[Col. John Warner is another Illinois volunteer who, as far as I can tell, received his commission at about the same time as DPG, and on the basis of his claim that his commission dated to a few days earlier, attempted to take the command of the brigade at this time away from DPG due to seniority. DPG reports that Warner is incompetent, but seniority being serious business, it takes some maneuvering to get rid of him.
The Congressman from Illinois, Owen Lovejoy, was the leader of the abolitionist movement in IL, and brother of murdered abolitionist journalist Elijah Lovejoy. Robert Cooper is Anna’s uncle, who for a time was with the 77th, and whom DPG threatened with violence to get him to stop drinking. David is her brother David McKinney. Rob is a friend of DPG and Anna’s (I have never been able to figure out his last name, although I know he marries a woman named Carrie). I don’t know who Sarah is or how her invitation could have been misconstrued.]
Millikens Bend La. March 15th 1863
My Dearest Anna
Mr Pierce arrived here safely to day and handed me your very welcome letter. I assure you I was highly pleased to receive it for some two weeks had passed since I had heard from you. I thought probably you were enjoying yourself so highly in Elmwood that you had entirely forgotten me and that I should not hear from you again until you had left behind you the gayities of Elmwood and returned to the sober realities of Peoria life. I Knew you had gone to E from letters I had received from home through Mr Wilcox and felt very much disappointed [p2] that you had not been at home at that time so that I could have heard from you also. You will notice by the heading of this letter that we have changed our location and are now encamped at this place. this is about twelve miles above Yongs Point and much better camping Ground, so much so that the health of our men is rapidly improving and every thing begins to wear a cheerful aspect. The weather for a few days past has been delightful, resembling somewhat the weather you usually have in June, but this morning it commenced raining again, and at the present writing it is pouring down, water by the barrel. I have no idea how long we will remain here or what we are going to do, but I hope that we shall be able before long to take the Rebel Stronghold [p3] Vicksburg. Col Warner arrived here yesterday and has applied to command the Brigade but has not yet succeeded in getting it, he claims it because his commission is older than mine but from what I hear the Gen thinks that he is not competent. He never would have received a leave of absence if it was not on account of getting him away so that he could not claim the command. He obtained his commission prior to me fraudently, and I have asked for a Board of Officers to examine into the affair, which I think will show that I am rightly his senior. If this does not result rightly, the General will probably send his Regiment to Memphis and get another in exchange and thus we will get rid of them entirely [p4] I expect however that our regular Brigade Commander will return in a few days and then I will be releived. Since commanding the Brigade, I have received several complimentary notes from the officers of the different Regiments in the Brigade speaking in praise of me, and saying that I fill the position more to their satisfaction than any other commander they have been under, and hope that I will be retained in my position as commander of the Brigade.
Now do not think me vain in speaking of this to you. I would not mention this to any one else not even to my folks at home but I feel that you are so near and dear to me that I [p5] can open my mind freely and say any and every thing to you that in any way concerns myself. I will enclose in this letter a copy of a document I received to day the original has been forwarded to Washington. Whether this will accomplish anything or not I can not say. I understand that the Congresman from our district (Lovejoy) has filed my name for a Brigadier and strongly rec
commended it. The two together may accomplish something. I think I hear you say not to let such an abolitionist as Lovejoy do any thing for you, but I must say I have no scruples on that point. Lovejoy is a man that has a great deal of influence with the President and may help me a great [p6] deal in the way of promotion.
I have about given up the idea of coming home before August or September and then we are to be married. now this you Know is the agreement and I shall certainly expect you to live up to it. I shall be very anxious until the day arrives when you will become mine and shall consider it the happiest day of my life. I am afraid if I should go home now, that I would beeunable to get a furlough in the fall and this you Know would intefere somewhat with our arrangements though I certainly would like excee-dingly to go home now and see you again. Not a day passes but what I think of you and wish I were with you, but I find that wishing does no good whatever, so I will have to wait as contendedly as possible [p7] for the better days that are coming.
I was very sorry to hear of Robert Cooper’s death. when he left us at Arkansas Post he appeared to be in good health + spirits and bid fair to live many a day, but such is life. Robert has led a curious life and met with a great many misfortunes. I did the best I could for him, while he was under my charge and took more pains with him than any of his near friends have done for years past. I think that you were right in declining Sarah’s invitation although she would have been very highly pleased to have had you stay with her, but then it would have been unpleasant to have persons make remarks, as they undoubtedly would have done. our Folks will understand all that and of course will not think you were wrong in refusing the invitation. Rob is to be married about the middle of May, he is anxious that I should come up to his [p8] Wedding, but I am afraid if I should come to it, that I could not get up to my own which you Know would be unfortunate, and then you Know I agreed not to come back to Peoria until I could take you along with me. Don’t you remember the contract. I must not break it. David was highly pleased with his Box and I was the same with mine. We are now living high and will continue to do so until the Boxes run out when we shall expect another supply. Now my dear Anna do write soon. I expect to send this by a Gentleman who is going to Galesburg in the morning. If he does not start then I may add on another Sheet but I do not feel like writing for I have got the fever + Ague and I feel a little like having a shake this evening. I had a heavy one day before yesterday nothing serious however Ever Yours D.P.G.