Item description: Letter, 8 July 1861, from James A. Graham (1841-1909) to his father William A. Graham, a former United States senator and governor of North Carolina. In this letter, James Graham writes to get his father’s blessing to continue his enlistment for the full duration of the war stating, “our company must either volunteer for the war or be disbanded on the 20th of August.”
Graham also reports on overall good health among his fellow soldiers, with the exception of one serious illness within his company. The relative calm in the weeks of late June and early July of 1861 stand in stark contrast to the impending turmoil brought on by the first great battle of the war, First Bull Run (Manassas), in late July.
July 8th 1861
I wish that you would write me whether you are willing for me to volunteer for during the war or not. As President Davis will not receive any more 12 month Volunteers our company must either volunteer for the war or be disbanded on the 20th of August. Capt. Jones has the promise that if he can raise a regiment he shall be Col. If he is promoted to Col. Joe Webb will be Capt. and I think I can be elected 1st Lieut., but I have heard that President Davis will not accept any commissioned officers under 21 years of age, but do not know whether it is so or not. Yesterday was my twentieth birthday. I wish that I could have been at home then. Stephen Dickson has been elected 2nd in Johnny’s place. We are very well, there being only two or three serious cases of sickness in the whole garrison. One young man named Jackson in our company is very sick with Typhoid fever.
It has been very warm for the last two or three days, but is getting cooler again.
When you write please tell me where Johnny is for I wish to write to him. Love to all. Write soon to
Your affectionate son
James A. Graham
More about James A. Graham:
James Augustus Graham (1841-1909) graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1860. He enlisted in the Confederate Army on 20 April 1861 at Orange County, N.C., as a Corporal. He later joined the 27th North Carolina Infantry Regiment. He was wounded twice in battle, at Bristoe Station and at the Wilderness. By the end of his service, Graham had attained the rank of Captain.
After the war, James A. Graham practiced law with his brother, John, in Hillsborough, N.C. He was married to Elizabeth Cheshire Webb (1845-1915), with whom he had four children.
Full Service Record:
– 20 years of age at time of enlistment
– Enlisted on Apr 20 1861 at Orange County, NC as Corporal
– Enlisted into G Company, 27th Infantry (North Carolina) on Jun 22 1861
– Surrendered while serving in 27th Infantry (North Carolina) on Apr 9 1865 at Appomattox Court House, VA
– Promoted to Sergeant (Full, Vol) on May 8 1861
– Promoted to Orderly Sergeant (Full, Vol) on Jul 19 1861
– Promoted to Third Lieutenant (Full, Vol) on Aug 17 1861
– Promoted to Second Lieutenant (Full, Vol) on Dec 5 1862
– Promoted to First Lieutenant (Full, Vol) on Apr 25 1863
– Promoted to Captain (Full, Vol) on Nov 2 1864
– Wounded on Oct 14 1863 at Bristoe Station, VA (Returned)
– Wounded on May 5 1864 at Wilderness, VA
– Returned on Nov 1 1864
Sources for the above information:
– North Carolina Troops 1861-65, A Roster, (1993)