Item description: Letter, 27 July 1861, from Edward Porter Alexander to his wife in which he addresses matters about which she had written him before, namely her missing trunk. Turning to matters of his own, he discusses his promotion to Chief of Ordinance and Artillery of the 1st Corps Army of the Potomac and his ensuing duties and privileges. His description of the aftermath of battle is particularly notable.
[transcription available below the images]
Headquarters. 1st Corps. Army of the Potc.
Weirs House July 27th 1861
Your dear letter of the 26th has just reached me precious wifey, and tho. I’ve done nothing very special, I’ll give you a few lines in answer to questions. In the first place I am very much worried about your trunk, and that Mr. Dubose appears to help you so little, when I am sure a very little energy might get it. Worry him about the receipt anyhow, and get it at any rate. Then please write to Father what you know about where it was lost and ask him please to take the matter in hand for me, as I am too busy and cannot afford to lose it. Give him a fair and full estimate of the value of the trunk and all its contents, counting the value of all necessary articles and clothing at their present Richmond value and ask him to demand payment and in default to sue at once. I will write to him myself as soon as I can, but you must write immediately.
In the meanwhile I enclose you a check for $66.50 and will send you more as soon as you ask. I only decide on that sum as it will leave me an even hundred there and I don’t like to send larger single checks by such uncertain mails. I like the idea of your boarding with the Grattons very much. Do so unless you wish to go to Fred. In fact, Presh, do just what suits my little woman best. I think that Aleck and John have returned with Holmes’ Brig; Gus has, I know. I am glad you told me about the check. I never knew that there were two banks with such similar names before and I don’t think yet that I can understand it well without a diagram. I believe I wrote you that I am now Chief of Ordinance and Artillery for Gen. Beauregard’s army or the 1st Corps. Army of the Potomac, Gen Johnston’s being the 2nd (though Gen. J. ranks Gen. B). I am as busy as I can Bee from morning to night, but today I snatched time to ride with the two Generals and their staffs to look at and criticize the positions of the armies in the fight. The smell of the field was awful, principally from the dead horses, in some places in piles. Our dead were all buried some days ago, but they have only finished with the enemy today, burying 83 of them together while we were there, principally those red breeches New York Zouaves.
We have moved our headquarters from the junction to the farm house about a mile off in order to be more private. I have just gotten a tent for myself and hope soon to be fixed up more comfortably than I have been. I got a contraband little free darkey from Wash. captured on the 21st as a black Reprobate’s servant, but I’ve let Capt. Stevens. Engr. Corps take him, and I bribe some of a battallion of darkies who hang around us, to pick up a precarious subsistence for me. Killy is in camp under bushes, without tents, near the battle field about four miles from here, but I’ve been too busy to even ride out to see him yet.
It is getting late and I’m much fatigued and must stop. I’m afraid my duties will keep me here now for some time, at least till some thing turns up, for no possible excuse can be found here on my duties as they are now for a trip to Richmond.
Goodnight my own darling wifey. I love you and pray for you every night. Ever your own loving
Tell me the address while at Mr. Grattons.