Kentucky Cavaliers in Dixie: The Reminiscences of a Confederate Cavalryman

By Geo. Dallas Mosgrove | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XII.
EAST TENNESSEE CAMPAIGN (Continued) -- BATTLE OF RHEATOWN -- PUGHS HILL -- BLOUNTVILLE -- ZOLLICOFFER -- ABINGDON -- REVIEW -- REORGANIZATION.

"Sons of the South! There's a victory sweet, That comes to the brave in the ranks of defeat."

HAVING had neither food nor rest since the commencement of the engagement at Blue Springs, men and horses were hungry and weary when they arrived at Rheatown about 10 o'clock A. M.

Instead of a calm and restful observance of Sunday, the tranquillity of which had been broken by the clash of arms at Hendersons Mill, we were destined to pass the entire day amid the smoke of a conflict--the most desperate, the most horrible day we had yet spent in the war. There is a limit to human endurance, and our little band had, apparently, reached that limit, when the booming of cannon, the hurtling of bombs and solid balls, suggested an olio or overture before the rising curtain, revealing another scene in the theater of war; another act in a realistic play to be performed on that fateful Sunday.

A strange scene in war! Troops going into camp, wagons parked and horses being unbridled and fed, while the enemy's cannon were roaring and sending shrieking shells over our heads, and solid balls ricocheting through the encampment. When we arrived at Rheatown, the enemy, moving on our left flank, had taken possession of a gap in the ridge opposite the town, and a dense woodland, extending from the base of the ridge to our position, effectually hid them from view. Under cover of their artillery in the gap, and sheltered by the woods, they were moving upon us all the time we were going into camp. Carter's whole brigade, not yet having gone into camp, were on their horses in the road, when the enemy suddenly fired upon them from the margin of the woods.

-78-

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