Letter written by surgeon Martin Wiley of the 117th IL Infantry, to his wife, from the woods north of Pulaski, TN. Wiley writes that his regiment will move again the next morning. He mentions hunting, and describes the terrain along their march from Nashville. He briefly mentions the health of Colonel Moore, and inquires after the health of his wife. Wiley has heard rumors that General John B. Hood was beaten at the Tennessee River. A second section of the letter dated December 29th, 1864, mentions that his regiment is moving towards home. He reports that the 16th Corps left General George Thomas’s army and moved toward Clifton, TN. There are rumors that Hood’s army is attempting to cross at Savannah. He remarks on the adverse road conditions which will slow the march.
Camp 117 Regt. Ill. V.
In the woods, 4 miles
s of Pulaski, Tenn.
8-20 P.M. Dec. 28th 1864
My very Dear Wife
I sent you your letter this morning. I commence again and will forward by first opportunity. We did not move today, but have orders to move at 8 tomorrow. I went hunting squirrels and shot one. These hills are rather pleasant. All the way from Nashville here it has been a constant succession of regular hills and narrow valleys. The road winds through the valley, passing over more
of the hills. The population is considerably dense. The soil is rich and the products of luxuriant growth. Much of the surface is too steep for cultivation. The timber is excellent; maple, beach, birch, chestnut, oak, and cedar groves, large and beautiful.
Col. Moore is better today. Darling I hope the same of you. I would feel so glad to be certain of it.
Tell Dr. Carpenter that I am going to write to him when I get settled for a day or two. We get rumors that Hood has been beaten again at the Tenn. [River], and lost largely. A squad of prisoners passed this morning.
Good night my dear,
7 – 8 P.M. Dec. 29, 1864
We are again on the way, and I am cheerful for we move in the direction of home. This morning the 16th Corps left Gen. Thomas’s army and moved on a road toward Clifton. This place is on the Tennessee [River] due west and below Pittsburg Landing. So when we get there we are in easy communication with Ill[inois] again. If we go there, I presume it will be for the purpose of taking transports for some other point. Some say a portion of Hood’s army are attempting to cross at Savannah, and that we will strike him there. However it may be, I know we are not now going south
but toward a certain line of communication, and this makes me glad. The roads are bad, and the march will be slow. We have but 3 days’ rations in the train. We have marched but 13 miles today. We left Lieut. Brown, Co. A, sick at Pulaski; glad it wasn’t me. are having good living and a comfortable place to eat it. Dr. J and myself have a table in our tent. The evening is cool (freezing), but we are cozy and warm. We have various reports from the front. I can vouch for one of them. You probably hear as much. A good night Kiss for you, Dear.
Your husband, affect[ionately],
Martin Wiley, from Trenton, IL enlisted on August 14,1862 as a private in Co. E of the 117th Illinois Infantry. He was promoted to surgeon October 9, 1862, and was mustered out at Camp Butler, Springfield, IL on August 5, 1865.