150 years ago, high in the Allegheny Mountains, life was relatively quiet. As winter settled in over the mountains, skirmishes between the enemy armies dwindled. Soldier's thoughts were turned more toward keeping warm as snow fell on the camps of the First Georgia. Many hoped that they would be moved to winter quarters in warmer climes. Meanwhile, the men did what they could to keep their shelters snug and to keep boredom at bay, as described in this article from the Augusta (GA) Chronicle & Sentinel of November 24, 1861:
From a Member of the Walker Light Infantry.
We are permitted to take the following interesting extracts from a private letter of a member of the Walker Light Infantry. It shows that, even in that bleak country, camp life has its pleasant aspects.
CAMP BARTOW, Nov. 17th, 1861.
Dear Friend:--We are having a cold time now, the ground being covered with snow and ice. But few in our regiment have ever seen such cold weather; but the boys enjoy it and suffer no one to pass, not even the Colonel, without pelting the passer with snow balls. Colonel Clark and our Surgeon are enjoying themselves with this pleasant sport. Joe Taliaferro is sitting in the corner reading “Valentine Vox;” Capt. Crump and Fred. Stoy are talking over the adventures of the latter in the mountains; Russell is writing; Hood and Charley Doughty have gone on the Alleghanys to hunt provisions; Gibson, Deas, Bugg and Bowden are on picket guard; Larus has gone with a requisition for blankets and shoes, while the other members of the company are either keeping warm by the fire, or cooking their dinner.
The men enjoy good health, but I fear that many will suffer much with cold if we are not ordered soon to go into winter quarters. I do not think that any but insane man can approve prosecuting an active campaign in North Western Virginia this winter.
In our tent we are quite comfortable, having a fire-place. It is made by digging a trench which is covered with rock, one end being in the tent, in which we build a fire, a barrel with both heads knocked out is our chimney: but even with the fire my hands are so cold I can hardly write.
Monday.—I was interrupted in writing by Col. Clark bringing up the Regiment, armed with snowballs to take our battery. After a desperate fight, they succeeded.
Yesterday Henry J. Sibley arrived with blankets, &c. He gave to our company each man a blanket, undershirt and pair of socks. He also gave articles to the Oglethorpe Infantry and other companies.
An order has just been received for us to march to Staunton on Thursday, there to receive other orders. We are ordered to send our trunks and all extra baggage to-morrow.
As it is so cold I can hardly hold my pen, you will excuse brevity. The company are all well.
Yours, &c., W.