Headquarters Eleventh Corps, Army of the Potomac. Mountville, Loudon Co. Va. July 20th 1863
My dear Mother,
I had hoped to have time to write you a good long letter today as we were not to march. We arrived at this beautiful place in Loudon Valley yesterday P.M. Some roving Rebel Cavalry had been here in the morning and two officers of the 11st Corps staff were captured while ahead of their Command selecting camping ground. Hd. qrs. are at Union. Our orders last evening were that we remain at rest today. This is very refreshing.
We are at a pleasant house Mr Mounts’. They are all Rebels in sentiment but treat us kindly enough.The young lady, who is quite pretty, is as decided and outspoken a Rebel as I have ever seen. They claim Gettysburg as a Rebel victory! We don’t see it in that light. A few more such Rebel victories is all that we need to end the war.
Otis rode to Hd. qrs. this forenoon leaving me at home to write letters. But I had to visit the Picket-line on duty only it has consumed the whole day. Gen. Schurz was charged upon by three Revel Cavalry this morning but as he had five orderlies with him it was rather risk business as father would say and one of them (the Rebels) got caught by the <guards> and was sent a prisoner to Hd. qrs. The other two escaped as it were “by the skin of their teeth”. Next time they will know better than to attempt to capture nearly twice their number. Two of our Cavalry were taken last evening, having been sent out to a house to borrow some augurs & other tools for bridge-building. They learned that twenty five Rebel Cavalry lay close by the road in some woods when Otis & staff passed by yesterday, but they were not strong enough and so did not dare to expose themselves by firing or attempting a capture.
So you see we are getting into the enemy’s country again.These things do not distrust but are matters of interest & offered matter of talk.Another peculiarity of yesterday & today is that our soldiers have begun with unwanted vigor to rob, steal, kill and devour everything convertible into food – worse, they are taking horses by the half dozen. This troubles Otis a good deal and he is taking severe measures to prevent it – more for the preservation of proper discipline in his own command than for any other reason. [...]
With great love & daily prayers for you mother. I remain affectionately your son