FROM THE SIXTIETH REGIMENT.
ON STONE RIVER, TENN., Dec. 15,1862.
To the Editor of the Jonesboro Gazette:
Finding a leisure moment from the routine of daily camp duty, I am prompted to employ my time in giving you a few items of interest concerning our regiment, its condition, whereabouts, &c., which may possibly be of interest to our friends in old Egypt.
After having been closely besieged, in the once gay and beautiful, but now fast-decaying city of Nashville, living on half and quarter rations, forced from the inhabitants of the surrounding country, in the face of the enemy, for the last two months, we are finally relieved by the arrival of a part of Gen. Rosecrans' army. It was joyful news to our boys, when the words passed around that "Gen. McCook's Division is coming — his advance has reached our picket." "Can it be possible," was the general expression; and many were doubting the rumor, when a mounted Orderly came galloping by and confirmed the refreshing news. You can imagine but never fully appreciate the heart-felt gratitude, and the expressions of joy, manifested by the brave and generous men of our command, when they found that they were relieved from their former embarrassed situation, and were enabled to hear from their families and friends once more.
* * * Our regiment is in a very flourishing condition. The officers and men are in excellent health and fine spirits, and under the highest order of discipline and drill. Col. Toler is a rigid displinarian. When on duty he is stern and severe almost to a fault, but when relieved he is kind and affable. * * *
A few days since Gen. J. D. Morgan, commanding at Stone River, received orders from Gen. Rosecrans, to send out a force of two regiments to reconnoiter the front, examine roads, &c., in the direction of Rural Hill, and as far as Baird's Mill. Accordingly the Sixtieth Illinois and the Tenth Michigan, were ordered out with three days' rations, and, under the command of Col. Toler, moved at about three o'clock, and took up their line of march on the Rock River Pike, as far as Hays' Spring, seven miles south east of Rock river bridge, where we bivouacked for the night, throwing out sufficient grand guard and mounted videttes to protect the camp.
At day-light next morning, the men having had their breakfast, the command "forward" was given, and promptly obeyed. We moved on the rough pike, to the crossing of the Gallatin and Lavergne Pike, where we changed direction to the right, moving two miles south to Statesville, on which we moved east to Baird's Mills. Taking this road, which is but little used, we were able to learn all we desired of the country, roads and people, without our presence being but little known, and, although near a thousand men in the command, we moved as quietly as one, save the measured tread incident to a body of troops. We had gone but a short distance when our advance brought up at a log house, where they found evidence of a soldier, in the way of a cavalry saddle, spurs, canteens, blankets, &c., but on inquiring of an old dame at the house, she positively asserted that she had but one son in the world, and he had gone to church; that the saddle and other traps were left there in the summer by a Yankee.
But the Colonel, not being satisfied with this explanation, caused due search to be made in and about the house, and our Adjutant, (Tom Barnes) while conducting the search, saw some soot drop from the chimney, which aroused his suspicious, and fearful of getting his eyes filled with it by looking up, he concluded to thrust his sword up point foremost to the full length of the arm, but soon coming in contact with something soft, it brought forth the ready response, "hold on, I will come down, there are too many of you for me."
This proved to be the old woman's other son that wasn't in the world, but belonged to the C. S. A., and concluded to suspend himself between Heaven and earth in the chimney, when he saw the "Yankees" coming. * * * *
We moved on rapidly to Baird's Mills, capturing the enemy's pickets as we went, and arriving at the latter place at 2 o'clock P. M., and were soon joined by Col. Willikin's brigade of cavalry, from the direction of Lebanon. In the meantime a strong Grand Guard and some mounted videttes were thrown out in the different approaches and roads to the place. In a few moments the enemy appeared, in considerable force, in the direction of Murfreesboro, on the Murfreesboro and Lebanon Pike, and drove in our pickets after several shots had been exchanged. We were immediately ordered out and went to the front with one battalion of Col. Willikin's cavalry, after which a spirited skirmish ensued, the enemy retiring under the fire from our flankers. We were unable to learn the extent of damage we did him. Darkness set in immediately, rendering it impossible to pursue, as we were entirely unacquainted with the country or condition of things in the front. * * * *
We returned to camp at 6 o'clock the next morning, having captured 20 prisoners, 10 horses, 2 mules, 5 double-barrel shot-guns, a quantity of ammunition and accoutrements, with several Colt's pistols. * *
There being a heavy force to our left, we are hourly expecting an attack. We are seven miles in advance of any other Federal troops. Our pickets were attacked last night. One man of company I of our regiment was shot in six places. I will try and give you the points of the next fight.