Hd Qrs 1st Cavalry Brigade La Grange Tenn Feby 16th 1863
Dear Sister Kittie
Yours of 8th inst. came duly to hand. and glad I was to hear from you. I had just returned from rather an unsuccessful scout, and, was feeling gloomy and uniteresting generally, but when I was handed your letter, all gloom and melancholoy departed, and I felt and realized that I was actually in existence and hand a sister who still remembered me.
Speaking of the scout, I shall endeavor to give you a general history of the two days we were out. On last Friday we received intelligence that a "certain Street"---a noted guerrilla was with his bands at or in the neighborhoods of a small town by the name of Saulsberry---distanced some twenty five miles from this place. Col Grierson quickly conceived an idea that Mr. Street could be captured, so he ordered a battalion of the 6th Ills Cav under Maj. Herrod; (Your humble servant acting Adjutant), to go in pursuit of the aforesaid rebel chieftain. Our preparations were quickly made and a little after dark we commenced our
[written vertically on the left edge of this page] P.S. You ask me how to address me! Ahem! Lieut. Will Yates Care Col Grierson 1st Cavalry Brigade La Grange Tenn
Am I not very unfortunate I have not received a letter from Mollie since I left Jacksonville.
march with as much display of pomp and joviality as circumstances would permit, The circumstances were these, evry step our horses would make the rider from the horses efforts to extricate himself from the mud would be so desperate, that he (the trouper) would think our place for bivouac would be the next attempt at proceeding farther. Under such circumstances, you are aware, as equestrians, pleasure is somewhat limited, his joviality likewise.
The roads were extremely bad for about five miles. when they began to improve, of course our spirits got more buoyant as the roads got better, and when we stoped to camp for the night which hour was about 10 o'clock P.M. evry man was in perfect good humor.
We camped at a house of a widow lady a production of spontaneous occurrence in this part of the Sunny South. When we came to the house we saw several horses in the neighborhood of the house which somewhat excited our suspicion as to the loyality of their owners, ergo, we proceeded to surround the aforesaid house, and upon our entrance we found but one man and two ladies---but as we entered we noticed a faint shadow, about such as a butternut suit---with a rebel inclosed, would make, on a hurid exit---from one room to annother---so we demanded a candle and on our presentation of a "tallow dip" proceed to seek whom we might discover. We were not long in finding the gentleman who made
[written vertically across the left edge of this page] I don't think the recording angel can ever blot out the many sins this dignity Dr. Adam. As you are aware he would not let me see Mollie the day I left.
the "shadow on the wall"---but, he plead Union, Hurrahed for Star Spangled banner," and evry other man," produced his oath of allegiance and I presume if we had not been in haste to examine other portions of the building would have demanded immediate protection, On our further search we found a "french gentlemen" cosely slumbering on a downy bed the feathers of which I think judging from apperances were plucked from a rye field. We had some consciencious scrupels in regards to awakening the "sleeping beauty" but remembering our imperitative orders, and according to the Army Regulations, we were compeled to lay aside all ettiquet---and "formality"---and tell the young man if he did not instantly open his eyes and account for his presence then and there, we should from necessity, be compeled to lay violent hands on him, that is, extract him from his comfortable position. He thereon opened his eyes and said he was not the man we were in persuit of. I insisted on his getting up, and putting on his attire, I suppose he felt somewhat indisposed, as he declined, Whereon I gently ceased the bed clothes and gracefully laid them on the floor near the center of the room. Lo and behold, the man had "went to bed with his breeches on." I then asked him who he was. His reply was that he was a visitor. I then asked him if he was not a soldier, which he denied---but finally he confessed that he was an
honorable member of the "Secesh" army---and had left his Regt at Ripley. he stated that the Rebels in force were advancing on this place. Major [Herrod?] then concluded we had better send him imediately under guard to the Comd of this Post, and inform them of their danger of an attack. He therefore requested me to go out and detail a guard, which I did, but on my return to the house, the Major I found had made some very important discoveries. The lady of the house had produced a suit of blue cloth and brass buttons, in which, she said, our then would be secession friend was attired, when he first made his apperance in her intellecutual presence. We were somewhat disappointed but "murder will out" Our man had been a Union Soldier and was attempting to desert. We placed him under guard and the next morning sent him to his Regt. He is now in the guard house at this place. The other men I have spoken of proved to be sons of the "aforesaid widowed lady" and the other female a daughter. After all due preperations, evry thing being righted out doors as well as in, picket guards out and all---the Major and myself proceeded to accept the hospitality of the widow by way of retiring in one of her most comfortable beds. We retired, and, as indications were favorable for a pleasant day on the morrow our dreams were not disturbed on that account, we slept as the innocent and pious always do, very soundly, but when 4 O'clock A.M.
came and with it the sound of the bugle, and with that peal after peal of "heavens artillery," and the sound of heavy drops of rain, we "kinder" felt as though the theoretrical part of soldiering was far preferable to the practical, that is we thought it was very nice to have the honor and glory of a soldier done up in a book to suit our taste but would prefer not going under the exposure trials and hardships which would be indispensable to make such a book have a dashy and spicy apperance to the intellectual minds of its readers. We did not have long, thus, to soliloquise, as it become us to be up and doing. After attiring ourselves in blue cloth, seeing that the horses and men were all in proper condition for to resume the march, we seated ourselves at the widows table, and partook of corn bread "very sumptuously". After satisfying our good appetites with the aforesaid substatial, we mounted our horses and proceeded through the mud and rain, which rain was falling in torrents, in persuit of the Rebel Street. We traveled all day but did not find Mr Street. We could heare of him frequently, but like the Milch Sickness he was always a little ahead. We saw four of his men, and chaised them for a few miles, but their horses being fresh were more fleet than ours so we soon lost sight
[16 Feb 1863] La Grange, Tenn.
of them, night overtaking us and it still raining. We stoped again for the night, occupying a vacant house. This night we retired without any supper, and slept on the soft side of a board. The next morning we held a council of war and concluded to return to Camp, where we arrived Sunday 12 O'clock, M.
I have not given you all particulars of the scout, but as I said at first, have tried to give you a kind of general idea of what such an expedition consists.
I saw Henry to-day on his return from Memphis. Rich Ellis is at Jackson gone up there on a visit, I was up at the camp of the 26th, last night, Boys all well. Jas Yates is, as ever, same Jim. big stout and as good natured as ever, with the good will of evry body.
I expect soon to be Adjutant of the Regt. Our present Ajt. has sent in his resignation. And the Cols Grierson and Loomis, say I can have the position if I desire it. I think I shall be inclined to accept. And, Pa thinks Will would be doing well if he could win the hand of Miss Mollie McL. Just tell him I have been troubled with some such serious reflections myself.
Tell [Hawes?] I wish I could prescribe for him, but, as he has been afflicted with those diseases from childhood I fear if Miss Mary [S?] can't do anything for him, there, is but little hopes of his recovery.
[written vertically across the left side of this page] My Respects to all, Write soon, as ever, Your Brother Will