Camp near Orange Court House, Va
February 8, 1864
I received your letter last week and I had just commenced to answer it when I heard commotion at Morton’s Ford. Our Brigade was on picket last week, one week sooner than our time, in consequence of Gen. Battle’s and Johnston’s Brigades having gone somewhere, I suppose to North Carolina. I was on camp guard at the time and was left for camp duty. Our Brigade had fallen in to start back to camp when our cannon on picket fired into the Yankees then graping. Before the boys could get to the breastworks, the Yankees had driven the picket line into them. They kept up a pretty sharp skirmish for three or four hours. The sharpshooters got so near to each other that they run and shot each other around a house, one Yankee was killed on the piazza of the house. There was only one man in our Brigade that was hurt, his name was W.A. Driver, belonging to our company. He was wounded on the skirmish line. The Yankees lost some ten or fifteen. We killed one of their Generals, but they succeeded in getting him across the river. That night our line of pickets were posted in their same old posts. We heard here in camp that the Yankees were about to take our breastworks.
Next morning, Sunday, Peter Christman and myself rolled up our things and by daylight were on our way to the breastworks. When we got there our army was lying in our breastworks and the Yankees were scattered all over the fields about a half-mile the other side of the river. All their cannons were in position and remained so during the day. There were two lines of artillery just the right distance from each other to do the best execution, frowning at each other the whole day, neither willing or inclined to commence the fight across the river.
Last night about ten o’clock, their camp fires all died out and this morning the Yankees were all gone, except their line of pickets.
We pretty soon started back to camp and got here an hour ago, and I am in hopes they will not trouble us any more this winter. The mountains in Yankeedom were covered with snow this morning. I am in hopes we will have some shortly to put an end to all military operations for this winter. I will write again in a day or two. I am as tired as a horse at present, a tramp of ten miles through the mud ankle deep is enough to tire a mule. Give love to all.
As ever, your devoted son,
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).