The Iowa State Register

Des Moines, Iowa; October 17, 1862
From the Twenty-Third, Pilot Knob, Mo
Oct. 10, 1862
Camp of the 23d Iowa Volunteers

Editors of Register: -We left St. Louis at 11 o'clock on Tuesday evening and reached the depot at Pilot Knob on Wednesday about 8 o'clock, A.M. We saw but little of the country along the route, and what we did see, from daylight till we reached our destination, is the most miserable, barren, hungry looking region that my eyes ever beheld.- Nothing could be seen but massive rocks, sterile hills and narrow valleys destitute of verdure. Wherever there is any soil at all, it is of a red, unproductive nature. I saw a few farms,if such they could be called. Twenty acres of Western Iowa land would produce more grain than the best hundred acres within ten miles of our camp. The question that seemed to force itself upon all the Iowans, when they landed here, was "What is there here worth protecting? Apparently there is nothing. Certainly the inhabitants are not worth protecting, but the mines of this region are valuable. The range of hills that surround the camp of this Regiment are almost pure iron, and only a short distance off there are rich lead mines in successful operation. These the rebels desire to obtain. I am informed that they have quite a force encamped about twelve miles from here with the purpose of accomplishing this design. They cannot succeed. The Federal forces in this vicinity are ample to defeat them.

Just as we reached our camp ground on Wednesday, it began to rain. At first, bright sun showers fell. Then the horizon darkened and the rain commenced descending in torrents. All of Wednesday night it poured down upon us without a monents cessation. Every man in the camp was dripping wet when he lay down to rest. Thursday morning early we turned out at the reveille and still it rained most furiously, and at this momen it rains heavier than you ever see it in Iowa. In all this mud and rain the gallant Iowans of the Twenty-Third are as cheerful and gay as larks. You would be astonished to witness the contentment of those who from childhood have been accustomed to the comforts and luxuries of home, as they go about in the discharge of their duties in this camp where they have been saturated with cold rain since Wednesday afternoon. Comparatively few are sick. They are cared for as well as circumstances will permit. When we get sight of the face of the sun again we will prepare better quarters for them. It is said that a "secesh" family dwells not far off in a good house, which would make a very fine hospital. The 23d may take it on the first fair day. We did not come into this desolate country to protect secessionists. They shall be compelled to contribute to the support of Uncle Sam's Government whenever and wherever they are found. This is my individual opinion well founded.

The 5th and 25th Missouri Regiments are stationed here, besides some cavalry. The Missouri Regiments are composed almost exclusively of Gemans, and both together don't number near as many men as the 23d. Several otehr Regiments are stationed a short distance off.

The town of Pilot Knob is a small place inhabited by foreigners, whose chief business is making, selling and drinking Lager Beer and bad whiskey. They put on tall airs, and exhibit a necessity of being taken down a notch or two, which, in due couse of time, will be done.

Col. Boyd, a Missourian, is commander of this post. Col. Poten, A German, command the Brigade to which we are attached.

A prisoner ws brought in last night. He had been taken about forty miles south of here, in a fight between a company of Federal soldiers and a force of bushwhackers. The prisoner is wounded in two places. He had two brothers killed in the fight. Some twenty other bushwhackers were also laid out.

Yours, &c.,

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