7th Illinois Cav soldier writes (while scouting) of Hood’s movements just before Battle of Franklin

Nashville, Nov. 30, 1864: We left Memphis on the 17th and was 9 days on the River there was several men drownded before we arrived at this place…The Regt went out on this scout they are now about 40 miles from this place at Columbia where they are having some very hard fighting with Hood’s army. Genl. Thomas is out there with two Corps of Infantry but the rebs still drove him back…There is going to be some very hard fighting about this City in a short time if they keep driving our men back… There is considerable excitement here to day the Rebel General Hood is still driving our men. They are now within 20 miles of this place. Some of our men who have come from the front seem to think that Genl. Thomas is falling back to get the rebels where he can gain some advantages over them while others seem to think they are two strong for us. If the latter there will be some hard fighting and then we will rather have to fall back or be gobbled…

Pvt. Albert Swap, 7th Illinois Cavalry, Civil War Archive, with Reference to Nathan B. Forrest

Pvt. Albert Swap, 7th Illinois Cavalry, Civil War Archive, with Reference to Nathan B. Forrest

Cowan’s full description:

So many men who served in the Civil War were young, and even as they faced the terrors of battle, their minds returned to their sweethearts at home and the future they might have. Albert Swap, a private in the 7th Illinois Cavalry, left few letters behind, but they reflect the feelings of the typical soldier. Each of Swap’s letters to his friend Sarah Watson, at home in Mendota, IL, includes laughing courtship with commentary on battles and skirmishes, an odd combination that the Civil War seemed to produce in spades.

Colliersville, TN, Nov. 11, 1863: You must have been misinformed by someone when you was told that I never knew what it was to enjoy the society of ladies until I got acquainted with Miss G for that is a mistake. You spoke of going to Mendota one night in the rain. I confess I enjoyed myself better than I do standing picket in the wilderness of the South… Swap goes on the mention two clashes near the Wolf River with forces under Confederate Gen. James R. Chalmers, one of Nathan Bedford Forrest’s most capable commanders.

White Station, TN, September 12, 1864: I shall be happy when I can call myself Albert E. Swap again I think it will be the last time that I will bin[d] myself to my one by an oath. But I begin to think some of tying myself to some handsome young lady that suits my mind…

Nashville, Nov. 30, 1864: We left Memphis on the 17th and was 9 days on the River there was several men drownded before we arrived at this place…The Regt went out on this scout they are now about 40 miles from this place at Columbia where they are having some very hard fighting with Hood’s army. Genl. Thomas is out there with two Corps of Infantry but the rebs still drove him back…There is going to be some very hard fighting about this City in a short time if they keep driving our men back… There is considerable excitement here to day the Rebel General Hood is still driving our men. They are now within 20 miles of this place. Some of our men who have come from the front seem to think that Genl. Thomas is falling back to get the rebels where he can gain some advantages over them while others seem to think they are two strong for us. If the latter there will be some hard fighting and then we will rather have to fall back or be gobbled…

An interesting record of an active cavalry regiment in the west that squared off against the best cavalry the Confederates could muster and the longings for normalcy and love of many a young man.

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