Civil War Diaries of Van Buren Oldham.
Dieter C. Ullrich, ed. Originals at Special Collections/University Archives, Univ. of Tennessee at Martin.

Editor's Note: All letters and words in brackets were not part of the original text of the diaries but were either researched information on individuals, geographic locations, or interpretations of hand written text that was otherwise indistinguishable.

January -- February -- March -- April -- May -- June -- July -- August -- September -- October -- November -- December -- Memoranda and Cash Accounts

Description of Camp Dent (Louisville), Kentucky


January, 1863

Thursday, January 1

I am still a prisoner but have enjoyed myself as well as those who are not. I was at a party last night and danced until 2 o'clock. I am very sleepy and must rest. Morgan reported near.

Friday, January 2

Had a horse to carry to Mr. Van's. Went down this evening. Came back to Eldorado with Miss A- and went home with her to stay over the night. I have passed all the day finely.

Saturday, January 3

Started home this morning in a carriage in company of Miss A- and Mr. Heardal. We were ordered to report for parole. Left this a.m. in Winch[ester] with Elliot to Harrods[burg].   Ordered to be ready to start South.

Sunday, January 4

Went to Providence Church with Miss A- . Returned to Mr. B's Inn. In the evening Major Turner, Mr. Woods and other gentlemen called on us. I am making preparations to leave in morning.

Monday, January 5

Reported at Harrodsburg and was sent under escort of cavalry. They furnished transportation and rations to Danville. A large crowd of citizens at the former place to see us start. I went in a buggy.

Tuesday, January 6

Came into Lexington this morning. The day was bitter cold. We are locked up in a jail and I begin to realize what it is to be a prisoner. Met several of my fellow prisoners here.

Wednesday, January 7

Started this morning on the cars amid the shouts and cheers of the men and women for Louisville. Reached the prison at 11 o'clock. Marching through the streets some ladies shouted for Jeff Davis.

Thursday, January 8

This has been my first day in a military prison - Camp Dent. I have had time to look round [and] learned the jailers, gar[rison] and so and have concluded that to stay here one month is equal to death. Lice are troublesome.

Friday, January 9

I find I [mind] as well content myself on for we will not leave here for some days yet. Rumors are a float that we will leave immediately but I have no confidence in any of that.

Saturday, January 10

Seventy-five more prisoners arrived. I am getting impatient to be moved from this place. The way we are starving does not badly hush my feelings. More political prisoners have arrived. I am expecting letters.

Sunday, January 11

What a beautiful Sabbath. It reminds me of days past when our country was blessed with peace and I could visit the quiet country church. Now I am a prisoner of war. We will be shipped to Camp Chase tomorrow.

Monday, January 12

This day like all others spent in prison has passed with anxiety to hear from our friends and [am] impatient to be released. We were to depart for Camp Chase today. Now it is to[morrow] morning. I long for the changes.

Tuesday, January 13

This day if possible has been more lonesome than any I have passed in prison. All are wearing long faces. Being disappointed so often I have at most discharged [thoughts] of leaving here under several weeks.

Wednesday, January 14

It has rained all day confining us within doors. It is now confidentially ascertained we would have started South today had it not rained. It is said preparations are being made to start in the morning.

Thursday, January 15

Called out early this morning with bag and baggage to start South. It is snowing fast. Snow already six inches deep. Crossed the river at Portland [near Louisville] and went aboard the cars. The snow is too deep for us to move.

Friday, January 16

Started this morning and been traveling all day on the Ohio and Miss[issippi] R[ail]R[oad]. Prospects are bright for an early exchange. I am in fine spirits. Our rations are short. We have nothing but crackers.

Saturday, January 17

Reached Cairo in the morning, found transports and other prisoners waiting for us. Soon started down the river, first being searched. We are now laying at the wharf at Columbus, K[entuck]y.

Sunday, January 18

It seems we are doomed to suffer disappointment. Instead of going onto Vicksburg we turned back and after waiting a while at Cairo for a pilot. [We are] now steaming up the Miss[issippi] River.

Monday, January 19

I begin to feel the effects of being carried on transports. For twenty-five dollars five of us have rented a state room. I do not know yet why we were turned back. Our destination is said to be St. Louis.

Tuesday, January 20

Every stroke of the engine bears us further and further away from our friends. The cabin of our steamer is crowded with sick. The small pox is said to be on the boat.

Wednesday, January 21

I have written two letters today. One to Mr. Bohon* [of] K[entuck]y an[d] another home. I will mail them whenever we stop. The other steamer accompanying us was grounded last night but is now coming up.

    *Believed to be William F. Bohon, a farmer and merchant from Harrodsburg, Kentucky.

Thursday, January 22

Reached St. Louis this morning and while laying at the wharf I obtained permission to go a shore to mail my letters. Got drunk as a fool trying to get the guard drunk. We have drifted down to an island and are now waiting marching [orders].

Friday, January 23

Went a shore on the island this morning to wait until the boat carried the sick to the city hospital. We learned that the small pox hospital is on this island. We are now on board again.

Saturday, January 24

Steaming up the Miss[issippi] passed St. Louis. Our destination is said to be Alton, Ill[inois]. I am very unwell and hope we will stop some place soon.

Sunday, January 25

Reached Alton Ill[inois] and are now at anchor off the city. I do not think we will stop here. I am so sick I would be willing to stop most any place. There are other prisoners here.

Monday, January 26

Shipped aboard the cars on the Louis[ville], Alton and Chicago Railroad. We are now rolling along to Springfield [Illinois], which place we will reach sometime in the night. I am get[ting] very sick.

Tuesday, January 27

Passed Springfield and came onto Chicago. We are now interned in barracks at Camp Douglas, three miles from the city and on the shore of Lake Michigan. I am sick enough to enter the hospital.

Wednesday, January 28

I have kept [to] my bed the whole of the day. I have made an effort to get to the hospital but failed. The Ark[ansas] post prisoners who accompanied us are expected here tonight.

Thursday, January 29

I am no better today. All my efforts to get into the hospital have proved fruitless. They say we are to move to another barracks finding room for Ark[ansas] post prisoners.

Friday, January 30

We have moved to [other] barracks [made] in White Oak I guess. No hospital, no surgeon. Must a man die without attention. I feel a little better tonight but my fever will soon return.

Saturday, January 31

Made several attempts to procure the attendance of a surgeon but failed. I am not able to walk to the p[ost] surgeon's office for him to examine and to give medicine.

Return to Appendix


February, 1863

Sunday, February 1 to Tuesday, February 3 [Lines drawn through dates]

I was soon delivered after writing the above. Mr. Anderson belonging to my right, hearing of my situation [and] being himself a missionary in a hospital, secured me a cot furnishing it with his own blankets and obtained a pillow for me and moved me to the hospital. I shall feel under many obligations to him, for his kindness in manifesting a camp officer. Also to Mr. Davis of the same regiment who with Mr. Anderson kindly helped me supply my every want in far as was in their power.

Wednesday, February 4

[No entry]

Thursday, February 5

I shall resume my diary today. Several days have passed like a dream. I have suffered much but think I an getting better now. My disease is [the] fever.

Friday, February 6

A very dull day for the hospital. I have no appetite to eat anything yet but fear when my appetite does return it will cause me to make myself sick by eating too much. I am still improving.

Saturday, February 7

I have not felt so well today, but I am getting better. Satisfied in mind, I have written a letter home for someone to come and see me and bring me medicine. I shall have [to] be better satisfied.

Sunday, February 8

Another Sabbath day has rolled around bringing with it sweet recollections of church visiting while in Kentucky. There are a great many patients in the hospital and many die.

Monday, February 9

I am still in the hospital and swallowing Yankee medicine. I am still convalescing. My appetite is improving so I look to leave here soon. Three of four die daily in this ward and I can not say who is [to] be faulted.

Tuesday, February 10

Learning that [no one] is allowed to visit the prison. I gave up all hope of seeing anyone from home and have written to them not to come but send me money by mail. I also wrote to cousin E. Clarkson.

Wednesday, February 11

My appetite is now as ravenous as a wolf. I still try not to eat too much for I fear I may relapse. I am taking some medicine and the D[octo]r says I may leave soon for the barracks.

Thursday, February 12

I don't think there is too much danger of me eating too much. Rations are scarce or we have a small allowance. Roffe* who came in the hospital with sore throat left today because he could not get enough to eat.

    *Assumed to br Private J. C. Roffe of Company K 31st Tennessee Infantry (recruited in Weakley County) and may have been captured at Perryville.

Friday, February 13

It is time I was receiving a letter from K[entuck]y. I also begin to look for one from home. Gradually as my disease abates my old fever of restlessness returns. I wonder how long I am to be a prisoner.

Saturday, February 14

A letter was handed to me from my benefactor Mr. Bohon [of] K[entuck]y. Its contents offer me much pleasure. He tells me I may expect another one soon. I have been sewing on some handkerchiefs.

Sunday, February 15

Another Sabbath day found me still in the hospital. I have answered and mailed my letter to Mr. Bohon. I walked out today for the 1st time since being here. The atmosphere was bitter cold.

Monday, February 16

I moved to the barracks today. I found my bunk unoccupied save by [the] two Hagg's*, Roffe and Mr. Keaton** my [loyal] companions. I do not feel as I wish. I lack exercise so very much.

    *Privates Andrew J. and James Hagg of Company G 9th Tennessee Infantry.

    **Assumed to be Private C. L. Keaton Company H 9th Tennessee Infantry which was recruited in Obion County.

Tuesday, February 17

Today is my first [day] I have no disease but fear acquaintances in the barracks. One hundred thirty five of us our crowded under one roof about fifty of whom are Morgan's men. The most laziest crowd I ever saw.

Wednesday, February 18

One of Morgans's men - Fitch - is Sergeant [who is] to call roll and draw rations. My same old restlessness has returned. I want freedom. I have visited the offices several times today but there were no letters for me.

Thursday, February 19

The day has been dark and gloomy one. Since noon it has been raining incessantly. I have been confined within doors the whole day only going to the post office to be disappointed as usual.

Friday, February 20

The rain has ceased and snow is falling. I received a letter today from one whom I long to see. Its contents, though not anticipated, afforded me [quite a bit of] pleasure. Oh, when will this cursed war end.

Saturday, February 21

After making six ineffectual attempts, I have at last since succeed in answering the letter I received yesterday. My mind was confused. I wrote so plain I fear the consequences in the next letter.

Sunday, February 22

We heard 5 prisoners of ours were exchanged today. The wind is chilling and tough when exposed to its blasts. As normal there is much talk and speculation about when we are going to be sent South.

Monday, February 23

Is it not strange that every month is considered with so much anxiety by me. I was mustered into the army 21 months ago on this day. The return of which brought to my mind vivid recollections.

Tuesday, February 24

The opportunity being afforded a good many of the prisoners are taking the oath of allegiance to the United States. Those who take it are mostly Texans and Arkansans. The small pox is spreading rapidly.

Wednesday, February 25

Passing Headquarters today I was really surprised to see so many of the prisoners hanging around to get to take the oath. A great many of these men will go to our army again.

Thursday, February 26

A considerable change in the atmosphere since morning. Most of those fellows that are taking the oath are the "scrapings of creation". A man died in our room this morning.

Friday, February 27

Papers today bring intelligence of Morgan at Harrodsburg, K[entuck]y. For once I am sorry he has ventured so far. He will interrupt my communications with friends at that place. Feeling unwell, I have procured some pills to take.

Saturday, February 28

I feel some better today than I did yesterday. I have almost despaired of receiving any letters from home. I know my correspondents have had time enough to write before Morgan entered K[entuck]y. Why don't I receive a letter.

Return to Appendix


March, 1863

Sunday, March 1

This was a day rendered memorable by the evacuation of Columbus, K[entuck]y by General Polk in '62. I was there with him, now I am a prisoner. What changes. The day has not appeared like a Sabbath.

Monday, March 2

I have until now [ended any hopes] that we would be exchanged by the 15 inst[ant]. My hopes have vanished and I now believe the fate of Vicksburg will be first decided. Had snow enough last night. I am at work on a finger ring.

Tuesday, March 3

One day without rain. The snow is melting and the ground is very soft. So dismal. I have expected letters but none came. If we were to credit Madam Rumor, she tells we are to leave soon.

Wednesday, March 4

Today is the anniversary of the inauguration of one of the despots of the age - Abe Lincoln. Papers state that arrangements have been made for the exchange of prisoners.

Thursday, March 5

A letter from my precious today, although not containing such assurances as the first but nonetheless appreciated. Could I but receive one from home. I had my cloths washed today.

Friday, March 6

Wrote three letters today. One in answer to the one I received yesterday, another home and one to my uncle at Clarksville, Tenn[essee]. Washed myself good. Anointed myself with M - ointment to prevent lice and put on clean clothes.

Saturday, March 7

Wrote to W. E. [Tuter] of West K[entuck]y. Spring is nearby. I hear from home. Mr. Roffe received a letter from a friend in K[entuck]y with five dollars enclosed. He let me have fifty cents of his money.

Sunday, March 8

This Sabbath has been a dull one and I have been restless the whole day not venturing to leave my bunk to go to the offices. I almost hate to see the Sabbath come unless I were free to enjoy it.

Monday, March 9

The day has been very cold. Our rations as usual are falling short. We had a lunch of biscuit and molasses out of our own purses. I am all impatient because there was no letter for me.

Tuesday, March 10

I have a severe cold. My arm which I had vaccinated and has been so painful for several days is getting well. I am hopeful it will keep me from taking the small pox.

Wednesday, March 11

Andrew Hagg surprised me today by taking the oath and starting home leaving his brother here. He tells us he is going into our army again. We miss him very much. He was so lively.

Thursday, March 12

Up to the present, five men who have taken the [oath] from this room. Most all [are] Ky's [Kentuckians]. I have received no letters from K[entuck]y yet something must have gone wrong. Perhaps I write too plain.

Friday, March 13

I yet feel the effects of my cold. Hopefully it will not prove severe. The number of cases of small pox is rapidly increasing. Mortality from this and other diseases multiply every day.

Saturday, March 14

A letter from K[entuck]y. I feel very unwell. I have answered but did not mail my letter. I learn today [that] some men are going to take the oath and go to Mercer Co[unty, Kentucky]. I will write by them to my friends.

Sunday, March 15

Wrote several contraband letters but tore them to pieces for the boys would not like to carry them out sealed. Another sudden change in the atmosphere [making ] this day a very cold one.

Monday, March 16

Six of Morgan's men are taking the oath. I sent a letter by one of them. I also wrote and mailed a letter to one [Milt Laraine] an associate of mine while in K[entuck]y.

Tuesday, March 17

I cooked for the mess today. After noon the rain came pouring down in torrents. A violin was brought in by someone and most all joined in a dance while it was raining.

Wednesday, March 18

I wrote two letters today, one to miss Kate Davis another to Dr. Reed both of K[entuck]y. I hope to hear from them soon. The atmosphere is very cold today and the wind blows hard.

Thursday, March 19

The wind and sleet blows hard from the lake and the day is bitter cold. I managed to borrow a novel today and have been reading to pass the time.

Friday, March 20

Woke up this morning to find a heavy snow on the ground but it melted during the day. I received a letter from cousin Ellen Cherry offering me money or clothing if she knew how to send them.

Saturday, March 21

Answered the letter stating she desired she could send money by mail. I enclosed in my letter the rings of my own making. The camp is a solid sheet of mud and water. I have been at work on a ring.

Sunday, March 22

A case of small pox was carried out of our barracks today. I feel very unwell and fear that I am taking the disease. It has been raining incessantly all day.

Monday, March 23

Another cold rainy day. The ground is getting muddy. We are without coal or wood today. We have been without rations.

Tuesday, March 24

The rain has ceased but pedestrians are in danger of misery in the mud. The boys are indignant. A rumor [is] going the rounds that we are to be retained as hostages for Negroes not exchanged.

Wednesday, March 25

I wonder if it were to rain here in August [if] a snow storm would follow. In consequence of non-receipt of letters from her I love in K[entuck]y. I fear all is not right.

Thursday, March 26

I again have a very bad cold. Another case of small pox in our barracks this time close by my side. Rumor that we are to leave soon creates considerable excitement. I pay but little note to them.

Friday, March 27

I have asked today nothing. Standing I feel very unwell. Others are receiving letters from neighbors of my correspondents. I have [waited] for one at least seventy days. Are my correspondents inconsistent?

Saturday, March 28

Snow again today but it melted as fast as it fell. Rumors that we leave soon are now credited. The letters I wrote sometime since must have been stopped here.

Sunday, March 29

Preparations are being made to send us South. I learn that we are to leave five hundred each day until all are gone. Am I going to leave tomorrow? I am in trouble about my letters and money forwarded.

Monday, March 30

This is the last day I hope to chronicle in this place. God grant it may be so. Our rations have been drawn and cooked and we are to start for City Point, V[irgini]a tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, March 31

Taking the cars this morning on the Pitts[burg], Fort W[ayne] & Ch[icago] R[ail] R[oad]. The day was bitter cold, resembling the one on which we left Louisville. We are now one hundred miles from Chicago. Farewell, Bastille.

Return to Appendix


April, 1863

Wednesday, April 1

The train ran off at 2 a.m. smashing five boxes. Each box contained forty-one men but no one was hurt. I was jolted a little. After supplying us with new cars the track was cleared.

Thursday, April 2

Reached Pittsburgh, P[ennsylvani]a, changed cars and are again going forward this morning. We have four hundred miles to travel before reaching Balt[imore]. We are on the Penn[sylvania] R[ail] R[oad], it is the 1st double track road I ever saw.

Friday, April 3

Came in sight of Harrisburg. Switched off on the Southern Cen[tral] R[ail] R[oad]. Found Secesh at York and other places in Penn[sylvania]. Reached Baltimore about 10 p.m. and was marched under a strict police aboard a schooner.

Saturday, April 4

The wind blew a severe gale the whole of the afternoon. The bay was so rough that most all were made sea sick. I have been vomiting. In consequence to dense fog, we have entered Hampton Roads.

Sunday, April 5

Weighed anchor, moved up to the fort but could not land for [unknown] cause. Backed on out and cast anchor, soon changed boats for City Point. Drew some cooked rations late this evening. The first we have had to eat in two days.

Monday, April 6

Wrote to Mr. Bohon this morning, would have wrote Miss A - but I was too much confused. Reached City Point early but we[re] not received until late in the day. We are on cars for Petersburg.

Tuesday, April 7

Time in this triumphal march has brought me again to my national land. With what motives of pride and joy I can look around me and oh how thankful I should be that I am again permitted to breath the air of freedom.

Wednesday, April 8

We were started off today with cooked rations for our command's three hundred and fifty of us now. Prisoners arrived at Petersburg as we were leaving. We go to Lynchburg and not to Richmond as anticipated.

Thursday, April 9

Ran off the track at 2 a.m., nobody hurt. After considerable delay we again started. Reached Lynchburg at night. We have no rations will stay over here until morning and then draw rations.

Friday, April 10

Drew rations and started for Bristol. Eighteen miles from Lynchburg [we] ran off the track smashing five boxes, killing one and wounding eleven. One of my acquaintances Willis Gillium was wounded.

    *Most probably Willis N. Gillium of the 31st Tennessee Infantry and fellow resident of Weakley County, Tennessee.

Saturday, April 11

In consequence of the "run off" and bad roads we lay over at Liberty last night. I find everything selling at enormous prices here. Corn at $40 per bushel, etc. Will change cars at Bristol. I am get[ting] weary of travelling.

Sunday, April 12

Reached Bristol just at night[fall]. This town is on the V[irgini]a and Tenn[essee] line. I can look before me and see my native state. I do not know whether we will run or stay over night.

Monday, April 13

Drew rations during the night and started at 4 a.m. the roads improve as we go west. It is my opinion that we are travel[ing] through the garden spot of E[ast] Tenn[essee]. Tenn[essee] is some fine country. We find the bridges all guarded here.

Tuesday, April 14

Reached Knoxville during the night. This morning drew rations and moved off for Chatt[anooga]. Our locomotive exploded her boiler delaying us some time before we could get another. Will reach Chatt[anooga] some time in the night.

Wednesday, April 15

Experienced some of the soldiers life on reaching Chatt[nooga]. It rained all night and we were forced to take it. Reached a camping ground, drew rations, tents and c[lothes] and are now pretty comfortable.

Thursday, April 16

After the absence of six months, I have reached the point where I started into K[entuck]y before being wounded and [made] a prisoner. I visited my old camping ground. The boys have been ordered to clean up and get clear of lice.

Friday, April 17

Well knowing that I have more clothes than I could carry during the summer. I have left with Mr. Gillespie* 1 overcoat, 1 vest, and 2 shirts. It is thought we will remain here sometime on account of small pox.

    *Private John M. Gillespie of Company F 35th Tennessee Mounted Infantry.

Saturday, April 18

Procured the loan of tubs, kettle and etc. near the foot of L[ook] O[ut] Mountain. Washed all my clothes that were dirty. Another squad of ex-prisoners and are being sent to their commands.

Sunday, April 19

This is a beautiful Sabbath which brought to my mind recollections of humility. Though I do not desire to enter another battle, I feel it [is] my duty. I desire to [be] sent out to my command. A pleasant shower of rain this evening.

Monday, April 20

All of my mess have gone to wash today leaving me with one other to cook dinner. One of my mess, belonging to Blythes Batt[alion], ran away this morning to go to the command. A great many are running off daily. Some going home.

Tuesday, April 21

James Hagg and myself went a fishing today on the creek but caught no fish. The clouds threaten rain and one tent is bad, so I dread the night.

Wednesday, April 22

Woke up this morning to find it had been raining on me all night. The day has been a rainy one. I visited one of the hovels in the suburbs today to see what kind of people dwell there. My convictions were realized.

Thursday, April 23

These mornings are [damp and] cold but Old Sol dries away the dews rendering the days pleasant. I wrote my capt[ain] today to send me my descriptive role. I need money for our tents repair. I called to check the small pox.

Friday, April 24

A requisition for drawing clothing and more cooking utensils was made today indicating we will stay here sometime. Some of the boys that ran off to their command have been brought back.

Saturday, April 25

Some clothing for us is here ready for issue. I went fishing again today but the same ill luck. It is talked that we are to be put on some duty here until the small pox entirely disappears.

Sunday, April 26

I drew 1 p[ai]r of pants today and two p[ai]r drawers. The pants will cost me $12, the drawers a $1.80. I went to the river and washed myself good. I am going to put on cotton clothes and send my torn ones to Gillespie to keep for me.

Monday, April 27

More exchanged prisoners arrived this morning and having the small pox among them, have gone into camp. [General Braxton] Bragg passed through the city yesterday en route for Atlanta [to visit] his family.

Tuesday, April 28

Had a rainy night and cloudy morning but a beautiful [invigorating] evening. I learned that it is probable we will leave soon for our command. Acting accordingly, I carried the remainder of my woolen clothes to Gillespie.

Wednesday, April 29

How I am glad to get a letter through to K[entuck]y is an injustice that has occupied my mind during the day and every day. Did I not promise her I would make some arrangements to send her letters. I know that she wishes to hear from me.

Thursday, April 30

In my descriptive roll for which I wrote Capt[ain] Hall has come and I am preparing to draw four months pay. Some men left today going into K[entuck]y. Why did I not know and send a letter.

Return to Appendix


May, 1863

Friday, May 1

I have felt somewhat unwell today having acted very imprudently and taken cold. Orders were received this evening from Adj[utant] Gen[eral] to the effect that we were all exchanged. We elected temporary officers this evening but I do not think we will remain here long.

Saturday, May 2

Moved our camp 3 miles from the city today as if we were going to stay here some time. Still of the opinion we will leave soon. Received a letter from old mess mate Bob Davis* at Shelbyville, all the boys he says are well.

*Assumed to be Private J. R. Davis of Company G 9th Tennessee Infantry. He was wounded and captured at the Battle of Perryville.

Sunday, May 3

Our camp's are lonely situated and today has been an uncommonly lonesome day. Toward evening Mr. Cooksey* and myself went to the country and [had] taken supper with Mrs. Moore for 50 [cents] each.

    *Assumed to be Private Marshall E. Cooksey of Company B of the 4th Tennessee Cavalry.

Monday, May 4

It rained very hard last night inundating the whole camp. I was rushed out of my bed and went out to a widow woman's house and slept most of the night. Six hundred (600) Yankees who venture to Rome, G[eorgi]a were captured by [Gen. Nathan Bedford] Forrest.

Tuesday, May 5

The news of Forrest's victory is confirmed. I went out with some others and bought a peacock for our breakfast in the morning. Paroled ex-prisoners will be going to their commands tomorrow. We will go in a day or two.

Wednesday, May 6

The prisoners did not go off as anticipated. Some will go tomorrow. I have been thinking seriously of going to [the] country today. The atmosphere is very cold for the season. I have been chilled the whole day.

Thursday, May 7

[General William Joseph] Hardee's men went off today. [General Lucius Eugene] Polk's will go tomorrow. A battle has been fought in V[irgini]a. The particulars are not yet known but sufficient [information] is known to satisfy us that the rebels are victorious. Stonewall Jackson lost left arm.

Friday, May 8

I started from Chattanooga early this morning and reached my regiment after night without much difficulty. I found two of my mess mates missing James Mitchell*, died at Knoxville and G. Boyd [returned] but has been relieved.

    *Private J. T. Mitchell of Company G 9th Tennessee Infantry.

Saturday, May 9

Jim Julian* was the only man killed in my old company at Murfreesburo. I find considerable change in the right. [Colonel Charles S.] Hurt whom I wished to see is absent sick and [Colonel George C.] Porter of the 6th Tenn[essee Infantry] is in command.

    *Private L. J. Julian of Company G 9th Tennessee Infantry.

Sunday, May 10

The regiment after being in the chill was then to get on finely. I went on to Chattanooga for the Daily Rebel, [that] I must read. I find the regiments marching proud. Several professions of religion has been made and prayer meetings are held each night.

Monday, May 11

The regiment went out in review today. I did not go. In the fight in V[irgini]a we captured over 6,000 prisoners. News has reached us that Stonewall Jackson is dead. If so, this is an awful blow to the Confederacy.

Tuesday, May 12

I went out in drill but was rather weary as my head [since] wounded sometimes effects me. I hope the drills in warmer weather will not hurt me. I found the company under Captain [James I.] Hall much better drilled than others.

Wednesday, May 13

Drilled hard today as usual but I am getting better used to it. The Rebel from which I subscribe to a few days ago has not yet arrived. It is reported that [General] Kirby Smith has defeated [General Nathaniel P.] Banks in L[ouisian]a. No particulars of engagement.

Thursday, May 14

Nothing new from Smith. We had no drill this morning for some unknown cause. I paid $7.50 for one gallon of whiskey this evening. It is the last I will purchase at that price. Besides, I care nothing for it unless I see others drink.

Friday, May 15

The Rebel came this morning. Nothing to dispel the dull monotony of camp life, besides another day of hard drill. Our captain is very rigid and will depart for no instance [on] a single [iota] from Army regulations.

Saturday, May 16

A battle has been fought in Miss[issippi]. [General Ulysses S.] Grant is reported as having possession of Jackson. I am anxious to hear from this quarter. No military exercises today. It being a day generally devoted to sweeping and cleaning up.

Sunday, May 17

The news of Grant's possessing Jackson is confirmed. Our man had to fall back before superior numbers. I feel some anxiety about Vicksburg as the place is successfully flanked. I hope for better [news].

Monday, May 18

We have rumors again today that Jackson has been evacuated by the Federals. Also that [General William S.] Rosecrans is advancing on us here. Let him come. We are anxious to see him in front of our rifle pits.

Tuesday, May 19

The news of yesterday is confirmed. The Yankees have destroyed a large amount of property, both public and private. I am hoping [General Joseph E.] Johnston and [General John C.] Pemberton will not let them leave without a fight.

Wednesday, May 20

Visited Shelbyville for the first time. It has but little attraction for the soldiers though in time of peace I would imagine it quite a pleasant retreat. I bought 1 [pair of] pants, one pair of suspenders and one shirt for which I spent $25.

Thursday, May 21

My feet have been sore and painful from [the] effects of yesterday's drill and walk to town. In consequence of a picnic not far distant, we had no battalion drill this evening. Most of the field officers objected [to this].

Friday, May 22

After company drill we packed up and moved our encampment toward and near Shelbyville. All of our blankets, etc. were hauled. The usual bustle and excitement [was] attached upon such occasion.

Saturday, May 23

This day two years ago I was made a soldier. I now have twelve more months of service [until] my time is up. We have been cleaning up the new encampment. I also wrote some letters.

Sunday, May 24

Wrote a letter today to Miss A-V of K[entuck]y. Would to God I could receive one from her but I have no hope until the accursed war is closed. I also wrote home. Dispatched my letters by Mr. Haywood.

Monday, May 25

No duty but a little sweeping of the grounds. Bishop Ellroth of Georgia preached to us from the Col[onel's] quarters. Capt[ain] B. [J.] Roberts*, who was wounded at Perryville and went home from Harrodsburg, came in from Weakley Co[unty].

    *Captain B. J. Roberts was Captain of Company A of the 31st Tennessee Infantry, also known as the "Western Stars", which was recruited in Weakley County.

Tuesday, May 26

Hon[orable] [Clemet L.] Vallandigham, [from]a city in of the North and Democratic partisan opposing the war and Lincoln's administration, has been banished and reached our lines today. He is no Southern man and should be sent back immediately.

Wednesday, May 27

I slept without a blanket last night and have taken much cold and feel very bad. I have performed duties notwithstanding. News from Vicksburg cheery but have some fear for the safety of that place.

Thursday, May 28

Dispatches from Jackson, Miss[issippi] say "we have repelled the enemy in thirteen assaults made on our works at Vicksburg. I lost a cousin [Charles Cherry] in the Battle of Chancellorsville, V[irgini]a. I saw his name among the list of killed of [the]14th Tenn[essee] Reg[imen]t.

Friday, May 29

Received a letter from L[ieutenan]t. [John D.] Jenkins, Co[mpany] K informing me of the fall of my cousin Charles Cherry at Chancellorsville. I have been on guard today.

Saturday, May 30

Notwithstanding the rain fell today. We moved our place of encampment on the Murfreesboro Pike 2 miles from Shelbyville. We keep crawling toward the front. Water is [plenty] here.

Sunday, May 31

Our new camping ground needs any for beauty. We have occupied [land which] backs [in] from an inviting shade and the green grass is full for an occupant to repose upon. Water is not plentiful as thought for the springlets muddy.

Return to Appendix


June, 1863

Monday, June 1

Visited Shelbyville today to get some paper for the boys to write home. I saw Monroe Landrum recently from Weakley Co[unty], Tenn[essee] and heard from him that my folks were well.

Tuesday, June 2

Wrote a letter today to Mr. Bohon of K[entuck]y, also one home and sent them by a lady going through the lines to Weakley Co[unty], Tenn[essee]. Am cooking two days rations for our move.

Wednesday, June 3

Another day finds us after a march of ten or twelve miles within a short distance of the enemy's outpost. The cannons are booming on the right and left of us but I cannot believe the move [toward] battle soon. Another day will tell.

Thursday, June 4

Marched a short distance this morning and formed. The Yanks thought to flank us but we turned to the left too fast for them. We came in sight and received a few shells from them. Their cavalry killed two of our men. We have moved and are now making a new retreat.

Friday, June 5

We were cut off yesterday but happily the enemy did not know it. This morning the left wing of the reg[imen]t was shoved back as a rear guard and the troops marched back to camp. The rain fell in torrents.

Saturday, June 6

Our object in going to the front I guess was to feel the fire of the enemy. We have rested today after our march yesterday through the rain. News from Vicksburg represents our losses for the several engagements - 5,000, enemy 30,000.

Sunday, June 7

The day has been lonesome, notwithstanding, there is someone at all times passing the pike. I have been reading novels and tactics to pass off the time. The wife of one of the company who recently came from West Tenn[essee] has been in camp.

Monday, June 8

Citizens moving in from the front report Rosecrans advancing. We are ready to receive him. We are to move encampment tomorrow again. Some companies have moved today.

Tuesday, June 9

We have occupied new camping grounds at the base of Horse Mountain and convenient to the lines of fortification. I now think our object in moving was to work on these trenches. Much work will be required to clean off our camp.

Wednesday, June 10

It has been raining the whole day and we have remained in our tents. I like our situation very much. We have a good well of water and are handy to forage in the country.

Thursday, June 11

Went to the country today after milk. Paid one dollar for a very common dinner. It looks hard that a soldier getting only 19 dollars per month has to pay $3.50 per week for milk and other comforts.

Friday, June 12

Saw a man shot today for desertion belonging to the division. He appeared calm and self-possessed. Expressed his willingness to die. He was said to have been a desperate character. How severe is military law.

Saturday, June 13

The reg[imen]t was ordered out on fatigue today. Being on guard yesterday I was excused from work. I hope the fortifications may soon be completed and that we may get to fight behind them. We have never done the like.

Sunday, June 14

Went to the country again today and paid another dollar for dinner. Dr. Palmer of N[ew] O[rleans]. Preached to the brig[ade] in the afternoon. Gen[ral] Polk and a number of ladies are present.

Monday, June 15

It is hinted we are about to move soon. Had company drill in the morning. At parade an order was read from Gen[eral] [Benjamin F.] Cheatham to continue the inspections on Sundays which our Christian officers have been trying to change.

Tuesday, June 16

Delegated Lieut[enant] A. M. Boyd to attend a convention at Winchester to nominate candidates for Gov[ernor], etc. He started today and is under orders to report to Gen[eral] [George J.] Pillow. He has not been on duty for sometime having been released at his own request.

Wednesday, June 17

I have worked on fortifications today. The first work of the kind I have done since we left Corinth, Miss[issippi]. [Gen. Richard S.] Ewell has defeated the enemy at Winchester, V[irgini]a capturing a large number of prisoners, stores, etc.

Thursday, June 18

No particulars yet of Ewell's victory and no news from Vicksburg. I am afraid this place has already fallen. We have moved back to our camp ground on [the] Murfreesboro Pike. It seems that we cannot rest in one place.

Friday, June 19

News from Port Hudson to the effect that Gardner had made a sortie out of his entrenchments whipping Banks and capturing several guns. We are cooking rations to carry with us tomorrow to last indefinitely.

Saturday, June 20

We substituted chopping today for ditching and I was unfortunate to cut a tree on my foot laming myself a while. Scouts report an unusual stir in the enemies camp. What is Rosy up to now?

Sunday, June 21

The day has appeared unusually long and dull. Some citizen from Obion Cr[eek] called on the camp from that Co[unty]. Bill Montgomery*, who had been absent on furlough from wounds received at Perryville came in today.

    *Private William J. Montgomery of Company G, 9th Tennessee Infantry.

Monday, June 22

We have been at work cleaning up the camp today. In the evening [we] had regimental inspection of arms. Gen[eral] [Robert E.] Lee is in Maryland with his army and to [win] he would carry the war into Africa and make the Yanks quit its efforts.

Tuesday, June 23

We were inspected again today by the Inspector General for this army. Grant has assaulted our works at Vicksburg. He has again been repulsed. If he takes the place it will cost him more than its worth.

Wednesday, June 24

It has been raining the whole day. We went out to work but soon came back without doing much work. Who ever saw so much rain for this time of year. It now bids fair to rain all night.

Thursday, June 25

There was fighting on our right yesterday and today. It has been raining all day. It is rumored that Vicksburg has fallen. I am going to a wedding in the country tonight as soon as the roll is called. Several will go with me. All without permission.

Friday, June 26

Rosy is advancing and we were ordered to keep two days' cooked rations in our packs. It seems our men were involved in the fight in our right yesterday and the day before. I went to the wedding last night and got my supper.

Saturday, June 27

Instead of fighting as some expected we are now retreating from Shelbyville. The reversal of Gen[eral] [Alexander P.] Stewart's Div[ision] [on] the right giving the enemy possession of important [roads] has made this move necessary. The roads are very muddy and we are limping only a few miles [east].

Sunday, June 28

Reached F[ayetteville] today in the rain. We [had] no shelter our tents were burned before leaving Shelbyville. We have had a disagreeable time. Our cavalry fought the enemy at Shelbyville behaving badly and losing their pieces of art[illery].

Monday, June 29

We formed in line of battle this morning to await the approach of the enemy who is said to be rapidly advancing. We have no rifle ditches but there is a fort to our left. Some reinforcements have come in. It has rained all day.

Tuesday, June 30

We have constructed temporary breastworks and are yet awaiting the enemy, who has not made his appearance out to skirmish with our cavalry. Every available man is now out ready to fight. We want the enemy to come and let us try him behind our works.

Return to Appendix


July, 1863

Wednesday, July 1

Rosy instead of moving to attack moved to our right causing us to evacuate at 11 o'clock at night. We burned all our tents and unnecessary baggage. We are now bivouacked near Allisonia Station on the road.

Thursday, July 2

We marched today via Winchester to near this place. I saw Mrs. Custer whom I used to know in Weakley Co[unty]. I did not recognize her but was told later who she was. We are now on outpost at Cowan Station [at] the foot of the mountains.

Friday, July 3

Coming up the mountain this morning, I noticed it was not as steep as those we crossed it going into W[inchester]. We have traveled the most of the day in the woods. The wagons filling the roads. We are bivouacked on top of the mountain.

Saturday, July 4

We came down the mountain this morning and after marching about 15 miles crossed the Tenn[essee] River at the mouth of Battle Creek on pontoon bridges. Will rest near the crossing until morning. We have suffered for rations.

Sunday, July 5

We have moved up near Shellmound and we have cooked rations. I know not whether we will stop here or go onto Chattanooga. If we go on we should ride on the cars for we were marched down hard. Many are barefoot.

Monday, July 6

We are going to Chat[tanooga]. Although contrary to orders I have marched out of ranks today on account of sore feet. A large number of barefoot and sore foot cases were put off on the train last night. We are resting fifteen miles from C[hattanooga] and near a railroad bridge.

Tuesday, July 7

After considerable hesitation it is believed we were permitted to board the cars and ride the rest of the journey. We are now camped within a short distance from our old camping ground near C[hattanooga].

Wednesday, July 8

Our march is made. We have suffered both from mud and want of provisions. For my own part it would [be] considerable and [no less] for the numbers of barefoot men I see around me. One would suppose Jeff Thompson was in command.

Thursday, July 9

Our loss on this march has been considerable - commissary, quartermaster stores, some ordinance and ordinance stores have burn[ed] but [also] several guns have been lost. We have lost but a few men. There seems to be no doubt that Vicksburg has fallen.

Friday, July 10

Vicksburg has surrendered with ten thousand men. Lee has been fighting several days in Maryland. Men are being sent off to the hospital sick from the effects of the march. I am nearer barefoot than I have been since I could recollect.

Saturday, July 11

Papers state Lee is falling back - [we all] heard as much. We have moved 3 miles northeast and near to where the other brigade of the div[ision] is camped. I am sick and having nothing but a blanket to protect me from the rain.

Sunday, July 12

A camp has not been selected. We are only bivouacked around our guns. I have had the surgeon with me today, but I feel better than I did last evening. I am anxious to hear about Gen. Lee, if he has to fall back south of the Potomac then look for squally times.

Monday, July 13

Grant is pressing our forces at Jackson, Miss[issippi]. Skirmishing going on and a fight daily is expected. A guard has been sent to Gen. Forrest command (nearby) to reclaim those fellows who deserted us when reorganized and consequently found out that the guard did not find them.

Tuesday, July 14

No decisive battle has been fought at Jackson. I fear Johnson's forces is not sufficient to cope with Grant. I have exercised very much today and have eaten hearty notwithstanding reported sick.

Wednesday, July 15

I have often heard it said, "give a soldier enough to eat and he is satisfied". It is false for I have not seen the day I was happy. I think of home and the loved ones there, of the comforts I once enjoyed and more than all I think of the distracted state of our country.

Thursday, July 16

My boots are gone and I am barefoot. I would purchase a pair of shoes but three months wages would be required and I must have something to eat today with my money. A K[entuck]y refugee from conscript joined us today. He is from W[est] K[entuck]y.

Friday, July 17

Port Hudson has fallen. Charleston is threatened and Lee's reported recrossing the Potomac. From these reports many are despondent. While I admit we have cause to be serious I do not see that we should despair so long as we have an army.

Saturday, July 18

I borrowed a pair of shoes and visited the city today which I find the same in most respects as when we left it last fall. I am sure it has not changed any in morals. An effort was made today to bring in Milner and Brooks* who deserted us at Corinth and are now with General Grant.

    *Assumed to be Private George R. Milner and Lieutenant P. H. Brooks of Company G 9thTennessee Infantry.

Sunday, July 19

I have been reading a work entitled "Raids and Romances of Morgan and His Men". Jackson, Miss[issippi] has been abandoned by our troops and Gen[eral] Lee is on this side of the Potomac. Really this is a time to try men's soul. But we should rather use our energy and resolve never to be conquered.

Monday, July 20

Jim Baugh* has been detached as wheelwright. I had hoped to be called as a carpenter but was not needed. We have cleaned off our camp. Now I am afraid we will have to move soon to another one and lose our labor.

    *Private James C. E. Baugh of Company G 9th Tennessee Infantry.

Tuesday, July 21

We had rain this morning. I went to the country and eat breakfast and dinner. We have straightened out our lines and stretched our blankets for tents so that we present quite a military appearance. The socks feel quite hard when in contact with my feet.

Wednesday, July 22

Morgan is in Ohio and Yankee papers report him in a perilous ambition. I am afraid his command will be captured. I went to the city today and purchased me a pipe and smoking tob[acco]. I think probably it will not cost me so much as chewing [tobacco] which I can hardly afford at such prices as prudent.

Thursday, July 23

We have commenced to fortify again. For this purpose, the regiment was called out today. I was excused on account of being barefoot but went on guard duty. I don't think the boys like the idea of working any more on fortifications. They think they probably will have to evacuate again.

Friday, July 24

Many persons are disposed to lose confidence in our ability to longer contend with the North but I'm feeling that we will in the end come out triumphant. I am getting very anxious to hear from home, also from K[entuck]y but see no prospect of being gratified soon.

Saturday, July 25

We had a pleasant shower of rain today. There is a considerable Methodist revival going on in Gen. Stewart's old brigade. They hold meetings until late every night. Yankee papers report a considerable number of Morgan's men captured in attempting to cross the Ohio River.

Sunday, July 26

I went to the country today in company of Hilliard* and taking dinner. Gen[eral] Forrest is leaving with his command. I expect to hear from him soon in the rear of Gen[eral] Rosecrans' army. Everything is quiet now.

    *Private William Henry Hilliard of Company G 9th Tennessee Infantry.

Monday, July 27

Some citizens have come to the regiment from West Tenn[essee] but not from near our home. I do wish that I could hear from home and I think they treat me very bad in not writing to me. I would give all I possess to see my old mother and stay with her for a day or two.

Tuesday, July 28

I wrote a letter to my mother today intending to send it by some man going from Gen[eral] Stewart's brigade. The candidates for Congress have taken the stump. Last night I heard ex-Gen[eral] [Henry Stuart] Foote speak to Gen[eral] Stewart's brigade. I'm sorry they have taken the stump.

Wednesday, July 29

We have moved our camp grounds to where I was last encamped in the spring. I have been to see the two old women who furnished a shelter from the rain [once] before. I have been on a wild goose chase and am now some distance from camp wanting supper.

Thursday, July 30

We went out to work this morning without breakfast and without hope of dinner. Rations are scarce but I fear we have hardly known what it is to suffer anything yet. Winter will tell us a tale of woe if it is as severe as common[ly] [believed].

Friday, July 31

We went sweeping today. Capt[ain] Gardner* of our old company [is] at present on detached service is here today in obedience to an order for him to appear and answer charges for incompetency. The court has no authority to try him. I wish he were cashiered.

    *Assumed to be Captain A. C. Gardner of Company G 9th Tennessee Infantry.

Return to Appendix


August, 1863

Saturday, August 1

We have a good bed of poles and willow - birches and have a blanket stretched to protect us from the rain. If we only had enough to eat, we can do well enough without tents. No matter how hard it rains.

Sunday, August 2

A man supposed to be a robber or bushwacker was found near the camp this morning hanging from a tree. It is thought some soldiers hanged him during the night. I went a mile or two into the country this morning and bought some milk.

Monday, August 3

I am getting tired of the life we are living here. We do not get a sufficiency of rations and the country contains nothing that the soldiers might buy. I hope something will be done soon but have not the least idea what it will be.

Tuesday, August 4

We were visited by General Polk today who was taken the occasion to compliment our regiment very highly. It now seems a fact that Morgan and most of his men have been captured. I am sorry it will so for the Yankees when men of K[entuck]y will now cease to [be] coerced.

Wednesday, August 5

Sometime since a Mrs. P. Williams was arrested and found in [an] army uniform and passing herself as Lieut[enant] Buford. She was sent to [the] castle. No charges being preferred against her. She was released and is now in Chattanooga with her uniform and still persists in being known as Lieut[enant] Buford.

Thursday, August 6

Our rations are very short. We will get 1/3 lb. bacon, 1 lb. of bacon per day and cornbread. Gen[eral] [George Earl] Maney is commander (Cheatham leaving on the 4th) and Col[onel] McMurray* of the 4 Con[solidated] Tenn[essee] is com[man]d[er] of the brig[ade]. He has ordered the brigade and company rolls to be called for Monday.

    *Colonel James A. McMurray of the 4th Tennessee Infantry which later consolidated with 4th, 5th, 19th, 24th, 31st, and 33rd Tennessee Infantry.

Friday, August 7

Notwithstanding, the regiment has had nothing to eat but corn bread for more than two days. They have sent us to work on fortifications. Being on guard yesterday and barefoot, I was excused and managed to get a quart of milk. I may endure.

Saturday, August 8

The regiment went to work again today. Although barefoot I had to accompany them and I feel quite sick from the effects of walking on the rocks. I saw at the depot some prisoners captured at Union City and notwithstanding all I had suffered in their hands. I could hardly sympathize with the wretches.

Sunday, August 9

I wrote a letter to Mr. Bohon of K[entuck]y and dispatched it to Gen[eral] [John Henry] Winder at Richmond to be sent out by flag of truce. Bill Gardner* deserted last night after stealing seven hundred dollars from one of the regiments, besides a handsome sum from the company.

    *Assumed to be Private William H. Gardner of Company G 9th Tennessee Infantry.

Monday, August 10

I have bought me some letter paper and intend to write whether I have any correspondence or not. I have a boil on my buttocks caused by itch[ing] from which I have been suffering sometime. It is very painful and I am excused from duty on account of.

Tuesday, August 11

Today I thought I was getting off again by being excused from work on account of my boil but when I came to find out all barefoot men were excused I have been writing the whole of the day. I can not tell at this moment what I have written.

Wednesday, August 12

Excused again today from work. Managed to draw a pair of shoes and I am not a liar if they didn't feel awkward to my feet. I went to see my two old women who gave me dinner. I shall never forget these old women. They have been kind to me.

Thursday, August 13

Worked on the ditches but I was excused from work. I bought some whiskey and sending word to Capt[ain] Hall that I would soon be back after roll call. I started with Melton* on a spree. I am now at a house four miles from camp and it is late.

    *Private J. T. Melton of Company G 9th Tennessee Infantry.

Friday, August 14

I came in at a very late hour last night and felt really mean this morning when I had to go to the Capt[ain] to get off extra duty. I don't think I shall go on another such expedition soon. I have never served an extra [duty]. I hope to send a letter home soon.

Saturday, August 15

We went to [work] earlier this morning than usual. I am getting very tired of this work for I will know even if the enemy comes on us we will not get to fight in ditches. Gen[eral] Cheatham came to see us while at work and told the boys that he [indeed] used the spade.

Sunday, August 16

It is a fine thing to have an acquaintance near camp. I visit the old women with whom I became acquainted last spring. Very often they seldom fail to give me something to eat. Bill Fields* and myself went to see them today. Got and wrote some letters home.

    *PrivateWilliam R. Fields of Company G 9th Tennessee Infantry.

Monday, August 17

Men are regularly detailed to work now and I did not have to go today. My purse is reduced to twenty-five cents and what am I to do for money. I can not tell [if] I despise the low way of peddling among soldiers to get money. I will not do it.

Tuesday, August 18

I am in bad humor this evening but I hardly know for what unless it be that I am hungry and can not get enough to eat. I have just eaten a slice of bacon, the first meat of the kind I have eaten in quite a number of days. It was delicious I am sure.

Wednesday, August 19

Maxwell*, who has been acting commissary for the 31st Tenn[essee] for two years and had no commission, skedaddled last night to keep from being conscripted. We intended sending letters home by him. Capt[ain] Summers** is to start for West Tenn[essee] in detached service and will carry my letters until he reaches Maxwell.

    *Sergeant H. C. Maxwell assigned to the field and staff unit of Company A 31st Tennessee Infantry.

    **Captain George W. Summers commissioned as Assistant Commissary of Subsistence for the 9th Tennessee Infantry.

Thursday, August 20

Worked again today. There seems to be considerable hurry in erecting fortifications. The enemy is reported advancing and many troops have been sent down to Bridgeport [Alabama]. I do not believe that Rosecrans would be fool enough to attack us here.

Friday, August 21

This is a day set aside for fasting and prayer. At 10 a.m. the Yankees appeared on the opposite bank of the river and soon after commenced shelling the town from the right. Some damage was done by their sharpshooters. We have 3 days cooked rations.

Saturday, August 22

Firing continued this evening. Casualties yesterday - two or three men killed and one woman, several men wounded. We have worked on the fort. Everything is being made ready to meet the Yankees and most all are of the opinion that the fight is on hand.

Sunday, August 23

No shelling today but a continued bang of musketry has been kept up between the pickets along the banks of the river. Citizens since the first gun [was] fired have been busy moving out of town. The woods and roadsides are lined with crying women and dirty babies.

Monday, August 24

Another day finds our brig[ade] on picket duty below the city. All the brig[ade] except our regiment is reserved and our company is now in post at the foot of Lookout Mountain. We are calm at first but an old citizen whom we permitted to cross reports no enemy for more than 2 miles.

Tuesday, August 25

We were relieved this morning by some of [General Thomas C.] Hindman's ([General Jones M.] Wither's) division. I think we will move soon in some direction but cannot believe that we will evacuate this place. All of our troops have been withdrawn from Bridgeport and the Yanks are there.

Wednesday, August 26

It is said today that when our comp[any] was picketing some of the 25th Ala[bama] were killed soon after relieving us. If this is so we are fortunate men. We are doing nothing today. Last night was cold and today has been chilly enough for the season.

Thursday, August 27

The firing from across the river was renewed today and replied to by our batteries. From an eminence near camp could be seen the smoke from the guns. I have been unusually lonesome and want for something exciting, something to kill time.

Friday, August 28

Everything quite today. I have been useless again in the absence of some military exercise. If I only had books to read I could pass the time more pleasantly. Some troops have come in from [General] Johnston. I have made out the company muster roll.

Saturday, August 29

These cold nights and chilly days warn us the fall season is at hand. Their shelling was renewed today. It was twelve months ago we were encamped beyond the river where the Yankees now [are] camped in our way into K[entuck]y. I wish we could try that trip over again.

Sunday, August 30

I met my two old women today who expressed surprise at my not seeing them often. I apologized by telling them we had been busy. I wrote a letter to Lieut[enant] [John D.] Jenkins of [the] Virginia Army. A detail has been made to work at town tonight.

Monday, August 31

It is reported and believed that Knoxville has fallen. I hope this is not so, for than we will be forced to leave this place. Everything is quite today. The Yankee pickets and ours converse with each other. Some of our boys are wearing long faces.

Return to Appendix


September, 1863

Tuesday, September 1

We have cooked three days rations and are ready to move at a moments warning. I do not know what to do about the clothes I have at Gillespies. If we are going to evacuate I should carry them for such clothing cannot be had in the winter but there are so many I cannot carry them.

Wednesday, September 2

The 1st Tenn[essee] went in the city yesterday and I do not know for what other reason. We cooked rations unless it was to be in readiness to support them. I went to a man's corn field and pillaged some corn today the first time I ever did the like. I was hungry.

Thursday, September 3

I wish this suspense was over for we cannot absent ourselves from this regiment without reason. Several of us have [weaved] brush above for protection against the sun and dew. The nights are so cold we have had to take down our blanket for coverage.

Friday, September 4

Cooked 3 days rations and are picketing the river above the city. The enemy pickets [are on] the opposite side. Each party has orders not to shoot. The enemy move freely. While I'm writing I am in plain view of quite a number of Yanks. One of our boys has mentioned them in the middle of the stream and [saw their] encampment.

Saturday, September 5

After being assured they may return three of our boys crossed the river and spent several hours with the Yanks. I went to the middle of the river to meet some of them but they would not come. I would not cross cause I was not a good swimmer and it was contrary to orders. We are relieved and at camp.

Sunday, September 6

It seems we men stand under a misconception of orders. We have been ordered back and are now in front. Men have been sent to camp [and] to cook three days rations. Our boys still continue to visit Yanks but they are afraid to come to our side of the river.

Monday, September 7

Last night we evacuated our pickets very quietly and returned to camp. We found rations cooked and everything in readiness for a march. I went to Gillespie's and brought my clothes. Bill Finch is driving Gen[eral] Maney's H[ead] Q[uarter] wagons and will haul them for me.

Tuesday, September 8

Last night I went to see my two old women who gave me supper and some biscuits for my haversack. We have evacuated Chattanooga which felt like giving up all. I feel unwell. Lose many men by desertion. They despair when we retreat.

Wednesday, September 9

We are at Lee's Mills [Georgia] on the railroad where we have cooked two days rations. The Yankees have crossed the mountains from Wells Valley and are in Chattanooga. Gov[ernor] [Isham G.] Harris made a little talk to our regiment. He says if we win the impending battle Tenn[essee] is ours if not she is almost lost to us.

Thursday, September 10

There was considerable commotion among the troops today but we have not moved yet. Our cavalry has gone in the direction of Chattanooga. The enemy is reported falling back with the design of massing his forces at Chattanooga by crossing the mountains near that place.

Friday, September 11

Gen[eral] Cheatham had us know last night that it was the design of our army to attack the enemy at two points today. That we would make forced marches to prevent the enemy from meeting his forces. We have marched all night and are now near LaFayette [Georgia] cooking two days rations.

Saturday, September 12

The scene changes. We have marched back to Rock Springs Church and formed in line to meet the enemy who has come out from Chattanooga. The battle will certainly open in the morning. Some prisoners are being brought in and skirmishing is going on.

Sunday, September 13

We have moved this morning toward the left and formed. Soon moved again and have taken provisions in the rear of Gen[eral][Preston] Smith. Gen[eral] [Otho French] Strahle's brig[ade] went out and had been skirmishing to bring on the attack. We started out but stopped. The Yankees will not attack.

Monday, September 14

Instead of fighting as many had anticipated, we have marched back to LaFeyette. The enemy would not attack and I do not suppose it was the design of our generals to fight him in his position. The dust over the roads we have traveled was very disagreeable. I have boils which are very painful.

Tuesday, September 15

The boys, notwithstanding our retreat, are in fine spirits and the woods been made to echo with their shouts. It is said we are receiving reinforcements from V[irgini]a. Late last evening, I saw Mr. Cooksey of [McLemore's] Cavalry, my old fellow prisoner.

Wednesday, September 16

The messes have been consolidated and the surplus cooking utensils [were] turned over to our wagon for the regiment which was understood to be [used] for reinforcements. We are ordered to keep two days cooked rations in hand. It is thought we will move.

Thursday, September 17

We only cooked one days rations and are now marching in the direction of Rock Springs. We marched off in some hurry and Gen[eral] Maney told us as [that if] we passed him that we would get shot this time before we came back. Some of the boys were sent when we started back but we came up.

Friday, September 18

We stopped near the spring last night. This morning we moved up near an old inn and formed. Soon advancing and shelling as we advanced. We are not far from Lee's Mill where the Yankees are posted to prevent our crossing.

Saturday, September 19

Crossed the mountains without opposition. After double quickening some distance we entered the fight in a charge. Some halted and lay down when after firing. When after firing several rounds I was wounded in the face. I thought at first I was killed. I am now on my way to the hospital.

Sunday, September 20

Our brigade having no support fell back yesterday after I was wounded. The fight was continued with much spirit until after dark. My wound was from the fragment of a shell. The loss in my company is severe. I went on the battlefield today while the fight was being renewed.

Monday, September 21

Last night the enemy was driven from the field. I have walked to Ringgold [Georgia] and am in the cars to go to a hospital. My cloths are all with the wagons and I am afraid will be lost. The loss in my company was thirty-five in all.

Tuesday, September 22

I am now at Fairgrounds Hospital No. 2, Atlanta. I have heard nothing from the fight. Wires show there was heavy losses on both sides. We have taken many prisoners and have possession of the entire field. Seven of my old company are with me wounded.

Wednesday, September 23

We have traveled as far as West Point [Georgia]. On the route a box of tobacco was found and broken into. I took six plugs. The city council is preparing supper for the wounded. The bars are open and whiskey selling at $1.00 per drink. There are near three hundred of us together.

Thursday, September 24

Reached Montgomery [Alabama] where we found no preparations made to receive us. Breakfast was procured at the hotel and we were than moved to Stonewall Hospital. The tobacco I had taken was stolen by someone, not however before I have repented taking it.

Friday, September 25

All my squad was fortunate enough to get bunks in the barracks but many who have come in since have no beds or shelter. We get scarcely anything to eat and there is much complaint. The d[octo]rs have announced furloughs. I went to the city on pass.

Saturday, September 26

The apology for not giving us enough to eat is that they have not enough cooking vessels to cook in. I went to the city again today. I have made out a descriptive roll and signed Lieut[enant] Dew's* name to it, knowing he would not care. Some wounded from this hospital are to be sent to Mobile.

    *1st Lieutenant R. J. Dew of Company G 9th Tennessee Infantry

Sunday, September 27

I intended going to Mobile but I had fever last night and was unwell. Besides there was too large a number going for the trip to be pleasant. We had preaching in our ward this morning. Rations get no better.

Monday, September 28

Mrs. Knox, a lady of Montgomery, is very attentive to the wants of the wounded soldiers. She visits the hospital every day and dresses wounds. I went to the city and from the effects of the "itch" I could hardly walk back. Mrs. Knox stirs things about [in] the cook house.

Tuesday, September 29

I visited the city again today to get my money. Failing [to be] on the roll I am now making out another kind for myself and all of my company. My legs are very thin and I never was so tired in my life.

Wednesday, September 30

Went back today but failed to get my money. My glands are very much swollen and painful. We have had a small shower of rain which was very much needed. We can get no news from the army that is reliable.

Return to Appendix


October, 1863

Thursday, October 1

I succeeded in getting two months wages after much trouble. It has rained the whole of the day and I was put in much trouble to get a [hat] for which I would have paid $1.25 but I stopped on the way and paid 50 cents at this clothing m[anu]f[acturin]g company [and they] got their money.

Friday, October 2

Visited the city again, more to get away from the hospital than for any business I had in town. Mrs. Knox has been forbidden to visit the hospital [for taking] too much authority from the cooks. We have been examined and some of the boys are to be sent to Lauderdale Springs [Mississippi].

Saturday, October 3

This morning a lady came here to look for her husband and found that he had died but five days since. Her screams were affecting. I tried to get off to go to my old command but the surgeon told me I could not go until I am well.

Sunday, October 4

My company has all gone except Jas. Hagg, Tim Davis* and myself. The day was beautiful and we had preaching in the morning and evening. I have written several letters to my command. Some of the boys that have gone off, I think, will go home.

    *Private T. W. Davis of Company G 9th Tennessee Infantry.

Monday, October 5

This morning was cool and I kept to my bed until late, but went to the city before breakfast and took a hot cup of coffee and couple drinks [of] whiskey. I have a habit when the ladies come with provisions of feigning sick. I am good at it and often get something to eat.

Tuesday, October 6

After breakfast I went to the city and paid a visit to the soldiers home. This is a hospital kept up by the ladies and is well conducted. Hunter* of my company is here and has a frightful looking wound in the leg.

    *Assumed to be Private H. C. Hunter of Company G 9th Tennessee Infantry.

Wednesday, October 7

The patients were examined this morning and those pronounced fit for duty [were] sent to their commands. Some ladies brought in provisions but were told by the surgeons that the men had enough to eat. The boys told them better and the fair sex indignant.

Thursday, October 8

This day twelve months ago I was wounded at the Battle of Perryville. I visited the lamp black manufactory and the state capital. Lamp black is made by burning the resin and catching soot which is the lamp black. This is used for making oil cloth, etc.

Friday, October 9

The surgeons, to save their reputation, tell the ladies that we are all well fed but they know better. I ate some mushrooms today after seeing them eaten by others. They were boiled in water and should have been seasoned with butter.

Saturday, October 10

I went to the surg[eon] this morning to get him to examine my hips which had been paining me. He answered me as though I had been a servant or a dog. I turned on my heel and left him. President Davis is on a visit to the army at Chickamauga.

Sunday, October 11

After listening to a sermon in the morning. I went to the country in company with Jim Hogg and ate dinner with the overseer of a large plantation. Afterwards went down to the river to look at a steamboat pass. Boats are small on this river.

Monday, October 12

An examination was held today while I was absent in the city and a number discharged among them Jas. Hogg. Wishing to have company while going to the [city], I went to the surgeon and was discharged. Will set out in the morning.

Tuesday, October 13

Left the hospital this morning taking the cars at 5 o'clock. An accident occured in our engine which delayed us until night in reaching West Point, G[eorgi]a. We were debating whether to lay over until morning, also whether to stop off at Atlanta.

Wednesday, October 14

Staid all night. Reached Atlanta about noon and visited the Empire Hospital where I found Hooper* of my company who was wounded and made prisoner in the late fight but was recaptured by our men. We will stay here tonight.

    *Assumed to be Private N. W. Hooper of Company G 9th Tennessee Infantry.

Thursday, October 15

I intended making out a description list for Hooper that he may accrue his money, but I suffered so much from the itch when I sat down that I gave it up. We are now at the depot waiting for the cars which from all appearances will be crowded.

Friday, October 16

Reached Dalton during the night when we stopped and staid in the cars until day light. The train then brought us to where the bridges have washed away and we have been footing it since. We are staying tonight with a citizen.

Saturday, October 17

Our host did not charge us for lodging with him and for supper. We have come up with the regiment after walking fifteen miles which consumed two days on account of the plagued itch. I have found the regiment behind temporary breast works they have constructed.

Sunday, October 18

The Yanks and their works are plainly visible from our position. I have come back to the wagons four miles in the rear to draw rations where I will remain until fit for duty. The rations for the men are cooked there and carried to them by a detail.

Monday, October 19

I am staying with Rich Moss* who is [too] sick from his company [K] 31st Tenn[essee] R[egimen]t. The army has two new details from each company who stay with the wagons and cooks. We have a detail from our company guarding commissaries for Major Maney.**

    *Private R. H. Moss of Company K 31st Tennessee Infantry.

    **Assumed to be Major Frank Maney of the 24th Tennessee Sharpshooter Battalion which was part of General B. F. Cheatham's division at Chickamagua prior to October 22, 1863.

Tuesday, October 20

I received a letter late yesterday by flag of truce from Mrs. Bohan and Miss A. V. of K[entuck]y. My feelings can be better imagined than dissected since my whole study is of the letter. I love the woman and have reason to believe that she loves me. Sent a letter home today by Gilliam.*

    *Assumed to be Private T. J. Gilliam of Company A 9th Tennessee Infantry.

Wednesday, October 21

There has been a battle fought lately in V[irgini]a but not of much magnitude. I feel very unwell for the past two days. I have drawed me a shirt and a pair of drawers. I hope since there is a change of clothing my itch will get better. It is raining.

Thursday, October 22

Our troops have gained a victory near Loudon, Tenn[essee]. L[ieutenan]t Dew and others of the company came out here today. The boys have been paid off. Dew told me I could stay here or go back to the regiment. I prefer staying here until I am well. L[ieutenan]t Head** has been pro[moted to] captain and com[mands] the company.

    *Assumed to be Captain H. W. Head of Company H 9th Tennessee Infantry.

Friday, October 23

We were waked this morning by barefoot men with wagons coming to stay while the division moved. It is now at [Tilton] Station [Georgia] and is supposed to be going to reinforce [General Carter Littlepage] "Stevenson". An ambulance came for me and others and carried us to a place called the Brig[ade] Hospital.

Saturday, October 24

The hospital is a Negro cabin in a farmer's yard. There is no sur[geon], no rations and no person to draw rations. I have come back to the wagons in camp. The cooking detail has gone but the wagons are [still] here yet and men staying with them.

Sunday, October 25

I drew rations with others of the reg[imen]t this morning. At the sick call I went to the brig[ade] surgeon who sent me to Chickamauga in a wagon where I was to take the cars for the hospital. At the depot, we found no one to put us on the cars and with some difficulty I got the surg[eon] sent to me.

Monday, October 26

Have been all day coming from Dalton where we lay last night. Have reported at a brig[ade] hospital where we have taken bunks. Bill Guy* of [the] Avalanche is with me though not in the same room.

    *5th Sergeant William J. Guy of Company H 9th Tennessee Infantry.

Tuesday, October 27

My bunk being in the hall where there was no fire. I have passed most of the day in bed. The surgeon came around to see me but gave me no medicine. I am without money and without tob[acco] and there is no one here of whom I wish to borrow.

Wednesday, October 28

Description rolls are taken from the patients entering the hospital for what purpose I do not know. Ladies visit us with permission. I am having my meals brought to me and as I am fed by the officer's nurse. I get such as they get. The boys complain of the table.

Thursday, October 29

I have been considering today the position of a private soldier of our army. It is worse than that of a servant in peaceable times. For my own part, I am getting tired of being dominated over by every "chap in stripes". I want to get in the cavalry and I will fair better.

Friday, October 30

There is a young lady who is very attentive to a certain Lieut[enant] here. She brings him food every day and often divides with me. Her name is Everet. Other ladies visit us with provisions. The convalescents eat breakfast at 9 a.m., dinner at 3 p.m. and supper at 9 p.m.

Saturday, October 31

I am getting tired of Bragg as a leader. He has conducted affairs so badly. He has removed Gen. [Lucius E.] Polk and caused [Gen. William J.] Hardee to be put in his place whom the boys can never like so much as they did the former. If he wants to lose half our div[ision] let him remove Cheatham.

Return to Appendix


November, 1863

Sunday, November 1

Gen[eral] Polk was beloved by his corps and was the idol of our div[ision]. The boys would do better fighting under him than under Hardee. Should Bragg cause Cheatham to be removed half the Tennesseans will go home or under some other arm of service.

Monday, November 2

The wife and mother of one of our soldiers is visiting the hospital. The one so fond in her caresses the other so tenderly affectionate that it is interesting to behold them. I would give the world to see my mother or the woman I wish to call my wife.

Tuesday, November 3

The surgeon has prescribed whiskey and quinine for me. The latter creates considerable commotion in my head. The former is very acceptable. Ladies here visited us again today. I can hear nothing from my command. I hope they will remain in E[ast] Tenn[essee].

Wednesday, November 4

With a description roll of my own make, I drew a hat from the Q[uarter] M[aster] department. I now take my meals at the table and get for a breakfast meal - coffee, cornbread and beef, for dinner the two latter, for supper, coffee and cornbread - limited quantities.

Thursday, November 5

I borrowed some money today and tried to borrow some letter paper and envelopes but could not buy a smaller quantity of the former for a few dollars, and [the] latter per packet at $1.20. I did not have money enough and gave it up.

Friday, November 6

I met in the street today a young man who nursed me and was very kind to me while I was wounded and a prisoner at Harrodsburg, K[entuck]y. He was wounded in the late fight and I would be proud had I the opportunity of reciprocating his kindness.

Saturday, November 7

The hospitals are to be cleaned out by sending those "for duty" to the front and those not fit for duty, but able to travel, to distant hospitals. It seems by this a fight is expected as it will not be left for me to say which of the above class I belong to. I do not know where I shall go.

Sunday, November 8

I am now at [Frand] Hospital Newnan, G[eorgi]a, forty miles from Atlanta and on the West Point R[ail] R[oad]. Coming down on the cars, the men crowded and had to stand up and ride the best way we could. So far, I am well pleased with the change. There are three hospitals here.

Monday, November 9

This place is the county seat of Coweta Co[ounty] but is a wreck at present. The court house and most all of the business houses are used for hospitals and other purposes. I think most of the patients here are those suffering from chronic diseases and those men who are wounded slightly.

Tuesday, November 10

We have had a change of surgeons. The first was a citizen and had feelings for [the] men. The one we have now is an old field surgeon and could cut off a man's head without constricting a muscle of his own. I am using iodine on my back which is very painful.

Wednesday, November 11

For breakfast here at the table we get coffee, corn and light bread and beef hash. For dinner we get cornbread, peas and bacon. For supper we get fruit and light bread. Those that do not go to the table get [a] better diet but not so much of it.

Thursday, November 12

I have taken four big pills and one dose of oil today. The second dose of oil I can [not] remember swallowing. A man furloughed from this room today for thirty-five days. Had I the money I would give a thousand dollars for such a furlough. I would see my mama in half the time.

Friday, November 13

I had to take another dose of oil this morning. No ladies have visited us here yet. I saw them going regularly to the officers hospital. So much for "stripes". A man visiting his brother brought him clothing and provisions. If the Yanks did not have possession of my house I to would have clothing sent [to] me.

Saturday, November 14

A man living only eighteen miles away from here, after repeated applications, took leave of absence has went home and has been sent for. Forty deserters were brought in during the day by cavalry. The South is full of men at home. We have had some rain.

Sunday, November 15

One other man furloughed for thirty days. I have been reading a volume of the United States Congressional Globe. I was surprised when I look upon these debates that the people of the South did not take up arms sooner in vindication of their rights.

Monday, November 16

Last night I could not rest. I thought of mother, of Anna, of home and of the pleasures I once enjoyed. But alas, those pleasures have gone and many sleepless nights are passed in dwelling on their memory. Were I the richest man living I would give all to enjoy life as I once did.

Tuesday, November 17

I begin to have a better opinion of my surgeon. He is quite lenient for I know there are men here who are able for duty yet he does not send them off as long as there is any sign of disease. We are having some beautiful weather now and I am anticipate a move by the army in some direction.

Wednesday, November 18

The paymaster is here paying off nurses and other details. The sick would have all have their pay but for inaction of the clerks. I have [almost] my half [except] for four dollars difference with which I am to buy my tob[acco]. There is a concert in town for the benefit of the soldiers.

Thursday, November 19

The boys were not so well pleased with the concert. I understand there is to be another one given by the ladies. An old citizen has given me some sweets to eat last night. I am expecting to be sent to my command every day.

Friday, November 20

There is a man here with his leg cut off and from gangrene or other causes. The [primary] artery can not be closed. He is kept alive by having a man hold the artery with his fingers until the leg is well. The light duty men do this [with] reliefs who stand guard.

Saturday, November 21

Had rain in the afternoon. [General James] Longstreet is at or near Knoxville and I expect Cheatham has been recalled. Two men were discharged from here today and sent to their commands. Each was complaining of not being well enough to do duty.

Sunday, November 22

We have had another change of surgeons. The day is bright and beautiful and in the absence of something to while away [the] time, I am led back meditatively to the beautiful Nov[ember] Sabbaths of last year when I was in K[entuck]y.

Monday, November 23

The day is very cold, wind blowing from the N[orth] E[ast]. Were I in K[entuck]y or Tenn[essee] I would expect snow. I saw one of the [Obion] Avalanche today who is on furlough 12 miles distant from wounds received at Chickamauga.

Tuesday, November 24

Our surgeon has been ordered to hold himself in readiness to go to the front as if a fight was expected. It is [obvious] another detail has been made to hold another artery for a man. This work I would not like to do.

Wednesday, November 25

There was some fighting done in front of Chattanooga over the 24th justly. Also fighting done at Knoxville by Gen[eral] Longstreet whom it is said has completely invested that place. Hospitals are being cleaned out by furloughs and returning men to duty.

Thursday, November 26

A dispatch to Pres[ident] Davis from Gen[eral] Bragg says our left center was broken and the army retreating in confusion on Chickamauga. My God are we to suffer our first defeat in the West. I have been holding an artery for a man that [was] wounded.

Friday, November 27

Our right wing in the engagement on Missionary Ridge held their position repulsing the enemy at every charge. The army is still falling back I am anxious to hear from my reg[imen]t. Some wounded are passing down the road. I saw Clint Atkins last [night].

Saturday, November 28

This is my birthday. I am twenty three years old and boast of accomplishing as little as any other man of the same age. Wounded have been coming in. Our ward is filled up. Much anxiety is felt for the safety of Gen[eral] Longstreet's div[ision].

Sunday, November 29

It is announced Burnside has surrendered to Gen[eral] Longstreet but not credited. Convalescents are being sent off very fast. The trains are so crowded with men going to their commands that it is difficult for one to get a seat.

Monday, November 30

A thousand rumors are afloat. One that Bragg has had another fight and defeating the Yankees. Still furloughing from the hospital. Candidates for furloughs are judged more by their looks than their disease.

Return to Appendix


December, 1863

Tuesday, December 1

I saw Capt[ain] [Locke] of my reg[imen]t. He has been here sick for some time. He tells me my reg[imen]t was not engaged but was held in reserve on the right. I was glad to hear this. I fear they might have been on the left.

Wednesday, December 2

The surg[eon] that left here to go to the front has returned. Expressing a wish to examine me, I told him I was able for duty and desired to be sent to my command. I met with an acquaintance from the 5th Tenn[essee] Reg[imen]t.

Thursday, December 3

Left the hospital on the freight train and [am] now at Atlanta waiting for a train to go to Dalton where I understand I am to find my reg[imen]t. I fear we are to be very much crowded. There are many number of men returning to the army.

Friday, December 4

We got aboard by crowding into the baggage car where we had neither fire nor lamps nor seats to sit on. We slept on the floor and suffered very much from the cold. Reached Dalton an hour before day. With some difficulty I found the reg[imen]t.

Saturday, December 5

The reg[imen]t is encamped 3 miles south of Dalton. I found my old company divided into two messes. Lieut[enant] [R. J.] Dew, Brooks, Montgomery, Fields, Travis, Baucom [and] Hagg* compose my mess. They are all in bad spirits of the recent disaster.

*Assumed to be Private J. L. Brook, W. R. Montgomery, Sergeant W. R. Fields, Private J. H. Travis, Private J. J. Baucom, and Private James Hagg all of Company G 9th Tennessee Infantry.

Sunday, December 6

Ten other regiments are now in the brigade [including the] 41st and 50th Tenn[essee]. Gen[eral] Maney was wounded in the late engagement. We are in [General William Henry Talbot] Walker's division with S[outh] Carolinians and Georgians. The old division has been divided.

Monday, December 7

The boys all want to get back with Cheatham and Polk again. Rather than depart from the old custom of egg nog for Christmas the men contributed $60 for which I went to Dalton to send by a man to Atlanta to get two gallons.

Tuesday, December 8

We have been ordered to be held in [winter] quarters. I went to Dalton again today but failed to see anyone whom I could send for our whiskey. Some are building quarters but I am fearful that we will move again soon from them.

Wednesday, December 9

Went again to send for whiskey and failing the mess have concluded to withdraw their money. I have been thinking of going home but I hate after staying here this long to run away. Yet my health is fading and it is almost certain death for me here.

Thursday, December 10

Longstreet has raised the siege of Knoxville and is returning in the direction of Bristol. Gen[eral] Morgan has escaped from Yankee prison. We are matting branches to cover our winter quarters. I felt unwell and reported sick.

Friday, December 11

Bill Fields has the name of being very stingy. He played a [charlatan] and lost one hundred and thirty dollars. The boys say he will die. Brooks, Montgomery and myself drank a pint of whiskey each for which we $12 per pint.

Saturday, December 12

The brigade has moved to another camp beyond the railroad. Bill Montgomery and myself are staying with our boards until they can be hauled. It is raining and I imagine the boys will have a hard time tonight with no shelter.

Sunday, December 13

We kept out some cooking vessels and a little meal and by picking up some beef we have had something to eat. They sent us a little meal from camp. We can not get our boards hauled today. The boys here commenced building.

Monday, December 14

We have nothing to eat in seventy-four hours but are now baking a chicken and have sent to camp for meal. It is reported that the Yankees are falling back at Chattanooga and we are to be sent to V[irgini]a. I expect we will be sent some place.

Tuesday, December 15

After getting something to eat we have been discussing the possibility of going home in the spring. In a recent proclamation of Lincoln, he grants our going home [with] the privilege of taking the oath and remaining. I want to go home but I'm not going to stop fighting.

Wednesday, December 16

I went to camp after rations and returned to meet a wagon here to haul our boards. I brought a gun with me and after eating something, and starting our wagon to camp, we went out and killed a squirrel. We are at camp with the boys again.

Thursday, December 17

We are at work on our cabins. Every man builds after his own fashion only preserving a strait line. Six of my mess are going to stay in a house while three of us will go under the tent fly. We do not get half enough to eat.

Friday, December 18

The house is finished and the boys have moved in. We have worked and built a chimney and wall to the fly so it will be comfortable. Bill Montgomery and myself and Brooks will stay under the fly. We are having brig[ade] guard.

Saturday, December 19

Worked again on our chimney and today was so cold we had to keep fires to prevent our tents freezing. We have not been sent for any whiskey and will be without any for Christmas. We are subsisting on corn bread alone.

Sunday, December 20

Montgomery and myself went to Lieut[enant] Vowell* to get our clothes but failed to find him. We drew a little flour but not sufficient for one meal. I can almost fancy myself going weak from starvation.

*Assumed to be Private W. R. Vowell of Company G 9th Tennessee Infantry who may have been promoted to Lieutenant.

Monday, December 21

We are not to be paid our compensation as was expected which is causing much dissatisfaction and revives the talk of going home. I am on guard for the first time in many days. Will not have to stand after night I hope.

Tuesday, December 22

After considerable difficulty in finding the route and a walk of six miles George Milner and myself are now at Gen[eral] Strahle's Brig[age] where we will spend the night. The boys here are in fever to leave the infantry and go to cavalry.

Wednesday, December 23

The band of Strahle's brig[ade] serenaded Gen[eral] Cheatham last night and was told by him that he was making efforts to get his old division again. After a hard week we reached our command just in time for roll call.

Thursday, December 24

Montgomery and Dick Scott went to Dalton to get some whiskey where they got into a difficulty and had a fight with some soldiers. I bought half gal[lon] whiskey for which I paid fifty-one dollars. I have drank me a [gross] pint. The Avalanche are all drunk.

Friday, December 25

The Col[onel], Lieut[enant] Col[onel], Adj[utant], Surg[eon], Capt[ain] and all the pirates of the Avalanche were drunk last night and this morning Surg[eon] Brice and one of the Avalanche fought. I was a little drinking late in the night. John Milner and officers have come to see us.

Saturday, December 26

We had a high spree last night. Drank but kept sober. The whiskey bill amounted to one hundred and fifty dollars. Our Col[onel] and Capt[ain] are both absent on a spree and the boys do as they please. We shot Christmas guns to test our muskets. It is raining.

Sunday, December 27

Rained the whole day confining us within doors. I hope this bad weather will put an end to operations this winter. Last year at this time I was enjoying the best of society with plenty to eat and drink and new parties to go to every night.

Monday, December 28

Our Capt[ain] and Col[onel] have returned off their spree and everything is going on quietly again. There is to be a furlough granted to one man in every thirty. We will have to draw for it. The day is disagreeable. I can not believe how bad the weather is.

Tuesday, December 29

A few days since I was excused from guard duty on account of bad shoes or rather I refused to do duty because others not worse off than myself were excused. I have not been put on duty since. There is a regular detail to work on roads.

Wednesday, December 30

Lieut[enant] Dew approved and forwarded a furlough for Knox* before orders for furloughs were received. The chance is Knox will cheat us out of a chance for a furlough. Bill Montgomery and myself have cut and hauled a cord of wood.

    *Assumed to be Private R. W. Knox of Company G 9th Tennessee Infantry.

Thursday, December 31

This ends my diary for the year. It is true I have seem some rough times but they did not exceed my anticipations. The life of a soldier now is considered of no more value than a good horse and I have reason to be thankful that my life is spared and will not lament over the past. I would be proud to where I was at this time last year enjoying the society of her I love, but I shall hope that I will not spend another year in the army and another Christmas rolls 'round [without] seeing the those I love so well.


Memoranda

        (Page 1)

Officers remaining behind to be sent to Camp Chase, Ohio. Reached Cairo 17th [of] January and went straight aboard a boat and shoved off for Dixie. Turned back the next morning from Columbus, K[entuck]y and started for St. Louis, which place we reached 22nd [of] January but did not stop as anticipated but went on to Alton, Illinois. From Alton we went to Chicago on R[ail] R[oad] and turned loose in Camp Douglas. A great deal of sickness was the consequence of such a long

        (Page 2)

Names of young men with whom I associated while a prisoner on parole in K[entuck]y: James Dean, Miles Woods, Tom Richards, Tom Clellson, Dr. Davis (Graves [County]), Ed Block all of Mercer County except Mr. Richards who was of Louisville.

Young ladies: Misses Van Arsdale, Misses Davis, Misses Dean, Miss Shoemaker, Miss Thompson, Miss Corrish, Misses Van Arsdale (again) Misses Retrons, Miss Priss Russle, Miss Turner, Miss Holman, Misses McHenry, Miss Gathers, Misses Renfires Miss Mat Parker and Misses Overstreet (Union [County]). All of Kentucky except Miss Thompson of North C[arolina].

        (Page 3)

C. H. Lee

Uniontown, Perry Co. Ala.

From J. H. Jones

1st Lt. Co. K 24th Ala.

Camp: The small pox [is] making its appearance among the prisoners. Up to February 21st there has been a great many deaths. On the 24th Feb[ruary] the Gen[eral] came and men commenced administering the oath again. Many have taken it.

        (Page 4)

Tobacco for June

2 plugs tob. $4.00

Total ----

July

4 plugs tob. $8.25

1 bag smoking $1.00

Total $9.25

August

3 plugs tob. $4.75

Total $4.75

September

3 plugs tob. $1.50

1 bag smoking tob. $1.00

Total $2.50

        (Page 5)

November tob. amount

2 plugs $2.50

December

plug chewing tob. $.50

Smoking tob. $5.00

Nov.

5th plug tob. $.50

19th 1 plug tob. $1.00

25th 1 plug tob. $1.00

December

1st plug tob. $.50

12th bag smo. tob. $2.00

22nd " " " $2.00

25th smok. plugs tob. $1.00

        (Page 6)

Being wounded at the Battle of Perryville, K[entuck]y, I was consequently taken prisoner at Harrodsburg, K[entuck]y in [the] hospital three days after the battle, 11th October. I remained in the hospital about five weeks then removed to a private house in the country where I staid at Mr. Bohan's until the 5th of January. I then went to Harrodsburg and started from there under a guard for Louisville via Danville.

We traveled in wagons, laid in the guard house 14 hours at Danville then stated in wagons for Nicholasville.

        (Page 7)

Never stopped at Nicholasville but kept on until we arrived at Lexington (12 o'clock at night). We were here put into a Negro jail where we staid until 2 o'clock the next day, then taken the cars for Louisville which place we reached 12 o'clock at night and was marched to Camp Dent as it was called, a miserable excuse for a prison. Here we remained eight days and then started for Vicksburg - crossing the river and taking the cars all commissioned.

Return to Appendix


Cash Accounts

        (Page 8)

January

Date

3 For Sunday presents 5.00

6 Whiskey 1.60

8 Tob. 1.00

11 Provisions .35

24 Green backs .25 pert. 25.00

25 " " " " .20 " 25.00

" Less [Riffhan] 5.00

26 " " " 25.00

27 " " " 25.00

$92.00

        (Page 9)

At the battle of Perryville my company was commanded by L[ieutenan]t T. B Lawler [Company G 9th Tennessee Infantry] who was killed early in the action and it was then commanded by L[ieutenan]t [F. F.] McCarthy of Co. I [9th Tennessee Infantry] at which the company was commanded by Capt[ain] [Bradford] Edwards [Company G 9th Tennessee Infantry] at Murfreesburo by L[ieutenan]t [H. W.] Head [Company H 9th Tennessee Infantry] at Chickamauga by Capt[ain] [Junius L.] Hall who was wounded early in the action and the command [turned over to] L[ieutenan]t [C. P.] Wylie [Company H 9th Tennessee Infantry].

Page torn in half

        (Page 10)

February

Date

7 For tob. .10

" " Post Stamps .15

8 Paper .12

18 Envelopes .09

20 Stamps .06

.52

I purchased but little this month being in prison where I had no money or no way to make money. [Page torn in half]

        (Page 11)

Chattanooga, April 28th. Deposited with John M. Gillespie three miles south of Chattanooga near Lookout Mountain. Subject to my order or to the order of my relatives: 1 long infantry overcoat and cap, 1 vest, 2 pr. H. flannel drawers, 2 knit undershirts, 1 H M [loose] shirt, 1 flannel undershirt.

        (Page 12)

April

Date

29thBorrowed Roffe 1.00

" For paper & env. 1.00

$1.00 $1.00

I was on the road during the month from Chicago to Chattanooga. It was in the later place I borrowed the dollar attended to from one of my fellow prisoners who more fortunate than myself but a friend of whom liberated several dollars. If I had money no doubt I should have spent it freely for I met with many chances on the road to purchase provisions of which I sometimes stood in much need.

        (Page 13)

Killed and wounded in Co. G 9th Tenn. at Chickamauga.

Killed

Priv. W. T. Davis [Assumed to be Private W. D. Davis of Company G]

" Sam McDonald [Assumed to be Private S. M. McDonald of Company H]

" George Hall [Private George Hall of Company G]

" Jno. Dooley [Private J. A. Dooley of Company H]

" Tom Henry [Private Thomas Henry of Company H]

" Foster [Assumed to be Private L. Foster of Company H]

" Fount Halloway [Fount P. Halloway of Company H 9th]

Wounded: [Private N. W.] Hooper [of Company G], [Private T. W.] Tho. Davis [of Company G], Tom D. Bell, D- [Private Van Buren] Oldham [of Company G], [Private Dick H.] Dalsby [of Company G], [Private] Dalton Collins [of Company G], [Private H. C.] Hunter [of Company G], L[ieutenan]t [R. J.] Dew, and [Private J. J.] Baucom [of Company G].

        (Page 14)

May

Date

8 For canteen 5.00

9 Tob. .75

10 Env. & daily paper 1.85

14 Whiskey 7.50

" Paper & Env. 2.00

" Boot half soled 3.00

" Tooth brush .75

" Whiskey 3.25

" Cleaning gun 1.00

" Milk 1.00

18 Tob. 1.00

" Milk 2.00

20 Articles of clothing 28.50

21 Milk .75

22 Sewing points 1.50

" Milk .50

23 Sundries 7.00

Transfer to next page 5.00 41.35

        (Page 15)

May

Date

Amount bought forward 5.00 41.35

24 Milk 1.50

26 Cake & Cider 1.00

27 Washing clothing 1.00

28 Sundries 1.50

29 " 4.75

5.00 51.00

Borrowed during the past month

80.00

85.00 51.00

Balance on hand 34.00

I found I needed a great many things after I reached my regiment. The most foolish thing I did was to purchase whiskey at $7.50 a gal. This I had done to please others than myself. $1.00 per [carton] for milk was dear, however, I could borrow as much as I wanted.

        (Page 16)

June

Date

1 Paper & env. 2.00

3 Peas .25

6 Sundries 1.50

7 Washing clothes .50

10 Tob. 2.00

11 Milk 1.50

14 Dinner & Milk 1.50

15 Letter paper 1.50

" Borrowed of Davis 2.00

16 Washing and Milk .75

17 Milk .50

18 1 qt. Berries 1.00

19 Milk and pie 1.05

20 1 plug tob. 1.50

21 Daily papers .25

23 Letter paper 1.00

24 Daily paper .10

25 Whiskey 3.00

" Pic & daily paper .65

26 Cake & " " .65

2.00 20.20

        (Page 17)

June

Date Received Paid

Amount brought forward 2.00 20.20

26 Wages 199.00

" Debts 172.50

" Davis & Hogg 7.50

27 Whiskey 2.00

28 daily papers .35

208.50 195.05

Balance on hand 13.45

I handled a good sum of money during this month but at its close I could boast of but little on hand. If I do not dispense with whiskey on occasion and such luxuries as pies, milk, cakes etc. I will have to have a promotion to foot the "bill".

        (Page 18)

July

Date Received Paid

1 1 plug tob. 2.00

8 Cake 2.00

9 Tob. & Cake 3.00

10 Daily paper .75

14 Tob. 2.00

" Cigars 1.00

16 Cake & forge 7.00

" Loaned Roffe billed 30.00

17 Forge & tob. 6.00

18 Romance Morgan & men (book) 3.50

" Sundries 6.00

19 Forage 5.00

20 Cake .50

21 Whiskey 1.00

" Breakfast & [forage] 5.40

22 [Pipe] 6.00

23 Sundries 3.50

25 Eggs & syrup 3.40

26 Lewis & Hilliard 2.00

Transfer to next page 35.00 55.05

        (Page 19)

July

Date

Amount brought forward 35.00 55.05

28 Hilliard for service 2.20

" Cake 1.00

29 " " 1.00

" Supper 1.00

30 Whiskey & peaches 4.50

31 Sundries & cakes 4.25

37.20 66.80

Balance on receipts 29.60

The price of articles I value are increasing. Fruit in particular sells high and the peaches look so delicious and tempting and can not keep from purchasing if he has the money.

        (Page 20)

August

July

Date

1 Milk and peas .60

2 Daily paper .10

3 Onions 1.00

4 Peaches & Tob. 1.12

5 Apples .30

6 Laundress etc. .75

" Baucom .50

7 Milk 1.00

" Wages 2 months 22.00

" Baucom 1.00

" Cake & peaches 2.00

8 Laundress 3.00

" Davis borrowed 1.00

9 1 bag onions 1.00

" Peaches .50

10 " " 1.00

" Vawell 4.00

" Beef & letter paper 2.75

11 Cake 1.00

Amount transferred 23.00 21.62

        (Page 21)

August

Date

Amount brought forward 23.00 21.62

12 Tob. & peaches 3.50

13 Whiskey 6.00

15 Peaches .50

20 Apples .25

21 Tob. 1.25

22 Peaches .50

29 Borrowed money 3.00

" Letter paper 2.00

30 bag peach .50

31 3 envelopes .25

26.00 38.37

Balance on receipts 12.37

I am always paying int[erest] and never receiving much. My money goes [into] int[terest] and I borrowed [from] home.

        (Page 22)

September

Date Received Paid

1 Borrowed of Knox 4.00

" Tob. 4.00

6 Borrowed Fields .50

" Milk .50

12 Tob. 1.00

17 Tob. 1.00

20 Borrowed Collins 10.00

22 Tob. .20

" Bread & Meat 1.35

24 Whiskey 2.00

25 Sundries 5.50

26 Letter paper & env 1.25

14.50 17.10

Balance on receipts 2.60

This month I had little money and used none but what I needed. I was wounded on the 19th

        (Page 23)

and on the 20th I started to the hospital. Having no money I borrowed some from Collins who was wounded also but had enough money to spare me $10. After reaching Montgomery I was not so particular what I purchased.

        (Page 24)

October

Date

1 Sundries & Wages 22.00 5.25

2 Paper .75

3 Provisions 1.00

5 Sundries 3.50

6 Bread & Breakfast 2.90

8 Whiskey 1.50

9 Water melon part .65

10 Sundries .35

12 " " 12.50

13 " " 3.75

14 " " 2.50

15 Whiskey & sundries 4.00

16 Molasses & Bread 3.00

" Tob. 2.00

31 Daily papers .50

47.00 44.60

Dining this month I staid at Montgomery, Alabama when anything could be bought for the money. I spent a great deal for provisions as our rations were scarce.

        (Page 25)

In the hospital at Newnan, Georgia [I met] an old man, fifty-five years old. He had given them twelve months service and was captured by the enemy imprisoned on Johnson Island. During last winter, when he had the measles the [and] effects of which he is yet suffering from. The old man needs a discharge but his officers will not grant it on the grounds that his home is inside the Federal lines. How the line gives him the right [not] to be discharged from the service and he can't [do] to the service, [its] impossible, and yet because a man in stripes - his superior officially chooses to keep him here. He is coming to wear away in life which is not useful to his family. I pity him from the bottom of my heart.

        (Page 26)

November

Date

1 Daily paper .25

5 Borrowed from Ivy 6.00

" Tob. & apples 1.00

6 Whiskey 3 drinks 3.00

18 [Diffenner] hats 4.00

" Tob. 1.00

19 Post stamps .50

20 For shaving .50

21 Half pork pie .50

23 1 sheet paper .25

25 1 plug tab. 1.00

29 Pocketbook 6.00

" 1 pencil 2.00

30 12 sheets paper 2.00

" Envelopes 1.00

" 1 pen holder .50

17.00 12.50

        (Page 27)

Killed and wounded of old Company G 9th Tenn. at the Battle of Chickamauga on Sept. 19th , 20th and 22nd. (Refer to page 6 of the same section)

Killed W. T. Davis, Private George Hall

Wounded

Lt. R. Dew, R. W. Davis, W. Davis, Tom Davis, Walton, Dalsby, Hunter, Collins, Hooper, Oldham, Baucom, [Sergeant A. E.] Jenkins [of Company G]

Of the above only two were seriously wounded Collins and Hooper. The others were able to go with some help to the hospital.

        (Page 28)

December

Date

1 Cash on hand 3.20

" Tob. .50

" Shany .50

2 Rick S. borrowed 1.00

3 3 drinks lager beer 1.00

4 Borrowed of Bill F. 1.00

" 9 part 12 corn bread 1.00

8 Borrowed of Brooks .50

" Tob. .50

" 2 daily papers .50

11 Borr'd of Brooks 2.50

" Borrowed of Scott 10.00

" 1 pint whiskey 12.50

12 Borr'd of Hilliard 2.10

" Paid for tob. 2.10

23 Borr'd of Thomas 50.00

24 Waged & pen 25.00

" P'd Knox & Hilliard 11.00

" " Fields 9.50

" Whiskey 3 gals. 31.00

93.20 91.00

        (Page 29)

December

Date Received Paid

Amount brought forth 93.20 91.00

24 Lt. Brooks dues 1.00

28 Postage stamps . 30

30 Washing clothes .30

93.20 92.60

        (Page 30)

Summary of Cash Account

Date Received Paid

Jan. For Sundries 92.73

Feb. " " .55

Mar. " " 10.00 20.90

April " Paper & Env. 1.00

May " Sundries 85.00 31.10

June " Wages 208.50 195.03

July Sundries 37.20 66.80

Aug. " 26.00 38.37

Sept. " 14.50 17.10

Oct. " & wages 47.00 44.60

Nov. " 17.00 12.50

Dec. " & wages 93.20 72.60

$538.70 633.32

        (Page 31)

Return to Appendix


Camp Dent

The prison at Louisville (Camp Dent) was constructed with two walls of planks. The outer one enclosing about five acres around. On the inside of this wall were erected barracks for the guards, sutler's shops, quartermasters and commissary buildings. The entrance was through a large gate. Near the gate was erected the place for the confinement of prisoners. A wall of plank 15 feet high and about two hundred yards square. Along on the insides to the right -

        (Page 32)

and left as you entered were two rows of barracks or two rooms rather. In front were the offices, one for officers of the guards the other for the transaction of business. In the rear were the dining room, cook room, etc. on a line thus forming a complete square of about 175 feet by 115. This square was uncovered and contained a pump which afforded plenty of water. Passing through the dining room you enter another square or yard walled in

        (Page 33)

also with plank. On the left of this and fronting the troops barracks was a guard house for the benefit of the guard. On the right hand side and near the corner was the privy. Entering the barracks on the right and passing out on the east end, you come before another small yard separated from the one in the rear of [the] dining room by the wall already mentioned. This leads to the same privy, it having a partition and two doors to accommodate both

        (Page 34)

rooms at breakfast. We enter the dining room single file and were marched to our places at the table. A Negro standing at the end of each table to prevent the men from taking any more than there rations. For breakfast we had 1/3 loaf of bakers bread with one slice of bacon or beef lard on it. No plates or knifes or forks. As soon as the tables were cleared the men were marched into the back yard to wait until all the prisoners

        (Page 35)

could eat. This was done to keep any one man from eating twice. At dinner we have the same rations of bread and meat with one Irish potato, onion or little plate of beans. No coffee. At supper you never stopped in the dining room but passed on through in one rank, received your rations of bread and meat from the hands of a Negro who set besides his tray - and you passed on into the yard. In this yard you would sometimes have to stand

        (Page 36)

for three hours exposed to rain or snow if either was falling while the remainder of the prisoners were eating. Passing through the night in one rank and receiving your piece of bread and meat in your hands with the number of prisoners we had occupied about two hours which generally kept us out until bedtime. In the barracks, we were accommodated with bunks without straw, lice in abundance, gas light and two stoves to each room. Col[onel] Dent commanded.


[End of diary for 1863]

To 1864 Diary  *  To Introduction