Diary of Sgt. John W. Sparkman
John W. Sparkman, Sr., author of this diary was born in Tennessee, February 3, 1835. On November 30th, 1861, he volunteered for war duty and was mustered into the service of the state of Tennessee at Nashville. The diary begins with an entry for December 16, 1861 and continues through the three and one half years of war and includes a short diary of his post-war adventures in Louisiana and New Orleans from October 14, 1866 to March 29, 1867, the date on which he reached his home in Clifton, Tennessee, firmly resolved never again to desert it for life in a city.
The original manuscript from which this was copied belongs to the son of the author, John W. Sparkman, Jr., of Huffman, Alabama, who very generously permitted the Birmingham Public Library to make a transcript for preservation in its Southern History Collection. In condensed form, parts of the diary appeared in the magazine section of the Birmingham News, February 11, 1940, as a feature article contributed by Fred H. Taylor of the Birmingham News staff. Except for these excerpts, it has never before appeared in print.
Birmingham Public Library
1861When the war broke out between the seceded States and the U.S. I espoused the cause of the South. I was in Ark. At the time and in very bad health. I came home and my health so far recovered that when Gov. Harris called for the 30,000 in Nov. I thought I was well enough to try it and if I got better well and good if I got worse I could only be discharged from the service, so on the 30th day of Nov. I with a number of others volunteered and were mustered into the service of the State of Tennessee. Every preparation was to make and by the utmost exertion we by the 16th of Dec. are ready to go and bid farewell to home & friends for a while, perhaps never to return.
Dec. 16th. Left home & went 7 miles to Waynesboro where we were very hospitably entertained by the citizens of Waynesboro & vicinity & Mr. Galaway preached us a fine sermon after we got to Waynesboro. We each one drew a good rifle. All are in fine spirits and seem like they are going to frolic but it is very likely some of them will soon find out the reality.
Dec. 17th. Came 26 miles to Henryville where we were kindly treated by the people of Henryville & vicinity. We were welcomed by Capt. White & company & we had the name of being the civilest company that ever was in the place & it is true that most of the boys were sober & well behaved. Road & weather are very fine.
Dec. 18th. Came 16 miles to Mt. Pleasant, Maury County, where we were received like brothers by the people of the town & neighborhood who had prepared to receive us. We had good roads and fine weather. We came up in wagons which our kind friends furnished us. The sorrow we naturally felt on leaving home & friends perhaps never to see them again was soon driven away by the kind treatment we received on the road & the cheers of the ladies as they waved their handkerchiefs at us & greeted us with smiles.
Dec. 19th. Came 60 miles on the cars to Nashville, Davidson County. We passed through (or by) Columbia, Springhill & Franklin & as we passed along we cheered by the ladies which drew forth loud shouts from the boys. It was 10 ½ o’clock when we got to Nashville & we were immediately marched to camp Weakley 2 ½ miles East of Nashville where we spent the rest of the day in fixing up our tent. Here we are to stay and drill & organize a Regt.
Dec. 20th. We ditched around our tents & built flues to our tents, they were the Sibly tent & fifteen men has to lie in one of them, which crowds them very much. The flue is a square hole in the middle of the tent with a smoke flue leading under the ground outside of the tent, then a low chimney of rock or turf. This is better than no fire at all but it is not at all good for it smokes badly when the wind blows the wrong way, which is very often.
Dec. 21st. We were transferred to the Confederate States & several of the boys were rejected & Wm. Warrenton refused to be transferred, he said he was not able to drill so he went to Nashville and was rejected. I went to the Capitol & from it took a look at the city, it being on an elevated place. I had a fine view. The Capitol is well worth seeing. There are several fine houses in the city & across Cumberland River there is a suspension bridge. Edgefield is on the East side of the river.
Dec. 22nd. Our first Sunday in camps and it was rainy making it very bad cooking & we were crowded in tents.
Dec. 23rd. Turned cold last night so we lay in our tents most of the day. Our friends are coming to see us already.
Dec. 24th. Drilled A.M. & P.M. we carried our guns to Nashville to have them fixed in good shooting condition.
Dec. 25th. Heard my first sermon in camp. Wm. Johnson & Lieut. Hardin went home on furlough they being our first.
Dec. 26th. Drilled. Capt. Reed’s company from Nashville came in today.
Dec. 27th. Drilled. I have taken & am suffering with toothache & dyspepsia.
Dec. 28th. Suffered very much with my jaw & the dyspepsia. Mr. Fuson & J.H. Fallegly came in & Mr. Trogmorton on a visit.
Dec. 30th. 4 left on furlough 2 sick.
Dec. 31st. Went to Nashville & spent the most of the day looking at the city. Fine weather now.
1862Jan. 1st. With today we began a new year & began something new to us. We put out our first guard today & we were all green. In camp the Guards stand twenty-four hours; they are on their posts 2 hours & off 4 hours. Not allowed to pull off their clothes during the 24 hours & a sentinel must not leave his post till he is relieved.
Jan. 2nd. Very fine weather in camp.
Jan. 3rd. Drs. Childers, Robison & Barber from Wayne were with us today.
Jan. 4th. Two companies from Dekalb & one from White county came in, most of them are rough looking fellows.
Jan. 5th. A damp (day)? So we kept in tents.
Jan. 6th. Cool & windy so we lay up today.
Jan. 7th. Capt. Burnett’s company came in from Williamson county today. The 53rd Regt. Was organized. Abernathy Col.
Jan. 8th. Rained most of the day.
Jan. 9th. Rained a little today.
Jan. 10th. Several Wayne county men here.
Jan. 11th. Warm & pleasant.
Jan. 12th. Heard Dr. McFerrin & Mr. Fenley preach.
Jan. 13th. Turned cold last night & sleeted some today. Quite unpleasant.
Jan. 14th. Cold & sleety so we lay up in our tents most of the day.
Jan. 15th. Rained last night & is warmer today.
Jan. 16th. Cool & cloudy.
Jan. 17th. Tolerably pleasant & clear.
Jan. 18th. Part of Col. Abernathy’s Regt. Left here today.
Jan. 19th. Capt. Reed’s company went back to Nashville for guards.
Jan. 20th. Rainy A.M. Capt. Martin’s Co. left late P.M.
Jan. 21st. Went to Nashville & visited the pork packing establishing belonging to the Government. There I saw immense quantities of pork but I fear a great deal of it will spoil the weather is so warm. I also went to see the cannon namufactory. I saw cannons & balls in some quantities. It is worth seeing.
Jan. 22nd. Another company came in today.
Jan. 23rd. The first clear day in 2 weeks or more. Warm & damp.
Jan. 24th. Seven companies came in from Wayne & Lawrence counties.
Jan. 25th. Fine clear weather & warm for the time of the year.
Jan. 26th. Heard J. P. Richardson & Jas. Straghom preach & at the same time there was horse-racing in a few hundred yards & I doubt the propriety of preaching in camp. Maj. Combs Battalion went to Ft. Donelson.
Jan. 27th. Quite warm & pleasant.
Jan. 28th. Capt. McEwin’s Co. went to Nashville for guard.
Jan. 29th. Somewhat rainy today.
Jan 30th. Two more Wayne county companies came in & several citizens with them. There is considerable sickness in our company; about 40 on the sick list.
Jan. 31st. Some came in that were left behind when the Co’s came up.
Feb. 1st. Cool damp & cloudy like most of the weather since we came here. Quite unhealthy weather.
Feb. 2nd. About like yesterday. I am unwell at present.
Feb. 3rd. I am 27 years old today. Leroy Roberts died, the first of our company. He relapsed with measles.
Feb. 4th. Came to Niel S. Brown’s sick. I have been unwell several days & think I have the measles. J.A. Baldridge has been kind to me. Walter Whitaker died today.
Feb. 5th. I have the measles. This is the first day I recollect of being confined to my room by sickness & if the weather was pleasant I could go out now.
Feb. 6th. Our Regt. (54) was organized by electing – Dearing Col. Commanding, Dav. Skillern Lieut. Col. & ____________ McMackin Maj; as soon as they organized they were sent down to Clarksville on Cumberland River. I am left behind sick.
Feb. 7th. Wm. McMahon, Carroll Reeves & H.J. Sanderson died today.
Feb. 8th. Cloudy & spitting snow a little. Martin V. Waller died in the hospital.
Feb. 9th. A pretty day. I was out for the first time since I came here. Thos. Wilson died.
Feb. 10th. All of our sick are at private houses & at the hospital.
Feb. 11th. I have been here a week & think I am doing very well.
Feb. 12th. Pretty day. Mr. Whitaker left for home, his son is here sick.
Feb. 13th. Warm & cloudy. I was able to walk a mile & back again.
Feb. 14th. Turned cold last night & this morning the ground was white with snow. Cold wind with sunshine occasionally. Fighting at Fort Donelson on Cumberland River.
Feb. 15th. Cold & partly cloudy, still fighting at Fort Donelson.
Feb. 16th. Fort Donelson surrendered last night & the Bowling Green troops (10,0000) passed here today. I saw Henry and the rest of Col. Biffle’s Battalion. The excitement is very great some running one way & some another some leaving home while others are glad. The soldiers do not want to leave Nashville without a fight.
Feb. 17th. I went to Nashville this morning & all was confusion; people were leaving in carriages, wagons & any way that they could get off. The streets almost blockaded with vehicles, & business houses were nearly all closed. The Government meat was being carried off by the citizens of the city. I went back to Edgefield got my clothes & bid farewell to Mrs. Brown who treated so kindly during my stay with her. I came to the cars at the depot and got on (not in) for they were full 3 hours before starting) & came to Springhill & from there out to Uncle Jack Rountree’s.
Feb. 18th. Nothing worsted by my ride I stayed at Uncle Jack’s till late then got with cousin Amon Sparkman & went to cousin John Alaxander’s.
Feb. 19th. Rained considerably last night & today & late this evening I returned to Uncle Jack’s. Scott got home a.m.
Feb. 20th. Heard that Nashville was surrendered but it is not certain.
Feb. 21st. We hear all kinds of rumors but nothing reliable can be obtained.
Feb. 22nd. Rained last night & most of the day today sometimes very hard.
Feb. 23rd. Uncle Jack Rountree was kind enough to send me very near to Columbia to Uncle Jack Mangrum’s.
Feb. 24th. Went to Columbia to stay all day & go to Mt. Pleasant P.M. but finding that the cars would not run today, I started to walk but met with Mr. Metcalf who took me to Mt. Pleasant without charge; then I walked 2 miles & got to ride 5 with Mr. Weaver: after walking a short distance I got with Wesley Voss & his father & rode to Henryville where I stayed with cousin Matt Smith & her husband the Dr.
Feb. 25th. Got a buggy & I & cousin Terry Smith went down home and found all well. I have been very fortunate in getting conveyance home & am nearly as well as when I left home but not near so stout. I have been away 2 months & a third.
Feb. 26th. Left home & came back to Henryville not thinking it safe to stay at home. I met Mr. Fuson coming after those of Capt. Hughes’ Co. that are at home, he told me that Maj. Nixon was commanding our Regt.
Feb. 27th. Left Henryville & took dinner at Capt. Curry’s then went to Uncle Wm. Keeton’s & found John suffering from a wound received at Ft. Donelson, he has enysipelas pretty badly.
Feb. 28th. Went to Lawrenceburg to meet Col. Dearing but he was sick & but 50 or 75 of the Regt. were there. I was the only one from Wayne County. We have orders from Maj. Nixon to meet Mar. 5th to start to Head Quarters. I fear that but few will come here that day.
Mar. 1st. Went Esq. West’s to an election & saw some of my old friends there was but little interest taken in the election by any one.
Mar. 2nd. Went to Mr. Caruther’s to hear some news from the army but could not learn much about it. Warm and very rainy.
Mar. 3rd. Turned cold & snowed today. Took dinner at Mr. Nowlins.
Mar. 4th. Pretty till late p.m. when it rained.
Mar. 5th. Left cousin John improving slowly came to Lawrenceburg & spent most of the day then went 5 miles out the Pulaskia road to J. P. Richardson’s. But few met to go back to the army.
Mar. 6th. Came 14 miles to Pulaskia & stayed awhile with the boys then went out to the widow Carter’s. I have been out of camp more than a month. Cold windy & a little snow. A part of Capt. Hughes’ a part of Capt. Ives & a few of Capt. Jones men did not go home in the stampe from Clarkesville.
Mar. 7th. I came to camp & was sent to wait on Alf Montague who is sick at Maj. Jones’. Maj. Nixon is gone after men who have not returned to the Regiment. I got to a Newspaper which was a treat after being 3 weeks without one.
Mar. 8th. Some 8 or 10 of our company returned to camp today.
Mar. 9th. I was at the camp & find to my sorrow that Sunday is but little regarded in camps. If war is right it must be right to do evil that good may come of it.
Mar. 10th. I was on the square today for the first time. Pulaskia is a nice town on the Nashville & Decatur Railroad & it is in a fine portion of country.
Mar. 11th. This has been a lovely spring day the air is so refreshing the birds sing so sweetly that it would fill one with pleasure were it not for the sad state of affairs at present.
Mar. 12th. Went to the hospital & saw some of the boys. Thought I heard some cannons firing today.
Mar. 13th. Rainy a.m. & gloomy all day. Several more of our company came in.
Mar. 14th. Rainy again very rainy for the last month & quite warm for the season.
Mar. 15th. More rain so the waters are very high the creek looks like a river.
Mar. 16th. I was at the camp & the boys are in very fine spirits.
Mar. 17th. Left Alf & went to the depot to go off on the cars but failing to get off some of the en had to lie on the platform or sit by the fire all night but it was not very cold. We hear that the Yankees are not very far off in the direction of Nashville & are coming on this way.
Mar. 18th. Left Pulaski 11 ½ o’clock & got to Decatur 3 ½ p.m. There was fine land till we left Elk River then it was not so good. Athens 15 miles from Decatur a nice little town. Decatur is on the South bank of Tenn. River where the Memphis & Charleston R.R. crosses it. The river here is wide & the water is quite high. The army have retreated across Tenn. to this place without showing fight. There is many a sad heart in Tenn. Many of the citizens & soldiers too are willing to give up without another struggle believing that with Tenn. We lost all chance of liberty. I must admit that the prospect is gloomy but worse prospects have become bright & they have done well so we ought not to despond.
Mar. 19th. Rainy & muddy. The cars are very in carrying off troops to Tuscumbia or some point further West. Alf came to us.
Mar. 20th. Somewhat cloudy & cool. Saw cousin Scott Rountree, Neely Scott & Geo. Farrow.
Mar. 21st. More rain. The cars are still very busy; running day & night but as to what is to be done we can only guess.
Mar. 22nd. Snowing a little. Busy in the Q.M. department getting clothes, etc.
Mar. 23rd. Col. Biffle’s Battalion came in this evening & camped near us. I was with them. Henry is well & most of them look very well.
Mar. 24th. Still cool & cloudy & but little appearance of good weather.
Mar. 25th. Pretty day. Was busy writing & distributing clothing.
Mar. 26th. Warm & pleasant.
Mar. 27th. I am not very well. Provisions are high, butter 50 cts. Per lb. Eggs 20 cts. Per doz. Salt 7 cts. Per lb. & other things in proportion.
Mar. 28th. A pretty day. I washed all over the creek, it was not very cold.
Mar. 29th. Cooked up 1 day’s rations & had orders to be ready to strike tents at any moment. We suppose to go to Corinth Miss. Where our army is at.
Mar. 30th. Had a sermon. It caused my mind to run back to “Old Wayne” & may I soon be there in peace.
Mar. 31st. March is now out & it has been mostly wet & cool and some of it very wet. There has been very little cold weather yet vegetation is very backward in this part of the country.
Apr. 1st. Fine weather. Most of our Regt. Want to move, I think just for a change for troops soon become tired of almost any place.
Apr. 2nd. Saw Harvey. He is in fine health & spirit. Maj. Nixon went to Corinth to get transportation & better guns as we have nothing but old flintlock Muskets.
Apr. 3rd. I was at the burial of a fellow soldier. There was a child from the neighborhood buried at the same time but what a contrast at the grave of the soldier. There was no fond mother or kind sister to weep around his grave but at that of the child there was the friends & relatives weeping around. There were several graves of our soldiers there. There are many of the soldiers that suffer for want of attention, some it cannot be given others are neglected. How dreadful is war!
Apr. 4th. Alf Montage got back with medicine. He is very sick. Maj. Nixon got back & has promise of transportation. Hard rain & wind soon this morning. I rode out & it was a sad sight to see the farms without fences the soldiers having burned them. Any army is to be dreaded even if they are friends. Soldiers when they first go out are shocked at such thing but by degrees they will become used to it & will even do the same things without remorse.
Apr. 5th. We went to the depot a.m. This is the first time I was ever at the breaking up of a camp. There was a stir and it was soon quite muddy owing to a rain a.m. We left for Corinth at 12 o’clock and were soon out of sight of Decatur. It is sad to retreat & leave home in possession of the enemy but it was somewhat relieved by the beauties of Spring, the trees are putting forth fresh leaves and the gardens are filled with flowers. 20 or 25 miles from Decatur we passed Courtland then a little further was Leighton. Here we stayed 3 hours waiting for the up train. We got to Tuscumbia a little after dark and there left Alf Montague very sick. There are some fine farms on the road & near Courtland there is a very large spring said to be the only one in the valley.
Apr. 6th. We went from Tuscumbia to Burnsville in the night & can tell but little about it. We left Burnsville at sun up got to Corinth at 8 o’clock a.m. unloaded the cars & struck camps near the R.R. I was so busy that it hardly seemed like Sunday. Cannons were heard in the direction of Tenn. River & late p.m. we heard that there had been a hard battle & we had whipped badly.
Apr. 7th. I was in Corinth. It is quite a business little place & the crossing of the Mobile & Ohio R.R. & the Memphis & Charleston R.R. Look any way & you could see plenty of tents but most of the men are gone out to fight the Yanks. There are many rumors about the fight mostly in our favor. Gen. Johnson was killed & several other officers. I saw several wounded in Corinth. Some 1500 or 2000 Yankee prisoners came in p.m. & among them was one of the 54th Tenn. Regt. Who had deserted & joined the enemy. It looks hard for parcel of men to have another parcel under guard but war is a horrible thing any way & may the time soon come when war will no more be heard of only as a thing of the past. The remains of the 48th & 54th Tenn. Regts. were put together & called the 48th. Gen. G. H. Nixon was elected Col.
Apr. 8th. Plenty of rumors about the fight of yesterday & day before. I think from the best information that after taking 2 or 3000 prisoners a large quantity of Artillery Camp equipage & clothing, our army fell back in good order to reinforce. There were a great many of our soldiers in town with Yankee overcoats on & there were a few wounded mostly in the arms & legs. We drew Enfield rifles, a good look gun, they were bought in England and run the inefficient blockade. Rain last night & mud today.
Apr. 9th. More rain & mud. There are straggling soldiers coming in from the battlefield, they are mostly tired, muddy, hungry, smoked & tired of fighting, not anxious to try it again. There are heavy details from our Regt. for guard & fatigue duties at town. This is something we have not been much used to before.
Apr. 10th. Cool & clear p.m. I rode out in the country to get something for Capt. S.C. Burch who is very sick. I went 5 miles toward Rienza & found milk at 75 cents per gal. & eggs at 40 cents per doz. There are soldiers encamped nearly all of the way from here out as far as I went. I saw John Kenedy moving out.
Apr. 11th. Rained last night & today. I saw a brigade pass through town & it was bad marching for the streets were muddy & crowded with wagons & horses. There were a great many persons in town especially about the depot, where the wounded were.
Apr. 12th. More rain. Late p.m. we were called upon to witness a solemn scene. Wm. Carroll Ronald who was taken prisoner in the enemy’s lines was shot by his own Regt. 4 of my company were among them that shot.
Apr. 13th. Clear & the mud is disappearing. Had a sermon in camp. Tried to get transportation for Lieut. Benkam who is sick but like most war business it was complicated & I did not find all of the men who had to sign it so failed to get it.
Apr. 14th. Harvey was here a while. Several of our Regt. are sick & badly cared for. They have to stay in tents & they leak more or less.
Apr. 15th. Lieut. Younger was today elected Maj. & F. Kennedy Lieut Col. I am pleased with the former but not the latter. Capt. Burch & Lieut. Benham both went to the country in bad health. I am quite unwell & have cold.
Apr. 16th. A little exercise fatigues me very much & I can taste the measles very plainly.
Apr. 17th. Esq. Meredith came in today. Adjt. Montague got back from Memphis with a Regimental flag. We heard that Nashville was retaken but that I do not believe to be true.
Apr. 18th. Hard rain p.m. Suddenly you will see a place white with tents but in a few days they will disappear as suddenly. Where the men come from or go to we seldom know. Rifle pits are being dug in sight of our camp but I did not go to see it.
Apr. 19th. More rain & a bad time cook & eat out of doors. Esq. Jas. Davis from Wayne came to us being afraid to stay at home among the Tories.
Apr. 20th. More rain. Such days as the two are the worst we have in camps.
Apr. 21st. Cold & rainy. I am quite unwell & weak & easily chilled.
Apr. 22nd. Pretty day & I was glad to see it. We moved two miles South. Capt. Jones & Hughes’ companies are put together & are Co. (F) 48 Tenn.
Apr. 23rd. Pretty day. I am better p.m.
Apr. 24th. Heard cannon firing in the direction of the river but it did not continue long.
Apr. 25th. More rain. Harvey was here also Jas. C. Throgmorton who was taken prisoner at Ft. Donelson & got away from them at Paducah.
Apr. 26th. Not so bad as I was few days ago.
Apr. 27th. Still improving. Our Regt. all went out between here & town to work in the rifle pits.
Apr. 28th. No better. Our Regt. went again to work in the rifle pits. About sundown an order came to be ready to strike tents at any time.
Apr. 29th. Our Regt. were expecting to be called on to go out but were not. We sent our Commissary stores & Ordnance stores to town for safety. Then cooked 3 days rations.
Apr. 30th. Expected all day orders to move but we are still here. Heard cannons.
May 1st. Pretty day & but little stir in camps. Several Gen’ls. Passed here.
May 2nd. Had a May shower a.m. then a pretty day. Lieut. Benham came back very much improved in health.
May 3rd. At 4 ½ o’clock p.m. a brisk cannonading began North of us & the 48th was soon on their way to meet the foe. I am not able to go.
May 4th. Some of the men were sent back to cook 3 days rations & take it to them this morning. They are lying waiting for the enemy & it must be unpleasant.
May 5th. More rain making it bad on men lying out in it. Heard some cannons firing again today.
May 6th. The 48th came back having laid out 3 nights & had a hard lesson in soldiers life.
May 7th. Pretty day. Details heavy. I am quite unwell yet.
May 8th. We organized for 2 years or the war & elected G.H. Nixon Col., T.R. Hughes Lieut. Col., J.T. Younger Maj. For Company officers E.J. Benham Capt., Wm. S. Montague 1st Lieut., J.H. Shields 2nd & Jas. Jackson 3d. Lieut. A great many are badly dissatisfied with the reorganization & say they will go home when their 12 months are out. 2 days rations cooked.
May 9th. The 48th were ordered out last night & returned soon a.m. They stayed an hour or two then were ordered out again & returned just before night. There was a fight at Farmington but the 48th were only in hearing. I am very sick. Wm. B. Smith here.
May 10th. Quite sick all day.
May 11th. Met with some of my Brownstown, Ark. Acquaintances which almost took me back to Uncle “Zeik’s” in Ark. Orders to cook 3 days rations.
May 12th. The 48th have been all day expecting orders to march and held themselves in readiness. It is unpleasant to wait on uncertainties. Prices men have been in line of battle for several hours in sight of us.
May 13th. The 48th have been under marching orders all day.
May 14th. Last night the 48th moved back near Corinth leaving us who were too sick to go. We went to the R.R. to go below to a hospital. We expected the cars at 9 o’clock a.m. & they came at 6 p.m. In ½ hour we were off & ran down to Rienza 15 miles & stopped for the night. Not so bad today as before.
May 15th. Lay in the cars last night & had a hard bed but slept pretty well. Rienzi is a small place & is now nearly eat out. At 9 o’clock we were on the road again & by 12 were at Guntown (our destination). We passed some small places on the road but not of much note. We found but little hospital accommodation so that we who were able to go out to the country had to go & I & many others were very glad of it. I, Thos. Hogan, cousin J. Godwin & T.R.H. Joyce went west 3 ½ miles to Mr. Long’s. I am well pleased with appearances so far, but while I am well fixed I fear there are some who came down with me who are very sick & will not be properly cared for tonight as there are but few people living in Guntown & they are not very wealthy. People here are very kind to the sick soldiers.
May 16th. I get milk & cornbread & think I am improving. I passed my first day in Itawamba County very well.
May 17th. This is a very nice place for a convalescent. There is plenty of grass & shade in the yard. I think from my condition I will mend very slowly.
May 18th. Turned cool last night. My first Sunday in the country was a very pleasant one. I walked ½ mile to see Lieut. Shields & Port Aclin, they are doing pretty well.
May 19th. Went fishing & got plenty of bites (mosquito bites) & caught plenty of fish (crawfish). My walk was good exercise.
May 20th. Rode out a.m. & played marbles p.m. so I think I am doing pretty well. Had a shower today. Heard that they were fighting at Corinth this morning.
May 21st. Had a fine rain last night & this morning then a pretty day. I was able to work a little in the garden.
May 22nd. Had a mess of Irish Potatoes for dinner. They were very palatable. Heard that they were fighting at Corinth but it is very uncertain about the truth of it.
May 23rd. Cool & rainy. I think we are all improving.
May 24th. Capt. Jones was here & brought us some news from Corinth & some from Wayne as his father is now at camp.
May 25th. Very cool & cloudy. 2nd Sunday in the country. Heard that we are going to evacuate Corinth.
May 26th. Went to Lieut. Shields & P. Aclin, got some good dewberries & passed the day very pleasantly.
May 27th. Lieut. Shields spent the day with us.
May 28th. Walked 3 miles to Mr. Wister’s who married Harriet Braley. She was very glad to see me. Saw some fine farms & good corn on the road, the land is well timbered. Went fishing p.m. but did not catch any. Three sick soldiers here.
May 29th. Came back to Mr. Long’s soon a.m. Quite warm today. Heard they had a hard fight near Corinth but did not learn the result of the fight.
May 30th. We hear a great many rumors about the fight & the evacuating of Corinth. If reports are true about our sick they are very much neglected at some places.
May 31st. Very warm. I eat 1 pt. Cherries, ½ gal. Plums & some raspberries & feel pretty well yet. Doo Dooley came & says our army are retreating from Corinth to Baldwin 6 miles above here.
June 1st. Summer began with a cloudy & showery day. There are a great many soldiers passing & they often partake of Mr. Long’s hospitality.
June 2nd. News of all sorts afloat about the army. Had snaps for dinner.
June 3rd. Walked to Guntown & back a.m. & reported myself for duty. Heard good news from Va. But do not believe it all to be true for it is common to circulate such on a retreat in order to keep up the spirits of the men & we are such creatures that though we are deceived so often we will again believe if it is something that we like. I have been unwell most of the day.
June 4th. Left the kind & hospitable family of Mr. Long who I will ever remember for their kindness. I went to Baldwin 35 miles from Corinth by R.R. Here I found the 48th. I also saw Harvey. He is well but does not very stout. The army is mostly here I think from the appearances.
June 5th. I was sent in charge of some Q.M. stores & detail of ten men to go to Tupelo, Miss. We went down to the R.R. & there waited all day without being able to get off. There were thousands of sick men here to get transportation Saturday (?) & a great many are here yet. There is more stir crowding & confusion here than any place since I left Nashville, Tenn. I today caught the first body louse I ever saw. It was left here by some lousy fellow & then got on me.
June 6th. Lay on the platform last night & at the depot nearly all day & went a few hundred yards & was there at dark. Not much stir today.
June 7th. Left Baldwin last night at 9 o’clock & when we got to Tupelo we could not get the Q.M. stores off so we went on down to Okalona with the promise of being brought back today so I spent all day in getting ready to start back. Drew 2 days rations for my squad. There are some soldiers here without rations through carelessness or mismanagement. Okalona is a nice little town in the edge of a large prairie.
June 8th. Lay on the cars last night & at 1 p.m. we left for Tupelo where we arrived at 3 p.m. Soon found our wagons & about sundown our Regt. came in from Baldwin. There are some fine fields of corn between here & Okalona. The water here is very muddy & I would not wash my feet in such at home.
June 9th. Clear & pleasant. Here is the worst water we ever have used. We used very bad water at Camp Hill near Corinth but this is much worse. The wells where there is good water are guarded for the officers which may be right but it is very hard.
June 10th. Moved out 2 miles west of Tupelo. Here is a nice place & not so bad water as where we left. Body lice are in our camps & I do not expect we will be clear of them while we stay in the service.
June 11th. Finished clearing up around our camps dug some wells & got some pretty good water for Miss.
June 12th. I do but little except cook & eat for I am not able.
June 13th. Had my first tooth extracted. It was a severe operation.
June 14th. John Vick died a.m. I went to the creek p.m. & washed myself well. Col. Nixon was arrested for language used yesterday in a Court Martial.
June 15th. As usual our Regt. had a hard day of it 200 men gone to Tupelo for guards. Hot dry & dusty.
June 16th. Esq. Meredith came in from Wayne & S.C. Burch came back to camps. My strength seems to be failing.
June 17th. Quite warm. I am very fortunate in getting vegetables to eat. I have been in a mess with the field and staff officers all the time so I have a better chance than most others.
June 18th. Some rain last night.
June 19th. Turned cool for the time of the year last night. Had a fine mess of fish for breakfast.
June 20th. Parson Jewell died p.m. & there are some others very sick.
June 21st. Cook Moore died. It is very hard to get coffins & some are buried without them so I hear.
June 22nd. Riddle died. The nights here are cool & the days are hot.
June 23rd. Lieut. Foust & Neely Patterson died. I applied for a discharge but did not get one so I have done what I think to be my duty & if I die in camps my prayer to God is that I may go to a better world.
June 24th. Very warm. Dav. L. Nowlin left for home soon this morning.
June 25th. Col. Nixon was restored to his command after being suspended some 10 or 12 days.
June 26th. Col Nixon was put in temporary command of our Brigade, Gen. Claiborne military Governor of Tupelo.
June 27th. Warm & sultry with a light rain. Jas. Throgmorton & L. Mitchell were here.
June 28th. Not so hot. T. Christie & Harvey were here. Harvey looks well.
June 29th. No preaching & little appearance of Sunday. I have seen & heard preaching, singing, fiddling, dancing & laughing all going on at the same time.
June 30th. There is a rumor of a great victory for us in Va. & I give it some credit.
July 1st. There was considerable excitement produced last night by the news of the fight near Richmond on 29 & 30 ult. & as each Regt. heard the news they sent up a shout of joy that made the hills around Tupelo ring as they never rang before. Today eggs sold at $1 per doz., chickens $1 each, butter $1 per lb. & green apples $3 per bushel. The first I have eaten. The citizens are swapping sifted meal measure for measure for flour which is equal to $4 or $5 per bu. There has been several refreshing showers which were much needed by the farmers & the dust troubled the soldiers very much.
July 2nd. Cool enough to be pleasant.
July 3rd. Col. Nixon again took command of his Regt. & Gen. Claiborne the Brigade.
July 4th. The sick were sent off preparatory to a move. The 24th Tenn. left our Brigade & the 13th Ark. Came in its place. The 4th of July was not celebrated here as we used to see it at home.
July 5th. Cheering news from Va. & a salute of 13 guns were fired in honor of the victory. I doubt whether there is any honor in such an affair only with men. Lieut. Cooper Co. (A) died a.m. & Allen Vick came to us from Lawrence p.m. I saw small apples & not ripe selling at 15 ½ per doz. Not as large as hen eggs. Some soldiers were round the wagon stealing while honest ones bought.
July 6th. Quite warm. There was general review as it was Sunday.
July 7th. Allen Vick left for home.
July 8th. Hot & sultry. Burch & Wooten got in with 66 mules & 17 wagons.
July 9th. Hotter than yesterday. I have the diarrhea some today.
July 10th. Rained enough to cool the air a little. Jas. Ratliff, Jas. Blake & Lowry Poag are here.
July 11th. A little rain. I am still troubled with diarrhea which is very common here caused I think by eating fresh beef with plenty of salt & not well cooked. Water getting low but it is good when clear.
July 12th. Not so bad as I have been.
July 13th. Most of the Regt. are off on guard duty. P.m. I went and gathered some blackberries, then went in the creek & washed off. The water was not very clear. I was at the slaughter pen where we get our beef & it is the filthiest place & has more flies & maggots than any place I ever saw. The sinks are far behind it & a man that never saw one could not stand it stay at them very long. Hottest day.
July 14th. A load of fowls and vegetables were here. Turkeys sold at $4, geese $2, ducks and grown chickens $1, frying ones 75 cents & apples as large as turkey eggs 25 cts. Per doz.
July 15th. Most of our wagons were sent below to where forage is more plenty to stay till we move.
July 16th. Cloudy pleasant day with a fine shower in the evening.
July 17th. Fine rain last night & today. We can now travel without being suffocated by dust.
July 18th. Saw Hiram Tennisen. He is Capt. Of a Co. in the 13th Ark. Regt. Got news of Forrest capturing prisoners & army stores at Murfreesboro.
July 19th. Geo. Johnson Co. (K) died. John Stuart of Lawrence came to us.
July 20th. Rode out to the country, got a good dinner & plenty of apples. Saw the young ladies and passed a few hours very pleasantly with them. Riding tired me very much but seeing the country was pleasant. The old man where I took dinner was the father-in-law of Esq. Collins with whom I came to Memphis with on my way from Ark. In June 1861. After he found me out (which was by accident) he & family treated me like an acquaintance which made me feel proud of my conduct during 6 months acquaintance with Esq. Collins in Arkansas.
July 21st. Capt. Wooten was up from below & says we will leave in a few days he thinks for Chattanooga.
July 22nd. Unwell with diarrhea. The weather is very warm.
July 23rd. Rode out to the country to get some fruit & take exercise. I got some good fruit, a good dinner & saw the ladies again & they (Mr. Horin & family) received me again very kindly. Very tired again.
July 24th. Pleasant. The army is fast leaving here & I think we will soon follow those that are gone.
July 25th. Got orders to cook rations & be ready to leave at 4 o’clock p.m. Just when we got in a good way cooking some lady acquaintances came to spend the day with us & we had to prepare dinner for them as they had before done for some of us. Our chance was bad but we had a very nice dinner & after eating etc. I (spent) some hours pleasantly with the ladies before they left. The Regt. left at 4 p.m. & went to Tupelo to get on the cars to go as we suppose to Chattanooga. I am left behind to go through with the wagons & horses of the officers.
July 26th. A.m. we left with the wagons & at 12 o’clock we left Tupelo with 25 days rations; bound for Chattanooga. Camp Calvert near Tupelo is the best place for wood & water we were ever at. Around it there are some clever folks but the most of them I think doubtful. We came 18 miles. I stood it pretty well under the circumstances. We met a great many soldiers coming in with apples, peaches and roasting ears that they bought at high prices. Mississippians are generally thought hard of by the soldiers, more that they ought to be.
July 27th. Came 22 miles to Aberdeen. Crossed Tombigby River. It is the prettiest water I have seen in Miss. We passed through some black land where the crops were very good but most of the land and crops that we saw were indifferent. Saw my first artesian wells in Aberdeen. Aberdeen is a place of 6 or 800 inhabitants. Very much fatigued by riding.
July 28th. Came 20 miles & camped at a mill on the top of a hill. It is run by water furnished by 3 artesian wells at 12 o’clock we crossed Buttehatchie River a fine clear stream in which I bathed freely. The land was generally poor and the crops light. Plenty of peaches and apples at high prices. The dust was very troublesome in places. Artesian wells are common here.
July 29th. Came 12 miles to Luxvelile River. Passed through Columbus a nice town on Tombigby River, here we turned east. The crops are very bad through here. Hot & dusty again today.
July 30th. Came 23 miles. I got a good breakfast free. Got into Ala. & found the people generally more kind than Mississippians. Although there are a great many hard cases in Miss., there some as good as you can find anywhere. Poor rough land generally. Hot & dusty till noon then wet & pleasant till night.
July 31st. Came 22 miles to Sipsey River. It is small & clear. The country is broken & poor with few farms. The people are generally poor but very kind to us. Pine & chinkapin & plenty. We got plenty of fruit. A little boy gave me some apples today.
Aug. 1st. Came 18 miles to Northport on the North side of Black Warrior River. It is a nice little town. Tuscaloosa is on the South side of the river, a small city well laid off & well shaded. The river is 175 yds. wide & clear. Doc West lives in Northport. I intend to stay tonight with him. Plenty of rain soon this morning.
Aug. 2nd. Lay up to get shoeing done. There are more goods here than any place since I left Pulaskia, Tenn.
Aug. 3rd. Left p.m. Came 7 miles on the Sand mountain road. The land was rolling & rather poor. The people were kind, at one place the Negroes were out with water & peaches for us & another with water. We passed the Ala. University. It is a fine building with a nice level yard around it; also some fine buildings.
Aug. 4th. Came 17 miles to Esq. Hills & here we overtook the other wagons of the Brigade. The country today was generally rough. Plenty of Bastava long leaf pine here. It has burs that are as large as my two fists, that is when the burs are open. Hard rain late in the evening.
Aug. 5th. Came 16 miles to 6 mile creek. Some artillery got in before us & the road was hilly so we made but little headway. Crossed Cahawba River. It is 40 yds. wide. Crowds of ladies & old men were out to see the artillery as it passed.
Aug. 6th. Came 21 miles to a fine spring, 10 miles back we passed Montevallo on a nice creek. We came to the Ala. & Tenn. Riv. R.R. running from __________ to _______________. At Montevallo the cannons & ammunition was shipped on the railroad to Blue Mountain.
Aug. 7th. Came 16 miles to the depot near Coosa River where we began to put the wagons on the cars to carry them over the river, the ford being rough & ferrying too slow. Country poor & piny today. I am well pleased with the kindness that Alabamians show us as we pass.
Aug. 8th. Came 14 miles. We took the stock & went down the river & forded it. The ford was ½ mile wide, belly deep & a rough bottom but we did not straight across. We met the wagons at Coosa depot then traveled through a piny country to Weakaville. The land here is better.
Aug. 9th. Came 12 miles to Talladega. It is a very nice town & the place where _____________ fought the Indians. We passed Mardisville. It & Talladega both have fine large springs. The people are rich & charitable through here.
Aug. 10th. Came 23 miles. Saw some fine farms & good corn. This is a well watered country having fine springs & creeks.
Aug. 11th. Came 16 miles to a large spring affording enough water to turn a mill. Passed Blue Mountain, the depot where the cars stop on the Ala. & Tenn. River R.R. here the artillery wagons get their ammunition & cannons. Passed Jacksonville, a nice town in Calhoun County.
Aug. 12th. Came 23 miles. The land was not so good today. Passed Talediga & Crossplains, both small villages. Hard rain at noon. Crossed some fine creeks & branches & saw some beautiful springs.
Aug. 13th. Got into Georgia p.m. Came 22 miles to Mr. Lord’s. The land was not good tall, we got to Cave-spring’s (13 miles). Cave-springs is a small town at a large cave spring: here are Saltpeter works belonging to the government. From Cave-springs here the land is pretty good. The drought has been very severe through here.
Aug. 14th. Came 18 miles. Seven miles to Rome, it is a nice little city in the fork of ____________ River & ___________River where they from the Coosa. Here we crossed the _________________ R.R. From Rome our road was through a fine country; the people were very kind to the soldiers & well able to do something for us as we pass. Saw some young ladies near Rome that I will ever remember with pleasure.
Aug. 14th. Left Capt. S.C. Burch sick & Wm. Alexander to stay with him. Hot & dusty. We are encamped on the Aramchee.
Aug. 15th. Came 21 miles along a hot dusty road. Crossed Chattooga River about noon. It is small & clear. The people of Georgia like those of Ala. Will ever be remembered by the soldiers for their kindness to them. They are good southern folks & have not been troubled by the army.
Aug. 16th. Came 21 miles to Lee & Gordon’s mills on _________ River. Passed Lafayette, a small county town. The land was generally poor but there were some very good farms along the road. Water is not so plenty as it has been. We are in sight of Lookout Mountain.
Aug. 17th. Came 13 miles to Chattanooga on Tenn. River. It is a small city (if one at all) & not very pretty. There are more R.R. tracks here than any place I ever was before. We expected to find our Regt. here but they are gone to Knoxville so we camped at the foot of Lookout Mountain which here terminates in a high rough promontory & rears its proud head in majestic splendor making a fine object for the painter. The appearance is that it & the mountain on the other side of the river were once one mountain & were out in two by the Tenn. River. We are again in Tenn. after an absence of 5 months & I hope we will not again it to the enemy. My health is somewhat improved by my travel from Tupelo. Gained 6 lbs. of flesh.
Aug. 18th. I went up on Lookout Mountain. There is a road that winds up the side of the mountain. The side of the mountain is steep & rocky; some of the rocks as large as small houses. ¾ of the way up there are some houses, a plantation & fine orchard; the folks are well pleased with the place & would not exchange with anybody notwithstanding the difficulty of getting to & from the place & the scarcity of neighbors; the nearest being nearly or quite a mile. From the top of the mountain there is a fine view there being mountains all around some of them so far distant that they were hardly visible. I could see Tenn. River for many miles as it wound its way among the mountains of east Tenn. The scenery was beautiful but a good telescope would have added to its beauty very much. The Nashville & Chattanooga R.R. runs around at the foot of the mountain next to the river. It was cut in the rock & the bluff, is 100 or 150 feet perpendicular above it while the river is below on the other side of the R.R. On top of the mountain is a hotel & hospital but I did not visit them.
Aug. 19th. Moved inside the guard lines. Most of our wagons are detailed to haul for other regts. The bank of the river is crowded with wagons waiting to cross. The streets are filled with wagons & soldiers & the air with dust. All the Quarter Masters but one & men with horses left to follow their command. Capt. Randolph Q.M. of 5th Tenn. is left in charge of the wagons, I of the 48th Tenn. wagons under Randolph.
Aug. 20th. Troops crossing the river all night & all day today. Everything sells nearly as high as it did at Tupelo.
Aug. 21st. Nothing new going on today.
Aug. 22nd. Went to see Richardson’s steam tannery; it is large and very well arranged & at present impressed by the Government. Our wagons teams & drivers were turned over to the Post Q.M. to haul for the army till we get to our Brigade. My opinion is that we will go from here to Nashville & meet our Brigade at or before we get there.
Aug. 23rd. Rained hard last night & wet our clothes. Moved up in town where wood & water are both scarce. Some take off their buckets to save the water.
Aug. 24th. Went to see the Episcopalians worship. Their forms & ceremonies are very much like the Roman Catholics. While I was in church I could see the soldiers as busy as any other day so it hardly seemed like Sunday. Will God bless a people who act in this manner?
Aug. 25th. Crossed the river & came 2 miles to a fine spring. We are now in a part lately in the possession of the Yankees.
Aug. 26th. Plenty of wood & water but forage is very scarce & hard to get.
Aug. 27th. Getting forage is our worst trouble sometimes losing a nights sleep to get a few ears of corn. Went to the river & took a fine bath.
Aug. 28th. We started again some say for McMinnville & some Nashville. Just starting & the train being so long we only came 3 ½ miles & encamped at the foot of Waldon’s Ridge. To look at it from here with its high rugged bluffs it looks almost impassable.
Aug. 29th. The wagons did not move so I went upon the ridge. I found 1 ½ miles of rugged road to the top & sometimes the lower side was perpendicular 20 feet. From the top there is a fine view. Looking south you see Tenn. River in 2 or 3 places also Chattanooga & Lookout Mountains. To the east & you see 5 distinct ranges of mountains the last nearly invisible in the distance. The scenery is grand & sublime & well worth a rough ride up & down the ridge or mountain.
Aug. 30th. At 11 o’clock we started up the ridge & at dark ungeared ½ mile from the top. The river is so rough & teams stall so much is why we go so slowly. I went up on top to spend the night & left the wagoners & teams in the road without water. We had a hard rain just before night.
Aug. 31st. The wagons were up the ridge by 9 o’clock. Then we came 10 miles. Forage is scarce & we impress green corn which is sometimes very hard on the citizens but war is hard anyway & in a case like this we are almost compelled to take it. We take from “Union” men if we can find them. The land is poor & but few farms. Crossed a small creek 3 miles back.
Sept. 1st. Came 5 miles & crossed & encamped on the bank of Sequatchie River; It is a small river in Sequatchie valley, the valley there is narrow & not very rich. Waldon’s ridge is 12 miles across & it 2 miles down on this side very steep & tolerably rocky.
Sept. 2nd. Came 21 miles up the valley on the left side of the ridge, the river runs on the other side. The land is mostly pretty good with some fine farms. After coming 6 miles we passed Dunlap about which were a great many soldiers stopped.
Sept. 3rd. Came 1 mile to the foot of Cumberland Mountain then 2 up the mountain & 4 miles on top of it. The road up the mountain is not very rough or steep. The land is poor & water scarce & not good on top of the mountain.
Sept. 4th. Came 15 miles crossed & encamped on dry-fork creek. After we came a few miles we took the right hand road to Spencer leaving McMinnville to our left. Soon after starting skirmishers were thrown out & the commissary wagons guarded for fear of an attack as the enemy were said to be here yesterday. Loose men kept close with the train.
Sept. 5th. Came 18 miles to Sparta in White County on Colfkiller River. Here we hear that Kirby Smith had whipped the Yanks badly at Richmond R.R. After coming 4 miles we passed Spencer in Van Buren County; it is a small town & old looking. Came down Cumberland Mountain, it is not so steep nor rough as Waldon’s ridge was. Passed some good farms after we got down the mountain.
Sept. 6th. Did not move. There were 2 men to be shot & 1 to be hung at sunset but they were reprieved or the sentence suspended by Gen. Bragg.
Sept. 7th. Left Sparta & took the right hand road & came 14 miles. Here I nearly lost all hopes of going to Nashville. Crossed rolling water, a large creek. Some of the land on the road was good & some was very poor.
Sept. 8th. Came 18 miles most of the way on a high dry ridge; the hills are very steep but produce well. The road was a little rough and the wagons were hurried so that several broke down. Hard marching & want of water broke down several soldiers. Was in Putnam & Smith counties.
Sept. 9th. Came 7 miles. When in a few miles of Carthage we took a new road cut for the army & called the Buckned road. Crossed Cumberland River at Sand-shoals & encamped on this side. The river is 50 yds. wide & very shallow. Passed some good farms along the road but most of the land is rolling & some of it is very rough. Water is very scarce here & not very good.
Sept. 10th. Came 7 miles to Montrose on the Red-springs Turnpike. I then came back the Turnpike to Carthage to load some wagons with commissaries. Carthage the county site of Smith County is a small town on the N. side of Cumberland River. Most of the way the land was rich & very broken. There were a great many citizens out to see us pass & the ladies with their smiling faces cheered us on our toilsome march.
Sept. 11th. Stayed in Carthage till 2 o’clock then went back over the rough turnpike to Montrose a distance of 7 or 8 miles. There are some recruits coming in nearly every day. Most of them say they are waiting for Breckenridge, then they will volunteer.
Sept. 12th. Came 23 miles. There is some good land & fine farms on Defeated Creek which we came up several miles & there are some good springs & some mills, the wheel of one is 56 feet under the ground. In Macon county a strong “union” county.
Sept. 13th. Came 16 miles to Peter’s Creek. Poor land generally. Passed Red Sulphur Springs where the Pike terminates. Crossed Barren River 40 or 50 miles above Bowling Green. We are in Barren county Ky. Having again left Tenn. leaving the enemy on our left & we are going where none of us can tell & but few guess. I took dinner with a “union” man & he would talk about our army & your army which I did not like to hear very well.
Sept. 14th. Came 12 miles to Glasgow in Barren County. 6 miles back we passed Roseville, a small village. Land generally poor & broken but there are some good farms & fine water.
Sept. 15th. Left at noon & came 22 miles by midnight. Passed Glasgow just after starting. It is a nice town of some 2,000 inhabitants. Most of the way we came in the night & cannot tell much about the country. Most of the water is in ponds and men have to drink & cook with warm filthy water.
Sept. 16th. Came 16 miles to Green River then 7 towards Munfordsville so we kept on till 9 o’clock p.m. when it got too dark to travel the road being narrow & rough. We crossed Green River at Brickey’s ford near burnt bridge 8 or 10 miles above Munfordsville. The land was good & bad mixed along, but the timber was mostly small. Water is scarce here as the drought was very severe this summer. Heard cannons occasionally down the river.
Sept. 17th. Having succeeded in surrounding the Yanks, they 4400 in number surrendered. They were in the fortifications at Woodsenville which is on the south side of Green River & Munfordsville is on the North side, where the N. & L. R.R. crosses it. We came 5 miles to Munfordsville & did our first cooking for 48 hours & we were nearly without anything to eat during the time. We would drive very late & stop where there was no water then we would start before daylight.
Sept. 18th. The troops went back towards Cave city to meet the Yanks who are reported coming to attack us. The Yanks were here last winter & burned the fences so around here looks like a large prairie. For every 15 or 20 acres there is a pond & some of them are clear with fish in them.
Sept. 19th. Merchants here have been compelled by the military authorities to sell to the soldiers if they want to buy which they always do. I went over the river to look at the fortifications; they are not very extensive but are quite strong. I saw where Chalmers made his charge a few days ago & no wonder he was repulsed. The trees & logs are scalped by the bullets. Here is where Col. Terry of the Texas Rangers was killed.
Sept. 20th. Left at noon & came 18 miles by midnight. We took all the sick that were able to go in wagons which seems like we are leaving it to the Yanks. We took the Pike towards Louisville. We are on the line between Larue and Hardin counties. The land we passed in the day time was not very good.
Sept. 21st. Came 9 miles. After coming 4 miles we left the Pike & took the right hand road to Hodginsville, a very pretty town & the county site of Larue County. Crossed Nolin Creek at Red Mill & again at Hodginsville where we camped on its bank. There is some good land & fine farms through here. “Seush” are plentier & the ladies were out waving their handkerchiefs at us as we passed.
Sept. 22nd. Came 22 miles. After coming a few miles we got into the N. & Lour. Turnpike. Passed New Haven & Ballstown both on the Pike. Fine country for farming here. I was necessarily compelled to do my first horse shoeing today or ride a very lame horse every shop was impressed & men all along the road wanting to get shoeing done & could not. Passed several broken down wagons & 5 or 6 dead mules. Heard of a skirmish at Munfordsville between our rear guard and the enemy who are close after us. Why we are going North & leaving the enemy in our rear I cannot tell. I got lost from the wagons that I was with & came on till night & stopped without any supper.
Sept. 23rd. Came 4 miles to Bardstown. 1 mile before we got to it we crossed Buckfork River. It is a small, clear river. Through here the land is good. Water fine & timber small.
Sept. 24th. The wagon that has hauled my things is detailed with others to carry the sick of Buckner’s Div. to Danville so late p.m. I left with it & came 7 miles on the Springfield Road. There are 175 sick along in charge of Dr. Burton & the wagons in my charge. There was a flag raised in Bardstown today & Gen. Bragg Polk & Buckner made speeches. We have plenty of friends here. Bardstown is a large town neatly laid off, it is in ______________ County.
Sept. 25th. Came 13 miles, 2 miles past Springfield in Washington County. Springfield is a nice town, 9 miles from Bardstown. We crossed Buckfork River. This is fine country & they have fine stock. Drinking water is scarce & not good.
Sept. 26th. Came 20 miles. Fine land most of the way but water is very scarce & not very good. Passed Perryville & some other little towns hardly worth noticing.
Sept. 27th. Came 8 miles to Danville in Boyle County. It is a large town in one of the finest countries I ever saw. Drinking water is scarce & stock water & wood not so plenty. Here we put our sick in the churches using them as hospitals.
Sept. 28th. Stayed here & helped to fix up the sick at the hospitals. There are some very kind folks here especially the ladies are kind to the sick.
Sept. 29th. Got a passport to Gen. Kirby Smith where I expected to find my Regt. I left p.m. & came out 9 miles on the Lexington Road to Briantsville. Crossed Dick’s River. At Danville I left Dr. Burton who I liked very much & his sister Mrs. _________ has my best wishes for her kindness to the soldiers. I came here with some of the wagons that I have been with ever since I left Tupelo, Miss. They are in Gen. Buckner’s Commissary train.
Sept. 30th. Left the wagons & started alone to join the Regt. Came 5 miles to Ky. River then 9 miles to Nicholsville, a neat town in Jessamine County then 12 miles to Lexington, a fine city of considerable business & it is in one of the finest sections of country I ever saw, it is well improved & the stock here are superior to any I ever saw before. The Turnpikes are the best by far & if it was not for the sever drought now prevailing it would be a most charming country. Water is very scarce at this time & not very plenty no summer. At Lexington I found some of the 48th who were left behind sick or wounded but are nearly well.
Oct. 1st. Our Brigade has been transferred back to Gen. Hardies command so I was sent back to Bardstown to find them.
-----NOTE: Page 29 missing with Oct. 2 – 10 data. ------
Oct. 11th. Came back to camps near Briantville & put the sick in the hospital.
Oct. 12th. Drew & cooked 4 days rations & everything looks like a retreat but I will be glad if I am mistaken.
Oct. 13th. Bragg’s retreat from Ky. commenced (if it had not commenced before) a.m. We took the Nashville Pike to Lancaster, a nice town in Garrard County 9 miles then 12 miles to Craborchard near which we camped. Craborchard is an old dirty looking place. Crossed Dick’s River 3 miles back. Most of us would like to have gone towards Nashville be as we are not all Gens. We cannot have our way.
Oct. 14th. Came 20 miles to Rockcastle River. The road & country was rough the land poor & crops short. Passed Mt. Vernon, a small town.
Oct. 15th. Came 20 miles. The road & country most of the way were very rough. Passed Wildcat where Gen. Zolicoffer fought the Yanks. The place is fortified & it looks like it would be folly to attack it under almost any circumstances. Passed London & near it we got into the route of Gen. Smith’s army up through Ky. Got with Adjt. Montague who was left behind sick & reported dead.
Oct. 16th. Came 3 miles & stopped for the troops to cook rations. We with the wagons cook every night.
Oct. 17th. Came 22 miles, 16 to Barbonsville then 6 here. Barbonsville is on Cumberland River where the big creek gap & Cumberland gap roads come together. We took the Cumberland Gap Road. Most of the country & road today was very rough & the land poor. About Barbonsville there is some fine land & nice farms. Water is not plenty through here.
Oct. 18th. Came 22 miles; 7 miles to Cumberland ford where we crossed the river. There is a small fort on the north side which commands the road on the south side for some distance & all the timber is cut down to give the cannons good range. The Yanks when they evacuated the gap tried to block up the road here by blowing rock in it but they failed to get the rocks in the road. 15 miles rough hilly road brings you to the gap which you can see long before you get to it; perhaps 3 or 4 miles.
Oct. 19th. I went up on top of the mountain to look at the fortifications. It is a mile from the gap to the top & on the highest place is a strong fortification; here the Yanks had 3 siege guns which they could not take away so they spiked & plugged them & threw them down the bluff where they now lie & will I expect to the end of time. Our men fortified on the other & the Yanks on this side of the gap & there is plenty of water in it; it is so well fixed (?) that the only way to take it is to starve out the forces that hold it. I did not have time to look at all of the fortifications as I was in a hurry. The forts built by the Yanks are the best I ever saw anywhere. The timber for some distance all round the gap has been cut down. In the gap is the corner of Ky. & Vir. On the Tenn. line. At the gap we took the Morristown Road & came 13 miles to Tagewell. It is a small town in a rough place, then 13 miles & camped making 27 miles. Crossed Clinch & Powell’s Rivers both nice clear streams. This section of country is rough but well watered. Nearly all the rocks are somewhat inclined generally at an angle of 45 degrees. One place rock is made by sediment in the water.
Oct. 20th. Came 13 miles to Morristown, a small town on the E. Tenn. & Va. R.R. where another R.R. was to cross it but it is not completed. Crossed Clinch & another small mountain. There is a fine view from Clinch mountain. Crossed Holsten River. It is 75 yds. wide.
Oct. 21st. Stayed here all day. The cars are carrying sick & wounded towards Knoxville. Fine weather now.
Oct. 22nd. Came 27 miles; 1 ½ miles towards Cumberland Gap then 15 miles to Rutledge, a small town in Granger County. Rough land. Some fine orchards.
Oct. 23rd. Came 22 miles, in 1 mile of Knoxville. There is some pretty good rolling land through here & very fine water. Crops are pretty good.
Oct. 24th. Moved 2 miles north of the city where we found the Regt. tired & some footsore.
Oct. 25th. The men are washing & trying to get clear of dirt & lice. They have no tents & have been without all through Ky.
Oct. 26th. Got our tents that were left at Knoxville. Turned cold & snowed last night & blowed & snowed most of the day. Some of the men are without coats or blankets & some barefooted. Paying 4 months wages.
Oct. 27th. Snow 4 inches deep & the leaves yet green & covered with snow. Clear & cold.
Oct. 28th. Clear but the snow is not all gone.
Oct. 29th. Finished paying of the Regt. & it was the worst Q.M. job that I have got into yet.
Oct. 30th. The Col. & Capts. Went home to recruit.
Oct. 31st. Nothing new going on today.
Nov. 1st. Got orders to cook 2 days rations & be ready to start at 3 p.m. waited till dark.
Nov. 2nd. Night again & no orders to move.
Nov. 3rd. Left the Regt. to go on the cars & started with the wagons to Tullahoma. Came 15 miles. Good road & poor land.
Nov. 4th. Came 26 miles. Crossed Clinch River 2 miles back. This section of country is very rough. A little before we got to Kingston we took the right hand.
Nov. 5th. Came 32 miles most of the way was through rough country. Passed Postook (?) Springs, a small village. In Tenn. valley now.
Nov. 6th. Came 12 miles down Tenn. valley. It is narrow & the land rolling but some of it is good.
Nov. 7th. Came 16 miles. Crossed Waldon’s Ridge. It is 12 miles across, & very rough where we came down. It began to snow at daylight & kept on till we got across the mountain. In the valley there is no snow but on top of the mountains the trees are white with it. Got into the route I went as I went to Ky. At Foster’s X roads in Sequatchie Valley.
Nov. 8th. Came 25 miles down the valley. Could see snow on Waldon’s Ridge but none on the Cumberland side of the valley.
Nov. 9th. Came 20 miles most of it down the valley. We took the right hand up Sweeden’s Cove. We have kept on the side of the Cumberland Mountains in coming down the valley. Clear & cold.
Nov. 10th. Came 18 miles & stopped on Cumberland Mountain at 10 o’clock p.m. There is good land in Sweeden’s Cove. The mountain is not steep, but some places are very rough.
Nov. 11th. Came 16 miles to Alisena where I found several of our old company who have been at home. I heard from home the first time since Mar. 15th. I was glad to hear from home. Furloughs for 4 to 6 days are being granted.
Nov. 12th. Cloudy with a little rain.
Nov. 13th. Went to Winchester to get a coffin for Jesse Henry who died a.m. Gab Hines died p.m. Both the same company.
Nov. 14th. Several visitors in to see us.
Nov. 15th. Nothing new going on.
Nov. 16th. Capt. White died & was sent home.
Nov. 17th – 19th. Warm & cloudy with some rain. Got orders to cook 2 days rations, be ready to start.
Nov. 20th – 21st. Cold. Orders to be ready to move.
Nov. 22nd. P.M. started to Melbyville. Came 9 miles.
Nov. 23rd. Came 10 miles. We are in Bedford County. The land has been poor generally today.
Nov. 24th. Came 10 miles, 2 miles past Shelbyville. It is a fine town on Duck River. Got a suit of clothes from home.
Nov. 25th – 6th- 7th- 8th. All quiet till last night. We were ordered to cook 2 days rations.
Nov. 29th. This is the last day of my 12 month but the conscript keeps me 2 yrs.
Last year I kept a diary which I found to be useful to me in several respects and especially for reference as to the places we were at and the time we were there and what we were doing. So I am determined to keep another for this year (of my service in the army) which I wish to send to my parents for them to keep for me until I return home and if I never return they can do as they choose with this. If anyone ever reads this and is either pleased or profited thereby I will feel myself paid for my trouble. In writing it first I wrote it with a pencil intending to add to and improve it at my leisure but having to rewrite it in camps and often in a hurry I did not improve the original very much as can be seen by reading it carefully. If this should ever be lost or mislaid any one friend or foe will be kind enough to send it to my parents they will confer a lasting favor on me while by keeping it it will be of little or no use to them and it will deprive me of an invaluable paper. If any officer or enlisted should ever get possession of it he will receive my warmest thanks by forwarding it to:
Eld. J. C. Sparkman
If more convenient send it back to me in the army.
1862Nov. 30th. Twelve months ago I entered the Army of the Confederate States as a twelve months volunteer. I expected then that if I lived and was in the service till now I would be discharged and go home if I chose but by last Spring the war had become of such great magnitude that enough men could not be had by volunteering and the time of a great many Regts. Would soon be out and they were not likely to reenlist and there must be something done or our army would be ruined and our cause lost and the Southern people would have been worse than slaves: so Congress passed the conscript act which keeps all volunteers in the army till they have served 3 years and bring all into the army between the ages of 17 and 35; now it is raised to 40 and may soon be 45 or 50. To look at this thing in one light, it seems hard to force men to go out and meet the hardships and dangers of war against their will but in another it seems right for without as I said before our army would have been ruined. Be it right or wrong I am in for 2 years longer and I may say for the war for the men must be kept in the army as long as the war lasts, and we had as well laugh as cry, as well be cheerful as sad and far better too when we can.
Dec. 1st. Rained and turned cold last night, so winter began with wintry weather, but not severely cold. Last summer and autumn were as fine for army movements perhaps as ever comes and the time was not lost.
Dec. 2nd. Cold and rainy. Col. Voorhies is here trying to get the men of the old 48th that are with us, to go with him & those who were taken prisoners at Ft. Donelson. He says if he gets them he will give them a 15 days furlough. Most of them want to go. I think the furlough is the greatest inducement as many were opposed to going before they were promised the furlough.
Dec. 3rd. Companies A, B, C & D of our Regt. left with Col. Voorhies. Capt. Plummer of Co. A. Capt. Blanton of Co. B. & Lt. York of Co. C did not go with them. Co. E, which was in dispute remained with us. We now have only six companies. I was very sorry to see these leave that are gone for I had formed some pleasant acquaintances among them.
Dec. 4th. Very heavy frost this morning and appearance of rain or snow this evening.
Dec. 5th. Several of our officers left to get recruits for the Regt. Our Brigade all but the 48th got ready to leave today, but the snow fell so rapidly that is was postponed. In a very short time the snow was 2 inches deep and very soft.
Dec. 6th. Clear and cold. Our Brigade left to go to Triune in Williamson County so I learned. Wm. Warrenton of Co. F was shot (?) by Jas. Johnson of Co. (F). Johnson and some others say it was an accident but Warrenton and some others say it was intentional.
Dec. 7th. Clear but so cold that the snow melted but little even in the sunshine.
Dec. 8th. A little warmer this evening.
Dec. 9th. There are some drunken Irish of 5th Confederate who were left here barefoot and they give us some trouble.
Dec. 10th. I saw 2 men fight which was the first I ever saw; it was a little fight.
Dec. 11th. Took dinner in the country at Mrs. Burt’s and passed an hour very pleasantly with the ladies.
Dec. 12th, 13th. Fine pleasant weather and all quiet in camps. I would be pleased to stay here for a long time.
Dec. 14th. Various rumors about the movements of the army are afloat but want confirmation.
Dec. 15th. Rain late p.m. Rather cool today.
Dec.16th-17th. Clear and cold. Fine wintry weather.
Dec. 18th-19th. Very fine weather. Good news from Va. And I hope it is true.
Dec. 20th. Rumor says the enemy have evacuated Nashville and it is generally believed but I doubt the truth of the story.
Dec. 21st. We have more rest now than when we were with the whole army.
Dec. 22nd. As usual there are plenty of rumors.
Dec. 23rd-24th. Warm. I believe from what I can see and learn of the movements of the army we will retreat without a battle.
Dec. 25th-27th. Warm with some rain the 27th. There is but little Christmas seen here. Before the army left there were several big balls and the officers had a high time dancing, courting and drinking whiskey. Privates were hardly noticed by the ladies and they could not get the whiskey to drink. Arkansians were general favorites.
Dec. 28th. The Regt. have gone out and are now in line of battle 1 ½ miles north of town. Capt. Miller is command and he is as proud of his position as any man can be.
Dec. 29th-30th. There are many rumors about the army but I believe it is retreating.
Dec. 31st. Heavy cannonading all day near Murfreesboro. I now feel perfectly easy and believe that we will whip them or we would never risked another battle. How sad to think of the suffering there is now on that dreadful battlefield. I turn away with horror.
1863Jan. 1st, 1863. The enemy were badly whipped yesterday, losing 2 Genls., 4,000 prisoners, 31 cannons and a large amount of small arms besides 200 wagons. The 48th left late p.m. for Murfreesboro. They go on the cars.
Jan. 2nd. I started soon a.m. with the baggage and wagons and came 19 miles. There was some heavy firing this evening and we can hear plenty of rumors from those we meet. We had a fine road and there is some good land.
Jan. 3rd. Rained last night and most of today. I was in nearly all today. Came 6 miles to Murfreesboro, it is a nice little city on the N & C R.R. Late p.m. the army seems to be retreating.
Jan. 4th. Last night a little after dark we began to fall back on the Manchester Pike and on we traveled through rain and mud, wet and cold all night. The wagons being loaded heavily, then getting very wet, they were frequently stalling and breaking down. Then only think of the Infantry, they had to follow on after the wagons often in mud from 4 to 12 inches deep, then to march all night in the rain after being in line of battle 3 or 4 days and doing some very hard fighting; this is the hard part of war and there is a great deal of honor due the private who goes through it all without a murmur for his country’s sake and to win honor for another often less worthy than himself. Came 15 miles last night and just before day I very distinctly saw a lunar rainbow the first I ever saw. Today we came 15 miles through a rough poor country with a muddy road. Clear and pleasant. How hard the thought that we are again leaving our friends and homes in the power of an insulting heartless invader. How sadly my thoughts have changed since the first day of the battle. It is said that the enemy retreated 2 hours before we did, if so how I wish we had remained.
Jan. 5th. Came 6 miles. Manchester is 5 miles back. It is a nice little town in Coffee County on Duck River. The country around here is generally very poor. There is a R.R. running from Tullahoma by Manchester to McMinnville. Pretty day and good road.
Jan. 6th. Came 12 miles to Estell Springs near where we’re encamped at Alisona. We had pretty good roads and poor land today.
Jan. 7th. Stayed in camps and rested. In coming through I was in charge 48th Tenn. wagons and brought nearly everything through safe, then was badly abused by Col. Nixon because his bedstead was lost through the carelessness of his Negro, the roughness of the road and the darkness of the first night of the retreat.
Jan. 8th. Came 10 miles to Tullahoma. In the evening I returned to Estell Springs to bring some baggage that was left.
Jan. 9th. Came back to Tullahoma. It was a very nice little town before the war but it has been very much abused. The Yanks fortified it by digging rifle pits and building a stockade fort. Poor country here and back to Estell Springs.
Jan. 10th. Nothing new going on here today.
Jan. 11th. I went near Normandy on Duck River to get some straw. Stopped with Mr. Houghman.
Jan. 12th. Got the straw and returned to camps. It was given to me by Mr. McQuitty. There is fine land on the river near Normandy.
Jan. 13th. Col. Hughes got with us again.
Jan. 14th-15th. Nothing new. There has been so much rain that the men could hardly cook at all and half of the men lay in bed all day in order to keep dry and warm. Turned cool and sleeted in the evening.
Jan. 16th. The ground was white with snow soon a.m. and it snowed and blowed a little all day. Colder than yesterday but not unpleasant.
Jan. 17th. Clear and cold. One half the snow melted.
Jan. 18th. Rode out and took dinner at Col. Terry’s and there saw Mrs. Evins (Billy Evins’ widow). Dr. Boyd left us as surgeon and I do not suppose there were many tears shed.
Jan. 19th-20th. Warm and raining slowly.
Jan. 21st. Cool and cloudy. No news today.
Jan. 22nd-23rd. Warm and nearly clear both days.
Jan. 24th. Warm and cloudy with some rain.
Jan. 25th. Sunday again. Heard 2 sermons.
Jan. 26th. Warm with rain late p.m.
Jan. 27th. Turned cold last night and snowed most of today.
Jan. 28th. Cold and plenty of snow.
Jan. 29th-30th. Clear and pleasant enough. Went out in the country after straw.
Jan. 31st. Returned to camps with some young ladies and enjoyed myself pretty well considering I was a stranger.
Feb. 1st. Rained all day. We have commenced fortifying at this place, which indicates that we will stay here for sometime yet.
Feb. 2nd. Clear and cool. There are some of our relatives or friends here every few days.
Feb. 3rd. Snowed last night and cold all day. The 48th worked on the fortifications today. This place somewhat resembles Corinth but is not near so bad.
Feb. 4th. Cold and cloudy with snow in the evening.
Feb. 5th. Cold and snowing occasionally. There were some men detailed as Pioneers from our Regt.
Feb. 6th-7th. Clear but muddy from the melting snow.
Feb. 8th. Had a sermon in camps. Father came in last p.m. I had not seen him in nearly 12 months and to see him was quite a treat.
Feb. 9th. Father spent the day with me.
Feb. 10th. Father left for home. Parting this time was not so bad as when we last parted.
Feb. 11th-12th. Warm and rainy and turned cool late this evening. Have mud plenty.
Feb. 14th. Saw a man named J. Meadows shot and Sam Kinney hung. It was quite a solemn scene witnessed by a large crowd. Meadows was tied to a tree to be shot. Kinney was a spy.
Feb. 14th-18th. Cloudy and rainy most of the time and sometimes very hard.
Feb. 19th-20th. Clouds nearly all gone and quite windy both days. Ground drying very fast.
Feb. 21st. Commenced raining 2 o’clock a.m. and rained hard the remainder of the day.
Feb. 22nd. Cold, cloudy and ??????
Feb. 23rd-24th. Warm and spring-like. I feel like I am at the wrong business. How glad I will be to live at home in peace again.
Feb. 25th-26th. Two more rainy days.
Feb. 27th. Cool and cloudy but little or no rain.
Feb. 28th. More rain. I fear we will soon go South but I may be too easily made believe that we will retreat and leave our State.
March 1st-2nd. Fine pleasant days in comparison with the rainy days we have had.
March 3rd-4th. Cold and windy with some snow.
March 5th. Partly cloudy, cool but turning warmer.
March 6th-7th. Showery both days.
March 9th. Pretty day; what a pleasant thing.
March 10th. Very rainy. The Yanks that were taken by Vandorn at (?) Thompson’s Station passed here about 1200 fine looking men.
March 11th-12th. Clear and cool. Reports say there has been fighting near Columbia.
Mar. 13th-18th. Fine pleasant weather. Trees are putting out and plum and peach trees are blooming.
Mar. 19th. Gen. Jos. E. Johnson is hear and today he reviewed (?) Gen. Hardee’s Corps. It was a grand and imposing thing, and there were a great many ladies out to see the troops and be seen too I suppose.
Mar. 20th-26th. Cloudy with more or less rain nearly every day for a week.
Mar. 27th. This being the day set apart by the President as a fast day there was no drilling and although there was but little fasting in camps there was preaching. What a solemn thing to think of so many persons being assembled both in and out of the army; all over the South; praying for the success of our army and for us to soon get home there to live in peace. While I was at preaching my eye ever restless like my mind wandered round to see what others were doing. 30 yds. on my right was a party piling brush; on my left was 2 negroes washing while in sight was some men playing ball, others passing to and fro.
Mar. 28th. Hard rain last night and warm and cloudy today.
Mar. 29th-30th. Cold and windy and some rain and sleet occasionally today. They are getting more strict in discipline than they were formerly. A man ran away from our Regt. and was gone only a few days and he had to work 5 days, forfeit 15 days wages and was marched before the Regt. under guard each day for 5 I believe. There are several ways of punishing offenders. For small offenses they have to do an extra day’s duty; if a little worse they are put in the Guard house to stay a few hours or days sometimes for months. Some are made stand on the head of a barrel. Some have a string tied round both thumbs and put over a poll & the poll raised till they can just touch the ground lightly with the feet. Others have to work on Government works. Others carry a ball and chain attached to one leg. While the worst are shot or hung. Shooting is for desertion or something worse. Hanging for being a spy.
Mar. 31st. Snow 2 or 3 inches deep. Some of the Regts. Had a snow battle. The 5th first attacked the 48th and soon routed them when they tried the 2nd soon after they began the 1st Artillery joined the 2nd Tenn. Then it became very interesting and exciting first one side then the other would make up a lot of balls and with loud yells would charge their opponents. The 5th Tenn. being outnumbered and rather out generaled were driven back some distance but not without a fierce struggle. There were several prisoners taken on both sides. None killed and few wounded. The fight lasted 2 hours when the parties being tired and the snow very scarce they quit and retired from the field.
Apr. 1st-2nd. Clear cool days ground frozen and some ice yesterday morning. 750 prisoners passed here that were captured at Brentwood by Vandorn or by men under him. The commanding officer gets all the honor belonging to those under him whether officer or men.
Apr. 3rd. Clear with a cold wind. I was out in the country and saw that vegetation was but little advanced. Wheat looks well but rather late.
Apr. 4th-8th. Clear with wind like March.
Apr. 9th. Took dinner in the country. This has been a lovely day. The buds are opening as if to meet pleasant sunshine, while the butterflies and grasshoppers are flitting about joyfully knowing no care and squirrels are leaping from tree to tree in the full enjoyment of their freedom. It was a Sunday indeed to me.
Apr. 10th. Grand review again. Gen. Leonidas Polk reviewed the Corps. How imposing the scene to see many thousand well armed and equipped and moving with such harmony; but think what is all this for why only that they be well prepared to kill their fellow men successfully. Oh! What a horrible thing war is.
Apr. 11th-12th. Rain yesterday but pleasant today. Kendrick Haggard, Mrs. Meeks and Mrs. Willbank came up.
Apr. 13th. Had a fine dinner. First bacon turnip greens and corn bread then chicken and biscuit finishing with pies and pound cake.
Apr. 14th-15th. Rainy and damp weather.
Apr. 16th-18th. Clear and warm. Reinforcements coming in from Mobile. I know not how many.
Apr. 19th. Went to church in the country where I saw several ladies. Left Alf Montague sick in the country. Got a little wet in coming back.
Apr. 20th-22nd. Fine weather today. Brown’s Brigade went to Manchester and Johnson’s to Wartrace.
Apr. 23rd. Left Tullahoma after staying 3 ½ months. Started to Wartrace with 2 days rations. We had some of the worst muddy places we were ever in with the wagons. Came 10 miles being 1 mile past Duck River. We crossed it near Roseville, a little village on the road. Our encampment when we left presented a grotesque appearance. There were pieces of tents on poles for flags; old clothes stuffed, with hat and boots on and hung or tied up to a pole or tree one had a drum in his hands. There were a great many huts built here and they and the chimneys we left looked like a deserted village or burnt town.
Apr. 24th. Came 4 miles and camped on Wartrace Creek near Wartrace. Wartrace is a small village on the N. & C. R.R. There is a fine land through here. Water only tolerably good.
Apr. 25th-26th. Fine weather. Got orders last night to cook one day’s rations and be ready to start at daylight but the order was countermanded. I went to see some old acquaintances.
Apr. 27th. Moved a little N.E. of town. The 48 are detailed for ????? guard for the town.
Apr. 28th-30th. There are a great many men here who have very sore arms caused by being vaccinated and the scab was not genuine. Some are sore 3 or 4 months.
May 1st-10th. Generally fine weather. Occasionally a little rainy and cool. Five Brigades left on the cars to go I know not where. Forage is very scarce here so we keep our stock on pastures in the daytime. As to rations for ourselves there is plenty but not as good as some want. Here we get plenty of wild mustard which is very good for salad.
May 11th-16th. Fine weather. The 11th McNair’s Brigade left on the cars. I met with several of my Ark. Acquaintances. They wanted to go West. Today we very reluctantly moved back to our Brigade on the other side of town.
May 17th-21st. Cool, clear weather and but little excitement here about anything.
May 22nd. Two Brigades were ordered out on account of a raid being made by the Yankees. Our men went down to Bell Buckle and returned by 9 (?) o’clock. It was a false alarm.
May 23rd-24th. Rather gloomy about Vicksburg. Johnson’s Brigade went to the front today and some of Breckenridge’s went to the rear. Some think they will go to Vicksburg, others think to Kentucky. I think to Vicksburg.
May 25th. The troops were ordered out to Fairfield a.m. (?) and the movements look like fighting.
May 26th. I went with the wagons to carry rations. I overtook them 8 miles from here, 1 mile this side of Buck Grove. I overtook them at 12 o’clock night. The troops moved forward at daylight and I returned with the wagons to camps. A little after dark the troops came in, the enemy slipped by them or else were never there. It was said they were trying to cut off some of the enemy.
May 27th. Went to Duck River where Co. (K) are guarding the bridge. I took a good dinner and a fine bath. The boys are well pleased and are living well on milk and butter.
May 28th. Rode to Shelbyville and had some dentist work done. The court house has been burned and the top blown off of several houses since I left last winter. Returned by 2 o’clock. Poor country along the road.
May 29th-30th. Showery. Good news from Vicksburg. Today Bishop Elliott preached and the Gens. Sent out orders for all the men to go and hear him. I have as good preaching often before. Gens. Bragg, Polk, Hardee and several Brigadier besides lots of Capts. And Lts. Were out to hear him. As a general thing the gold lace men of our army do not go to church much. I am sorry to see it the case for they are the most influential men in the army and they ought to use their influence for good.
June 1st. Our Brigade left at 5 a.m. for Tullahoma where we arrived by 12 o’clock 14miles and how much we hated to come back here. We came by Normandy. It is 1 ½ miles from Wartrace to Garrison fork of Duck River and 5 to the river. There is fine loam about the river. There has been good bridges built both across Garrison fork and Duck River since we went down to Wartrace. Tullahoma is so much changed, everything here looks green and fresh to what it did when we left last spring. Our old encampment is so grown up that it hardly looks like the same place. Tullahoma now is but little like it was before the war began and it will be many years before it is itself again. We are here to do guard duty and I am willing to another 3 ½ months without moving.
June 2nd-3rd. Warm with some rain. Encamped near Ft. Rains (?) around Mr. McLemore’s yard.
June 4th. No news. I went to see Ft. Rains (?). I do not suppose I am much of a judge but I think it is a fine fort mounting 12 guns some of them very heavy. There is a well in the center affording plenty of water. Heavy cannonading on front today.
June 6th. Rode out into country to stay all night with a friend. Crops look well especially the wheat. I ate ripe mulberries which is the first ripe fruit I saw this year.
June 7th. Went to church in the country and saw several nice young ladies there which was pleasant indeed. Being at such a place brought up memories of the past for this is the day of preaching near home where my parents and friend are likely assembled. Is my seat vacant or is it filled by another as I fill another’s here. I took dinner with the Misses Bobo and Miss Evins. Returned to camps late in the evening.
June 8th-10th. Fine weather with a little rain.
June 11th-12th. Went to Wartrace after q.m. stores for Maj. Hawkins and returned by 3 o’clock this evening. Crops look well.
June 13th-19th. Warm with nearly every day. The general impression seems to be that it is doubtful about Vicksburg holding out.
June 20th-23rd. The Yankees made another raid toward McMinnville. The news from Vicksburg is that the Yanks attacked the place and were repulsed with the loss of ten thousand men.
June 24th. Very rainy. Cannonading in front. Our Brigade was ordered to ready to start to meet the enemy at any moment.
June 25th. Last night the 48th was ordered to Manchester and when they were nearly ready to start the order was countermanded. They slept but little. There has been firing in front all day and late p.m. it was reported that small arms were heard near here so immediately our Brigade was out in line of battle; they remained a short time and returned to camps when all was quiet again.
June 26th. Last night at 12 o’clock we were ordered to be ready to start to Wartrace at 3 a.m. left at daylight for Wartrace where we arrived at 12 noon. It was very rainy and muddy and nearly all the men were very tired. Firing towards Fairfield. I think likely we will have a battle.
June 27th. Began to fall back. Went down and crossed the river at Shofner’s Bridge and got to Tullahoma late p.m. How it pains me to see any of Tenn. given up to the vandals of the North.
June 28th. There appears to be preparation for a battle here. Rumors of all sorts pain (?) again. Forrest’s and Wheeler’s commands are here.
June 29th. There is every appearance of preparation for a battle. They appear to be flanking us on the right. They burned Derherd & tore up the R.R. last night. More rain. At 3 p.m. there was every appearance of a retreat but just at night some more troops came in from Chattanooga and things look more favorable now.
June 30th. Still preparing for battle a.m. but late p.m. we made every necessary arrangement to retreat. The wagons are loaded light and we will leave our tents and a great many good clothes. There will doubtless be many desertions on the retreat if we go to Chattanooga. How thoughtless men are to thus leave the army, it only makes a bad thing worse.
July 1st. Began to retreat last night at dark and by daylight we were 2 miles on this side of Elk River. Crossed the river on Bethpag bridge a short distance above Alisona. I, as always, am with the wagons and we came without any serious mishap. We stopped at daylight, rested 4 hours, and then resumed our march up the R.R. till 1 mile past Dechard where we turned round and returned to Decherd and are now ready to move at any time. The general impression is that we will go to Chattanooga.
July 2nd. Left Decherd at 6 a.m. and took a road leading off to the left. We got up the mountain and stopped at University place where there are some fine springs. Very hot. Heavy firing in our rear for a few minutes this morning; said to be at Elk River. We are pushing on either to save our wagons or to meet the enemy in Sequatchie Valley; is my opinion. There are various rumors about Morgan and Forrest but they are not generally believed. Capt. (?) returned today.
July 3rd. Last night we had to throw away the load of one wagon because it was ordered to help make up a supply train. Came 16 miles and encamped on the side of the mountain in the road having started down before dark and it was soon too dark to travel without great danger. Came for some distance along the Tracy (?) City R.R. The country was poor and barren but well watered. The road was rough and very muddy in a few places. Rain today. My opinion today has been that we will not go to Chattanooga soon if at all.
July 4th. Came down Cedar Ridge into Gizzard Cove down that into Sweeden’s Cove on the route we went Nov. ’62 from Knoxville. Came out at the mouth of the Cove, crossed Sequatchie Valley and came 4 miles up Tenn. River where we stopped for the night. Came 25 (?) miles. Passed Jasper 10 miles back. This side of Jasper we crossed Sequatchie River. Left one wagon with the cooking vessels and pushed the other forward as fast as practicable. No 4th July celebration with us as we are on more important business.
July 5th. Came 16 miles to Chattanooga (?) to Kelly’s Ferry where we crossed Tenn. River on a pontoon bridge and came to this place on the South side of the river. Had some pretty rough road in crossing the point of Lookout Mountain. The general impression is that we will go to Vicksburg, that is some of Bragg’s army will. If I am sent there I will go cheerfully but would much rather not have to go there. There were more straggling soldiers with the wagons this trip than I ever saw before.
July 6th. The cars are constantly bringing in Polk’s Corps. But I do not know where they are encamped. It is sad to think how badly the Yanks will treat those of our friends who are left behind so I keep it out of my mind as much as possible. More rain.
July 7th. In the city a man has to go with his pass in his hand or be taking it out every few minutes. Bad news from Vicksburg but good from Virginia. More rain. Wheat will be spoiled soon.
July 8th. Plenty of rumors. Some say Hardee’s Corps will go to Vicksburg, others that Polk’s Corps will go. None of us know, very likely not the Gens. themselves. Hard rain. Warm.
July 9th. Our Div. went on the cars toward Knoxville. I saw them as they passed and many familiar faces are gone and where are they, who they have deserted and gone home or somewhere else. Oh! How sorry I am that men will do so and some of them are men I loved and had confidence in. These are trying times and men at an unguarded moment (they) let their feelings get the better of their judgment. Our cause indeed looks gloomy but we can never turn back, therefore we should stick together as a band of brothers determined never to yield, preferring death to slavery and oppression such as we would receive from our enemies if they were to conquer but this they will certainly never do. Warm with some rain.
July 10th. Left Chattanooga and came 10 miles to Tyners station on the Knoxville R.R. where we found our Division. In coming we crossed Missionary Ridge and Chickamaugy River, both small. Land poor, broken and rocky. Hot.
July 11th. There are various opinions as to where we will go when we leave here but nothing definite can be known.
July 12th. More rain. 5 men deserted. Oh! How it pains me to see men so much disheartened and so thoughtless.
July 13th-14th. Rain! Rain!! Rain!!! Wheat must be well nigh ruined and the soldiers suffer so much who are without tents and this is the case with all or nearly so. They fix up their blankets which turns off some of the rain but still they get wet every time it rains much. Their rations (can) scarcely be kept dry. How I long to see the end of this dreadful war.
July 15th-16th. Two days without rain which is quite a treat. There are several sick caused I suppose by rain or poor beef one or the other.
July 17th-19th. We appear to be settling down into regular camp life. Col. Nixon has come to us and has got up some excitement about the Regt. being mounted. I believe it is an electioneering scheme of Col. Nixon’s.
July 20th-22nd. There is considerable complaint about not getting enough to eat and rations are pretty small for hearty men. I fear it will demoralize the army, many of them only want an excuse to run away.
July 23rd-24th. Warm. Nothing new in camps.
July 25th. Forage is very scarce. The mules run on a pasture and the horses get little else but hay. The bitterer the cup we now drink the sweeter will be our liberty when we are once free.
July 26th-27th. The army here is being scattered about but not very far & not many at a place. I am learning to play chess and like it well.
July 28th-29th. The papers are full of recognition and I am tired of hearing about it and editors ought to say nothing about it for few believe it.
July 30th-31st. Warm with showers. Today is one that the soldier loves to see for they have been paid what they are allowed for 2 months service.
Aug. 1st-2nd. Warm weather. There were 2 sermons preached in camps. The first I did not hear as I do not like to hear our Chaplain (Wm. Qualls) preach. The other I missed because I had to go to the pasture. The country West of here is poor and broken.
Aug. 3rd. Alf being sick I acted A.C.S. but do not much like the business. We turned over some of our transportation & I drew a mule ride which I rather have them a horse unless it was a very good one.
Aug. 4th-5th. Very hot. I was once in a mess with an old man who used to curse me for (as he called it) preaching morality in camps. Today he is in the guardhouse for bad conduct while I am still at my post as usual. I feel thankful to my parents for the manner in which they raised me and thankful to God for enabling me to live in a manner that I am not ashamed of. There are plenty of candidates around here and they are as polite now as they used to be all going to do something for the soldiers if elected.
Aug. 6th. Election for Congressmen. Col. Nixon got ½ of Regt. and 5 or 6 to his opponents 1. Saw some shooting at a target with cannons which was not very good in my opinion.
Aug. 7th-9th. Quite warm but no rain.
Aug. 10th. There is an order now regulating price of fruits etc. Peaches were $1 to 2 per doz., now 50 cts., apples were 50 cts. To 1.50 now 25 cts. And other things in proportion. Speculators were plenty but now there is scarcely one to be seen. The buyer is equally liable with the seller.
Aug. 11th. Quite warm. I think we will soon cross the river at Chattanooga and go into Middle Tenn. and perhaps into Ky. There are a great many who do not think such a move will be made.
Aug. 12th-16th. Very hot and dusty. I have to do all the Commissary business of the Regt. and it keeps me very busy. There are a great many dog-flies here and our stock are suffering very much from their bites, some of their legs are raw and bleeding.
Aug. 17th. Moved 7 ½ miles to Graysville on Chickamauga River and on the State R.R. We are in Georgia. We passed over poor rocky country in coming here. The rocks are with the edge up.
Aug. 18th-20th. Cleaning up our encampment very nicely. Rations are very light but no suffering at all.
Aug. 21st. The Regt. started at daylight for Harrison 5 ½ miles North of Tynes’s Station & were there by 12. The enemy are pressing us closely are said to be crossing at Bridgport & are shelling Chattanooga. This was unexpected to me.
Aug. 22nd. The Yanks fired a few shells across the river but did no damage. Warm and dusty.
Aug. 23rd. Came 12 miles up the river, the land is poor and broken. I do not understand our movements this time.
Aug. 24th. Moved 1 mile to a fine spring near Gardenhine’s ferry. Poor land only on the river.
Aug. 25th. Went to Harrison and returned this evening. Turned very cool late in the evening.
Aug. 26th. There were some Yanks foraging on the opposite bank of the river and about 2 o’clock they shelled our camps but did no damage. They fired some 15 or 20 times and fired pretty well; distance 1 ½ miles.
Aug. 27th. Considerable firing below. The road runs near the river and they fired on Calvert’s Battery as it was passing wounding 3 men and killing 2 horses. Still cool weather.
Aug. 28th. Went to Harrison & back today; it is said that 20,000 of Johnson’s army are here and on their way; this has been rumored for some time but this time I think it is so.
Aug. 29th. All quiet. I rode out into the country and nearly all of the women are barefooted and bareheaded. They are not tasty or fashionable and generally homely. Between here and Harrison there are a good many Indians. Those I saw were in very poor circumstances and seemed out of place.
Aug. 30th. Went to meeting in the country in order to see the country women; I saw but few and they were quite common. I think they do not care much about hearing a “rebel” preach.
Aug. 31st. Ate a good dinner with an old Tory. He is a good liver and has some good looking daughters but they go barefooted and sit on the floor. They like most women through here have made a crop this year. Our boys are pulling fodder for them just for accommodation.
Sept. 1st. We are likely to leave here with 3 days cooked rations; no other news.
Sept. 2nd. The 1st Ark. Left early. All the Brigade are gone but the 48th and they have all been out on picket so it seems very lonely here today. We are guarding the river for 8 miles.
Sept. 3rd. I do not understand the movements but things look to me like we will retreat soon. I yet have hopes that we will come out of this thing well. Whiskey is tolerably plenty here and occasionally one of the boys is drunk. Two staff officers were drunk yesterday and today.
Sept. 4th. I am up and down the river every day. There is fine land and corn in the river bottom. Our men and the “Yanks” fire across the river every day but little or no damages, the distance is too great.
Sept. 5th. The army appears to be retreating. If we retreat ??? not know where we will make another stand. I yet hope we will drive them away from the river.
Sept. 6th. Quiet all day but just at dark we got orders to go to Tyner’s Station. We learned that all the pickets below here have been removed from the river and we are liable to be cut off from the main army. Col. Nixon, Lt. Stewart and some others were considerably excited. We hate to leave here because we always fare best away from the army and here is a very fine Freestone spring.
Sept. 7th. Started 1 hour before daylight. It took all night to get the men together. Came 18 miles to Tyner’s Station. Some of the men had nothing to eat all day and the road was hot and dusty so they are very much fatigued. We learn that our command is gone to Rome, Ga. And we will follow tomorrow.
Sept. 8th. Came via Chickamauga to our old camps near Graysville. All was in a stir at Chickamauga. We are falling back from the river but for what purpose I do not know. The road was very dusty and crowded with troops and wagons. It is very hard on infantry and one that makes a good soldier and does not complain deserves a great deal of credit. But few except those who have tried it have any idea of the suffering of soldiers on long marches.
Sept. 9th. Came 12 miles on the road to Rome. It was not so dusty and we got along much better than we did yesterday. The country is poor but well watered.
Sept. 10th. Came 5 miles to Lafayette where we overlook the army. There seems to be a fight or a run on hand. It is said that the Q.M. Sergts., Commissary Sergts., Wagon Masters etc. all have to go into the battle. If ordered to go I am ready and willing but without orders I will not leave my duty to go into a battle believing it would be rashness rather than bravery to do so.
Sept. 11th. There has been preparations all day for a battle. The 48th went out into line of battle soon a.m. I am at Lafayette with the wagons. Very hot and dusty.
Sept. 12th. No fight and it may be several days before it comes off if at all. We have dust! Dust!! Dust!!!
Sept. 13th. The troops are constantly moving to and fro but very little fighting. I think we will not have it soon. If we stay here a few days longer we will ruin this place; there is a great portion of the fence burned already.
Sept. 14th. Nothing new. Rumor says that some of the Virginia troops will soon be here.
Sept. 15th. Went out to the Regt. at Bluebird Gap on Pigeon Mountain 5 miles West of Lafayette. There is some fine land near the mountain. The road up the mountain is very rough and on top it is blockaded by cutting trees into it.
Sept. 16th. Came with the wagons out near the Regt. It was a great relief to get (out) of the dust where there is plenty of water. Lafayette was the dustiest place I ever saw. The trees and even the roofs and sides of the houses were the color of the ground. There is a general belief that we will soon be in Middle Tennessee.
Sept. 17th. Left with the wagons and by dark were at Lafayette on our way to Gordon’s Springs. We left the Brigade which is to move forward as soon as they cook rations. I believe we will advance on Chattanooga and some believe we will not find the enemy even there. The army are in fine spirits. Longstreet is here from Virginia.
Sept. 18th. We were on the road all night and by daylight were 5 miles West of Lafayette. Then we went 5 miles on the road towards Resaca, crossed ????? and cooked and fed our teams; then we turned across towards Gordon’s Springs. We have come some distance back to the rear, but I do not believe we are retreating.
Sept. 19th. The Teamsters and others about the wagons have to cook the rations. I started out to the battlefield with one days rations. There has been some heavy firing in front today. Quite cool late p.m.
Sept. 20th. Was on the road all night and found the Regt. at sunup. Quite cool last night and frosty this morning. When we got near the battlefield we met a great many wounded men and some prisoners and learned from them that there was hard fighting yesterday evening. Our Div. was engaged with small loss, they drove the enemy back and this morning were in line of battle on the battlefield of yesterday and last night. It was expected that the battle would be renewed every moment when I left 1 hour by Sun. I rode over the battlefield and saw friends and foes mingled together all cold in death. The wounded had been carried off to the rear. There were dead horses, guns, knapsacks, blankets, etc. scattered promiscuously over the ground. The trees were scarred by the bullets and here and there was a tree cut off by a common ball. I think there were about an equal number of killed on both sides. How unfeeling (?) man becomes; although this was the first time I ever saw such a sight my feelings were scarcely moved at all. I saw no one dead that I knew and none of them were suffering was the reason in part I suppose. I returned to camps about 20 miles. There was heavy firing again today. The battlefield is on the West of Chickamauga near Alexander’s Bridge.
Sept. 21st. Started out to the front again with rations. There are many rumors about the fight yesterday. One is that the 48th has only 14 men unhurt and others in proportion. No firing today and the enemy are supposed to be retreating.
Sept. 22nd. Traveled all night and overtook the troops at ???? Redhouse ford on Chickamauga. More than one third of our Regt. are killed & wounded most of them slightly wounded. As usual we lost some of our best men killed and wounded. Men who are worthless both here and at home generally manage to keep out of danger while good and true men are apt to be at their post at all times: this I think is the cause of the best men being killed and wounded in battle. The battle has been very severe and we have gained a complete victory over the enemy. It is not certain whether “Old Rosey” will try us again on this side of the river or not. Gen. Bragg is much more popular now than ever before. I never have thought him to be the best Gen. We had but I think he has never had justice done him before and he may not have it now. This morning the army moved on towards Chattanooga and all the wagons came up to Redhouse ford 7 miles S. East of Chattanooga.
Sept. 23rd. Went last night to Leat’s tanyard after rations and returned today. I slept 2 hours last night and had a dusty time coming back today. Favorable rumors from the front.
Sept. 24th. I rode over the battlefield an hour and saw 2 of our men and about 100 Yanks yet unburied. I suppose I did not see 1/20 of them. Some of them were killed the 19th and they were black and very much swollen. I felt badly to see them in such a condition. Some of them likely never will be buried. It is a sad solemn thought to think of the sorrow and suffering caused by such a battle. While we in the army weep for a brother or friend it is as nothing compared to sorrowing parents for their children, the weeping of sisters for their brothers or the grief of the widow whose husband lost his life on the battlefield. Alas! Alas!! What a horrible thing is war how it brings sorrow and suffering over any country which it visits or rather which brings it upon itself.
Sept. 25th. All quiet. I know nothing of the movements only that “Rosey” has made a stand at Chattanooga.
Sept. 26th. We haul our rations from Tunnel-hill, a distance of 20 or 25 miles, but the cars will soon be running to Chickamauga Station.
Sept. 27th. The impression is that we will flank the enemy by crossing the river above here. I was on Missionary Ridge 2 ½ miles this side of Chattanooga but there was so much smoke I could not see it. We have fortifications on the ridge from Lookout Mountain to the river above.
Sept. 28th. It was reported that Chattanooga would be shelled today unless it was surrendered but we waited impatiently all day and it was not done.
Sept. 29th. We moved 3 miles down the river to Bird’s Mill. We are now on the west side of Chickamauga. We yet have to cook for the Regt. and send out to them.
Sept. 30th. Raining a little and we are glad to see it. It almost ????? first for 2 months.
Oct. 1st. Very rainy. It has been the worst time I ever tried to cook. We cooked 1 day’s rations of bread for the Regt. We had a detail to help us. Mud is plentier than dust was and more disagreeable. How hard we are to please. Oct. 2nd. Cleared off and was a fine day but the roads are yet muddy. There is so much passing.
Oct. 3rd. The 48th and 35th Tenn. Regt. are detailed to go to Georgetown to gather up commissaries. They started this evening and one can hardly imagine how proud we are of the job so we can get away from the main army. Cousin Scott Rountree has called to see me. He is in fine health and spirits & says he is married.
Oct. 4th. Came 12 miles to Coltawah (?), then the boys started out and soon had something to eat and they needed it for there was more complaint about rations at Missionary Ridge than ever before.
Oct. 5th. Bragg shelled Chattanooga and it is said threw shell all over it. The enemy replied a little. It is believed that they will be kept hot tomorrow if shelling can do it.
Oct. 6th. We laid still yesterday for the boys to wash but they cooked as much as they washed so we came to Hiwassa Campground near Georgetown which will be our head quarters and getting up wheat and having it gound will be our principal business. Occasional firing last night at Chattanooga but little or none today. The boys have taken several horses from the Tories with knowledge and consent of the commander (Col. B.J. Hill both Regts. are under him). It may be right but I think if it is it is carried too far. There are a great many less things taken but this is not openly countenanced by Col. Hill. On account of such conduct I wish we had remained where we were. There is some pretty good land on the road the (?) came. Chattanooga is reported evacuated and it is believed to be time.
Oct. 7th. Rainy. We are getting up wheat to grind. The boys are getting plenty now to eat. They take pumpkins and other small things but do not call it stealing.
Oct. 8th. I rode out. There (are) a great many very poor folks through these hills. The men are nearly all gone and the women go to mill some ride horses, some jacks while others walk. I do not know whether they have any boys. If they do they must stay at home generally.
Oct. 9th. All seems quiet so far as I can hear. The men are in the old tents of the campground and they are well fixed.
Oct. 10th. Came to Tyner’s Station on my way to Chickamauga with flour which we had ground. The roads are in fine condition.
Oct. 11th. Went to Chickamauga and back to Coltawah. President Davis is with Bragg’s Army. I think Bragg will make a move soon.
Oct. 12th. Returned to Hiwassa Campground. I am tired having rode 3 days successively.
Oct. 13th. Rained all day but not hard till late p.m.
Oct. 14th. Some rain. A great deal of the Commissary Stores we get will not be paid for some of it will be well enough but a few ought to be paid for all we get from them.
Oct. 15th. Very rainy. I was in most of it being out after wheat. It is hard to take wheat and the women by begging for it to be left. I fear we will take till the people will suffer.
Oct. 16th. Cloudy but little rain. I came to Burchwood to get up forage for the stock. They grind Fridays for the citizens so there were several women at mill when I came.
Oct. 17th. Went to the river and got some fine corn. I got corn belonging to a man who has gone over to the “Yanks”.
Oct. 18th. Rainy but we are in houses and do not mind it much. How those must suffer who are exposed to it all without tents and how thankful we ought to be that we are not so exposed.
Oct. 19th. Went near Douty’s ferry and got wheat which was left by a man who has gone to the Yankees. Saw Yankees on the other side of the river. We have no pickets there.
Oct. 20th. Rode most of the day after forage. There are some of the poorest people in this country that I ever saw anywhere. I stop at some places just to see how they live. Some places (?) there are no chairs others only one or two broken ones and other furniture in proportion: the children (of which there are generally plenty) are often very ragged and dirty, and taking it altogether they are the most degraded ignorant people I ever met with. It is true indeed that one half the world does not know how the other lives.
Oct. 21st. I took a wagon out and we gathered a load of corn in the rain.
Oct. 22nd. Getting corn again in Tenn. River bottom. Took dinner with Mr. Roark, an old Tory farmer on the river. He has some fine daughters for this country but they would be entirely lost in refined society. They treat our boys as kindly as though they were their best friends. I do not see how they can do it.
Oct. 23rd-24th. Cool and cloudy with some rain.
Oct. 25th. Busy all day getting up corn. I do not like to work on Sunday but I am in a hurry and cannot wait very well this time.
Oct. 26th. We are having a very good time here. We have plenty of flour and meal and some vegetables. There are some men here who steal all the honey they can find and kill hogs when they have plenty of meat; men do this who would be ashamed for it to be known at home. They ought to remember there is one above who sees all they do.
Oct. 27th. The waste wheat is being distilled for the men to drink. I think it would be better to throw it away. It is done by our field and staff officers and I think they are doing it mostly for their benefit as they use it very freely. If they do not commit depredations and steal from citizens they encourage others in such things. Most or all the company officers are guilty of the same. War is so degrading and bad examples are so contagious especially when they are given by our superiors.
Oct. 28th. More rain. I was running a cow away from our hay yesterday and she fell and broke her leg. Col. Nixon on hearing how it was done gave me $10 towards paying for her; he told me to go round and get money from the officers to pay for her. I first went to Lt. Stewart who gave me $5 and I was hunting Col. Hughes when Capt. Evans very tauntingly remarked that he would loan me the money to pay for her. Such a remark at the time hurt me and lest they would think I was begging for money to pay what I ought to pay myself I determined to pay for the cow and if any of them were disposed to give anything it would be thankfully received. J.R. Massey (blacksmith) gave me $4 dollars which is all I received. I paid the lady $75 for her cow. It looked hard for me to pay for her so I did not intend hurting the cow but she belonged to a poor woman, was giving milk and was her only cow and I was more able to lose it than she was, so I paid her willingly.
Oct. 29th. Fine weather for getting up forage today.
Oct. 30th-Nov. 1st. Capts. Miller and Gunther of the 35th Tenn. were sent to muster us but were too drunk to attend to it. What a shame for officers to act thus.
Nov. 1st-2nd. Very fine weather. There is more or less firing every day at Chattanooga but I suppose it is only shelling perhaps by both sides.
Nov. 3rd-4th. The boys get socks from the citizens by working for them. They cannot get them for money as the people are nearly all Tories.
Nov. 5th. Warm and very rainy. The roads are getting in a bad condition for hauling.
Nov. 6th-7th. Clear warm days. I wish this was good refined society; my stay here would be so much more pleasant than it is at present.
Nov. 8th-13th. Clear, cold and windy but turning a little warmer.
Nov. 14th-16th. Cool with some rain and appearance of snow. The weather is very changeable.
Nov. 17th. Went partridge hunting with a net and caught seven. It is fine sport.
Nov. 18th. Went out after forage and took some from an old woman and her standing by begging for it to be left; this looks hard but we are obliged to do it or do without. We have to impress nearly all the forage we get and some forage masters abuse the privilege of impressing.
Nov. 19th. All quiet. Good news from Longstreet.
Nov. 20th-21st. We have more rain, and cool rain.
Nov. 22nd. There was some excitement here, caused by a lady living in this place being taken prisoner with her husband and son who she was trying to get across the river to the Yankees. They were sent to Col. Hill and put in the guardhouse. Heavy cannonading below all day.
Nov. 23rd. Heavy firing again below but all quiet here.
Nov. 24th. Rec’d orders last night to withdraw our pickets from the river and report to Col. Hill at Hiwassa Campground. Our pickets were scattered 10 miles on the river so we never got off till 8 o’clock a.m. We thought we were going to Knoxville till we reported to Col. Hill when we were ordered towards Coltawah. It looks very much like a retreat. Some 15 of the 48th deserted. Came 16 miles through rain and mud. Heavy firing again. It is reported that the (?) crossed last night at the mount of Chickamauga.
Nov. 25th. Last night we were cut off by Yankee cavalry so we turned back and wound round through the mountains all day and by night we were in two miles of Coltawah at a gap in the Whiteoak Mountain. The cavalry passed in 4 miles of us last night and could have captured us very easily if they had known where we were but it was late when we got there and no one had carried the news. We are not out of danger yet for they may come back on us as we are now encamped on the road they went up. We fell in just behind them where they had torn up the R.R. from Chattanooga to Cleveland. We burned an ambulance which they left in a mud hole. There was heavy firing towards Chattanooga all day. I think another hard battle has been fought and from what I can learn I think we got the worst of it. The men and teams are all tired from today’s march. Our men have been dissatisfied ever since they were put under Col. Hill and they are now deserting every day. Clear, cold and windy today.
Nov. 26th. Since our Regt. was put under Col. Hill, Col. Nixon got permission from the war department to take the supernumerary officers and go to Middle Tenn. and raise a cavalry command. So this morning Col. Nixon, Lt. Col. Hughes, Capt. Wooten a Q.M., Adjt. Montague, Capt. Miller, Lt. Voss, Lt. Stewart, Lt. Montage, Lt. Prier, and Ord. Sergt. Harwell left for Middle Tenn. Cols. Nixon and Hughes treated me coldly about going and I think they do not like me officially because I did not show partiality to them because they were officers. Officially I have tried to act impartially towards all and I think that such was my duty. Personally I have done more for both Cols. Nixon and Hughes than I ever got thanks for. Capt. Wooten wanted me to go with him but I did not like the way I would have to get off nor the man I would have to go with so I will stay with the probability of going back to ranks soon, if I do I will do my duty cheerfully. They all left without bidding us farewell.
Nov. 26th. We came to Coltaway and fearing to go direct to the army we turned nearly back through a gap in White Oak Mountain aiming to go to Ringgold but before we got there we heard that there were wagons in the way so we turned towards Catoosa Springs and came (?) in 5 or 6 miles of that place. We have been in a poor country today but we had good roads. There has been little or no firing today and soon this morning I was satisfied that we were whipped and soon learned that such is the case. I am truly sorry of it.
Nov. 27th. In order to avoid wagon trains we turned to the left and struck the R.R. at Varnel’s Station 7 miles above Dalton. There we cooked 2 day’s rations and about dark we started to Dalton. There was hard fighting in our rear today and I think we beat them. We have not felt out of danger till now. Col. Hill managed the thing very well in getting us through safe.
Nov. 28th. Came 8 miles last night. Quite rainy this morning. Came 4 miles to Dalton and we had some very bad road. Col. Voorhies 48th Tenn. is here from Mobile. I was glad to meet with the boys. I think we will fall farther back yet but do not know. Our defeat is attributed to the cowardly conduct of two Brigades what two I do not know.
Nov. 29th. Moved 1 mile out of town to where wood is more plenty for it is cold and windy. In coming down here there were several of our men were barefooted yet they traveled without much complaint through mud over rocks and sometimes over frozen ground. Our army are very much in need of clothing, blankets and tents but we will hardly get many tents this winter. Thus ends my second year of the war. I have found the service much easier than I anticipated and through the Providence of God I have been in a good place all the time.
Dec. 10th. Gen. Jos. E. Johnson is to command the army here: this I think will give general satisfaction and I hope the troops will soon be in better spirits for they are now very badly demoralized indeed.
Dec. 11th. For the last 2 days we have been firing up for winter and are very well fixed up so we think and so all say who have seen our quarters. This is how we are fixed. Our house is a pretty good old tent 10 feet square which does not leak unless it rains very hard. Our chimney is a stick and clay one and very good one for the army having brick back and jambs. We have a dirt floor but that we are used to. Our bedstead is made by driving forks in the ground and making a scaffold of polls which is covered with fine pine brush on which we spread our blankets making a very good soldier’s bed. The tent is our parlor, kitchen and smokehouse. As to chairs, we have none – a box or two being our only seats. We are not much crowded there being only 4 of us and eight is the allowance for such a tent. Of cooking vessels we have a good supply and we have a few plates and one or two knives and forks; on the whole we are rich for soldiers.
Dec. 12th. Warmer and rainy. High prices are so common that we hardly ever think anything about them but I will give some anyhow. Apples are $3.00 per doz. Ground peas are $1.00 per quart; ginger cakes are $1.00 each and small ones at that and other things in proportion. There are several reasons for high prices. Money is not much value, things are very scarce and then soldiers will give almost any price for anything they want.
Dec. 13th. I was up at the brigade. Nearly all the men have houses of some sort. They are various shapes and sizes, some large enough for ten men and others will hold only four, some of them have the chimneys in the end some in the side and some have no chimneys at all. I believe all have doors but they are like the chimneys as to place and size. The houses are generally built without regard to order. Wood will be very scarce if we remain here till spring and we may. The ridge is already nearly bare of timber.
Dec. 14th. Turned cool & cleared off and the mud dried up some.
Dec. 15th. The 48th are still trying to get a transfer to Col. Voorkies (?) Regt. If they do not get it I fear many will run away.
Dec. 16th. I drew and issued rations instead of the commissary sergt. The boys of the 48th were delighted to see me issuing rations again and wanted me to continue all the time. Some of the officers of the 35th Tenn. have been drinking too much for a few days and some of them had a fight this morning. Col. Hill has been on a spree ever since we got to Dalton; he has been away from the Regt. 8 or 10 days.
Dec. 17th. Warm and cloudy with some rain. Last night it rained hard and the wind blew considerably, but fortunately I was in a pretty good tent and did not get wet.
Dec. 18th-19th. Cold and clear. All quiet at the front. I drew and issued rations again today. Soldiers complain a great deal about small rations: they only get ¾ lb. Of poor beef and 1 lb. Of meal and that is generally very coarse. I have nearly always (been) so fortunate as to have plenty to eat such as it is, therefore have not suffered like some.
Dec. 20th. For future reference I will occasionally give prices of articles. Molasses is $20 per gal., pork $1.50 per lb.; dried apples $16 per bushel; whiskey $5 per gill.
Dec. 21st. Our Regt. has just been paid off 2 month wages and commutation in lieu of clothing we were allowed $134 worth of clothing and the money if we did not get the clothing. On an average the men got over $100 worth of clothing last year ending Oct. 8th, 1863. It takes a very large amount to pay off the Confederate army. I believe our public debt will not be (?) There (are) a great many troops running away from the army (?) Tennesseans and Georgians are the worst of any others.
Dec. 22nd. The officers were paid off today. Although the officers get a great deal more than the enlisted men, they have to buy their rations and clothing and both are very high; so there is not the difference many suppose. Gen. Hardee reviewed Cleburnes Div. today.
Dec. 23rd-24th. No news of importance. Cold and cloudy. All are looking around for some amusement for Christmas. Most of the men seem to think that without whiskey they will have no Christmas at all. I have seen several drunk already and some holding high official positions. The Col. Of the 35th Tenn. and several of the other officers are very often drunk. How strange that sensible men will do so.
Dec. 25th. But little Christmas. I was at the Regt. and saw several drunk men and some of them were acting more simple than little children would. (I am truly thankful to my father for teaching me not to use it at all and to God for helping me to keep away from it and to avoid the use of it all through life.)
Dec. 26th. The 48th are not likely to be transferred and they have at last begun to build winter quarters. I saw a man drunk and acting very unbecoming a gentleman and as soon as sober he was abusing others for doing (?) the same thing. I think one person should never blame another for anything they would do themselves. I often tell the boys this when they are abusing others for stealing.
Dec. 27th. Very rainy late p.m. I worked some today, it being a case of necessity. How little we live like men ought to live.
Dec. 28th. Cleared off and is quite pleasant for winter.
Dec. 29th. They are fortifying in sight and at a place that I see no use of anything of the kind. It is on the side of the mountain and can very easily be passed round.
Dec. 30th. Gen. Jos. E. Johnson is now in command of the army. I heard that Gen. Wheeler was whipped at Cleveland a few days ago.
Dec. 31st. Very rainy. We have been busy several days building shelters for our stock and I am quite sore for when I work I work and not play. Today ends the year /63 and many a brave soldier has fallen this year giving his life for his country. Thus ends a year of this cruel, horrible war. How sad to think what we have lost in the last twelve months both in men and territory. If the war last twelve months longer (& I believe it will) and we are driven back as we have been for the last 2 years, where we will be or what we will be doing none can tell, but I hope for the better and may the time soon come when the enemy will be driven from our soil and we will be free again. Let it end when or how it will I expect to be true to the cause I have espoused.
1864Jan. 1st. Turned cold last night and snowed today and has been very cold with piercing north wind making it the coldest day we have had this winter. I begin the year with fresh resolutions and a stronger determination to live a life of which I will never be ashamed and may God help me to be firm and unwavering in my determination.
Jan. 2nd. Quite cold; the coldest we have had this winter.
Jan. 3rd. Not so cold as yesterday but quite cold yet. This is Sunday but we hardly ever have preaching now in the army.
Jan. 4th. Cold and rainy till late p.m. when it quit. This is a bad time on teams and teamsters and I fear that we will but little transportation next spring.
Jan. 5th. Turning cold and where the ground thawed it is freezing again. Cleared off but still continues cold, and windy as it has been for a week or two past.
Jan. 6th. Went to Dalton and visited the old 48th Tenn. and saw several of my acquaintances. Cold and cloudy till late in the evening when it cleared off.
Jan. 7th-8th. Snowed enough to whiten the ground but has cleared off. All is quiet in front as though we were settled for the winter and I expect it is so.
Jan. 9th. Clear, cold and windy and the ground frozen. When the two Regts. were thrown together we (the 48th) had nearly as many teamsters as they (the 35th) but our last one was sent to the Regt. today; their places are filled by men of the 35th. There is too much partiality shown to the 35th. I have been satisfied for sometime that it would be very agreeable with Capt. Brown a Q.M. for me to return to my company but we get along agreeably and I think the 48th would not get justice without someone to watch for them. This is a hard saying but I have good reasons for saying it. There has been a great deal of complaint about our company sergt. And not without some grounds for he generally keeps twice as much rations for his mess as he ought to and when he has sugar he often keeps several pounds. He is not so much to blame as some think for such things are unavoidable without a great deal of trouble.
Jan. 10th. Cold and cloudy with a little sleet. All eyes are anxiously turned towards Congress to see how they will have the army reorganized. They have a nice point to deal with and many will make it some excuse to run away.
Jan. 11th-12th. Cloudy and turning warmer. Nothing new only our wagons are moving a great many citizens inside of our lines from about Ringgold. Others are moving into the Yankee lines.
Jan. 13th-14th. Warmer but the ground is not entirely thawed yet. The officers are trying yet to get us transferred to Voorhies’ Regt.
Jan. 15th. Eight men of the 48th deserted last night. They have staid under Col. Hill better than I expected they would.
Jan. 16th. Pretty day and the first this year. The ground has not been entirely thawed this year.
Jan. 17th-18th. Warm and windy. Our Regt. have lost all hopes of being transferred and nothing but fear keeps most of them.
Jan. 19th-21st. A little snow one night but all have been pretty days. The ground in some places has not been thawed this year. I rode all day out in front of our infantry lines hunting some mules. It is lonely out there. I am bad with dyspepsia today.
Jan. 22nd-28th. Fine clear warm days and very smoky. The ground is entirely thawed. The men in the army generally are very much dissatisfied and keep deserting every night. The Yankees pressed on our front a little today causing quite a stir, the infantry went out and we are harnessed up ready to move but I think it will play out.
Jan. 29th. The troops came back last night and all is quiet this morning. Very cloudy with appearance of having rain soon.
Jan. 30th-31st. Warm and cloudy with some rain. It is supposed by some that we will move soon and likely towards Tenn. I hope so.
Feb. 1st-3rd. Turned about our transportation which looks like moving soon, also those unable to march are being sent to the rear. I have been advised by a great many to smoke tobacco for the dyspepsia and I am now giving it a trial.
Feb. 4th-5th. Pretty days but appearance of rain. I think we will not move soon unless we go to Mobile and that is uncertain.
Feb. 6th-7th. Cold rain and is now cloudy and windy. A great many Regts. are reenlisting and Tennesseans are taking the lead.
Feb. 12th-13th. Fine days. The army are now in better health than ever before and I think it partly owing to us getting so little to eat. I think the men are in much better spirits than they were a month ago. I now believe that this army will gain back this year what it lost last year so far as territory is concerned.
Feb. 14th-15th. Warm and rainy but all are now very well sheltered. There is no army news afloat here. Rations are yet very scarce and the beef we eat is often killed one day to keep it from dying before the next.
Feb. 16th. Turned cold, cleared off and was very windy. The army have been needing pants and shoes very much but they are pretty well supplied with (?) and not more than one eighth are now barefooted.
Feb. 17th-19th. Cold and windy with a little snow. Part of the army here are going south to the relief of Gen. Polk who is being pressed by Gen. Sherman.
Feb. 20th. Our brigade have orders to cook rations and be ready to move by 12 o’clock tonight.
Feb. 21st. All were ready and the brigade moved at 12 o’clock last night. The transportation is left behind and I am left with it. The men took the cars at Dalton. Several deserted. Quite cold to leave winter quarters.
Feb. 22nd. Late p.m. we received orders to load the wagons and start immediately to Dalton and by dark we were on the road. The Yanks are said to be pressing on our front row. Cleburne’s Div. is gone.
Feb. 23rd. Came to Dalton last night and left our corn and loaded the wagons with commissary stores which looks like a skedaddle. At 9 o’clock today we left and traveled towards Resaca. The weather is fine and the roads good for corduroy roads.
Feb. 24th. Traveled till 12 o’clock last night. Passed Besaca where we crossed the Eustanaula River. It is about 100 yards wide and bridged. We came in 1 mile of Calhoun where we have lain all day. Our Corps are said to be coming back again; if so there will probably be a general engagement soon. Heavy firing at the front.
Feb. 25th-26th. Our corps have returned and Gen. Roddy with his command arrived today. There is still firing at the front and several rumors about it.
Feb. 27th-28th. The enemy have fallen back being repulsed in some small engagements, between Tunnel Hill and Dalton. The wagons are still at Calhoun awaiting orders. There have been several drunk here.
Feb. 29th. Left our commissary stores and came to the Regt. 3 miles West of Dalton. Cold and rainy and we are without tents.
Mar. 1st. Cold and rainy we all would like to be in our old winter quarters. If we stay here we will likely have to build winter quarters again.
Mar. 2nd. Moved to a new encampment one mile east of Dalton. The 35th Tenn. left us. They are being detailed to go on post duty. I am very glad we are separated, though it would be pleasant to be on post duty. We have been (?) in such a manner by some of that Regt. that it is a relief to be away from them. Capt. Evans now commands our Regt.
Mar. 3rd-6th. All quiet again and we are clearing up our encampment. We are pretty well fixed now having plenty of tent flies. There are 92 men and officers of our Regt. present now.
Mar. 7th-9th. Fine weather only a little hail. I am again issuing rations and seem to be glad of it. I am very thankful for their confidence in me for there are few commissary sergts. who are liked by the men.
Mar. 10th-11th. Very warm and rainy. I reenlisted for the war but it was only a matter of form so that some of the boys could get furloughs. Congress has declared us all in the army anyhow and I have considered myself in for the war ever since the passage of the conscript law in 1862. I do all of the Quartermaster’s and commissary’s business of our Regt. which keeps me very busy but employment brings contentment if one can be contented. I cannot bear to be idle.
Mar. 12th-16th. Cold and windy. Very backward spring here. Peach blossoms out a little and wheat hardly shows any at all.
Mar. 17th-21st. Quite cool and dry. In the Quartermaster’s Department everything is ordered to be in good fix for moving.
Mar. 22nd. Snowed last night and most of the day today. At sunrise there was a man shot insight of our camps. Our Division were out to see the execution. I did not go out. It was a cold dreary scene as it was snowing hard at the time.
Mar. 23rd. Clear and most of the snow melted off. The men have fine times snow balling: sometimes whole Divisions.
Mar. 24th-29th. Cool with occasional snow and rain. All is quiet here. Rations are not so bad as when we were at Tunnel Hill. The quantity is the same but the quality better.
Mar. 30th. There was some cannonading in front today.
Mar. 31st. Fine day. Preparations are being made for a sham battle in Hardee’s Corps. Most of this month was cold and some of it wet. If I were to stop in winter only to stay a week and had a tent I would build a chimney to it.
Apr. 1st. Rained last night and the sham battle was postponed indefinitely. Some fear to go into it lest they may get hurt.
Apr. 2nd-3rd. Wet and cold generally. Good news from Gen. Forrest if true. Forrest is my cavalry officer.
Apr. 4th-6th. All continue quiet here. Fine day today.
Apr. 7th. The much talked sham battle of Gen. Hardee’s corps came off today and I consider it a decided failure. At times there would be some interest and excitement but generally it was tiresome and nearly disgusting. It must have been worse with those who participated in it than it was with the spectators of which there were a great many of all sorts and sizes.
Apr. 8th-9th. Cool weather with more rain.
Apr. 10th. Visited the 1st and 9th Tenn. cavalry above Tunnel Hill. I found the boys in good health and spirits. I passed our old winter quarters near Tunnel Hill; nearly all the houses are either torn or burned down. It looks very desolate.
Apr. 11th-12th. Fine weather and all quiet here. My ankles are very much swollen and covered with red splotches and are very painful. I do not know the cause unless it was my walk to Tunnel Hill; I walked 18 miles and not being used to it was very tired.
Apr. 13th-14th. Cool dull weather and a very backward spring.
Apr. 15th-18th. Hailstorm this evening. All quiet here but we have good news from Forrest and Kirby Smith. I look for a move here before long and all are anxious to see the day come.
Apr. 19th-21st. Cool with considerable frost for the season. It is thought that we will soon have an engagement at or near this place. They are fortifying in sight of our camps between us and Dalton.
Apr. 22nd-23rd. Warm, windy and quite spring-like. This army never was in such good health before and I believe one great cause is the scarcity of meat the ration being ½ lb. Bacon or ¾ lb. of beef. Bread is plenty.
Apr. 24th-27th. Clear and warm. The forest is fast becoming green. Spring it seems has come at last and I am glad to see it.
Apr. 28th. This morning before sun-up I took a walk out in the hills which look very much like those near home. It was truly delightful to see the green trees and beautiful wild flowers: to see the happy birds and hear their cheerful songs. I was out of sight and hearing of camps making it a rare treat for me. Such things make me think of home and wish to be there. I will be glad to see the time come I can again enjoy it in peace. Saw (33) thirty-three persons baptized at once. There is a great revival going on in the army and I wish every soldier was a soldier of the cross. Oh! How pleasant it would be if wickedness was entirely banished from the army.
Apr. 29th. Firing in front this morning: we soon got orders to be ready to start at a moment warning, we got ready and in 4 or 5 hours the order was countermanded; the enemy having retired after badly worsting our cavalry. Around Dalton is now pretty well fortified.
Apr. 30th. All quiet. Quite showery. It is a general remark that the army is in very fine health but go to church and the continual camping tells that they are contracting diseases which will tell on them in future.
May 1st-2nd. Cool and showery. Cannonading in front again and orders which came and went like those a few days ago.
May 3rd-6th. Fine weather. Everything looks like there is soon to be a battle here. We have news of fighting in Virginia.
May 7th. Struck tents and carried them inside of our fortifications then loaded up our wagons ready to move at any time, but little firing in front today but an early engagement seems certain.
May 8th. Late in the evening there was an engagement at Dug Gap. The Yanks were repulsed 6 times, our men holding the Gap. Cleburne’s Div. all went there except Polk’s Brigade.
May 9th. There has been skirmishing all around today. There was a cavalry fight on the Cleveland Road and late in the evening there were hot times on the Tunnel Hill Road. It is likely we will maneuver here for several days yet before any general engagement takes place. The men are supplied with 3 days rations of bacon and hard bread which is much the best for troops when in battle. I have quit smoking finding it was doing me no good.
May 10th. Moved down one mile below Dalton last night and today we came 10 miles to Tilton with the wagons. Several Divisions of the army have come down to meet the Yanks who are flanking us on our left; their wagons are here. As we came here I was fearful we were retreating but I am now better satisfied as we are ordered back to Dalton. Showery all day.
May 11th. Got to Dalton at one o’clock last night and were in a very hard wind and rain as we came on. In the evening we started out with rations and got to the Regt. at sundown and shortly after we got there were a few guns fired near us and the men were soon all under arms and off for the place. We got the wagons ready to go to the rear if there was any fighting to be done but it soon proved to be a false alarm.
May 12th. I got to Dalton at sunup. I have slept very little for 2 or 3 nights. The wagons were ordered to Resaca. I let the wagons go and I took 2 day’s rations to some men out on picket without which they would have been without. I came down on the cars (15 miles) to Resaca. There is but little firing today. We are falling back but I am satisfied we will whip the Yankees yet when the deciding battle comes off.
May 13th. There has been considerable skirmishing this evening and they shelled the town cars, bridges and wagons. Some of the shells fell among the wagons where we were cooking and caused a general “skedaddling” especially the Negroes. I was not frightened but some were very badly scared running away or getting behind trees when there was but little danger. Some moved to cook rations but I preferred remaining. The firing was mostly at some wagons in an open field where there were a few animals killed and wounded.
May 14th. I took rations out last night and saw where the men fortified after dark they are pretty well fixed. I sometimes think we with the wagons have a hard time but when I see what the men in line do I never complain. The men last night were so much fatigued that they would hardly get up for rations. They were lying on the damp ground and covering with a single blanket and glad to get to rest even that way. I fear some of them are sleeping their last night. Heavy skirmishing all day and late in the evening there was hard fighting on our right. I think our Brigade were engaged but they are well fortified. The town and bridge were shelled again this evening. There are some wounded coming to the rear.
May 15th. Skirmishing all along the line in the morning and I fear they are flanking us and will not bring on a general engagement. This evening we came 14 miles to Adairsville and I fear the army will fall back again; I am satisfied it is for the best but I hate to see it. Some of the army of Mississippi have come up to our relief. Around Adairsville there is some fine country for Northern Georgia. May 16th. The army fell back to Calhoun and fought the enemy. Gen. Johnson seems to be taking his time in this retreat and the opinion of many is that he will yet turn and whip the enemy badly. If it is only a retreat I have this consolation there is someone who has to retreat besides Gen. Bragg. I am very much fatigued having been up 3 nights in succession and sleeping but little in the day.
May 17th. The wagons came back to Kingston and the troops back to Adairsville last night. The 48th were in the engagement at Calhoun yesterday, losing L.H. Reese, G.W. Haynes and J. Hartwick killed. Lts. Sheppard and Jackson and Private H.B. West badly wounded and some others slightly. Fighting this evening again. Light rain this evening.
May 18th. Came with the wagons across Hightower River. Passed Capsville and Cartersville. Capsville is a very nice little town. There has been some fine land, good farms and fine houses along the road today. I think the enemy have stopped as I do not hear any firing today. If Gen. Johnston’s plan was to draw them in I fear he has failed.
May 19th. Everything seems to be at a stand still. Gen. Johnston has issued a fighting order and things look cheerful. I dread the shock of battle but if it must come I want to see it over with, and I believe we will be successful. The army are in the best of spirits. It is a shame to see the men who straggle at such times as this; there are guards all along the road and some days they stop thousands.
May 20th. From some cause to me unknown the army is again falling back. With the wagons we came back to Ackworth Station. There was more crowding and confusion than at any time before on this retreat. Through Altoona Mountains the roads were very bad and we got along slowly and several supply wagons broke down. There was some fine mountain scenery if I had been in a state of mind to enjoy it but I am in rather bad spirits and Gen. Johnston does not seem to know what he is going to do next judging from the way things are going on at present.
May 21st. The army has not moved today but things look like it might move tonight. Moved down the Railroad with the wagons. We are in 32 miles of Atlanta. Notwithstanding Johnston’s failure to stand when he said he would both citizens and soldiers seem to have the utmost confidence in the final result of the campaign. There are many unreasonable rumors afloat such as these. We are going to Blue Mountain, Ala., Corinth, Miss. Etc. also that Gen. Forrest is at Bridgeport and others of the same caliber.
May 22nd. All seems quiet but I think we will soon be on the move again. The weather is very hot and the roads dusty.
May 23rd. The wagons with baggage went down near Atlanta and the wagons with cooking vessels are left near the front. The Div. and Brigade commissaries and the commissary sergts. and cooking details are also left. I am issuing rations and am left here to cook 2 days rations. It is very hot and dusty here now.
May 24th. Moved 16 miles South to Powder Springs where we met the troops. 6 miles North of here we passed Lost Mountain. The water here tastes somewhat like powder and have been well fixed up. The country here is not very good but the buildings are good for such a country. I am quite tired being afoot all the time.
May 25th. Moved 6 miles West towards Dallas. I think there will be a fight soon if the Yanks don’t move. There was some fighting near Dallas late this evening. Some rain last night.
May 26th. Our line of battle is 3 or 4 miles in front of us. Skirmish all day and they are probably flanking us again. We are being reinforced and I think will fight if they come on us. Rations are hauled from Marietta by the supply train. Here they are cooked and to the front. We have to keep 3 days rations on hand and it is corn bread and often spoils before it can be used. It is very heavy to carry in hot weather.
May 27th. Took rations out but could not get to the men till after dark. Heavy skirmishing all day and some hard fighting late in the evening. I was at Granbury’s hospital while the wounded were coming in. It is a very touching scene to see the wounded and hear their groans while the surgeon cuts and gouges away as he is obliged to do. Most of them bear it with a great deal of fortitude. Who I ask is responsible for all the suffering caused by this war both to citizens and soldiers. Woe to them.
May 28th. Issued rations at the rifle pits last night and just after I left there was heavy firing on the right. There is little rest for those who are out in line of battle. I am very thankful that I am so fortunate as to belong to (company Q) the Quartermaster’s Department. I walked back 6 miles. Today we were ordered to Lost Mountain which is half way between Marietta and Dallas, we remained there 2 hours and were ordered back here again. I walked there (6 miles) and back again so I am very tired and sleepy. Yesterday evening Granbury’s Brigade a part of Govan’s and a part of Lowry’s whipped the Yankees very badly. Our loss was very heavy.
May 29th. But little firing and that seems more distant. The wounded are being carried to the Railroad and they suffer greatly being hauled in wagons.
May 30th. I was at the front last night and from 10 ½ o’clock till day every few hours there was very heavy firing like an engagement but I think it was only the Yanks firing from their breastworks thinking our men were advancing. But little firing today. They are changing position perhaps. Madam rumor says a great deal about Forrest, among other things that he has taken Chattanooga and Dalton. This I do not believe but I believe that he is in Middle Tenn. but his being there I do not think will make Sherman fall back for want of supplies.
May 31st. But little firing. I expect some important move soon. The men’s clothes are very dirty, they having no chance to wash since leaving Dalton.
June 1st. Moved 2 miles nearer the front so we can (?) the men with rations without so much trouble. Hot and dusty in daytime and cool of night.
June 2nd. But little firing. Fine rain and it was much needed by everybody especially the farmers for their crops are injured already by the dry weather.
June 3rd. Moved 2 miles North and camped 2 miles West of Lost Mountain near the Marietta and Dallas road. More rains and plenty of mud. I have a horse to ride and am very glad, it is so muddy and I do not like to walk.
June 4th. Rain last night and today. The roads are very bad for army movements. Both armies are moving to the right. The Yankees by flanking first move back one wing of our army and then the other. But little firing.
June 5th. Rain last night and today. Cooked rations last night in the rain. Moved 6 miles towards Marietta. The roads are very bad. Our Brigade commissary was drunk and put us to some unnecessary trouble. The commissaries put themselves to trouble to get whiskey knowing they will get plenty themselves. A great many of our Quartermasters are whiskey heads too. I would be glad there was not a drop to be had in the Confederacy. The worst objection I have to Gen. Johnston is that he gives so much whiskey. I think it does more harm than good either in war or peace.
June 6th. Quite warm with rain. All quiet in front but an attack is expected.
June 7th. Hot with rain. Our men are building 3 or 4 lines of good earthworks.
June 8th. The army is moving to the right. The men are rested and better than they did 10 days ago. Issued tobacco; 2/3 of a plug to the man.
June 9th. Moved 3 ½ miles to the right near the foot of Kennesaw Mountain. There are two high peaks 4 miles West of Marietta. It commands the country all around. Some skirmishing and there may be an engagement soon.
June 10th-11th. Sharp skirmishing. On our way below Marietta on the railroad. Things look like a retreat; if so I fear Gen. Johnston is out generaled. Threw away one day’s rations on account of the mismanagement of our Brig. Com’sy(?).
June 12th. Last night we came 3 miles below Marietta where we stopped till day. I lay on the ground and slept in the rain. This morning we came 3 miles further so we are in 15 miles of Atlanta. As we came through Marietta things did not look like a retreat. Both armies are mudbound.
June 13th. Last night and today I rode 13 miles through mud and rain to issue whiskey. Several got drunk and tried to take the whiskey by force. Rained harder than ever. It is hard on soldiers but they can fix up better than one would imagine.
June 14th. No rain. Moved 7 miles nearer the front and 1 mile west of Marietta. Lt. Gen. Polk was killed by a shell while walking near the breastworks. His loss spread a universal gloom over the army.
June 15th-16th. Still skirmishing. Good news from Gen. Forrest and true I suppose. They shot at our wagons and shot close to us several times. We were in some danger but I was amused to see the men running and dodging.
June 17th. I went through the line of battle and to our skirmishers before I knew they had fallen back which they did last night to strengthen our lines. I came up in front instead of rear as usual. They have good earthworks; even the Drs. Have built a little fort for their protection. By 12 o’clock the Yanks were up shelling and skirmishing.
June 18th. Took rations out last night. There was cannonading all night although it was very rainy. They must do it to annoy our men.
June 19th. Hard pouring flooding rain yet they continue to shell. Our lines fell back again. It has rained so much the roads are nearly impassable.
June 20th-21st. Rain, shelling and skirmishing. The sharpshooters now crossfire so much that trees are not much shelter unless they are large.
June 22nd-26th. Fine clear days. Shelling occasionally and sharpshooting day and night. Both armies have moved considerably to the left. They take troops from the extreme right to the extreme left.
June 27th. The Yankees charged Cleburne’s and Cheatham’s Divisions. They were repulsed with heavy loss to them and but little to us. The 48th lost 1 man killed and 2 wounded. Jas. Hill killed. J. Jone (?) and Capt. Cooper wounded.
June 28th. Sharpshooting all day, till late in the evening when they quit to bury the dead. Our men got several fine hats, haversacks, etc. Some they took from the prisoners which they took yesterday; this I think was wrong.
June 29th. Since they stopped to bury the dead there has been no firing in front of our Division. The boys are glad to rest awhile. Papers are exchanged.
June 30th. Heavy firing last night and I was uneasy lest they should break our lines but when the firing ceased I was satisfied they were repulsed. Today we learned that it was our men firing and the Yankees were not advancing as they supposed. Rain again today.
July 1st. Firing all along the line as usual. Some think the Yanks are undermining Cheatham’s Division. The lines at that place are not more than 20 or 30 yrd. Apart and not more than 200 generally I think.
July 2nd. Moved with the wagons across the Chattahoochee. I suppose the army will fall back tonight and I fear the Yanks will find it out in time to annoy them very much. There are 2 lines of fortifications yet North of the river at which I suppose they will make a stand. Hard rain.
July 3rd. Carried rations out and found the army entrenched 6 miles from the river. They fell back last night without much loss.
July 4th. Some firing along the line. From what I can see I think the army will fall back again tonight. The land here is poor and broken.
July 5th. The army fell back last night to a line of fortification ready made, 2 miles North of the river. The Yanks are up and shelling us now.
July 6th. Shelling and skirmishing a little. The army is moving to the left and I (?) they are trying to flank us across the river.
July 7th. Armies moving to the left. There are several relief committees here who attend to the wants of the sick and wounded and they do good service.
July 8th-9th. Enemy reported crossing the river below. Our army are gradually crossing the river. Late this evening we started again with the wagons. Where and when this retreat will end there is no telling. I have but little hopes of holding Atlanta. Better to save the men than the territory seems to (?) Gen. Johnston’s policy, and I like it very well.
July 10th. Stopped in two miles of Atlanta. But little firing today. I do not know where either is. Very warm with some rain.
July 11th. The enemy seem slow to advance and may be making some flank movements. More rain and the weather warm.
July 12th. But little firing. I was in Atlanta and found it to be a very nice little city and it was once quite a business place and is yet for such times as these. It is the junction of some of our principal railroads and at the depot are more tracks and switches than I ever saw it any place before. More rain again today.
July 13th. Gen. Bragg arrived here today. He looks quite natural. I do not know the object of his visiting us at this time.
July 14th. All quiet except a little sharpshooting along the river.
July 15th. Polk’s Brigade was today broken up: the 48th Tenn. going to Quarles’ Brigade, 2nd Tenn. to Tyler’s, the 35th Tenn. and 5th Confederate to Smith’s and the 1st and 15th Ark. To Govans’ Brigade. Most of the men are dissatisfied with the arrangement. I hate very much to leave Cleburne’s Division for it has such a good character.
July 16th. Moved over to our new command. I am again out of the commissary business and am very glad of it. Hot and some rain.
July 17th. All seems quiet except a little firing which seems to be at the river. I was out at the Regt. where I met with several acquaintances.
July 18th. Troops moving to the right and there is appearance of an engagement soon. I learn that Gen. Johnston is relieved from the command of the army and Gen. Hood is in his place. I do not know the cause and I am afraid it will have a bad effect for the army had the utmost confidence in Gen. Johnston.
July 19th. So far as I have heard all seem to be dissatisfied with the change of Gens. I believe that Gen. Hood will fight them soon.
July 20th. Moved back 2 miles S. West of Atlanta with the wagons and everything looks like fighting soon. The Yanks are pressing closely.
July 21st. Considerable firing and the wagons are moving to the rear. There seem to be either a fight or a run on hand, a fight I think. The Yankees shelled Atlanta a little today. Hot with some rain.
July 22nd. Moved with the wagons 8 miles below Atlanta between West Point and Macon Railroads. There has been considerable firing and I think likely there will be a battle soon. Here Hood will rise or be ruined in my opinion. I wish the men had more confidence in him.
July 23rd. Saw 2000 prisoners which were captured by Hardee’s Corps. On our right. They are throwing shells to the center of Atlanta. The wagons are ordered up near the city and I think an engagement is near at hand. Turned cool last night.
July 24th. The stock have been without corn for 2 days. It is said there are 5000 Georgia Militia coming to our aid. The troops are beginning to have as much confidence in Gen. Hood as they had in Gen. Johnston. Retreating I think is done. Cool for the time of the year.
July 25th. Shelling Atlanta a little and a little skirmishing. I believe that in a week a great battle will have been fought.
July 26th-27th. Both armies moving to the left and a little shelling is going on. Hot and dusty yesterday but we had a fine rain today.
July 28th. Severe engagement on our left and I fear our men got the worst of it. Drew corn today the first in 5 days.
July 29th. Our baggage wagons were burned last night and the Macon Railroad torn up cutting off our supplies and I fear the worst is yet to come even if we are not all captured. For the want of a proper pass I was taken up by the guards today and kept under guard 3 hours; about an hour in the guardhouse. I was attending to my duties and thought my pass was all right. It was very humiliating to be marched around with such a crowd as I was in.
July 30th-31st. Nothing new going on. Hot with a little rain.
Aug. 1st-2nd. The raiders who burned our wagons are nearly all captured. Shelling and skirmishing as usual and late in the evening it was very heavy. Our lines are now near Atlanta.
Aug. 4th-5th. The Yankees are pressing us very closely and trying to get to our lines. I have no idea, when or where this campaign will end or how it will end.
Aug. 6th-12th. Shelling and skirmishing go on day and night. Our cavalry are said to be gone to Sherman’s rear. We have some rain.
Aug. 13th-18th. Warm with frequent showers. Both armies seem to hold their positions pretty well. I used to give prices so here goes again. Small roasting ears 3 for $1.00, apples $1 to $5 per doz. Onions $3 to $12 per doz.
Aug. 19th. The 48th with Reynold’s Brigade went down the Macon Railroad to meet some Yankees who cut the road below here.
Aug. 20th-22nd. Our Regt. returned being in a fight the 20th losing 4 men killed and several wounded. They ran the raiders.
Aug. 23rd-26th. Things went on as usual till the last 2 days things look like Sherman is retreating. He is leaving our front on our right.
Aug. 27th-28th. Sherman has retired from before Atlanta but it is yet uncertain what his intentions are. Crowds go out to see the fortifications. The citizens are returning to Atlanta and they walk about fearlessly. That portion of the city nearest our lines is badly torn up by the cannon balls which the Yanks threw into city among the women and children killing and wounding some.
Aug. 29th-31st. Both armies moving to the left and there are some probabilities of an engagement soon.
Sept. 1st. Sherman has at last gained Atlanta. Everything that he got away is gone or ready to go. The Railroad is cut and we will lose several engines, 75 or 100 cars and some ordnance and commissary stores. It is discouraging thus to be driven back but I believe that Georgia will be rid of Yankees by next Jan.
Sept. 2nd. Traveled all night last night and all day today and got to McDonough 32 miles. The country is poor and rough and the road was very bad. I fear this retreat will demoralize the army. A great many sick were left.
Sept. 3rd. Came to Locust Grove but were ordered back towards Lovejoy Station with the cooking train and we came to Adams’ Mills. There are a great many churches through here which speaks well for the character of the neighborhood. Some good land through here.
Sept. 4th-5th. Remained in camps. The army have again settled down near Lovejoy Station. The soldiers are acting badly stealing etc.
Sept. 6th. Moved up near Lovejoy Station. The Yankees are reported going back; to rest awhile I suppose is only the cause.
Sept. 7th-8th-9th. All seems quiet. Moved up to the command today and went into camps 2 miles West of Lovejoy Station. The campaign seems to be ended and the men need rest very much indeed. It has been much the hardest campaign this army has ever been in and I hope we may never have another such while the war continues. For four months there was not a day I suppose but what there was more or less firing and at the breastworks for weeks at a time a man hardly dared to show himself for fear of being shot at, and they were confined in the ditches in the rain and hot sunshine, scarcely ever having any clean clothes. Often they would march and fortify all night and sharpshoot with the Yanks the next day. We have been driven back 130 miles and lost a very important city and worst of all a great many good soldiers. Our Regt. suffered very heavily in killed and wounded and 5 or 6 deserted. The loss of the enemy has doubtless been much greater than ours as they fought on the offensive and did not seem to regard the lives of a few men.
Sept. 10th. There has been an Amristice of ten days agreed upon by Gens. Hood and Sherman in order to move the families out of Atlanta. They can either go North or South. It is inhuman of Sherman to thus make them leave their homes for his benefit.
Sept. 11th-16th. Everything seems quiet and the men seem to be very much relieved and all had hoped to rest a month at least but this evening there are appearances of a move soon.
Sept. 17th. Cooking rations and expect to move tomorrow as to where we will go it is all conjecture but I think we will go to Blue Mountain or Va. When will we ever again be permitted to rest again.
Sept. 18th. Came nearly West to Fayetteville where we stopped for the night. It seems that we are entirely abandoning the Macon Railroad; what is the object of this move I cannot tell.
Sept. 19th. Crossed the West Point Railroad at Palmetto Station and came 5 miles towards Chattahoochie River. Here I think we will fortify.
Sept. 20th. The army are in line of battle fortifying but the general impression is that we will go North soon.
Sept. 21st. Warm and rainy. Nearly all are expecting to go across the river soon. There are a few who think we will not go.
Sept. 22nd-25th. Came to the Regt. and divided out the cooking vessels again. I think the prospect for staying here is good but some think yet that we will soon go North perhaps to Tennessee.
Sept. 26th-28th. Rumors every day about our leaving here. I am now fully decided as to what we will do. From the orders today I think we will cross the river and go to Blue Mountain.
Sept. 29th. The army moved towards the river but I being a mounted Q.M. Sergt. Had to go back to Palmetto to get some clothing for Walthall’s Division.
Sept. 30th. Crossed the river on a pontoon bridge at Pumpkintown and overtook the command 8 miles South of Powder Springs. This looks like striking the Railroad at Ackworth.
Oct. 1st. Lay still I suppose waiting for the train to come up with supper. I am not decided as to where we will go when we start.
Oct. 2nd. Last night Hood addressed the troops telling them they would go and cut the Railroad and very likely they would have a hard time but he hoped they would bear it patiently and cheerfully.
Oct. 3rd. The troops pushed on directly towards the Railroad and there has been some firing in that direction. The wagons moved 2 or 3 miles.
Oct. 4th. Last night I went with a train of wagons out near Dallas (?) after rations. It was a strange road dark and rainy but I made the trip very well by 12 o’clock today. Rumor says that the troops cut the Railroad at Ackworth and took some prisoners.
Oct. 5th. Moved up to Lost Mountain with the wagons. The army after tearing up the Railroad pretty badly are falling back in this direction; report says that Sherman’s whole army are after us.
Oct. 6th. Took up the line of march towards Rome and came 12 miles to Pumpkinvine Creek. Very rainy and muddy marching. Came along where the armies were last May on the Newhope Line. The fences are nearly all gone and the fields are grown up with grass and weeds. In some places the woods are grown up with cornstalks where the corn was wasted last summer by the Yankees. Nearly all of the citizens are gone and there is no stock to be seen here along the road. The fortifications will be seen here for a long time yet and between the two lines nearly all the timber is either dead or dying from the effects of gunshot wounds. There is many a board here to mark the last meeting place of some soldiers, buried a long ways from home.
Oct. 7th. Came 15 miles to Van Wert in the direction of Rome. It was a poor broken country till just before we stopped when we passed some fine farms and good land.
Oct. 8th. Came 12 miles. Poor country most of the way. Clear and cool today. All seem to be in the best of spirits.
Oct. 9th. The baggage wagons went to Jacksonville which is on the Railroad near Blue Mountain. I am with the army as we suppose to go on a fifteen days raid. Came 12 miles and camped.
Oct. 10th. Came 15 miles and crossed the Coosa River on a pontoon bridge at Lynn’s ferry. I have but little idea where we will go but I hope we will go to Tenn. River before we stop long at a time.
Oct. 11th. Came 14 miles towards Dalton. Crossed the Aramuchee where I camped in Aug. 1862. I think we will strike the R.R. soon.
Oct. 12th. Came 20 miles and camped near Resaca. Lee’s crops cut the Railroad on both sides of Resaca and skirmishing is now going on. I help to keep up our supply train; the wagons are heavily loaded, the teamsters Negroes and the roads very bad so I had a trouble some time. There are few persons living on the road and everything looks very desolate. There were some very nice young ladies out at one place cheering us with their presence and some songs. We came all round Rome.
Oct. 13th. Moved up near Tilton. The army are tearing up the Railroad in good earnest. French’s Div. took Tilton with 300 prisoners and Cheatham’s Corps took Dalton with 1500 or 2000 prisoners 6 or 800 negroes. They pile all the crossties up and lay the rails across then burn the crossties and bend the rails.
Oct. 14th. The Railroad is pretty well torn up from Calhoun to Tunnel (?) hill being about 30 miles. Last night we came by Dalton to Dug gap where we crossed Rocky-face Ridge today. It was very rough and bad to cross and some wagons and teams fell down a high bank last night. Came 12 miles to Villanow a small village. With me it is very uncertain where we will go.
Oct. 15th. Came 16 miles to Madison’s Gap on the road to Somerville, Georgia. Fine road and some pretty good land and very nice houses.
Oct. 16th. Came 10 miles and camped 1 mile North of Somerville. Crossed the Chattooga River. Away from the river there is very poor land.
Oct. 17th. Started at 2 o’clock this morning and by sunrise were 8 miles South of Somerville where we lay all day waiting for orders. Doubtful where we go.
Oct. 18th. Came 17 miles down the Chattooga River 4 miles past Gaylesville which is a small village. A great many think we will go to Tenn; others think not.
Oct. 19th. Came 16 miles down the Chattooga and Coosa Rivers. Crossed Little River near its mouth and passed Round Mountain Furnace which was twice burned by the Yankees. I am satisfied now that we will go to Tennessee.
Oct. 20th. Came 18 miles. Passed Gadsden and came out 5 miles on the Guntersville Road. Gadsden is a small village. There is fine land on Coosa River.
Oct. 21st. Rested and our baggage wagons came to us again.
Oct. 22nd. Nearly all the barefooted men (1/5 of the army) were shod. Came 18 miles on the Decatur Road and camped on Sand Mountain.
Oct. 23rd. Came 18 miles to Carnes’ and Britton’s Mills, where there is a small village of very good land. Crossed Black Warrior River at England’s ferry. Passed Brooksville a small village. Most of the land on Sand Mountain is not worth paying tax for, if it is like what I have seen already.
Oct. 24th. Came 17 miles to D??? Creek at the foot of Sand Mountain. There are a great many of our wagons and teams breaking down.
Oct. 25th. Came 16 miles to Somerville ??? a small town. I came 8 miles further towards Decatur to cousin Scott Rountree’s. It is a fine farming country where he lives.
Oct. 26th. Slept on a bed last night the first in 18 months. I was kindly treated and well pleased with cousin Josie also with her sister. Came near Decatur and commenced firing at it (?) the Yanks replying. 6 miles back we crossed Flint River. There is fine land here but the Yankees have troubled the citizens so much that they have nearly all left home and their fences are burned up. Very rainy.
Oct. 27th-28th. Skirmishing and cannonading both days and some think the place will be stormed. Moved 2 miles down the river. Fine days (?).
Oct. 29th. Came 18 miles down the Railroad to Pond Springs.
Oct. 30th. Came 17 miles to Leighton. I had given out going to Tenn. but now I think we will go and stay awhile whether hold it or not.
Oct. 31st. Came 10 miles to Tuscumbia and I suppose are waiting for the Pontoon bridge to be laid at Florence. The country from Decatur to Tuscumbia is the finest I have seen in many a day but most of the citizens are gone and some of the houses burnt and a great deal of the land lying idle. The Railroad is badly torn up.
Nov. 1st-4th. Lay in the rain and mud thinking every day that we would leave the next. Forage is very scarce here and hard to get. The roads are very bad on account of recent rains. We are camped on Spring Creek.
Nov. 5th-13th. We have thought every day that we would cross the river in a few days if at all. Today we were ordered to be ready and started at 12 o’clock but were ordered back to camps amid the murmurs of the men. They are very anxious to leave here and go somewhere.
Nov. 14th. Started and came 6 miles to the river opposite Florence where we went into camps and doubting ones think yet that we will not cross at all. Tuscumbia is a small town 4 miles from the river and there is one of the finest limestone springs I ever saw in my life.
Nov. 15th-19th. Lay on the bank of the river and fortified the hills on this side. The men do not work like they do when the Yanks are pressing them. We had orders to cross today but after getting ready we waited for several hours in the rain when the order was countermanded. Since we have been here Forrest’s cavalry and the supply train and beef cattle have been crossing. Nixon’s (20 Tenn.) and Biffle’s (9th Tenn.) Regts. passed here yesterday and I saw several of my friends and acquaintances from Wayne.
Nov. 20th. Crossed the river and came 5 miles out on the Military road. It (?) was with quick steps and light hearts did the Tennesseeans cross the bridge but the troops from Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia were very anxious to remain South of the river so far as I heard them (say) anything about it. There were near 100 pontoons in the river and the island was 150 yards across. We crossed at the island a little above where the old bridge was. We are again on the right side of Tennessee river but I fear we will have a hard campaign and have to cross back this Winter. The roads are very bad from recent rains and constant travel. Rainy for several days.
Nov. 21st. Came 4 miles. We left the Military road at Esq. Wilson’s and took to the left. I had thought we would go the Military road or to the right of it. I think the Quartermaster’s and Commissary’s Departments have been very badly managed since we got to Tuscumbia, so our teams are nearly broken down.
Nov. 22nd. Quite cold and windy with occasional showers of snow. Came 17 miles and camped on Holly Creek. It was so cold that horsemen walked and led the horses (?) Crossed Butler’s Creek and perhaps some other; had a rough road and traveled till 11 o’clock at night. About sundown we crossed the Tennessee line.
Nov. 23rd. Came 8 miles to Factory’s Fork Creek; there I got five days of absence to visit home. It was 25 miles and I started in company with 6 others and by 10 o’clock was at home tireder than I ever was before in my life for the road was rough and I was not used to walking having a horse till we left Tuscumbia where I gave her up after a loan of 4 or 5 months.
Nov. 24th-26th. Spent at home the first in 2 years and 9 months. It is indeed very pleasant to be at home with relatives and friends and out of sight of the army. They are badly torn up by the Yankees but not as bad as I expected. I begin to be quite restless and want to be with the army not because I like the army but there is my duty and I know I have to go.
Nov. 27th. Left home and walked 25 miles to Mr. Tyler’s where I was very kindly treated. Quite tired as I was pretty well loaded.
Nov. 28th. Came 17 miles to the top of the ridge and stayed with Mr. Brown, an old acquaintance. The army have traveled the turnpike from Waynesboro and this road is in the worst condition it ever was being almost impassable for loaded wagons.
Nov. 29th. Came 18 miles to Columbia where I arrived in time to hear the farewell shots of the Yankees before leaving the other side of the river. They left at dark or at least quit firing. The country between here and home is very badly torn up done mostly by the Yankees; our army would not have done much better if they had been through an enemy’s country as the Yankees have been here. A great deal of the fencing is burnt and some houses are burnt and others torn down and a great many of the citizens gone. Thus ends by 3rd year of soldier’s life. I am a wiser man and I hope no worse than I was when I began, and I am sure that the more I soldier the less I like it.
Nov. 30th. I began my 4th year of the war at Columbia, Tenn. Left early in the morning with Lee’s corps and came 12 miles to Uncle Jack Rountree’s on Carter’s Creek. I was among the first to get in this neighborhood and I never saw any people before that were so glad to see the soldiers. The girls were almost wild with joy; they have been over run by the Yankees till they are glad to see a “rebel” and I believe there is more hospitality in Tennessee than there is further South; though there are some South who are as kind and hospitable as any people in the world.
Dec. 1st. Spent a very pleasant day with my relatives. Nearly all their horses through here have been taken but in many respects they have suffered but little. They still wear Northern goods generally.
Dec. 2nd. Came 16 to Mr. McEvin’s where I was kindly treated. He lives on the turnpike 2 miles North of Franklin: they were completely overjoyed at seeing the “rebels”, the first “rebel” Infantry they ever had the pleasure of seeing. I fear their joy will not last long. Nov. 30th there was a very hard battle fought at Franklin in which our loss was very heavy particularly in officers. Gen. Cleburne, my old Division commander, was killed. Through the kindness of Uncle Charles Rountree I rode 8 miles this morning.
Dec. 3rd. Came 12 miles and overtook my Brigade after an absence of ten days (?) I would have been up sooner but Col. Voorhies gave me 4 days more than I had at first our Regt. all being disbanded till that time was out. The Regt. is yet behind. There is skirmishing and cannonading around Nashville but I do not think we will take it soon if we do at all.
Dec. 4th-5th. The Regt. came up today there were not more than half along.
Dec. 6th-9th. For the last 2 weeks it has had the appearance of snow or rain and it has occasionally rained a little. Today it sleeted till the ground was covered 1 ½ or 2 inches. Quite cold for 2 days. Skirmishing all the time till late this evening; too cold I suppose.
Dec. 10th-15th. Very cold a few days but turned warm and rained a little yesterday and today. Things around the line went on about as usual till today the enemy broke our lines on the left driving our men in disorder. At 2 o’clock we left with the wagons and came to Brentwood 9 miles from Nashville. Stewart’s corps are very badly demoralized. The cavalry gave way first then the enemy flanked Stewart’s corps taking a great many men prisoners and several pieces of artillery. This is the second time that Gen. Hood has made a grade failure in Tennessee from some cause.
Dec. 16th. Came last night 2 miles South of Franklin where we stayed all day. I hope we will make a stand here, but things look very badly.
Dec. 17th. Very rainy. Came to Rutherford’s Creek. The road was very muddy but it was not very deep and not very bad marching. We were badly whipped at Nashville losing a great many men mostly captured also a great deal of Ordnance and Artillery. I believe this army is the worst demoralized it ever was unless the retreat from Bowling Green equaled. I believe the battle at Franklin whipped the army for they are all down on Gen. Hood for making that fight. The kindness of the citizens helped to demoralize the army for a great many worthless soldiers when they found out that the citizens would freely give them the best they had; they strolled over the country from place to place and were not with their command at all.
Dec. 18th. Came out 2 miles South of Columbia on the Pulaski Pike. The troops stopped on the North side of the river. The wagons cross the river very slowly the banks are so very bad. If we cross Tennessee River I dread the trip but borrowed trouble is the worst trouble always.
Dec. 19th. Came 16 miles; ½ mile past Lynville. Very rainy all day with a cold wind; yet I kept dry only my feet and legs and they were warm while I was walking. We stopped at 12 o’clock and nearly every one was wet and cold, but we soon had fires and were drying.
Dec. 20th. Came 2 miles Southwest of Pulaski on the Lamb’s ferry road. Cold and rainy. From here we have dirt road and if we ever get over it perhaps we can tell something about it. Pulaski is well fortified.
Dec. 21st. Spent a very pleasant night (at) Mrs. Carter’s. Rained last night and snowed a little all day and just at dark it snowed very hard. Came 12 miles from Pulaski to where the Florence and Lamb’s ferry roads fork. The roads were not as bad as I expected. All the wounded who are able are making their way to the reat some of them on crutches. It is a touching scene to those poor men making their way out of reach of the enemy some of them can scarcely travel and their wound must be very painful, they and the barefooted men (of which there are a great many) deserve praise for their exertions to get across Tennessee River.
Dec. 22nd. Lay up all day. Cleared off and turned quite cold.
Dec. 23rd. Took the Florence road and came 8 miles over sleek frozen road. Crossed Sugar-Creek near where the two forks run together.
Dec. 24th. Came 12 miles. We are again out of Tennessee. Tennessee is the finest country I have yet soldiered in and the people are very kind to “Rebel” soldiers. I have left Tennessee several times but I left with more reluctance this time than ever before. I fear this army is ruined.
Dec. 25th. Came 13 miles to Shoals Creek; it is 200 yards wide here and a very rough ford. There are several wagons and ambulances left in the creek. Rainy and very muddy the ground being thawed. Heard a gunboat on the river this evening. There are 8 Brigades of Infantry left behind to help the cavalry bring up the rear. Two of them; Quarles’ and Reynold’s are from our Division that is Gen. Walthall’s.
Dec. 26th. Came 2 miles to Tennessee River at Bainbridge where we crossed on a Pontoon bridge and had it not been for the Pontoon captured at Decatur we would not have had enough to make a bridge. The river is pretty full and the bridge swags considerably. While crossing I saw the smoke of a gunboat and our batteries soon opened on it but the firing soon ceased. I suppose the boat went back. We are cross the river with the wagons and much better than I expected. Came 5 miles from the river towards Tuscumbia. The roads are very bad.
Dec. 27th. Came 2 miles West of Tuscumbia. Rainy and very muddy. Cannonading along the river in several places but I do not know what for.
Dec. 28th. Our Division did not move. Cleared off and turned cold.
Dec. 29th. Came 11 miles; 3 miles past Barton’s Station. The road was very bad but the ground being frozen we got along pretty well. This is a hard time on men who are barefooted and have to march.
Dec. 30th. Came 8 miles to Bear Creek where we had to wait till the Pontoon bridge was laid. Cold and showery. Met with Col. Nixon.
Dec. 31st. Came 8 miles to Iuka. Last night was cold, snowy and windy and about 11 o’clock we had to get up in it and fix to move but the order was countermanded after waiting a while; we were all glad of it. Soldiers without shelter suffered very much. Good-bye 1864.
1865Jan. 1st. The first day of the week the first day of the month and the first day of the year. Did not move today. Iuka is very badly torn up.
Jan. 2nd. Came to Burnsville. The road was through a hilly swampy country but not very bad. We have fine weather once more.
Jan. 3rd. Lay up. Sent off all extra transportation to Columbus, Mississippi and I suppose we will follow soon and perhaps go there before we stop for the Winter. This is a poor country around here and in Winter is low and wet. I think it must be sickly in Summer.
Jan. 4th. Took the Jacinto Road and came 9 miles to Jacinto then 7 more on the Fulton Road. High ridge most of the way. Jacinto is the county seat of Tishimongo one of the poorest counties in Miss. And it is a poor town.
Jan. 5th. Came 12 miles up and down hill and through small swamps. The stragglers are killing stock very badly, and it is a shame for they are not suffering.
Jan. 6th. Came 10 miles and found some bad swampy road. The bottom on this side of 20 miles is one mile wide and the worst road I ever saw a wagon train travel and we that were walking had to wade the mud. Rainy today.
Jan. 7th. Came 15 miles and by coming 8 miles out of the way we had good roads on a poor Blackjack ridge. Cold and clear.
Jan. 8th. Came 3 miles and camped where Price’s command camped in the Summer of 1862 and we will probably stop near here for some time.
Jan. 9th. Moved out 3 miles West of Tupelo. Had a very cold rainy day and a bad muddy road. The worst time I ever stopped and had to fix shelter and the mud was the bad sticky Mississippi mud. Tupelo has been burned. Passed Harrisburg where Forrest fought the Yankees.
Jan. 10th-12th. Lay up and we expect to go into Winter quarters soon.
Jan. 13th. Spent last night with Mr. Horan and family by whom I was as kindly treated as if they had been relatives. I formed their acquaintance when I was here in the Summer of 1862. Moved 4 miles to Verona to a very nice encampment.
Jan. 14th-16th. Drew tents and fixed up an old fashioned Infantry encampment. Our Brigade is the only one that has tents so far as I have seen and the others are building houses to Winter in.
Jan. 17th-19th. Fine weather. Lee’s corps are going off on the cars some say to South Carolina but I do not know where they are going. I think it probable that we will too but I would much rather stay in Miss. And I am tired of moving in cold weather.
Jan. 18th-26th. It has been quite cold and windy for several days and the ground is very hard frozen and icy. I have put up a good chimney and bed and can keep very comfortable.
Jan. 27th. Started off on furlough to go near Miss. I rode on top of a car and suffered very much with cold. The cars were very badly crowded and a great (many?) left who wished to go. I got to Macon at 9 o’clock at night and was very glad that I was at my place to get off. Below Okalona there is some very fine prairie land; there are large farms with the corn yet in the field. Stewarts corps were to start to Meridian this morning. I fear they will suffer very much; they have to go afoot and the wagons have to go through swamps which are nearly impassible on account of ice and water. Always before now when the army moved I wanted to be along but I am glad that I am away this time, the weather is so cold and roads so bad.
Jan. 28th. Came 18 miles West of Macon to Mitchell’s where I was very kindly (treated)(?) although I never saw any of them before. Here I intend spending part of my furlough. I am once more out of hearing of the army.
Jan. 29th- Feb. 2nd. Passed off the time hunting and at other amusements. I saw one deer but did not get to shoot at it. Saw a large creek the water of which was black; caused by pigeons roosting on the head waters in the swamps and cane-brakes.
Feb. 3rd. I am today 30 years old.
Feb. 4th-5th. I left Mr. Mitchell’s for Macon. Came 11 miles to Mrs. Swan’s where I was very kindly treated and not charged because I was on furlough and was cut off from home. Mr. Mitchell and family treated me very kindly while I was with them. The roads here are very muddy owing to the recent rain and anyone who knows anything about Miss. Mud can sympathize with me afoot.
Feb. 6th. Had a bad muddy time getting to Macon and had to walk 10 miles to get 7. Left Macon on the cars at one o’clock and got to Meridian a little after dark. I intended stopping 25 miles West of here with Messrs. West and Wharton of Waynesboro, Tennessee but the cars are not running out that way at present so I will go by Mobile with the army. It has been wet and cold 4 or 5 days.
Feb. 7th. Ran all night and got to Mobile at 8 ½ o’clock this morning and here spent the day. Mobile is a very pretty city and quite a business place. I saw 3 gunboats and was on the largest and took a good look at it: it seems to be a very good vessel.
Feb. 8th. Came 25 miles up the Tensas River on a steamboat then 60 miles up the M & G.N. Railroad to Pollard, Ala: then 68 miles on the Ala. And Fla. Railroad to Greenville where we lay over for the night. The cars are crowded with soldiers. It is a low sandy country covered with long leaf Pine till we got to Pollard but after that (it)? Was not so bad. In Mobile Bay I saw 5 Yankee vessels; the blockading fleet: we have a gunboat out in the bay a little ways.
Feb. 9th. Came 44 miles to Montgomery a very nice little city on the Alabama River. I came out 3 miles Northeast of the city to Dr. R.S. Wilson’s to spend part of my furlough; I knew him by character (?) but I suppose he never heard of my before and does not know that I have of him. There is some very fine country around Montgomery. Prices here are very high. Meal is $10 per bushel, flour $1 per lb., Bacon $5 per lb., Eggs 50 cents each, Oranges $6 and Apples $5 each, Candy $20 per lb., Calico $25 per yard; Wood $100 for a four horse load and other things sold in proportion; how the poorer class of people live I cannot tell.
Feb. 10th-11th. Spent at Dr. Wilson’s by whom I have been very kindly treated free of charge because I was cut off from home and relatives.
Feb. 12th. Left Dr. Wilson’s, came to Montgomery and at 8 o’clock a.m. took the cars for Columbus, Geo. Where I arrived at 6 o’clock p.m. Columbus is a fine large town nicely laid off. I had a nice time for the ladies were out to see us pass and were cheering us as we passed along and at a place between Opelike and Selma they had a table set for the soldiers, which to me was quite a treat.
Feb. 13th. Started at 6 ½ o’clock a.m. and got Macon at 2 ½ o’clock p.m. Macon is a considerable city and very nicely laid off with wide streets well shaded. In most of the cities down South the streets are wider than they are in the cities up North and they are generally well shaded with live oak trees sometimes three rows in each street. They generally are not so tall nor so close together as in Northern cities. Clear; and cold riding.
Feb. 14th. Came on the cars to Midway Station; then walked 2 miles through rain and mud to Milledgeville a very neat little city near the Oconer River. The car ran off the track but did no damage. We are now in Sherman’s path and it is well marked by burnt houses, fences, etc.
Feb. 15th. Set out to walk across the break. Came 18 miles over a rather muddy road. The road is full of soldiers going both ways most of them on furlough. Those we meet are from the Army of Northern Virginia and they are very proud of the character of that army and want it understood that they do not belong to the Army of Tennessee.
Feb. 16th. Came 17 miles to Mayfield, where the cars are running. Passed Sparta a neat little town in Hamcock county. Poor piny country generally.
Feb. 17th. Came on the cars to Augusta, it is a large city and quite a business place. The streets are wide and regularly laid off. Augusta is on Savannah River which is the line between Georgia on South Carolina. Here there is a great deal of cotton piled up in the streets to be burned rather than let the Yankees have it.
Feb. 18th. Came on the cars to Granateville; there I met with Parson Creps (?) who very kindly hauled my things out 12 miles. I stopped for the night with Mr. Seigle where I was very hospitably entertained free of charge.
Feb. 19th. Came 20 miles toward Lexington Courthouse and staid with a rich lady, got very poor fare and paid $8 for my trouble to her. The land from Augusta here is very poor and very sandy and the timber is mostly Longleaf Pine and Blackjack. A Tennessean could scarcely live here.
Feb. 20th. Turned to the left and crossed Saluda River at McNary’s Ferry 39 miles from Columbia. I stopped with Mr. Feller by whom I was well entertained and not charged. Mrs. Feller and her daughter were very kind to me and will ever be remembered by me with pleasure, especially the daughter with (whom?) I was better pleased than any young lady I have met in a long time.
Feb. 21st. Came 20 miles and stopped with Mr. Gilham and lady, a kind old couple. For the last 2 days there has been some pretty good land but mostly poor.
Feb. 22nd. Came 3 ½ miles to Newberry Courthouse. It is a considerable town on ????? Railroad. I went out 4 or 5 miles north of Newberry and met with my command on their way to Newberry. I came back with them having walked 12 miles today. Newberry Courthouse is in Newberry District and in the same way are nearly all the towns called where the courts are held, that is they are called by the name of the district they are in, with the addition of Courthouse. South Carolina is divided into districts instead of counties.
Feb. 23rd. The troops took the cars and we with the wagons came through 14 miles down the Railroad to Pomaria (?) Station. Most of the people in South Carolina are very patriotic and treat us more like we were treated in Tennessee than any place we have been but few soldiers through here before we came. The weather for a week has been very fine and the roads are good only when (?) they are very sandy.
Feb. 24th-25th. Did not move. Cold and rainy. The Yankees came up here from Columbia and burned the depot and several gin houses.
Feb. 26th. Came 10 miles on the Buncome (?) Road. Muddy roads today. The country here is old, poor, sandy, broken and badly worn out.
Feb. 27th. Came 15 miles to Enoree River. The roads were bad and land poor. The people are very generous to the soldiers as they pass along.
Feb. 28th. The ferry boat broke loose and got away so we have to wait till there (is) one built before we can cross with the wagons and teams.
March 1st. Crossed the river after dark and came 2 miles. The Enoree is 100 yards wide and the troops cross at the rate of 400 per hour. There is no bottom land on the river and the country is poor and broken.
Mar. 2nd. Came to Marion Courthouse, a very nice town. Crossed Tiger and Fair-forest River, both are small. Fair-forest has a little bottom land and that is not very good. The rivers here get very high.
Mar. 3rd. Came 9 miles and crossed Broad River which is 600 yards wide then we came out 3 miles. The country is very poor, broken and worn out.
Mar. 4th. Came 20 miles to Chesterville where we expect to take the cars. Bad roads and some yesterday and today. Chester is a nice town.
Mar. 5th-10th. The troops left the 6th on the cars but we did not get off with the wagons till late this evening. There are a great many paroled men passing here. My younger brother (Harvey) and Jas. C. Throgmorton who were captured in May 1863 have been paroled and arrived here this evening. It was quite a pleasant meeting as I had not seen them before since July 1862. Very rainy and turned quite cool.
Mar. 11th. Got to Charlotte, North Carolina 45 miles at 1 o’clock this morning and there I left brother and Jas. Throgmorton. Jas. Was sick. Left Charlotte at 9 o’clock this morning and came 40 miles to Salisbury by 4 o’clock this evening. We had a cold slow ride.
Mar. 12th. Lay over waiting for transportation. I heard a sermon the second since leaving Lovejoy Station, Sept. 18th, 1864 because I have not had a suitable opportunity. So far N.C. has not been as poor as S.C.
Mar. 13th-16th. Lay over till late this evening. Rainy for 2 days and it (is) as hard this evening as I ever saw it rain. As the war goes on prices go up. Here chestnuts are worth $8 per qt., Soda $15 per lb., Toothbrushes $10 each. Salisbury is a considerable town but in point of morals it is said to be very bad, and as an evidence of the fact there are only 3 small churches and I was informed that very few attended them generally. Thieving has been very prevalent in the army especially with the Arkansians and Texans; the latter are the worst. Round the depot here I have heard of as many as 20 hats being stolen in one night besides a great many haversacks and some saddle bags. I often fear that we will not be successful on account of so much wickedness. I am satisfied without the help of God we cannot be successful and how He can help those who act so wickedly is (more?) than I can understand.
Mar. 17th. Came 28 miles last night to Thomasville and 42 today to the company shops where all the work of North Carolina Railroad is done. Passed Greensboro 20 miles back. Cool and clear again.
Mar. 18th. Came 60 miles to Raleigh last night and arrived there this morning at sunrise. Saw peach trees there in full bloom. Came 25 miles from Raleigh to Smithfield Station where the army is and where I am to wait for the mules. I brought the wagons of Walthall’s Division and Capt. Harris a.q.m. is to bring the mules. The country from Raleigh here is poor level and piny generally. There is some very good land in North Carolina where I have come along. The troops are moving out to meet the enemy and there may soon be a battle between Johnson and Sherman.
Mar. 19th. Heavy firing at the front but no news from there.
Mar. 20th. Favorable reports from the engagement yesterday.
Mar. 21st. Very hard fighting and reported favorable to us.
Mar. 22nd. A great many wounded are coming in all the time. We are making arrangements to fall back tonight. Brother is with me he being on furlough till he is exchanged or till Apr. 4th.
Mar. 23rd. I took charge of a lot of clothing and came on the cars back to Stalling’s Station. I worked all night last night and got mules to bring my wagons away but this morning they were put in charge of another man thus releasing me. Everything has been removed from Smithfield Station.
Mar. 24th. Returned to Smithfield Station everything has been brought back. The army crossed to the North of the Railroad. Capt. Harris came up today with the team.
Mar. 25th. Came out 3 miles North of Smithfield Station to the command; we expect to remain here a day or two. Poor piny and sandy.
Mar. 26th-Apr. 9th. Lay up and gathered up forage and rations in the country leaving only 3 month allowance for the citizens and I fear many have not left that much. Our Congress has at last put the Negroes into the service a thing which I am very much opposed to and I do not know what I will do about it: there are a great many who said they would quit the service if ever the Negroes were armed. I never said so much myself.
Apr. 10th. The remainder of Tennessee Regts. (42nd, 46th, 48th, 49th, 53rd, 54th, and 85th) were transferred to Cheatham’s Division and with Brown’s and Palmer’s Brigades were formed into a Regt. called the 4th Tennessee. I was ordered to go with Capt. G.L. Harris to fix up some of his papers. Started at 2 o’clock and by traveling all night we came 15 miles in the direction of Raleigh.
Apr. 11th. Came 14 miles to Raleigh then 5 up the Railroad towards Greensboro. Raleigh is a nice city and the citizens showed a great deal of (?) as we passed; at St. Mary’s the young ladies said that they gave their dinner and supper both to the soldiers and they were very busy handing us water as we passed and were ready to entertain us when we wished to talk to them. We seldom see so much sympathy shown to the army more especially when they are retreating, leaving them at the mercy of our enemies.
Apr. 12th. Came 15 miles towards Hillsboro. This country is poor and broken and the old fields which have grown up in pine reminds me of what I used to hear told of North Carolina. Rainy and muddy.
Apr. 13th. Came 13 miles. Everything looks very gloomy indeed but somehow I have hopes yet. Rumor says that Gen. Lee and his army are captured but I doubt the truth of it: if it is true it is a very heavy blow, if not a death blow to the Southern Confederacy.
Apr. 14th. Came 20 miles to where the Railroad crosses Haw River. Passed Hillsboro where some of the ladies treated us very kindly.
Apr. 15th. Came 12 miles. It was very rainy and muddy making it very unpleasant indeed to walk and so much bad news I am worse demoralized than ever before. Human help will never save us. Apr. 16th. Came 10 miles towards Greensboro. Every day the prospect becomes more gloomy. If we get out at all we will have a hard time of it. President Davis took a few thousand cavalry and fled West where to I do not know. I suppose he aims to go West of the Mississippi River.
Apr. 17th. We are lying still and it is generally believed that we will be surrendered at this place. We cannot give them battle.
Apr. 18th. Everybody are well satisfied that we will be surrendered as soon as the terms of surrender can be arranged. I wish it was over that I would not be on suspense. The Cavalry are going West.
Apr. 19th. Gen. Johnson has returned and instead of surrendering as everybody expected he has obtained an armistice for ten days while negotiations for peace are going on; so rumor says. Rumor says that France has interfered in our family quarrel but such talk is very dis(?) to me. I see no good reason why Sherman has granted an armistice for we are certainly in his power and he can do with us as he pleases.
Apr. 20th. Nothing new. It is rumored that we will have the “Union” as it was before the war; this may be true but it looks mysterious to me.
Apr. 21st. I started to Cheatham’s Division: after walking 16 miles I had to turn back being on the wrong road. Came 4 miles back and stopped for the night. I am on the Salem Road and ought to be on the New Salem Road. I am very tired and my feet sore.
Apr. 22nd. Came back to Greensboro, then 3 miles South towards New Salem. There are a great many rumors as to what will be done.
Apr. 23rd. Arrived at the command 10 miles from Greensboro and near Center Church. The army are very badly demoralized and all expect peace or to be surrendered as prisoners of war. The army will not fight any more and I cannot blame them for it is useless.
Apr. 24th. The supernumerary officers are getting off and all talk of going home instead of going into the army again. All think we are whipped.
Apr. 25th. Hostilities are to be renewed in the morning. I do not know what will be done but I am satisfied this army will never fight. I am ordered to report to my company in the morning. I do not care much for I think the war is about ended anyhow and I feel very thankful that I was so fortunate as to be in an easy place as long as I was. I hope I did my duty fully while engaged in the Quartermaster’s Department and if I did that was all that was required of me for someone had to fill the place.
Apr. 26th. Came 10 miles West towards the Railroad and crossed deep river. There are all sorts of conjectures about what we will do but all agree that the army will not fight anymore. The North Carolina troops are nearly all deserting and going home. This is the first day I ever marched in ranks but I stood it pretty well having no gun.
Apr. 27th. Another Armistice has been agreed upon and late this evening rumor says that we have been surrendered and I believe it is true. Although our fate is a bad one I believe most of the men are glad to see it they are so tired of hopeless warfare; and to all it is a relief from suspense. I believe the war is virtually ended, though some believe the war will continue and we will yet be independent. It does not depress us as much as would be expected: we have been expecting it and then we are to be paroled and go home and the thoughts of home drive away most of the serious thoughts about the consequences of our subjugation.
Apr. 28th. The order came officially today and being so well pleased with it I copied it; it being probably the last one we will ever receive from our beloved commander; some think he is superior to Gen. Lee. We each (?) one received $1.29 in silver; our last payment from the Confederacy.
Gen Orders No 18(Hd. Qrs. Army of Tenn.)
By the terms of a Military convention made on the 26th Inst. By Maj. Gen. W.T. Sherman U.S.A. & Gen. Jos. E. Johnston C.S.A. The officers and men of this army are to bind themselves not to take up arms against the U.S.A. until properly relieved from this obligation and shall receive guarantees from the U.S. authorities against molestations by the U.S. authorities so long as they observe that obligation and the laws in force where they reside. For these objects duplicate Muster Rolls will be made out immediately and after the distribution of the necessary papers the Troops will march under their officers to their respective States and there be disbanded. The object of this convention is pacification to the extent of the extent of the power of the commanders (?) who made it. Events in Va. which broke every hope of success by war impose on its Gen. The duty of sparing the blood of this gallant army, saving our country from further devastation and out people from ruin.
Apr. 29th. Sent our arms to Greensboro and turned them over to the Yankees. We retained 50 to the Regt. for to do guard duty with and to protect ourselves against bushwhackers. Seeing our (regt.?) leave makes me feel very serious for we are now in a helpless condition.
Apr. 30th. We are waiting till suitable preparations are made for us to start home. I do not know which (way?) we will go but I suppose through East Tennessee.
May 1st-2nd. Since we got our sliver there have been a great many citizens in with things to sell at old prices. There are a great many Quakers here and they have never been in the army as their religion forbids it and I do not know but what they are about half right.
May 3rd. Long looked for day come at last, and with light hearts and quick steps we are homeward bound. At 10 ½ o’clock this morning we started towards Salisbury and by night had 20 miles and were as willing to stop as we were to start this morning. The road was very dusty and there was very little order in marching.
May 4th. Came 16 miles to within 1 mile of Salisbury. One mile from where we started we passed Lexington, a small neat town. 5 miles back we crossed the Yadkin on the Railroad bridge; it is 150 or 200 yards wide. The country is rolling and not very good. The road was good. I am suffering with my feet from marching on hard road.
May 5th. Came 14 miles West of Salisbury. All seem cheerful for we are making direct for Tennessee. There will be three Brigades go this route, Palmer’s Tenn. Brigade Govan’s Ark. And Texas Brigade and the remainder of Reynold’s Ark. Brigade. I hoped Palmer’s Brigade would go alone. At Salisbury Stoneman burnt all of the Government buildings. Tolerably fair country where we traveled today. We have left the Yankees without my seeing any of them and I am truly glad of it and I would never to see another soldier after I get home.
May 6th. Came 3 miles and lay over waiting for our supplies. We crossed a large creek where Stoneman burnt the Railroad bridge. All are eager to be going. The soldiers straggle worse than I ever saw them before. The weather is very warm and sultry.
May 7th. Came 22 miles and crossed Catawba River at Island ford and came 1 mile this side and camped. The river is 4 or 500 yards wide with 2 islands in the ford taking up half the distance. We waded it most of us pulling off our shoes, socks and pants the water being waist deep. The bottom was covered with rough rocks and I carried about 30 lbs so it hurt my feet very badly. We are moving up the Railroad towards Morganton.
May 8th. Came 24 miles. I carried a gun and ammunition for the first time since I have been soldiering. I held out pretty well as the day was very pleasant. Rainy late this evening.
May 9th. Came 9 miles to the terminus of the Railroad where we drew 4 ½ days rations then came 9 miles further 3 miles past Morganton which is a very neat town and the ladies were out to welcome us. This country generally is poor and broken. Getting near the Blue-Ridge.
May 10th. Came 23 miles and late in the evening we crossed the Catawba again; it is not near so large here. Crossed a large creek also. There is some fine land occasionally but it is generally very poor.
May 11th. Came 17 miles and camped in Swannanoah Gap where we came to the top of the Blue Ridge. It is a considerable gap the mountain being high on both sides. We met a few Yankees this evening; the first I have seen. The country today like most mountainous countries was very broken and well watered with some fine mountain scenery. Hard rain just before we stopped and continued raining till dark. Turned cool while raining.
May 12th. Came 25 miles. 7 miles back we passed Ashville, a very pretty town where the ladies showed a great deal of sympathy for us although surrounded by a Yankee garrison (North Carolinians) I fear the ladies will suffer for their conduct. Came down the Swannadoah to Ashville crossing it several times, wading early this morning when it was almost ice cold. From Ashville we came down French Broad River. The country today was very broken with some beautiful scenery. Occasionally there is (?) some bodies of (very) good land.
May 13th. Came 27 miles down the bank of French Broad. The mountains came down close to the river on both sides there being scarcely room for a road in some places and some of the way there are high bluffs over the road. The bluffs are beautifully lined Laurel, Ivy, Philadelphuses and other mountain shrubbery making it pleasant. There are very few houses on the road as there are but few places where an acre of level land can be found. There are some small farms on the sides of the mountains but the land is so steep that can hardly walk up and down it. Marshall the county seat of ? county is 21 miles from Ashville; it consists of 5 or 6 houses stuck between the river and the mountain. There were some bushwhackers and a few Yankees at Marshall but they were tolerably quiet. The 150 to 200 yards wide and very swiftly over a very rough bottom. I would not live here for the whole county.
May 14th. Came 22 miles, 10 miles down the river then leaving it at Paintrock we turned to the right across Paint Mountain; it was 2 miles up and one down the mountain. The road after leaving the river has been very rough, the country broken and poor. On the river 7 miles above Paintrock are the warm springs. I did not sop but there are some very nice buildings there. One mile from where we left the river we came into Tennessee.
May 15th-16th. Lay up waiting for transportation on the cars. It is rumored that we will have to take the oath or else not be allowed to go home which would be a gross breach of faith on the part of the United States as we were surrendered on the condition of being allowed to go home as paroled soldiers. As I am a Confederate soldier I much rather not take the oath but will do it rather than not be allowed to go home for I am satisfied that the war is ended and I never expect to be a soldier again for any Government for I am now fully satisfied of what I half believed before the war that is that war is wrong under any circumstances and I believe that God has nothing to do with war or else we would have been successful, but these are only my opinions and I may be wrong.
May 17th. Came 12 miles to Greenville then 2 miles out on the Railroad where we camped. We moved so as to be convenient about getting rations and transportation if they choose to send us home on the cars. Near town we passed through 2 Regts of Negroes and one of whites. The Negroes look very detestable in my eyes; they tried to insult us as we passed along but very few of our men would say anything to them. In town there were some U.S. flags hanging out and I heard some women singing a “Union” song for our benefit. (I forgot to mention it but at Ashville out of respect for us the Yankees kept their flag down while we were passing.) I saw no one in Greenville who seemed to sympathize with us in the least. 9 miles from town we crossed Nolachucky River on which there is some fine land. This has been the warmest day we have had on the march.
May 18th. Came to the depot where there was a Yankee guard put around us making me feel more like a prisoner than ever before. Did not get off this evening. We are treated very courteously by our guard.
May 19th. Started on the cars at 11 o’clock and by dark were at Knoxville 73 miles. The road was rough and we came slowly. We are badly (crowded?) there being more than 100 to the box and it was very rainy late in the evening. There are a great many Yankees stationed along the Railroad and they appear to have a great many women with them. We came through a broken but good country with mountains always in sight. Crossed Holston River at Strawberry Plains.
May 20th. Last night and today we came 110 miles to Chattanooga where we arrived at 1 o’clock; at 6 o’clock we got on the cars to go to Nashville. Chattanooga is very much changed since I was here there are a great many new buildings put up especially about the depot. The houses are full of goods but the prices are very high. This place is well fortified and garrisoned. Most of the troops here are Negroes and they appear to be well drilled and disciplined. Our guard left us today at this place: so we are not now under guard.
May 21st. Last night and today we came 151 miles to Nashville and marched out the Penitentiary at 12 o’clock at night. There was a great deal of sympathy shown for us by the ladies after we got in to Middle Tennessee: they were out at nearly (every) depot and house waving their handkerchiefs at us as we passed along. The men were getting off at nearly every station after we left Chattanooga. Late this evening we had a very hard rain.
May 22nd. Lay over all day in Nashville and were allowed to go anywhere we pleased over the city. By most of the Yankees we are treated with the greatest respect. There are some stragglers and deserters here from our army and they are not respected nor paroled but have to take the oath of allegiance before going home; So do all Kentuckians who are going home from here.
May 23rd. Came 40 miles on the cars to Columbia then walked 14 miles; coming 3 miles past Mt. Pleasant to Mr. Bond’s where I was very kindly treated. I took dinner with Maj. Will. Polk at his father’s (Gen. Lucius J. Polk). There is a garrison at Columbia and we had to get papers to come out of town. They furnished us transportation from Greenville to Columbia and they gave us prisoners rations only after we got to Greenville. The country from Nashville here is very badly torn up and there are a great many fine farms lying idle with the fences burnt.
May 24th. Came 24 miles to Rippy’s old stand where we camped for the night. The road is tolerably rough most of the way.
May 25th. Arrived at home after an absence of about ??? months. I have been a soldier 3 ½ years and the more I saw of a soldier’s life the less I liked. The longer the war continued the worse the men generally got. Gambling, stealing and ??? were the regular practices of a great many men in the army and drunkenness would have been as bad if they could have gotten the whiskey. It seems to me that if I ever had followed drinking whiskey, cardplaying or swearing before I went into the army I would have become disgusted and quit after seeing so much of it. Through the Providence of God I have been spared to see the end of the war and be at home and subject to no ones orders; for which I am very thankful and I never expect to leave again as a soldier; those may go who like the business if there are any such to be found and I have no doubt there will be plenty in 12 months. I feared before I got home to find things very unsettled but from what I hear I hope all will try to live in peace and let past times be as near forgotten as possible.
1866Oct. 14th. Were at Vicksburg this morning at daylight and by dark were at Waterproof La. Vicksburg viewed from below appears to be a nice little city and you in passing can see but little of the damage done during the late war. Some of the forts are visible yet from the river and reminds one of the weary days of soldiers life and toil. Rodney is a nice town in Miss. And there are several other villages along the river on one side or the other. Some of them were burned by the Federals during the war.
Oct. 15th. In 30 miles of New Orleans. Passed by Baton Rouge, a small city and once the capital of La. But New Orleans now is. Passed Port Hudson and a few other towns. Fort Hudson is noted for being the last place to surrender to the Federals on the Mississippi River. Below Baton Rouge there are large sugar plantations most of the way; but I was to see that not one fourth of the open land was cultivated this year. There are many fine dwellings along the river here.
Oct. 16th. Arrived at New Orleans at 11 o’clock last night. Spent today in getting a boarding house and looking at the city. I was in the Crescent City Museum: it contains the stuffed skins of nearly all kinds of birds and animals, a great many of them quite life-like especially the blue-jay which is conspicuous in 4 or 5 places. There are a few live animals, birds, fishes, etc. besides a great many other curiosities both natural and artificial. There are insects of many if not all kinds curious rocks and shells. Gold and silver coins ancient and modern. Guns, pistols, swords, spears, lances, ??? tomahawks, etc. in the military line. There are horns, ??? and bones of many kinds: making a collection well worth seeing by anyone. While there I was annoyed by a Brass Band which I have not learned to love yet. The Steamer Robt. E. Lee is now lying at the levee and is the finest boat I have ever seen everything about her is in style and her cabin is magnificently furnished; having a fine piano in the ladies cabin.
Oct. 17th. Spent the day in making some purchases and looking at the city. I had the roots of 7 teeth extracted at one sitting down and would have had more taken out but was afraid my mouth would be too sore. The Dentist (Dr. Dickey) paid me the compliment to say I bore the pain like a lady who he says bears pain better than a gentleman: he is the best Dentist I ever had to work in my mouth. Fine weather but some Cholera and Yellow-fever yet.
Oct. 18th. My jaw bled after my teeth were extracted till 9 o’clock today. I think it bled ½ gallon and very likely a gallon; it bled so that I had to sit up and could neither eat supper nor breakfast and by this morning I was so weak that I could barely walk up stairs without resting but am better this evening but quite weak yet. On the sidewalks of the principal streets there is generally a crowd passing to and fro and the streets in the business part of the city are filled with street cars, carriages, buggies, omnibuses, hacks, cabs, wagons and drays.
Oct. 19th. Better today. Visited the French market where there is for nearly all kinds of meats, fruits and vegetables and fish. Anyone who never saw it has but little idea of its extent. It is 75 feet wide and 2 or 300 yards long and well filled and this is only one of several in the city. Near it is Jackson Square in the center of which is the statue of Gen. Jackson on horseback larger than life. The square is nicely laid off and filled with fruit, flowers and evergreens; the evergreens are nicely trimmed and kept.
Oct. 20th. There are more or less ships and boats arriving and departing every day of all sorts and sizes from the large steamship to the smallest boat. It is a beautiful sight to see the shipping up and down the river as far as you can see and the far bank is lined also with ships, boats, etc. There are skiffs along the levee with shells, oranges, etc to sell. There are a great many places along the levee where they keep cakes, pies, candy, apples, oranges, pecans, etc. for sale, while peddlers walk with baskets of knives, razors, combs, tobacco, pipes, pins, needles, rings, etc., etc.
Oct. 21st. My first Sunday in the city. There are a great many business houses and nearly all the drinking saloons (of which there are many) were open part or all day. Most of the manufacturing houses were shut; the drays and wagons were not running today. I was at the first Presbyterian church; it is finely finished inside. The worship was somewhat similar to that in the country. They have a fine organ and choir but the congregation join in singing. There were no small children at church and very few Negroes.
Oct. 22nd. Commenced business for B.L.Mann & Co.: was up the river 2 ½ miles from Canal Street at the Stocklanding, where the beef for the city is butchered; it is a great deal more filthy in a slaughter house than it is in a Tanyard. Most of the men there talk French or a corruption of it and keep up a constant jabber; all nonsense to me: they can speak broken English. Most of the beef killed now is from Texas and is only tolerably good: as the cattle will not eat anything after leaving the grass in Texas. I have not been well since my teeth were extracted and had the headache badly this evening.
Oct. 23rd-27th. My first week of business in the city. I think I will be satisfied here if my health does not fail of which I have some fears. I have been unwell several days this week. There is a great deal of wickedness in the city which will make it very unpleasant to me. Canal Street is the center of the city and the houses are numbered both ways beginning at Canal Street: the odd numbers (are) on one side and the even ones on the other. There are so many here who speak French that I want to learn it if I remain here permanently.
Oct. 28th-Nov. 3rd. Have been very busy this week: I am walking over the city a great portion of the time; buying hides and attending to other business. I am on the Levee from 1 to 4 times a day: there on the boats I get ice water to drink which is nearly all the water I use. I know generally what boats are at the levee, when they came and when they will leave. I can find out as soon as they land what they have on board and who it is for. Both weeks Friday has been the busiest day on the levee and Saturday is the day the most boats leave. They leave at 5 p.m. and it is a fine sight to see them as they move off one after another.
Nov. 4th-10th. We have weighed, marked and shipped nearly all the hides we had in the house. Have been busy which makes time pass off swiftly and pleasantly: one thing though is very unpleasant out of seven persons about the house five and perhaps six of them follow swearing and some of them are very profane. There are always crowds of Negroes on the levee who are loitering about only making barely enough to eat and wear and seem to care for nothing more. Fine weather for 4 weeks.
Nov. 11th-17th. Have had the pleasure of receiving several letters: a correspondence with absent friends is always a great pleasure to me and now especially as I am where I expect to form but few acquaintances except in business. One thing here suits me very well. Fruit here is very plenty there being fruit stands all over the city and several on the Levee, and I am a good customer there being but few who eat as much fruit as I do. Oh! There is so much wickedness here: my hearts sincere desire is that I may one day be so happy as to live where it will be known no more and all will be joy and peace.
Nov. 18th-24th. I have changed my boarding house. Am boarding with a very nice old widow lady who has some very nice daughters. I will (try?) and not fall in love with any of them as I do not suppose they will with me. I have been unwell for two days and fear I cannot remain here when the weather gets warm. The Louisiana State Fair commenced Tuesday and is said to be largely attended the weather being fine all the time. I have not been out yet but expect to go.
Nov. 25th. Sunday though it is I have been to the Fair not having a suitable opportunity to go before. There was a large attendance of all classes, ages, sexes and colors, which abound in and around New Orleans; said to be a larger than any day previous. I took some time examining the articles on exhibition and was well pleased with both the quantity and quality exhibited. The St. James Hotel was fixed up on the ground where they gave a nice dinner if paid for it; then there were plenty other eating and drinking saloons. I did not enjoy the day generally for I had a very bad headache and felt quite unwell.
Nov. 26th-Dec. 1st. Quite unwell all week having a bad cold and headache nearly all the time; and I have been quite busy often at hard work. I do not feel so badly as I did a week ago but am considerably weaker. Our business is improving some but is quite dull yet. The Fair closed Tuesday, and people generally consider it a complete success; being the first and so soon after the war. Yesterday and today the Levee was white with frost the first I have seen since I came to New Orleans.
Dec. 2nd-8th. Bad cold and headache continued nearly all this week but am now clear of headache and cold nearly well; am weak and nervous. Today had 6 more roots of teeth taken out, it was quite painful but I have only a few more to extract then all my decayed teeth will be out and only two jaw teeth and a few front ones will be left. I expect to have false ones put in as soon as I can conveniently. We had a drenching rain Thursday but now all is dry enough only in a few places. I came near quitting for being blamed I think unjustly about some hides that was brought into the store.
Dec. 9th-15th. Quite cool the first of the week but now is quite warm and damp. The atmosphere here is generally quite damp. We have been very busy this week and I fear I will not be able to do the work here. I would like so much to be able to stay till Spring anyhow. It would be so bad to go back to Tenn. in the middle of Winter. This city is full of goods and business is very dull and I believe that there (is?) bound to be a great many failures this Winter. There are too many trying to live without work.
Dec. 16th-22nd. As it is near Christmas, business has been more brisk than usual this week. The Levee is crowded with freight from one end of the steamboat landing to the other. I had the pleasure today of meeting cousin Zebulon Sparkman from near Clinton, La. I only had an opportunity of spending a very short time with him which I regretted very much. I was quite unwell today and had to quit work and go home. I am losing flesh all the time and I fear I will not be able to stay here even till Spring. I will (hate?) so much to return North before Winter is gone. We have very pleasant weather only it is so very damp nearly all the time.
Dec. 23rd-29th. Very fine weather the first of the week but now it is cold and damp and has been so for two days. My health has been as good as usual this week but I am so very easily chilled it is very difficult for me to keep warm these cold damp days. I was at the Seventeenth anniversary of the South Western Bible Society last Sunday night and found it quite an interesting occasion; all denominations except the Roman Catholics were represented and took part in the proceedings. Well; Christmas has come and gone with its usual routine of sports and pastimes. Most persons here of the wealthier classes select some nice present or presents for their friends: children are generally the ones to whom presents are made but often older persons receive presents sometimes very valuable. Business houses are nearly all closed at 12 o’clock and the remainder of the day spent in pleasure. Balls and horse races are very common. Nearly everybody here drinks and very many were slightly intoxicated and some drunk. The boys amused themselves with firecrackers which at times reminded me of a brisk skirmish. We had a nice dinner.
Dec. 30th-Jan. 5th. Cold and rainy Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday; Thursday morning there was snow 2 inches deep, but by night it was all gone. This is said to be the first snow here in 15 years and was quite a curiosity to citizens here. Friday evening and Saturday (today) were very fine and I think I never saw sunshine look more pleasant than when it first shone out. The streets were crowded today with pedestrians who were enjoying the sunshine since being cooped up a week. New Year’s day has come and gone and was spent very much like Christmas: most of the business houses being shut up. The Jews keep open all the time except at night and they keep open a part of that generally. The old year is gone and I look back to see what I have done and what I have left undone; I have tried to do my duty by all persons and wherein I have failed I will try God being my helper to live better this year. I am resolved to try and live as I will wish I had done when the year is ended, trying to lay aside all hard feelings and prejudices and look at the bright side of everything and try and be contented with my lot in life; and may God help me to be faithful in carrying out my good resolutions is my earnest desire.
Jan. 6th-12th. Warm enough this week and often rainy and damp. Today is like Spring of the year. My health is about as good as ever it gets to be. Last Saturday night I was at the theater the first time in life. I went so as to know for myself what was done there. A few things were done which was of interest to me; and well worth seeing one time, but there were many things with which I was disgusted. I think that respectable persons ought not to visit such places; for there are many things done and said which they would not tolerate in a parlor for a single moment: then the dress is unbecoming those who wear it. There are many things connected with the theater calculated to lead the young astray and very little if anything that is calculated to make anyone better or happier in this life or that which is to come. There are two or three fires here nearly every week but they are soon checked by the energy of the firemen; and only call forth a passing comment. No more till next week.
Jan. 13th-19th. Fine weather this week; some mornings cold enough for a little ice but quite pleasant during the day. Our business is tolerably good now and I spend most of my time going over the city and up and down the Levee buying hides, etc. There is great competition on the business and a buyer has to be wide awake to keep up. I am better satisfied than I was some time since and may conclude to make this my home. There are plenty of flowers here yet and at the market may be seen plenty of nice bouquets.
Jan. 20th-26th. It takes very economical living to live respectably and comfortably on 60 dollars a month (my wages). Board and lodging cost me $35 a month, washing $2 and the remainder I spend somehow not foolishly I know. I am thankful that I can do even so well for there are hundreds of men here without any regular employment, some of them good businessmen and well known in the city. Fine pleasant weather till today it is a little cold; not cold enough for ice. The river is low for the season. Business tolerably good.
Jan. 27th-Feb. 2nd. Fine weather most of the time but occasionally we have a little rain which makes the Levee and the streets nearest to very muddy; the mud on the streets is never deep as they are paved with stone. My health is about as good as it ever gets and I am better satisfied than I was some weeks since; but there are many here which I dislike very much especially swearing. There are seven of us connected with the house of B.L. Mann & Co. and all but one are swearers.
Feb. 3rd. I am today (32) thirty-two years old just entering on a new year of my existence may it be spent better than my former years of my life; may I lay no bad example before any with whom I am associated, and may I follow all good examples set before me. How short the time seems since I was 21 years old; and the fond hopes I have cherished and the bitter disappointments I have met with since then: yet I cannot complain for there are many who have not been blessed as I have been. Wonder if they are thinking of this as being my birthday at home. I dare say Mother is – who is like a mother.
Feb. 4th-9th. Fine weather till Saturday which has been very cold and windy making it very unpleasant out of doors where the wind blew. I am fully satisfied that Mr. Mann does not want me to remain with him; why, I do not know but fear I am too conscientious to suit him. Mr. Hall seems to like me better and it is with him I have mostly to deal. I have seen the time I would not bear all that I have to here but prudence makes it best for the present I think. There are plenty of flowers, fruit and vegetables and have been all Winter.
Feb. 10th. I went across the river over the Algiers; a small town on the other side. I went through Algiers out to the woods but did not find them beautiful and the land was very low and wet, with a few huts occupied by Negroes. I saw the birds frolicking in their enjoyment of freedom but they were often disturbed by sportsmen who were plenty though it is Sunday. This was my first trip out of the city.
Feb. 11th-16th. The first of the week was cold but most of the week has been warm and wet though there has been no great quantity of rain. Everything becomes so very damp in wet weather, that it is really unpleasant. Fashionable ladies delight to promenade the streets have been kept indoors pretty close this week. Spring seems to be almost here. Vegetation is spring forth; peach and plum trees are already beginning to bloom and early flowers are looking forth to greet the warm rays of the sun. St. Valentine’s Day is past and there seems to be but little importance to it here: but few Valentine’s being written or sent. Adelade Ristori is here and is creating quite a sensation but I have not seen her. Theaters, balls and horse races are general favorites with the majority of the people in the city. For the last month fires have not been so common as they were when I came here last October. Thursday the thermometer was at 70 and the sun was not shining.
Feb. 17th-23rd. Warm damp weather and quite Spring-like. The Japanese Plums are getting ripe: they about the size of an ordinary plum, yellow; and look more like a Nectarine than a plum; they are not very good compared with other plums. The tree neither resembles the peach nor plum and is an evergreen. Apples, oranges, and bananas are plenty yet. Apples sell at retail as cheap as at any time since I have been here. I eat more or less apples nearly every day.
Feb. 24th-Mar. 2nd. Quite warm and damp all week till today it has been dry and dusty. The few trees that are in the city are fast becoming green; on some the leaves are nearly one third grown; the public squares are covered with a beautiful carpeting of grass. Jackson is decorated with roses, hollyhocks, verbenas, evergreens, etc. Every day persons resort to these places; and on Sundays there are large crowds there while the children are frolicking and tumbling in playful glee on the green grass. Dr. Asa Childers from Texas is here. I spent last night and the night before with him.
Mar. 2nd-9th. Sunday and Monday were quite dry, warm and dusty, being real March weather. Our business still continues very good but I am not well pleased with it for several good reasons. I am nearly always in a great hurry and expected to compete successfully with those who have been in the trade for years and have no scruples about telling lies; not that I would recommend lying as a mode of success; in this or any other branch of business but that so general has the pernicious habit become that it is expected, and among strangers temporary advantages may often be gained while those who tell only the truth will be looked upon and treated as others till found out when that noble manly principle will be appreciated and rewarded by the entire confidence of all who are not too corrupt to appreciate one of the brightest jewels that ever adorned the character of man. All who wish to (be?) loved and respected and have the good will and entire confidence of all who know them should be strictly truthful both in word and deed, for all deception is only a form of lying.
Our business is such that we are often blamed by parties; who are not judges of hides and leather, when we do them full justice; and often we have hard words and ill feeling from persons who really believe we are swindling them out of their rights, but enough of this.
Last Monday (March 4th) was the 30th anniversary of the New Orleans Fire Department and was celebrated by them in a manner worthy of that noble organization. They had a grand procession consisting of 20 or more companies all in their beautiful fireman’s uniform all new and clean: they carried their engines all along with them and every one was beautifully decorated with flowers most tastefully arranged, drawn by fine horses neatly caparisoned. Nearly or quite all of the companies were accompanied by good bands of music which added greatly to the interest of the occasion. The procession was formed on Canal Street, and long before the hour to start the street was so densely crowded that it was very difficult to get through the crowd while the galleries and windows fronting on the street were filled with anxious spectators eager to see and hear all that passed. About 11 o’clock the procession began to move and marched through most of the principal streets of the city. The streets, galleries, and windows were everywhere crowded. The firemen were cheered everywhere by the smiles of the ladies who waved their handkerchiefs at them or threw them rich bouquets of choice flowers. Here as at a camp meeting or public dinner were representatives of every class of society, from the wealthy; dressed in their silks and broadcloths and riding in magnificent carriages down to the poor barefooted beggar whose clothes are hardly worthy of the name. Firemen seem to have a peculiar attraction: any time when an engine is out on the streets whether there is any fire or not there will be a crowd of boys and sometimes even men will crowd around them, even a fireman’s hat will attract a crowd of boys; and they often sing the firemen’s songs.
March 5th was a memorable day here it being Mardi-gras or Shrove Tuesday. Early that day you could see occasionally a boy or man and sometimes even a lady with a mask on promenading the streets and as it grew later in the day the number gradually increased till by the middle of the evening there were a great many, some with horrid faces and almost any kind of a dress that was odd or ugly. Sometimes you would see 6 or 8 blacked each having a musical instrument all playing but no two playing the same tune nor no two dressed alike. Men were dressed in women’s clothes and women in men’s clothes sometimes all wearing masks and often false hair so their best friends could hardly recognize them on the close scrutiny. There were many well dressed men and women riding through the principal streets in fine carriages. On Canal around the clay statue (which is at the foot of St. Charles Street) there were more persons masked than anywhere else and the street galleries and windows were densely crowded. The grotesqueness of the masks and costumes of some and their actions would cause anyone almost to laugh if he had one spool of cheerfulness about him. Thus things went on till about dark when the crowd changed to St. Charles Street, there to wait and watch for the “Mistic Krewe” which was to march through the principal streets. About 9 o’clock they started up suddenly in Lafayette Square and marched through the principal streets in the following order. First band of music then the banner with the inscription “Triumph of Epicurius 1867”. Then the “Krewe” some wearing masks of one kind and some of another. One represented a fish while others represented a hog, turkey, lobster, sheep, vase of fruit, ox, tuttle, flowers, wine, fruits, etc., most of them represented something to eat or drink and has to be seen to be fully appreciated: they went to the varieties theater where they were till 12 at night when they suddenly disappeared but few knowing who they are or where they go. This is kept up in Catholic countries on Mardi-gras or Shrove Tuesday. The origin I cannot fully explain.
Mar. 10th-16th. Cool, wet weather all this week. Often has my heart pained to see men of wealth stoop so low as the house of B.L. Mann & Company in order to make a few dollars. For unjust dealing, a man in want might put up a plea of necessity but with men of wealth it is only acting out a principle which in them before. Mr. Mann indirectly told me soon after I came here that if I could not take the advantage of a man when an opportunity offered that I would not suit and he must get someone who would do it. I would have quit then but for the want of money and not wishing to return home in the Winter. Today I asked permission to quit as soon as it would be convenient and had the pleasure of choosing my own time; so I have left New Orleans and am on board the Steamer Alice V. bound for Paducah. I expect it will be a slow trip but I am not in a hurry. I formed some pleasant acquaintances in New Orleans.
Mar. 17th. This morning we were only a short distance from New Orleans and are traveling very slowly having four barges in tow. This has been a very fine day but a little cool and it is very pleasant indeed to be again out of a city to see vegetation covering mother Earth with beautiful foliage and the cattle, horses, and sheep wandering at their leisure through the green pastures. How changed is this once lovely country, there seems to be nine tenths of the land lying idle with little or no prospect of being cultivated soon if ever. The country for some distance from New Orleans is settled mostly by the French who notwithstanding they have fine farms of the best land they generally live in small houses and not very neat at that. The river is very high; most of the way being higher than the land outside of the Levee and in some places nearly to the top of the Levee and rising slowly.
Mar. 18th. Pleasant day with some showers of rain. Passed some beautiful residences and some fine plantations. There are great fears of another overflow this Spring. Passed Bayou Sara Port-Hudson and Baton Rouge. Baton Rouge seems to be a very nice flourishing town, here we left our barges after which we got along faster. Bayou Sara is a nice town most of it being built on high ground back from the river. There are three or four steamboats that run regularly from here to New Orleans. The Wild Wagoner one of the fastest boats on the river makes three trips a week from here to New Orleans 165 miles. We have (met?) several boats going down to New Orleans; most of them were boats with which I am well acquainted for while in New Orleans it was part of my business to watch the Levee and see when any hides came in and who they were for: so I generally knew what boats were in and what they brought.
Mar. 19th. Cloudy and cool with appearance of rain late in the evening. Passed Natchez at 12 ½ o’clock and stopped a few miles above where we spent most of the evening taking on wood. The woodyard is kept by some Negroes who own the place where they live. Most of the boats will not buy wood of them because they are Negroes, which I think to be very wrong for they are not to blame for the present state of affairs and should be encouraged when they work and try to live honestly and comfortably. I feel sad when I look back and think of the low state of morals in New Orleans. A friend of mine there who is in a position to know told me that most of the clerks employed in the city would take money or articles from their employers without accounting for the same, and nothing more was expected by those who employed them; in the Revenue office he said they would not keep an honest man after they found him out.
Mar. 20th. Very hard rain last night and cloudy and foggy all day and rather cool on deck when the boat was in motion. Passed Vicksburg at 4 p.m. It is a very picturesque place and looks well from the river but has suffered severely by fire of late. The streets now are very muddy from recent rains, not being paved. The Robert E. Lee, Gen. Quitman and Magenta make semi-weekly trips from here to New Orleans and are three of the best Boats on the river. There is but little of interest to be seen along the river. Early this morning we passed some fine farms and neat residences, but generally there is nothing to be seen but cottonwood trees and occasionally a few willows and water, water, water till you are tired of looking at it. I fear the Levees in Louisiana will break again this Spring, the country be flooded and cause a great deal of suffering.
Mar. 21st. Cool, cloudy and foggy most of the day. The appearance now is that the rain is over with for the present. There are some very fine farms along where we passed today but most of the way the banks were one and sometimes both overflowed with water. We passed the wreck of the Steamer David White, which was blown up at Greenville a short time since. Passed several landings but none of much importance and often they were under water. One passenger was put off because he did not pay his fare and told too many tales as to the cause of his being without money. There are several very nice ladies on board and among the number are two young ladies and a young widow but none of them fill the bill so far as my taste is concerned. Well I must not find fault with everybody and I suppose that they will do well enough for those who fancy them and I might find some of them interesting on acquaintance.
Mar. 22nd. Partly clear and rather cool. Passed Napoleon at the mouth of the Arkansas River and a small town at the mouth of White River; both are inundated the water being several feet deep all through the towns and no land in sight only a few pieces of the levee which are not washed away, which are covered with stock which have gathered there to keep out of the water. There has been very few places today where dry land was visible and only small spots at that, often we saw the water up in the houses, the chickens on top of the houses and no stock to be seen anywhere; if they had any stock they must be either drowned or driven to some spot of high ground, which I presume is rather hard to find now. An old citizen told us that it was forty miles to where you could find high land. How the people manage to live and especially to cook with the water two or three feet deep in the houses is more than I can tell.
Mar. 23rd. Arrived at Memphis at 5 ½ o’clock this evening after being on the boat a week. Nearly clear and rather cool today. Everything here appears almost as dead as Winter, while in New Orleans the leaves on some trees were more than half grown when we left there. I did not see any land today till about 35 miles below Memphis after which we occasionally saw a few dry places which looked so very pleasant after being so long surrounded by one vast sea of water since we left Vicksburg. Passed Helena last night and did not see it but learned that it is several feet under water and also that twenty-seven persons were drowned there by the overflow while the survivors are suffering greatly. The prospect of making a crop here this year is very gloomy and the greater portions of the stock must be drowned already: some that escaped drowning are hurdled (?) together on pieces of the Levee which have not been taken away; there they look like they are almost starved to death.
Mar. 24th. Sunday; but all days are alike to most of men who run the river; there being few who regard it at all. Partly clear and quite cool all day. Most of the land on both sides of the river is under water and the water has not fallen any here yet though it is falling above here. Got to Little Prairie today 130 miles above Memphis, 120 from Cairo. The Steamer Robt. E. Lee passed us yesterday on her way to Memphis to run between there and New Orleans; she left us behind almost like we were not going along at all; she runs beautifully. Memphis is very muddy being the worst place I have seen this winter but it is not near so bad now as it was at some times during the Winter. Memphis looks small since leaving New Orleans. At Memphis we got a synopsis of the Confiscation Bill before Congress and it caused some excitement. I think in its present form it would very tyrannical and should it pass I fear the consequences.
Mar. 25th. Cool and cloudy with all day with some rains and sleet late in the evening. Got to Cairo late where we lay till night. The river has been very high all the way today but is now falling. Columbus, Kentucky was all overflowed and they use skiffs and canoes instead of drays. We have been anxiously looking for the new Steamboat Great Republic but as yet she has not made her appearance and I fear she will pass down tonight and I will fail to see her. There is a rumor afloat and said to be in the Cincinnati papers that our boat (the Alice V) was sunk 4 miles below Memphis, which I know to be false for I am now on her and she is safe and sound having met with no accident the whole trip. We have a very gentlemanly crew of whom I will mention: Capt. Everett and Mr. Bastable of Va., Ed. And Charlie Deffenbaugh and Mr. Bush of Ohio, Mr. Collins, and Mr. Robonett of Ind. And Capt. Johnson of Nashville, he is an old river Capt.
Mar. 26th. This morning at 4 ½ o’clock I arrived safely at Paducah, Ky., 1100 miles from New Orleans. The Alice V. is a freight boat but we were very well accommodated and as civil well behaved passengers as I ever traveled with anywhere. I lay over all day waiting for a boat and this is the first time I ever knew boats to lay up on account of high water but there are several on both Mississippi and Tennessee Rivers that are lying by because the water is so high that they cannot make the landings. The water has been higher here than ever it was known before but has fallen 3 or 4 feet and is yet falling. This has been a cold, rainy day, but there is not much mud in the streets. Paducah is a very nice little city and seems to be improving some. I was anxious to get away today but must try and content myself to stay here another day when I hope to be moving even if it should be slowly.
Mar. 27th. Lay over till 6 ½ o’clock in the evening when I left on the Steamer Lewellin. I intended going up on the Sam Orr but learned that she would not be here till tomorrow then I came on board the Lewellin. Late in the evening the Orr came and left an hour before we did but I would not change after coming on board and paying my fare. Some changed the Capt. Refunding their money. The weather has been cold all day with a brisk wind. In Paducah I shopped at the Continental Hotel a very good house. Everyone has been anxiously expecting the new Steamer Great Republic but she had not arrived up to the time of my leaving. I went out to see the large steam Tannery of Myers and was well pleased with the arrangement of the yard and the operation of the machinery. I learned some things which I think will be useful while I saw a few things which might be made better. The yard has more than 200 rats.
Mar. 28th. Last night and today we came about 100 miles; the current is very strong and our boat very slow so of course we made slow time. Some of the landings are yet under water, while at most places the freight is discharged on flat boats or is sent to shore in skiffs which delays us considerably. The nearer I get home the more anxious I am to be going. The river is yet very high though it is falling very fast. In many places all the houses have been swept away and in some cases the furniture all or part of it went with the houses. The loss of property has been very great and farmers will feel it severely as all or nearly all of their fencing is gone and it is late to rebuild. The bridge at Danville is safe but the trestle work and many of the houses on the West bank are in the woods about a quarter or half mile below. Cold and windy today making it very unpleasant out of the cabin. When we got to where we could see the high pine hills it seemed like getting home.
Mar. 29th. Partly clear and not quite so cold. Landed at Clifton at 4 o’clock p.m. where I expected to take the people by surprise but was myself surprised to find that I was expected home soon. Here I first learned the painful intelligence that brother Harvie and Sammie Rickets got into a difficulty (woman the cause) which resulted in Harvie challenging and Sammie accepting the challenge, but it was by some means broken up without going further. Harvie was likely to be prosecuted and left home and the impression has been made that Sammie would have nothing to do with the affair, but this is a mistake I know having seen some of the correspondence that passed between them. I suppose they were both to blame and they very probably are not the only ones who have done wrong. By the Kindness of my friend Jimmie Throgmorton I arrived at home a little after dark and found all well. I have been gone nearly six months but the time seems very short indeed though I have passed through a great deal. Why I did not remain in New Orleans I will not make public as I know of no good that could result from it and I would hate to expose the one who caused it. I find a great many (things?) have taken place since I left home some for the better and some for the worse I suppose. I have learned a great deal during my absence which, I hope will be beneficial in a coming day while I hope I am none the worse for having been in bad company some of the time. My advice to all young men who can make a support in the country and there live honorably and honestly is to stay there and never go to live in a city; where they will find so many temptations to lead them into wickedness; some things of which they have no idea and better they never should.
Return to Home Page | Search Database | Return to MSCC Home Page |