Rebs and Yanks who know one another talk and shoot at each other during battle
July 11, 1863
Charles Morfoot was 39 years old when this was written.
The recipient, Elizabeth Morfoot, was 40 when it was received.
Charles Morfoot died 36 years, 5 months, 1 day after writing this.
It was written 157 years, ago.
It was a Saturday.
July 11, 1863
Camp at Winchester Tenn.
Kind and affectionate wife tonight I undertake to write to you again. Our company is all on picket and I am in camp. I have not been on picket since we left Murfreesboro. I am the only one to attend to the affairs of the company today. I got some shoes for our boys and rations. I just came in. I went out on the picket line with our male. I attend to the letters of our company tonight. I can't tell my fealings. I am som lonesom and sad, nothing to divert my thoughts. Consequently they turn homeward so I have to write som. We have nothing to cause sadness now.
We are all safe here but one he was shot through the arm near the shoulder. His name is Harvey McCullough. We had som fun in our day skirmish. We would talk together then shoot a while. Some of the Ill. boys knew some of the rebs and called their names. Called our boys by name, then fire one and another. Next morning 2 of them got away and came to us. One was from Illinois and tother was from Ohio. They were conscripts. They say they wanted to get away at Murfreesboro but could get no chance. We left 15 dead rebs on that hill top and in the valley I don't kno how many as they were gathered in heaps and rail pens built around them. Ours were buryed. How many I don't kno. Not many according to the fighting. As we pased along in battle line after the retreating foes, one of our men lay. We past over him. He spoke to me. He said seargent, give them rebs hell. They gave it to me. His leg was broken by a minie ball. He was of the 24th Ill. Such is the spirit of the soldiers on the feald of battle. Verry few complain unless for want of attention. I passed one or 2 lying in the mud 6 inches deep in the cornfield. Co. H boys brought a rebel seargant down the hill that night shot in the hip and leg, I think mortally. He told the capt. when they found him among the dead, “take it and make good use of it. I can't use it any more.” Their flag barer was kild on the hill top. Our brigade got their battle flag. Our brigade (got) great praise, each regiment named separately by the other division generals for our timely assistance. We releaved the 2nd division under heavy musketry and canon. They did shout when we came up. Then their bugall called them back. I saw several empty saddled horses comeing back and one officer I saw knocked off his horse by a shell. Another came verry near Gibson's regiment as they passed us but they dropt to the ground so nice as the shell came howling It passed over our heads 20 feet. George Gestinslager got his thumb hit slightly. John Richer got hit side the head but only stuned him. The old company of Keller's lost 1 or 2 kild and some wounded. We had all our fighting in Liberty Gap that is a narrow place between two mountains. It is 4 or 5 miles through and not more than 1 or 2 hundred yards wide, an awful place to drive an enemy out and it had to be done at bayonet point in most every instance. Hoover's Gap is another powerful strong point but it had to come. Enough of this.
Well mam I got your of June 26 and the journal and files. We are in find spirits hopeing this war is fast closeing. It can't last long for victory is crowning our arms. Every where we are getting hundreads of prisioners. The Tennisseans won't fight any more. Well I commenced a letter this morning and I did not send it. I was complaining a won't now but I will tell why we sent our knapsacks and everything. We had but our rubber blankets and each a half dogtent which is a piece of muslin about 5 feet square. Well they through all away and our camp equipage and burnt them. The roads were so bad and the provision was of more account the train killed 150 mules just by hard pulling and heat but they are here and we have some grub. We have been living on a little sour cornmeal and anything we could get. I have layed down at night hungry and nothing for breakfast but by morning potatoes would come and fresh poark. My mess we rubed out wheet and made rips but our sugar was all and the cows did not come up but all rite now. We have commenced running the printing office of this town. If they print any newspapers I will send one. I can't say what our destiny is now. Some think we will stay here to garrison this place. It is of importance as the railroad is here and soon as some bridges are built the cars can run from Nashville. If not we cross the mountains to Alabama.
Our cavalry are after Bragg, some 15 thousand of them. Most of them armed with 5 and 7 shooters and these are long range guns. We are campt in a grove at the edge of town, a nice place and plenty of rails to burn and wheat to make beds and shanteys nearby and large cornfields for the horses. The people of this section are reaping the fruits of war with a vengence now. They were saucy at first but they are getting humble.
I forgot I was to church Sunday in town. It looked some natural only the absents of bonnets, nary one in the large church. I want you to write as usual. I may not send as often on account of envelops. I have only this one. If the sutler comes up I can get more. The I shal write often. This is only a small sheat & I had to write prety thick. I bought 2 such today for 5 cents. I have nothing to carry paper in only my cartrage box so it is badly mused. I must close and go to bead. My bead is as good as any other hog has. It consists of about 2 or 3 dozen sheafs of wheat, some to ly on, one for a pillow. Cover I have none. Don't want any.
Sunday morning. I will close this. I have had my breakfast. I had coffee with sugar in good beef stake fried and hardtack. I slept good and sound. I intend going to church today. Our company will soon be in from picket. Then I will divide our rations and isue some shoes, then inspection of arms, then our work is done for this Sabath. I can't dress very nice for church today as I have only a part of a shirt and my pants is out at the stirn and knees. I expect to get new ones in a few days. I believe I will close and write the rest when I get another envelop. Now if you will write me as big letter I will say bully for the letter. Oh I forget. I got a letter from Kate Ziegler yesterday. All are well. I hope this will reach you and find you all well. _____told me to say if you see his folks he has been sick but is better now and will be fit for duty in a day or too. No more now.
Farewell from Charles Morfoot to E. Morfoot.
*Some punctuation and paragraph breaks added to assist reading