Sunday, October 20, 2013

October 18, 1863 (Tuesday): Slim Rations On Both Sides At Chattanooga

Statement of Thomas Kearney, Company K, Thirty-second Alabama Regiment, Adams' brigade, Breckinridge's division, Hill's corps.
    I came voluntarily into the lines on Saturday evening about 7 o'clock. Came around under Lookout Point. Left the picket-post. My brigade was encamped at the foot of Lookout Mountain near the Summertown road, one-half mile from the foot. Came there about one week ago. Only one regiment [the Thirty-second Alabama] was on duty. This was posted along the west side of the mountain for a distance of 250 yards. Saw four pieces of artillery drawn by 16 horses pass up the Summertown road to the top of the mountain. I think they were 24-pounders. This was four or five days ago. Have heard that no more pieces were there. I think two of the guns were to be taken to left of the line. I know the caliber of cannon when I see them. One brigade of the Vicksburg troops is around the mountain; the other one I think is stationed on the top. Between our brigade and the mountain there are no troops; there is some artillery.
    There was two divisions left before Longstreet's corps went. I heard that Longstreet's corps went to Knoxville. Have not been outside of my division lines for three weeks.
    As far as my acquaintance goes, the men are very much disheartened. Would take peace on most any terms. A great many of the men of my regiment's terms of service will be out in a few months, and the men will not stay any longer in the service. A number that I know would leave now, but as their time is so near out, they prefer serving their time out. We get about the same rations we have had.
     The stock is in very bad condition; they get but six ears of corn per day. This I know. They are taken back about 8 o'clock in the morning, and kept there until afternoon grazing. The mules get no corn; they are turned out, and what they get to eat is what they can pick up. The majority of them are hardly able to walk.
     Our division has not been paid off for five months. I think this is the case with all of Bragg's old army.

[First indorsement.]

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 33, Part 3, Pages 86-87.

A clear statement of the condition of Confederate troops.  The beseigers were in little better condition than those who were beseiged within Union lines in Chattanooga.  We do well to consider the condition of both armies in 1864.  Confederate cavalry under Wheeler and Forrest have interfered with Union supply lines in the west, especially around besieged Chattanooga, but as far west as Corinth.  The armies have lost heavily in combat and the quality of replacements, especially in the Union army, has been poor.  Finally, a weariness of the war has set in on both sides and desertion and straggling, as seen here, continue to be problems.

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