Out of the Frying Pan

On September 26, 1863, the 61st OVI, along with the rest of the Twelth Corps, was reassigned from the Army of the Potomac to the Army of the Cumberland.  The 61st OVI, including Robert Patterson, arrived at Bridgeport, Alabama on October 1, 1863.

Shortly after the 61st’s arrival at Bridgeport, Robert Patterson wrote to his mother reporting his arrival in Alabama.  In his letter, he writes about the train passing through Ohio and his regret that he did not have the opportunity to see her.  He also commented on the bleak and barren aspect of the country from Louisville through Nashville to Bridgeport.

Of particular interest is Robert’s comments about the Army of the Cumberland and their lack of respect for the 12th Corps.  He writes that the “soldiers who come back from the front think that they have had an awful fight” and view the 12th Corps as ”featherbed soldiers” that “know nothing about war.”  With this comment he goes on to write that the Battle of Chickamauga “does not deserve to be mentioned in the same day with Chancellorsville, Gettysburg nor even Bull Run where we lost more men killed than were lost on both sides here.”  He does not want to detract from what the Army of the Cumberland has accomplished, but would appreciate some acknowledgement of what the Army of the Potomac has done.

The letter closes with a telling comment – “Upon the whole I think we got out of the frying pan into the fire when we left Virginia to come here.”  (Transcript of Robert Patterson letter, October 4, 1863)

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