Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

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An Artilleryman’s Diary–Jenkin Lloyd Jones

November 20, 2013

An Artilleryman's Diary–Jenkin Lloyd Jones, 6th Battery, Wisconsin Artillery.

Camp in the pocket opposite Chattanooga, Friday, Nov. 20. Scarcely had we closed our eyes to rest, before we were aroused again. Many of the boys had not laid down. It was half past one o’clock in the morning. We were ordered to hitch up in great haste. The rebs were crossing the Tennessee River at some point, and we were to intercept them. Nothing but a prospect of fight would have aroused the sleepy and tired soldiers as quick, and 2 A. M. we moved out, all wagons, battery wagon and forge left behind. It was clear and cold and I was chilled through by my sudden rising from a warm bed. We gradually disappeared from Point Lookout where the rebs’ signal lights were dimly burning. The road was mostly corduroyed and very good, but some places not finished very badly cut. 1st caisson got stuck and it took nearly half an hour to extricate. The cannoneers in mud and slush above their knees. While they were getting out, the other boys took hold and completed the bridge.

As it drew near morning it became darker. Crossed the river on pontoon two miles from where we started. It started right under the rock and it was quite difficult to make the landing with six horses. 3rd Brigade’s camp was on the bank. They had just started. Head of column took the road towards Chattanooga and obliged to come back as we left it to the right. 2nd caisson lost the road in the dark, ran against a stump and capsized. It took some time to extricate the horses and right it. It was loaded with percussion shells, but luckily none exploded. Infantry got the start of us and we drove very fast. Daylight found us travelling east through a very pretty valley formerly used as a camp. No infantry in sight. As smoke was seen in a pocket to the right, Lieutenant Clark halted, and sent to see if it was not our Brigade, which we found to be the case. We entered it, found the 3rd Brigade closely quartered. Went into park and ordered to remain quiet and orderly. Cooked an early breakfast, although we had travelled eight miles beside the other exploits. Wagons came up at 9 A. M. and we fed the last of our forage, four quarts of oats to a team.

The boys were soon scattered around making up for lost sleep, but I thought I would see our position, so I climbed the bluff to the right of us. Chattanooga could be seen very plain right opposite, near the other side of the river. To the right of it was Lookout, towering high above all others, with the puffs of powder smoke vomited occasionally from their Parrott. To the left I could see smoky Mission Ridge crossed with reb encampments. Those with glasses could discern long wagon trains and pack mules climbing up Lookout. I returned well-paid for my labor, although I afterwards understood it was forbidden. We are effectually hidden. Guards are placed over all houses to prevent anyone leaving. A pontoon train is passing. Heavy rain in afternoon. Put up tents and went to bed early.

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