Joseph Gordon Taylor Letters
Hanover students from His225 "The History of the American Midwest (taught by Matthew N. Vosmeier), GW143 "Autobiography: History" (taught by Sarah McNair Vosmeier), and His165 "The Family and the Modern West" (also taught by Sarah McNair Vosmeier) transcribed these letters. The originals are available at the Duggan Library Archives, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
J. Gordon Taylor corresponded with Emma Taylor (Monfort), whose letters have also been transcribed.
For more on the people, places, and events discussed in the letters, see the Guide to the Elias Riggs Monfort Letter Collection. Other transcriptions and page images from the Monfort collection are also available.
Note that we have added paragraphing to Taylor's "journal" entries.
J. Gordon Taylor, letter to Emma Taylor, 14 Dec. 1862, Folder 5, Box 1, Elias Riggs Monfort Letters, Duggan Library, Hanover College, Hanover, Indiana.
Lexington Ky. Dec, 14th 1862.
Your welcome letter was received this morning and having time I proceed to answer it, lest I should not have so good are opportunity soon. I arrived here last Wednesday evening about 1/2 past seven and went to the Phoenix Hotel where I had supper and a good night's sleep. (I took dinner with "Perkins" before starting and told him you would send him one of my pictures which I hope you will do when you get them.) When I awoke in the morning, it was sunshiny and very pleasant and I sallied out in search of the "General". I had gone but a few steps when a Soldier asked if I had a pass, and being unable to answer in the affirmative, he immediately attached himself to me as my body guard. Of course I felt highly complicated at the honor and he escorted me around to the office of the Provost Marshall, who told me where I could find the "Head=Quarters. Thither I repaired as speedily as possible but found that the "Headquarters" was yet in bed. However I politely informed my body guard that I now felt perfectly safe and told him he might depart to renew his search after those whom he might devour, which permission he received very graciously and smilingly retired. I had waited but a short time in the office when Capt. Avery (as of the 71st) came in and he furnished me with a pass that enabled me to go forth as told as bold as a lion. After sending my baggage up to the headquarters I went to the Quarter Master to look after my horse, which had been sent up a day before. He knew nothing of him but thought I would look around a little on my own hook and finally found the Horse depot. There were a lot of soldiers there selecting horses for a battery and one of them had just picked out mine and was chuckling over his good fortune when I suddenly put an end to it. Some kind individual had taken off my halter lest it should to be stolen and with it the Card upon which I had written my name and if I had been fifteen minutes later, my horse would have been gone beyond all recovery. The benevolent individual forgot to inform me where the halter was put, in fact he forgot to make himself visible to me and, inwardly rejoicing, that it was no worse I went off and bought a new halter and put a darkey guard over both horse and halter who has far kept them safe. I then returned to the Office and found the General up. He gave me a hearty welcome, told me to go to work as soon as I pleased -- the sooner the better -- but I must find out for myself what there was to do as he could not show me. I did not grumble but got my baggage into my room set up my cot arranged my loose traps and by that time, I began to be hungry. I found out that dinner would be ready at four o'clock, which I now know means six, so I had to starve until that time, when I sat down to a very nice dinner with Gen. Granger, Brig Gens. Gillmore & Carter & Capt. Avery A. D.C to Gen. Granger. Lieut. Beaham was in Cincinnati and did not return until last night. We sat at table a long time and that finished the day for me. I sat around the office reading until 1/2 past 11 o'clock when I went to bed. My last recollection of my first day in the military service is whether it would hurt much if I should make an unlucky turn and roll out of the arms of Morpheus and my cot and awake upon the floor. Our Quarters are very pleasant being the well furnished house of a rebel who has gone to Dixie. We have Brussels Carpet on all the rooms hair cloth chairs, wardrobes, bureaus, Mirrors, Chandeliers, Gas, etc, &c, and nice beds if we want to use them. I only use my cot that I may perfect myself in the art of balancing upon it during the unconscious hours of sleep. We have Generals at dinner every day and these Colonels, Captains &c here in great plenty. When you and Kate come on you can have a first-rate time. My second day was better occupied. My duties are furnishing passes to such as are untitled to them and making orders for transportation, and studying the Army regulations and Infantry tactics. Today we -- Lieut. Beaham, Capt. Avery, Lieut. Fullerton and myself -- went out to the Camps and saw the troops on dress parade. That was after dinner. You must remember that we only get two meals per day here. Breakfast at 10 o'clock and Dinner between 4 and 6 o'clock, so hereafter when I say after Breakfast or Dinner you will know about what time of the day it is. It is the first time I have been on horseback since I came. When we returned, we attended Church which was only a few doors off, and heard some good singing and much better sermon than I had expected. Lieut. Beaham appears to be a first-rate sort of a fellow, and constantly reminds me both in looks and actions of "Ethan". The 18th Ky. is here, Camped on the road to their old battle Ground. Capt. Avery I like very well and also Lieut. Fullerton though he is one of these sober Kind that you cannot get much out of. Pa got me a diary which I shall use so that you need not send me one. Tell "Dot" that her slippers are very comfortable mornings and bring to mind the giver very often. Give my best respects to her and also remember me to "Annie" whom I should not forget though the socks should go the way of all [strikeout: socks] those which have flourished and gone before them. While you are distributing my very best, do not forget "Sallie" "Maggie" and all the rest of my friends. When you tell them you can put on the "Miss" as it comes to natural to me to leave it off. And thanks to Kate for her little note. I will write to her Wednesday or Thursday, and until then she must try to be content with love sent second hand. Of course she can't though. I wrote a little note to Pa the day after I got here telling him of my safe arrival, which I suppose he [strikeout: got] recd. And now good night as I must follow the example of my companions and go to roost. I wore my boot on my
Your affectionate bro.
This is the smallest paper the office can afford. Forgot to give Cousin Gordon your regards. will do it tomorrow.
Joseph Gordon Taylor, letter to Emma A. Taylor, 22 Dec. 1862, Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Jade Gooch, HC 2018
Lexington, Ky, Dec 22 1862
I enclose with this a letter which I received from "Sam" Brooks. You will read it with interest as it contains a well written tribute to the memory of "Ethan", and also closes with a remark or two which specially concerns you, [strikeout: and] which I am glad to see. I told him in my reply that you would, I know, willingly forget the past. How do you like the "Pictures" as I hear that you have received them? Are they are good. I had a letter from Pa today mailed from Louisville. He has a prospect of getting employment under Capt. Goulding [inserted: of] which I am very glad to hear, though if he accepts it, he will be almost continually away from home. I had a letter from Ma yesterday so you see that I still keep well supplied. If you come here during the "Holidays" you will have a hard time or rather a dull time for there is nothing going on outside of the military operations. There are plenty of ladies but I am not acquainted with any of them and I expect you would find the day almost unbearable. The evening would be quite different, as Cousin Gordon would then have time to introduce you among the Aristocracy of the town. Parties are plenty and he has no lack of invitations. There was quite a fire here last night. By some means or other, the Forage Warehouse * burned down, destroying some six hundred tons of hay and a large lot of corn.
*I mean that by some means or other the warehouse was set on fire, since the cause of its burning [inserted: when started] was very evident. I did not go down to see it as I had just gone to bed when the alarm was given. I hope you will succeed in getting a recess during the Holidays. I may have to come down to the City the first week of Jan. after my pay. There is a Paymaster to come here soon but whether he will come soon enough for my purposes is not yet determined. The probabilities are however against my seeing the City so you will say nothing about it at home. And now I will say goodbye with a Merry Christmas to you. Give my love to Kate and all my loving friends who may be solicitous about my welfare.
Joseph Gordon Taylor, letter to Emma A. Taylor, 14 Jan 1863, folder 7, box 1, Joseph Gordon Taylor Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind).
Transcription and research by Reilly Reinbold, HC 2018
Lexington Ky Jan 14 1863
You will have to postpone your visit to me here, indefinitely as we leave here on Monday next for Nashville, Tenn. Gen. Rosecrans needs reinforcements and Gen. Beranger is ordered from here with the 3 divisions of his command. I am glad that I improved the opportunity of visiting home last week as I can not tell when the chance will come again. I will now be where Pa can occasionally visit me which will be a great relief to him I have no doubt. When he went away he did not think we were so secure to join him nor did I, but so the authorities have decreed it. We will go by boat from Louisville I suppose as the Steamers are being impressed for service of some kind. You will say nothing about this until it appears in the papers - as it surely will soon - as I do not want to be in any way liable for its becoming generally known. The Slippers came the day after my return and were given to the General who was very much pleased with them. I'm afraid they are a little too large but he did not say anything about that. I send you the writing case as I need the room it occupies very much. The General cuts us down in baggage very close and every corner that can be made available will be occupied with that more needed for comfort. I can always have writing materials in my present position. You can take care of it and if I need it at any time I can send for it. You need not write until you hear from me again as I do not know how I have the letter directed, though if you put on the envelope "to be forwarded" it will follow us up. You will have to wait until Summer vacations now and you can come down to Head Quarters where ever they may then be instead of honoring Lexington with your presence. Had I known of it soon enough I might have spent another day in Cincinnati as the Gen. did not return until Thursday afternoon.
You can present my best respects to all who had the misfortune to miss seeing me when I was down. I will soon begin that promised journal for you and send you such instalments as I think will prove of any interest to you. I could give you the record of daily Events since my coming here very briefly fut now that there is something more likely to be seen than dilapidated towns and more stirring about than a daily ride I shall have some thing to note down. I enclose the Express receipt for the case. If the package does not come to you at Glendale you will find it at the Adams Express Co's office in Cincinnati. The agent said it would go to Glendale. I have kept the paper and what ever else I thought best, out of it. And now having exhausted my stock of ideas -- as they are this morning in rather a confused state -- I will say good bye. You shall hear from me as soon as I know what is to be done with us at Nashville.
Give my love to Kat --
J. Gordon Taylor, letter to Emma A. Taylor, 4 Feb. 1863, folder 7, box 1, Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Tyler Bryant, HC 2018 (and Sarah McNair Vosmeier)
I send the Military case Key
Have just met Lt Crebleman
told me he had a letter for me
will get it.
Louisville Ky Feby 4 / 63
Your letter directed to me at Lexington found me here and was gladly welcomed. I leave today a six o'clock for Nashville on the Steamer "Jewess". Gen. Granger will not start for several days yet and will come through by Rail Road. There is a large fleet of boats going with plenty of soldiers to make all safe. I had a letter from Pa yesterday. He was all safe and well but his fleet was attacked on the way up, and balls put into several of the boats. No one hurt as usual. Reports say that Fort Donaldson is attacked but I think the forces there will make a good defense, until the fleet reaches there and then the "Rebels" will have to retreat. I saw Capt. Yaryan this morning and had a little Chat with him. Have you ever noticed how much he looks like Gen. Granger. A great many noticed the resemblance and that is the way I came to see him. Dr Varian directed my attention to him and lo! I found that we had met at Glendale. He goes to Nashville, by Rail. I have just returned from Gen. Boyle's Hd. Qrs. where I have been after my "Contraband" who was arrested last Saturday. I tried every way to get him released without applying to Gen. Granger but to no purpose. and yesterday I laid the case before him. He wrote me an order that brought the "sable" individual promptly much to the joy of the latter and to my comfort too. I enclose you some Photographs. Send one to Ma and one to Cousin Kate. The Gen. did not tell me to send one to Cousin Kate but I do it on my own responsibility. Some of these days when my bashfulness wears off I mean to write to her myself. How do you like the Picture. The Gen. flourishes in your slippers daily and seems to take great comfort in them. I saw "Siela" at "Pike's" Wednesday evening of last week. I had intended coming out to see you that evening but missed the train, so, you missed the last visit for a long time. I was glad to see "Siela" before going away. I attended "Pike's" with "Will. Teasdale" and enjoyed the evening very much. "Will" misses "Ethan". You have no idea how he feels upon it. I called on "Charley" Brown, and had a good talk with him. Tried to see "Perkins" but could not. Will find Pa down there which will surprise him greatly. How fortunate that he is sent there. Write to me, direct to Nashville Tenn. and put upon the envelope "if not there to be forward" and it will find me. Give my love to "Kate" Remember me to my friends
Yours affectionately Gordon.
J. Gordon Taylor, partial letter to Emma A.Taylor, 9 Feb. 1863, folder 7, box 1, Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Fatima Nasir-Deen, HC 2018.
is any truth in the report I cannot tell, but it is very possible as the river is very narrow and for a great part of the distance entirely unprotected by our troops. A wagon train belonging to the 4th Corps sent up week before last was attacked by the rebel Gen. Wheeler who however got the worst of it, as he was routed with the loss on his part of 131 prisoners and a number of killed and wounded. Tell Em I wrote to "Perkins" as soon as I received her letter and some of these days I will write to Sam Brooks. Much as I like him I do not feel under many obligations to write to him as he is so very careless about answering. Situated as he is a Washington where he has apportunities to hear all that is going on, his letters might be and always are very interesting but they come so seldom let his correspondents be ever so prompt, that he has no right to complain. I mean to write to " White and Sudlow" in a few days and shall send the letters to you to forward as I believe they require ten cents in silver to pay rebel postage with which I cannot get down here. Enclosed I send you some rebel stamps I took from old Envelopes which I found in a "cabinet" in our house here. How did Prest [President] Tuckerman learn that White was in Libby. I know Sudlow and Gilbert Strong were there but I have never been able to learn anything concerning White until your letter came. When you see Prest T. again remember me to him and also to Prof. Klund. Remember me too to all my friends, Annie, Sallie, Maggie and others not forgetting Dr. and Mrs. Robbins. Give my love to Em, and tell her when Helen kissed her in the neck for me I think she should have received it more graciously. Just wait until I come home and I'll make up for lost time. We have no news from the General. He has either forgotten us or has such confidence in our abilities that he is perfectly willing to trust us alone. I have signed his name so often of late I almost consider myself a Maj. Gen. But goodbye. Give my love to all and take a good share for yourself.
J. Gordon Taylor, letter to Emma A. Taylor, 24 Feb. 1863, folder 7, box 1, Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription and research by Brandi Buchanan, HC 2018, and Falyn Moncrief, HC 2018 (and Sarah McNair Vosmeier)
Feby. 24th, 1863.
My dear "Em,"
Herewith I present for your careful perusal the second installment of my interesting journal. I have now been a week in this place and my first impressions have undergone no change by the sojourn. The one thing lacking now is something to do, as loafing here is intolerable. I do not complain at all, however as my condition might be much worse. I am well housed and well fed and wish all of our poor soldiers could enjoy the same comforts. Have received three letters this week, two from you dated the 8th & 15th of Feby. and one from Kate and Lettie, also of the 15th but I ought not to tell it twice as it comes in, in the record of events.
Tuesday, Feby. 17th, 1863. It has been a dark drizzly day, hence I have been out but little. Went this afternoon to the Camp of the troops under Gen. G's command which is about three miles from town. The road was a perfect sea of mud and I was covered from head to foot, almost literally buried in the "sacred soil of Tennessee." Found the troops camped on very good ground, on a good hard sod, rolling so that the water does not stand as it would on level ground and thus they escape a great deal of mud. Every available point on our way out was strongly fortified. A fence is now a curiosity everything burnable having been confiscated. Where once were beautiful groves are now unsightly stumps and the houses that were sheltered by their shade look the very picture of desolation. It has once been a beautiful country round about Nashville but the penalties of rebellion have fallen heavily upon the land and its glory has departed. Visited the Capitol. It is a beautiful building built of the Tennessee marble and standing upon a high hill -- "Capitol Hill" -- in the center of the city, is visible for miles around. In its solid walls are buried the remains of the Architect "Wm [William] Strickland" and a noble monument it is. Little did he dream the day would come when traitor hands would use their utmost endeavors to undo his work. At present it forms an almost impregnable fort. Cannon are planted on very side of it, earthworms surround it, log stockades add to its strength and the marble halls echo to the Jests of soldiers, the ring of the musket, and the clanking of sabres. When will the nations of the earth learn war no more.
Wednesday, Feby. 18th. It has rained all day and the way my time has been spent may briefly be expressed thus, "Sleeping I dreamed" etc. &c." I had the blues most decidedly but did'nt feel very bad after all. Concluded after waking, that as I could not stop the rain the best way was to let it fall. Went to bed and dreamed I saw dry land and in my exultations over the sight thereof I awoke. It was'nt dry at all for it was raining harder than ever.
Thursday, Feby. 19th. Received a letter from Em. today. Took it very coolly. If anyone had met me on the street they never would have guessed I'd got a letter. The street was too muddy to get down and roll in, so I just put it in my pocket -- the letter, you know -- not the street --. It hasn't rained today though I know it wanted to. Nothing but that letter stopped it. Took dinner with Lieut. Richards and had a sociable time. He was in the same Reg. [regiment] and Co. [company] with Henry Ast, but did not think much of him. Says the "Lord" gets sick too easy when there is any work to do. Met a brother of Andy Bloom who belongs to the 2d Ky. [Kentucky] Reg. Now Em, now's your time to get the second edition revised and -- I was going to say improved but think I'll leave that out. Saw Jim and Bob Morgan also and had a chat with them. Acquaintances begin to turn up. Met Mr Clark one of my "Camp Monroe" associates who, growing tired of Capt. Hearbt, has procured the suttership of the 1st Tenn. Cav. Mr Eshelby is near town too and I shall call on him soon. Heard of an old College Hill student in the Q. M. Dept. and when every other resource fails shall go down and bore him a while.
Friday, Feby 20th. Sun shone all day. Went out to Camp and took dinner and a bad cold. The Camp looked like a country town in house cleaning time, with its rows of blankets, comforts, cots and mattrasses hung out to air. The tents are very comfortable, all having stoves in them. Received another letter from Em. today but as it was a week older than the one which came yesterday, did not brag of it. It was, however, none the less welcome. It had been to Murfreesboro, to make a visit to Brig. Gen. R.S. Granger, which was the cause of its being so behind time.
Saturday, Feby 21st. As there has been a long dry spell, it rained today for variety. As the floods poured down the streets I could not but think how fortunate it is that Capitol Hill is so near. I would answer very well the purpose for which the tower of Babel was originally intended. Lieut. Beaham came in this afternoon and told me my "nig" had foundered my horse. What with the rain and dull times, this last item had nearly been the "last point that broke the Camel's back". It was well for the darkey that he was where I could not reach him or I'd have singed his head so that he would have been in the condition of the "Uncle Ned" we sing of. Have been half sick today too and of course do'n't feel a bit cross, oh! no.
Sunday Feby 22nd. Stayed in my room all day, as I did not feel well. Do not want to be sick and will not if I can in any way prevent it. By taking care of myself today, hope to be well tomorrow. Monday, Feby 23rd. Better this morning. The Citizens had a grand celebration today and I went up to the Capitol to hear the speeches, but the crowd was so great I could not get in. Having failed in that got a horse and went out to camp. Was a first rate horse but when I ride him again shall have my neck insured before starting. He has a habit of Kneeling which I'm sure he never learned in this part of the country, since no one can accuse the inhabitants of such a habit. Called on Mr Eschelby on my return. Found him Jolly as every, perched on a barrell, behind a board, two kegs, three barrells, seven boxes, one stove and a pile of wood, while behind him were articles too numerous to mention. He reminded me [struck out: of the boast] of Alex. Selkirk,
"I'm monarch of all I survey,
My right there is none to dispute".
And the appellation of "Judge" given him by the soldiers seemed to give him a right to the claims set forth above. He is just the kind of a man to take well with the soldiers and I guess they "hitch" -- that's a quotation from you -- very well. Got home after dark, in a first rate humor, and took a cup of coffee with Lt. Richards, and then called on Jim Morgan. We are messing with Lt. Richards now. By the way, what an appropriate word that is, for a set of men keeping house together. "Mess." The very name is suggestive of the reality. You know somewhere in the Rhetoric it recommends - or does not recommend - which is it? - to make the sound the echo of the sense, and here you have it
[In block letters:] Finis.
Now you have the second chapter before you. If it suits you, it does not me and I have this to say, if the next is not an improvement, I'll raise a tombstone over my Journal. I am well again and so is Pa and we both send our love: Remember me to, Anna, Dot, Sallie and all other inquiring friends but when you do so, just put this "Miss" where it ought to be. If I ever have a chance I will become better acquainted with Capt. Yaryan & Lieut. Castleman - is that his name - and will whisper to you in all charity - what I see of them. No General yet. Don't care if he stays away a month. We Know he's safe as Capt. Russell will see that he does not get into difficulty. And now good bye. I sent Kate a paper this morning. After a letter eleven days long I think she might send me a letter by herself - and then you Know there'd have been more room for "Lettie" - Give her my love. She and Lettie [crossed out, "my"] may decide for whome the love is intended. Kind of mixed up but it will give them something to do you know.
Truly yours fraternally in the bonds of a never dying affection
J. Gordon Taylor, letter to Emma Taylor, 12 March 1863, folder 7, box 1, Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription and research by Cheyann Fletcher, HC 2018, and Darien Miller, HC 2018 (and Sarah McNair Vosmeier)
Franklin, Tenn. Mch 12th, 1863
Yours of the 2d was received this evening and I suppose had been waiting for me a day or two. Since I last wrote we have as the heading of my letter shows, changed our Head Quarters, how and why you will learn as my journal progresses.
Tuesday, Mch 3d 1863, Spent most of the day in letter writing as it has been cold and cloudy out of doors. Has been threatening to snow and the wind whistles round the corners and through the crevices, sighing and shrieking as none but March wind can. The sea of mud is fast disappearing although so short a time has elapsed since we had rain in torrents, and the dust already begins to fill your eyes and ears whenever you venture out. Found Uncle William this evening and had a long chat. How good it is to meet old familiar faces when so far from home.
Wednesday, Mch 4th. A cold blustering morning with a flurry of snow after which the sun came out brightly but with little effect upon the temperature. Found a letter from Ma waiting for me at the office, the first I have received from her since I came here. Met Charlie Ast on the street and learned that Nellie and Henry were at the St. Cloud, so I made a call without any delay. Henry seemed glad to see me and we had a good long talk over old times. From him I heard of several of the old College boys. Capt. Key who I think was in "Metcalf's" class, died a few weeks ago of typhoid fever. Lieut. Ludlow is at Murfreesboro well and hearty. "Braden" is also at M. He is Lieut. in the same Co and Reg. to which "Key" belonged- 105th-O.V.I. - "Hickman" was killed not long ago. He belonged to the 8' Ky. Cav." Farmers' College has done well for the country in war matters whatever she may have done in a literary line. Nellie Ast spoke to me very pleasantly, the first time she has condescended to notice me for several years. However here one forgets old differences and the sight of a familiar face is enough to make friends. They are going to Murfreesboro tomorrow. Henry is Acting Adjutant on Col. Miller's staff.
Thursday Mch. 5th Pa went to Bowling Green this morning leaving me alone. The Gen. returned from M. last evening and today has taken possession of a magnificent house to be used as his head quarters. Of course that suits me as well as anything and I anticipate a stay in this delectable town of a month or six weeks longer. Have been round to the house which the men are cleaning up, and like it very much. It is much finer and convenient than the one we occupied in Lexington. Have missed Pa a good deal today. He went out to look after some mules that were on a train [burnt?] last week.
Friday Mch. 6th. Called at the hotel this morning to see the Gen. and found to my surprise that he had gone to Franklin, taking all of his staff with him, save Capt. Russell & myself. Our forces then were attacked yesterday and nearly 2,000 taken prisoners, and the Gen. has gone to see what he can do retrieve our loss. Have been at the hotel all day waiting for dispatches from the Gen. About three o'clock Lt. Beaham came up with orders for us to join the Gen. tomorrow, bag and baggage, so our nice housekeeping arrangement is all upset. It has rained steadily all day preparing the men for our march tomorrow. Can go by the cars if I choose but prefer going by pike. May have to retreat and it will be a good thing to know the country beforehand. Had a letter from "[Tom?]" today, good as her letters always are. Sent all my "traps" out to Camp this evening so that I may not be delayed when starting time comes.
Saturday Mch. 7th. My orderly who brought my horse in this morning told me we could not move on account of the rain. There is a creek about five miles from here which has risen to be impassable with our baggage train. Came out to Camp where I now am, the rain pattering upon the roof of my canvass house threatening to keep up here still another day. Spent most of the day in town helping Capt Russell who goes on the cars at five in the morning. Pa felt very bad about my leaving and I too was sorry that I had to go. How lonesome he will be now, more so than before I came. Wrote to Ma yesterday telling her of our intended move.
Sunday. Mch 8th. Of all the Sundays which have been ignored since I have been in the service of Uncle Sam, this has appeared the least like "the day of rest." I have been utterly unable to realize that there was any such day. We rose early and started off on our first or rather my first march about nine o'clock. There was a good pike all the way with a beautiful country through which to travel, and the day at first so unpromising turned out very Spring like. We found the creek that caused our delay yesterday very high, but with skillful driving, much beating of the poor mules and more swearing from the men we succeeded in crossing without accident. Reached Franklin at four o'clock and immediately pitched our tents in the yard of a Mr Roselle, a rebel of course, who plead hard to be exempt but to no purpose. Lt Beaham who is the manager in such affairs was inexorable. Found the Gen. well. Have been unable to learn any of the particulars of the late fight, save that our troops were overpowered by a largely superior force of rebels and many taken prisoners. Our total loss was 1406, killed wounded & prisoners.
Monday, Mch 9th. Have marched thirteen miles since one o'clock this afternoon reaching Spring Hill -- where we now are, about five. We have infantry, cavalry and artillery, sufficient to whip all the rebels in this part of the country if they will only give us a chance. There are with Gen. Granger, Generals Baird[,] Sherridan, Gilbert and Smith, the two first old and tried soldiers, the two latter not so experienced but ready to do their best. Gen. Baird is a small man, black hair, just turning grey, with sandy moustache, vigilant and active. Gen. Sherridan is every inch a soldier. He is a very small man, slightly built, sandy hair and beard, thin voice, and as quiet a man as I ever met, but you can tell from his manner that nothing escapes his notice. His men perfectly idolize him and with good reason. Instead of taking a house for quarters as others do he camps with his men, taking life as a soldier must, showing his men that what he requires of them he himself can and does perform. Our Gen. has taken two houses for himself and staff much to our comfort as we were not allowed to bring any tents and but one pair of blankets. We brought the tent fly which would keep the rain from us but would otherwise add nothing to our comfort. The rebels left this place this morning and are probably but a fue miles ahead of us. Shall continue the pursuit tomorrow when we hope to bring them to a stand. I went out after dark to see the Camp. The long rows of camp fires blazed and crackled cheerily, and the men laughed as heartily as [struck out: if] they would had they been at home instead of out tentless under a cold, cloudy sky whilst the savory smell of roasting pork, and chickens gave ample evidence that sundry animals had come within the lines without the countersign and paid the death penalty for their temerity.
Tuesday, Mch. 10th. Rained heavily all day, but our men were on the tramp by eleven o'clock anxious to get a view of the enemy. When we had moved about three miles out the Gen. sent me back to Spring Hill with dispatches for Regiments that were expected to arrive, where I spent a lonesome day. During the afternoon I could hear cannon shots, but there I was forced to stay until after dark when, the expected troops not coming, I ventured to go on to the Gen. and learn whether I should wait still longer, return for them to Franklin or remain with him. My long absence had led him to think I had fallen into the hands of the enemy. Our men captured a prisoner today and this evening a deserter from the 6th Texas Reg. came in and was brought to Hd. Qrs. It turned out that the Gen. knew him as he had belonged to the U.S. Army at the time the Gen. was stationed there. He reports the rebels about 10.000 strong with eight pieces of artillery. Their camp fires are visible from the house occupied by us. The firing which I heard today was from their batteries, and caused by an attempt of our men to cross a creek which flows between us and them. Went to sleep in an old fashioned feather bed, which was very dirty and looked rather suspicious, so to keep out intruders I rolled myself closely in my blankets and ignored the sheets entirely.
Wednesday, Mch. 11th, the day dawned clear and cool, and our first thought was would the rebels stand until we could come up with them or would they run. We could see them plainly without the aid of glasses on a hill about a mile beyond us, and as they had there two cannon, it began to be a question of interest whether or not they would not drop a shell or two among us, which they could easily have done had they been so inclined. Gen. Sherridan took four guns and opened fire upon them from a hill to the right of Hd. Qrs. and at every discharge we could see them scatter in all directions to avoid the bursting shell, but with all our firing we could not effect anything serious. The replied with three shots and then were silent. The rains had raised the creek so that even Calvary could not cross until late this afternoon when there was a slight skirmish in which six or eight rebels were killed or wounded when off they went. Our forces followed as far as was deemed prudent then returned to await the crossing of the infantry & artillery, when we will give them a little warm work. The men have been building a bridge over the creek today and we shall cross tomorrow early.
Thursday, Mch. 12th 1863. "The King of France with 20.000 men, marched up the hill and then marched down again" and we have imitated the example of our illustrious predecessor, for here we are in Franklin snugly settled again in our tents, after our four days march. I gained a little experience which will be of use in the future and the Gen. a knowledge of the country which will greatly aid any movements that may yet be made. A cavalry force sent across the river this morning scoured the country as far as Columbia on the Duck river and found that the rebels had crossed the river and then destroyed the boats leaving us to wait until it dried up or return and we adopted the latter alternative. The Gen. was very much disappointed at his failure to overtake them but as he did not have control of the weather he cannot be charged with the result. We hope fortune will smile upon us next time, meanwhile we wait patiently and not idly at this place. I found here waiting for me a letter from Em. which was gladly received.
Friday, Mch. 13th. Spent most of the morning in the office busy. Received another good long letter from Em written last Sunday, which came through very promptly and was as promptly read. Have nothing of interest today to record as the time has been spent in arranging back business and making preparations for a stay here of several weeks. We are as comfortable as we could be were we in a house and we live like princes now that we keep our own table. --- & ----
And now firstly as you complain that I do not answer your questions, I put myself on the witness stand and am at your service. 1st Who is Lieut. Richards. Ans. A cousin of Ellen Richards with whom Pa became acquainted and thus I too came to know him. He was in the same mess with Henry Ast when they were members of the 6th Ohio and is now Acting Qr. Master for the Camp of Convalescent soldiers in Nashville. He is 1st Lieut. in the 1st Reg. Tenn. Inf. & further deponent saith not. 2nd You need not send me the Atlantic as the undersigned has already had the pleasure of perusing it. 3rd I am very happy to say that my foot does not give me much trouble now. I am very careful of it and hope it will in time regain its strength. The cold and damp does not affect it as I feared it would. 4th I rode my horse from Nashville and all the time while on the march and he was as frisky as a kitten all the time seeming to care nothing at all for the work he had to do. 5th I have not yet given your regards to Jim Morgan or Mr Eshelby "cause why" I am not in Nashville nor are they at Franklin. The 52d Ohio was with us on the march. Your witness is now ready for a cross examination. When you see Lida again tell her that if ever I come home, I will call at her house for a dinner the first thing, and as she is so fond of it I hope she will have a good dish of hash on the table. By the way we had a very good dish of it today for dinner which put me in mind of home. The Gen. is well and received Miss Shoenbergen's cards yesterday. Did not seem to feel bad about it. You are mistaken in regard to the marriage of Gen. Gillmore as he is yet wooing. The bridal party was a Miss Letcher's who married Col. Carter of Tenn. Give my best regards to "Dot" when she returns. Her slippers help to give a home like look to my tent and have been a great comfort. Remember me to, "Anna" "Sallie" "Maggie" "Mary Hibben" and others whom I may know, and do not forget me yourself nor allow Kate to become unmindful of me. I am going to send you a batch of letters to keep for me some of these days as it goes too hard to burn them. I'll send them by Pa if he goes home next month. You must keep in better spirits. I used to be sort of sentimental once myself but have gotten bravely over it. All the world is not bad and if it was what good would it do to grow desperate over it. I tell you when I see what the soldiers have to put up with, I can not say a word about my own condition, and yet there is no complaining. Take the world as you find it, make the most of it as it is, do not worry yourself because you cannot stop it when it seems to be going over. You know it will all be right some time however dark it may be now. Clouds as heavy have disappeared, Storms as fierce have settled to a calm, and it is only by meeting and overcoming the obstacles that we learn to appreciate peace and quietness. If you make up your mind that you will not feel lonely, that you will see but the bright side or that you will see obstacles in your pathway only that you may know how to overcome them, it will be as you will it. When you are tempted to complain think how many have more cause and are yet cheerful, when you are lonesome remember those who have given up every home comfort and the society of friends near and dear, and yet are not lonely. And here let me say a word as to your notion of going to the hospitals. Having had an opportunity to know more than many can learn, I would say to every young lady stay at home unless you have a friend suffering and it becomes your duty to administer to his wants. But I did not intend making this a lecture and will say good bye hoping to hear from you again soon. Direct as before as we send messengers to N. daily for our mail thus receiving it sooner than if directed here. It is only 20 miles to N. Give my love to Kate & take a large share for yourself and remember me to those at home to whom I shall soon write.
J. Gordon Taylor to Emma A. Taylor, 17 June 1863, folder 8, box 1, Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription and research by Josh Ford, HC 2018, and Sakib Haque, HC 2018 (and Sarah McNair Vosmeier)
Head Quarters "Reserves Corps"
Triune Tenn. June 17 1863
When this reaches you, you will probably be at home, enjoying a rest after the labors of the year. It makes me homesick to think of the "little white house" now, with you all so pleasantly situated. I received a letter from Pa a day or two ago, in which he says he expected to go to Glasgow, Ky, as soon as Col. Goulding returned from Bowling Green where he then was. You see by the heading of my letter that the General's command has been organized, and from its name you can judge whether we are likely to advance or remain behind. When I last wrote I thought a battle would have taken place ere this but here we are still, sweltering upon the hill tops as far from the enemy as ever. The weather is very warm, and work not very [plenty], so that we manage to keep our temper. The news of yesterday in regard to Hooker and Lee was not very encouraging and a dispatch received this morning says a battle going on at the old Bull run field, which if the prestige of the place has any influence, will result in disaster to our arms. We feel secure about the army before Vicksburg, as it has been heavily reinforced, but all are anxious for its fall that the troops there may be elsewhere employed. Of our own future I can say nothing. We came to Franklin three months ago, expecting to stay but a few days, and now are at Triune where the prospect for a protracted sojourn is daily becoming better. I have long since ceased to complain or criticize, as I can see what obstacles are to be overcome and could the newspaper wiseacres be here and see and know what is done, they would go home with greatly different ideas as to carrying on the war. They would then devote their energies to prosecuting the war and to encouraging those who are daily dying that others at home may enjoy peace. This miserable wrangling about "party" would be done anyway with and men like Vallandigham, with his peace party would be given as food to the birds of the air, and all who mourned their fate be banished as traitors to the country. When I see such proceedings as the "Democrats" were engaged in, in my own native state, I begin to despair. We have arrived at the condition of Sodom and lack the "little leaven" that would save us from destruction. I am not one to give up but I feel as if all efforts were to prove in vain, and the utmost that can be done, is to show the world, that it cannot be charged against those who are now in the field. Thanks to the provisions of the State of Ohio, her soldiers are allowed a vote, and if fraud and corruption does not interpose, they will secure a republican, war-prosicuting Governor. The Copperheads at home have written and are still writing their treachorous suggestions to the men in the army, until there exists a wide spread disaffection in the ranks. But enough of this. I expect you think I have a fit of blues come over me this morning. "There is a good time coming" though to see it may require more faith than I can at present muster, but will try to -- "labor and to wait." This is a long introduction to the Journal part of the Epistle, but it is at last reached.
Tuesday, June 9th. A dispatch came this morning saying the two spies at Franklin were hung at seven o'clock. One was a Col Williams and the other his adjutant, both belonging to Gen Wheeler's staff. Thus ended their adventure which for boldness and daring has scarcely a paralell in this war. At two o'clock, heard sharp picket firing on the Franklin road and I rode out to discover the cause. The 4th Ky. Cav. was already out, when I reached the place, and were skirmishing with the rebels who to the number of about one thousand men out seeking what they might devour. All our cavalry turned out and after a skirmishing fight of about three hours they drove the rebels across the river some eight miles from here. I reached the field too late to see anything but a little long range firing the rebels keeping well out of our way. The 4th Ky. had two men wounded and one killed.
Wednesday June 10th. Even the birds and mules seem to have entered into a conspiracy to make this a quiet day. The leaves now and then move lazily on the trees and persons coming to the office move as if they were not particular as to the time of their arrival. The only thing not chargable with laziness is a gray squirrel which runs up and down a tree just back of the ofice, barking and scolding, leaping from limb to limb, with a recklessness, which makes one hold his breath at times. At last he too seems to partake of the universal feeling and lies spread out on a branch, eyeing us, saucily as if it had read and thoroughly comprehended Gen. Orders No -- which positively forbids firing in the camps.
Thursday June 11th. This morning the quiet was broken by the booming of rebel cannon and the shrill scream of the shell, as they rushed past impatient for victims. We soon were on horseback and in a few minutes after the Gen. had a battery working in reply. He sighted the guns himself and the position became very interesting. One shell struck within five feet of the Gen. another exploded among the caissons fortunately doing no damage, branches of trees dropped all around us, but we were not alone. Our guners worked bravely and soon the rebel fire began to slacken and in about twenty minutes it ceased altogether. It was the first time I had been under fire and as the first few shells flew much too high I did not care much, but as they began to get the range they came lower and lower until the chips flew from the trees about the heighth of my breast, and finally to plough up the ground around us, and then I thought it would be more comfortable elsewhere. I looked at the General who was working away and kept with him thinking I could stay if he could and as each shot was fired he would encourage the men until all encouragement wore away and they worked as coolly and quietly as if they were simply at drill. In a hollow between the rebel battery and our own, was posted a regeiment of our cavalry, and the firing was all done over their heads. At first they were very nervous but the sight of the General and a few words of encouragement restored order. His presence seemed to restore confidence and they all seemed to feel that where he was there could nothing hurt them. During the fire a body of rebel cavalry rushed out from the cover of the woods, across a large meadow evidently intending to cut off and capture a squad of our men who were thrown out as skirmishers as they were galloping across the Gen. trailed a gun upon them and fired. The shell struck in their very center and one rebel dropped from his saddle, another shell followed and still another and in confusion they all scattered and ran into the woods, evidently tired of their undertaking. When the battery was silenced, our cavalry went out in pursuit and after driving them across, the Harpeth [River], returned. We lost five killed and eleven wounded, killing nineteen rebels capturing three and wounding how many we of course do not know. Returned at two o' clock with a good appetite, glad that matters had turned out so well.
Sunday June 14. The order for the organization of the General's Command is out. It is called the "reserve Corps" and consists of three Divisions the first under Brig. Gen. A. Baird, the 2nd under Brig. Gen. J. D. Morgan, the 3rd under Brig. Gen. R. S. Granger. What will be its theatre of operations is yet to be made public. This morning a Lieut. White of the 4th Ga. Cav. came to Hd Qrs. having deserted from the rebels. He says he has tried every honorable way to get out of their army, without success, and so deserted. He is from Chattanooga and is acquainted with Sallie and Laura. He formerly belonged to the 19th Tenn. of which regiment Laura's brother is a major. He says when the regiment first started out, Sallie presented his company with a silken flag in behalf of the people of the place. She is at home now, but he did not know where Laura is. Received "Em's" letter the other day also one from "Helen". Uncle Sam's mail wagon still finds our hiding place.
Tuesday June 16th. Received letter from Pa and one from Kate yesterday. I did not know the O.F.C. commencement took place so early. Did Farmer's College hurry their's up too. Shall expect an account of the proceedings from "Tom" in a day or two. I wrote to her last Sunday. Here ends the chapter. A dull one it will prove too. We are enjoying very warm weather now, the thermometer standing at about 98 or 100. I do not complain as this is what suits me. We live high now, having peas, seed, potatoes, cherries and such in abundance. As soon as I know where we are to be I will write you. I showed your letter to the General, but he did not seem to think there was much chance of your coming soon. But now good bye. Kiss all for me and give them any amount of love. I hope you remembered me to all the girls at parting.
Your aff. Brother
J. Gordon Taylor, letter to Emma Taylor, 10 Oct. 1863, Folder 6, Box 1, Elias Riggs Monford Letters, Duggan Library, Hanover College, Hanover, Indiana.
Head Quarters 4th Army Corps.
Chattanooga, Tenn. Oct 10/1863
My dear Em.
Although you were the recipient of the last letter sent to Glendale, I again address my epistle to you, as Kate certainly has not finished the little note I sent her after the battle. Lt. Beahain starts for Nashville tomorrow -- he has been starting for just two weeks past -- and I improve the opportunity, by sending you word that "I am alive and well and hope, etc. cc." Your letter of the 28th wandered down to me and I was sorry that you had not heard from Pa that I was safe. I thought he would have sent you word immediately upon receiving my telegram. Perhaps he never received it. Since the last installment of my journal was dispatched I have been very remiss and can give you but a small letter, but such as it is you have it, and I'm sorry it is not more interesting. Monday, Oct. 5 1863. The past week has been one of waiting. Along our lines nothing has disturbed the quiet, save now and then a stray shot from one of the pickets, who anxious to display his skill as a marksman sends a bullet whizzing harmlessly across the "neutral ground" between the lines. The rebels seem to be gathering for a new struggle and in the mean time, keep their cavalry hovering around, ready, whenever opportunity offers, to strike a blow. On the 2nd they made a dash upon the wagon train between this place and Bridgeport, burning some two hundred of the wagons. Our cavalry were not tardy in pursuit, and succeeded in killing and wounding nearly two hundred, taking some eighty seven prisoners, besides recapturing all property which the rebels did not destroy. Last Thursday it rained steadily all day and throughout the night, cleaning the air of the cloud of dust which since our arrival has enveloped everything, almost stifling both man and beast. Since then we have had delightful weather, cool and bracing. October frosts are fast changing the forests and the mountain sides are magnificent, dressed in their autumnal colors. This afternoon the rebels opened fire from five batteries, which they have erected since we retired to this place. Three of them are on Look Out mountain in plain sight from out Head Quarters, and for two hours they evidently were trying to rival General Gilmore's performances at Charleston, their guns being from two and half to three miles distant. But they might keep up such a fire for the next six months to come with no visible result, save a decrease of their ammunition. Tuesday, Oct 6, 1863. A few papers kept me occupied this morning. Paid a visit to Henry Ash and Lieut. Hopkins in the afternoon, hunting up something to read. Found a "Harper" for October which entertained me during the evening and made me look forward to the morrow with regret that there was no more of it to read. I find in our house plenty of school books but however attractive they may once have been, I am not yet so desperate as to pour over these. I see "Haven's Mental Philosophy", "Whateley's Logic" and many other old familiar faces. Was so fortunate as to resurrect "Irving's Sketch Book" which will keep me in reading matter for several days. Wednesday, Oct. 4th. Rained during the night and when I awoke this morning the clouds hung low and threatening, enveloping the mountain tops as if with a veil. By noon however it cleared off beautiful as before. Read "Martin Chuzzlewit" today which Maj. Fullerton had the forethought to bring with him. Found it very interesting and think if we were cooped up here with all the works Dickens ever wrote, I might in time become as great an admirer of him as is "Lettie". Received a letter from Em. Yesterday and manifested my gratitude by writing them today. Thursday Oct. 8th. This afternoon went over to Lt. Hopkins and returning met Lt. Irwin an old Farmer's College student. Not having seen him for a long time I went with him to his regiment -- the 124th Ohio -- when I stayed until ten o'clock. While there a band of singers from the 6th Ohio came over and serenaded the major of the regiment. Their voices were very fine and enjoyed the music very much. Two of their companions were killed in the late fight and they gave such an air of sadness to one of the songs, it was almost impossible to keep back the tears. Heard where Andy Braden is and shall call on him the next time I go out. Found that Maj. Hampson is acquainted with "Nellie Wick". The Col. of the regiment, O.H. Payne lives in Cleveland and was wounded in the battle on Sunday. The 20th Sept. Friday, Oct 9th Received Cincinnati papers of the 2nd today, the first we had seen for almost a week, so you may judge how eagerly they were read. Rode over to Gen. Whitaker's Head Qrs. this afternoon to carry some dispatches. Found the Gen. as jolly and noisy as ever but in somewhat of a worry, lest he was to be left out of General Granger's new command upon its organization. Did not leave until six oclock and they had a very pleasant ride home. Saturday Oct. 10th. Today we cease to be the "Reserve Corps" the orders putting the Gen. in command of the newly made 4th Army Corps being issued this morning. Lt. Beaham goes tomorrow to Nashville to bring down all Hd. Qrs. baggage and soon we shall be settled in our new positions with plenty of work on hard and still more in prospect. Thus end the chronicles. When you direct your letters address them to the
Maj. Gen. G. Granger
Com'd'g. 4th. A. C.
Give my best to all my friends, "Annie", "Sallie", "Maggie", and others who care to hear. Give my love to Kate and all at home taking a good share for yourself. Do not forget to write soon and often.
J. Gordon Taylor, letter to Pa, 20 Oct. 1863, Folder 6, Box 1, Elias Riggs Monford Letters, Duggan Library, Hanover College, Hanover, Indiana.
Chattanooga Tenn Oct 20 1815
I have been waiting for a letter from home for some time, but either I am to be repaid for my long silence or else the mails have been to blame. For my own part I have been compelled to delay writing because I have no "stamps" and can neither buy, by, borrow or steal one in all this army. I have sent to Nashville for a supply, but they have not got arrived nor will they until next Saturday. I write however and have the letter ready for any chance that may offer. We are being thoroughly revolutionized in this department, as you will probably see by the papers before this reaches you. Gen. Rosecrans has been relieved of his command, and Gen. Geo. H. Thomas put in command of the "Army of the Cumberland." The old Dept. of the Mississippi, the Dept. of the Cumberland, the Dept. of the Ohio, are consolidated into one Department, to be called the "Department of the Mississippi" the whole to be under the command of Maj. Gen. U. S. Grant, who is expected to arrive here in a day or two. The cause of General Rosecrans removal was non compliance with instructions. When he crossed the Tennessee river, his orders from the War Dept. were positive that as soon as he had occupied Chattanooga, he should stop, repair the Rail road accumulate supplies, fortifying himself, in the meantime. Instead of so doing, Gen. R. thought he could push on and occupy Dalton Ga.
before the rebels could concentrate sufficiently to oppose his progress. The consequence was the "battle of the Chicamauga" when nothing but the determined bravery with which Genl's Thomas & Granger maintained their position saved the army from utter annihilation. Even had we succeeded in reaching Dalton, it would have been impossible to hold it, except the rail road in our rear was in running order, and we must eventually have fallen back upon this place for lack of food. As it is now the time was wasted which should have been used in piling up supplies, and the rains are fast making the roads impassable for wagons, the rail road will not be in running order for a month to come and we shall have all that can be possibly be done to keep from actual want until that time comes. Again we have since falling back here, lost possession of a portion of the rail road between here and Bridgeport which will have to be regained as soon as we need it, that of course will take men and be a sacrifice which would have been avoided had the instructions of the War Dept. been obeyed. It is probable that these matters all together will so delay movements that there will be nothing done towards an advance until Spring fairly sets in again, whereas as it should have been, time enough would have been left to put us in possession of Atlanta Ga. for winter quarters. How the removal of Gen. R will "take" with the people at large I cannot
tell, but if they saw the matter as it is viewed from this standpoint they would not make long nor loud complaints. Whether the true reasons will be given to the public, I do not know, but to you I write the facts as they are, for your own information Gen. Granger protested against the advance from Chattanooga before he knew what orders the War Dept. had issued and so far as he could endeavored to keep the army here. After the move was made however, he seconded it with all his ability. As the change was only made public this morning I cannot tell how the Army generally will receive it. But enough of this. I received a letter from Em. yesterday and one from Kate on Saturday last, but from you and Ma I have not received a word for more than six weeks. Lt. Beaham is in Nashville at present, making preparations to bring our baggage down. Since he left there has been no one except Maj. Fullerton and myself to do any work and between the old Corps and he new we have had our hands full, more indeed than we can possibly attend to. The Generals new staff has not yet been announced and I do not know what changes he intends making. He has applied for a Maj. Selfridge who was his Adjt. Gen. in Mississippi before we got Capt. Russell and he is expected here in a few days. He will be the Asst. Adjt. Gen. of the "Corps" I suppose. Capt. Thompson his old Chief of Artillery will be "Inspector", thus returning Maj. Cowan to his regiment. Lt. Beaham
having the best claim will receive the appointment of "Maj. & A.D.C.", a Dr. Phelps is our Med. Director in place of Dr. Varian. We keep the same Qr. Mr. Capt. Ransom and for the rest of us we should tread in our old footsteps. I saw in the papers the other day that Capt. Heurtt was soon to be tried by a court Martial of which Gen. Ammon is Prest. I believe I'll write to Uncle Johnny and find out about it and see if I can't be subpoenaed as a witness. In this abandoned country I find rather desolate at times. Em. sent me a box of grapes with one of Eliza's cakes in it, but after coming over the mountains, there was nothing of them. Our mails are very irregular and slow, the papers we get generally a week old or more, except those from Nashville which come through in four days. I am looking for the Magazines for October as I wrote to Em for them some time ago. Ohio has proved herself all right yet, notwithstanding the effort of Vallandighammens [sic], It would have done your heart good to have heard the Cheers of the men as the news was spread through the Camps. The soldiers voted here polling a pretty good vote, though rather more for Val. than I had expected. The most of those however were of that class, "who always voted the Dimmycratic ticket" whether it supported an imp of darkness or an angel of light. But I must close. Give much love to all at home and write soon, and let me know how you are situated. With much love I am yours affectionatelyGordon
J. Gordon Taylor, letter to Ma, 25 Oct. 1863, Folder 6, Box 1, Elias Riggs Monford Letters, Duggan Library, Hanover College, Hanover, Indiana.Chattanooga, Tenn October, 25/13
The weeks fly so swiftly that I cannot keep pace with them. I scarcely finish all my letters all round, before I begin anew, and even then some are left to wait, wondering, as I have been for some time past, why he does not write. It is more than six weeks since I have heard either from you or Pa, but hope has not entirely died out yet. Though I have been kept very busy for the last two weeks there has nothing of interest transpired save what you can learn from the papers. May. Fullerton and I have been alone to do the work and have had no time to run around seeking adventure. All has been quiet along the lines, the silence being but seldom disturbed by artillery. I see the papers give the rebels credit for burning several houses in their "bombardment", as they are pleased
to term it, but when you see again that the rebels have opened on the town, you need not worry. They did not burn any houses nor kill any men, for the reason that their shell could not reach us by more than half a mile. You know, I suppose, that Gen. Rosecrans has been relieved of his command, by Gen. Thomas, and that this Department as well as that of Gen. Burnside has been placed under the command of Gen. Grant. Gen. Grant is now here, having arrived a day before yesterday and is busily engaged in planning and laying out work. Deserters say that a portion of the army in our front is being withdrawn, and sent to East Tennessee to drive Burnside into Kentucky. If it is true and they should be able to accomplish it, we would be under the painful necessity of getting out of here, but I have no fears that such an event will happen. October 28, 1863. Was interrupted and have scarcely had time to resume writing again since. I received a letter from Pa this morning just fifteen days
old, but very welcome you may be sure. He was well, but seemed determined to come down and take care of me quite a superfluous proceeding should he attempt it, and one which would result in his requiring much more of my care than he could possibly give me. I shall write to him "forbidding" any such proceeding. If he knew what terrible roads we have between here and Stevenson how rough, and steep are the mountains and how bottomless is the mud, and how hard we live, he would give up this idea at once. We are improving in our living, however, having had butter yesterday for the first time in five weeks, and we have two sheep which we shall devour at our leisure. If this army is not starved out of
this place, relief must come in five days. Every effort is being made and we hope success will be the result, but we are getting desperate. You need not say anything about this as the impression outside is that we have abundance and so long as they think so the rebels are of the same opinion & do not work so hard to reduce us still further. We expect in a day or two to open river navigation, twelve hundred men having seen the Blockade day before yesterday in the night and fortified themselves on the other side of Look Out Mt. and built a pontoon bridge of their boats. If they succeed in holding their position the rebels must evacuate Look Out which will give us the river. Maj. Cowan came through last night from
Nashville having been six days on the road. I wrote to Pa, & Kate last week and sent the letters to be mailed by Lt.Col. Banning of the 121st Ohio who was on his way home. This I send to Nashville by Maj. Cowan who returns tomorrow. Shall write to Pa too. Will not have time to write to Kate or Em. so they will have to wait the slow progress of the mail. Tell Pa when you write that it would be worse than useless for him to attempt to come down here. He never could stand the trip. If we can hold out the Rail Road will be put in running order speedily and then he can come with comfort & safety. But you
must think our situation a truly desperate one from what I have written, but in truth it is more in prospective than actually present. We have for the troops half rations and for our own mess, Soft Bread , Hard bread[,] Ham, fresh beef, and now mutton, potatoes, coffee, tea and good syrup, so you see we are not in a state of starvation. We moved our quarters the other day and now occupy to nice large houses with plenty of room where we are as comfortable as can be. If the rain holds off as it has for the last four days, the roads will soon dry up sufficiently to allow the wagon trains now delayed to reach here which will give us enough to provision the troops until the river navigation is thoroughly established and
when that takes place we shall be at ease, for with plenty to eat all the Confederate Army could not get us out of our present position. And when we get the Rail road in repair we shall be but one day further from home than we were at Nashville. I have no news to send. We all keep well and busy entertained daily with the sound of cannon but it is pure entertainment unalloyed by fear of danger, since no damage has been done on our side so far and I do not suppose the rebels have had any worse fortune than has fallen to our share. Today the opened fire from three guns from the very summit of LookOut. 2400 feet
up in the air, but four miles away from us. They were trying to shell out of the troops the other side of the mountain but do not succeed in the efforts. But it is getting late and I have two other letters to write yet so must say Good bye. Give "Tom", "Bob" and "Ned" a kiss from me and tell them to be good "boys". Tell Eliza I would like a good pie or piece of cake but we will have to wait for it. If you do not write soon, I shall have to change the six at the beginning of my letter, to seven. And now good bye.
J. Gordon Taylor to Emma A. Taylor, 31 Oct. 1863, folder 6, box 1, Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Ashlyn Scott, HC 2019, and Sarah McNair Vosmeier
Chattanooga Tenn. Oct. 31st/63
Cloudy and cold is the last day of October, and the fire is very comfortable. November has spread out its gloomy sky before its time, but we make all cheerful within doors for contrast. Your "Continental" was received yesterday and was very welcome. It looked like an old friend. For the past ten days our mails have been few and far between and as a consequence letters are in great demand. However I received one from Pa on the 28th written on the 13th which told me he was well and in good spirits. I wrote to Pa and Ma and sent the letters to Nashville by Maj Cowan who started day before yesterday. Since I wrote to Kate there has been nothing of great moment occurring here, although our troops have not been entirely idle.
On the night of the 26th about 1200 of Gen Grangers troops - - picked men - - embarked in pontoons and sailed down the river past the rebel batteries on Lookout Mountain, landing safely on the other side of the Mt. capturing a few rebel pickets, and before morning they had strongly entrenched themselves built a bridge out of their boats and were ready for the enemy. It was a daring enterprise as the boats afforded no protection adnt he rebel pickets extended all along the shore within pistol shot and the [illegible] batteries were not more than 200 yards distant. Great was the consternation of the rebels when in the morning they saw what had been done, and they immediately took steps to drive us out. On the night of the 29th they made an assault by moonlight upon the works but after three hours hard fighting they were repelled.
A very fortunate and ludicrous incident occurred during the fight which tended greatly to our success. A number of mules had been tied up near our troops and several of them becoming restive from wounds, the whole gang finally broke loose and charged down upon the rebels with great gallantry. The rebels thinking "our cavalry" were about to Saber them and trample them under foot, flung down their arms and took to their heels, roaring lustily "we surrender" "we surrender". Our men appreciating the joke followed up the charge of their mule brigade, and ended the fight. They collected over one thousand enfield rifled muskets which the rebels had thrown down in their fright, besides a number of prisoners, whose trembling legs refused to retreat with their valiant bodies.
The result of the whole movement has been to open river navigation between here and Bridgeport, so that we shall be able to supply our soldiers with more liberal rations in a few days. Night before last a steamboat went down from this place to Bridgeport and last night one arrived loaded with rations, so that I hope soon to see plenty once more. Ever since we came here the troops have been on half rations and lately the roads have been rendered impassable on account of the heavy rains, sot aht really it seemed as if hunger would accomplish for the rebels what their Arms failed to do, viz. drive us out of Chattanooga. In a few days more I hope we shall have entire possession of Look Out Mountain and then we shall be safe for the winter. The rail road will not be open for a month yet, but when that much wished for event does take place we shall be almost as much at home as when in Nashville.
Nov. 2d 1863. The electioneering documents came yesterday with a letter from ["Tom"?] and this morning "Uncle Samuel" was seized with a sudden fit of generosity and gave me yours of the 19th and 26th with Kate's enclosed, one from Pa dated the 28th and one from Cousin "Will." I was in a terribly bad humor when they came but after such overwhelming good fortune how could I remain so. How I envy you your trip to see "Helen." If I had been along I could have made "Brough men" of the whole family in short order. I do not understand how anyone in the army can be for Vallandigham, and those out of it who favor "peace on any terms" ought to be "drafted" and made to fight until they are converted. I wrote to Helen a long letter when I heard of the elections and that was the one, of which she promised you the benefit, I expect. I wish it had been received while you were there, I think it would have helped your side of the question a little. I am glad we are to have another draft, and I hope and pray it will be a draft in earnest. Tell Henry Day to get his "certificate of disability" ready. I think the army would improve his health. Perhaps his physician would recommend a three months enlistment instead of a trip to the Seashore. You speak of securing the services of Mr. Murdoch for a series of readings. He has been down here since the Battle and has given a number of entertainments, but something has happened each time to prevent me from attending them. You know he had a son killed in the fight. I gave "Gen. Sigel" your compliments and he returns his thanks therefor. He says he does not flourish here where he cannot get his daily allowance of "Kraut" and "Beer". He is the AAG now and it keeps him very busy. Lt. ["Behive"?] I have not seen for three weeks. He went to Nashville and has stuck fast somewhere in the mud, on his return. Have not heard from him for a week. He will flounder through some time this week I expect. He will be a "Major" in a week or two. Henry Cist started for home day before yesterday on a "leave of absence" on account of ill health. If you see him you will remark how thin ? and pale ? he looks. With his usual accommodating spirit, he left without giving me any notice of it, so that I sent no word by him. If he says he saw me before he left tell him it was two weeks before and that you have later news. I have read the "Pickwick Papers" lately, don't you think my taste improving. I was highly entertained and hope I shall enjoy his "Curiosity shop" as much when it comes. I have read John Logan's speech with much interest and shall read the others at my leisure. By the way I will tell you how a few Vallandigham Soldiers were served here on election day. The rain came down in torrents but the Captain of our of our [sic] batteries -- a German -- opened the polls promptly at six o'clock and kept them open all day, that everyone might have an opportunity to vote. Presently a squad of six men belonging to his battery came up and voted for Vallandigham. This was more than the Captain could stand. He ordered out one of the Caissons emptied it of its ammunition, hitched the men to it and all day long they were kept at work dragging it through the mud and rain. Of course I do not approve such a proceeding believing everyone should be allowed to think and vote as he pleases, especially when they are soldiers, but you may be sure I did not shed tears because of their unjust punishment. As to the lady whose husband is in the 4th Ind. Cav. Tell her if only a month has elapsed without her hearing from him she need not be uneasy. For the past six weeks the Cavalry has been very busy and have scarcely stopped at any one place long enough for letters to be written. It is not in Gen Granger's command nor has it been except for the short time we remained at Triune last Summer. The people all over the country seem to be greatly exercised over the removal of Gen. Rosecrans, and very naturally too when they cannot know the reason. However there was a reason, a just one too, which will I suppose be made known in good time. I am glad "Will" voted right for once. I shall write to him in a few days as I owe him a "business" letter, and I hope we shall keep the correspondence up now that it is begun. I have written a letter to Dora Davis which is waiting for my "stamps" to arrive before I can send it off -- as yours will have to do. -- They are on the road -- coming as Christmas is and apparently as fast. -- I have just discovered a blob on the other page for which you may blame the Maj Gen. He was writing at the desk a few minutes ago and managed to spread the ink over everything, and when I laid my paper down it received his mark.
Remember me to all my friends, Annie, Sallie Maggie, and Lucy and Dr. & Mrs. Robbins. A year ago and I was limping over to see the Dr. and now here I am where Doctors are in great demand though fortunately not by me. Give my love to all at home. Kate and yourself included. I enclose a list of killed and wounded at the late battle. When you consider that Gen. G. had but about 3380 men in the fight and out of that number lost 1732 you can judge what kind of work they had to do. But I must close. I forgot to tell you we live a little better now than when I last wrote and are getting -- I was going to say fat, but that's vulgar -- but are doing very well. We eat raw onions but then there are no ladies at our parties. But good night
Your affectionate -- brother, Gordon
[In margin:] I forgot whether I ever answered Sam Brooks' letter but think I did. However December is coming and that is the month when I shall owe him a letter, since the one I wrote to him last Dec. was not answered until July at the [same?] rate I shall be in his debt then.
[letter fragment: J. Gordon Taylor to Emma A. Taylor?], 8 Nov. 1863, folder 6, box 1, Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Natasha Molen, HC 2019
Chattanooga Tenn. Nov. 8th 1863 and from "Beaham's arrival" the 1st Day.
After much wishing and impatient waiting, "Lt [Behive?]" arrived yesterday having been seventeen days coming from Nashville here. With him came a letter from Ma enclosing a note from cousin Crite and her Photograph, and in unpacking my baggage I found The "Curiosity shop" which will be read with much interest. Capt. Avery came this morning so we are all once more together. Now I feel settled again and having "my clerk" shall have a little more time to attend to outside matters. Shall write to "Will Hodgson" tomorrow. Would have done so before but had no "stamps." But
J. Gordon Taylor, letter to Em, 24 Nov. 1863, Folder 6, Box 1, Elias Riggs Monford Letters, Duggan Library, Hanover College, Hanover, Indiana.Head Quarters Fourth Army Corps
Chattanooga, Tenn Nov 24th 1863.
I neglected you last week because not feeling very well, after attending to my work. I had no energy left for anything else. I have been flourishing an "chills & fever" a new sensation for me and very inopportune just now. As you have seen by the papers we have been fighting again. The battle began yesterday morning or rather noon, on our left and has been going all along our live ever since. I have been so unfortunate as to see none of it. When the Gen. went out yesterday, he concluded to leave me behind as I had had a chill every day for the last three past, but when I heard the firing I mounted my horse and started to find him. Before I succeeded I was taken with a shake and meeting our Surgeon he sent me back home where I lay down until nearly dark. We drove the rebels all day and last evening the Gen. came
in feeling very well satisfied with the day's work. He slept out on the field with Col. Selfridge , Maj. Beaham, and Capt. Avery while Col. Fullerton & myself kept house in town. He promised Col. F that if any thing stirring occurred today to send for him, in which case I should have gone too but he -- the Gen. came in this evening to get a good sleep for tomorrow. The fighting today has been on Look Out which our troops under Gen. Hooker stormed and carried with great gallantry. Two of Gen. Granger's brigades led the assault, the brigade commanded by Gen. Whitaker being the first into the enemy's works. The fighting has been very heavy all day long, and brisk work is promised for tomorrow. I shall go out with the Gen. tomorrow if I do not have a chill. We have driven the revels at every point and tomorrow I hope will finish the work by giving us complete possession of Look Out and clearing Chattanooga Valley of rebels, in which case they must fall back to
Atlanta. Gen. Sherman crossed the river above us today and will come down upon the rail road, cutting off their supplies and if successful capturing what they have accumulated. We shall there be at ease for the rest of the winter. As soon as it is all over I will write you as full an account as possible, though as I have seen none of it, I shall have to depend upon others for facts. But you will get a better and earlier account then I can give from the papers. I have not received my regular letter of last Sunday week now three days past due. I have been rather slighted by the mail for several days but hope to come again into favor. The "Continental" for Nov. was received for which many thanks. I wrote to Ma last Sunday, enclosing her a draft. I forgot to ask her to let me know when it is received, as the mails are so irregular. I am afraid it will go astray -- in which case she need not acknowledge the receipt of it. That's as much "Irish" as I could possibly
put in one sentence. -- I send you a list of the "stuff" under the new organization. You will recognize a few of the names. I sent Pa a letter, but shall not write him until after this affair is settled. Don't you tell him. I've had "chills" or he'll come posting down here and I shan't know what to do with him. We've a Maj. Gen. extra shopping here now with a staff as numerous as a "dozen" and I've loaned all my spare bedding, beside a couple of "unmentionables" etc.&c and begin to wish the whole affair over. I am not complaining because some of these days I will make if even, but I want Pa to wait. After this fight we will have full possession of the Rail road, when he may come and stay a month and I will take him on top of Lookout and all over this and the Chicamauga battle field. What a good tramp we will have there. I have not had any chill today and hope to escape now without anymore. Have just been out watching our men at Look Out
Skirmishing by moonlight. We can see their camp fires stretching over the ridge and in the advance the flash from the guns tell when our boys are feeling their way along. It looks beautiful from Hd. Qrs. But it is nearly bedtime for one who is to get up at day break. Tomorrow is my birthday -- 25 years old -- it makes me sigh when I think of it. Day after is "Thanksgiving" I suppose and the recollection of the pleasant times I had last year makes me sigh twice. Just remember me while you are enjoying yourselves. Remember me to Maggie, Anna, Sallie, Lucy, and my other friends. Dr. And Mrs. Robbins and all anxious enquirers. Give love to Kate and take a share for yourself. Write soon. As soon as this is over I will write again.
J. Gordon Taylor, letter to Kate Taylor, 28 Nov. 1863, Folder 6, Box 1, Elias Riggs Monford Letters, Duggan Library, Hanover College, Hanover, Indiana.
Head Quarters Fourth Army Corps
Chattanooga, Tenn Nov. 28, 1863
I suppose since my last to Em. was received you have had visions of your "biggest brother" hovering over the fire his teeth chattering and himself muttering as did "Harry "Gill" I never shall be warm again. Then too you have seen by the papers that there has been a ground movement by the troops here and visions of broken bones have disturbed your slumbers, all of which visions I hasten to dispel lest their longer continuance injure your health. Here I am after the fight safe and sound for the very good reason that I was not in it at all owing to those same chills of which I had six in five days. Having never had them before I think I followed the old prescription "when taken, to be well shaken." The movement lately executed here was to have taken place last Thursday week but was postponed on account of the rain.
On Sunday night however, the troops were on the move taking their positions for the coming struggle. The rebels had perched on Look Out Mt. observing our every movement long enough and now they were to be put to the test. On Monday morning the lines advanced and after seven fighting the rebels were driven from their first line of rifle pits and the first days' work was done. I had started out in the morning with the others but had a chill and the Surgeon sent me home. On Tuesday morning the ball was opened on Look Out and just at noon our troops had gained the open space half way up where were the rebel batteries, taking two guns and about six hundred prisoners. Until ten o'clock that night the fighting was incessent as the rebels stubbornly resisted our advance. Wednesday the men wereordered to take the rebel rifle pits along the foot of Mission Ridge and after accomplishing that to await further orders. With a cheer they charged across the open fields which were swept by the fire of
sixty cannon and then was musketry of the rebel lines, and carried the works after a desperate fight. Retreating from the rifle pits the rebels started up the mountain side, and our boys finding that the rebel cannon were fast thinning our ranks, without waiting for orders determined to make an advance on their own responsibility. Up the hill side they scrambled, creeping on their hands and feet, climbing from each others shoulders, on, and up, the batteries showering down their iron hail and lighted shell throw by hand exploding continually among them, but at last the summit is nearly gained. Here they stop. A perpendicular cliff is to be scaled and stout men form the base of a pyramid which growns in height as the lighter and more agile clamber from shoulder to shoulder and their heads appear over the top. The color bearer in the mean time has climbed a tree and waving his flag in the very faces of the rebels springs with a shout into their very midst. Then comes the hand to hand struggle for life. Lacking time to load, guns are clubbed and shivered
men rush up to the very cannon's mouth get astride of the guns and grapple the defenders seizing sticks stones, fighting like very demons. The living tide of heroes still pours over the crest of the hill, and finally the rebel line breaks into utter confusion and is driven back. Quick as thought their guns are turned upon them and their own batteries mow great gaps in the fleeing ranks. Our troops pursue them until they are driven across Chickamauga river and their retreat rendered temporarily secure by the burning of the bridges after them. Thursday they were pursued and driven still further southward and yet our victorious men are harassing their broken ranks. We have to show for this battle, the possession of Look Out Mountain, and Mission ridge nearly fifty cannon, some six thousand prisoners, a large number of wagon stores horses and mules etc.&c., of these the 4 Corps took thirty two cannon, 3000 prisoners and did most of the fighting as the Dept. Commanders admit and
their services are recognized in the order enclosed. Our losses are not yet ascertained. The 4th Corps lost 2300 killed and wounded which is more than half the entire loss. I send you the General's congratulatory order issued from "Braggs" old head Qrs. on Mission ridge after the battle. I think it one of the best specimens of that kind of literature I ever read. I rode down to Rossville yesterday and visited Capt. Russell's grave. It is undisturbed, the rebels having respected our request concerning it. The Gen. starts with his command tomorrow for Knoxville, to the relief of Burnside who is I fear in a bad place. Col. Fullerton and myself stay behind to attend to house business. I wanted to accompany him very much but he would not allow it. I have not had a chill for three days and I hope I am rid of them entirely now. I received your letter of the 19th and Em's of the same date also a letter from
Pa telling me of the explosion of his mill and his narrow escape, and of his recent illness. I have not heard from Ma but twice in the last three months and begin to think myself forgotten. But I suppose then is good reason even though three months is a long time. But I must close as it is late and we have to get up at 4 o'clock tomorrow. I mean to take a trip to the top of Look Out and over the old Chickamauga battle field while the Gen. is away as I shall have plenty of time to spare. Remember me to all my friends Anna, Lucy, Maggie and Sallie, Dr. & Mrs. Robbins and any others you may see. Give my love to Em. and all at home and take a share for yourself.
J. Gordon Taylor, letter to Emma Taylor, 4 Dec. 1863, Folder 5, Box 1, Elias Riggs Monfort Letters, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Head Quarters Fourth Army Corps.
Chattanooga, Tenn. Dec. 4th 1863
December is here bright, and beautiful. It is more like Indian Summer, these smoky, sun -- shiny days, the air just cool enough to keep one stirring, the nights just made for sleep, and all so quiet after the noisy thundering of last weeks conflict. Col. Fullerton and myself keep our bachelor's hall very comfortable, having work enough to prevent our growing lazy and yet not enough to hurry us at all. We have not heard from the General since he left, and therefore are in ignorance of his where -- abouts. He should reach Knoxville this evening and in case Mr. Longstreet has not already run away, there will be a fight. The newspapers however say the rebels are now on the retreat. By the way have you noticed with what a persistency the papers have given the credit of the late victory here to every General save the commander of the 4th Corps. They have cooly divided his command among the other Generals, leaving his name entirely unmentioned. I will give you a few facts. Gen. Hooker had assigned to him the task of storming Look Out Mt. and to assist his own troops he had Gen. Whitaker's and Col. Grose's Brigades of Gen. Granger's command. In the attack Gen. Whitaker's brigade was the first upon the Mt. carried the rebel rifle pits, captured too cannon -- the only ones taken on the mountain -- and held his position for nearly half an hour before other troops could come to his support. They also took over six hundred prisoners and kept them too. A brigade commander of Gen. Osterhaus' Div. undertook to claim the guns but Gen. Whitaker quietly placed a guard over them and prevented the credit of his work being taken from him. The other troops fought equally as well as well as did those of the 4th Corps but they should not claim credit for what they did not do. In the attack on Mission ridge Gen. Grangers troops were the first on the summit, captured thirty one pieces of artillery and had driven the rebels more than half a mile before any other troops came to their support. The first regiment on the top was the 79th Ind. belonging to the 3rd Div. 4th Corps. And now to sum up final results, the 4th Corps captured 3300 prisoners, nearly one half of the entire number taken, the[y] took nearly thirty three guns, more than one half of all that were taken, and their killed and wounded amounted to twenty three hundred which being much more than half our entire loss shows whose troops did work and faced the danger. And the growing glory is that the troops of the 4th Corps were the only ones who received a special compli=mentary order from Gen. Thomas, which shows what the Dept. Commander thought of the part borne by Gen. Granger's command. Gen. Howard, an old Potomac veteran commanding the 11th Corps told Gen. G. in my hearing that he never saw troops move out in such beautiful order, and Gen. Grant, who witnessed the gallant charges of our troops at Vicksburg, said the storming of Mission ridge was by far the most successful charge he had saw during the war. Such a compliment from the hero of Donelson, Shiloh, Vicksburg, is enough of itself. I do not claim that the troops 12th, 11th, 14th, & 15th Corps were not equally as gallant, and would not have done equally as well had they been placed in the position occupied by the 4th but as there seems to be in the papers a determination to give all the credit to other command = ers to the entire exclusion of the General to whom the credit of execution belongs, I make the above statements. It is simply in the papers that this disposition exists, for here all unite in generous praise of the Gallant 4th. Last Sunday I went through our hospitals with Dr. Phelps our Medical Director. This is the after work. When the excitement is over, then comes the suffering. I saw nearly two hundred poor fellows who had lost each a leg, many who had sacraficed an arm upon their country's altar, broken bones of every shape. I stopped in the amputating room and watched the surgeons as they took off above the knee three legs and I was astonished at the fortitude with which the patients bore their loss. One poor fellow upon being told that the Gov. would give him a wooden leg, asid, "When I get it there's enough of me left yet to fight the rebels" but alas the shock was greater than he could bear and two days ago he died. The men generally look cheerful and it is very rare indeed that you hear a groan or word of complaint. They accept their fate with a quiet resignation, and take it as a apart of the contract they entered into when they agreed to fight and if God willed it, die for their country. I asked one poor fellow as he lay upon the table waiting for the Surgeon to begin his work if he was sorry that he enlisted. "No" he replied "if I had known it would come to this, I would have done just the same. Gen. Thomas grants furloughs to all wounded men able to travel and to others as fast as they recover sufficiently and the anticipation of home and friends has a great effect in keeping up the spirits of the men during the weary days and nights. It gives them something to look forward to, and takes their minds off from their present condition. I telegraphed to Pa the day the fight was over and last night received a letter from him. He says he does not expect to get home until February as the explosion of his mill has thrown him so far behind in his work that there will be no time to spare when it is once more in running order. As I promised in my last letter, I paid a visit to Look Out mountain on Wednesday. The road was long and steep and as we climbed up the hill side now and then we saw the marks of the recent fight. Trees scarred by the bullets, barricades, broken ammunition boxes etc, &c. told where our brave had met the enemy and driven him from his stronghold. You cannot imagine the nature of the ground fought over. It is one vast rock, sent in every direction, every gulley affording shelter to the sharp shooter, and from every crevice and chasm grow pine trees great and small. Here are the great stones torn from the parent mountain beside which the "little white house" would be hidden entirely, gray, moss grown, silent now, but, as it were only, yesterday, hurling back from their weather beaten fronts the thunder of the heavy guns and the crash of musketry, repeating the shouts of the men, multiplying the horrid din of war until it rivals the roar of the very heaven's artillery. The day of the battle was a dark, foggy one and the mountain from half way up its side to its top was enveloped in the mist, out of which came to us the distant mutterings of the storm, and out of the gray mouth leaped the flashes of the guns, and surging back and forth was the line of blue itself a living wall, now thrust so far down among the rocks that all was plainly visible, again rallying and losing itself in that darkness which might be felt. What a grand spectacle. Both armies stopped and breathless watched the contest. Victory and defeat were then balancing in the scale and not less than seventy thousand observers awaited the result. It was a sight but few ages have witnessed, a sight that never can be forgotten. The road reaches the summit at Summertown, a collection neat, cozy residences when in olden times the "chivalry" whiled away the hot, dusty days of Summer. A hotel is here, a collection of houses built around in the shape of a hollow square after the fashion of a watering place, where strangers might find accommodation to the number of three or four hundred. Upon the very top a clear, cool spring of water bursts forth and goes rippling along the crest until weary of such dull play it dashes in one bold leap over the cliff, and beating itself to spray, falls like a gentle summer's rain to the Earth beneath. In one of the buildings we captured a lot of rebel commissary stores, and feeling hungry I tried to dispose of a specimen of their hard bread. Never mention again the wear and tear of "grinders" resulting from the mastication of our own "Lincoln platforms". If the rebels live on such flinty bread fossils, it surely cannot be until they are subjected to the grinding of the genuine "little giant" mill followed by a steaming in a wrought iron digester. How they manage to transform dough into such obdurate biscuit is a mystery to me. On the extreme northern point of the mountain we found the batteries from which the rebels had so often tried to shell the town. Looking from the town I had always supposed that every movement of our troops could be plainly seen, but looking down now from the mountain top, I was startled at the distinctness with which our every movement could be seen. One could not cross the street, nor leave his house unobserved. Every gun in our forts could be counted. Every tent, not shovel full of dirt could be thrown up in secret. All, everything was as open to them as if they were themselves the actors, doers. And yet high as they were, the low "splinter proofs" built to protect them from the fragments of bursting shell showed that the skill of our gunners troubled them considerably. I looked around for some trophy to send you but could find nothing transportable save a few sprigs of Laurel and the heavy moss that everywhere clings to the gray, weather-beaten rocks. I do not suppose it any different from moss and leaves at home and if there is not enough of the sentimental in your composition to keep it, no matter. I climbed down among the rocks to the place where I had often seen the rebel signal flag waving and there I saw several names carved, old and moss grown too, cut then by those may long ago have died and been forgotten. From this point the view is glorious. At your feet flows the Tennessee and northward lies the Switzerland of America. Westward are the mountains of Alabama, on the east apparently within a stone's throw is Rossville, Ga. while in the far off, dim, blue distance one catches a glimpse of the hills of North and South Carolina. Five states visible from my stand point. For two long years have traitor feet trod these hills, but now redemption has come and here from this mountain top we look Southward upon the land of promise, and gather new strength and swear that even as this now is so shall that soon be, purged, purified, forever free. Slowly but surely the coils are tightening. Where once we fasten our grasp then it remains, halting now and then, forward we go, but never backward. But I weary you. Slowly the sun sank down the western slope, longer and deeper grew the shadow of the mountain and we started for home. And now good night. I received a not from "Helen" yesterday written on my birthday. She was just about starting for Glendale to spend "Thanksgiving" and a merry one you had too, I have no doubt. Here we fired a national salute and gave thanks for our great victory. We are all well and when the East Tennessee expedition returns I expect we will take a rest for a month or two. Remember me to Anna, Sallie, Maggie, Lucy and all other friends not forgetting Dr. and Mrs. Robbins. Give my love to Kate and to all at home and take a little for yourself. Write often and if you receive no answers have patience, for Uncle Sam has a great deal on his hands and if now and then a letter goes astray count it part of your contribution to the cause. But if I write more I shall have to accompany the letter to make sure that it is read. So now good bye.
J. Gordon Taylor, letter to Emma Taylor, 14 Dec. 1862, Folder 5, Box 1, Elias Riggs Monford Letters, Duggan Library, Hanover College, Hanover, Indiana.
Lexington Ky. Dec, 14th 1862.
Your welcome letter was received this morning and having time I proceed to answer it, lest I should not have so good are opportunity soon. I arrived here last Wednesday evening about 1/2 past seven and went to the Phoenix Hotel where I had supper and a good night's sleep. (I took dinner with "Perkins" before starting and told him you would send him one of my pictures which I hope you will do when you get them.) When I awoke in the morning, it was sunshiny and very pleasant and I sallied out in search of the "General". I had gone but a few steps when a Soldier asked if I had a pass, and being unable to answer in the affirmative, he immediately attached himself to me as my body guard. Of course I felt highly complicated at the honor and he escorted me around to the office of the Provost Marshall, who told me where I could find the "Head=Quarters. Thither I repaired as speedily as possible but found that the "Headquarters" was yet in bed. However I politely informed my body guard that I now felt perfectly safe and told him he might depart to renew his search after those whom he might devour, which permission he received very graciously and smilingly retired. I had waited but a short time in the office when Capt. Avery (as of the 71st) came in and he furnished me with a pass that enabled me to go forth as told as bold as a lion. After sending my baggage up to the headquarters I went to the Quarter Master to look after my horse, which had been sent up a day before. He knew nothing of him but thought I would look around a little on my own hook and finally found the Horse depot. There were a lot of soldiers there selecting horses for a battery and one of them had just picked out mine and was chuckling over his good fortune when I suddenly put an end to it. Some kind individual had taken off my halter lest it should to be stolen and with it the Card upon which I had written my name and if I had been fifteen minutes later, my horse would have been gone beyond all recovery. The benevolent individual forgot to inform me where the halter was put, in fact he forgot to make himself visible to me and, inwardly rejoicing, that it was no worse I went off and bought a new halter and put a darkey guard over both horse and halter who has far kept them safe. I then returned to the Office and found the General up. He gave me a hearty welcome, told me to go to work as soon as I pleased -- the sooner the better -- but I must find out for myself what there was to do as he could not show me. I did not grumble but got my baggage into my room set up my cot arranged my loose traps and by that time, I began to be hungry. I found out that dinner would be ready at four o'clock, which I now know means six, so I had to starve until that time, when I sat down to a very nice dinner with Gen. Granger, Brig Gens. Gillmore & Carter & Capt. Avery A. D.C to Gen. Granger. Lieut. Beaham was in Cincinnati and did not return until last night. We sat at table a long time and that finished the day for me. I sat around the office reading until 1/2 past 11 o'clock when I went to bed. My last recollection of my first day in the military service is whether it would hurt much if I should make an unlucky turn and roll out of the arms of Morpheus and my cot and awake upon the floor. Our Quarters are very pleasant being the well furnished house of a rebel who has gone to Dixie. We have Brussels Carpet on all the rooms hair cloth chairs, wardrobes, bureaus, Mirrors, Chandeliers, Gas, etc, +c, and nice beds if we want to use them. I only use my cot that I may perfect myself in the art of balancing upon it during the unconscious hours of sleep. We have Generals at dinner every day and these Colonels, Captains +c here in great plenty. When you and Kate come on you can have a first-rate time. My second day was better occupied. My duties are furnishing passes to such as are untitled to them and making orders for transportation, and studying the Army regulations and Infantry tactics. Today we -- Lieut. Beaham, Capt. Avery, Lieut. Fullerton and myself -- went out to the Camps and saw the troops on dress parade. That was after dinner. You must remember that we only get two meals per day here. Breakfast at 10 o'clock and Dinner between 4 and 6 o'clock, so hereafter when I say after Breakfast or Dinner you will know about what time of the day it is. It is the first time I have been on horseback since I came. When we returned, we attended Church which was only a few doors off, and heard some good singing and much better sermon than I had expected. Lieut. Beaham appears to be a first-rate sort of a fellow, and constantly reminds me both in looks and actions of "Ethan". The 18th Ky. is here, Camped on the road to their old battle Ground. Capt. Avery I like very well and also Lieut. Fullerton though he is one of these sober Kind that you cannot get much out of. Pa got me a diary which I shall use so that you need not send me one. Tell "Dot" that her slippers are very comfortable mornings and bring to mind the giver very often. Give my best respects to her and also remember me to "Annie" whom I should not forget though the socks should go the way of all [strikeout: socks] those which have flourished and gone before them. While you are distributing my very best, do not forget "Sallie" "Maggie" and all the rest of my friends. When you tell them you can put on the "Miss" as it comes to natural to me to leave it off. And thanks to Kate for her little note. I will write to her Wednesday or Thursday, and until then she must try to be content with love sent second hand. Of course she can't though. I wrote a little note to Pa the day after I got here telling him of my safe arrival, which I suppose he [strikeout: got] recd. And now good night as I must follow the example of my companions and go to roost. I wore my boot on my lame foot today so I think it is improving. Good bye.
Your affectionate bro.
This is the smallest paper the office can afford. Forgot to give Cousin Gordon your regards. will do it tomorrow.