In September 1863, Rosecrans’ (the soldiers called him “Old Rosie”) army was maneuvering here and there through northwest Georgia. Rumors were about that a big battle was impending. David prudently sent home the pistol his grandfather Platt B. had given him for “if a surgeon is captured with a gun, he is a combatant; if no gun, he can expect better treatment.”
On Sept, Rosecrans had taken Chattanooga and pursued Bragg’s army into north Georgia, where, on Sept. 19-20, at Chickamauga, he was defeated and forced back into Tennessee. And a Chickamauga David’s premonition proved true. Here is his next letter (an account of the battle given at end):
Chickamauga Valley, Ga., 9/28/63
“My dear wife, I am here held as a prisoner of war. I am well and so far have been treated as a gentleman. I have taken a parole to stay with our wounded, and when they have been disposed of, to report to Atlanta for imprisonment. This may be the last you will hear from me for some time, as we are to be held as prisoners of war until some Confederate surgeons are released; so say the Confederate officers. Take good care of the children and remember your absent though affectionate husband, D.D. Benedict.”
We can imagine poor Hattie’s dismay! It was almost a month until his next letter, and it could not have been a very comforting one
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© 1961 by Harriott Benedict Wickham Barton. All rights reserved.