“We're Off for the Valley”
The weather was now extremely hot. The drought which began about the middle of May still continued, causing the roads to be dusty in the extreme.1 Wilson's raiders so damaged the Danville & Southside Railroads that Lee's army was for several weeks destitute of rations and our commands were subsisted on the coarsest corn-meal I ever saw. The rations were so short that when the meal was sifted it furnished only one repast for 24 hours.
The men were now attacked with dysentery, chills and fevers, etc. and some were threatened with scurvy. The abominable camp itch which had prevailed in the army for 2 years now broke out with greater violence than ever, the little pimples running together formed great ulcers 3 or 4 inches in circumference.2
To relieve the monotony, brigade drills and dress parades were instituted but the horses were so poor and had such sore backs that but few men turned out.
It was at this camp we received the sad intelligence of the death of Lieutenant Colonel William R. Carter which occurred at Gordonsville Hospital, July 8th, 1864. This officer, son of a Nottoway school master was by profession a lawyer, aged 33. [He] entered service as a private, Company “E,” 3rd Virginia Cavalry, and was captured while on picket with two other troopers, (who made their escape), in front of Bethel the morning it was attacked and [he was] taken in charge by Lieutenant Judson Kilpatrick who in 1863 was brigadier general commanding a division of the U.S. Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac and is now Minister to Chile (1866).