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Tuttle Diary Part Two

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

This post continues the diary of John W. Tuttle from December 9, 1962 to January 13, 1863. His diary is a fascinating look at the war through the eyes of the lawyer turned soldier, especially when it comes to camp life of an officer. If you missed Part One, I encourage to you to become acquainted with that first, as it provides more info on Tuttle and the situation of the 3rd Kentucky Infantry. Click HERE for that. As I mentioned in Part One, Tuttle missed the Battle of Stones River on an account of illness, while his regiment was mangled. If you want more John Tuttle, let us know in the comments. His diary covers the entire war, and then some!


Tuesday December 9, 1862: Devoted the morning to writing to E.L. Van Winkle. Abandoned myself to glorious ease this morning.

December 10: Col. Scott took leave of the regiment this morning. Was engaged most of the day playing seven up for peaches, oysters, and sardines. At night had an oyster supper at Capt. Taylor's quarters.

December 11: Marched at 9 a.m. on a foraging expedition. Took the Murfreesboro Pike. Two brigades went out--ours and the 21st commanded by Colonel Waggoner. The 21st went out in advance. About 10 miles from the city Waggoner's brigade met with a large body of the enemy with whom they skirmished from about noon until sundown. We formed in line of battle in supporting distance of the 21st and so remained until sundown when our train laden with forage returned to the pike. We fell in the rear and returned to camp. The 21st Brigade had one man killed and four wounded. Reached camp about 8 p.m. Lt. Hardin was here today. Left a letter for Lieut. Bolin and myself. Capt. A.M. Burbank's resignation accepted. He took his departure for Ky. this evening.

December 12: Did little or nothing today being very sore from yesterday's tramp. Lt. Hardin visited me today. The prisoners taken last Saturday reached camp this morning paroled. Louis Bailey was not killed as reported. During our little skirmish yesterday they were stationed near the enemy's guns. They report several killed and wounded on the rebels. We had one killed and four wounded.

December 13: Spend the greater part of the day reading novels. Lieut. Skagg's resignation was accepted today. He starts for Ky. tomorrow. Mr. S.E. Tipton presented me with a fine military vest.

December 14: Spent the day novel reading. Col. McKee arrived here this evening. At night wrote a letter to Pa.

December 15: The enemy having appeared in large force upon our front last evening we formed in line of battle at 4 this morning. A meeting of the officers of this regiment was held in my tent to recommend person to fill the officers of Col., Lt. Col. and Major. Lt. Col. McKee was recommended for Colonel. Several ballots were taken for Lt. Col. but no choice was made on account of the absence of some of our officers. After a sitting of about two hours the meeting adjourned until yearly candlelight. The meeting convened pursuant to adjournment and after a series of ballots Major W.H. Spencer was recommended for Lt. Col. and Capt. Collier for Major. The meeting then adjourned. I slept most of the evening having risen so early this morning and being a little unwell besides.

December 16: Lay in camp all day doing little or nothing.

December 17: Did not duty today as I expected to be called upon to go before a Military Commission to defend our assistant sutler C.F. Green for killing on o of the 17th Indiana who about 12 o'clock last night was attempting to rob the tent. The case however did not come up for trial.

December 18: Our brigade an another went out on a foraging expedition. I went to the city to consult some text books in relation to the case of B.F. Green. Went to the office of M.M. Brien, Esq. who kindly placed his library at my disposal. Returned to camp about dark. The regiment returned about 8 p.m.

December 19: We engaged most of the day examining witnesses in the Green case before the Military Commission. Was engaged till night making out a written defense to be put in by 7 a.m.

December 20: Got my defense ready in time and sent it over to the court by W.E. Dutton. Slept nearly all day . Have felt very unwell.

Sunday December 21: Received a letter from Pa this morning on business matters Kept my bed all day being very unwell.

December 22: Rested very badly last night and am much worse today. Have taken a quantity of medicine.

December 23: Lay abed all day. Have a very high fever.

December 24; Ordered to march this morning. We struck tents and remained stationary all day. I lay in an ambulance during the day. I expected to accompany the regiment though scarcely able to walk a hundred yards. At night we pitched our tents in their former places.

December 25: We lay in camp all day today. I scarcely went out of my tent during the day. I ate some partridge soup this morning, Capt. Marat having the kindness to bring me a couple of those delightful birds from the city last night. This is the first I have eaten since I was taken sick. This has been a very disagreeable windy day. The air is constantly laden with smoke, ashes, and dust. Lt. Bolin's resignation accepted. At night our Sutler Mr. C. McBeath gave a supper to the officers of this regiment. The Col. and Major of the 100 Illinois and some officers from some other regiments were also present.

December 26: According to orders we struck tents this morning at daylight. It began to rain early in the morning and continued for the greater part of the day. I did not think in justice to myself I could go on a march through such weather without tents so I remained back with the train. The train was driven through the city and parked at the foot of Fort Negley Hill. I have something upwards of 20 convalescents under my charge.

View of Nashville from Fort Negley, LOC.

December 27: Went into the city and reported to Gen. Mitchell. Received directions to report convalescents under my charge to Col. Cahill which I did and returned to the park. It rained in torrents nearly all day. Cannonading this morning in the direction of Murfreesboro.

Sunday December 28: Removed our wagon park to the vicinity of the Chatanooga depot. Here we erected barracks for the convalescents of our division. I went with the convalescents of this regiment to Head Quarters of barracks. They were sent back to the new barracks erected for them where I have stated.

December 29: Remained in barracks all day. Prof. Cooper who for sometime past has been in the city in ill health visited me about noon today. Lt. Tracy and Chas. McBeath who accompanied the regiment as far as Stuart's Creek returned today. The former has received the acceptances of his resignation. They say our regiment was engaged in a brisk skirmish on Saturday and behaved gallantly. None of our regiment received any injury. There were some casualties in the 25th Ohio and 58th Indianan.

December 30: Remained all day in barracks. Endeavored to get off to my regiment on supply train but failed. Well enough as the train was captured by rebels. have arranged to go with Chas. McBeath tomorrow in his sutler wagon.

December 31: C. McBeath did not get off this morning. I have felt extremely anxious all day today on account of my regiment. A great battle must come off in a day or two near Murfreesboro. AT latest accounts the two armies were confronting each other and a battle momentarily expected. My health is sufficiently recovered for active service and I long to be with my brave boys. Wrote a letter to Pa this evening and gave it to Lt. Tracy who has resigned and starts for Ky. tomorrow morning. Rumor tonight that the rebels have got in the rear of our army and some apprehension of an attack on this place is felt. Convalescents called out and armed.

January 1: Convalescents all ordered into the trenches this morning at 5. Rumors of a battle yesterday. C. McBeath and I attempted to obtain passes to go to the regiment but could not succeed. Later in the day reliable information of a great battle near Murfreesboro on yesterday reached us and with it many painful particulars. Our noble gallant and brave commander, Col. McKee was killed early in the action. Capts. Collier and Rawlston and Lieutenants Bristow, Carter, Severence, Murrah, Cullen and Carson wounded. The ranks of our regiment were decimated. Our brigade covered itself with glory. Capt. Collier commanded our regiment after McKee fell. Our surgeon Dr. Owens was taken prisoner. We have organized and armed the convalescents. C. McBeath and W.H. Hudson started to the regiment but encountered swarms of rebel cavalry out near Levergne and were compelled to return. Our cavalry skirmished with them all evening. It was expected the great battle would be renewed this morning. I await the news in painful anxiety. Later learn from Lt. Brown, Co. A (who was taken by the rebels and escaped) that Adjutant Bullit and Lt. Grinstead were also wounded. Lt. Brown thinks our army badly whipped.

January 2: Remained in convalescent camp all day except when over in the city making provisions for some of our wounded who have straggled in.

January 3: Went to Gen. Mitchell this morning and by a good deal of begging obtained a pass to join my regiment. Called in to see Prof. Cooper who is sick at the Hospital near the Chatanooga Depot. It has been raining all morning. I am hardly well enough to lie out in such weather but prefer it to the deep and painful anxiety I suffer from being separated from my regiment. I do no know that I can do my men any good but am determined to share whatever ills my befall them. I go to the city to endeavor to go with some supply train that may be going out. Later did not get off with the train. It was attacked and probably taken. Gen. Mitchell went out with a regiment to endeavor to save it. At night went to the theater.

January 4: Went to town this morning and learned a supply train goes out front this evening. I go with it. Gathered up all the convalescents able for duty and went to barracks. Train did get off this evening. Went to Livery stall where I found C. McBeath and W.H. Hudson who are just from the battlefield. Learned many interesting particulars from them. Returned to convalescents camp and at night wrote a letter to Capt. Taylor.

January 5: Went to town this morning on Dr. Rhoven's horse. Train and escort did not get off until after 12 o'clock. Went with them. When within two or three miles of Levergne C. McBeath overtook me. Stopping at Levergne and ate a little out of what I had in my haversack. Found a guard by a fire at Stuart's creek. Stopped to wait for the rear of the train to come up and in the mean time took a nap. When we awoke found the train had all passed. Started out and overtook McBeath's wagon. Bivouacked about three miles in the rear of the battlefield about 3 a.m. Should have mentioned that when passing the little cluster of houses at which we formed our line of battle during the skirmish of December 11 met some wagons and ambulances in which were Capt. Ralston, Lts. Bristow, Carson, Grinstead, and a number of private of our regt. on their way to Nashville. (all wounded)

"Stones River Rebellion" by Adolph Metzner.

January 6: After breakfast started out. Stopped at one of our hospitals in which were Capt. Collier and Lts. Murrah and Carter and a great many non-commissioned officers and privates of our regiments. Dr. Owens who had just got away from the rebels was there. Stayed about an hour and went on to the regiment. In the evening Lt. Hogan , C. McBeath and I rode over the battle field. Visited the spot where Col. McKee fell and many other memorable parts of the field.

January 7: Marched this morning at 8. Passing through Murfreesboro met Lr. Hardin. This evening went to the Pioneer camp to see Lt. Hardin but they had just moved out. Returned to my regiment about a mile and a half out and to the left of the Manchester Pike.

January 8: Was officer of the day today. Our baggage train came up and we pitched tents.

January 9: Was very unwell this morning and remained close within doors until sometime in the evening when we received marching orders. We marched back through Murfreesboro and about 2 1/2 miles North East of town where we pitched our tents. Lt. Hardin was been with me nearly all day. Wrote to Pa.

January 10: Went on a foraging expedition about 3 miles out in the country. Obtained about twenty wagon loads of forage and returned to camp about ah hour by sun. Our regiment commanded by Capt. Morat was in rear of the train and the 100th Ill. in advance. Encountered no rebs.

Sunday January 11: Spent the most of the day reading British Dramas. Maj. Collier when to town and left me in command.

January 12: Was unwell and lay in my tent most of the day and reading a little, etc.

January 13: Played seven up for peaches, cigars, whiskey, tobacco, etc., all morning. Read British Drama an hour or two in the evening. Lt. Hardin was her most of the day. A meeting of the officers of the regiment was held this evening for the purpose expressing their choice of Col., etc. Lt. Col. Spencer was recommended for Col., Major Collier for Lt. Col. and Adj. Bullit for Major. The meeting also instructed Capt. Brennan to write to Gen. Boyle and endeavor through him to have our regiment temporarily called back to Ky. to repair its shattered condition. At night wrote a long letter to Col. Thos. E. Bramlette.

Sketch by Adolph Metzner while encamped near Murfreesboro, Tennessee in January 1863.


Derrick Lindow is an author, historian, teacher, and creator of the WTCW site. His first book, published by Savas Beatie, will be released in Spring 2023. Go HERE to read more posts by Derrick and HERE to visit his personal page. Follow Derrick on different social media platforms (Instagram and Twitter) to get more Western Theater and Kentucky Civil War Content.

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