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 back to camp; heavy artillery and musketry in direction of Berryville; rain; still fighting until far away into the night. Learned to-day that we had started yesterday expecting to surprise and bag a brigade of Yanks; that they had driven our cavalry and would have got our wagon train but for our prompt counter-movement. So much for what was Greek to us yesterday. September 4.--Cloudy; started to scene of last night's action, by Jordan's Spring, where the sign gets strong, dead horses, scattered newspapers, letters, graves, &c.; immediately put in position in center, sharpshooters already engaged; 3 P. M. flanked to left and lay until night, endeavoring to draw them out to fight; they wont leave their intrenchments; bullets are whistling around us close; Brooks wounded; lying inactive under fire I have always found very trying on a man's nerves; back to center, where we lay under arms all night; the enemy are in force, strongly intrenched around Berryville, and not more than one-fourth to one-half mile from our line; the woods and ground, however, hide us, which I suppose is the reason they don't use artillery, and we have no position for it; rain, cold and disagreeable. September 5--Rain. Skirmishing heavy. Sent out reinforcements to sharpshooters' line — the 35th and 60th Virginia regiments. Finding they won't come out, we fall back leisurely. Conner just brought in killed (McConnel's Co. C); he had left his company to try his Spencer rifle, and got with the sharpshooters; had proceeded some three miles when we heard firing in our front; looked squally. The Yankees had evidently got around us; double-quick was the word; rain falling heavy; we put over about three miles, and found they were being driven without our assistance; so took up at our old camp near Bruce Town, thoroughly wet through; dark, and miserable. September 6--Rain all day. September 7--Clear; fighting on creek; 3 P. M., ordered out, and remain in line until night; back to camp; shoes repaired; company went out to-day without an officer; Captain Young had gone to Vaughn's; I was absent, and John McKaney sick; we got with them by the time they were well in position. September 8--Clear; news in of fall of Atlanta; I look upon it as bad news; signs from late papers look ominous; we here, though, are having it all our own way; we whip the enemy every time we fight. September 9--Clear, cold night. Ordered out to Bruce Town; remained in line most of the day. In coming back to camp the enemy came to the creek, and kept up smart skirmishing, burned two mills and fell back. We get papers now pretty regular. General John W. Morgan killed near Greenville, Tennessee. September 10--Rain. Up at 3 A. M. to go on picket. So intensely dark, could not go. Wet through. 3 P. M., moved out on picket on an advanced post. All quiet. September 11--Relieved and back to camp; 10 A. M., moved to new camp on our right, about one mile. Rain. September 12--Rain. Camp guard established; orders strict. Apples and corn declared contraband. September 13--Clear; fighting on our left. 11 A. M.--Put in line; fighting is winding to our right; it is very heavy. 2 P. M.--Ordered to cook two day's rations; half an hour after, “fall in” again; cannonading heavy on our right; hope we are going back; indications point that way; we have had a severe campaign, and are now pretty much worn out with fatigue, lice, dirt, and rags; we are also hungry, don't get enough sleep; having an average of two blankets to three men, we have to take reliefs at the fire to keep from freezing; Colonel Love and Major Stringfield sick, leaving Colonel McLamy in command of Legion, Singleton of battalion, self of company,, which now rarely averages ten men under, arms, an effective total of eighteen; we move toward Winchester and are hoping this valley trip is near ended, when we are counter-marched back to camp. September 14--Rain. No papers; bad sign. I hear Petersburg has gone up; if it has for the lack of men, what the duce are they keeping us here for. The Yanks are just playing with us; they can harass and run us to death, and get back to shelter of their fortifications immediately. I want out of here. Our rations are scanty; I can eat what I draw at two meals and then not have enough. How long are men going to submit to this state of things? time I suppose will show. September 15--Cloudy. Skirmish drill. R. means to guard mill. Ramseur's and Gordon's divisions left for parts unknown; rumored that we (Breck's) go to Dublin in a day or two; any change will be welcome. September 16--Rain; 6 A. M., brigade on picket; Legion in advance post on Charlestown Road. September 17--Clear; relieved about 7 A. M.; skirmishing close on our right; I had gone out to the lines and left behind, but found the company, soon after, in camp; clothing drawn, not enough though; I bought a clean shirt from D. Wear; mended my things, took a dip in creek, and put on clean clothes; feel like a new man; the author of the quotation, “cleanliness next to Godliness.” was sound on the goose. September 18--Clear; drill; ordered men out; countermanded, Colonel Smith having forgot the day; went to preaching; heard an excellent sermon on faith (about the woman being made whole); heavy skirmishing on picket line; all troops out but our brigade; we are wagon guard to-day.1
1 This Diary was found on the person of Lieutenant W. Ashley, of Vaughn's Brigade, Company C, Battalion Thomas' Legion, Wharton's Division, Breckinridge's Corps, General Early's Army, September 19, 1864, on the battle-field, near Winchester, Va.The memorandum-book in which the diary was kept had been captured from a Union soldier of a Maryland regiment, supposed to have been killed at Snicker's Gap.
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