William Marler Letter

On 1 May 1863, Capt. William L. Marler of Company E, 16th Georgia Cavalry Battalion (previously 1st Partisan Rangers
and subsequently 13th Georgia Cavalry) wrote the following letter to the Southern Watchman, a newspaper in Athens, GA.
The letter was published on 13 May 1863. Most of the soldiers in Companies D, E, G, and H were from Jackson County.

Headquarters 16th Ga. Batt.
Zollicoffer Station, Tenn., May 1st, 1863

Mr. Editor:

This being the usual day taken up by the young ladies and gentlemen in mirth, my mind seems naturally to go back to
times and places when I spent the day more pleasantly than I now do; and were I at home, I think I should like very
much to take a trip by way of Gainesville, Mount Yonah, Hiwassee and Clayton, Gal, and Franklin, Webster, Waynesville,
Asheville and Marshall to the Warm Springs, N.C. On our way to Greeneville, Tenn., we travelled that route. There is
mountain scenery in it sufficient to satisfy the ambition of a reasonable mountain gazer; at least it so strikes me,
after being in the mountains of Tenn. and Ky. for nearly a year.

The French Broad river is itself a natural curiosity. If I felt in a writing mood I would like well to describe its
passage through the mountain gorges and cliffs, for the mountains shut in so closely on each side, from Asheville down
to the Warm Springs, that the river seems almost to force its way, as it goes leaping and foaming from rock to rock.
The Warm Springs are blood-heat, and burst out of a narrow neck of land just between the river and a creek, the name of
which I know not. The Springs are well improved – an excellent bathing house, a large hotel one hundred and seventy-five
feet long, good outbuildings, gardens, &c. But I will say no more, as the speculators at home are too busy fleecing the
soldiers’ families to go, and all others cannot, because of the responsibilities they are trying to discharge in behalf
of their bleeding country, and the soldier must, of necessity, wait until he gets home.

We have been engaged as scouts ever since we entered the State, after bushwhackers, deserters and disloyal persons, but
have seen no Yanks, although, on Saturday, the 21st ult., some three or four hours after we had got in form a scout up
in Johnson and Carter counties, we were ordered up to this Station hurriedly, expecting to find a foe near at hand, but
none came. Gen. Jackson received information that the enemy, in strong cavalry force, had crossed the Cumberland mountains
and were approaching the bridges again; and he, with his staff and all the troops at hand, were quickly en route for Carters
Depot and Zollicoffer Station. At Carter’s Depot lies, just in the edge of the water, the tender of the engine, and about the
length of it in the water lies the engine itself, on the West bank. As to any means of defence [sic] at either bridge it is
not my business to mention, but should Abraham’s boys come again, they will find more to do, or something to do besides burn
the bridges.

On the 22nd ult. the recruits to my company organized another company [Company G, based on the names of the officers] by the
election of the following gentlemen as officers: F. J. Whitehead, Capt.; Wm. Thurmond, 1st Lieut.; J. M. Potts, 2d Lieut.;
J. M. Osborn, Brevet 2nd Lieut.; Wm. Simmons, 1st Serg.; L. G. Willbanks, 2d Serg.; A. J. L. Statham, 3rd Serg.; G. W. Stanley,
4th Serg.; C. M. Brook, 1st Corp.; Wm Woods, 2d Corp.; B. O. W. Rose, 3rd Corp.; G. M. Knight 4th Corp.

This is the second company which has been formed from my company, and I yet have sixty-eight men, and have lost eight from
sickness and one from wounds. The 14th of this month we have been in service one year. On starting out, many of us had to
purchase horses and had but little to purchase with. J. G. McLester{?}, Samuel Watson, A. M. Park and T. P. Harrison shelled
out their money liberally to us, without note or receipt, except in one instance. Other proposed to furnish us horses or money.
Among them was one man in Jefferson, who subscribed two hundred dollars or a horse, and furnished neither. He is a man of wealth;
was a warm secessionist; did not believe there would be any war; and, I suppose, thought there was not enough then to induce him
to furnish a horse, to be paid for when the rider drew wages enough to do so. There are three horses on which we still owe a
small amount, which I think will soon be settled – at least, those are all except those bought at private sale. We are all in
good health. J. F. McElhannon is slightly complaining.

We would like to have a few more good recruits, able and willing to do service, but we want no other sort. We now have permission
to raise our Battalion to a Regiment, and I may come home after a while to raise another company. If so, you shall hear from me.

W. L. Marler, Capt.
Co. E, 16th Georgia Battalion

Submitted by Cheryl Chasin