September 1st, 1863. “I like to be in a level country…”

William J. Carroll of the 13th Michigan, (Buell’s Brigade, Thomas J. Wood’s Division, 21st Corps) on mountains: 

Sequatchie Valley, September 1, 1863,

Dear Sister,

We had to cross the mountains to get hear and now we have another clime to get out. This valley is 75 miles long and 5 wide. We got plenty of potatoes and peaches when we first came hear but they ar gon now. I think we shall move soon. I want to get out of this valley and get away from the mountains. I like to be in a level country whair you don’t have to clime a mountain every time you move.

Meanwhile, Lt. Augustus B. Carpenter of the 19th US Regular Infantry, on guard duty at Stevenson, was marveling at the precision of the army’s movement: 

“The Rebels may give us a hard fight [at Chattanooga] but if they do they are gone. They will either be captured or scattered, and that most effectually. Gen. Rosecrans is not coming down here for no idle purpose. He is going to strike a blow here that will prove mortal to to the fond and cherished hopes of the confederacy . . .

The Chattanooga and Nashville Railroad between here and Nashville presents now a very busy scene.Trains heavily loaded come puffing into town and deposit their burden of provisions, forage, and munitions of war, and then hasten back for more. The roads are crowded with government wagons which haul the stuff off to the different commands and places of storage. Troops are moving here and there. One gazes on the scene with the feelings of the highest veneration for the mastermind who causes and controls the movements of all in this department. Everything is like clock work, order and system prevails . . .


5 Responses to “September 1st, 1863. “I like to be in a level country…””

  1. David G. Moore Says:

    I’ve been criticized for over eulogizing Rosecrans but when one reads words like ” highest veneration” and “mastermind” it’s hard to avoid “eulogizing.” The one essential question it seems to me is what would Rosecrans have accomplished had he been given just a part of what Grant was given in Chattanooga? The penultimate paragraph you cite gives us a hint. Please keep posting the letters. More primary sources need to be available on line.

  2. Mitchell Werksman Says:

    Are there any other resources for what went on, on the Confederate side besides Brent ‘ s journal? Is Brent ‘ s journal anywhere online.

    • Dave Powell Says:

      Mitchell, I have tried to present a number of Confederate accounts here, but they are fewer than comparable Union accounts – much fewer, especially when I limit it to diaries and letters, as opposed to memoirs.

      I do not know of the Brent Journals being online anywhere.

      • Mitchell Werksman Says:

        Thanks for the quick reply.i have been rereading your three books plus Dr.Robertson’s articles in Blue & Gray and his staff ride trying to fully understand why McLemore’s Cove was a failure for Bragg.i think Brent ‘ s journal would probably have the best (true) insight as to what really happened.I have reread D.H.Hill’s version in B&B but I think he is a little too self serving.
        Can’t wait till Sept.14 for the new book to come.wish I could see you on the 17 &18th.

  3. Closing In on Chickamauga in the Words of the Soldiers Themselves | Emerging Civil War Says:

    […] “I like to be in a level country…” said William J. Carroll of the 13th Michigan as the Federal army pushed through the mountains, looking for their Confederate counterparts. A lieutenant with the 35th Ohio, said of the movement that “The flowing of this river reminds me of the march of the Union army southward….” […]

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