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

Post image for Reminiscences of the Civil War by William and Adelia Lyon.

Reminiscences of the Civil War by William and Adelia Lyon.

October 8, 2013

Reminiscences of the Civil War, William and Adelia Lyon

Colonel Lyons.


Stevenson, Ala., Thurs. Eve., Oct. 8th, 1863.—We have been isolated here for a few days, and you need not be surprised if you do not get letters regularly. The rebel cavalry got in our rear the other day and cut our communications. The telegraph line was restored today, and we expect trains through from Nashville tomorrow.

I learn from General Butterfield’s dispatches to Gen. Hooker (which he very kindly shows to me) that the enemy struck the railroad at Christiana, ten miles this side of Murfreesboro, capturing a company and destroying the water tank. They then tore up a mile of track near Duck River, and destroyed a bridge across that stream near Tullahoma. Our cavalry were in close pursuit, overtaking them near Shelbyville (which place they had burned), attacking and whipping them, killing 100, capturing 300, and scattering the balance of the rebel force. General Ruger’s Brigade is on the railroad between Tullahoma and Murfreesboro. The rebels were too closely pursued to do much damage.

General Butterfield went up to take command of the troops that were left behind in order to open communications. It interferes seriously with us to have this line cut off. We are out of forage, and rations are getting uncomfortably low. This same force captured and destroyed several hundred wagons between here and Chattanooga, loaded with supplies and ammunition. I think they have done their worst and that we shall have no difficulty now in keeping the road open. Gen. Morgan told me tonight that he heard that the men captured at Christiana were from the 22nd Wisconsin. I hope not.

Dr. Woolcott, from Milwaukee, the Surgeon General of the State, is here and took tea with me tonight. He is accompanied by Rev. Mr. Staples of Milwaukee. The Doctor has been to the front to look after our wounded, and lost all his baggage when the wagon train was captured. He escaped by taking a shorter road on foot over the mountains. He says that it is the general opinion that Bragg is evacuating his position in front of Chattanooga. The rebels shelled our camps there all day Tuesday, doing but very little damage, however. We have no fears of an attack here.

We are stripping this whole country of forage, many thousand animals having been sent back here to recruit; and there will be, and is already, much suffering among the people. Many hundreds have gone North, the Government furnishing them transportation, and large numbers more are going. We feed several hundreds out of Government supplies. We issue them half rations of bread and meat. The people have no coffee, sugar or salt. They beg most piteously for salt. We have none of these articles for them. You can have no adequate idea of the suffering caused by the want of salt. Some have told me that all the salt they have had for a year is what they have procured by leaching the earth in their smoke-houses. This is the more painful because these people are nearly all truly loyal, and have suffered terribly for their loyalty.

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