13 March 1865: “I waded through swamps and thickets all day hunting for Clingman’s brigade”

Item Description: This letter is family correspondence between members of Thompson family who lived in North Carolina. It describes the movements of several regiments in North Carolina as well as the suspected location of General Sherman’s army. He also mentions the poor morale of the confederate troops. This letter also helps to place where certain regiments might have been during the last month of the war.

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Item Citation: From Folder 14, in the Samuel Thompson Papers, #540, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Greensboro, N. C.

March 13, 1865

Deary Mary,

I received your interesting letter last night. It came in a very good time. Just when we were resting from a hard overnight march. We left Kinston Saturday evening and got here last night. I have no idea how long we will stay here, nor where we will go when we do leave, but I suppose up towards Raleigh or Greensboro to confront Sherman, who, I suppose, is now at Fayetville. If we do go by Hillsboro I am going to stop at home, regardless of consequences. By the way is all the Brandy out: if not we will have some eggnog. But I don’t believe you like it. When you hear of troops passing Hillsboro you may tell Mother to go to cooking. I wrote to Mother last Thursday the 9th ? while in Goldsboro. I took the train that evening and went to Kinston: stayed in town all night: went to the front Friday morning and reported to Gen’l Bragg. Our scouting Party was then disbanded and the men from each brigade part out(?) to find their Brigades, Rg’t’s +c. I waded through swamps and thickets all day hunting for Clingman’s brigade and couldn’t find it. So at last I concluded to go back to the place I started from & went back and found them. They had been around on the enemies flank and came back. Nobody was hurt in our company. They were in the fight a day or two before when we captured so many prisoners. Nobody was hurt though they were powfully scattered and demoralized. Allex Heall(?) I expect is a prisoner as he hasn’t come up. We burned the ironclad steamer in the river at Kinston when we left. Keagoods and Colquitts brigade went back there yesterday morning. I don’t know whether they will try to hold Kinston or not. We got the best of the yankees at Kinston. Sherman’s movements caused us to leave. Two Corps of Hood’s Army was at Kinston, Stewart’s and Lee’s. They left on the train when we did Loring’s Division of stewarts Corps was there. I saw a great many that knew Joe. He was left behind with the wagon train. It will be some time before he gets through. They left him in Miledgeville Ga. I saw the 23rd Miss. Reg’t. it don’t number more than 50 men. A great stopped at home and a great many were captured at Nashville. They are the worst demoralized set of fellows I ever saw. I saw Cameron the other day he was looking well. Sends his kindest regards to all the family. I have not given that fellow an introduction and am not going to do it. I haven’t asked him to give me an introduction to that other Cadg(?). Don’t know whether I shall or not. Send me that letter you was speaking of. I want to see it. I haven’t got time to write a long letter like you said you said you wanted to get. I must stop for the present write soon. 

Yours +c 

J. Thompson. 


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