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Letter From Lieut. Jobe.

CAMP CHETLAIN, PADUCAH, Ky.
Sept. 15th, 1861

DEAR COL. — Since my last latter to you we have been travelling about considerably, which accounts for my delay in writing to you. Our welcome visitor, the Argus, seems to follow us wherever we go, and I am much pleased to see that you now publish a daily. The appearance of that old sheet always brings to my mind many pleasant recollections of the past, and I must say that a man furnishing the daily news in Rock Island, during the present war excitement, deserves the liberal patronage of all the union-loving citizens of the city and county, and I do not think there is any doubt but that your paper will receive a large share of the public patronage, as it justly deserves it, considering that it always contains the latest news of the day, and that it is the only paper in the county which has kept its head fairly about the waves during the present depressed state of financial affairs.

As I see published a great many imperfect accounts of the course and doings of our regiment since we left Bird's Point, I will endeavor to give you, as best I can, a true statement of affairs in relation thereto:

On the morning of Sept. 2d, we were ordered to "strike tents," our destination not being known, but it was the general opinion that we were going up the Mississippi river, and all were very much surprised when we boarded the handsome government steamer, G. W. Graham, to see her turn her course down stream, and to find ourselves gently gliding southward upon the bosom of the great "Father of Rivers," headed by two of our gun-boats, the Conestoga and Lexington, we being the first regiment starting southward from Cairo, by river. About noon we landed on the Missouri side, and directly opposite the town of Columbus, Ky., where we were ordered to "pitch tents." Before landing, however, we captured a floating gunshop, which contained three or four men, and quite a number of arms, such as pistols, rifles and shot-guns. The men, of course, were taken prisoners, as it was the supposition that their business was repairing arms for the rebels. At the wharf, we captured a ferry boat, minus proprietor, (the proprietor having absconded at the approach of our boat) which had been used by the rebels to convey troops to different points on the river. The place selected for our camp ground was a beautiful spot, being in the midst of a fine grove of trees, and after being exposed to the hot and melting sun of Bird's Point, was refreshing, indeed. Scouts were sent out throughout the surrounding country, but nothing in the shape of secession troops could be seen, although I have seen it stated in several journals that the 12th was cut to pieces, scarcely a man being left to relate the sad story. We captured quite a number of horses and mules of a fine quality, but "seceshers," in the shape of human-beings, were a scarce commodity. Upon arriving at plantations they were generally minus white males, all having absconded, leaving the female portion of their families, and their darkies, to take care of their property. On the morning of the 4th we were again ordered to "strike tents," and after a short scout through the country, and a march of six or eight miles, we again took the boat, and after travelling about sixteen miles were again landed, and a tolerably difficult march of about six miles through the mud, caused by a heavy rain, brought us once more to Bird's Point, not a man missing, notwithstanding reports to the contrary. We were halted just outside our camp at Bird's Point, where Col. Wagner, of the Chicago light artillery, who accompanied us with his command on the expedition, made a few remarks, in which he complimented the 12th very highly for their soldierly conduct during the expedition, and at the close of his remarks the air was rent by three hearty cheers for Col. Wagner and the fine company of artillery under his command, which was responded to by three enthusiastic cheers from the artillery. But we had scarcely got our affairs comfortably arranged once more, when we received orders to march on the evening of the 5th, at 6 o'clock. The time having arrived we were marched to the levee, and took passage on board the steamer Platte Valley, — again not knowing our destination, but about 10 o'clock on the morning of the 6th, we found ourselves in sight of the beautiful town of Paducah, Ky., situated on the Ohio river, at the mouth of the Tennessee, about fifty miles from Cairo. We were accompanied on our journey by two or three other regiments and two gun boats. The 12th was landed at the west end of the town, and marched to the Marine hospital, upon the dome of which building we planted the "Star Spangled Banner," and it also floats proudly from the tops of several other prominent buildings in the city. The Marine hospital is a fine building, surrounded by a beautiful park, where we "pitched tents" and remained until Sunday morning, the 8th, when we "struck tents" and removed about two hundred yards west of the hospital, and at the west end of Paducah, on the bank of the Ohio, where we still remain. It is a beautiful location for a camp, and I think it is even more pleasant and convenient than our Caseyville camp. It is certainly a very healthy location, and having good grounds for drilling, it affords an excellent opportunity to perfect the troops in drill and discipline. We now devote six hours each day to drill, which, if followed up strictly, (and it doubtless will be) will, in the course of a month or two, enable us to compete with any regiment from the state of Illinois, in all the qualifications for active service.

There are now about ten thousand troops stationed at this point, and they are making vigorous preparations for something more than "child's play" at no distant day. Batteries are being erected at different points on the outskirts of the city, which will defend it from any attempt on the part of the rebels to break in upon us. There are now stationed at this place the following named regiments: The 9th Illinois; 11th do; 12th do; 22d do; 41st do; 42 do; 12th Indiana; 9th Ohio, and 8th Missouri — besides a large number of cavalry and artillery, and two United States gunboats.

Col. McArthur does all in his power to make the 12th regiment a model in discipline. How well he succeeds we leave for those to judge who visit our camp from time to time.

Our daily regulations are as follows: — At 5 a. m., reveille; 5 a. m., roll call; 6 a. m., breakfast; from 6 a. m. to 8 a. m., cleaning quarters; 8 a. m. to 11 a. m., company drill; 12 p.m., dinner; 2:30 p. m. to 4 p. m., company drill; 4 p. m. to 5:30 p. m., battallion drill; half an hour supper; 6 p. m., dress parade; 9 p. m., tattoo; 10 p. m., taps, after which all the lights in the camps are extinguished, and the men generally well satisfied with their days labor, lay themselves down to slumber.

Before finishing my last sentence I received an order, detailing me as officer of the picket guards, and I therefore had to postpone finishing my letter until to-day.

About six o'clock last evening all the troops stationed here were brought out by a false alarm, caused by the firing of musketry over the grave at the funeral of a soldier by the name of McAllister, belonging to the 9th regiment, and who formerly belonged to company D, of the 12th. His death was caused, I understand, by being badly beaten by a rebel friend, who he met whilst on picket. They were also brought out again this morning at 3 o'clock on another false alarm, caused by one of the pickets stationed on the Tennessee river firing at some object which he supposed to be a secessionist, which was followed up all along the line of pickets from the Tennessee river to the 12th regiment pickets, (of which I had charge) which were stationed about 2.5 miles east of Paducah, and extending from the bank of the Ohio about 3/4 of a mile back into the country. The men, I understand, in both instances, were promptly on hand, ready to "pitch in."

A young man of company B, 12th regiment, whose name I did not learn, was drowned last Friday morning, whilst bathing in the Ohio. His body has been recovered, and the funeral takes place to-day.

Our friend Crawford is doing well, and holds his own as far as drumming is concerned; being, without a doubt, one of the best musicians in the regiment. He enjoys camp life well — in fact it is just the thing for him. He occasionally makes these pleasant evenings, more pleasant, by some good old fashioned music on the violin, in the execution of which he is hard to beat.

Capt. Lackey and Lieut. Koehler tender their sincere regards, and all the boys express their thanks for the papers which you send them from time to time.

With the hope that you will excuse me for making my communication rather lengthy, I remain yours truly.

W. F. J.