Battle of Stone River

Joseph’s letter to Ann on January 25, 1863 is remarkable for what it does not say. He relates the terror of the Battle of Stone River at the end of December. He provides a description of what it was like to be in the thick of the fighting and how many good men were herded into eternity that day. But he doesn’t mention why he is writing from an Army hospital in Nashville or tell her of his own wound.

During the battle, Joseph was shot in the knee. He had to lie on the battlefield for hours in terrible pain until Harrison was able to carry him to medical help under cover of night. It would be several months until, after lengthy stays in several hospitals, that he was able to rejoin the 13th Michigan. Instead, he praises Harrison’s bravery and talks about the weather.

January the 25 /62
Nashvill tennsee

Miss Ane DeWates i now take mie pen in hand to Let you noe that i Ame a live yet but i Was in a cloast spot one the 31 day of Desember i shall allways remembre that day and soe will your brother Harisoan i spoas you have heard all a bout the grat battle that wee fought one stoan river near murbura Well ane i thought it was vary bissey dae for the Last day of the old year thar Was a good menney poor men heard in to Etarnek one the 31 day of desenber the poor men was falling on all sides and all a round the rebble had the avantige of ous tha  stan in the woods and well was in a cleard lat but at last tha hat to giv it was a desptrety fit becoas the rubble ment to whip ous and wee ment to Whip them and wee died but it was a hard time but oure brav grenell roasacrant was on hand to see all that — was goan on he touok it vary  — cool i hop he will doe beter than buel did oure genel has doan Well soe far —  well An you mae feel proud of your darr brother for he is a brav soulger harisoan stands well he is fat and tuff i hop he mae goe thru this war and be permitted to com hoam and in jaya the comfrt of life one moar With you all i heard froam him last friday he was well then i sent him a leter i shall get ancer froam him monday the wether is vary nise and warme wee dont hav eney fires datime i spoas you have it vary cold that now Noe more at present soe good bye i will get beter paper Next time rit and let me noe how all the foax is

                                                Joseph DeWaters
                                                Drect to Nashvill tennsee
                                                hospitell No 14 Ward one

General Rosecrans (on horseback on the left) rallies his troops during the Battle of Stones River (print by Kurz and Allison, 1891)

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