New Market Tenn
March 4th 1864
I take my pen in hand this evening to pen you a few lines as I expect mail will go to Knoxville tomorrow. I wrote a few lines to James a few days ago from Strawberry Plains. We left there the 29th of Feb. and went to New Market, it comenced raining just before we started which was about 2 P.M. and it rained steady all the time till we stopped which was after dark, and all night and next day all day the 1st of March. We started on again at day light toward Morristown, and marched to within 6 miles of Morristown, and camped for the night. It is 8 miles from here to the Plains and 18 miles to Morristown. The 2nd next day, about 8 A.M. the 4th and the 9th army corps which had left the plains the day before we did. ___________ returning our division moved into line where we laid until dark, and after building us numerous fires to make the Rebs believe there was a large force there. We started back toward New Market, we arrived at Mastry Creek about 2 o’clock at night where we stopped. We expect to move right on but stopped to wait until our teams could cross the creek, and then were ordered to remain there until further orders. So we stayed ther until about 2 o’clock in the afternoon when Co. F was ordered to report to Col. Jno R Bond commander of the Brigade. He ordered us to report to General Judah commanding our division, who game us a detail and orderd us to report to Gen. Cox, who is Gen Schofields cheif of staff, at the headquarters dept. of Ohio at New Market. so we reported to Gen Schofield headquarters and were ordered to do provost duty. So you see there was a considerable of reporting before we got to the right place. I do not know how it came that we skiped General Stoneman the commanders of our corps., but anyhow we are now doing provost duty at Gen. Schofields Hd.Qts. New Market, Tenn. Our duty will be principally to Guard prisoners. We had six sent to us last night to guard. We sent them to Knoxville today in charge of Sergt. Beebe a corpl and 4 men. Perhaps we will receive another supply tonight, and perhaps not if we do not we will not have anything to do until we get more or there is something else to do. We have a good comfortable place to stay here we occupy the 9 buildings formerly used as a ______ ________. It is a two story brick two rooms below and tow above and a hall running through on both floors. We use on for Head Quarters. Capt. Callender and Sergt Works and myself stay in it together. Each room has a fireplace in it, and we have it swept up nice today. We had a detail to clean the yard to we are nicely situated. You can imagine there is a small house near this that we use to keep prisoners in.
How long we will keep our position, I cannot tell, but if we suit the Gen. we will perhaps stay as long as Schofield in in comand of the Dept. and we will do our best I assure you. We will have no marching to do except when the head quarters is moved. Then it will not likely be very far and guarding prisoners back out as soon as the cars run up here which will be in a week or so. We will then send prisoners by railroad. The river is very high now from our recent rain. It will be a glorious thing on one account that is boats can run up now with rations to the Plains and it will take but a short time to accumulate quite a stock of provissions at Knoxville. Our regt. is at Mossy Creek about 4 miles from here. I ____ the people all thought James Lafferty and sergt Works were dead as the Cincinnati papers, adn others had their names in teh list of dead. The way that happened was they left the hospital with out leave and came to the Co and I suppes the surgeon kenw so little about what was going on in teh hospital that when he could not find them he supposed they were dead, and reported them so. Capt. got a telegraph dispatch from Geo. Bercan asking if Jim was dead. Works is well and with the Co. Jim was left at Knoxville to guard some of our things when we left he was well. When we left he was well with the exception with a bad cold. We ecpect him up with the boys that went down with prisoners. Those Cin papers tell a good many lies I think. none of the are sorry they did not remember the Gazette when they were there, and I called them the Lousy 111th our retreat from the Plains before was not a skeedaddle for we were two days going 12 miles and went in good order.
(letter finished on a scrap sheet of paper a day later)
March 5th 1864
Today our time is half up and one ________ Orderly Crary died. We have spent tow winters now in the service and have but one more to stay. Tow more of our men that were left over the mountains came back a few days ago they were Daniel Bear, and Jarvis Reed Sergt Works has not got his commission yet. A fe days after his recommendation was sent on and orders cam from the Goverour of Ohio that he would not commission officers only by rank. so if the recommended had been a few days, likely he would have been out. I will stand first on the list on the Regt. now and promoted into another Co. If I don’t like it I can have a good excuse to quit and go to school next winter. You may keep this to yourself. We expect H. Sweet soon, I hope he will bring me a pair of socks. They are hard to get here I have only go one pair and we can’t draw any at present If you don’t send them with him, you can send them by mail not. I will not write anymore at present. Your Brother John
Source: eBay auction