December 10, 1863

Hd. qrs. 11th Corps Athens – McMinn Co. Tenn

My dear Mother

I will have an opportunity to send a letter to Chattanooga by an officer we are to send there for Coffee & Sugar & Shoes for our troops. He will start at 11 tonight and now it is ten o’clock.

We have been listening to music from the 33d Mass Band. Gen. Sherman is in town and has been here (at Mr. Claige’s) where our Hd. qrs. are. We came to town yesterday. He came today and we gave up our Hd. qrs at the Hotel to him and have <Camped> here. Mr. Claige is a union man and his wife is very much of a lady. We took Supper & will take all our meals with them. They have plenty of Negro servants. He is the cashier of the Planters Bank of Tennessee – quite wealthy. Athens is a pleasant town. We may remain several days waiting orders from Gen. Grant.

I wrote you at Loudon on our way up and mailed the letter last Sunday at Knoxville. We hear by Gen. Sherman that Burnside moved out in pursuit of Longstreet after we left but with what result we do not know. The force under Foster at Cumberland Gap moved also upon Longstreet’s flanks and is said to have a portion of the Rebel Army in a tight place to use a phraze. I think we will move down to Charleston on the Hiwassee River soon. This will bring us 15 miles nearer Chattanooga. We wish to keep East Tennessee entirely clear of Rebels while we are here at any rate. Continue reading

December 9, 1863

Hd. qrs. 11th Corps Athens (Tenn.)

My dear Sister Ella

This is rather a delicate sheet upon which to begin a letter to a young lady I acknowledge but besides the fact that this is the only kind of paper I have and the last of that, you will find before I get through (if your patience holds out) that I have enough to tell you even to fill a “foolscap” sheet.

Hd. qrs. are at the hotel of this town – the county seat and most considerable place in the vicinity. […] Athens is partially at least a merry town tonight. There are quite a goodly no. of Union families and besides the natural exhilaration from the presence of U.S. troops. I have had the 33d Mass Band playing up on the balcony of this house all the evening until a few moments ago and I now hear there is a distant quarter giving bad dreams to Miss Secession by playing “Yankee Doodle” that most detestable of all tunes to the genuine Rebel. […]

Did I mention coffee and sugar? It weighs upon my mind – not the coffee and sugar but the astounding announcement made by our mess-man tonight that it was all gone from our larder (ambulance). We have taken most of our meals with the good union people or other choice families on the march in hopes to keep up our supply. The people have wheat coffee or sweet milk and some few have a little coffee with a great deal of dried sweet-potato – but that our right royally loyal family I have mentioned at sweet Sweewater had the genuine article of coffee – the real old-fashioned Rio. You might know they belonged to the Constitution as it was and the Union that shall be. But the inquisitive mind of my sister must be satisfied – and know that Mr. H. was wise enough to get a quantum sufficit of coffee and like luxuries from Louisville at an early stage of the war and the supply still holds good. Continue reading

December 7, 1863

Head-Quarters, First Division, Department West. Va, Harper’s Ferry, Va.

Special Orders No. 46

Lieut A.S. Buchanan an A.D.C. is hereby ordered to proceed to the Head Quarters of the Department of Cumberland Md, to transact business connected with this office, after which he will return and report himself for duty at these Head Quarters.

Quarter Masters Department will furnish the necessary transportation.

Special Orders [Alexander Simms Buchanan Civil War Collection]

December 6, 1863

12 6My Dear Mother:

I have received Father’s letter in which were enclosed, copied by you, those beautiful lines of the Dean of Canterbury –

“One fragment of the blessed Word,
Into the Spirit burned,
As better than the whole, half burned,
And by our interest turned.

Yes, the discipline of our Heaven by Father is best, but at times how hard it seems. We shrink from trials, and disappointment is bitter to us. Yet, how it purifies; and how glad it makes the spirit, when, leaning on them, we walk strongly through all.

I have also recd a long interesting letter from Catherine which in a few days, perhaps, I will try to answer.[…]

I am quite comfortably situated in every respect.

William McArthur to his mother, Sarah Prince Miltimore McArthur [McArthur Family Papers]

December 5, 1863

Grafton, West Virginia

My dear General:

Allow me to tender you congratulations with the rest of your friends, on the new laurels you have won for yourself and your command in the late battles that drove the Enemy from his “strong places” on “Lookout Mountain” , and inflicted on his panic stricken and dismayed legions one of the deadliest blows to the Rebellion it has received. A few more such, and the bloody drama is ended… My earnest prayers for your safety, success, and happiness, you will always have.

Most truly,

Your friend, S.N. Sherman

S.N. Sherman to Oliver Otis Howard [Oliver Otis Howard Papers]

December 4, 1863

[Mailed at Crab Orchard Ky. Dec. 15, 1863 ] Headquarters Eleventh Corps,  Loudon Tenn.

Dear Brother,

We are waiting here for other columns to get in position and cross the Little Tennessee, when we will all move forward to the relief of Burnside and against Longstreet if we can find him. The latter has about 30,000 men & made an unsuccessful though but a partial attack on Burnside last Tuesday. We can get no news since. The garrison here escaped but we captured flour & meal enough to feed our command two or three days. This morning we put a Regt. across the river and they drove off the Cavalry videttes of the Enemy and just now I learn they have found four cannon abandoned by the Rebels. In our advance the 15th Corps comd’d by F. P. Blair has the right Wing. The 4th Granger, the center and the 11th, (ours) the left. Today we have been building our bridges across the Little Tenn.

Sometimes we fear Burnside will not hold out (as he has only 15,000 and is probably short of provisions). Then again sometimes we fear Longstreet will get off to Va. In the latter case we will congratulate ourselves on Burnside’s relief and a campaign grandly successful and important in its results. But there still seems good reason to believe that Longstreet tarries. Not a quarter of an hour ago we learned that our cavalry Regt. left to guard the bridge at Charleston (the Hirvasee) had come away and that the Rebel Gen. Wheeler was approaching. It is a pity an Infantry Regt. had not been left there – still we chased a Rebel Infantry Regt from there. Wheeler will probably destroy the bridge and pick up some stragglers – possibly some wagons – but we are without trains and have none on the way to join us that we know of. So Wheeler will find the rear unusually dry. Continue reading

December 3, 1863

Army of the Potomac, [illegible] 20th Maine Vols at Rappahannock Station

My Dear Brother,

Eight days ago we started on the movement that is about ended tonight as most of the army in their old camp now, but one camp is assigned to the very unpleasant duty of guarding the rail-road from this place to Centerville and enter afar my duties tomorrow. I had the pleasure of writing of a grander result but one satisfaction is that but a very few of our noble men have fallen only one of our Regt. […]

Holman Melcher to his brother, Nathaniel Melcher [Holman Melcher Papers]

December 2, 1863


SECOND WEEK—OF THE—Mirror of the Rebellion

Devoted by the proprietors, to the patriotic object of raising funds for the founding of a National Home for Invalid Soldiers.

For schedule of Donation, Property, and other particular see descriptive bills

National Home Tickets,–good for one share in the donation property, and for admissions to the Mirror—One dollar.  Single admission, 25 cents.

Exhibitions every evening at 7:45 and Wednesday and Saturday Afternoons at 3 o’clock.

Dollar Tickets for sale at the Melodeon, Ditson & Co’s Music Store, Federhen & Co’s 13 court Street, 15 State Street, 76 Washington Street, and at Dyer & Co’s 35 School Street.

Orders by mail or express should be sent to JOSIAH PERHAM, Agent, Adams House, Boston.

From The Boston Daily Advertiser, December 2, 1863 [Historic Newspaper Collection]