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In Their Own Words

May 03, 1864

Soldier Letter on Marching into Georgia

From Gordon’s Mill, Ga., Maj. Fredrick Winkler of the 26th Wisconsin Infantry Volunteers wrote to his wife:

“A march of about fifteen miles from our encampment in Lookout Valley, across the battle field of Chickamauga, brought us to this place at three P.M. yesterday; there were troops here; they left this morning and it was understood that we were to take their place and remain for a few days at least; therefore we commenced building camp and were already quite comfortable when, at six o’ clock, a circular from Colonel Wood tells us that the Major General commanding directs him to inform regimental commanders that orders for marching to-morrow will be received during the night. I wanted to go to Chattanooga to-morrow to see whether I could learn anything of my valise. We are on Chickamauga Creek, about twelve miles south of Chattanooga, part of the Battle of Chickamauga was fought here. A portion of the road we passed over yesterday is covered with skeletons of horses, and every tree bears the mark of the battle, many strong trunks were broken down by artillery fire, many graves too attest the deadliness of the conflict. There is a wagon train just starting for Chattanooga after provisions; I will send this by it.”

Source: Civil War Letters of Major Fredrick C. Winkler, in 26th Wisconsin Infantry Volunteers Home Page