Elijah Nelson Doughty's Civil War Diary of Travels

April 1865

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April 1: Revilee at four. Marched at 6. Passed Court House Rock [20]. The Regt. halted and the boys went up on the top of the rock which was three hundred feet from the level of the surface. A most beautiful scene and there gave three cheers for Col. Moonlight. Camped on North Platt, ten miles from Chimney Rock [21].

April 2: Revilee at the usual hour. Traveled 20 miles. Passed Chimney Rock the most beautiful scene I ever witnessed and camped near Scott's Bluff [22]. It rained all day on us. We have now our tents stretched and are now in the dry, a hard life we have.

April 3: Marched at the usual hour. Traveled 18 miles. Passed through Scott's Bluff and camped at Fort Mitchell [23] in Idaho Territory. The country we traveled over today is a level bottom of a poor quality. Plenty of alkali water. the weather cold, the wind in the north has the appearance of a storm.

April 5: Revile at the usual hour. Traveled 25 miles and camped on north Platt [24]. The weather is getting colder. We have pitched our tents. Are getting some dinner. The boys are grazing our horses on short buffalo grass such as stock in a common country would not eat. Some member of D. company stole my overcoat this evening after I had made my bed down (if it might be called a bed) three blankets spread on the ground with a little army tent to shelter me from the storm.

April 5: We have halted for twenty days. It snowed last night and is snowing yet. It is now getting late and the snow continue to fall. The weather cold and disagreeable. Mess one, erected a cook house out of sod. We drawed our rations of whisky about 20 of the boys got drunk.

April 6: We have eat our breakfast. have grazed our horses, hauled some wood, built a chimney to our tents and are now reaping the reward of a smokey fire.

April 7: Still in camp. Snowing and cold. Nothing strange happened.

April 8: Still in camp, snowing.

April 9: Revilee at 6. Marched at 7. Traveled 20 miles and camped five miles east of Laramie [25]. Snowed all day hard. Plenty of pine wood. Heard of Lee surrendering [26] to Grant. Pay in camp. Seen plenty of Indians [27]. Passed one ranche. Traveled up a flat bottom with lofty mountains on each side, came in sight of the rocky mountains, looked like distant clouds.

April 10: Revilee at 4. Traveled 15 miles, crossed Laramie Creek [28] and passed through Ft. Laramie [29]. Traveled over a rugged country. Camped on north Platt [30]. Have plenty of pine and cedar wood. Snowed on us all day. It is now getting late, we are about ready to lay down on the cold wet ground to sleep. Drawed some mutton. We are now ordered to Utah territory on Sweet Waters [31], two hundred miles from here on the route to Salt Lake [32].

April 11: Revilee at 4. Marched at 6. Traveled 13 miles and camped on Bitter Cottonwood [33]. The country we traveled over today was a mountainous and poor country through the Black Hills [34]. Seen thousands of places impassable for any living animal. Plenty of pine and cedar wood. Have good water. We are now in camp. We have picketed our horses out and have our grub about ready of which we will be quite acceptable with us. I found Jesse Wright who lived in Caw bottom in the commissary train.

April 12: Marched at the usual hour. Traveled 18 miles. Camped on a small creek at Horse Shoe Bend [35] a tributary of north Platt. The country we traveled over today was the same as yesterday. Passed Sulpher Springs [36]. We are now in camp. Have picketed our stock out on the grass but it happened to be sandy desert and no grass. Some wild sage, plenty of wood and the nicest water out here. The weather moderates today and is now warm. I looked at the miniature of my wife and sister which are nine hundred miles away from me who I would like to see.

April 13: Marched at the usual time. Traveled fifteen miles camped on Elkhorne creek. Had plenty of good dry wood and nice running clear water. The country we traveled over today was a mountainous and broken country. Nothing but lofty mountains. It snowed on us today. No appearance of any grass yet out here.

April 14: Marched at the usual hour. Traveled seventeen miles through the Black Hills and camped on the Labonta Creek [37]. It snows again today though this evening it gets warm and pleasant. Still have nice water. We have been traveling in plain view of Laramie Peak [38] for 8 days and are just opposite to it now.

April 15: Marched at the usual time. Traveled twenty miles and camped on big Box Elder [39]. Had a beautiful camp. Plenty of good wood and water. The country we have traveled over today was very broken and sandy. The wind blew hard and made it quite disagreeable traveling facing the wind.

April 16: Easter. Marched at the usual time. Traveled twenty miles. The country remains broken and camped on Deer Creek [40] where D. and L. companies are to be stationed for some time [41]. Plenty of good water but no grass. We crossed Mudy Creek today. We received mail this evening. I got a letter from my wife, the first since we left Cottonwood Springs [42]. I was well pleased to hear from home once more while out in this wild and distant country nine hundred miles from home. Drawed twenty days rations. Heard of the murder of President Lincoln [43] and the injury of Seward [44], two of the best men in our Government. Heard Gen. Grants Army been defeated. It would not have been as large a disaster as the murder of Abraham Lincoln. I can fancy I hear men in Caw Bottom say it is a fine thing that he is killed but I fancy if I was there they would not tell me so if they did I think I should defend the cause of Abraham Lincoln by taking the life of the man who dare make light of the death of as noble a man as every loyal subject to this government knows him to be.

April 17: The Regt. marched at the usual hour except D and L companies who are to be stationed at this camp. The boys are making preparations for washing some, so we can rest after a long and weary march of sixty days. As for my part I feel like rest. It snowed last night about one inch deep but is all gone now and it is not more than 10 o'clock in the forenoon. Our horses are out grazing on the hills.

April 18: Moved camp half mile up Deer creek to obtain a better camping place. We have got our tents spretched. Mine fell down. I raised it up and have banked it up with sod to hold it steady. The wind blows hard, the sand flies thick. We have nice water.

April 19: Snowing, in camp as usual. We have eat our breakfast. Have tied our horses out in the brush to browse and shelter from the storms of this country. It is now getting late and we have brought in our horses to feed and groom them. We have eat some hard tack and bacon and will soon crawl in our tents to shelter us from the miserable snow storms of this country.

April 20: Got up to roll call and found it still snowing. It has now been snowing for the last forty eight hours and no prospects of quiting anyways soon. We have tied our horses in the brush as yesterday. Have eat our breakfast and are now setting around our fires trying to keep warm. It is now getting late and the snow fall as usual. Six of our boys started on a three days hunt this morning.

April 21: Still snowing. One man killed and another wounded by the Indians 12 miles from here while carrying the mail from here to Laramie. The Indians were replused by six soldiers. The Indians numbered twenty or more.

April 22: This morning has the appearance of spring. A ten days scout sent out by Maj. Adams. Our hunting party arrived, had poor luck. Killed one deer only and found the snow difficult.

April 23: Remaining in camp. The weather becomes more calm and pleasant looks like spring. Our scouting party was surprised by a party of thirty Indians last night who succeeded in stampeeing quite a number of our horses, but hurt no man. We killed one or more Indians captured five of their ponies and all our horses except eight.

April 25: The wind has fell and is quite warm and pleasant. We have took breakfast after the usual style. Have our horse out herding on the hills of these sandy plains. Have drawed some pork saddles [45]. They indicate hard times and look as frightful as the devil before day.

April 26: Has the appearance of a rain storm. The wind blows hard from the southwest. A scouting party of forty men ordered out under command of Capt. Booth, L. Company 11th Kansas Cavalry, for two days. The wind ceased to blow as hard as it did. The rain begins to fall and the muttering thunders are heard in the distance, the first this spring which reminds me of old times.

April 27: A.D. 1865. The wind blows hard and the dust renders it quite disagreeable. Our tents blows down. It begins to rain. Deer creek rapidly rising. Posioned one mountain wolf with stricnine. Our hunting party has not returned. The Indians supposed to be moving south on the Arkansas river [46]. Nothing of importance transpired.

April 28: It is calm this morning. The spring birds are singing their notes that I have fondly listened to in old Dixie land, the country of my delight. Deer creek continues to rise.

April 29: Remaining in camp. The weather has the appearance of spring. The grass begins to grow slowly and has the appearance of summer. Deer creek still rises and will while the snow remains in the mountains.

April 30: Mustered for pay once more. Two months and nine days since we left Riley [47]. Today was windy and the dust very disagreeable. The creek falls some today. A couple of the boys got jerked of a raft of logs and very completely ducked.

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Calendar for April, showing the days of the week

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20. Court House Rock is south of Bridgeport, NE, which is on the south side of the North Platte River. Return to reading

21. Chimney Rock is South of North Platte River (NE), just northwest of the Court House. Return to reading

22. Scottsbluff, NE. Return to reading

23. Mitchell, NE is northwest of Scottsbluff along the North Platte River. Return to reading

24. This would be in our present day Wyoming. In 1850 the southeast corner of the present State of WY, along with other territories that belonged to Texas, was purchased by the U.S. from TX for $10,000,000. Return to reading

25. Laramie, WY - although this is believed to mean FORT Laramie, which was on the Oregon Trail. Return to reading

26. This took place at Appomattox Court House, VA on the afternoon of April 9, 1865. Return to reading

27. During the 1860's military attacks and destructive actions of the Sioux Indians, who had declared war against the whites in 1854, became increasingly greater. Return to reading

28. Elijah may mean what is now called Laramie River as it runs through Fort Laramie. Return to reading

29. Fort Laramie. Return to reading

30. North Platte River in WY. Return to reading

31. There is a Sweetwater County and a Sweetwater River. The River is due west of Ft. Laramie about 120 miles. Return to reading

32. In 1847 the Mormons traveled over the Oregon Trail (the first wagon train over the Oregon Trail was in 1842) on their way to Utah. Return to reading

33. Cannot locate Bitter Cottonwood, which would be about 13 miles from Ft Laramie. Return to reading

34. The Black Hills are in South Dakota on the western edge, therefore not sure where the troops were at this point. Return to reading

35. There is a 'Site of Old Horseshoe Stage Station' on Hwy 25 near the town of Glendo, WY. Return to reading

36. There is no Sulphur Springs town or springs listed on the maps of WY today. Return to reading

37. La Bonte Creek flows through Douglas, WY. Return to reading

38. Laramie Peak is 10,272 feet high and is south of Douglas, WY. Return to reading

39. Do not find Big Box Elder on the WY map, although there is a Box Elder Creek in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Return to reading

40. There is a Deer Creek Range south of Casper, WY. Return to reading

41. There is a Ft. Casper at Casper, WY. This may be where D & L companies were to be stationed. Return to reading

42. March 10, 1865. Return to reading

43. April 15, 1865. Return to reading

44. William Henry Seward, born in 1801 and died in 1872. He was an American statesman, admitted to the bar in 1822, and in February 1849 he was elected to the United States Senate, where he served two full terms, being re-elected in 1855. In 1860 he was a candidate for Presidential nomination, but on failing to receive it, gave his hearty support to Mr. Lincoln, whose cabinet he entered as secretary of state. Return to reading

45. These are usually pork ribs, which become rancid after a period of time and not too appetizing to observe. Return to reading

46. The Arkansas River begins in Colorado, rising in the Rocky Mountains. It is 2,000 miles long and travels through the lower western part of Kansas into Oklahoma and on into Arkansas where it enters the Mississippi. Return to reading

47. Riley or Fort Riley, Kansas. Return to reading

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