27 March 1865: “I guess all the girls is going to get married but the ones that I would be glad to hear of their finding some fellow that would suit better than I do.”

Item Description: Letter dated 27 March 1865 from Charles Milton Hopper to his family back home. Hopper served in the 70th Ohio Regiment of the United States Army.

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Item Citation: Folder 1, Charles Milton Hopper Papers, #3584, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Goldsboro, N.C.

Monday, March 27th

Dear folks at home, – I will try once more in my way to write you a short letter. Yesterday was Sunday and I received a letter from home which had left you all well and in good spirits, which I was very glad to hear as I had not heard from you since in January. but since that time I have had the best of health that I ever enjoyed. I have enjoyed the hardships of the last campaign for we have lived on the best that the South could afford. Our meat was mostly ham. Our bread stuff was flour & meal that we have had all the time. Also plenty of chickens & turkeys, geese and ducks, for our extra who would not be a soldier and put down this cruel war. We have had plenty to eat but otherwise we have had hard fighting & hard marching, — through rain & mud and swamps to beat all. Well I have passed through all this safe and feel better than ever I have felt since I have been in the service. Today we draw full rations of Northern grub, crackers, beans, coffee, sugar, salt, rice & meats. Coffee has run very scarce with us. I have been making coffee out of burnt meal. A poor substitute. Now I am going to have a cup of good coffee. Something else now. The letters I got was mailed at Gerves on the 14th & 27th of Feb. I suppose you have written before & since them dates. On the 12th of this month I sent you a few lines written with a lead pencil as we had a chance as there was a boat come up the river to Fayetteville where we crossed the river. We only laid there 2 days and since we have been marching. You appear to think that I have not written as often as I could as ? had gotten more letters than you had from me. I have written as often as I had any opportunity to do so. We have had no chance to write since we left Beaufort until the note I spoke of at Fayetteville and the present time. I shall try to write you often for I am anxious to hear the news. You wrote as if you had plenty to tell me. Be sure and post one for it has been a long time since I have heard the latest news. Tell Pa he can surely take time to write me one letter while I am laying in camp. This time I think we shall rest and recruit up,- one month any how and then we will start for Richmond and end the war. Mother I guess all the girls is going to get married but the ones that I would be glad to hear of their finding some fellow that would suit better than I do. That would be a great relief to me. Perhaps they may get before I get home. Mother you must tell me what a good time you had at the goose supper. I suppose Geroe will be posted as his folks East are not slow on the talk. I guess he will not hear all. Hope not. You said something about a letter. You must give me more about it. So Pa is just making it pay nicely. Is he glad to hear it? Well I suppose you are thinking about farming by this time. I should like to hear something in regard to who is doing your work and who is going to work for Pa. I suppose Tom is living with you yet What has become of Len & his family? Is he putting on York style yet or has his money failed him? Who is working for Geroe? Young Aaron? Uncle Morris? Where is Sime & Kit? Tell Kate she must surely write me a letter. I cannot think of half that I want to write for it has been so long since I have wrote any. I am going to eat dinner and clean the parade ground and then I will try to write some more. Had dinner & cleaned off the grounds, so I thought I would write a little more. But I have to go on picket. So you will have to excuse me. Hoping to hear from you soon I will close. I hope this will find you well and in good health. You can direct to Goldsboro, N.C. I am ever

C.M. Hopper

To all- Father- Mother & Sister, – Good Bye.

Answer soon

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26 March 1865: “We had a small fight at Petersburg yesterday”

Item Description: In this letter, E.P. Alexander describes the atmosphere around Richmond after the Attack on Fort Stedman in Petersburg, VA. He also discusses what the the scene was like following that battle. In particular, he mentions a large crater where the fighting occurred, and the number of dead Union soldiers burned in it afterwards. As of the time he wrote this letter, he had not heard whether Johnston had succeeded against Sherman in North Carolina. Alexander also anticipates a confrontation near Richmond in the immediate future, and discusses an attempt to steal two commanding officers horses.

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Item 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, Mch 26th 65
Sunday night

I have just returned from Rich’d. where I went into Church today my Darling Little sick Wife! + having this evening with nothing else to do will send another letter to comfort all in my power the sick bed on which I expect this will find you. I expected that Sallie + Lou would both leave Rd. tomorrow, but they have deferred it for at least another day hoping to hear confirmation of the report that Johnston has brought Sherman to grief. wh. is prevalent in the City. If it is confirmed Lou will not leave at all I think, Sallie, not for some time yet. The telegraph will have informed U of it truth or falsity long before U get this so, I won’t discuss it. We had a small fight at Petersburg yesterday in wh. we got a number of prisoners – (600) + had part of their lines for a while, + everything now indicates a severe fight over there very soon. possibly tomorrow. The weather + roads have been good now for several days, + unless Grant intends leaving everything for Sherman to do he will probably be “pegging away” pretty soon. This army appears to be in good spirits + its numbers are sufficiently respectable to make me feel very hopeful of the result. We have certainly nothing to fear on our side of the river. We had a little excitement in our camp last night over an attempt to steal the horses of Majors Middleton + Franklin My L.M. and C.S. Franklin heard some moving + went out + found both horses gone. We waked Middleton + they got other  horses + started out on different roads to pursue. Middleton overtook the thieves on the two horses + pursued them + fired on them + and compelled them to jump off + take to the woods leaving the horses wh. we caught. We are only sorry that he fired before he got close enough to clap the pistol to the fellows head. I went to see Lucy Webb today to ask her to get U one of the merinos wh. Hilly wrote. Sally about but she says they are English merinos + very poor + the would not advise getting one + she did not think a good french one could be gotten for less than  $1,000 even if one could be found in town. I had intended to have sold the gold I gave Sallie for U + got one but for this advice. I gave Sallie to take to U a painting of the crater at Petersburg several days after the Battle in it. It is not very good as it does not indicate the depth wh. was over thirty, but even after it was partly filled up by burning 200 dead Yankees + negroes in it, nor does it sufficiently indicate the character of the earth thrown up, wh. was in enormous boulders e+ – some of them 20 feet high. In the picture it looks more like dirt thrown up by a spade. The foreground of the picture is the gap we cut thru the earth thrown out inside of our lines + opposite it is shown the new parapet made in that towards the enemy + our sharp shooter on it. I went to see Jennie yesterday but she had gone over to Petersburg to see Mrs Cameron. I expect she got a good scare over there from the fight yesterday. I have been trying to recollect + manage to sing “Just as I am” + after a good many attempts have at last learnt to sing it very well indeed. I have been trying to learn ” I’m a Pilgrim” + “Oh could I speak the matchless worth-” but cant get them quite right. I think that I sing the “second” + it Keeps me from getting the airs. It is certainly something very like the airs but not the airs themselves. My latest letter from U was the 15th. I have had none between Feb 23rd + March 12th. I wrote to U daily last week. Give my warmest love to all. Keep a good heart My Darling One for God is still + always good to us, + we have the greatest of all blessings in each others affection.  My heart is with U in all your troubles + I feel more closely drawn to You in love + trust daily by the very thought them. May God ever bless & keep U all my Darlings ever prays Your Devoted Husband.  

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25 March 1865: “This is my first and I hope will be my very last fight, as it is anything but agreeable to see men fall all around you killed or wounded.”

Item Description: Letter written by Henry Armand London to his father.  He describes the events of the Battle of Fort Stedman, a failed attempt by the Confederate Army to break the siege on Petersburg.  He mentions wounded and captured members of his regiment.  He served as a courier in Company I of the 32nd North Carolina Infantry Regiment and participated in one of the last actions of the Civil War in carrying the message to General William R. Cox to cease firing because Robert E. Lee had just surrendered.

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Item Citation: Folder 1, Henry Armand London Papers, #868-z, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Hd Qr Grimes Division Mar 25th 1865

My Dear Pa:

Fearing you would see an account of our fight this morning in the papers and would naturally be anxious to hear of me, I will drop you a line or two only to inform you that under the merciful protection of a good God I have escaped unscathed the many dangers by which I was surrounded and still live owing to His wonderful guidance. At 1 oclock we arose and marched out to the trenches to the left of our Division and in front of the cemetary, and the Sharpshooters pushing on rapidly we captured the works in our front without scarcely firing a gun so completely were they taken by surprise. We captured two Brig Gens (one commanding a Div) nearly a thousand men and turned half a doz or more of their own pieces upon them as they retreated. It was daylight by the time the body of the troops got into action and after an obstinate fight of three or four hours, the Yankees flanking us with overwhelming numbers, we were compelled to fall back to our original position, when the battle ceased. I have heard the shells shriek and the minnie balls whistle and I can assure you it is rather unpleasant. When the troops retired from the works they had taken, I did not know it and only escaped capture by running as hard as I could a quarter of a mile through an open field swept by their fire, expect every moment to be knocked over as the dead lay in a long line being killed attempting to get away as I did, and I can assure you I drew a long breath of relief when I jumped into our works, for it is was a miracle almost that I got through safe. Two of my Co were either captured or killed behind me as we left the works together and they have not been heard of since, but I think they went back and were captured as it seemed almost certain death to attempt to run the gauntlet. I could have gotten any amount of plunder, fine boots, valise, clothing &c, but I would not as it would set a bad example & the men, but I got some crackers and eat them as complacintly under an awful shelling as I would at breakfast table, so accustomed bad I become to the “fun.” I picked up a horse which I let Leint Barnes the Gen’s A.D.C., have, but I bought off some letters the only thing I did and thinking you might like a “souvenir” of the battle I enclose one. Leint Barnes was quite severly wounded in the hip which may cripple him for life and one of the couriers was slightly wounded. The Division lost about (official) 350. The 32nd lost its commanding officer Maj Rirson, a most gallant officer, and the srgt had his thigh broken. L M Brown of my Co son of Abner Brown lost his right arm poor fellow, it was the first time he had been wounded since the war began. Bro William came out with “flying colors” as usual, so that neither of your sons was injured. This is my first and I hope will be my very last fight, as it is anything but agreeable to see men fall all around you killed or wounded. The men did not plunder as much as usual, though there was plenty of everything to tempt them. I hope you received my letter by Capt Tyson, who promised if you sent me a box to put some meat in it and I want you to hold him up to it. When you send the “box” write and let me know so I can look out for it at the Depot. Sorgham and dried fruit would be the best to send, and also two prs cotton drawers and three prs socks which you will find in my trunk. Give my best love to Ma Kate and the children and write soon to your affect Son

H. A. London Jr.

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24 March 1865: “No matter if our country goes down tomorrow Lees name will stand first upon the pinnacle of fame, as the greatest of commanders living or dead.”

Item Description: Letter dated 24 March 1865 from William C. McClellan to his brother Robert A. McClellan.  He discusses hearing from family in Alabama and the declining health of their parents.  He also mentions about conditions at Petersburg and how he feels the end of the Confederate States is near.  He lastly writes about how he feels Robert E. Lee is the greatest military commander in the history of the world.

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

Item Transcription:

Camp Near Petersburg Va

March 24th 1865

Dear Bob

I was very agreeably surprised yesterday at the reception of your letter of the 18th inst. This is the first news I have had from you in five months or more your letter written at Gadsden ala I received a letter a day or two ago from Matilda dated Dec 28th giving me the news in North Ala up to that time. She generally gives me as much news as a couple of news paper tells me you had a gay time at a party at Esq. Robertsons; your efforts to raise a company haveing a position for me, & last but not least of the reported marriage of Miss M. Lipscomb to Hiram Faulks. My hopes have departed like the glory of the noonday sun. My heart has again been wrecked for the 20th time upon the matrimonial sea.

About two weeks ago we moved from the extreme right of our line South of Petersburg to this position between the Appomattocks and James river. Relieving the Picketts Division who have had a good time and no fighting for the last 10 months. The left of our Brigade rest on the James The right of the Divis on the Appomattocks; Our Division has been commended for a long time by Maj. Gen Wm Mahone fomerly of the 3d Brigade of the Divs. He was yesterday presented with a sword by the ladys of Petersburg. I will send you his remarks on the occasion also his report of the campaign of last year.

Somehow or other I have been thinking a great deal resently about those at home, particularly about Father and Mother. They are getting old and feeble as Mathilda says and I have a longing to be with them to comfort suport and Protect them. ? you and I will fall this duty for this reason you must not expose yourself to unnecessary danger. As for me I am in no danger at presant as I now hold and have for a longtime a Boom proof position but I would gladly exchange for your Branch of services.

We all expect here to see before long the army of Tennessee joined to the right of the army of VA. Then will commence the last great strugle for Richmond. Grant is perfectly quiet he seems to be waiting for Sherman to win all the glory.

You will excuse me for saying that Grant has had to contend with the greatest Gen the world ever produced. Napoleon not ? the later was sometimes defeated with equal numbers, the former with overwhelming odds against him. No matter if our country goes down tomorrow Lees name will stand first upon the pinnacle of fame, as the greatest of commanders living or dead.

If your army was not on the move I would apply for a few days leave of absence to pay you a visit but under the existing circumstances would be doubtful about finding you. Bob I am low down I can see but little hope for these confederate states in these times. My kindest regards to all the boys. Write every opportuy possible.

Your Brother W. C. McClellan

 

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23 March 1865: “You will dispose your vessels about the sounds to capture all contraband of war going into the enemy’s lines”

Item Description: Order from Rear Admiral David D. Porter, of the U.S. Navy, to Commander W.H. Macomb regarding the seizure of contraband goods from captured Confederate ships.

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Item Citation: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. Series 1, Volume 12.  Washington : Government Printing Office, 1901. C970.75 U58no Ser. I, vol. 12. p.78-79North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Order of Rear-Admiral Porter, U.S. Navy to Commander Macomb, U.S. Navy, regarding the restriction of trade in the sounds of North Carolina.

North Atlantic Squadron,

U.S. Flagship Malvern, Aiken’s Landing, James River, March 23, 1865.

SIR: It seems to be the policy now to break up all trade, especially that which may benefit the rebels, and you will dispose your vessels about the sounds to capture all contraband of war going into the enemy’s lines.  You will stop all supplies of clothing that can by any possibility benefit a soldier; seize all vessels afloat that carry provisions to any place not held by our troops and send them into court for adjudication.  Recognize no permits where there is a prospect of stores of any kind going into rebel hands.  I enclose you General Grant’s order on the subject.  For any capture, send in prize lists and make full reports.  You will see by the law (examine it carefully) that an officer is authorized to send all property “not abandoned” into court, especially property afloat.  I hope you succeeded in getting the Philadelphia again into your possession.  Send her to Washington if you do.

Respectfully, yours,

David D. Porter,

Rear-Admiral, Commanding North Atlantic Squadron.

Commander W.H. Macomb,

Commanding District of the Sounds, North Carolina.

 

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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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