Note: In which we find Charles still en route to join the rest of the regiment, and pleasantly surprised about conditions in Cincinnati.
March 12th 1863
I have a chance to write you a few lines, enough to let you know that I still live and as for health, mine is the top of the market. My company has been since the 28th of February getting to here from Port Tobacco, and if we have good luck we shall get to the “Army of the West” about the 20th of this month. This afternoon we shall go on board of a steamboat, bag and baggage, and tonight I am off for Memphis or Nashville. I dont (sic) know which. Our trip this far has been rather a sloppy, slow coach affair, and I shall be glad when it is over. There are terrible rumors and misgivings abroad about Rosencrans (sic) army. And some of the citizens here begin to think of a skedaddle, in anticipation of Bragg’s coming.
We are living at the “soldiers home” here, a place fitted up at the time Morgan and Bragg started for the north, after dodging Buell. We came to the city night before last but I have been so busy that I have not had time to look around much, one thing though I have noticed. Whenever any of our Sergeants walk along the streets, the sentinels never fail to salute them. Perhaps they do it for fun but my impression is that they are so unaccustomed to the sight of a clean and well dressed soldier they take us for some new rank of Officers, or perhaps for some foreign soldiers.
I expected to find the gutters running with blood, and the air hideously filled with the dying squeals of expiring porkers but am agreeably disappointed. The city looks like any other business city and if hogs are slaughtered extensively it is done out of sight.
I have to draw rations for the men this afternoon so you must excuse any more writing. Give my love to all and let me know about the law suit.
I am affectionately
Charles E. Bates
Direct to Co. “E” 4th U.S. Cavalry,