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July, 1863.

July, 1

My brigade, with a battalion of cavalry attached, started from Bobo's Cross-roads in the direction of Winchester. When one mile out we picked up three deserters, who reported that the rebels had evacuated Tullahoma, and were in full retreat. Half a mile further along I overtook the enemy's rear guard, when a sharp fight occurred between the cavalry, resulting, I think, in very little injury to either party. The enemy fell back a mile or more, when he opened on us with artillery, and a sharp artillery fight took place, which lasted for perhaps thirty minutes. Several men on both sides were killed and wounded. The enemy finally retired, and taking a second position awaited our arrival, and opened on us again. I pushed forward in the thick woods, and drove him from point to point for seven miles. Negley followed with the other brigades of the division, ready to support me in case the enemy proved too strong, but I did not need assistance. The force opposed to us simply desired to retard pursuit; and whenever we pushed against it vigorously fell back.

July, 2

This morning we discover that we bivouacked during the night within half a mile of a large force [291] of rebel cavalry and infantry. After proceeding a little way, we found the enemy in position on the bluffs on the opposite side of Elk river, with his artillery planted so as to sweep the road leading to the bridge. Halting my infantry and cavalry under the cover of the hill, I sent to the rear for an additional battery, and, before the enemy seemed to be aware of what we were doing, I got ten guns in position on the crest of the hill and commenced firing. The enemy's cavalry and infantry, which up to this time had lined the opposite hills, began to scatter in great confusion; but we did not have it all our own way by any means. The rebels replied with shot and shell very vigorously, and for half an hour the fight was very interesting; at the end of that time, however, their batteries limbered up and left on the double quick. In the meantime, I had sent a detachment of infantry to occupy a stockade which the enemy had constructed near the bridge, and from this position good work was done by driving off his sharpshooters. We found the bridge partially burned, and the river too much swollen for either the men or trains to ford it. Rousseau and Brannan, I understand, succeeded in crossing at an upper ford, and are in hot pursuit.

July, 3

Repaired the bridge, and crossed the river this morning; and are now bivouacking on the ground over which the cavalry fought yesterday afternoonquite a number of the dead were discovered in the woods and fields. We picked up, at Elk river, an order of Brigadier-General Wharton, commanding [292] the troops which have been serving as the rear guard of the enemy's column. It reads as follows:

Colonel Hamar: Retire the artillery when you think best. Hold the position as long as you can with your sharpshooters; when forced back, write to Crew to that effect. Anderson is on your right. Report all movements to me on this road.

Jn. A. Wharton, Brigadier-General. July 2d, 1863.

I have been almost constantly in the saddle, and have hardly slept a quiet three hours since we started on this expedition. My brigade has picked up probably a hundred prisoners.

July, 4

At twelve o'clock, noon, my brigade was ordered to take the advance, and make the top of the Cumberland before nightfall; proceeding four miles, we reached the base of the mountain, and began the ascent. The road was exceedingly rough, and the rebels had made it impassable, for artillery, by rolling great rocks into it and felling trees across it. The axmen were ordered up, and while they were clearing away the obstructions I rode ahead with the cavalry to the summit, and some four miles on the ridge beyond. In the meantime, General Negley ordered the artillery and infantry to return to the foot of the mountain, where we are now encamped.

July, 5

Since we left Murfreesboro (June 24) rain has been falling almost constantly; to-day it has been coming down in torrents, and the low grounds around us are overflowed. [293]

Rousseau's division is encamped near us on the left, Reynolds in the rear.

The other day, while sitting on the fence by the roadside smoking my pipe, waiting for my troops to get in readiness to march, some one cried out, “Here is a philosopher,” and General Reynolds rode up and shook my hand very cordially.

My brigade has been so fortunate, thus far, as to win the confidence of the commanding generals. It has, during the last week, served as a sort of a cowcatcher for Negley's division. At Elk river General Thomas rode up, while I was making my dispositions to attack the enemy, and approved what I had done and was doing.

We hear that the Army of the East has won a decisive victory in Pennsylvania. This is grand! It will show the rebels that it will not do to put their feet on free soil. Now if Grant succeeds in taking Vicksburg, and Rosecrans drives Bragg beyond the Tennessee, the country will have reason to rejoice with exceeding great joy.

July, 6

An old lady, whose home is on the side of the mountain, called on me to-day and said she had not had a cup of coffee since the war commenced. She was evidently very poor; and, although we had no coffee to spare, I gave her enough to remind her again of the taste.

Our soldiers have been making a clean sweep of the hogs, sheep, and poultry on the route. For the rich rebels I have no sympathy, but the poor we must pity. The war cuts off from them entirely the food [294] which, in the best of times, they acquire with great labor and difficulty. The forage for the army horses and mules, and we have an immense number, consists almost wholly of wheat in the sheaf-wheat that has been selling for ten dollars per bushel in Confederate money. I have seen hundreds of acres of wheat in the sheaf disappear in an hour. Rails have been burned without stint, and numberless fields of growing corn left unprotected. However much suffering this destruction of property may entail on the people of this section, I am inclined to think the effect will be good. It will bring them to a realizing sense of the loss sustained when they threw aside the protecting shield of the old Constitution, and the security which they enjoyed in the Union.

The season's crop of wheat, corn, oats, and hogs would have been of the utmost value to the Confederate army; when destroyed, there will be nothing in middle Tennessee to tempt it back.

July, 7

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Tennesseeans have deserted from the Southern army and are now wandering about in the mountains, endeavoring to get to their homes. They are mostly conscripted men. My command has gathered up hundreds, and the mountains and coves in this vicinity are said to be full of them.

It rains incessantly. We moved to Decherd and encamped on a ridge, but are now knee-deep in mud and surrounded by water.

This morning a hundred guns echoed among the mountain gorges over the glad intelligence from the [295] East and South: Meade has won a famous victory, and Grant has taken Vicksburg.

Stragglers and deserters from Bragg's army continue to come in. It is doubtless unfortunate for the country that rain and bad roads prevented our following up Bragg closely and forcing him to fight in the present demoralized condition of his army. We would have been certain of a decisive victory.

July, 9

Dined with General Negley. Colonels Stoughton and Surwell, brigade commanders, were present. The dinner was excellent; soups, punch, wine, blackberries were on the table; and, to men who for a fortnight had been feeding on hard crackers and salt pork, seemed delicious. The General got his face poisoned while riding through the woods on the 2d instant, and he now looks like an old bruiser.

McCook, whose corps lies near Winchester, called while we were at Negley's; he looks, if possible, more like a blockhead than ever, and it is astonishing to me that he should be permitted to retain command of a corps for a single hour. He brought us cheering information, however. The intelligence received from the East and South a few days ago has been confirmed, and the success of our armies even greater than first reports led us to believe.

July, 10

We have a cow at brigade Headquarters. Blackberries are very abundant. The sky has cleared, but the Cumberland mountains are this morning covered by a thin veil of mist. Supply trains arrived last night.

July, 11

We hear nothing of the rebel army. Rosecrans, [296] doubtless, knows its whereabouts, but his subordinates do not. A few ot the enemy may be lingering in the vicinity of Stevenson and Bridgeport, but the main body is, doubtless, beyond the Tennessee. The rebel sympathizers here acknowledge that Bragg has been outgeneraled. Our cavalry started on the 9th instant for Huntsville, Athens, and Decatur, and I have no doubt these places were re-occupied without opposition.

The rebel cavalry is said to be utterly worn out, and for this reason has performed a very insignificant part in recent operations.

The fall of Vicksburg, defeat of Lee, and retreat of Bragg, will, doubtless, render the adoption of an entirely new plan necessary. How long it will take to perfect this, and get ready for a concerted movement, I have no idea.

July, 12

Our soldiers, I am told, have been entering the houses of private citizens, taking whatever they saw fit, and committing many outrages. I trust, however, they have not been doing so badly as the people would have us believe. The latter are all disposed to grumble; and if a hungry soldier squints wistfully at a chicken, some one is ready to complain that the fowls are in danger, and that they are the property of a lone woman, a widow, with nothing under the sun to eat but chickens. In nine cases out of ten the husbands of these lone women are in the Confederate army; but still they are women, and should be treated well.

July, 14

The brigade baker has come up, and will have [297] his oven in operation this afternoon; so we shall have fresh bread again.

General Rosecrans will allow no ladies to come to the front. This would seem to be conclusive that no gentlemen will be permitted to go to the rear.

July, 16

We have blackberries and milk for breakfast, dinner, and supper. To-night we had hot gingerbread also. I have eaten too much, and feel uncomfortable.

Meade's victory has been growing small by degrees and beautifully less; but the success of Grant has improved sufficiently on first reports to make it all up. Our success in this department, although attended with little loss of life, has been very gratifying. We have extended our lines over the most productive region of Tennessee, and have possession also of all North Alabama, a rich tract of country, the loss of which must be sorely felt by the rebels.

July, 18

To-night I received a bundle of Northern papers, and among others the Union (?) Register. While reading it I felt almost glad that I was not at home, for certainly I should be very uncomfortable if compelled to listen every day to such treasonable attacks upon the Administration, sugar-coated though they be with hypocritical professions of devotion to the Union, the Constitution, and the soldier. How supremely wicked these men are, who, for their own personal advantage, or for party success, use every possible means to bring the Administration into disrespect, and withhold from it what, at this time, it so greatly needs, the hearty support and co-operation of [298] the people. The simple fact that abuse of the party in power encourages the rebels, not only by evincing disaffection and division in the North, but by leading them to believe, also, that their conduct is justifiable, should, of itself, be sufficient to deter honest and patriotic men from using such language as may be found in the opposition press. The blood of many thousand soldiers will rest upon the peace party, and certainly the blood of many misguided people at the North must be charged to the same account. The draft riots of New York and elsewhere these croakers and libelers are alone responsible for. After the war has ended there will be abundant time to discuss the manner in which it has been conducted. Certainly quarreling over it now call only tend to the defeat and disgrace of our arms.

We hardly hear of politics in the army, and I certainly did not dream before that there was so much bitterness of feeling among the people in the North. Republicans, Democrats, and every body else think nearly alike here. I know of none who sympathize with the so-called peace party. It is universally damned, for there is no soldier so ignorant that he does not know and feel that this party is prolonging the war by stimulating his enemies. A child can see this. The rebel papers, which every soldier occasionally obtains, prove it beyond a peradventure.

July, 20

Mrs. General Negley, it appears, has been allowed to visit her husband. Mrs. General McCook is said to be coming.

Received a public document, in which I find all the [299] reports of the battle of Stone river, and, I am sorry to say, my report is the poorest and most unsatisfactory of the whole lot. The printer, as if for the purpose of aggravating me beyond endurance, has, by an error of punctuation, transformed what I considered a very considerable and creditable action, into an inconsiderable skirmish. The report should read:

On the second and third days my brigade was in front, a portion of the time skirmishing. On the night of January 3d, two regiments, led by myself, drove the enemy from their breastworks in the edge of the woods.

This appears in the volume as follows:

On the second and third days my brigade was in front a portion of the time. Skirmishing on the night of January 3d, two regiments, led my myself, drove the enemy from the breastworks in the edge of the woods.

Thus, by taking the last word of one sentence and making it the first word of another, the intelligent compositor belittles a night fight for which I thought my command deserved no inconsiderable credit. I regret now that I did not take the time to make an elaborate report of the operations of my brigade, describing all the terrible situations in which it had been placed, and dwelling with special emphasis on the courage and splendid fighting of the men. In contrast with my stupidly modest report, is that of Brigadier-General Spears. He does not hesitate to [300] claim for his troops all the credit of the night engagement referred to; and yet while my men stormed the barricade of logs, and cleaned out the woods, his were lying on their faces fully two hundred yards in the rear, and I should never have known that they were even that near the enemy if his raw soldiers had not fired an occasional shot into us from behind. If General Spears was with his men, he must have known that his report of their action on that occasion was utterly untruthful. If, however, as I apprehend, he was behind the rifle pits, six hundred yards in the rear, he might, like thousands of others, who were distant spectators of the scene, have honestly conceived that his troops were doing the fighting. General Rousseau's report contradicts his statements, and in a meager way accords the credit to my regiments.

Officers are more selfish, dishonest, and grasping in their struggle for notoriety than the miser for gold. They lay claim to every thing within reach, whether it belongs to them or not. I know absolutely that many of the reports in the volume before me are base exaggerations-romances, founded upon the smallest conceivable amount of fact. They are simply elaborate essays, which seek to show that the author was a little braver, a little more skillful in the management of his men, and a little worthier than anybody else. I know of one officer who has great credit, in official reports and in the newspapers, for a battle in which he did not participate at all. In fact, he did not reach the field until after the enemy had not only [301] been repulsed, but retired out of sight; and yet he has not the manliness to correct the error, and give the honor to whom it is due.

July, 21

The day has been a pleasant one. The night is delightful. The new moon favors us with just sufficient light to reveal fully the great oaks, the white tents, and the shadowy outline of the Cumberland mountains. The pious few of the Eighty-eighth Indiana, assembled in a booth constructed of branches, are breathing out their devotional inspirations and aspirations, in an old hymn which carries us back to the churches and homes of the civilized world, or, as the boys term it, “God's country.”

Katydids from a hundred trees are vigorous and relentless in their accusations against poor Katy. That was a pleasant conceit of Holmes, “What did poor Katy do?” I never appreciated it fully until I came into the country of the katydids.

Two trains, laden with forage, commissary, and quartermaster stores, are puffing away at the depot.

General Rosecrans will move to Winchester, two miles from us, to-morrow.

No one ever more desired to look again on his wife and babies than I; but, alack and alas! I am bound with a chain which seems to tighten more and more each day, and draw me further and further from where I desire to be. But I trust the time will soon come when I shall be free again.

Morgan's command has come to grief in Ohio. I trust he may be captured himself. The papers say Basil Duke is a prisoner. If so, the spirit of the [302] great raider is in our hands, and it matters but little, perhaps, what becomes of the carcass.

A soldier of the Forty-second Indiana, who ran away from the battle of Stone river, had his head shaved and was drummed out of camp to-day. David Walker, Paul Long, and Charley Hiskett, of the Third Ohio, go with him to Nashville, where he is to be confined in military prison until the end of the war.

Shaving the head and drumming out of camp is a fearful punishment. I could not help pitying the poor fellow, as with carpet-sack in one hand and hat in the other he marched crest-fallen through the camps, to the music of the “Rogue's march.” Death and oblivion would have been less severe and infinitely more desirable.

July, 25

General Rosecrans, although generally supposed to be here, has been, it is said, absent for some days. It is intimated that he has gone to Washington. If it be true, he has flanked the newspaper men by a wonderful burst of strategy. He must have gone through disguised as an old woman — a very ugly old woman with a tremendous nose-otherwise these newspaper pickets would have arrested and put him in the papers forthwith. They are more vigilant than the rebels, and terribly intent upon finding somebody to talk about, to laud to the skies, or abuse in the most fearful manner, for they seldom do things by halves, unless it be telling the truth. They have a marvelous distaste for facts, and use no more of them [303] than are absolutely necessary to string their guesses and imaginings upon.

My colt has just whinnied. He is gay as a lark, and puts Davy, the hostler, through many evolutions unknown to the cavalry service. The other day Davy had him out for exercise, and when he came rearing and charging back, I said: “How does he behave to-day, Davy?” “Mighty rambunctious, sah; he's gettin‘ bad, sah.”

Major James Connelly, One Hundred and Twentythird Illinois, called. His regiment is mounted and in Wilder's brigade. It participated in the engagement at Hoover's Gap. When my brigade was at Hillsboro, Connelly's regiment accompanied Wilder to to this place (Decherd). The veracious correspondent reported that Wilder, on that expedition, had destroyed the bridge here and done great injury to the railroad, permanently interrupting communication between Bridgeport and Tullahoma; but, in fact, the bridge was not destroyed, and trains on the railroad were only delayed two hours. The expedition succeeded, however, in picking up a few stragglers and horses.

July, 26

General Stanley has returned from Huntsville, bringing with him about one thousand North Alabama negroes. This is a blow at the enemy in the right place. Deprived of slave labor, the whites will be compelled to send home, or leave at home, white men enough to cultivate the land and keep their families from starving.

July, 27

Adjutant Wilson visited Rousseau's division [304] at Cowan, and reports the return of Starkweather from Wisconsin, with the stars. This gentleman has been mourning over the ingratitude of Republics ever since the battle of Perryville; but henceforth he will, doubtless, feel better.

A court-martial has been called for the trial of Colonel A. B. Moore, One Hundred and Fourth Illinois. Some ill-feeling in his regiment has led one of his officers to prefer charges against him.

July, 28

General Thomas is an officer of the regular army; the field is his home; the tent his house, and war his business. He regards rather coolly, therefore, the applications of volunteer officers for leaves of absence. Why should they not be as contented as himself? He does not seem to consider that they suddenly dropped business, every thing, in fact, to hasten to the field. But, then, on second thought, I incline to the opinion that the old man is right. Half the army would be at home if leaves and furloughs could be had for the asking.

July, 29

Lieutenant Orr received notice yesterday of his appointment as captain in the subsistence department, and last night opened a barrel of beer and stood treat. I did not join the party until about ten o'clock, and then Captain Hewitt, of the battery, the story-teller of the brigade, was in full blast, and the applause was uproarious. He was telling of a militia captain of Fentress county, Tennessee, who called out his company upon the supposition that we were again at war with Great Britain; that Washington had been captured by the invaders, and the arch-iv-es destroyed. [305] A bystander questioned the correctness of the Captain's information, when he became very angry, and, producing a newspaper, said: “D-n you, sir, do you think I can't read, sir?” The man thus interrogated looked over the paper, saw that it announced the occupation of Washington by the British, but called the attention of the excited militiaman to the fact that the date was 1812. “So it is,” said the old captain; “I did not notice the date. But, d-n me, sir, the paper just come. Go on with the drill, boys.” This story was told to illustrate the fact that the people of many counties in Tennessee were behind the times.

It would take too much time to refer, even briefly, to all the stories related, and I will allude simply to a London ghost story, which Captain Halpin, an Irishman, of the Fifteenth Kentucky, undertook to tell. The gallant Captain was in the last stages of inebriety, and laid the scene of his London ghost story in Ireland. Steadying himself in his seat with both hands, and with a tongue rather too thick to articulate clearly, he introduced us to his ancestors for twenty generations back. It was a famous old Irish family, and among the collateral branches were the O'Tooles, O'Rourkes, and O'Flahertys. They had in them the blood of the Irish kings, and accomplished marvelous feats in the wars of those times. And so we staggered with the Captain from Dublin to Belfast, and thence made sorties into all the provinces on chase of the London ghost, until finally our leader wound up with a yawn [306] and went to sleep. The party, disappointed at this sudden and unsatisfactory termination of the London ghost story, took a mug of beer all around, and then one gentleman, drunker probably than the others, or possibly unwilling, after all the time spent, to allow the ghost to escape, punched the Captain in the ribs and shouted: “Captain-Captain Halpin, you said it was a London ghost story; maybe you'll find the ghost in London, for I'll be d-d if it's in Ireland!” The Captain was too far gone to profit by the suggestion.

July, 30

This evening General Rosecrans, on his way to Winchester, stopped for a few minutes at the station. He shook hands with me, and asked how I liked the water at the foot of the mountains, and about the health of my troops. I told him the water was good, and that the boys were encamped on high ground and healthy. “Yes,” he replied, “and we'll take higher ground in a few days.”

On the march to Tullahoma I had my brigade stretched along a ridge to guard against an attack from the direction of Wartrace. General Rosecrans passed through my lines, and was making some inquiries, when I stepped out: “Hello,” said he, “here is the young General himself. You've got a good ridge. Who lives in that house? Find a place for Negley on your right or left. Send me a map of this ridge. How do ye do?”

July, 31

Met General Turchin for the first time since he was before our court-martial at Huntsville. He appeared to be considerably cast down in spirit. He [307] had just been relieved from his cavalry command, and was on his way to General Reynolds to take conmand of a brigade of infantry. General Crook, hitherto in command of a brigade, succeeds Turchin as commander of a division. In short, Crook and Turchin just exchange places. The former is a graduate of the West Point Military Academy, and is an Ohio man, who has not, I think, greatly distinguished himself thus far. He has been in Western Virginia most of the time, and came to Murfreesboro after the battle of Stone river.

General R. B. Mitchell is, with his command, in camp a little over a mile from us. He is in good spirits, and dwells with emphasis on the length and arduousness of the marches made by his troops since he left Murfreesboro. The labor devolving upon him as the commander of a division of cavalry is tremendous; and yet I was rejoiced to find his physical system had stood the strain well. The wear and tear upon his intellect, however, must have been very great. [308]

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