In early 1865, the last winter of the war, the remnant of the 13th regiment was in trenches, defending Richmond, between the New Market and Darbytown roads east of the capital city.
These were days of little military activity but much privation for the remnant of the Army of Northern Virginia: there was little food or clothing as winter snows and rains pelted the troops in their makeshift shelters. Water stood several inches deep in the wet trenches. Rats and mice plagued the men.
Pettus Guards 3rd Sergeant Wilborn P. Smith wrote home on Jan. 25, commenting on a letter received from someone else at home: “…I wrote you by Wallace [1st Lieutenant William Wallace McElroy]…I expect you have been expecting me home. When Wallace left, we had a furlough started up and he felt certain that we would get them, but it failed.
“I would like to get home again very much. I suppose now we will not have one until another long year rolls around, if the war is not ended sooner…”