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November, 1862.

November, 9

In camp at Sinking Spring, Kentucky. Thomas commands the Fourteenth Army Corps, consisting of Rousseau's, Palmer's, Dumont's, Negley's, and Fry's divisions; say 40,000 men. McCook has Sill's, Jeff C. Davis', and Granger's; say 24,000. Crittenden has three divisions, say 24,000. A large army, which ought to sweep to Mobile without difficulty.

Sinking Spring, as it is called by some, Mill Spring by others, and by still others Lost river, is quite a large stream. It rises from the ground, runs forty rods or more, enters a cave, and is lost. The wreck of an old mill stands on its banks. Bowling Green is three miles southward.

When we get a little further south, we shall find at this season of the year persimmons and opossums in abundance. Jack says: “Possum am better dan chicken. In de fall we hunt de possum ebbery night ‘cept Sunday. He am mitey good an‘ fat, sah; sometimes he too fat.”

We move at ten o'clock to-morrow.

November, 11

We have settled down at Mitchellville for a [186] few days. After dinner Furay and I rode six miles beyond this, on the road to Nashville, to the house of a Union farmer whose acquaintance I made last spring. The old gentleman was very glad to see us, and insisted upon our remaining until after supper. In fact, he urged us to stay all night; but we consented to remain for supper only, and would not allow him to put our horses in the stable.

We learned that a little over a week ago the rebels endeavored to enforce the conscription law in this neighborhood, and one of Mr. Baily's sons was notified to appear at Gallatin to enter the Southern army. He was informed that if he did not appear voluntarily at the appointed time, he would be taken, either dead or alive. He did not go, and since has been constantly on the watch, expecting the guerrilla bands, which rendezvous at Tyree Springs, ten miles distant, to come for the purpose of taking him away. When, therefore, he saw Furay and me galloping up to the house, he mounted his horse and rode for the woods as fast as his steed could carry him. After we had been there half an hour, he returned, and, while shaking hands with us, said: “You scared me out of a full year's growth.”

Morgan, with a force, the strength of which is variously estimated, passed near this a few days ago. Many of Mr. Baily's neighbors are members of the guerrilla bands, and all of them willing spies and informers.

We had a splendid supper: chicken, pork, ham, milk, pumpkin pie; in short, there was every thing on the table that a hungry man could desire. [187]

I had introduced Mr. Furay as the correspondent of the Cincinnati Gazette; but the good folks, not understanding this long title exactly, dubbed him Doctor. There were three strapping girls in the family, who did not make their appearance until they had taken time to put on their Sunday clothes. To one of these the Doctor paid special attention, and finally won his way so far into her good favor as to induce her to play him a tune on the dulcimer, an abominable instrument, which she pounded with two little sticks. The Doctor declared that the music was good-excellent-charming. He now attempts to get out of this outrageous falsehood by affirming that he referred simply to the air — the tune-and not to the manner in which it was executed by the young lady. This, however, is a mere quibble.

It was quite dark when we said good-by to this kind-hearted, excellent family, and started on our way back to camp. The woods were on fire for miles along the road. Many fences and farm buildings had caught. One large house tumbled in as we were passing, and the fences, out-buildings, and trees were all enveloped in flames. While riding slowly forward, and looking back upon the dense cloud of smoke, the flames stretching as far almost as the eye could reach, the dry trees standing up like immense pillars of fire, we were startled not a little by the sentinel's challenge, “Halt!” There had been no pickets on the road when we were going out, and we were, therefore, uncertain whether the challenge came from our own men or those of John Morgan. “Who [188] comes there?” continued the sentinel. “Friends.” “Advance friends, and give the countersign.” Going up to the sentinel, I told him who we were, and that we had not the countersign. After a little delay, the officer of the guard came and allowed us to proceed.

November, 12

To-day farmer Baily came to see us. I sent his good wife a haversack of coffee, to remunerate her somewhat for the excellent dinner she had given us. He urged us to come again, and said they would have a turkey prepared for us this afternoon; but I declined with thanks.

November, 15

At eight o'clock to-morrow morning we shall move to Tyree Springs, a little village situated in the heart of a wild, broken tract of country, which, of late, has been a favorite rendezvous for guerrillas and highwaymen. Citizens and soldiers traveling to and from Nashville, during the last two months, have, at or near this place, been compelled to empty their pockets, and when their clothes were better than those of their captors, have been compelled to spare them also.

We have no certain information as to the enemy's whereabouts. One rumor says he is at Lavergne, another locates him at Murfreesboro, and still another puts him at Chattanooga. General Rosecrans is now in command, and, urged on by the desires of the North, may follow him to the latter place this winter. A man from whom the people are each day expecting some extraordinary action, some tremendous battle, in which the enemy shall be annihilated, is unfortunately situated, and likely very soon to become unpopular. [189] It takes two to make a fight, as it does to make a bargain. General John Pope is the only warrior of modern times who can find a battle whenever he wants to, and take any number of prisoners his heart desires. Even his brilliant achievements, however, afford the people but temporary satisfaction, for, upon investigation, they are unable to find either the captives or the discomfited hosts.

I predict that in twelve months Rosecrans will be as unpopular as Buell. After the affair at Rich mountain, the former was a great favorite. When placed in command of the forces in Western Virginia, the people expected hourly to hear of Floyd's destruction; but after a whole summer was spent in the vain endeavor to chase down the enemy and bring him to battle, they began to abuse Rosecrans, and he finally left that department, much as Buell has left this. Our generals should, undoubtedly, do more, but our people should certainly expect less.

November, 19

At Tyree Springs. Am the presiding officer of a court-martial.

The supplies for the great army at Nashville and beyond, are wagoned over this road from Mitchellville to Edgefield Junction. Immense trains are passing continually.

November, 20

General Bob Mitchell dined with me to-day. He is on the way to Nashville. Blows his own trumpet, as of old, and expects that a division will be given him.

November, 30

This is a delightful Indian summer day. I have been in the forest, under the persimmon and [190] butternut trees. It is the first ramble I have had at this season for years, and I thought of the many quiet places in the thick woods of the old homestead, where long ago I hunted for hickory-nuts and walnuts; then of its hazel thickets, through which were scattered the wild plum, black-haw, and thornapple-perfect solitudes, in which the squirrels and birds had the happiest of times. How pleasant it is to recur to those days; and how well I remember every path through the dense woods, and every little open grassy plot, made brilliant by the summer sunshine. [191]

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