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CHAPTER III

THE RETURN TO TENNESSEE

On February 19 we left Winchester, arriving at Lynchburg on the 21st. We went into camp near that city, not knowing when we could proceed farther on account of many washouts between Lynchburg and Bristol. Sunday, February 23, was a dark day for us, for we heard of the evacuation of Nashville. On February 27, I note from my diary: "Feel a great anxiety for the loved ones at home, but cannot get any message." On March 5 the railroad expected to resume traffic, but there were no trains moving. On the morning of March 6 we left for Bristol, the left wing of the regiment ahead of us. We reached Knoxville March 10, and remained there until the 12th, when Colonel Maney arrived and said that the right wing would proceed to Bridgeport, Ala., to guard the bridge there. We were held in Knoxville until Sunday, February 23, when we loaded baggage and proceeded to Chattanooga, where we went into camp one mile from the city. Fred Berry, of Company B, died February 21, at 6 p.m., and on the morning of February 22 Company B escorted his remains to the depot for forwarding to Nashville.

We had guard, drill duty, and dress parades daily at Chattanooga. On March 28 we heard of General Stonewall Jackson's. victory at Kernstown. We left Chattanooga April 1 at 8 a.m., and arrived at Bridgeport at 11 a.m. and went into camp near the railroad bridge, and in the meantime the left wing of the regiment went forward to Corinth. On April 4 we were ordered to cook up three days' rations and to leave at 9 a.m. We boarded the train, and the order was countermanded and we disembarked and remained in camp till April 5, when ten box cars were backed up and we loaded up at 7 a.m. These cars had been hauling bulk bacon, and they were very greasy. We slipped and slid; but could not slide very far, as we were packed in closely. We reached Stevenson at 8 a.m., and remained until 1.30 p.m., April 6, when the news reached us of the battle of Shiloh and the death of Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston. We did not reach Corinth until Monday, April 7, at 10 a.m. We saw a large number of Federal prisoners, and the old Tishomingo Hotel was turned into a hospital and filled with our wounded. General Johnston's body had arrived, and was in a residence near by. On the morning of April 8 we were ordered to cook five days' rations, and on the morning of the 9th we left Corinth for the Shiloh battlefield. We met a large number of wagons and all kinds of conveyances carrying our wounded to Corinth. We marched over a dirt road, through swamps and water, reaching General Breckinridge at sundown, and slept in some vacant tents that were left by the enemy. Reveille sounded early on the morning of April 10, and we were soon under arms. We marched by General Breckinridge's headquarters drawn up in line of battle all day, and went back to our quarters in the evening. On Friday, April 11, it rained nearly all day, and we stayed in our tents until 3 p.m., when we were called out in the rain, but soon afterwards ordered back.

In camp all day April 12. and General Forrest's cavalry scouts said that there was no sign of the Federals south of where Shiloh was fought, but that they were under cover of the gunboats at Pittsburg Landing, We left Shiloh Sunday, April 13, on our way to Corinth, and after getting lost in the woods several times reached the camp at twelve o'clock Monday, April 14, where we found the left wing of the regiment, and listened to the boys, who gave us a graphic picture of the fight and regretted that we were not with them. We expected the next battle at Corinth, and for days and weeks worked on the fortifications and drank water the color of soapsuds. It was no trouble to get water at Corinth. All you had to do was to shovel out a few spadefuls of earth, and the hole would soon fill with water.

After completing our breastworks, we were expecting attack daily by General Grant's forces, but were disappointed. Our pickets were very close together, and for days there was the rattle of musketry and hissing of bullets. The foliage was very thick, and frequently men would be shot from guns held by soldiers up in the trees. Often we had to crawl out to relieve the pickets. One of our men was shot as he poked his head around a tree.

On May 30 the enemy moved as if to flank us, and on May 31 we were en route to Tupelo, Miss. The Federal cavalry dashed around our army near Guntown and fired a train of ammunition, and the explosions could be heard for some distance. We reached Tupelo June 10, and went into camp there. We had the regular routine drill twice a day and dress parade in the evening. We remained in Tupelo until July 20; and learning that the Federals were withdrawing their troops from Corinth toward Nashville, it was decided by our authorities to invade Kentucky.

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