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Liberty Warner Papers: Transcripts - MS 624
[Elk River, Tenn.]
July 3rd, 1863
Today we are laying on the road side on the banks of the Elk R. We have been driving the Rebs since we left Murfreesboro, which is about 12 days ago or more. Our advance are skirmishing more or less every day. Negleys Divition has been engaged in no fight of any account, McCooks and Crittendons each have done considerable fighting. They have taken good many prisioners and killed many rebs.
I received your letter last night and a welcome one it was. I was glad to hear that everything is going off nicely at home. I should like to see it with my own eyes and I hope the next 3rd of July to be with you. Tomorrow is the 4th of July, 1863 and still war. I fear it will take us a long time to subdue the South. They are a hot-blooded people and on their own ground.
When we come to a suspicious looking place, we have to plant artillery and shell it, so to be shure that no masqued battery is in the road. Report says all remiments that reenlisted (3 months regs) within 30 days after discharge will be discharged 3 months before their time is up. I think the furlough is cliped off the 3 years (so much for report)
We are 6 or 7 miles south of Talihoma & about 45 m from Murfreesboro. I think the rebs will run to Chattenooga. When once we get them started, it takes some time to stop them. I hope we will have good luck and take part of the rear prisoners. We crossed the river this morning, & I am sitting on a log & my gun and rig at my feet.
This is the morning of the 4th. I was on picket last night and came off post at sunrise. Tis a beautiful morning and a beautiful landscape, the vast plain and lofty hills in the distance. The cavelry are starting out again this morning & I expect we will start in a few minutes. One of our field pieces fired a morning roll out here boys and get your grub a little before sunrise. I do not expect too much for today...
Independence day wares on and it is noon. We have not pulled up stakes or rather started on the march yet. Jim and I have just finished a cup of applesauce and it is time to go on post again (on the lookout)... the boys are thinking or talking of former 4th of Julies when they were at home. All seem merry as can be, only wishing for a little extra quality sort of grub.
After writing the preceding, we marched about 5 miles and are camped in a fine grove. Probably we will stay here a few days. Several national salutes were fired by our several batterys and a salute of a few shells presented to a band of flying rebbels. I suppose I heard rather more cononading than you did, had a finer view of the chane of mountainous bluffs, eat less and am about 6 times as dirty. Marching makes dirty soldiers. The next thing will be to wash up & clean myself and then comes my gun. It must be kept in order if the rest goes to rack... Every farmer in the South is doing his best to raise a large amount of corn & wheat, thousands of bushels of fine grain have been tramped in the ground, fed to the mules, and otherwise destroyed by us on this march and not a likely steer, calf, hog, goose, hen, or anything else in the eating line can be found in within 3 miles of one of our stopping places after we have left. Our boys sweep the country clean of everything, both Reb and grub. All of the male niggers fall with us. The niggers all seem to have notice of our comeing long beforehand. When is about up, they run away and hide in the mountains till we come along, then they come forth, grinning and showing their ivory. You never saw any such specimens of black humanity North as may be seen here with feet like flat bowls.
July 29, 1863
I received your very welcome letter of the 21st inst. I was very glad to hear that you were all well, but sorry to hear that death has taken one so near. Death must sooner or later claim one and all of us, it matters not whether in the army or at home. When we have run the course the Almighty has assigned us, we must leave earth for other shores.
We are camped down as usual & have nothing but our usual camp, & picket duties and occational forage, etc. This is a little different from marching, where the Regt has to march in a close mass, ready to face an enemy on any side and the sun shining down on us hot enough to roast us. We hear nothing of the rebs in this quarter any more. They are all driven far south. They were greatly demoralised. The greater share are ready to desert whenever a chance presents itself.
Well, I hope they have got as well scared or half as well in the east as here.
I would like to help you eat some of your good things. Crackers, coffy and meat is our grub here. If you want potatoes or any thing of that kind, you can get a handkerchief full for $1.00 or 5 for 25 cts. Nice is it not verry. Just let my eyes rest for one minute on a sesesh apple tree or pototoe pach and some of them.....
I wrote you a few lines 3 or 4 days ago, also sent a treasury note of $50. I send in this sheet $10.
Aug 17, 1863
We are all well & ready to move forward, which I expect we will do in a day or two. I suppose we will move into Eastern Tennessee in order to keep the enemy from obtaining supplies of provitions from that region. There is no opposition the rebs can offer this side of Chattanooga & in all probability we will carry everything before us without much fighting until we get into Georgia. When we move against the enemy we expect to drive them, because we have never been beaten yet, they on the contrary having been beaten in every contest are broken spirited.
Great inducements are held out to vetron soldiers that reinlist or enlist for 3 years more when they have served 2 years of the former enlistment. I expect a good many of the 21st Regiment will enlist in Cavelry as soon as 2 years have expired, they think so now at least. I think I will serve out the old term of enlistment and then if war continues I will try heavy artillery or gun boat service a year or so. Our drafted men have got their discharges this morning and will be enroute for home today or tomorrow. They never amounted to a great deal anyhow. One fellow got a couple of teeth broken off by a glancing shot at Stone River and he appeared to the company a few days ago for the first time since the battle...
We are drawing bread now and it gives a little better than the hard crackers. The boys dive into the cornfield and the way the roasting ears will step out is a caution to all who wish to raise corn for bread. Some of the fields are guarded, but most of the soldiers are experienced hands at such work and know how to take advantage of the times and a vigilant it must be indeed to efectively guard anything on the line of provition. The weather is some hot, but a breeze is constantly blowing and we do not suffer from it.
So ends my letter. No news to write. I think more of the news from home than all of this army display. Send it along. Send me a few lines, each of you. These are addressed to all.
My love to all,
Write some and let me hav the news.
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