On a cool and clear Wednesday, March 19, the regiment broke camp and marched twelve miles along the tracks of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad and camped there, a mile from the Rapidan River.
“Of evening when we stopped, the sound of axes can be heard several miles around. Then to cook our rations. Then we all lay down and took our rest and all is calm.”
The next morning they marched on in a cold, misting rain for almost six miles, then camped again on the side of a hill about three miles southeast of Rapidan Station.
And there they stayed through a sleet storm on March 30, which covered everything in ice.
Gen. D.H. Hill wrote his wife Isabella:
“We have had a very heavy fall of sleet, the trees are breaking down with it and yet there are 10,000 soldiers without tents on this River.”
On April 5, Griffith’s Mississippi Seventh Brigade, including the 13th regiment, moved to Rapidan Station with orders to entrain for Richmond. Gen. Johnston was rushing his concentrated troops through the Confederate capital to Yorktown on the Virginia Peninsula.
Thousands of Union troops were trying to advance north up the Peninsula to Richmond through many fewer Confederate troops on a fragile defensive line along the Warwick River near Yorktown.
But the train was delayed and the 13th had to camp again in a woods near Rapidan Station. On the 6th, it snowed all day before turning to rain.
By this time the regiment had at least eighty-four sick. They had been either left in temporary field hospitals near Culpeper or sent on to the huge Chimborazo hospital at Richmond.