Letter written by Private Bryant L. Vincent of Company K, 12th IN Cavalry, to his friends, from Murfreesboro, TN. Vincent writes that he has been in three hard battles, but has come out safely. He mentions defeating Confederate Lieutenant General Nathan Bedford Forrest, and comments on the way that Union Major General George H. Thomas “whipped” Confederate General John Bell Hood in Nashville. Vincent describes the battles he has been in since leaving Tullahoma, TN, including the Battle of Overall’s Creek. Another saw his brigade guarding a forage train under heavy fire until they received reinforcements. He writes that he has gotten used to the sounds of cannons and musketry, and they will have to wait until he returns home to fully explain what battle is like. Vincent remarks that the hardest part of being a soldier has been the rations, as food has been scarce for several weeks. The railroad to Nashville has been torn up, and several bridges have been burned.
Murfreesboro Dec 22 64
I rec[eived] 3 letters this morning I am well and doing well I have been in 3 pretty hard fought battles since I have been at murfreesboro but I have come through all staraight all though sometimes I thought I would not I have seen some awful hard marches. but it is all in a fellows life time and I guess the fighting in this part of the country is nearly done [???] for we have whipped old Forest here three times and the way Thomas has whippped Hood in front of Nashville will be a caution to him not to try it again and
but a small part of his forces will ever get across the Tennessee for they said when they came up here that Victory or no Victory they would not go back again we started from tullahoma Nov 30 and got here Dec 2 we marched day and night, the first fight was Sunday the 4 of Dec it is called the battle of overalls creek, the next fight was the 6 of Dec we had to support a battery the revel artillery was playing on our artillery and our co lay right behind the battery and the way the shot and ball came was a caution we lost 2 men both wounded from our co I do not know how many from the regt the next fight was wednesday the 14 our Brigade went out to guard a forage train
we fought all day and were surrounded on all sides just at night as we had got the wagon loaded with corn and got on to the pike they commenced harder than ever in front and rear we made up our minds we were gobbled and we should have every one of us been taken if it had not been for reinforcements coming out but they fought hard before they gave up. I have got so the noise of cannon and muskets dont bother me much for I have been within sound of it about all the time for 3 weeks, I wish I could give you some idea of what a battle is but I havent room to do so by letter and I will have to wait untill I get home then I can tell you something about it
[Thad?] is well [???] is not very good but I guess he will be better before long we shall probably start for tullahoma tomorrow, and when we get settled there you can send the box. I am glad you could not send it for it would be nothing but a trouble here I wrote to you the day before we left tullahoma and told you not to send it but I guess the letter did not go through, I dont know how long before this one will but I will have it ready, the hardest has been the rations we have been obliged to live on all most nothing for the last 3 weeks we have drawn only one hard tack and one pint of meal for 5 days rations and had it not been for parched corn I believe we would have starved the railroad is badly torn up between here and Nashville and several bridges burned but there is a large force at work on it and before long we will have a plenty of rations but I have written a long letter and I must close Vincent
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you must not worry about me for I am all right and have probably seen the hardest I will have to so, you said something about homsick I aint homsick, it is pretty cold here
Bryant L. Vincent, from Pulaski County, IN, enlisted as a private in Company K of the 12th IN Cavalry on November 14, 1864. He survived the war and was mustered out on November 10, 1865. Being a new recruit, his youth and inexperience is fully evident in this letter. The war obviously remained somewhat of an adventure to him despite the hardships he was compelled to rapidly cope with.