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From the Hundred and Ninth.

CAMP OF 109TH REG'T ILLS. VOLS.,
MEMPHIS TENN., March 7, 1863.

To the Editor of the Jonesboro Gazette.

We are having a continuation of the same rainy, muddy, sloppy, sleety, disagreeable weather that has rendered this winter's campaign so fruitful of disease and death to the exposed soldier. One day all nature seems frozen stiff; the men stand shivering around little fires in the open air; the lonely guard walks his beat silently muffled in his great blue, chattering with cold, while the ground is so rough, as to almost totally prevent locomotion; the next, drenching rain, driving through thin tents, soaking the little handful of straw and pair of blankets that forms the soldier's place of rest, placing cooking out of the question and cheating the hungry man out of his dinner, and water standing in puddles over the ground because it is so thoroughly saturated for a depth of two or three feet that it cannot receive any more. The only wonder is that more do not die. If man were an amphibious animal, intended by nature for both elements, the changes are so constantly sudden, and at such a heard of extremes, that flesh and bones must soon give down under it. Some of the more credulous of the boys still indulge hopes of enjoying the luxury of a day of clear sunshine at some future time. I have long since discarded all opinions on the subject.

I am happy to note a favorable turn in the health of the men of the 109th, at last. Heaven knows we have had sickness enough for the past two or three months, and a diminished hospital report is what we have all longed for frequently and earnestly. True there are not exceeding 75 or 80 men, exclusive of non-commissioned officers, fit for duty, but we have very few serious cases in hospital, or even so serious as to require being taken to hospital. It cannot be expected that men will be well enough to perform the duties of a soldier at this unfavorable season, after the exposures we have so long endured, and under the circumstances I have narrated; and if they cannot be well, we are glad to "have them as well as they can be." We have but nineteen patients in hospital, whose names I furnish you: Co. B — John II McCrite, pneumonia, recovery, doubtful; James Benefield, diarrhea; E. Baker, diarrhea. Co. C — none in hospital. Co. D — William Tackett, congestion, recovery doubtful; Thos. Carnes, general debility. Co. E. — Thomas Boswell, bronchitis, has been in hospital about two months, but will probably recover. Co. F, no sick. Co. G — William Hinkle, remittent fever, dangerous; G. J. Brown and J. Verble, both remittent fever; 2d Lieut. Crabtree, chronic diarrhea. Co. H — Lewis Carothers, pneumona, quite sick; O. F. Brown, diarrhea; Columbus Murphy, diarrhea, recovery doubtful; A. Edmonds, general debility. Co. I — Henry Miller, diarrhea; Anthony George, remittent fever, dangerously sick; A. M. Seales, remittent fever Co. K — W. Chapman, diarrhea, and W. J. Barber, remittent fever. There have been but two deaths since the first of March up to this date, though several of those in hospital will require the strictest nursing and medical attention to insure their recovery. John McCommons, of Co. K, died of typhoid pneumonia, on the 4th, and Eli Verble, Co. G, same day, of typhoid fever. Those reported above as sick, except when remarked as doubtful, are recovering, and are considered past danger.

The city has been pretty well cleared of troops within the past two weeks. Every come-at-able steamboat on the river has been in use transporting them below, to aid in the reduction of Vicksburg, it is generally supposed, though we are continually told we have plenty of force there to take the place — would not have another man — and are only awaiting a few days of sunshine to finish the job. Though the men "are in excellent spirits, and eager for the fight," the boats were delayed two or three days longer than was intended in consequence of the insubordination of the men and their opposition to making a southern trip at this season of the year. Several of the regiments of Quimby's division refused positively to embark on the boats, declaring their opposition to the war as at present conducted, and announcing their intention of going home the first opportunity. Two or three days were necessary to get the men aboard the boats, and then they had in many instances to be taken there at the point of the bayonet. — As they were being marched to the transports, many an unwilling fellow, who was obstinate enough to regard the freeing of negroes as poor pay for the hardships he had endured, and would still have to undergo, in spite of Mr. Lincoln's assurance that "future generations would rise up and bless" him for it, would sing out in stentorian voice, "You can take us to Vicksburg but we won't fight," "remember the Pennsylvania regiment at Blackwater," etc., etc. Though the strictest watch was kept over these men, and boats were moved out to the middle of the river and anchored as soon as loaded, a large number managed to escape. One company in an Illinois regiment numbered 56 men when it started from its old camping ground two miles east of town. The march was made that short distance, and on the boat the Captain called his company together to see they were all safe, when, lo! only six men could be found! The remaining 48 had business to transact somewhere, and took advantage of that occasion to go and transact it. They will probably turn up some time. Guards had to be stationed at every street corner in the city during the embarkation of these divisions, to prevent men from deserting, so general was the determination. How so many elude vigilance is a mystery. This feeling did not pervade the army prior to the issuing of Mr. Lincoln's proclamation freeing the negroes and employing them in the army. It must therefore be ascribed to that odious and disgusting policy. It is all well enough for Republicans who are leading lives of quiet enjoyment with their families, to argue and work for the liberation and equality of negroes; but it is a policy that arouses the deepest fears of a very large majority of the soldiers of the army. A million of negroes made free and scattered over the North, would supply all the demand for labor created by the absence of men in the field. At the end of a term of years of privation and hardship, the soldiers would return home and find their places filled with Africans whom they had braved so many dangers to free. Of course they could find no employment unless they would enter into competition with the negro, at twenty five to fifty cents a day. The times when he used to earn a comfortable living for his family with reasonable labor, would be but a dream of the past to return to him no more forever. — Those little ones that have been the cause of so many fond hopes must go forth as the associates of the degraded barbarians, and labor with them for a scant livlihood. The entire social system of the country would be changed, distinctions drawn between different classes of society, and a general oppression fasten upon the more humble people a condition of servility from which there would be no escape. Nothing is plainer than just such a picture. Are Lincoln & Co. fools that they think the soldier — whom they would use as the pliant tool for the accomplishment of their base purposes — cannot see it, and seeing, endeavor to avert it?

A number of the men inside this Fort had their "risibles" excited a few days ago on the appearance of a negro company, just outside the walls, going through the drill. We are expecting a number of negro regiments here, but as rumor is not the most reliable of authorities, our expectations may never be realized. We have other stories to the effect that the 72d Illinois regiment, while on duty below the city, broke up and threw away their guns, declaring they did not suit them. Another and very superior class of weapon was furnished them, the authorities thinking that their dissatisfaction existed in consequence of imperfect arms. These they threw into the river, and breaking lines, scattered through the woods. They were deaf to all entreaties of their officers, and a gunboat had to be sent down to shell the woods in which they had taken refuge, and force them aboard a steamboat.

Our Chief Surgeon, Dr. John S. Dewey, has been detached from duty with the regiment, and placed in charge of the fine hospital steamer City of Memphis. It is doubtful whether it is a permanent detail. Dr. Henley is in charge of our regimental hospital, assisted by Dr. George H. Dewey, who are indefatigable in their attentions to the sick and their labor for their welfare.

The men of the regiment are very much pleased with the resolutions adopted by the Democratic Convention at Jonesboro some month ago, a copy of which was only received a few days since. It is our only wish that the people at home may stand firm in support of the great principles of the Constitution and the Union, that we in the field may fight to that end and no other. What would be the good of severe exposures and brave fighting if we have a policy shaped by Greeley, Sumner, Phillips, and other Abolition conspirators against our liberties?

The late removal and resignation of officers has placed us under almost entirely different authority from that with which we started out. First Lieut. James P. McLane, of co. A., is now acting Quartermaster, vice Lieut. Goodman, of the same company, who asked to be relieved. Lanson Martin has been chosen 1st Lieutenant of co. C, vice Ben. F. Hartline, promoted to Captaincy, in place of Capt. Rich, removed by Abolition Conclave; two more of the Stokes boys, excellent fellows, have been chosen Lieutenants in company E, in place of Morgan Stokes and John Stokes, the former promoted to Captain vice Boswell, and the latter removed by the same Inquisition; 1st Sergeant Daniel F. Penninger has been elected First Lieutenant of co. G, vice Lt. Toler, made Captain to fill the vacancy occasional by the unjust dismissal of the gallant Geo. W. Penninger. The vacancies in the other companies have not yet, I believe, been permanently decided upon.
COPPERHEAD.