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The 3rd North Carolina Volunteer Infantry at Camp Poland

Contributed By: Jeff Berry
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The following articles provide information on the camp life experienced by the 3rd North Carolina Volunteer Infantry at Camp Poland, Tennessee. The article appeared in the Knoxville Journal and Tribune..

The History:

October 2, 1898:

This regiment is now the only one left at Lonsdale, and in all probability it will soon be moved to another location also. A number of camping sites have been inspected, but the one which in all probability will be selected is located in the Middlebrook pike at the point where the Middlebrook electric line crosses the Knoxville Belt Line railroad. This is a most excellent location, all points considered. The water to be used by the regiment after its removal will be the same as that to be used by the Second Ohio, which will be Tennessee River water, from the mains of the Knoxville Water company. This will be piped from the marble mills, near by.

October 2, 1898:

Now that it has been ordered from Washington that the regimental hospital shall be re-established , in connection with the division hospital, and that each regiment shall have the services of at least two surgeons, one of them being of the rank of major, much speculation is being indulged in as to where the extra surgeons shall come from. As is well known none of the regiments in Camp Poland, with the exception of the colored regiments, have the required number of surgeons. Seven surgeons of this division were sent to Cuba and Porto Rico, while the troops were at Chickamauga, and a number have been made brigade surgeons, or detailed to the division hospital. The Second Ohio, for instance, has at present none of its surgeons with the regiment, Captain McDonald, of the Fourth Tennessee, having been detailed as its regimental surgeon, while at the same time acting as brigade surgeon. The Thirty-First Michigan is in much the same fix as the Second Ohio, having none of its regular surgeons with it, a contract surgeon, Dr. Haze, acting in the capacity of regimental surgeon. It is very probable that when surgeons are assigned to the regiments so that the recent order may be out in force, or in other words, so that each regiment shall have at least two surgeons, a number of contract surgeons will be among the numbers.

It will be remembered, that when Secretary Alger was here he stated that no more surgeons could be commissioned without the consent of congress, but that if more surgeons were needed he would see to it that a sufficient number of contract surgeons would be furnished. From this it is believed that in a short time Camp Poland will have a number of contract surgeons assisting in caring for the sick.

October 3, 1898:

It is now almost certain that the camp of this regiment will be removed to the hillside on the Middlebrook pike at the point where the street car track crosses the railroad and it is expected that as soon as the water pipes are laid from the mains of the Knoxville Water company. The camp will be moved.

Yesterday many of the officers and men enjoyed the hospitality of colored residents of the city, who invited them out to dinner.

The regiment yesterday furnished one detail of four hundred men to assist in laying the water pipes to the new camping grounds of the Third brigade on the Middlebrook pike.

October 3, 1898:

A force of six hundred soldiers was busy at work yesterday laying the water pipes to the camp. Four hundred of these were from the Third North Carolina regiment and two hundred from the Second Ohio. It is expected that the water will be running at the company kitchens by tomorrow, at the latest. The city water will be used exclusively.

October 5, 1898:

The following letter is reported to have been sent to Secretary of War Alger by members of this regiment. The names of those who signed the letter were not given to The Journal and Tribune reporter with the copy of the letter.

Third North Carolina Regiment
(All companies) Sept. 23, 1898,

To the Secretary of War:

Dear Sir:--We the undersigned many soldiers, heard that you had been instructed that we wanted to stay in service as garrison duty, but my dear sir, we are now pleading with mercy and deny any such report as there had been reported and we feel that our superior officers has treated us wrong to hold us in service without we knowing anything about it.

We the undersigned did not join the service for garrison duty. We only sacrificed our lives and left our homes simply for the honor of our flag and the destruction of our country and families as the war was going on at that time, but now the war is over and we do feel that we might be mustered out of service because we are getting letters from our families every day or two stating the suffering condition, and oh my God, the way that we are treated. We have to drill harder than any other regiment on the grounds and after drilling so hard, we have to work so hard. We have to cut ditches, sink holes and fill up gullies, put in water pipes. We, the 3rd N.C. regiment soldiers has not had but one pair of pants, one coat, two undershirts, one top shirt. We are in a box fit. Our food is not fit to eat, and oh my dear sir, we are bound up in a little place about 400 feet long 3 feet wide. Just think of the confinement we are under just because we volunteered freely to fight for our country.

We the undersigned many soldiers did not volunteer for garrison duty and we do not think that our honorable government will take the advantage of willing and faithful men who came to the rescue of the flag, stars and stripes. We have a great deal more to tell you but we can not express ourselves like it ought to be done.

Down at Fort Macon we was misled. The question was asked who wanted to stay in the service and go to the front if necessary, called upon them to raise hands, but the question never was asked if we wanted to do garrison duty. If they had of asked that question we never would have been in Knoxville today. Why don’t you know as a good thinking man that we don’t want to leave our wives and families to go on garrison duty. Why if so you would have had more applications in the white house than the mail box would have helt.

You know that these officers is getting a very good salary and they would go in three miles of hell after that dollar, but we who are brave men did not come for the sake of that $15.60, but we gloried in the flag and come to hold it up by the balls and shells. So as we did not get a chance to do so we hope that you will consider this matter. Look it over, give us the judgment of justice and if you do we will go home to our families who are in a suffering condition, so we will not write any more.

We the undersigned await your earliest reply. Many soldiers of the Third North Carolina regiment. We want to go home.

October 6, 1898:

At the camp of the third yesterday nothing special happened, except that a number of men were detailed to stake out the new camp grounds near the camp of the Second Ohio. The new site is an ideal place, being on a gentle slope, making good drainage. The officers’ row of the camp will be in the edge of the woods on top of the hill.

Chaplain Henry Durham yesterday handed in to headquarters his report for the month of September, which is as follows:

“Held religious services twenty-four times, visits to sick officers six; visits to enlisted men, one hundred; visits to prisoners in the guardhouse, ten; held service twice. Number seeking advice, one hundred and fifty. Personal visits to men in tents, one thousand. Married one. Buried one. The amount of money deposited with me by the men $200. There have been eight soldiers tried before a general court-martial for whom I appeared as counsel. The number converted during the month of September was eighty-five.”

Sunday evening at the new camping place of this regiment at Middlebrook, a silk flag will be presented to the Greensboro (N.C.) boys, of company E. the flag is given by the colored women of Greensboro, N.C. Major Dellinger, chief surgeon, will present the flag to the boys and Lieutenant D.J. Gilmore will accept in behalf of his Greensboro boys

October 7, 1898:

Orders wee issued yesterday from division headquarters relative to the different regiments taking practice marches.
The order is as follows:--

The following regulations for the conduct of practice marches are published for the information and guidance of all concerned:--Once each week or on days to be indicated by brigade commanders, each regiment of the division will make a practice march from its camp of not less than ten miles, remaining out one night and returning the following day.

The men will be equipped with shelter tents, ponchos, blankets and haversacks. There will be carried in wagons one days; rations, full, and necessary tentage for officers, Until further orders, the First brigade will operate south of the river, the second to the north, between the river and Second creek, and the Third to the southwest, between Second creek and the lower river. Marches will be made with proper tactical disposition of advance and rear guards, and in execution of an assumed and definite problem, involving the country traversed; the problem to be prescribed by the brigade commander, who may use all the regiments of his brigade in combination, if he so desires.

Itineraries will be kept and maps made in accordance with article X: “troops in campaign,” and reports made to this office.

One company in each regiment will be left in charge of the regimental camp and property and the camp will not be broken.


October 7, 1898:

Affairs at Camp Poland wee very quiet yesterday only routine work being done, except the Third North Carolina regiment moved to its new camping place and the command is now located at the intersection of the Middleborook  car line and the K.C.G. & L., railway. This is the last regiment to leave Lonsdale and that place is now deserted.

October 7, 1898:

At last the Third is in its new camp and while they have not yet become settled,, the men are working hard to get everything in ship-shape.
All of yesterday was taken up with moving and when night came the men wee ready to rest. No drills of any kind were held during the day.

October 8, 1898:


A general order was issued today organizing new army corps and designating various points where the troops shall be stationed. The Third, Fifth, and Sixth corps are discontinued; the First, Second, and Fourth corps reorganized. They are to be commanded respectively by Major-Generals Breckinridge, Graham, and Wheeler. The headquarters of each corps will be: First corps, Macon, Ga.; Second corps, Augusta, Ga., Fourth corps, Huntsville, Ala. The full text of the order is as follows:

Major-general J.C. Breckinridge, U.S.V., commanding headquarters at Macon, Ga.

First division, headquarters at Macon, Ga.:--
First brigade-Atlanta, Ga. Thirty-first Michigan, Fourth Tennessee and Sixth Ohio
Second brigade- Macon, Ga. Third U.S.V. engineers, Second Ohio and Sixth Virginia
Third brigade- Macon, Ga. Tenth U.S.V., infantry and Seventh U.S.V. infantry

Second division, headquarters at Columbus, Ga.:--
First brigade—Columbus, Ga. First West Virginia, 160th Indiana and Third Kentucky
Second brigade—Americus, Ga. Eighth Massachusetts, Twelfth New York and Third North Carolina
Third brigade—Albany, Ga. Second Missouri, Third Mississippi and First Territorial U.S.V., infantry

October 8, 1898:

Affairs at the Third are rapidly assuming their natural condition and in a few days the men will settle down to routine work. The situation of the camp is very satisfactory to all the men. Drills will be begun today and next week the practice marches will be tackled. Already numerous refreshment stands have been erected near the camp and the owners are expecting a big business on pay day. The health of the regiment still remains exceptionally good, showing good management on the part of the officers and good physical condition of the men.

October 9, 1898:

The men of the regiment wee busy yesterday between showers, cleaning up the camp, which is rapidly assuming a first-class condition.

The kitchen shanties have now been completed and the cooks can keep out of the rain.

A private of this regiment expressed himself in very decided tones about going to Georgia. He was talking to some of his comrades and expressed himself as follows:-“No sah, I don’t want no Gawgie fuh dis niggah.” [editor's note: we quote the newspaper for historical reasons, not because we approve of the language] He evidently thinks Knoxville is good enough.

October 9, 1898:

The cosmopolitan library is well patronized by members of the Virginia and North Carolina regiments.

October 10, 1898:

Since the recent rain the camp is in good condition and yesterday a large number of visitors were in the camp. The health of the regiment remains very good, comparatively few of the men being in the hospital. The hospital of the Third is situated in a pleasant position and the men have all the comforts possible, and a good corps to take care of them. A number of the men were allowed the privilege of going into the city yesterday and many were in attendance at the numerous negro churches.

October 11, 1898:

The drill ground for the Third has been selected. It is the open space east of the camp and is a very good place. The men were out yesterday having company drill, the first since moving to their new camp and thy showed up in good form. Although it is almost a sure thing that the regiment will be taken away from Knoxville, a number of refreshment stands continue to be erected near the camp.  The proprietors of these stands surely thing the North Carolina boys will turn lots of money loose when pay day arrives.

Two of the companies were drilled by one of the lieutenants on Gen. Rosser’s staff yesterday and the work done by them was very good.

October 12, 1898:

Nothing if interest has happened in this camp and only routine work is being done. The news that the paymasters have arrived was of course decidedly welcome, and the men now want to see “the color of their money.” The tents are being rapidly floored, and in a few days the men will be fixed as comfortably as is possible, for the remaining time they are in Camp Poland.

The men have about finished the work of cleaning up the camp and are doing regular drill work.

October 13, 1898:

Pay day is eagerly looked for by the men in the Third and the “man with the coin”[paymaster] will be a welcome guest in camp. The band of the regiment is now getting in some good work and is making a very creditable showing. The men are still hard at work at drills and in a few days will make a practice march of several miles into the surrounding country.

October 13, 1898:

[At the Division Hospital] The record yesterday was: Received 3, including two negro patients from the Third North Carolina regiment; discharged, 20; remaining, 269; deaths none. This is a smaller number than has been in the hospital for nearly a month and the list continues to decrease.


The Journal and Tribune (Knoxville, TN), October 2, 1898; October 3, 1898; October 5, 1898; October 6, 1898; October 7, 1898; October 8, 1898; October 10, 1898; October 11, 1898; October 12, 1898; October 13, 1898 - Contributed by Jeff Berry

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