The skies were clear in Fredericksburg in the early days of 1863 and the temperature was dropping. The weather would prove variable, from a few mild days followed by others of intense cold.
On January 4, Private Wilborn P. Smith of the Pettus Guards wrote his brother Clay at home in Mississippi, according to Jess N. McLean.
Smith said the regiment was still living in small tents made of blankets and it didn’t appear that they would be building log quarters this winter. Still, he said, they were doing tolerably well, considering that before the war in similar conditions:
“…we would nearly freeze at home in a house with plenty of clothing. We can now stay out here in the worst weather that comes with a blanket tent and a very few blankets pretty well.”
By the 9th, A Friday, the brigade was back in town, on picket duty, where 17th Mississippi Private Robert A. Moore recorded in his diary that the weather was “intensely cold” and added that “the souldiers can but suffer, lightly clad as they are.“