Item description: In this letter, dated 12 March 1862, Jeremy Francis Gilmer wrote to his wife, Louisa Fredericka Alexander Gilmer, to catch her up on war news. He described probable Confederate and Union troop movements on the Tennessee River and Confederate losses sustained in the recent Battle of Pea Ridge, including the death of Brigadier General James M. McIntosh, the brother of a family friend with a husband and another brother in the Union Army.
March 12th 1862
My dear Loulie,
I was delighted this morning by the receipt of your letter dated 8th inst: which made me feel that you were not Five thousand miles away from each other, as appeared to be the case. The date of the previous letter was the 24th Feb: _ two weeks old! To get a letter only four days old from you is a great treat to me, and makes me feel that we are still living in the same country _
I have nothing new since my letter sent by Lieut. Ingraham day before yesterday. By the bye, I sent a hundred dollar bill to you by Mr. Ingraham, which he promised to deliver to you on his arrival at Savh: _ if any delay occurs get your Uncle to ask him for the money. Did you receive a check for $100. on the Bk. of the State of Ga. I sent you from Nashville about the last of January? The check was payable to the order of A Porter, and if lost, the money cannot be drawn_let me know if you recd the check.
A part of our forces have advanced from this place towards Tuscumbia, and the rear corps will go forward as fast as possible in the same direction. What the enemy proposes to do, we do not know with certainty; but, rumor states they are ascending the Tennessee river in considerable form. Their object is most probably, to get a center position and prevent a junction of our forces with those of Beauregard and Bragg. It looks much as if success will crown their efforts in this way _ that is to say, they may be able to prevent the junction. In that case, we will give them battle or move in such direction as to avoid them, with the hope of better chances in the future. I am sorry to tell you that the reported victory of Van Dorn in Missouri turns out to be no victory _ Desperate fighting took place between his forces and the enemy the 7th inst: with heavy loss on both sides _ on ours; Genl: McCulloch and McIntosh. (Brother of Mrs Keeney) and Col: Hebert. (Brother to Col: Paul Hebert, who was formerly an officer of the Corps of U.S. Engineers) _ were killed Van Dorn’s forces slept on the field of battle, but next day they gave battle only to escape and then retreated southward toward the interior of Arkansas _ I was shocked when the news of McIntosh’s death was recd _ what sorrow this will bring to our friend Mrs. Keeney_ her only Southern Brother killed in a miserable war in which her feelings are on one side, and her husband & other brother on the other side_ She in a distant land, where her Southern friends receive nothing but curses loud and deep _ Oh how I pity her ___
Speaking of California, I must tell you that your long letter to Mrs. Halluk_ sent to Memphis last Oct: __ finally came to me at Murfreesboro, and I had a chance of sending it to Nashville to be mailed for New York_ She will get it, I doubt not, as the name of Halluk has now great respect in all Yankee quarters __ She has probably recd it by this time.
Please to give my special regards to Brother Lawton, and say to him for me that he must not be discouraged by the public clamor & fault finding_ A proud consciousness of having performed our duty in these days of trouble & difficulty must be our reliance __ popular favor or condemnation amounts to nothing __ never give up!
I have heard of no appointment or commission of Colonel for me. I hope it is so and that I am the Col: of Engineers _ Chief Engineer. If not given to me, and pretty Soon, I shall quit the Service
Tell Lawton that Mackall and I think Genl: Beauregard would be delighted to have him command a Brigade of his army _ and Mackall says, he will serve willingly under Brother L._ Genl: Mackall has sent a Telegram to Hilly at Manassas, inviting him to accept a place on his staff or _ Quartermaster or Commissary, with rank of Capt:_ If you like it, telegraph Hilly to accept_
With much love to you my dear Loulie __ and to our dear Children I am your JF.
P.S. Tell Mrs. Mackall that her General, formerly her Major_ is very well