Headquarters 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 9th Army Corps
Camp near Lenoire Station [Tennessee]
November 12th 1863
My dear Mother,
It is now a long time since I last wrote you that I must make my excuses. First, the army has been moving about and secondly, since we have given up campaigning for the winter, I have been very busy building my log hut which I had scarcely finished when I was detailed as clerk in the Assistant Adjutant Generals Office of the First Brigade. I am now very busy during the middle of the day writing, morning and night. It is so cold that I can scarcely move my fingers as you will perceive by this letter. I think I have a good job and if nothing new happens, I no doubt can stay here as long as I choose.
But you probably wish to know what I have been about since my last letter and so I will give you a little more of my diary. Your letter of the 25th is at hand and I have to thank you for it. Father send me his photograph. It is a first rate likeness and I think I shall send it home for fear I shall spoil it in my knapsack.
October 18th 1863—Rained at intervals all day. Received letters from Clinton and Lancaster.
19th—Sent several letters to Clinton, Lancaster, and Leom’r. Orders came in afternoon to start on the march in the morning. Seven days half rations were dealt out.
20th—The whole Corps started at 7 o’clock. The roads are muddy and it is hard traveling. Had a rest of two hours after marching ten miles. While resting we hear lively cannonading ahead. Camped near small village called Doral after a march of sixteen miles.
21st—Soon after starting, rain began to fall and continued to do so all say making the roads so slippery that we were obliged to march on the railroad, Halted for the night two miles outside Lenoire Station after a march of eleven miles.
22nd—Started at three o’clock P. M. and crossed Holston river on a pontoon bridge into small town called Loudon and camped for the night on a hill after a march of five miles.
23rd—Commenced raining early in morning and continued all day.
24th—A Division of mounted troops were sent out to discover the enemy. Soon after they had gone, we could hear cannonading and it was supposed that the rebels had opened on them. Orders soon came for everything to be in readiness for marching. All tents were struck and knapsacks packed. Officers tents and baggage were put in the wagons and wagons, cattle, &c., were sent back across the river. I suppose it was expected that the cavalry would be driven in and that the enemy would follow them. If that had been the case, they would have met with a warm reception for we had a large force and the hills were strongly fortified. At nine P. M. we had no orders to move so we pitched our tents and turned in expecting to be called upon in the night.
25th—Lay in camp all day. Nothing of any account happening save the sending out of another cavalry expedition.
27th—Another cavalry expedition sent out. Orders came today to lay out a regular camp tomorrow. A large detail made from the brigade to guard a forage train which is to be sent out tomorrow.
28th—At two o’clock A. M. the camp was aroused not by the “reveille” but by industrious sergeants and corporals who ran from tent to tent giving orders to pack up quietly and prepare to move immediately. The fog was so thick that a house a few rods distant could not be seen. By daylight all the troops were back across the river in a wood where we expected to stay all day. Bu noon the pontoon bridge was taken up and loaded on the cars which soon started for Knoxville. The troops marched six miles and encamped.
October 29th—Started at noon and marched about two miles and encamped for the night in the forest above Lenoire Station. Orders came to build winter quarters. Three loud and long cheers were given for Gen. Burnsides who says the Old 9th shall have rest if possible.
30th—All the axes were lent to Company A, the first company in the line to build their quarters. The shanties are to be 7×9 inside and four feet high. At night a heavy rain began to fall and by morning we were well soaked. At ten o’clock we were notified of an inspection and muster tomorrow.
31st—Nearly all the regiment were sent on picket this morning. My post is on the Holston about three miles from camp. A heavy fog came on at eleven o’clock P. M. The 11th Tennessee Cavalry, CSA are doing picket duty on the opposite bank and are a pretty good set of fellows but are of a very different stamp than the rebel soldiers in Virginia.
November 1st—The picket was relieved at ½ past ten o’clock. Reached camp at noon. Worked all the afternoon cutting timber for my house and never thought of the day being Sunday until late in the evening.
November 2nd—Detailed for fatigue duty in morning. Detailed for orderly duty at Headquarters in afternoon.
3rd—Worked all day on my shanty.
4th—Continue to work on my sheep-pen, as it is called.
5th—Company inspection in afternoon.
6th—A rainy day and night.
7th—Was sick all day from eating heavy bread made from sick wheat.
8th—On picket on Holston river four miles from camp. 5th Tennessee mounted infantry are doing duty on the opposite bank. Received letters from New York an Lancaster.
9th—Pickets are relieved and reached camp about noon. Built brick chimney for the captain in the afternoon. Detailed as clerk at Brigade Headquarters in evening.
10th—General Inspection and muster of the 36th Mass. by Capt. E. T. Raymond, Inspector General of the Brigade, and Mustering Officer of the division.
11th—Nothing of any importance happened today. Received mail from Fitchburg which I answered in evening.
We are having some precious cold weather now and a person has to keep busy in order to keep warm. I suppose you have snow on the ground up north. Have you yet received the Soldier’s Memorial which I sent you? If so, please let me know for it is more than a month since I sent it.
But I have now some business to attend to and so must close. Hoping this will find you and the children enjoying good health. I remain ever affectionately yours, — Charley
Direct your letter to Chas. H. Howe, Headquarters 1st Brig., 1st Division, 9th Army Corps
Next Letter: 13 November 1863