Tullahoma, Tennessee – May 2, 1863

Tullahoma, Tenn.  May 2nd 1863.

My dear Wife

How rapidly time flies?  Here it is Saturday night again time for your letter + it seems only a day or two since I wrote last + it has been a whole week.  I wonder sometimes if it passes as rapidly with you.  I wish I could say my time was spent pleasantly + profitably.  I dont like the field service.  The constant change breaks up all my old foggy notion of comfort + convenience.  I despise this constant dragging about from place to place.  Our Brigade is still in town amusing ourselves throwing up fortifications.  All the rest of the army is gone to the front.  Our pickets are now in five miles of Murphreesboro.  All quiet along the line except the usual skirmishing.  no indications of a general fight soon.  I dont know what the policy of our Generals is, but it seems to me I would wait until the yanks army is weakened by the loss of the troops whose time of service expires soon.  It is said the yankee soldiers will not re enlist + their places, if filled at all, will have to be filled with conscripts + raw recruits, + there is a great difference between them + regularly trained troops.  I dread one of these big battles.  I saw Genl Braggs official report of the Battle of Murphreesboro yesterday + was astonished to learn that our loss in killed wounded + missing was over 10,000 men.  Just think of the widows + orphans from such a loss.

Our Brigadier Genl was ordered to Vicksburg this morning + told our Col he would take our Battalion with him if we wanted to go.  I wanted to go very much but could not get one of our officers to agree to go. They all prefer staying here.  They have an idea of getting back to Mobile one of these days.  I am getting very tired of being so far + so long from home.  Ask Maj if there is not a vacant position some where in the state service that I can get if there is I will resign here + go to it.  So I can see you all occasionally.

How I could enjoy an old fashioned Sunday, spent as in peace times.  Some of us will appreciate peace when it does come.

Sunday morning, all quiet as far as heard from, really though there is no Sunday here.  every man that is able to handle a a spade or pick is at work on the breastworks.1  This place is being fortified in case we should have to fall back.  How I could enjoy an old fashioned Sunday, spent as in peace times.  Some of us will appreciate peace when it does come.  There is not a word of war news stirring.  The telegraph reported fighting at Grand Gulf yesterday2 + day before also the death of Genl Tracy,3 but the news is not confirmed.  I cant give you any idea of this country.  I know nothing what ever of its topography.  Tullahoma is a little one horse town on the R.R. from Chattanooga to Nashville.  The Yanks had possession of this country for several months + they left their usual marks, houses + fences destroyed, chimneys standing alone in a pile of ashes.  They say they have abandoned the idea of conquering us but intend to worry + starve us to death.  A great many of the people here are luke warm in the cause + others decidedly in favour of the Union.  Some of the citizens here say they have suffered more from our soldiers a great deal than they did from the Yanks.  I must say I am like the citizens here in one respect.  I dont want our own army ever to be in twenty miles of my home, though the Yanks may be right among you for what I know.  I never see a La paper + have no idea what is going on over there.  We are having beautiful spring weather + vegetation is progressing rapidly They are doing very little here in the way of farming, on account of the uncertainty I suppose, from Montgomery to Chattanooga though the prospect is fine for provision wheat + corn.  I would like to know what you are doing in the way of crop? We have a mail every day from Mobile but it is a long time between your letters.  No news from Joe or Enoch.  They are in the front.  I may never see either of them again though in less than twenty miles of them.  Write as usual.  Love to all.
Take good care of your dear self + babies + believe me your own
Alex.

The Letter:

  1. Barriers which were about breast-high and protected soldiers from enemy fire. <a title="Matthew Brady photos Nat'l Archives on Flickr" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/usnationalarchives/sets/72157624253038356/" target="_blank">See images</a>.
  2. </em><a title="Photos and links" href="http://www.civilwaralbum.com/vicksburg/grand_gulf.htm" target="_blank">Grand Gulf</a>, Mississippi. On April 29, 1863 seven Union ironclads attacked Confederate troops as part of the operations against Vicksburg.
  3. Brig. Gen. <a title="Photo" href="http://www.generalsandbrevets.com/sgt/tracy.htm" target="_blank">Edward Dorr Tracy</a>, killed at Port Gibson, <a title="Gravesite" href="http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=9093" target="_blank">May 1, 1863</a>.