Diary of Orrin Brown, Chattanooga, Tennessee
It began to rain last evening about 8 Oclock and it has rained ever since we got up this morning and found our Camp ground verry muddy and nasty that was so dry and nice yesterday. My health is good yet and I feel first rate, considering. There were 4 of our mess detailed to do guard duty abd were taken away before breakfast in trhe rain and without oil cloths for we have drawn nothing but our arms since we came here. There is not a night passes hardly without I go home in some way or other but when I wake up I find myself still in dixie.
I paddled around town in the mud some today went to the Foundary and saw them handeling hot iron in kettles. Got an armful of wood came back to camp got our supper. We draw plenty of Coffee Tea and meat so that we have about two rations ahead but we do not draw bread or sugar enought our bread is all hard tack we get soft bread about once a week, today we drew some potatoes real Irish Potatoes our mess got enough for two meals. Today has been drizzely and wet all day and it holds its own tonight. I read 10 Chapt. in the Testament today.
We got word here tonight that the floors of the Yolicoffer House where we were in Nashville fell in killing and wounding 200 or 300 Soldiers but it may not be so bad when we get the truth of the case, there is so many flying reports in Camp that we cannot believe more than 1/2 that we hear.
The Zollicoffer Barracks in Nashville did collapse… on 29 September 1863. Confederate prisoners-of-war were held on the top floors of the facility. A newspaper account at the time stated that 600 prisoners were confined on the 5th floor when the stairway suddenly collapsed, sending over 100 to the ground floor. In a letter many years later, a Southern veteran involved recalled 126 in the fall with 45 casualties directly or indirectly attributable. Not exactly good to the last drop at the Maxwell House Hotel, and not such good info from the rumor mill.
Following up on yesterday’s Civil War Daily, today’s edition details Grant’s OK to proceed with the march to the sea. As you may recall, Confederate General John Bell Hood had left Atlanta after the city fell, and moved west toward an offensive into West Tennessee. He was hoping to draw Sherman away from Georgia and into a battle on ground of Hood’s choosing. Sherman refused to take the bait, preferring to leave Gen. Thomas in Nashville (at Zollicoffer Barracks) to deal with Hood on the field. Trading telegrams, Grant finally gave Sherman the go ahead:
“With the force, however, you have left with Thomas, he must be able to take care of Hood and destroy him. I do not really see that you can withdraw from where you are to follow Hood, without giving up all we have gained in territory. I say, then, go as you propose.”
The game was on.