The 13th Regiment marched with the rest of Longstreet’s reduced Corps through the cold and drenching night, Dec. 4-5, 1863, dressed only in ragged summer clothing. They all stopped about 4 a.m. and rested for a few hours before starting again.
“Started at 6 a.m. and traveled 12 miles…and camped,” Spartan Band diarist William H. Hill recorded.
On Sunday, Dec. 6, they broke camp at 4 a.m. and resumed the march northeast. It was another cold day but the rain had cleared off. By 3 p.m., after they had made 10 miles, they camped again in Grainger County. On Monday, the weather was also clear and cold as they marched 3 more miles and camped at Rutledge, the Grainger County seat.
“The enemy are pursuing us,” Hill wrote. “Their Cavalry attacked our rear yesterday.”
They left camp again at 4 a.m., on Tuesday, Dec. 8, “marched 18 miles and camped near Mooresburg,” then repeated the evolution on Wednesday, marching another 8 miles and camping in Hawkins County, 6 miles south of Rogersville.
“We will rest at this camp a few days,” Hill wrote in his diary on Thursday, Dec. 10. “The Yankees are followng us. Our Cavalry had a fight with the Yankee cavalry today and drove them back several miles.”