Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Huntsville Road, June 26, 1862

On this afternoon  "Bull" Nelson's Division struck out on the Huntsville Road heading east and again the talk turned to possible destinations, with Virginia being the popular choice.  Beginning at 3:00, they marched seven miles before making camp for the night.

Capt. Cox recorded that "It rained this afternoon which has cooled the atmosphere considerably, making it more pleasant for travelling along the dusty roads."*

Their path through northern Alabama had been subdued with little effort in April by O.M. Mitchell's  operations that included the Great Locomotive Chase  from Atlanta to Ringgold, Georgia.  Although subdued, this territory was far from secure and the soldiers had to maintain the highest security along the road, being constantly on alert for rebel attacks.  There were numerous small groups of armed men patrolling the neighborhood that were always on the lookout for stray wagons or straggling troops.

These home guard militia were all the more motivated by the rampant ravaging and looting that had accompanied Mitchell's April campaign through the area.  This behavior was officially condemned by the War Department, as the current policy was to defeat the Confederate Army without alienating the southern people.  The view in Washington being that the gracious people of the South were being poorly served by their rebellious leaders and were anxious to return to the fold.

*Cox, Samuel K., Civil War Diary 1862-1865 of Captain Samuel Kennedy Cox, courtesy of Daviess County Public Library, Kentucky Room, unpublished manuscript, p.17

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