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near Petersburg, December 13, 1864.1
* * After a terrible time we have just returned to our old camp, as tired and stiff a set of beings as ever were seen. Lieutenant [417] Meade and I found our chimney, &c., all torn down and carried off, and we are now out of doors, sitting around a real camp-fire. We had to unload our wagon and send for a load of wood as soon as we arrived. My brigade did not leave camp until 9 o'clock P. M., Thursday, and marched until 6 o'clock P. M., Friday, before going into bivouac. When it was halted about two miles beyond the bridge over the Nottoway river it was hailing, and the poor fellows soon had up their little tents as a partial protection from the weather. We were in motion early next day through the mud, rain and sleet, and went into camp at dark about two miles beyond Jarratt's Station. Next day we returned to the bridge over the Nottoway, near a Mr. Wyatt's. Yesterday afternoon (Monday) we camped about a mile from Dinwiddie Court House, and to-day we reached our old camp again. Our division did not encounter any of the enemy, as we were in rear. Mahone's division struck the railroad about six miles below Jarratt's and four miles above Bellfield, while we, with Heth's in front, made for Jarratt's. The enemy had torn up the road and were beating a hasty retreat, leaving their cavalry to protect their rear. Only a few shots were exchanged, when they took the back track, and as their infantry had so much the start it was deemed useless to pursue. The movement was a terrible one upon our troops and transportation. The freeze was fortunate as regards the latter—otherwise we would hardly have been able to get the artillery and wagons back, as the roads had been badly cut up in our advance—in some places the wheels sinking below the hubs in mud. The rapid marching done by my brigade was wonderful—particularly the first night and day—when the condition of the roads is taken into consideration. Mahone and Heth both had the start of this division, but we succeeded in overtaking them Friday afternoon—some parts catching up with Heth's rear Thursday night. I was relieved of the division Friday afternoon by General Wilcox, just before the head of the division crossed the Nottoway river. While building a fire in the woods to keep warm until my brigade, which was the rear one of the division, came up, Mr. Wyatt came along and invited me to his house, where I took shelter for a short time and found it more pleasant than my bivouac in the woods the night previous. I was at the head of the division when it went into camp Thursday night, and was caught without a blanket and without anything to eat. I helped Major Hunt and one of the couriers to pick up a lot of dead pine with which we made a fire and before which I took a few ‘cat naps,’ in my overcoat until [418] daybreak. I have spent many more pleasant nights in my life. I did not get anything to eat until the following afternoon. Lieutenant Meade and I then took a few more ‘cat naps’ in the hail storm until 12 o'clock, when our wagon came up and we pitched our tent. Our rest for the balance of the night was such as soldiers only know how to enjoy. The weather has been so cold that it was impossible to ride, and I have been forced to do so much marching that my limbs would ache, and at times were painful to the touch. Captain Hale is back. Captain Nicholson did not go with us on the tramp on account of boils. Both can congratulate themselves at having escaped much suffering. * * *

1 See Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume IX, page 489.—History of Lane's North Carolina brigade.

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Stockton Heth (3)
Wyatt (2)
Meade (2)
William Mahone (2)
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Cadmus M. Wilcox (1)
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J. H. Lane (1)
Hunt (1)
E. J. Hale (1)
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December 13th, 1864 AD (1)
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