August 24, 1863: “Deserters from the enemy are numerous.”

While the Union deception plan unfolded, General Rosecrans massed the bulk of his force along the Tennessee River between Stevenson, Alabama and Jasper, Tennessee; readying for the moment when the Army of the Cumberland would begin its offensive in earnest. Among those waiting at Bridgeport, Alabama was 19 year old Charlie Stiles, drummer for company A, the 36th Illinois Infantry, in Sheridan’s Division of the 20th Corps. Rumors were constantly in the air, many of them concerning the enemies’ will to fight, and each story of a Rebel defection was pounced upon. 

August 24 – Bridgeport.

Everything is quiet here at present. Gen. Rosey was down from Stevenson Yesterday. The main body of the rebels left here several days ago. There has been a flag of truce running between the lines for 2 days and nights. There was firing of large and small arms up the river, also a bright light as of a bridge burning. It begins to be sickly here.

Deserters from the enemy are numerous. An orderly sergeant on picket deserted with his Co. of 50 men and delivered himself and Co. to us at Stevenson. We had a little artillery practice today by way of amusement, but did not accomplish anything.

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