23, 1863 Fraternization with the enemy and Federal camp life in the Chattanooga environs, excerpts from the letter of Bliss Morse to his mother
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We came off picket this morning and had a very pleasant time until it rained this morning. Our Brig. went out with us. Our boys talked and swapped papers with them also traded coffee for some of their tobacco.
Our lines are very near to each other where we picket – the banks of Chattanooga creek described the lines of our pickets.
At night every fifth man is sent down to the water's edge. It is…deep and rapid now. As one of our boys went down to the waters [sic] edge he saw a reb sitting on a log across the stream. It was moonlight. He (the reb) halloed out "are you a vidette? Yes. Well, so am I." Two of them swam across the creek the other night, and many more of them would like to come in, judging by their actions, as they will come down and hang around the lines looking very wishfully over in to the "promised land." Our batteries shelled the rebels in the P. M., soon we heard firing in their rear and some shots during the night. All at once their tents began to look rather thin….Last Monday we moved camp….It would have been quite a sight to all of you to see the Regiments moving around, - as we had to take our materials along with us. Some carried bedsteads, window sash[es], cracker boxes, pieces of sheet iron and everything you can imagine to make tents comfortable….We have pitched our tents…We have a chimney of brick to which we have sheet iron stove that we manufactured and can do our cooking on it – beside bake pies, cakes [sic], and beef if we get [sic] any flour top use. We have a table to write on and burn a "slit" light for candles, also sleep three in a bed. Our rations are more plenty and regularly issued yet I have held my own in flesh….
Diaries of Bliss Morse
24, 1862 Skirmish at White Oak Springs
No circumstantial reports filed.
Excerpt from the Report of Lieut. John B. Colton, Quartermaster Eighty-third Illinois Infantry relative to the skirmish at White Oak Springs, October 24, 1862:
COLUMBUS, KY., October 29, 1862.
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The next morning [24th] at 5 o'clock Maj. Brott ordered his command to fall back to White Oak Springs, about 14 miles, not thinking his force sufficiently strong to proceed farther. When about 6 miles from camp, at the crossing of a creek, a band of about 300 mounted guerrillas attacked us on our rear. At the time of the attack our forces were scattered, owing to a misunderstanding of the place of camping for breakfast. The order was to camp about 4 miles farther on. The enemy dashed in upon the troops, causing considerable confusion for a time, but they rallied and fired upon the enemy, the fire lasting about eight minutes, when he enemy retired with 8 men killed and several wounded, as was reported to us by their two surgeons whom we took prisoners. We had 1 man severely wounded and 2 slightly. On the battle grounds and on the march we took 15 prisoners. Our forces were then ordered to march back to Fort Donelson, where they arrived on Friday evening, October 25.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 17, pt. I, p. 464.
24, Confederate States Senator from Tennessee Gustavas A. Henry's plan "for winding up this campaign gloriously for our army."
LEXINGTON, October 24, 1863.
Hon. J. A. SEDDON:
Let me give you my plan for winding up this campaign gloriously for our army.
Gen. Lee will probably not engage in any further active operations this fall. Send Ewell to Bristol by rail, thence to Knoxville, by land march where he will encounter the enemy and he will easily defeat him. Then let him march down the Tennessee River on the other side and form a junction with Joseph E. Johnston in Rosecrans' rear, cutting off his supplies of provisions and re-enforcement of men.
Johnston should be ordered to Middle Tennessee, crossing the Tennessee River at Savannah, then march via Columbia to Shelbyville or Murfreesborough, thus effectually flanking Rosecrans, relieve the whole of Tennessee from invasion, and enable us to winter our army near the Kentucky line, where we can command at moderate rates unlimited supplies. In addition to this, if we re-occupy Tennessee, we can from that State alone increase our army 50,000 soldiers, and from Kentucky as many more. The southern part of that State would rise to our support if they had an army to flock to. The enemy cannot make any effectual advance on Richmond, and the real defense of Virginia is to be made in Tennessee. Drive the enemy out of East Tennessee, and defeat or capture Rosecrans, and the war will be at an end, as I verily believe Gen. Lee, with the troops left under his command here and around Richmond, can defend the city for six months, even if the enemy should have the temerity to invest it. Before that time we could concentrate our army again in Virginia and relieve it from invasion. The enemy will not attempt to overrun Mississippi in Gen. Johnston's absence, and what if they do, if in the mean time we annihilate their great Army of the Cumberland!
You may rely on it this plan followed out will do all I here predict and close the war in a "blaze of glory."
Do think seriously of this plan, and if Gen. Lee can be spared so as to go out west and assume the chief command, it will be all the better. It is the turning point of the war, and I think the road to independence lies incitingly [sic] before us.
Ever your friend,
G. A. HENRY [Confederate States Senator from Tennessee].
Gen. Bragg, it seems, is on very bad terms with his officers. No matter whose fault it is, such a total want of harmony between a commander and his officers must lead to disaster. I wish to God Lee could be put in command of that army. It would produce a thrill through every department of it that would insure its triumph.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. III, p 586.