Tuesday, March 24, 2015


My cousin didn't know it but he was on the eve of the second bloodiest battle of the Civil War. It didn't turn out well for The Army of Tennessee. They should have known better. Sic transit gloria mundi.

Is not Wm Serreny Lieutenant Davis’s enemy

                                                Camp near Chattanooga, Tennessee, Sept 6th 1863
                                                Dear Parents and Seister
                                                                        I received your letters of the 30th of August, last, We have been in this camp a little over two weeks in sight of the enemies strongest works a still nothing of importance has occurred until last night and yesterday when the enemy attempted to put a pontoon bridge over the river in order I suppose to cross the river to drive us back from the river, but our batteries gave them such a reception that they concluded to abandon the enterprise remain quietly in their forts. General Wagoner’s  Brigade with Colonel Wilders Brigade of mounted infantry is the only troops on the north side of the river to keep the enemies from crossing and getting into Kentucky.

I think the General Bragg’s army will all be gobbled  if they do not get out within the next three days for General Rosecrans and General Burnsides are closing in on him very fast and if they should succeed in their plans and trap Bragg the war will be brought to a close very soon for this country has been their greatest xxxx country in the south. They have also a greater number of  powder mills in this country also a number of founderies where they cast some very large guns. Our Brigade is on a mountain a little west of north of the city which is at the foot of a large mountain which is their lookout post. From our lookout we can see them at work day and night. A number of deserters have come over the river within the last few days and they say that there is a large force but that their General can not depend much on them fighting for they say that it is no use to attempt to try to hold the place if Chattanooga for if General Rosecrans undertakes to take the place he will have it in spite of all they can do for he is too good a General for old Brag. They say that Brag can retreat but that will stay and be taken under the command of Rese

You can take the map and where the army is. We are in the bend right opposite the town. One of General Van Cleve’s Brigades is at Harrison which is 8 miles up the river. Then, at Jasper or opposite on the south side fo the river General Woods has his other 2 Brigades then General Thomases Corps is laying in line between that and Rome, Georgia at which place General McCooks corps is. Now we will go to the right of the enemy or our left. General Burnsides was at Kingstown 70 miles up the river 10 days ago but it is said that his advance is only 14 miles from Chattanooga on the other side of the river (or safely on the south side) This was the position of our army three days agobut where the right and left  of our army is today I do not know, but some say that the right is within 8 miles of Chattanooga.

PART I wait for exciting part II!

The Battle of Chickamauga was a Union defeat. Without the 'Rock of Chickamauga' it would have been a Union rout. Oddly enough, Rosecrans' Chief of Staff was James Garfield.

Battle of Chickamauga


Ex Bootneck said...

Such battlefields must be littered with musket balls and lost personal items to this day. The letters are incredible pieces of history that I find fascinating, as they each appear to be written in a calm matter of fact 'it is what it is' way.

HMS Defiant said...

He was 16 when he wrote them. You're right. They're pretty impressive for the cool that exudes from his letters. You're also quite right about finding minnie balls and such to this day. I was dragged to just about every Civil and Revolutionary War battleground as a kid by my 'mad for military history' dad. We had cigar boxes full of minnie balls and various scrap including some US belt buckles. We thirsted for swords and guns but the battle fields had been swept and things like that never fell into our eager hands. We did our sweeping in the 60s and early 70s. I think that they now forbid taking anything.

but you can still find them there. If you look.