horses, thirty four heavy army wagons, laden with camp equipage, commissary and medical stores, drawn by two hundred and four mules, or six mules to each wagon. We had, also, two four wheel and two two wheel ambulances, for the use of the sick. — Our column, with its train, presented a formidable appearance, when all in line. The very few union people along the route, seemed to enjoy the most ecstatic emotions at our approach, while "secesh" trembled in its very boots, at their sickening aspect. The country along the line of our march is very broken, and much of it quite worthless, save for the timber. Everything seems desolate, and silence seems to prevail like the unbroken quietude of the last sleep. Every sound, save the heavy tramp of our cavalcade, falls upon the ear, like the sexton's mattock breaking the mould for some new grave. The rainy season seems to have fairly set in, and the roads had became nearly impassible — the streams so much swollen that we were obliged to swim our horses, with their riders, across some of them. The places where our men sought repose at night, would often be found to contain in the morning, after their blankets were removed, as much water as the indentations of their bodies in the mud could hold. Notwithstanding these exposures and annoyances, our men behaved like the high toned, noble band Illinois soldiers which they are. Not a murmer escaped their lips, nor did any one of them give utterance to a single sediment of regret that their hardships were inflicted upon them. For the Spartans of America, look you to the northwest — look especially to Illinois! He that holds command, however humble that command may be, over a band of such noble, self sacrificing troops as make up the majority of our western forces, and not have his heart thrill with exalted pride, must be lost to the loftier impulses of human nature. The record of Donelson will live in letters of living light, perpetually casting their halo around the sons of Illinois who fell at that memorable occasion, all wraped in the mantles of glory, and the living who passed through the conflict with the wounds of triumph as momentoes of lasting honor, and those who came through the firey ordeal unscathed, can bear a loftier brow, and recite to posterity his deed of valor.

Our present encampment is the same grounds occupied by the notorious rebel Gen. Hardee, during the winter, but he, like the rest of the wicked traitorous hordes, "flee when no man pursueth." His present revised tactics treats mostly on the science of "skedaddling," or the art of vamoosing with most unsparing preciptancy. Indeed the proficiency attained in this department of rebel tactics has become so perfect and profound among the disciples of "secessia," that no opportunity is given our troops to cultivate their acquaintance. The whole rebel population in this region, and for some distance over the Arkansas border, seems to be on the "qui vive" at the approach of our columns. They really appear to think they "hearn somethin' drap."

We have quite a formidable force, constituting our expedition, consisting of cavalry, artillery and infantry. I dare not tell you the exact number, for precautionary reasons.

We resume the line of march to-morrow, with all our forces, in the direction of Pocahontas. I am, however, ordered to remain in command of this post with the first battalion of the 9th Illinois cavalry, for the purpose of guarding the heavy army trains of commissary and other stores, moving to supply our troops; also the river crossing, and the Butternut "chivalry," generally. It is barely possible that I may be visited by the prowling bands that might concentrate to make me a call after the departure of the main force. I have no fears in the direction. I only wish they may be induced to accept my hospitalities, for the battalion under my command will be prepared to wait upon them, after the most approved Illinois style. My confidence is so complete and entire in the Illinois soldiers that I would not for a moment hesitate to meet any troop of "secesh" that I have yet seen, although they should number three to our one. Indeed I am constrained to believe, that to the solution of the problem of this wicked rebellion, in which the great American heart is trembling like a gleam of sunshine striving to glimmer through the storm cloud, the eye of the nation still turns to the noble patriotism and the stalwart arm of the west, and northwest, as the eye of the pilgrim turns to his vesper star, or the tempest tost mariner to his indicating shore.

The older and more densely populated states may hold numerical superiority of their troops, but they move in this conflict as the gentle zypher would move the slumbering strings of the harp, while the sturdy sons of the west rush like the tornado, overwhelming and subduing with its shaking footsteps.

I have already trespassed too long upon your time and space. You will, therefore, pardon my abrupt "terminus."

Our officers and men are all in good health with but few exceptions, and here let me say that, I believe none of you will have occasion to blush because of the representatives of your locality do not strike with a strong arm, when the opportunity offers.
ULLOA.