22 March 1865: “I have just returned safe & sound from an expedition to Bentonville against Sherman”

Item Description: A letter from Duncan G. Campbell to his wife about the Battle of Bentonville. He mentions capturing commanders, and losses suffered.

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Item Transcription: From Folder #6, in the Campbell Family Papers #135, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription: 

Smithfield March 22nd, 1865

My dear wife,

I have just returned safe & sound from an expedition to Bentonville against Sherman which has been satisfactory on the whole. We went down on Saturday and on Sunday afternoon attacked two corps of Sherman’s army. We killed some few cuups some few and brought off as trophies two comm. Night put on and to the contest. and we returned to our lines. On Monday the Yankees attacked us in the afternoon and after a sharp fight were forced to retire with small loss on both sides. Today we have been moving through the mud, and reached Smithfield at about 2oc. pm. I presume we shall continue to retreat on Raleigh tomorrow or next day. I hardly think it worth while for you to write by the mail for your Afters will probably never reach me, and I don’t like the idea of their falling into other hands. I write whenever I have an opportunity and will write at length as soon as we have day to rest. With much love to all + many kisses to the little ones believe me ever your own devoted

Duncan

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21 March 1865: “some way of accomplishing the move may be opened to us. “

Item Description: Letter dated 21 March 1865 in which the author expresses concerns for her friends and family and the difficulties of contacting them.

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Item Citation: Folder 271, Pettigrew Family Papers, #592, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Spartanburg, March 21/65

My dear Carrie, Dr. Frances Parker arrived at Cedar Spring Saturday night, on his way to Virginia but finding himself unequal to field duty turned back home and yesterday morning I had written a letter to his brother W.H. about my purchase and commenced one to you, when I was interrupted by a visitor whom I could not put off, and who was still with me when the Dr. stopped at my house for the letters. I was mortified to miss such a direct opportunity, but there was no help for it.

I was rejoiced to find by your note to me of the 31st January, which was very long in coming, that you had got back from your visit to N.C. And altho’ you say nothing in it, or in your letter to Harriette from Cherry Hill of yr hardships, I’m afraid they were very great. You set us all an example, dear Cary, of the spirit in which the ills of the times should be borne. I thank you and Charles for the gift you kindly intended for me, which would have been very valuable. I have now settled with W.H. Parker for my purchase. I would write to Mr. Porcher if I supposed he was at home__ if he be there, do let him know it. But I do not know when we shall be able to go to our new home. The Rail Roads are now out of the question as means of transportation, and wagons are not to be hired. I hope that by the time the crops are laid by, if not sooner, some way of accomplishing the move may be opened to us.

What an upheaving there has been in our distracted country. Shut out too from all manner of communication, we are in painful anxiety about our friends. Jannie gladdened our hearts by his arrival here last night. We were sitting around a table with the three little children, I reading aloud to cheer the spirits of the party, and he was in the room, laden with arms, accoutrements, knapsack and blanket, before we knew of his approach. He was in Jas. I. when the order for evacuation was made, and wasn’t with Hardee’s army as far as Raleigh, marching nearly all the way, when the Governor’s order was received for the cadets to report here. They will probably be established at Glenn’s Springs for instruction. He left us this morning for the village, but I hope will get a furlough for rest after the fatigue and exposure through which he has passed. On the way to Cherow he + Hal and I Carson passed part of a day with Adele. She and her daughter he says were in pretty good spirits, + he heard that when the enemy afterward visited Society Hill they only burnt the Depot. I hope this may be correct. I hoped to hear that sister Louise + her daughters were with Adele, but it seems they remained at Otranto_ we cannot conjecture what is their present situation. The militia Regt to which Mr. Porcher belonged were guarding the R.R. Bridge over the Santee, and went with Gen. Hardee as far as the N.C. line, when they received furloughs

[at the top of the first page]

this very poor letter and believe me, my dear Cary your most affectionately, H. D. d.

P.S. Charly Alston, who is an unusual cadet arrived at Spartanburg last ? As soon as I heard it I went to the C. H. bed he had got a furlough + gone. Tell my young friend Louis that I would be glad for him to go over to my place occasionally and see how the house fares. His friend Charly has ploughed a small field and planted ? his own hand. I wish he was equally apt at his Books.

 

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20 March 1865: “Rifle Ball Battle at Bentonville the Last Battle of the War between the States”

Item Description: This object is a wood fragment and rifle ball removed from the Battle of Bentonville. The battle stalled Sherman’s march north toward Raleigh, but eventually Sherman succeeded. The rifle ball is embedded in pine wood, The reverse side the following hand printed: “Rifle Ball Battle at Bentonville the Last Battle of the War between the States.” This object held in the North Carolina Collection Gallery at Wilson Library.

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Item Citation: “Wood Fragment/ Rifle Ball.” Bentonville Battlefield, Johnston County, N.C, 1865. CK.73. From the North Carolina Collection Gallery, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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19 March 1865: “The services of the named telegraph operators are needed”

Item Description: A letter requesting more telegraph operators from the army. This is an official paper of the Confederate Army.

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Item Citation: From Unit 9,  in the Confederate Papers #172, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

 

Item Transcription:

Raleigh N.C. March 19th 1865

Col. Otey,
        A.A.G.
                 Col. 

                       The Services of the following named Telegraph Operators are needed in the Department. Please cause an order to be issued to and for them. Similar to special field orders No. 17. March (11th) Sixteenth. 

                         Private Sixteenth           Cathcart
                           ”             ”                 Morgan
                           ”             ”                 Pegues
                           ”             ”                 Ferrell
                           ”             ”                 Girens
                           ”             ”                 Lobby 
                           ”             ”                 Moddard

Respectfully, 

R. B. Bullock 

Superintendent So. Ex. Company

Telegraph

[Reverse]

So. Exp. Co. 
Telgraph Dept 
Raleigh, N.C. 19 March

RB Bullock
Supt

Requests the detach of certain Telopperar-
ors

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18 March 1865: “I will be 27 years old, almost four years older than when you last saw me.”

Item Description: In a letter dated 18 March 1865, Felix Buchanan rights home and discusses the scarcity of mail, that his age was 27, that he had been wounded three times since last writing home, and that he had not been home for four years.

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Item Citation: From Folder 14, in the Buchanan and McClellan Family Papers #1850, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription: 

1st Tenn. Rgt. March 18, 1865

Dear Father and Mother, 

My last news from home dates back to last November and was a letter from Mary, since then I have heard nothing direct or reliable, Since July 63 I have received two Flag of Truce letters only from you. I have been oppressed with anxiety about you all at home, but in the absence of all news to contrary I hope you all are doing well. I can not tell how anxious I am to see you all, but have no hopes of being able to do so soon. In the meantime, I shall try to lead such a life discharging my duties to the best of my abilities that our meeting may be th[faded] & pleasant when it does take place. On the 25th day of this month which will have been passed when this reaches you, if it even does, I will be 27 years old, almost four years older than when you last saw me but not much altered in looks and none in feelings, for I feel just as young and gay today, as I did when I left home. I am blessed with remarkably good health; have not been sick a day since I last wrote you near two years ago, I have been wounded three times since then in both legs and in the face. The two former flesh wounds, the latter entering the mouth and knocking out several teeth. But I am now perfectly well and were it not for the scars would not know that I had ever been hurt. All of your acquaintances here are well. Write to me if possible. Much love to Mother and yourself Lizz. Will Margaret & Family. Alf. sends love to such of his folks as are left and wishes to be reassured to you all. Your Son. Felix G. Buchanan. 

[Reverse]

Andrew Buchanan
Fayetteville, Tennessee

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17 March 1865: “I have sent her to New Orleans for adjudication, together with papers found on board and the proper witnesses required.”

Item description: Report of Commander William Spicer, of the U.S.S. Quaker City, United States Navy, to Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, regarding the capture of the blockade-running schooner the George Burkhardt.

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Item citation: Official records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion.. Series I, Volume 22. Washington : G.P.O., 1900. C970.75 U58no Ser. I, Vol. 22. North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

Report of Commander Spicer, U. S. Navy, commanding U. S. S. Quaker City, regarding the capture of schooner George Burkhart.

U.S.S. QUAKER CITY, Latitude 26o 12′ N., Longitude 96o 49′ W., March 17, 1865.

SIR: I have the honor to address the Department, and would respectfully report to you the capture by this vessel, to-day of the blockade running schooner George Burkhart, from Lavaca, Tex., for Matamoras, Mexico, with a cargo of 76 bales of cotton (39,046 pounds) and about 4 bales loose of the same material.

This vessel (the Burkhart) was discovered to the S. and E. from our station off Brazos Santiago, making a course toward Matamoras, but finding us in chase bore away before the wind and endeavored to escape. Soon after this, however, she was hove to and taken possession of.

Her character, sir, is unquestionable; her people, besides, making no disguise, but confessing freely her employment in violation of the blockade. Her papers are alone sufficient to authorize the seizure. I will not therefore trouble the Department with further details of the case, but simply state that, in obedience to established rules, I have sent her to New Orleans for adjudication, together with papers found on board and the proper witnesses required.

I have, sir, the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. F. SPICER, Commander, U. S. Navy.

Hon. GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D.C.

 

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16 March 1865: “There is now no prospect of any fighting in my command”

Item Description: A letter from E.P. Alexander to his wife describing a social call made to nearby family, which was motivated by his missing his family. He discusses how he feels his command has been well protected.

 

18650316_01 18650316_02Item Citation: From Folder 22a, in the Edward Porter Alexander Papers, #7, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription: 

Camp Lance Place
March 16th 1865

I wrote to U yesterday my dear Sharon of my joys + sorrows, but I know it wouldn’t on that account forbid my Writing to U again today, when I tell you that my thoughts have been peculiarly busy with you today. I went over this morning to see Nimmer(?) but he had gone to town, much to my regret, for I felt as if a sight + a talk with her about you would do me good, so I then went over to see Mrs. Noolfolk + spent an hour with her + Mrs. Nannie. They are all well + sent u much love, + Kind to all the little crowd. They talked a great deal about you + little Ben + the twins which I was much disposed to encourage. I alwasy kiss the whole family now when I meet them. wh. however I know you will pardon, when I tell U how it happened. Mrs. Noolfolk + Mrs. Nmson(?) first offered to kiss me, + having always offered now to kiss them for fear they may think it was an imposition when they kissed me. But it still looked awkward to leve Mrs. Nannie out, + moreover after having kissed the sisters I felt the need of a change of such oscillatory diet to something fresher. Don’t U ever tell any them this. 

If however U don’t consider my explanation entirely satisfactory, please say so for there are few things which I would give up with less sacrifice than kissing even Mrs. Nanny.

I have had no letter from U later than that of the 23rd ? tho I have just received a note from Hilly saying that he had heard up to the 5th just(?) + that U were all well. I am very glad to hear even that much for I feel that you are now so liable to be depressed + feeling badly that I never feel entirely (?) about you. You need feel no uneasiness about me now for I am not only in perfect health + comfort, but I believe there is now no prospect of any fighting in my command, + if there is any at all it can only be from behind our break works wh.; afford ample security + protection. So be of good cheer, my Dear Partner, for Providence is yet dealing with us in the greatest kindness + mercy, + we of all world can trust to Him. I feel the separation from you in your troubles very deeply- more than I have ever done, but I take great comfort in one thing- the remembrance that nothing- life nor death- can ever rob us of each other love. I know how U love me, + that thought alone is happiness. There is no news at all the lines being quiet everywhere. Yesterday Charlie to town + Sallie sent us by him some nice loaf bread a pound of butter + some molasses to make a monkey pudding of. Unfortunately the molasses bottle broke on the journey here but the bread + butter helped our fare so much  that we didn’t grumble about the M.L. 

My love to all + kisses to the “family” it is pitch dark + I am writing out doors to be able to C at all + as a rain incoming must quit. May God ever bless + keep you all my loved ones + soon restore us to each other. Ever prays your loving Husband.

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15 March 1865: “If you can’t get the gold I would get the things wh. you will most surely want, & get yourself some more green tea now while you can. I can’t bear to think of your getting out of it.”

Item description: Letter, dated 15 March, 1865, from Edward Porter Alexander to his wife Bettie Mason Alexander.

[Item transcription available below images.]

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Item citation: From the Edward Porter Alexander Papers, #7, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

[Mrs. E.P.A., Washington, Ga.]

Camp Same Place

Wed. Mch 15th 1865

One of my couriers is just going to town Darling Bessie & I have time for but a short note to send in by him, I received last night your letter of the 23rd Ult. sent by the three soldiers & you don’t know what pleasure it gave me. I sympathise with U so deeply Darling in your daily discomforts & sickness & would give anything if I could only be with U to cheer you up & to nurse & watch over you. I pray night & morning that God may spare you in your hours of suffering & may be more than all earthly help to U

& give you that comfort wh. none else could give. I am very glad that you have the dividend at last tho U don’t say how much it is. If you have anything to buy I think you had better buy it at once, or else buy gold for I would not keep Confed. money now it is depreciating so steadily. Gold is now 65 in Rich. & I laid out all of my money a few days ago in getting a ten dollar piece of it.

If you can’t get the gold I would get the things wh. you will most surely want, & get yourself some more green tea now while you can. I can’t bear to think of your getting out of it. We have had a little excitement here for the last few days over Sheridan’s raid wh. was said to be coming to Rich. It however turned off & went to Louisa C.H. & thence when I last heard from it, it was going towards Han. Junction destroying the R.R. Gen. Longstreet went up yesterday with Pickett’s Divn. to try & catch them at the latter place. All is quiet on our lines here & seems likely to remain so & my command is now reduced to half its previous extent by Gen. Pickett’s being relieved from the line on the south side of the James & sent after Sheridan. Gen. Long now commands everything across the river & I only have from the James to the Chickahominy & all the Richmond Defences & the Torpedo service in the river. 

I don’t suppose U will object to this as it will diminish any chances of being in a fight. Lucy Webb told me yesterday that Burton Harrison, the Pres.t. secretary had said that I was to be made Maj. Gen. over Gen. Pendleton, but I am confident that he was either misunderstood or misinformed. We have no news here from Bragg, Johnston or Sherman. I begged Lucy Webb out of her likeness of U yesterday & am going to swap it to Sallie for hers wh. is much better. You don’t know how I love to look at it, & think our old times but Oh! it makes me so homesick. If I could only be with U my Dear Dear Wife I wd. want nothing more.

Love to all, all well in city. May God ever bless & keep U my Darling & soon restore us to each other ever prays your loving Husband.

 

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14 March 1865: “I think I shall like the army first rate.”

Item Description: Letter dated 14 March 1865 from Edmund Jones, Jr. to his father Edmund Jones. He had recently joined the army after studying at Bingham Academy. After the war, he would go on to study at the University of North Carolina and the University of Virginia. In later years, he farmed at Clover Hill, practiced law in Lenoir, and served in the N.C. legislature.

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Item Citation: Folder 12, Edmund Walter Jones Papers, #3543, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

March 14th Camp of 3rd N.C.
Calvary Near Dinwiddie CH

Dear father,

We moved up here about a week ago from our old camp at Stoney Creek. We & the fifth Regiment are on picket now. The third is on reserve. We had a grand alarm Sunday morning early. They blowed us up an hour before day & had us in line of battle. The entire army of infantry, artillery & cavalry were in line. It proved to be the enemy sending some troops back to City Point to supply the place of some out from there to reinforce Scofield in NC. I have seen several men from Petersburg who say that our hope there are fairing [?] & have stopped deserting which I think is probable true for I know that we are fairing very well. We get a third of a pound of meat a day & one pound of flour & sometimes one and a half. The men too are all well clothed. I have not seen a man barefoot since I came out. They all have good shoes.

I like my company & officers as well as any I could have. Captain Perkins is a splendid old fellow & Lieut Bennet is well as the rest of our Lieuts is a nice fellow. The general impression is that we will have pretty hot work here soon as the roads get good enough.

Have the Bushwackers committed any more depredations lately up there? I feel very anxious about you all up there. I do hope the quiet happy Valley will not be disturbed by them. Are they making any headway stopping them? You must keep me posted on the news there & I will do so far as is in my power to do the same here.

In your next letter please send me a few envelopes & some stamps as I have neither & the first chance you get send me some hard soap & a couple of cotton shirts. I forgot to mention in my last letter that Mr. Fries made me a present of a hat. I could not help my self so I had to take it & I still have that five dollars in specie.

I think I shall like the army first rate. The regiment is filling up rapidly now. I think in two months it will number 800. My paper is out so I must stop. My love to all in the Valley. Direct to E. Jones Co F, 3rd NC Cavalry Barringer’s Brig, W.H.F. Lee’s Div, Army Northern Va.

Your aff son

E. Jones

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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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