General Hospital, Leavenworth City, Feb. 19th/63.
Your two letters of the 9th and 11th came yesterday. I was very glad to hear from you. I was thankful to hear that you were all well. I think I am as well as I was when I wrote you last. I am able to walk around, while many poor fellows here are confined to their beds of straw. But it does not make so much difference to me whether I have a good bed or not, as I do not sleep a great deal any how.
I have no money to send you yet. I wish I ad some to send, for I know that you need it very much. I hope I shall have some soon. I do not know whether I shall get my discharge or not. I calculate to find out before long. If the Doctors refuse to discharge me I think I shall ask them to let me go back to my Company. But men here have been refused both. The surgeon in charge of the hospital was removed a few days since and another appointed in his place. Whether the present incumbent will be more likely to discharge soldiers that are entitled to them I do not know.
The weather changes here every twenty four hours. It rains a great deal and is very muddy.
I do not know when or how this war will end. It seems that things are in worse condition than at any time since the beginning of the war. I am afraid that the soldiers of the Grand Army are getting discouraged -- the newspapers call it demoralized. If the Army of the Potomac had done as good fighting as the Army of the Southwest, the war would have been ended before this time. The Army of the Southwest have gained every battle since I have been in the service, with overwhelming odds against them. I know this to be true. It is true that four hundred of the Wis. 9th Infantry were killed and taken prisoners by fifteen thousand Rebels. But for that, speedy retribution overtook them. At the time we were at Fort Scott, 80 miles off from the place where that gallant little band of the 9th so nobly laid down their lives for their adopted Country. They were all German Democrats. Express came to Fort Scott in an incredibly short time. General Blunt immediately started with his Division for the scene of action. His Army was on a forced march till within 12 miles of Newtonia, when he halted till near midnight and then resumed the march, Blunt and Guard ahead. We had not gone more than half the distance, while passing a large cornfield, when volley after volley of buckshot was poured into our ranks. We returned the fire with our revolvers, with what effect I never knew, as we did not come to a halt. One man had his horse shot. I could never tell why some of us were not killed, as the shot came all around us. In a very short time we came to where there was a very high hill all along the right side of the road, Blunt and Guard still ahead. All at once the hill was in a blaze of light. It was supposed there were at least three hundred guns fired at 40 men of the Body Guard, but their bullets went twenty feet over head. This was in the timber and the road quite narrow. I had command of the read Platoon of the Guard of twenty men -- two platoons in the Guard, Blunt ahead of all. This firing brought us to a sudden halt. The General was afraid that the enemy might have cannon planted ahead of us in the road. If such had been the case they could have cut us all to pieces. He accordingly sent a man back to the rear to have two cannon brought forward, loaded with canister. The front of the main army was several rods behind us, and when the man rode back, he rode at nearly full speed. The road was very stony and his horse's shoes made a great noise, and the whole of the Army stampeded and ran back two or three miles and left Blunt and his Body Guard to fight alone. I can tell you the General was very mad and said things that did not become a Christian, something he never does unless he is excited. He finally went back and rallied the Army himself. He was near two hours getting them back, and forty men of us sat on our horses in the road till he brought them back. By this time it began to be daylight. We all expected a hard fight soon. Nearly one half of the Rebel Army was composed of celebrated Texas Rangers, and we were told that they could whip us two to one. And then our whole Army running back without being hurt made us fear that they would not stand the fire in the coming conflict. On we went. We had plenty of cannon, and the Secesh can't stand big guns. The Gen. made me an aid for that day to carry his orders from one part of the field to the other. I was sitting on my horse near the first gun that was fired. I tell you that very soon the earth trembled with artillery. The best battery was commanded by Captain Rabb. All at once the Rebels began to run -- our cannon ball were too thick. We pursued them and kept a running fight for two or three hours.
I am called to go into another ward to wait on a man. The mail goes soon -- I must close. Good bye. God bless and protect you.
From your affectionate husband
C. N. Mumford