A Soldier On Leave
(July 27, 1863 - August 31, 1863)

(From a drawing by Mr. Daniel R. Knight)
Harpers Weekly, January 23, 1864
On July 20, 1863 after returning from the Siege of Jackson to Vicksburg Cyrus Hussey was granted a 20 day leave of absence.  His experiences on this trip illustrate the parales and frustrations soldiers faced even when traveling home on leave. 

Steamboats were extremely dangerous particularly when packed with more troops than they were supposed to carry and makeshift repairs were made by owners to save money.  Their military passengers had little choice but to take what was available.  It is interesting then, that the first steamer that Cyrus Hussey took passage on as he made his way north was the Sultana, which, less than two years later would have a hastely repaired boiler explode resulting in further boiler explosions and fires that killed 1700 people, mostly newly released POWs from Andersonville.  This tragic event holds the record for loss of life in a passenger vessel, more than the 1517 lost on the Titanic.  Fortunately for Cyrus Hussey the Sultana was not overloaded and ran well when he was aboard.  Even so guerrillas fired into the steamer about 50 miles below Memphis severely wounding a soldier from the 29th Wisconsin.  The casualness with which he records this event and the death of two wounded soldiers on board is understandable in a time when death was constantly a companion.

During his stopover in Memphis Capt. Hussey visited Isaac McPherson, a wounded soldier from his company and collected his pay from Maj. McGrath.  Continuing upriver he observes wooding, the taking on board wood to serve as fuel.  During the entire trip he observes the major landmarks and important river traffic such as the Mississippi Marine Brigade which Pvt. Ashley J. Frazier of Company A, 48th OVI had mustered out to join 2/19/1863.

Upon arrival at Cairo, Illinois (pronounced “Kayro” by its inhabitants) at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers he switched to rails.  Despite its strategic location Cairo was a relatively undeveloped place both before and after the Civil War but during the war it boomed.  Bustling with troops and supplies it was a Union center of transport and Hussey found the Hotels were all full and slept in a railroad car in oppressive heat and mosquitoes.  From Cairo he went straight north to Odin in central Illinois where he missed his connection resulting in another delay after which he boarded a train on the Ohio & Mississippi RR, which connected East St. Louis, IL with Cincinnati, OH.  After buying cloths in Cincinnati he took a train home and surprised his family early in the evening.

At home near New Vienna, OH he visits with family, friends, friends, soldiers, former soldiers and relatives of soldiers from Companies A & D of the 48th Ohio.  These include Capt. Frank M. Posegate, (Cos. A&D),  Capt. R. S. Robbins (Co. A) ,  Corp. Ike Carmin (Co. A]) Mr. McPherson (father of wounded Isaac McPherson, Co. A,). 

Cyrus Hussey, a teacher, also was visited by his students, the “young people” and he visited with other teachers who he regularly corresponded with throughout the war.  He comments on Copperheads, Democrats sympathetic to the south, in disparaging terms but mostly he concentrates on socializing and visiting entertainments.  Rebecca, his wife and Martha Hussey, his cousin, accompany him to Cincinnati where they attend an opera, visit a museum and tour the city with Mr. Carmin, probably Ike’s father. 

Leaving on the O.&M. RR he retraces his route north with Corp. Ike Carmin as a companion.  In Memphis he again visits wounded from his company Mike Grady and Ike McPherson then attempts to collect debts owed Capt. Frank Posegate and Lt. Jesse Allison with partial success.  Boarding the City of Alton with Ike Carmin he notes that Gen. U. S. Grant is on Board the steamer.  At Vicksburg he transfers to the Julia which takes him to New Orleans for the exorbitant fare of $10.  Ike Carmine takes the Raymond the rest of the way.  Again they are fired on by guerrillas resulting in the wounding of a cavalryman and the adjutant of the 22nd Kentucky.  On the trip he saw three passengers wounded by hostile fire, riding aboard vessels that could explode, scalding, crushing or drowning anyone aboard.  Leave was safer than battle but travel was dangerous.

Monday the thirty first of August found Captain Hussey busy making out muster rolls for his company in Camp Carrollton in New Orleans.  He was clearly a diligent officer who looked after his men even after they left his command.

The Steamer Sultana, April 26, 1865
Library of Congress

July 27, 1863

Monday July 27th
Got 20 days “Leave of Absence” Making preparations to go home.

Cyrus Hussey


July 28, 1863

Tuesday 28th
Started on Steamer “Sultana” in Evening.  She went up Yazoo after troops to go to Helena Ark.  This will delay us at least one day.
Cyrus Hussey


July 29, 1863

Wednesday 29th
Took 96th Ind. on board.
Very Warm—moved down Yazoo at 4.00 P.M.
Cyrus Hussey


July 30, 1863

Thursday July 30th
Clear & warm.  Passed Napoleon [AR] in P.M. Raining moderately & finally quite slowly.  Met Miss. Marine Brigade above Napoleon.  Passed 8 Musketoon Gun boats at anchor about dusk.  Two deaths on board this P.M.
Cyrus Hussey


July 31, 1863

Friday 31st
Moored at Helena [AR] in the morning.  The troops disembarked & we started again at 12.30 P.M.
Guerrillas fired into us about 50 miles below Memphis.  Wounded a Member of 29th Wis. very badly.  Wrote to Susan Insley.  Reached Memphis about 12.00 Midnight.
Cyrus Hussey


August 1, 1863

Saturday Aug. 1st
Saw Isaac McPherson— His leg very bad & his general health poor.  Got pass renewed.  Wrote to Jess.  Paid by Maj. McGrath to June 30th.
Started at 12.30 P.M.  Had a fine dinner.  Wooded some in the P.M.  Running slow at night.
Cyrus Hussey


August 2, 1863

Sunday Aug. 2nd
Wooded from 6.00 to 7.00 A.M.  115 mi. from Cairo [IL].  Clear & cool.  Arrived at Cairo at Dusk.  Slept in cars.  Musketoes very bad & heat oppressive.  All the Hotels overflowing.
Cyrus Hussey


August 3, 1863

Monday Aug. 3rd
Started for Cincinnati on 3.30 A. M. [Illinois Central] train.  Behind time missed Connection at Odin [IL].  Started on O.&M. train 8.00 P.M.  Got good sleeping car with Capts. Baker & Baldwin.
Cyrus Hussey


August 4, 1863

Tuesday 4th
Arrived in Cinti at 9.00 A.M. Bought clothes &c. Took 3.30 train and reached home after dark.  Surprised my Wife & family.  O what joy in thus meeting those we love.  The family seemed much pleased to see me.  O, how happy she was who had watched & prayed for my coming!
Cyrus Hussey


August 5, 1863

Wednesday Aug. 5th
Went to [New] Vienna [OH] with my Wife.  My health good—my appetite extraordinary.
Cyrus Hussey


August 6, 1863

Thursday 6th
Went to Susburg.  Saw Posegate, Robbins, Ike Carmin, Mr. McPherson &c.  Went to Lewis’, all well. had pleasant time.  Returned home through New Vienna.
Cyrus Hussey


August 7 - 18, 1863

Fri. 7th to Tues 18th
Wrote to Jess on 7th.
Went to Wilmington twice.  Subscribed for “Republican”. & ordered tombstone for “Flora”.  Had pleasant time at Apps,  Cyrus’ Josh Williams,  Ackermans’,  Underwoods’ &c &c.  Went to see Grandmother Hoskins.
Harvested grains light but good.  Corn-heavy.  Money plenty.  Miss Mary Ellis Teaching Writing in our district.  The “Young Folks” all called on me one night & we had a fine time—Sat. night 15th.  Copperheads plenty but in the minority I think.  The feeling of antagonism between them & the Union Men very bitter.  Institute going on at Martinsville Conducted by Mr. Owen. Promised to visit Stephen Hussey’s but could not find time.  I ought not to have visited any.
Cyrus Hussey


August 19, 1863

Wed. Aug. 19th
Started to join my company.  Rebecca & Martha accompanied me to Cincinnati.  Stopped at the Galt House.  Went to Wood’s at night & heard the Holman Opera troupe.  Play fair.
Cyrus Hussey


August 20, 1863

Thursday Aug. 20th
Martha quite sick.  Called on Dr. Wood.  She was a little better in the P.M.  Had Dr. Ludlow visit her twice in Dr. Wood’s absence.  Sat for photographs.
Cyrus Hussey


August 21, 1863

Friday 21st
Martha some better.  Went to museum in the P.M. night.  Scenes to strong for Rebecca’s nerves.  Buying articles.
Cyrus Hussey


August 22, 1863

Saturday 22nd
Rebecca, Martha, Mr. Carmin, & Myself rode out on Walnut Hills, Mt. Auburn &c.  Very pleasant ride—beautiful residences, fine view of the City, &c, &c
Went to the water works,  Our photographs ruined.  Sat for more.  Went to Museum.
Rebecca & Martha much pleased with the curiosities.  Went to hear the Holman Troupe again at night.  Entertainment fai.  I saw Ed Conkling [former Sergeant Major of 48th OVI] while in the City.  Intended to start the P.M. for Cairo but found I could not make the connection.
Cyrus Hussey


August 23, 1863

Sunday August 23rd
Went to hear the Reverend M.P. Gladdis in the A.M.  He preached an excellent sermon.  Martha did not go out.  The time for parting with my dearest treasure now arrived—O, how such partings rend the soul.  O, May Honorable peace return me to my family again.  Took the 5.00 P.M. train for Cairo.  Isaac Carmin with me.  Train ran finely all night.
Cyrus Hussey


August 24, 1863

Monday 24th
Arrived at Odin at 7.00 A.M. & left at 9.45 A.M.  Started for Memphis on the “Hope” at 6.00 P.M.  Slow Boat.
Cyrus Hussey


August 25, 1863

Tuesday Aug. 25th
Running slow.  On bar- broke rudder but ran without one till mended.  Wrote to My Wife to mail at Memphis.  Weather quite cool for two days.
Cyrus Hussey


August 26, 1863

Wednesday 26th
At Memphis could not collect Posegate’s and Allison’s bills.  Saw [Lt.] Coverdale [Co. I] & Mr. Ketchum [former land lord].  Saw Mike Grady in Jackson Hos. & Ike McPherson in Gayese.  Ike better & Mike will be all right.
Cyrus Hussey


August 27, 1863

Thursday 27th
Started on “City of Alton”, at day light.  Genl Grant on Board. Helena [AR] at 11.00 A.M. Left Helena at Sundown.
[Gen.] A.S. Ashboth [Commander of Ft. Pickering] on Board.
Cyrus Hussey


August 28, 1863

Friday Aug. 28th
Arrived in Vicksburg 4.00 P.M.  Took Passage on “Julia” for New Orleans—Fare $10.00  Ike Carmin started on the Raymond.  Wrote to Phebe [sister] & sent letter to my Wife.
Cyrus Hussey


August 29, 1863

Saturday Aug. 29th
Cloudy & damp.  Boat Still unloading.  Recd from Capt. Pierce $51.25 on account of F.M. Posegate.  Wrote Frank [Posegate] & My Wife that she should pay him the $51.25.  Warm.  Started about 6.00 P.M.  Running well.
Cyrus Hussey


August 30, 1863

Sunday 30th
Left Natchez early in the morning.  Passed mouth of Red River at noon.
Waited one hour for a Convoy on account of Guerrillas[.]  Fired into 30 mi. above Port Hudson.  Adjt. 22nd Kentucky wounded in face & a Cavalry man through the hand.  Clear & cool.  Passed Port Hudson [LA] about Sundown.  Bank Steep & about 90 feet high.  10 or 12 large guns on River batteries.
Cyrus Hussey


August 31, 1863

Monday Aug 31st
Morning clear & warm.  Arrived at command about 10.00 A.M.  Co. generally in good health.  Glad to get back.  Making out Rolls.  Muster at 10.00 A.M. by Tice.  Our Corps at [Camp] Carrollton.  Reg’t Berths.
Cyrus Hussey



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August 19, 1863 - October 3, 1863
New Orleans



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