Another letter written home to Louisville by one of the soldiers (W.F.K.) who spent a couple of months in Breathitt County during the 1878-79 feud period. The letter appeared in the Louisville Evening Post newspaper.
Winter in the Mountains
Correspondence Evening Post
Camp Taylor, Jackson, Kentucky
Friday, January 9, 1879.
It stopped snowing yesterday about noon. Between eight and half-past, the thermometer fell 12 degrees, from 30 degrees to 18 degrees; the wind blew in a perfect gale, and I think we suffered more from cold than we have done yet. Lieutenant Swigert left for Frankfort yesterday morning; he will return on the next train after he gets there. What he goes for is what no man can find out.
We saw yesterday two of the grandest sights that we have had since we got here. The river commenced to rise under the ice in the morning, and at two o'clock the ice broke up and came down with a rush, carrying everything before it, and it started without the least warning, moving all at once in one great piece. Two of our boys were out on the river, and said at first they did not know what was the matter, they thought that they were dizzy. But they soon saw it was the ice, and not the boys, that was drunk, and started to shore as fast as they could go. Before they got there the whole line was moving, and then logs, coal boats, and every imaginable thing with it. Just before they got to shore the ice cut down a tree 60 feet high and four feet around. It fell right between them, and they thought their time had come. But the ice was so heavy that the tree lay on it some time without cracking it. The ice moved out until two o'clock last night, when it gorged, and this morning the river had risen 30 feet, and was a fearful sight to behold. As far as the eye could reach ice piled up and mixed with trees, which had been cut down, forming a picture which one does not often see. The people here say they never saw anything like it before.
It was snowing here in Jackson yesterday, and suddenly the sun broke through a cloud and struck the mountain two miles off, making it look as if it was on fire. Here all was cloudy and dark; there all was light and brightness. I wish it could be put on canvas, words cannot describe it. This morning when we got up the moon was shining brightly, and all the mountains, being covered with snow, were beautiful, and all of them different. So when we were tired of looking at one of them, we turn and gaze at another.
It is strange how quickly the time passes up here; you would think that as we have nothing to do time would hang heavy on our hands, but it does not. We get up in the morning at nine, and wash, get ready for breakfast, and by the time we are fed it is 11 o'clock. We come in and talk, and before we know it we are ready for supper. After supper we sing and have a good time generally. Last night the boys had a dance; some of them clapped and sang while the others dances, the only trouble being there were no partners. We received some song books about a week ago, and we make good use of them; the boys are learning some of the college songs, and in the meantime sing the gospel songs.
The river is falling very fast, and the people here think it may run out from under the ice, leaving it here, when it may not melt until summer, and so keep the boys from going home in a boat. The captain has been looking around for a boat. He thinks of having one built 90 feet long and 15 feet wide. It is said if we struck a big rise we could run down to Frankfort in six days without any trouble. The judge is to issue an order extending the term of court six weeks longer, which will carry it on into March. The boys are all well and are getting hardy. We do not mind the cold, and we are eating all day long.