Texas Brigade Private John Camden West wrote his wife from their camp near Knoxville on Dec. 19, almost three weeks after the assault on Fort Sanders:
“I would like to write you a long letter but it is so windy and disagreeable, and the smoke blows so much in my eyes that I will hardly be able to get through a short note to tell you that I am well…We are having pretty tough times now; only half rations and half of our brigade bare-footed. I was without shoes for two weeks but have a good pair now…I have nothing to write that I would enjoy writing out here in the cold.”
West, whose letter was published in his celebrated postwar memoir “A Texan In Search of A Fight,” is featured in the new Handbook of Civil War Texas, a Sesquicentennial offering by the Texas State Historical Association. It has memoirs and photographs and more here.