Item Description: Letter, 8 April 1864, from James Augustus Graham to his mother. In it, Graham describes a fasting day in the camp, along with the spiritual climate, detailing the church service schedule along with the creation of a Soldiers Christian Association in the camp. Graham also says he hopes peace will come soon and worries that he might not make it through the summer’s campaign. Graham would survive the war to return home to Hillsborough, NC.
Camp 27th NoCa Infy
Near Orange C.H. Va April 8th 1864
My dear Mother
As Lieut Strayhorn starts home to morrow morning and I can send a letter by him I will write to you tonight. Lieut Strayhorn as a 30 days sick furlough.
This is the day set apart by Congress for fasting and prayer and I don’t think I ever saw a day more strictly observed than this has been in our Brigade. All drills and duties of every sort have been suspended all day and Camp has been more quiet than I ever saw it before. Everybody seemed to be impressed with the solemnity of the occasion and you could hear none of the noise about Camp that you hear on every other day even on Sundays. The camp seemed almost deserted, for most of the men stayed in their tents and kept very quiet. I think there at least two thirds of our Reg’t fasted and I believe all of the Regts in our Brigade did equally as well.
We had preaching this morning and also tonight by Mr. Dodson Chaplain of the 4th Regt.
A different spirit seems to be pervading our troops from what I have ever seen and I feel that this is the last year of the war and hope that by this time next year we will be blessed with peace and will be an independent nation.
We have had preaching in the Chapel every night, for the past two or three weeks, when the weather would permit and the house is almost always full. We have prayer meeting also every day at half past 12 o ‘clock which is very well attended. We have but one chaplain present with our Brigade now, but he is assisted by Capt Landons of our Regt who is a Baptist preacher.
We have organised a “Soldiers Christian Association” in our Brigade which now numbers over 100 members, though it was only started this week. Several persons who are not members of the church have joined our association, among them Capt Dickson of our Co. I hope that it may be the means of doing much good.
It will not be long before the campaign will open and active operations commence for the winds and sun will soon dry up the roads. I hope that I may escape as well in this campaign as I have done heretofore, but many a one will be lain low before the summer is over. I feel confident that our armies will be successful in this summer’s campaign and hope that it may convince the Yankees that it is useless continuing any longer.
I think our transportation will be down this summer and will therefore send my uniform coat and the pants home by the first opportunity for I don’t want any uniform coat for summer wear.
Walter Thompson has not arrived yet with his boxes, but I expect will be here tomorrow or Monday.
I must close as it is about 11 o ‘clock. Good night. Love to all. Write soon to
Your affectionate son
James A. Graham