1863-11-06Camp Lenoir, Tenn.
Camp Lenoir, Tenn.

Nov. 6th 1863

Dear Parents

This Friday evening finds me trying to write a few lines in answer to your most welcome letter of the 14th Oct. which came to hand nearly a week ago. I should have answered before but we were very busy building our new house for the winter. We have a spendid camping ground about 1/2 mile from the Tennessee River and within 20 yards of a good creek and spring. When we came from Loudon where my last letter was written, we encamped in the midst of a forest and rec'd orders to build winter quarters, so we went to work with a hearty will and feeling that our winter work was to be confined to picket duty and various other little duties we are content to have the privilege of making ourselves comfortable dwellings. All that is lacking now is plenty of provisions and clothing which we get very little of. We have been confined to half rations since we left Knoxville near two weeks ago and no prospects of any better fare in the future. We have drawn no clothing since we left Kentucky but I presume we shall get our clothing ere long. Some of the boys are barefooted but we can put up with all this if we can have the privilege of remaining in our good quarters. If you could only look in upon us at the present moment, you would think Soldiering was a partime amusement. Walter is seated by my side at the table (which by the way, is a luxury we do not often enjoy) writing I presume to Marion. Since I have commenced in part, I will give you a full description of our house and its inmates. In the first place the room is 8 by 11 1/2 ft. inside, built of oak and pine timber split and hewn and covered with our shelter tents. In one end is a good fireplace, in the other is our sleeping apartments all built up from the ground covered with good straw. Its inmates are Walt, Thomas, Albert, and John Hancock, William Hoffman and myself, 6 in all. We are all pretty good natured so I think we will get along very well for the winter.

I would like to be where I could send and get a box from home but it is out of the question at the present to get a box through to this place unless some person were coming direct to our division. The sutlers ask from $12.00 to $18.00 for a pair of boots that we could get from $5.00 to $7.00 at home. If I had known in time of Jehiel's being at home, I should have tried to have a pair of good boots sent by him but I presume before you get this, he will be with us. If good luck, about 10 months more we will see old Pa., if not sooner and U.S. will have to offer large bounty for vetren Soldiers that he has yet, before I enlist again till after I have been home awhile. If l find living at home more disagreeable than soldiering I say I may perhaps reenlist so I think there is but little danger of my going to war again after I once get out. l hope O.A. Smith will stand his draft rather than pay $300.00. He will know how it feels to take a three years tower in the field providing hostilities continue that length of time which I hope they will not.

I do not know that I have any particular war news to give you this time. No progressive movement is going on in this department just now. We evacuated London [Loudon] on the 10th of Oct. The cause of Genl. Burnside evacuating that side of the River is more than I know. We had strong works in which we might have held the army at bay for a long time, had they have chosen to attack us which I doubt their ever doing. I do not know what to make of the movements in this country. It is all important that the RR should be opened from here to Chattanooga on account of getting supplies from Nashville. As it is now all our supplies have to be hauled over the mountains by mules and it takes about 6 weeks for a train to make the trip there and back and the roads are so bad that 6 mules cannot haul enough to last one small Co. more than 3 days at full rations, and the Rebels have so nearly stripped the country of its grain that there is none left for us more than what the inhabitants actually need, but we must live and many of the loyal people are willing to divide their last morsel with a Yanky, as they persist in calling us. This part of the State is not as loyal as it is farther up the river. There the people are principally Union, all Rebels or pretty much all. l do not know whether we shall remain in the part of the country all winter or not, but you must excuse me for tonight my candle is as good as out and it is bed time so good night ever more and I will try to finish this before the mail goes out.