August 26 & 27th, 1863: The General, Major and myself ‘adjourned’ and took a drink…’

From the diary of Lieutenant Robert B. Davidson, Company B, 35th Ohio Infantry, Van Derveer’s Brigade, John Brannan’s 3rd Division, 14th Army Corps, Near Bridgeport Alabama. 

August 26th 1863

Weather cool.  There has been a cool breeze all day. After breakfast this morning, Foster Webb and myself started out in the country foraging on a mule and I had a horse.  After going about five or six miles we got some potatoes and then started for camp, on the way back we got some very nice apples.  In the afternoon about 4 o’clock Alonzo Fisk, (first sergeant of our company) and myself started for the top of the hill on which we were encamped.  After a very tiresome trip up a very steep and rough hill, we were refreshed by a drink of water from a small spring which we found in a little hollow on the top of the hill.   From that spot on the hill we had a splendid view of the Tennessee River and its valley for a long distance, both up and down the river.  Looking down the valley we could see the fortifications of Bridge Port and the piers of the bridge at that place.  From there we could follow the railroad with our eyes up the south bank of the river toward Chattanooga .  Looking to the south we could see a range of very high hills in Alabama over the tops of the low range close to the river bank. On our road down the hill we amused ourselves by rolling large stones down the side of the mountain.   The air this evening is very chilly.

In addition to his daily narration of events, Lieutenant Davidson recorded his impressions of some other officers in the regiment. Here are two of the most pertinent: 

Description of the officers regiment.

Col Van Derveer – Hight about 5 feet 11 in Black hair.  Dark complexion.  Steady habits, quick tempered.  A little stoopid.  Was a lawyer.

H.V.N. Boynton, Major, Promoted to Let Col July 1863.  About 5ft 7in high Dark Hair.  Dark complexion.  Steady moral habits Pleasant agreeable disposition.  Very polite.  Was a professor in a military academy.

While Lieutenant Davidson waited on the north bank of the Tennessee River for operations to commence, Confederate General Braxton Bragg was being reinforced. 

From the diary of Captain E. John Ellis, 16th Louisiana Infantry, Daniel Adams’s Brigade, Breckinridge’s division, en route to Chattanooga:

“On the 27th of August we took the cars for Meridian.Thence we went to Mobile, thence to Montgomery, and then to West Point [Ga.] We were crowded at the latter place to such an extent that Col. Gober left a detachment of 100 men and two car loads of baggage under my charge with orders to follow the command as soon as I could procure the necessary transportation. The post commandant of West Point, a Major in rank, [but] a General in feeling, would only consent to give me three cars. Fortunately for me, Brig. Gen. Adams arrived at Midnight and on explaining my situation, he told me to take all the cars necessary for transportation of my men and baggage. I chose five box cars. The Major expostulated, the General swore at him, the Major subsided, and the General, Major and myself “adjourned” and took a drink.



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