October 17, 1863 Letter from Private Robert Dawson to sister, Rebecca Dawson while camped at Knoxville, Tennessee describing the events in and around the Knoxville campaign

(transcribed by granddaughter, Ms. Clara Warner)   

Knoxville, Tenn.  Oct. 17th, 1863


Dear Sister,

I seat myself this morning to answer your letter which I received yesterday evening. I received the paper that you sent me on wednesday. I am well at present & I hope those few lines may find you all enjoying the same blessing, we just got back to knoxville yesterday, we was up the country a piece & had a little fight with the rebels, the rebels came in to Greenville & drove our cavalry & mounted infantry out & they came about 10 miles this side of Greenville. we took the cars yesterday week & went up to bulls gap 56 miles from here & about 20 from Greenville, then saturday morning we started & marched out to blue springs 9 miles & when we got there our cavalry & mounted infantry were skirmishing with the rebels & the rebels had got a good position & the cavalry & mounted infantry could not get them moved out. General Burnside was there & he got: tired waiting on the cavalry & mounted infantry to drive them out & General Wilcox was there with some new troops six month men. General Burnside said the mounted infantry & cavalry had been trying all day to get the rebels out of that & could not do it & he said he would put the 9th corps in & they would soon know what was there & General Wilcox wanted to put his men in he said it was a shame to put the 9 corps in Burnside said knew it was but he could not help it he said they had been fooling long enough he wanted to know what was there so our corps was brought up or what was there  there was only one Brigade of the 2nd Division there & our Division.  we formed in line about 4 oclock in the afternoon & advanced & we soon started the rebels & drove them about a mile before dark & we stopped before dark & lay all night in line of battle, our Brigade did not fire a shot we was a reserve but we followed up the front line close & was under fire all the time the rebels had 4 pieces of artillery & they shelled us but there was none killed in our regiment, there was one slightly wounded, there was sharp firing for a while, there was about 70 killed & wounded in our corps, the rebels had over 100 killed Wilcox men buried over 70 the next day beside some our men buried. we lay that night without fire & it was right cool. the next morning they sent out skirmishers to feel for them & they had gone. then we started right after them. there was a regiment or twoo of cavalry went ahead we marched a piece & then stopped til all the cavalry & mounted infantry passed & then we marched on as fast as we could expecting to catch them. we heard that Foster was in their rear. so he was but he sent one regiment to fight them & he lay off at the side of the road with 2800 men & let them pass & the one regiment fought them 3 or 4 hours & they had to stop & let them pass. they had pretty sharp fighting along the road. we marched 20 miles that day for nothing then we turned & marched back to Morristown & took the cars & got here yesterday.  write soon & give me all the news.  the Pennsylvania regiments took a vote Tuesday night just to see how they would go for governor.  48th P.V. unanimous for curtin 100th P.V. 311 Curtin & 3 for Woodard, 45 200 & something for curtin & 14 for Woodard.  it is reported that Curtin is elected & there is another report going that he was beat.  we are expecting to be on the move soon again.  no more at present but remain your Brother

R. D. Dawson  write soon


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