Tuesday, September 17, 2013

September 11, 1863

September 11, 1863

---Battle of Davis Cross Roads, Day 2: As reinforcements under Gen. John Breckenridge arrive, Hindman continues the attack on the Federals. Even though Gen. Baird has arrived to reinforce Negley, he elects to retreat back down in the valley and across to Stevens Gap. Stalemate.

Rosecrans moves McCook’s corps south to flank Bragg, while Crittenden’s corps moves south from Chattanooga. Thomas, in the center, is reluctant to move against Bragg, however, since the three Federal corps are widely scattered and unable to aid each other. Both Blue and Gray begin an uneasy dance of deception and blindman’s bluff.

—John C. West, an infantryman in the 4th Texas in Hood’s division, writes home to his wife as his regiment passes through North Carolina on the way to Georgia to reinforce Gen. Bragg, in anticipation of Rosecrans’ offensive, and expresses himself with characteristic Texas bravado and assurance:

Letter No. XV.

Wilmington, North Carolina,
September11th, 1863.

My Precious Wife:

I am at this place on my way to Bragg’s army. Our division has been ordered there. Of course in a hurried letter I can give you no account of the movements of our armies. Suffice it to say that we are not whipped on this side of the river yet, and I do not believe the combined Yankee army can subjugate the Texas brigade, though they may all be killed. I have met Major Hampton Gibbs here, and have spent most of the day with him visiting the blockaders, and he has extended to me every courtesy possible, and I shall recollect my detention in Wilmington with pleasure. I have had but one letter from you since I left Texas, but feel satisfied that all is well.

Brother Charles wrote to me in August and said you were all well up to the 10th of July. Douglas De Saussure was wounded in the shoulder a few days ago at Charleston, so I expect to see him in passing through Columbia, as I have permission to go by there. This will be sent by blockader Elizabeth. Hampton Gibbs sends regards to you. Your husband, faithfully ever,

John C. West.

—Luman Harris Tenney, a 2nd Lieutenant in the 2nd Ohio Cavalry, writes in his journal as his regiment campaigns in East Tennessee, a largely Unionist region recently liberated by Gen. Burnside’s IX Corps, mentioning specifically the bounty of good things to eat in this theater:
11th. Awakened at daylight and moved at sunrise. In advance. Gen. Shackleford now commands 4th Div. and Col. Carter the Brigade. Gen. Carter Prov. Mar. Gen. of Tenn. Reached Clinch River at sundown, and camped. Receipted for oats, plenty of eggs, chickens and potatoes. Camp near a little stream on Union man’s place. Bosworth sick today and in ambulance. Chicken and potatoes for supper. Apples and peaches enough today.
Col. Rutherford B. Hayes

—Col. Rutherford B. Hayes, of the 23rd Ohio Infantry Regiment, stationed in West Virginia, writes home to his wife with the usual news of camp life and of his constant wish to have her with him there in the field:

Camp White, September 11, 1863
Dearest: — Glad to get letters both from you and Mother last night. Bless the boys, how they must enjoy their first family visit to their new home! I would be as happy as any of them to be there.

We hear good news from Burnside in Tennessee. If true it makes it more desirable that you should come here soon. If he moves along the railroad into southwestern Virginia, we are likely to push forward to cooperate, in which case we shall probably get too far into Dixie for our families to winter with us. I will notify you if anything occurs to make it imprudent for you to be here a couple of weeks hence. . . . If after you reach here it turns out that we shall winter in the valley, I shall send for Mother Webb and all the boys and keep house, or you can go back after them. In that case you can rent the house, or if you prefer to winter at Fremont or in Chillicothe, in case you can’t do so here, you may rent the house at once.

My reason for wanting you to come here as soon as you are through visiting at Fremont, is, that perhaps we shall be ordered forward as soon as east Tennessee is firmly in our possession. I think, however, the chances are in favor of our wintering on the Kanawha.

Get me a lot of silk handkerchiefs and about three or four pair stockings, not very heavy, but so-so. You can get them at Fremont and do it before you forget.

. . . Mrs. Barrett is the only other officer’s wife now here and she talks of going home in a fortnight. . . . Let me know by telegraph when you will be at Gallipolis and the doctor or some one will come there after you.
Since writing we have further news of gratifying successes in east Tennessee. If all continues to go well there, it increases the chances of a forward movement here, and furnishes additional reason for you to come on soon before it is too late. — Love to all.






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