A Helpful Scout
Chapter 34 (October 22, 1863 – October 28, 1863)
Thursday, October 22. We left Shelbyville and returned to our camp at Duck River, marched 11 miles. On going to Shelbyville we waded Stone River. Elias Noll took cold and his face was very much swollen, and on our return, when we arrived at the river, Noll told William Henninger that if he would carry him across he would give him a dollar. Henninger agreed to do it, if some of the boys would carry his gun, accoutrements and knapsack. They refused to do this, saying, “Du griksht es gelt, du maugsht au de arbite du.” [“You get the money, you make us do the work.”] Noll was a big fellow and this was fun for the boys, for it was about all Henninger could do to carry Noll across. When he landed him on the other side Noll said he did not have the dollar. Henninger said, “Won ich des gawist het, het ich dich byme dunner farsuffa.” [“If I would have known this, by thunder I would have drown you.”]
Tuesday, October 26th. We received orders on the 23rd to be in readiness to pack up and fall in at a minute’s notice. We accordingly were held in suspense until about 4 o’clock on this morning when a train of cars, (no Pullman, but the same old box cars) stopped at our camp and we were all on board in a few minutes. Our train ran very cautiously, not knowing what moment we might run into the Rebels. We passed a number of Southern towns, among them Decherd Station. At this place the boys wanted to clean a cavalry sutler, but were prevented from doing it by a strong guard from a nearby cavalry regiment, and the intervention of Colonel Pardee.
We left here at night, and Col. Pardee’s car was attached to rear of the train. Someone of the regiment uncoupled his car just before the train pulled out and left it on the main track. This was not discovered until we had gone a number of miles, when we were sidetracked and an engine sent back for the Colonel’s car. To say that the Colonel was raving mad does not tell half the tale. He tried to find out who did the deed but was unable to locate the guilty party. Stevenson, Alabama, was the next stop. Hardly had the train come to a standstill until the boys of the regiment spied a sutler and in a few minutes his tent was looted of everything he had in the eating line. Arrived at Bridgeport, Alabama, on the Tennessee River October 27th.
Wednesday, October 28th, struck tents early this morning, crossed the river on a pontoon bridge, followed the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad; passed Whitesides Station and encamped, traveled 16 miles.
This is a very mountainous country. The lofty peaks of the great Raccoon Mountains rise on either side of the gap thru which runs a small creek, and the public road upon which we marched. The light was shut out by these high peaks and we could scarcely see anything. Someone wished the mountains would slide down into the gap and close it up so our marching would come to an end. Finally we came to a small place where the 28th, the 147th regiments and a section of Knapp’s Battery, all under command of Colonel Pardee, encamped. After the hard day’s march, the writer, with several of Company G boys (Jere App is the only one I can now recall) were placed on picket. One picket post was placed at either end of camp, the sides being guarded by the great high peaks, which at some places almost overhung our camp. Our post was under command of Lieutenant Willet, of Company B of the 147th, and were placed on the road over which we had just passed a short time before. A house stood quite near the road and on the side toward camp was our reserve post, while the outpost was beyond the house.
The writer had just been out to relieve the man on post, when on coming back I heard a noise in the house and reported this to the Lieutenant. He directed me to find out who was there. I wrapped at the door and a voice within asked what was wanted, I said, “Open the door!” “All right,” was the reply. The door was unbolted and a fine looking fellow appeared, armed to the teeth. I told him the Lieutenant wished to see him. He came with me to the reserve post, where the Lieutenant examined him and then commanded me to take him into camp to Colonel Pardee. The only light we now had was from camp fires, as the nights were cold and we needed fire. I reported to Colonel Pardee and upon examination he showed the Colonel passes from Generals Thomas, Rosecrans, Hooker, and in fact nearly all of our leading generals. The Colonel said he thought him all Okay, when he said, “Colonel, wait a minute.” He pulled up his pantleg and from under the lining of his boot he handed over a lot of papers, which were passes from General Bragg and nearly all of the other Confederate Generals then in that part of the country.
The Colonel was nonplussed, but said. “I think he is all right.”
The Colonel called me to his side and said: “You take him back to the reserve post and if, during the night, he attempts to get away halt him, and if he doesn’t stop, shoot him.” He went back with me and sat and talked with us all night. He told us he had been in the Rebel camp that day and that a battle would be fought and while we were talking near midnight, we heard cannonading and heavy infantry firing in the direction of Chattanooga. This proved to be the battle of Wauhatchie Valley at the base of Lookout Mountain.