Item description: This letter, dated 11 May 1863, was written by Confederate soldier Edward Rowe. Writing to a friend, Rowe recounts the “slaughter” at the battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia, and expresses his fear that “Stonewall” Jackson will die from wounds received in the conflict. His fears proved true.
Gordonsville, May 11th 1863
Mr. Mc Cauley
After leaving Salem I spent two days in Lynchburg then came on to the place but learning that it would be decidedly “billious” to go home went to Stauton met the command and next day came back to this place and finally succeeded in getting home where I found my friend “cooling down” from the great excitement produced by the Yankees. You have no doubt learned the of the raid – which was indeed a very bold affair – but accomplished very little with respect to Public affairs. Privately however they did a great deal. Bacon corn horses & negroes suffered and utter desolation with respect to that species of property is seen in their tract Happily only six of them came to my Father and after abusing him for some time threatening his life if he did not tell them where his horses were hid, finally proceeded to break open his Meat House but fortunately our pickets came up and captured every one and gave them a free ride to Richmond. I visited the Battlefield at Chancellorsville yesterday. They commenced fighting at a place called the Wilderness (an old hotel 16 miles from Fredericksburg – on the turnpike from the latter place to Orange CH. Gen. Jackson succeeded in getting between the
kept up until 12 o’clock on Sunday night & commenced early again Sunday mor ning. I don’t think I ever witnessed such destruction to wood, and it almost a miraculous that any of our men escaped who were stationed in their range west of their fortifications (which they constructed in one night). but fortunately four Brigades belonging to Longstreet Corps. having attacked from the south side forced them from their position forced them back toward Elies Ford in that movement our Soldier charged them both from Jacksons & Longstreets corps and slaughtered them by thousands. Longstreet himself was not present. The immortal Jackson was badly wounded by our own men as you have no doubt heard and fears are entertain ed that he will not live. he is at Guineas Depot. reported to have Pneuomnia, which if true, I fear will be fatal. Many Yankees were unburied yesterday the detail made by the Yankees seemed to be very lazy. at least they do not display as much energy in intering their dead as they do in throwing up fortifications – which they do with remar kable rapidly. The loss estimated on our sides is put at ten thousand, that of the enemy at thirty thousand. all told killed missing & wounded. It is probable that the estimate of the enemy is too high. About ten thousand missing …