Who was Turner anyway?

Who was Turner anyway?

Click on this image to find out who Turner was.

Field Musicians Wanted!

A Turner Bugler, 2004

Click on this image to learn about opportunities as a bugler, fifer or drummer with the Turner Brigade.

Another Letter from Van Buren


January and February 1863

From The Missouri Democrat, Wednesday, January 7, 1863.

Another Letter.

VAN BUREN, MO., Dec. 28, 1862.

Editors Missouri Democrat:

Since I last wrote you we have slightly changed our location, and now our little army of Southeast Missouri, is camped on the bank of the Current river, in a hilly, heavily wooded country, inhabited by butternuts, mainly of traitorous proclivities. Most of them are playing the old stereotyped farce of “strong Union” while the army is at their doors, but the soldiers who came out to crush rebellion think this threadbare comedy is about “played out” and the whining hypocrites find little favor at their hands.

There are a few guerrillas hovering around us, but probably no force sufficient to hold a single regiment in check within forty miles of us. I suppose these roving cut throats will pounce on our trains occasionally when they happen to be five times as strong as the escort; but they take good care to keep out of single range of our boys unless they outnumber them in about that ratio. It would be unmilitary were I to tell you how many troops we have here and how many cannon, but I am safe in saying we have soldiers enough and guns enough to clean out any ten thousand Confederate traitors that choose to mass themselves and come up to see us. We seem to be moored fast enough here, and we are a patient body of men, but there is a deep earnest wish in the heart of every patriot in this army, that we may be “cut loose” and sent sailing down into Dixie. It may be because we were not trained in the proper schools in our boyhood, or it may be from other causes, but somehow the soldiers in this army, and I believe in all the armies of the Union have imbibed the idea and have nursed it until it has become an irresistible conviction, that hard marching and hard fighting are the only salvation of the Republic. They are tired and sick of reading our “special correspondent’s” nicely worded accounts of “skillful combinations” and “strategy” with no tangible results. They see the dark, stern, terrible fact staring them in the face that “all quiet along the lines” means disintegration and dissolution of the Union. The many thousand readers of the DEMOCRAT, when they open their morning paper in their tidy sitting rooms or sumptuously furnished parlor, and read of short rations and leaky tents in the field, have a deep sympathy for the soldiers, and with a patriotism commensurate with their sympathy, they send stores of necessaries and luxuries to the hospitals and camps to increase our comfort. We thank them most heartily for all this sympathy and kindness, but there is a deeper, stronger sympathy which we ask of them, nay demand of them, as they love their country, and it is this, that they at once awake to a full and realizing sense of the fact now patent to us, that the armies of the Republic must move and fight, and keep moving and fighting, and when awakened, let them apply to the motor that pressure necessary to set the machine in motion: then let the roar of cannon and clash of steel echo and ring from Washington to Kansas, in ceaseless din, each successive reverberation rolling deeper and deeper down the valleys of the South, until from Cape Sable to Mexico, they burst out over the broad waters of the Gulf in an angry defiance to British and Gallic inter-meddlers. This is the sympathy we ask for. We are ready to march on half rations and without tents, we will endure privation and hardship cheerfully, but for God’s sake let us fight. Experience, humanity, common-sense, all say fight. The spirits of our brave comrades fallen in this great struggle for national existence, beseech us to fight; the angel of liberty, with Cyprus twined around her brows, and clad in garments of mourning, pointing to the graves of our fathers, implores us to fight, and fight we must, or it will soon be forever too late. Gentle reader, don’t be afraid of blood; don’t talk about compromise—that is treason. The American people have now before them two alternatives—hard fighting and the Republic preserved, or a “masterly inactivity” and the Republic destroyed. To talk of any other result is madness. If we perish as a nation it is our own fault. We have the men, the arms and the ammunition—we can find the food on the march—to crush out this rebellion completely, in four months. It is folly to talk of the South being in a starving condition. She can feed her armies and keep them in the field for a generation; and more than that, an army large enough to conquer her can go down and do it without the Government furnishing a single pound of bread or meat. I am perfectly satisfied that I am not mistaken in this, and I am ready for one to start South to-morrow for a four months’ tramp, without provision train or any “base of supplies,” and take the chances of starvation. Can we go?