Winchester, Tenn., November 11, 1863.
We arrived here at 9 this a.m., our brigade making the distance from Salem, 11 miles, in three hours. That, we call fast walking. I wrote you last from Florence., Ala., on the 1st inst. From there we marched to Rodgersville and thence up the right bank of Elk river to Fayetteville, where we crossed there onto this place. Rumor says that we draw 20 days’ rations here. It is three-fourths official, too. It is certain that we leave here in the morning, but nobody knows where for. We could certainly march to Chattanooga in six days, but could go much quicker by the railroad from Decherd station, which is only two miles from here. The wagon road from here to Chattanooga is awful. But one brigade has ever marched it. The mountains commence right here and continue to, the Lord knows where. Our brigade is to be mounted immediately. In the last 60 miles marching we have mounted 800 or nearly half. The citizens along the road very kindly furnished all of stock and equipments. My company was mounted four days ago. Company C is to be mounted next. As fast as the men are mounted they are put out as foragers for more horses, etc. The first day my company was mounted we got 30 horses, and would have done better, but confound me if I could take horses from crying women, although I am satisfied that half of their howling is sham, got up for the occasion. My first day’s foraging almost used me up. We had fed our horses and I went to unhitch a mule from the fence to give him in charge of one of the men, and the brute scared and jerked the rail from the fence and started like lightning. The end of the rail struck me on the calves of my legs and elevated my boots five feet. The attraction of gravitation brought me down to the globe and I landed with a great deal of vim on a rock about the size of our parlor floor, and as smooth as a peach stone. The only severe injury either the rock or myself sustained was a very badly sprained wrist. I got that. My left hip and left shoulder were hurt some, but the wrist has pained me so confoundedly that I don’t count them. It has pained me so for the last two days and is so tender that I could stand neither the jolting of a horse or wagon. I tried to ride my horse this morning; we were in column and had to strike a trot and that beat me. Think I will be all right for the saddle in a few days, though will have a tender wrist for a good while. Well, our division came through in the advance and our brigade has had the lead most of the time. We have had plenty of forage, but light issues of regular rations probably average. Half Morgan L. Smith’s and John E. Smith’s divisions are close up to us, will be here to-morrow. Osterhaus and Dodge are behind them. We have five divisions all told, probably 25,000 or 30,000 men. We met here the first troops belonging to the Army of the Cumberland.