Two miles south of the Gordon's Mills crossing of the Chickamauga,
May 7, 1864, 12 m.
We started at 8 this morning and made this by 11. We are now waiting for two or more divisions of the 16th Corps to file into the road ahead of us. I think they are coming from Ringold. A circular of McPherson's was read to us this morning before starting, telling us we were about to engage the enemy and giving us some advice about charging, meeting charges, shooting low, and telling us not to quit out lines to carry back wounded, etc., and intimating that he expected our corps to occupy a very warm place in the fight, and to sustain the fighting reputation of the troops of the department of the Tennessee.
The men talk about hoping that the divisions now going ahead will finish the fighting before we get up, but I honestly believe they'd all rather get into a battle than not. It is fun to hear these veterans talk. I guess that about two-thirds of them got married when they were home. Believe it will do much toward steadying them down when they return to their homes. They almost all say that they had furlough enough and were ready to start back when their 30 days were up.
It is hot as the deuce; two of our men were sun struck at Lookout Mountain on the 3rd.
Dust is becoming very troublesome. I am marching in a badly-fitting pair of boots, and one of my feet is badly strained across the instep, pains me a good deal when resting. That and my sprained wrist make me almost a subject for the Invalid Corps, but I intend to carry them both as far as Atlanta, after our “Erring Brethren,” if I have no further bad luck. One of my men, when he rolled up his blanket this morning, found he had laid on a snake, and killed him—poor snake!
SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 235-6