June 30, 1863
Letter from the Independent Rifles
Lynchburg, June 24, 1861
Dear Sir:--In compliance with your
request I hasten to inform you of our safe arrival here. At every station along the route we were
greeted by ladies, and had we time to pick up all the bouquets thrown at us by
them, we would by this time have several carloads full. Poetry was just as abundant as flowers and
should we ever be spared to return to Mobile,
we will have them published.
Real patriotism we
only found in Alabama and Virginia.
In Corinth, Miss., they not only charged us double rates
for everything we bought—(one man paid fifty cents for a cup of coffee and
another five cents for a cork for his canteen)—but even went so far as to
refuse us good water, which we nevertheless got, notwithstanding the curses of
the proprietor of the well for every drop spilled in filling up our canteens.
On our arrival in Huntsville we found a
splendid breakfast prepared for us by the citizens, to which
full justice was done, for there is nothing like a soldier’s stomach—it is a
genuine India rubber manufacture, but none of Goodyear’s patent. In Chattanooga
we were informed that before reaching Knoxville,
a company on the way to Virginia was fired
into by some Unionists near the railroad bridge (Greenville); and as that company had no arms nor ammunition, they could do nothing but go
on. On hearing this we were all provided
with cartridges, and we held ourselves ready at the first sign to bring the
train to a halt and storm the town, but the enemies were wise enough not to
show themselves to us. On reaching Bristol, which town is half on
the Tennessee side and the other half on the Virginia side, we
received the first hospitalities of the Old Dominion.
Here it is with
regret that I have to mention a sad accident which happened to our 3d Corporal,
G. Bloch. One of the members of our
company dropped a pistol through carelessness, the load went off, and one ball
lodged in the right leg of Mr. Bloch.
The best physicians of the town attended to the case, and in a few days
we will have him in our ranks again.
The reception we
had at Liberty, Va.,
twenty-eight miles from Lynchburg, was not
unlike that in Huntsville, Ala.,
and there we met, among other companies, the Independent Light Infantry, from
Bibb county, Ala.,
which now is encamped near to us, a whole regiment from Arkansas,
and a company from St. Louis,
We are encamped
here on the same ground that the Cadets occupied when here, and the ladies of
the neighborhood call on us every day, send us vegetables, and are trying every
means to comfort the soldiers.
We will have to
await the arrival of four more companies from Alabama, when another Regiment will be
formed, which undoubtedly will be sent o Manassas Gap.
Please send us
some papers, and oblige,
Yours, A. P.
Rifles, of Mobile
[Transcribed by Sharon Strout]