- Winter quarters continued -- scant rations supplied to the troops -- high prices of provisions and clothing resulting from the blockade -- sufferings of the poor -- refugees from Kentucky -- true State of public feeling there -- letter from a friend, containing an account of the opening of the campaign in Kentucky and Tennessee -- battle of Mill Spring, January first, 1862 -- General Zollicoffer and most of his staff killed -- surrender of Fort Donelson, February ninth -- strange conduct of General Floyd.
The monotony of camp life was felt severely during the winter, notwithstanding the resources I have mentioned in a previous chapter. General Hill was a strict disciplinarian, and would permit none to be out in town after nightfall, unless furnished with a pass countersigned by the Provost-Marshal. So strictly was this rule enforced that I have known a whole squad of officers arrested and put under guard, including two full-blown Colonels and sundry Majors, simply for going to and fro unarmed with the necessary “countersign.” With books and writing materials, many of us made the winter evenings pass off very agreeably, while others had become proficient in vocal and instrumental music; so that if we could only smuggle a gallon of apple-brandy into camp, a roaring fire of logs, pleasant punch, and entertaining society made our cabins very enjoyable. The usual discomforts of a deficient commissariat we had of course to endure: a variety of rations were allowed which were never forthcoming. Coffee, sugar, rice, vegetables, and beans, we never had, save for two or three weeks during the first year of service; we knew, however, that Government did the best it could, and therefore, as patriots, did not murmur, but bought what we could. Coffee, as Southerners, we could not do without; hence, if on picket, we exchanged tobacco for it with the Yankees, but otherwise used parched barley as a substitute, as the whole South was cheerfully doing. Bacon or beef, with baker's bread, or flour, were the only rations we had regularly:  any luxurious addition to this simple fare we had to purchase, and this at the most preposterously high price. For example: even in this, an agricultural country, turkeys sold for four dollars and five dollars each; two chickens, ditto; wretched liquors at twenty dollars and thirty dollars per gallon, and seldom to be had even at that; common coarse homespun jeans, five dollars per yard; common Manchester prints, one dollar per yard; common white cotton shirts, five dollars each; linen, ten dollars; cotton socks, one dollar per pair; boots, common, and clumsily made, twenty dollars to thirty-five dollars per pair; common felt hat, ten dollars; coffee, three dollars per pound; tea, five dollars; brown sugar, fifty cents per pound; white, seventy-five cents; flour, twelve dollars to fifteen dollars per barrel; bath, seventy-five cents; hair-cutting, seventy-five cents; shaving, twenty-five cents; washing, three dollars per dozen; the most common writing-paper, twenty dollars to twenty-five dollars per ream; printing paper was not to be had at any price-many suspended publishing, others printed a sheet not much larger than quarto; horse's feed per day, two dollars; boarding, from fifty dollars to one hundred dollars per month-one dollar per single meal. These items may suggest to the thoughtful what great trials and privations the poor had to endure in consequence of the war!! With regard to wearing apparel, when money and cloth were exhausted, friends at home would send on our cast-off clothes, in big bales, together with whatever the numerous “soldier-serving societies” could furnish; so that, all in all, although we looked like a regiment of dilapidated dandies, we were warmly clad, and laughed good-humoredly at each other's grotesque peculiarities of costume. I have more than once caught our good old major darning his socks, and espied the spruce, good-looking adjutant cobbling up his parade boots! The ladies, Heaven bless them! were ever at work, night and day, in our behalf-their flannel petticoats have been made into undershirts; their white skirts converted into lint; and I have known the blankets snatched from their beds and sent to the soldier, shivering on the snow-covered hills or plains of Virginia. During the winter we received several excellent recruits from  Kentucky, who had successfully run the “blockade,” and joined our fortunes. I personally knew them when in college, and was much interested in the intelligence they brought concerning the affairs of that State. The revolutionary party had formed a Provisional Government and passed acts of secession;. still Governor Magoffin filled the chair, to which he had been elected before the war, and his term was not expired. When hostilities commenced, no one doubted which cause had the sympathies of the people of Kentucky, but by artifice men were admitted to her councils, who, under the name of “neutrals,” played fast and loose with the populace, until Lincoln perfected his plans for their enthrallment. It was argued by these leading men, that Kentucky was, and always had been, a true Southern State, and would so remain, but in this quarrel of “extremes” she would preserve a strict and “armed neutrality!” --an idea that could only have found favor with a people who had been taught from childhood to believe in State Rights, and who scoffed at the idea “that any man could be found who should dare to interfere with the sanctity of the Constitution.” When the plans of the Northern Government were matured, the people of Kentucky had not to wait long to find the man “who should dare,” etc., for the Secretary of State coolly took upon himself the direction of their State affairs, elected whom he pleased, and imprisoned whom he desired. When compelled to supply her quota for the war, the Lincolnites officered the men, monopolized every contract, dictated laws to the State, and, in short, ruled with a rod of iron. No one was permitted to pass from city to city without having sworn allegiance; schools were invaded, and Southern children held as hostages for the behavior of their parents! property was confiscated, men were thrown into loathsome dungeons on mere suspicion, negroes were taught to despise, mock, whip, and murder their late masters, while mothers, daughters, or sisters were insulted, violated, and murdered. Such were the results brought about by the treachery or cowardice of those whom the people elected in good faith to expound their views, and among the betrayers of the parent State must be numbered one of her own most gifted and trusted sons. As long as history lasts will his name be handed down with curses and maledictions. My knowledge of the campaign in Kentucky and Tennessee  is derived solely from friends who participated in it; among other letters received by me, I present the following from a young artillery officer, who had good opportunities for knowing the facts of which he speaks:
The subjoined is part of a letter from the same friend, at a later date, descriptive of engagements in which he participated: