Sunday, 25 January 2015


William Adddison Bushnell war a Union soldier, who enlisted in California in 1864. By joining this late in the conflict (the war ending in 1865) and his post on the other side of the continent to where the majority of fighting was, Private Bushnell , was subject to garrison service and his account is of his conditions as a soldier on the frontier.

His accounts vary in length and detail, some entries give a view into his day to day transfer movements or other piece that are descriptive of the environment and his thoughts, additionally his diary accounts contain poems written describing his surroundings to give a view of the frontier. some of these include;

'Oh such is the desert that burns like a furnace
A treeless waste of immeasurable sand-
That conspires with the sun to torture and burn us
Through the width and the breadth of this water-less land'
                                                  -ON THE DESERT 1865 Sept. 25

Oct. 22 (1864) - Lay over to-day and rest ourselves after our big march. Had a thunder shower in the evening accompanied with a strong wind, which came near lifting our tents off the ground, but little rain fell,
Oct. 13 - , March 16 miles and encamp on the river among heavy willows and weeds, interspersed with cottonwoods. Capt. Stewart caught a splendid Salmon. A train of Emigrants camp near, they are from Texas Hill and represent themselves as being "hard up".

Oct. 14 - -Leave camp as usual at 5 A. M. In two miles pass Mohawk Station. Nine miles further pass Texan Hill and still six miles further reach, Teamsters or Shady Camp, and halt for the day. A portion of the command got on the wrong road, or rather on no road at all, for which they were indebted to Captain Noyes. Shady Camp consists of a few cottonwood trees, standing on the banks of the Gila, and were it not for the dust, and wind would be an agreeable place. McGinnis shot a crane across the river. The boys caught some nice fish.. Distance 17 miles. (not the fish)

Oct. 15, -  Travel 14 miles and encamp at Grinnells Station, on the Rio, at a nice grove, and a sort of house made of poles or logs set on end. The occupants were two or three white men, and as many Mexican women, Watermelons for sale at tres reals, a piece. Some of the teams are sent over the river after barley for the mules. Our time of traveling since we left is pretty regular, "Reville" sounds at 4 A. M. immediately after comes "Role Call" then follows the "General", which means for all hands to hurry up and get ready for the road. About five the "Assembly" sounds and the companies fall in, and await the call "forward" which soon sounds off and off we go. In two hours we halt and rest a few minutes, and at the end of every hour thereafter until we halt for the day.

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