Iuka, Miss. September 10th 62
It has been some time since I received your welcome letter but I received it at this place while on the march from Camp Clear Creek to Tuscumbia, AL. which is about 30 miles from here and we have been moving about nearly all the time since so I have not until now got about answering your letter.
The 18th of Aug[ust] we left Camp Clear Creek for Tuscumbia. The second night we campoed in this place and arrived at Tuscumbia the 22nd of Aug[ust]. The country between here [end first page] and Tuscumbia is very good and productive. I should judge from the number of negroes but there shurely [sic] is not as many through that country as there was for there are hundreds of them in this place. They are camped close by where am I writing and you ought to see them. I think you would call it as good as show you ever saw and to see them dance and perform is better yet. They are happy thinking that they are going to be free. I don’t know what in the world the government is going to do with them. I think there is more than a 1,000 within a few rods of me now. I think if it was not for hot weather and niggers I should like to live in this country. I like some parts of it very well. [end page two]
We were stationed in Tuscumbia nearly a week when we were ordered on 15 miles farther to guard a R.R. bridge. We started on that march a week ago last Sunday about noon and got through just dark. It rained nearly all the time at that. We stayed there until the next Sunday morning when we started back. I did not march through with the company either way; giving out. I stopped with two others when we were about half way and hired horses to take us through. A negro went with us t take them back. We were a good ways behind and I suppose were in danger of being taken prisoners as the country is full of guerillas. When we came from there I got a chance to ride with the cavalry. Last Monday I was sent with others [end page three] from Tuscumbia to this place in the [railroad] cars, Our forces all left there that night. They are evacuating Tuscumbia and some think they will evacuate this place and fall back to Corinth. It may be so as that appears to be the order of the day. All around it seems rather hard to have to fight the ground all over again that McClellan had been a whole year in gaining. I hope they will not be another year taking it back. It seems there must be mismanagement somewhere. I am now waiting for our regiment [8th WI] to come up which I hear has stopped 15 miles from here to guard cotton until they can come get it away. I am staying in a church which is used for the guards. Rollin [Burbank, his brother] and Tommy were well when I left them. I guess you have heard from Rollin before this time. I think I have scribbled enough for once so I will close.
Please write again soon.
From your Friend and Brother,
Arthur S. Burbank
Note: Original letter now in possession of Van Hedges in Corinth, MS; originally purchased from eBay in late February 2008. Text and images used with permission of Mr. Hedges. The CDV of the eagle, old Abe, was the mascot for the 8th Wisconsin.