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

Lenoir, October 29th.

Another letter from home last night, dated October 1 6th. Only four letters in two months; I find, too, my letters are quite as irregular.

I have just learned that Lieutenant Miller starts for home at 6 o’clock tomorrow morning. He will visit my loved ones and tell them all the news. I know not how to express myself in regard to our present situation. I am glad we were not forced to retreat. Still, I am certain we could have held those heights, and to leave without firing a gun! Oh, for a few Wolfords and Grants—men who are “here to fight.”

All sorts of rumors are afloat. “Bragg, with all his army, is advancing.” Longstreet is crossing the river six miles below Kingston to flank us on the right. Another heavy force is on our left, making for Knoxville. “Wilcox has been driven back from the east,” and a hundred others equally encouraging. We know not what to think of it, and yet must criticise and form conclusions. But it is all explained at last. We fell in at 1 o’clock today, marched about a mile to a beautiful grove near a large spring of never-failing water. Here our division formed in line and stacked arms, with orders to remain in line until further notice. Lieutenant Colonel Comstock soon called our regiment to “attention,” ordered company commanders in front of center, and then and there revealed to them the long-wished-for intelligence. All officers and men were taken by surprise. We were prepared to hear of some great calamity, but not for this. Nothing like it had ever before happened to the Ninth Army Corps. “Our fall campaign is closed. Prepare for yourselves comfortable quarters for the winter.” For a moment there was a silence that could be felt, then a shout went up that “rent the heavens and shook the everlasting hills.” Not simply because we were ordered to prepare winter quarters, but a mysterious movement had been explained—a weight of anxiety removed.

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