July 8, 1863
My Dear Mother:
As I think there will be an opportunity of sending off a letter in a day or two, I believe I will drop you a few lines to let you know of some of my adventures since I last wrote you (Winchester). We have had rain every day since we left Winchester. I’ve been marching about ten to twenty miles a day. After the first days our squad of two hundred dwindled down to about fifteen men, most of whom were officers. A Lieutenant from Texas commanded us. We were bound to form squads of some strength to prevent “bushwackers” and the enraged citizens from attacking us on the road. Last summer was nothing at all to this one in Pennsylvania. Although I did not have the pleasure of going into Yankeeland with them, I was following them in the rear and could see the havoc they did. The squad I was in, the first night we got into Pennsylvania, killed a hog near a man’s house and then sent two men to him to borrow cooking utensils to cook it in, most of them would make the expression, “I reckon you got your rations out of the field.”
The Fourth of July we got in eight miles of the battlefield, all that day the citizens tried their best to prevent our going any farther. Told us we were certainly chickens if we went any farther, that the Yankees were on picket some little distance off in large force. We didn’t put any confidence in their chat but kept on. The last day of the three days’ big fight , we got within a few miles of the battlefield, when we met General Imboden’s Cavalry, the advance guard of our whole wagon train, who turned us back by orders from General Lee, ordering us at the same time to keep with the train, which did not stop until we arrived at this place, we (the wagon train) intended to ford the river here and again set foot on Virginia soil, but it has rained so much we have been waiting four days for the river to fall low enough to ford it. The Yankees attacked us here day before yesterday with the inteion of capturing us, but they were driven off. I can’t form the most distant idea what the army is going to do, whether they intend to stay this side of the river or go back into Virginia. There is not a day passes but you hear of fighting goin on. You don’t feel right unless you hear cannonading going on. The stillness doesn’t seem natural. There are five or six thousand Yankees here waiting for the river to fall to cross.
When I have more time I will write again. Captain Thompson was wounded slightly and has crossed the river. I don’t know with what intention. Buck Nolly was killed in our company.
Write to me as soon as you get this and let me hear from you all, direct to Richmond and I will get it. This letter is No. 3.
Source: Laura Elizabeth Lee, Forget-Me-Nots of the Civil War: A Romance Containing Reminiscences and Original Letters of Two Confederate Soldiers (St. Louis, Missouri: A.R. Fleming Printing Co, 1909). See also Joel Craig and Sharlene Baker, eds., As You May Never See Us Again: The Civil War Letters of George and Walter Battle, 4th North Carolina Infantry (Wake Forest, NC: The Scuppernong Press, 2010).
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