Dec 1. Lying behind our breast works and suffering very much with cold and firing along the lines to-day. ___any of importance _____. Recd a letter from a friend. Dec 2. Out on skirmish to-day and every line advanced & the yankees were all gone having fallen back over the river last night. Some dead men left on the skirmish line. Dec 3. Marched from our breastworks ___ having swung back on the pike to our old camp near Orange C.H. and found our chimney standing up right as when we left. Dec 4. Feel very unwell indeed after our last trip we made after the enemy, having caught a ____cold as the weather was extremely cold. All going on in camp as before. Dec 5. Still unwell and have no appetite to eat anything. Received a letter & a little bundle from home by a friend belonging to the 15 Va. cavalry. Dec 6. Another Sabbath spent quietly in camp. Had co. inspection at 9 OC A.M. and also a dress parade in the afternoon. Had preaching in our Reg. in the afternoon. Dec 7. Walked over to the division commissary dept. to see one of my friends. The 40th Va. Reg. gone on picket from our brigade. Wrote a letter to my mother at home. Dec 8. Returned to duty & went on co. drill after being sick for several days. Went out in the wood in the P.M. and cut some fire wood. Quite cool weather. Dec 9. On camp guard & the regiment gone on picket. Made some mortar and dobbed my chimney. Received several letters from home late in the afternoon. Dec 10. Still on guard & not relieved as the regiment has not returned from picket. Wrote several letters to my relatives & friends. The regiment returned from pickett late in the afternoon. Dec 11. Relieved from guard at 9 OClock A.M. having been on 48 hours. Went over to Keiths division commissary dept. in the afternoon to see some of my friends. Dec 12. Received orders early this morning to be ready for inspection & review at 9 OC A.M. Rained and we had no inspection and I was glad of it indeed. Dec 13. Staid in camp all day & had a very dry time indeed. Had no company inspection to day as our Col. is in command of our regt. Orders to be ready for inspection tomorrow. Dec 14. Busy cleaning our guns for inspection and orders came to move & we left our camp & took the train to Gordonsville & from there to Staunton & there stopped for the night. Dec 15. Took the train from Staunton about noon and went up near Buffalo gap and got off the train. Marched some distance & halted at the foot the mountains for the night. Dec 16. Laid over at the Buffalo Springs hotel all day and drew five days rations of hard bread, bacon & beef and had orders to cook two days rations immediately ready for action. Dec 17. Left Buffalo Springs & marched in on the road to Staunton having been up nearly all night before & had to march through rain & snow & twas freezing on us as fast as fell. A day long to be remembered. Dec 18. Staid in camp near Staunton all day & dried our blankets & other clothes. Wrote a letter to my mother. Went out to a gentlemans house in P.M. & got supper. Dec 19. Very cold to day and looks very much like snow. Drew some fresh pork to day as rations. No orders to move yet and not many camp rumors afloat. Dec 20. Another Sabbath day spent in rapid marching from Staunton to Mt. Crawford on the Winchester pike. Great excitement in the valley among the citizens. Home guard turned out. Dec 21. Left Mt. Crawford at daylight & marched about 2 miles & formed a line of battle & then left & next came to Harrisburg marching at a rapid rate in hot pursuit of the enemy but did not overtake them. Dec 22. Marched through New Market on to Mt. Jackson and camped. Our march to day was quite slow ___ the distance about 10 miles. The enemy are still pushing toward Winchester. Dec 23. Laid in camp to-day and lived off the fat of the valley. Some of the boys went out in the country & got butter milk, sausage, & all such luxeries as the valley affords. Very pretty day. Dec 24. Went out to a mill with a friend & got some flour & carried to a house & have it cooked into bread. Returned to camp with my bread and butter milk that I bought for Chrismas. Dec 25. This Chrismas day now are camped near Mt. Jackson. Where might I be on another Chrismas day. Went out & got my Chrisday dinner. Also got some cakes & persimmon beer. Dec 26. Had inspection of arms at 12 OClock. Commenced having roll calls to-day. Look very much like rain this afternoon. Fixed a kind of shelter to keep me out the rain. Dec 27. The last Sabbath in this year is a very disagreeable & rainy day. Who will live to see the last Sabbath in next year. Everyone expects to see it. Wish that I was where I was this time last Chrismas. Dec 28. Still rainy and disagreeable and have no tents to shelter ourselves from the weather. Rumours in camp that we are to march toward Winchester. Dont like the idea of going there. Dec 29. Took a friends place on guard for him to go out foraging for him & myself. Very pretty day after a rainy spell. Recd orders late in the afternoon to cook rations & be ready to move early next morning. Dec 30. Moved this morning out our camps on the pike toward Winchester about 1/2 mile & halted and the orders were countermanded & we returned to our camp again with orders to be ready to move at a moments warning. Dec 31. The last day of this year was a very disagreeable day. It rained & snowed all day long. Who will live to see the last day of next year is a question that cannot be answered. 1863 has gone, never to return again. We are now encamped at Mt. Jackson Shennandoah County Virginia. Where will we be 12 months from now. This ends my diary.
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