They were Confederates now, but some of the men in some of the regiments at Union City, TN, still celebrated July 4 in 1861. Including some men of the 13th. Their activity of choice was target shooting.
Many were too ill to participate. Colds and fevers, and bowel complaints from contaminated water, were the chief ailments. As many of the war’s histories have explained, country boys (who comprised most of the 13th) had been less exposed to disease than city boys and, consequently, got sick in the camps more often and more seriously.
Some letter writers quoted in Jess McLean’s book on the regiment spoke of pneumonia, typhoid fever, and measles at Union City. A few were lucky enough to go home to recuperate. Others died in the camp.
Pvt. Thomas David Wallace, of Company A (B), The Winston Guards, wrote in his diary of “the sound of hammer on the coffins that was making for the dead….”
(Wallace’s diary is available here and at the Mitchell Memorial Library at Mississippi State University in Starkville.)