Item Description: Letter, dated 1 August 1863, from Ruffin Thomson while studying at the University of Mississippi to someone he addresses as “doctor.” A portion of the letter appears to be missing.
More about Ruffin Thomson: Thomson was the oldest child and only son of William H. Thomson and Hannah Lavinia Thomson. He studied at the University of Mississippi and the University of North Carolina, leaving school in 1861 to enter the Confederate Army, serving as a private until February 1864, when he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Confederate Marine Corps. After the Civil War, he studied medicine in New Orleans and began a practice in Hinds County. In 1873, he married Fanny Potter. In 1888, he went to Fort Simcoe, Washington Territory, as clerk to the Yakima Indian Agency, hoping to recover his failing health, but instead died soon after his arrival.
[Transcription available below images.]
Spring Ridge, Mississippi.
August 1, 1863.
A gentleman passed here yesterday, bringing news direct from you at Enterprise. We were glad to hear from you, but sorry you were unwell. Myself and family are well, and feel considerably relieved since the departure of the Yankees, whom we found to be anything but pleasant neighbors. You have often read of their insolence and innate disposition to steal, but you cannot realize the full extent of the power these ruling traits of character develop until you have passed through the trying ordeal. They usually come, if on horseback, in a full run, whooping and swearing, and ride in at the front gate – up to the house – some dismount and rush in, open trunks, bureaus, and everything is tumbled about in search of money or other valuables – while others run for the kitchen to question the negroes if anything is hidden. Those on foot are usually in the kitchen long before you know they are on the place: or you hear the chickens flying and cackling, and on examination you find a dozen thieving Yankees in pursuit of them. We have escaped wonderfully well. They took both our carts, the buggies and your market wagon. I got my buggy back by going to Jackson and had an order to get yours, which I found, but the thief that took it proved by any number of witnesses that he got it at a log house, and that it was taken from a widow. This was after I had described the house in which I live and the time it was taken. The captain of his (the thief’s company) also swore the buggy had been there several days before I stated it had been taken. In getting my buggy I got a fine mule to bring it out. This the general of the division ordered the quartermaster to furnish me. They also took from us two sides of meat, about a gallon and a half of molasses, most of the wine we had not hidden, a good many chickens, some of which they paid for in greenbacks and silver. I lost one shirt. Mary Raney lost her rings. They tore off the plank of the potato house and stole all the irish potatoes. I would have suffered more, but when I was in Jackson I got written protection which I have no doubt saved my clothes. Father Suffered terribly, all his old corn was taken, half of his meat, his watch and all of his clothing, besides tin pans, bukets, knives, forks, towels, etc. They also shot down hogs in the yard and left them and took some of his sheep, nearly all of his mules and part of the balance, with both the ox wagon and horse wagon were taken by 25 of his negroes one night, leaving him without a wagon on the place and but five mules – his gin house and 225 bales of cotton was burned. This happened just after the Yankees left. Mr. Spencer lost every negro he had – not one left behind