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October, 1863.

October, 1

Have been trying to persuade myself that I am unwell enough to ask for a leave, but it will not work. The moment after I come to the conclusion that I am really sick, and can not stand it longer, I begin to feel better. The very thought of getting home, and seeing wife and children, cures me at once.

October, 3

The two armies are lying face to face. The Federal and Confederate sentinels walk their beats in sight of each other. The quarters of the rebel generals may be seen from our camps with the naked eye. The tents of their troops dot the hillsides. To-night we see their signal lights off to the right on the summit of Lookout mountain, and off to the left on the knobs of Mission ridge. Their long lines of camp fires almost encompass us. But the camp fires of the Army of the Cumberland are burning also. Bruised and torn by a two days unequal contest, its flags are still up, and its men still unwhipped. It has taken its position here, and here, by God's help, it will remain.

Colonel Hobart was captured at Chickamauga, and a fear is entertained that he may have been wounded.

October, 4

This is a pleasant October morning, rather windy and cool, but not at all uncomfortable. The [349] bands are mingling with the autumn breezes such martial airs as are common in camps, with now and then a sentimental strain, which awakens recollections of other days, when we were younger-thought more of sweethearts than of war, when, in fact, we did not think of war at all except as something of the past.

Sitting at my tent door, with a field glass, I can see away off to the right, on the highest peak of Lookout mountain, a man waving a red flag to and fro. He is a rebel officer, signaling to the Confederate generals what he observes of importance in the valley. From his position he can look down into our camp, see every rifle pit, and almost count the pieces of artillery in our fortifications.

Captain Johnson, of General Negley's staff, has just been in, and tells me the pickets of the two armies are growing quite intimate, sitting about on logs together, talking over the great battle, and exchanging views as to the results of a future engagement.

General Negley called a few minutes ago and invited me to dine with him at five o'clock. The General looks demoralized, and, I think, regrets somewhat the part he took, or rather the part he failed to take, in the battle of Chickamauga. Remarks are made in reference to his conduct on that occasion which are other than complimentary. The General doubtless did what he thought was best, and probably had orders which will justify his action. After a battle there is always more or less bad feeling, regiments, [350] brigades, and corps claiming that other regiments, brigades, and corps failed to do their whole duty, and should therefore be held responsible for this or that misfortune.

There was a rumor, for some days before the battle of Chickamauga, that Burnside was on the way to join us, and we shouted Burnside to the boys, on the day of the battle, until we became hoarse. Did the line stagger and show a disposition to retire: “Stand up, boys, reinforcements are coming; Burnside is near.” Once, when Palmer's division was falling back through a corn-field, our line was hotly pressed. Pointing to Palmer's columns, which were coming from the left toward the right, the officers shouted, “Give it to 'em, boys, Burnside is here,” and the boys went in with renewed confidence. But, alas, at nightfall Burnside had played out, and the hearts of our brave fellows went down with the sun. Burnside is now regarded as a myth, a fictitious warrior, who is said to be coming to the rescue of men sorely pressed, but who never comes. When an improbable story is told to the boys, now, they express their unbelief by the simple word “Burnside,” sometimes adding, “O yes, we know him.”

October, 5

The enemy opened on us, at 11 A. M., from batteries located on the point of Lookout mountain, and continued to favor us with cast-iron in the shape of shell and solid shot until sunset. He did little damage, however, three men only were wounded, and these but slightly. A shell entered the door of a dog tent, near which two soldiers of the Eighteenth Ohio [351] were standing, and buried itself in the ground, when one of the soldiers turned very coolly to the other and said, “There, you d-d fool, you see what you get by leaving your door open.”

October, 6

The enemy unusually silent.

October, 7

Visited the picket line this afternoon. A rebel line officer came to within a few rods of our picket station, to exchange papers, and stood and chatted for some time with the Federal officer. There appears to be a perfect understanding that neither party shall fire unless an advance is made in force. [352]

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