Letter written by Private Cecil Fogg of Company B, 36th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, to his father from a camp near Elk River, TN. Fogg comments on the weather and road conditions since leaving Murfreesboro, and mentions an encounter with Confederate troops at Beach Grove. He describes marching to Manchester and Tullahoma, and writes that they captured prisoners and took some corn meal to eat. They discovered that the Elk River bridge had been destroyed, and heavy rains made it too dangerous to cross on foot, so they were forced to travel out of their way to an older bridge. There are rumors of Union victories in locations such as Vicksburg or Richmond, though Fogg is skeptical.
Camp near Elk River, Tenn. July 10th/63
I have written 2 or 3 letters since we left Murfreesboro, but I was in such a hurry each time that I don’t know whether I told you anything or not. We would only have about 15 minutes’ notice to write our letters in, and there was no ink, and but little paper, etc. to be got. We sent back our knapsacks, and we could not carry such things very well. We had dry weather before we left Murfreesboro. We left there on the 24th of June. It commenced raining that day, and rained nearly all the time for 3 days, and it rained every day but one since, till yesterday. There has been no rain here since day before yesterday, but the roads are awful, and teams can hardly get along at all. We were stopped 2 days at Beach Grove by the
Rebels. On the 3rd night they slipped off in the dark and we did not discover it till about noon the next day. Our brigade went on 12 miles in the afternoon, and camped a few miles from Manchester. We went in to Manchester the next morning and stayed there that day and the next. The next day we started on toward Tullahoma, and went to within about 5 miles of the place. There were 2 showers that day, about as hard as I ever seen it rain. It rained about 2 hours each time, and we were in it all. We could hear the [rail]cars at Tullahoma all that night, and the next night. Our regt. was out skirmishing the day before, and the night that the Rebs left town. We could hear the cars all the time, but couldn’t tell whether they were leaving, or receiving reinforcements. We went into town the next day and camped about a mile west of town that night. The town is,
or was before the war, about as large as Withesville. It looks like a town built in the woods. Where we were the ground is not needed [kneaded?]; the trees are left standing and the town is well shaded. We left there the next morning and came to Elk River, where we camped that night. We captured a few prisoners, and a large quantity of corn meal at Tullahoma, and a great deal of meal had been destroyed by the Rebs. We brought some of the meal along with us, and it came in very good play when our crackers ran out. The day we got to Elk River the bridge was destroyed, and we went up the river about 2 miles to a ford where the most of the 14th A. C. had crossed. It was pretty late when we got there, and we camped on the north bank that night, calculating to cross in the
morning. But it rained that night and raised the river so high that we could not cross. Some regts. crossed, but they lost some men and a good many guns. The water came up to the necks of the shortest men, and it is a very swift stream. We had to go way around, about 4 or 5 miles, to get back to the old bridge, which the pioneers were repairing. We stayed there that night and the next day. They had got the bridge fixed up so that we could cross, and we crossed that morning (the 4th) and came 2 or 3 miles this side of the river and went into camp. We heard National salutes all around us and ahead of us. Besides that, we heard any amount of stories of great victories gained by our armies in the East, and Vicksburg, Richmond, etc. But we all had the privilege of believing just as much as we chose to of it. And I did not chose to believe any of it.
[rest of letter missing]
Cecil Fogg enlisted in Company B of the 36th OH Volunteer Infantry on August 12, 1861 at Marietta, OH at the age of 20. He served through his three year term of service and re-enlisted for the war, but was mustered out July 27, 1865 based upon a surgeon’s certificate of disability. The 36th served in West Virginia in 1861, and participated in the battles of South Mountain and Antietam as a part of the 9th Corps before being transferred west in January 1863. As a part of the Army of the Cumberland’s 14th Army Corps (George H. Thomas), the regiment fought at Chickamauga and later in the Atlanta and Savannah, GA (March to the Sea) Campaigns.