Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

Primary tabs

Page: of 3
Download: PDF (12.93 MiB)
South Mountain Pass MdJuly 7th 1863My dear Wife.

Page 1

Here we are right in the teeth of the enemy who are retreating toward us as we lay between them and the river. South 1700 Rebel proisoners passed through our camp yesterday on their way to Washington, and I must say that I never saw such a deplorable set of beings in my life as these poor [        ] are. They had not had any thing to eat for 3 days. Our boys were very kind to them, they took their own rations out of their Haversacks and gave to the prisoners, and what makes the act more praise worthy is the fact that it was the last they had.

You would laugh to see my wardrobe. One per pants 2 shirts 2 per drawers one per vests and one [     ], had to throw everything else away. I can tell you that we are a rough looking set of men. We are encamped on the side of the South mountain one of the largest in

Page 2

Maryland, it is a part of the "Blue Ridge" range We are now laying on the old battlefield of South Mountain, fought last September. It was a terrible battle. The rebs lost 800 men killed, we 250, they were all buried on top of the mountain. It was here when Genl Reno fell. IT was very sad to look over the ground and think of the many lives that were lost in this little secluded spot. Yet it is highly intersecting, [    ] men drove the rebs up the side of the mountain through the woods, and when they got to the top there what is called by the nature the "10 and lot". Here the rebs made a stand behing a series of stone walls 3 in number, but our men bravely drove them from the cover. You can yo judge of the fineness of the fight of our men by this. The walls are caped by 2 & 3 [    ]. One of our officers who visited the spot yesterday counted 84 bullet holes in one length of there raele, and 120 in an other and judge of the number that must have passed be-tween the rails and hit the wall. The rebs were driven from this and down the other side of

Page 3

the mountain. I think I told you that the Potomac was so high that it was impossible for the Rebs to return. Well it is still rising, and we have destroyed all of their pontoon bridges, and then by cutting of their supplies of ammunition and grub. The river has raised in the last few days 9 feet and it is still raining. The enemy will make one more desparate attempt to get to the river, but we are prepared for them at every point.

I intended to have went this out this morning but I did not get it ready so concluded to write a longer letter and send by next mail. As for anything about myself I have not much to say. I continue to pass the time away in some manner. As we have no sick and not a book in camp you may judge of the monotiny of the life we had when not on a march. We have had to throw every thing away, and we are now really in lite marching order. But we never allow ourselves to get Sad under our many trials.

July 8th Last night I rode 4 miles to see George Chase & Eugene Hirman but did not see them as

Page 4

they were out on picket, and would not be in before dark. I shall try to see them to day It rained all night last night and I never saw rain so hard before, and it is still raining We are all jubilant over it too. It keeps the river high and therefore Lees army on this side of it. Lees whole army is only about 8 miles from us, and his advance guard drove in our picket about sun down last night, but we soon drove them back again. Now I think I have told you all the news. We had new potatos for dinner day before yesterday, and we have plenty of very [    ] onions every day. The only thing we need is some good vinegar. We have cherries and black raspberries in great abundance, blackberries are getting ripe I have had a few.

Dont send your likeness while we are on the move for it is not at all likely that shall get it.

Give love to our dear children, and accept a heap for your dear self - Give my regards to all our friends.

Your affectionate HusbandJ.C. Rutherford