1 October 1864: “I can serve the country as well or better in my present position than in any other.”

Item Description: Letter dated 1 October 1864 written by W. H. Joyner. Joyner’s Uncle Sid was in prison at this time on Johnson Island.


Item Citation: From folder 18, Joyner Family Papers (#04428), Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Columbia SC

Oct 1st 1864

My dear Mother

I received your letter four days ago and was glad to hear from home. I didn’t think that I was forgotten; knowing that you was no great writer, and have so many things to occupy your mind I don’t expect you to write very often.

I didn’t think there is any probability of the clerks in the Dept. being called out so you need have no uneasiness about me. I certainly will not leave here if I can help it for I think I can serve the country as well or better in my present position than in any other.

I hope they will not call out the 11 year old boys in N.C. I don’t know how you could manage without Tom and I think it would be very hard to take him from home, tho’ I don’t think you need be uneasy about as I don’t suppose there is any probability– that they will be needed in N.C. and they can’t be sent out of the State.

I have written to Dr Blacknall att Mr Jackson and hoped to hear from him soon. I will keep a look out for their box and think I can safely promise you that the contents will be well attended to. I have just enjoyed a nice treat from Richmond. My room-mate received some delicacies from his mother in R_  and a letter telling him he must be sure and give me some of it.

I left a brown coat at home which I may want this winter, but you need not trouble yourself about sending it now. One of the young men from our office will go to Raleigh soon and will bring it to me. I will let you know when he goes and you can parcel it to stow

I left twenty ($211) dollars with Mr Ellis to give to Belle for Aunt Martha, also one dollar and fifty cents that he owed in   which I asked him to send to you. Let me know if it has been received, as he may have forgotten it.

Miss Maria Allen is at home in furlough, so I am free now for a while. I have just received a letter from Sid. He was well and wishes me to try and find an officer of his rank here who has influential friends in the North and try by that means to get a special exchange for him. I don’t know that it will do any good but I will make the attempt. My love to all at home regard Mrs. Kearney + all my friends.

Your affectionate son,

W.H. Joyner

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30 September 1864: “We checked the Yankees at Port Republic.”

Item Description: Hastily written letter from Stephen D. Ramseur to his wife.  Mentions a Confederate victory at Port Republic and hopes that they will drive the Union forces from the Shenandoah Valley within a few days.


Item Citation: Folder 10 in the Stephen Dodson Ramseur Papers, #1567Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Item Transcription: 

Camp Near Waynesboro, VA

September 30, 1864

My Darling Wife,

I have time for a line to you. Caleb and I are well. We checked the Yankees at Port Republic. We are recruiting here and I hope in a few days will be able to drive the Yanks out of the Valley. Received your letters of the 17th and 18th. Just continue to write. Keep warm and cheerful and hopeful.

I sent you $800 in a letter, care of Mr. Collum. Have you received it? Excuse great haste. Love to all. Accept my heart full of love.


Your Devoted Husband

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29 September 1864: “our men whipped the Yanks”

Item Description: Letter dated 29 September 1864 written by Wat W. Barrow who was at Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond. He writes to Louisa Watkins, describing his injuries, expressing his worries about brother Orren, and giving news of Hairston Watkins at Point Lookout.


Item Citation: Folder 8 in the George Hairston Papers, #4477Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Chimborazo Hospital 3 divison Ward. H

Richmond, Va. Sept. 29th/64

My dear Aunt

As I have just seen Mr. SS Sheffield from Pointlookout + knowing your anxiety about Cousin to Hairston. I will write. Mr. Sheffield says that Cousin Hairston is in first rate health + ? than he ever saw him + says that he has become himself resigned to the confinement in prison + says that he gets clothes + funds from some of Uncle Peter’s acquaintances north . I am glad to hear that he is so fortunate. Mr Sheffield says that Cousin Peter Shelton is in good health + fine spirits. There is some excitement in town today. There has been some fighting down in the direction of Chaffin’s farm today. I could hear the guns very distinctly But have not heard the result.

I am very uneasy about ? as it was not very far from where our division was. I heard that this division was on this side of the River if so it was in the fight. If I could walk I would go down to hear from him Aunt. I am yet compelled to resort to the use of crutches. I went before the Board today for a furlough. The Dr told me that I did not need a furlough + that I must apply for retirement. I will soon but have very little confidence in success as I think my knee will be all right in less time than one could be retired for I must conclude by asking you to give my love to Uncle Peter + all the rest of it to James ? for ? afuel portions of the best love of your off nephew

WW Barrow

P.S. I would write more but have one or two other letters to write this eve + it is near 4 oclock . Therefore excuse ?

[at the first top of the page upside down]

3 cheers I have just heard that our men whipped the Yanks & took quite a number of prisoners. WWB



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28 September, 1864: “He desires you to move to the North side of James River”

Item Description: Letter to General R. H. Anderson commanding him to move across the James River to take command of the line of defense and establish a line of communication between General Lee and Major Generals Field and Pickett.



Item Citation: Folder 21 of the Edward Porter Alexander Papers #0007, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Item Transcription:

Head Quarters Army of Northern Va.

28th September

Lieutenant General R. H. Anderson

Commanding Longstreet’s Corps



I am directed by General Lee to say that he desires you to move to the North side of James River and take command of the troops and line of defense about Chaffin’s Bluff, New Market etc. He wishes the construction of the line of works under the supervision of Col. W. Proctor Smith Engineers etc. pushed forward as vigorously as possible and everything done to make the entire defensive line secure against any attack of the enemy. You are requested to establish your headquarters at such point as may be most convenient to the lines and to report your location to the General Commanding and also to Major Generals Field and Pickett. These division commanders have been instructed to communicate through you in all matters of routine and internal administration and being nearer the General Commanding to report by Army Head Quarters direct in matters appertaining to military operations.

A copy of this letter has been furnished Lt. General Ewell commanding the Dept. of Richmond in whose department you will be operating.

I have the honor to be respectively tour obedient servant,

W. H. Taylor

A. A. General


Hd Qurs A. Nor. Va.

Sept. 28, 1864

W. H. Taylor

A A Genl.

to Genl. Anderson

Is directed to state by Genl. Lee that he desires you to move to the North side of the river and take Comd. of the line of defense around Chaffin’s Bluff New Market etc.

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27 September 1864: “A ball passed three inches above my head”

Item Description: Excerpt of a letter from Mrs. Louis H.deRosset regarding a dangerous journey, as her ship was attacked by Union blockaders.

18640927_02 18640927_01

Citation: From Folder 62, in the DeRosset Family Papers #214, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Sept. 27, 1864

“Sunday we started, but, it being a very bright night we were seen by two blockaders. Immediately the sky was illuminated with rockets, broadside upon broadside, volley upon volley was poured upon us. The Captain put me in the wheelhouse for safety. I had scarcely taken my seat when a ball passed three inches above my head, wounding the man at the wheel next to me; a large piece of the wheelhouse knocked me violently in the head. I flew to the cabin, took baby in my arms, and immediately another ball passed through the cabin. We came so near one of the enemy’s boats that they fired a round of musketry, and demanded surrender. We passed them like lightning, and after passing through it all, leaving the enemy in the far distance, feeling perfectly safe, the vessel commenced sinking! Eight shots went through and through below the water line. I stayed in the cabin until I could not longer keep baby out of the water, when the Captain sent us to shore.”

Extract from Letter of Mrs. Louis H. deRosset.

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26 September 1864: “Commanders are directed to forward to these Headquarters”

Item Description: From Colonel George Logan’s records. A circular from Major General Buckner requesting lists of blacksmiths and carpenters from commanding officers.


Citation: Folder 33, in the George William Logan Papers, #1560, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Head Quarters Dist. West. La.

Alexandria, Sept 26, 1864


Commanders are directed to forward to these Headquarters, as soon as practicable, a list of all the Blacksmiths and Carpenters in their respective commands.

By command of Maj. Genl. Buckner

John Callihan

A A Genl.

To Capt. C. C. Peck

Comdg 2nd Battn. La H Arty


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25 September 1864: “Left the camp with an officer + ten men unable to walk”

Item Description: From Colonel George Logan’s records. This report from one of his captains informs him of transportation trouble and new camp conditions. It also informs him of the Captains decisions.

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Citation: In Folder 33, in the George William Logan Papers #1560, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Hd. Qrs. 2nd Battalion. Heavy Artillery
25. Sept 1864

C. C. D. W. La.
Capt. Commanding

Reports that he left an officer and ten men in charge of the baggage belonging to his Battalion.


Hd Qrs D.W. La.
26 Sept. 1864

Reply returned. Left the sick and baggage remain where they are.

By Command of Maj. Gen. McKlear

Gallagher A.A.G.

Rear Hd. Qrs. 2nd D. La. Sept. 26, 1864


Hd Qrs La. Battalion H. A. Chickasaw
Bayon, Sept 25th 1864

Lt. Col. J.T. Galligher A. A. G.

Col. On moving to this camp yesterday morning I found it impossible for want of transportation to move most of our baggage. I therefore left the camp with an officer + ten men unable to walk. Expecting to send for the Sick men + baggage today. I have Since concluded that it would be best perhaps to let the Sick men + baggage remain there for the present, as the Sick can be better taken care of there than here. There being nothing to Shelter them from the weather at this camp; if however you should wish the whole camp removed here, will you indicate it? So that I may order it at once.

Very Respectfully
Your Able Servant
C.C. Duke Capt.
Comdg. Batt. [Commanding Battalion]

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24 September 1864: “Lincoln, that disgrace to humanity”

Item Description: Diary entry dated 24 September 1864 by Sarah Lois Wadley. In this entry she recounts her many social events throughout the course of a week and discusses the people with whom she socializes. She also mentions a friend having tea with Gen. Prince Polignac.


Item Citation: From volume 4 (folder 5) in the Sarah Lois Wadley Papers, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Saturday, Sep. 24th. 1864.

This time last year we were on our journey to Georgia, this very morning a year ago we were in the beautiful, but deadly Lafourche swamp, and Father was suffering such severe pain as makes us shudder to look upon; yet I look back upon this time with regret, the accidents and troubles of our journey are softened by time and distance and the excitation of exercise, and novelty, and bright hopes stand out in fascinating colours, when I look back upon the past year so full of uncertainties and trials, of miserable doubts and impious repinings, I am filled with thoughts so mingled and various that I that I cannot disentangle them. I am thankful for the restored health which God has been pleased to vouchsafe me, for the past week my strength and spirits have been better than I have rejoiced in for months, no terrible morning weakness, no miserable depression. I have felt the blood flowing bright and clear in my veins.

Captain Williams left us Wednesday morning for his command, I sent a letter to Willie by him; we missed him very much the day he left, but have gotten accustomed to his absence as easily as we got accustomed to his presence. The day before he left he conversed more with us than ever before, and I found him a most intelligent and interesting companion, he had the sensible quality of not speaking unless he had something to say, and so visible was this peculiarity that I felt no embarrasment in sitting for half an hour or more without any remark at all.

Thursday evening Dr. Furness came over, I think I never saw, or suffered, so dull and sleepy a man in my life, he appeared to be continually hammering his brain for something to say, and after all did not succeed in striking any sparks, he passed his hand over his forehead every now and then as if he had a bad headache, indeed he looked like it, and I think we were all relieved when he took his departure, I have not yet had the pleasure of gratifying my curiosity by a sight of Dr. Melton.

Miss Mary and I went into town Thursday to attend a rehearsal of the tableaux; Miss Hannah Bry sent to request a seat in the carriage and when we arrived at Major Bry’s we found we were also to have the pleasure of the company of a Miss Keene, we bore our trials with exemplary fortitude I trust; the dust was very great and the ferry troublesome to cross; when we reached the rendezvous of the D. D. D’s there were but two young ladies there, and but one more came. After waiting about an hour we left without doing anything, and with the impression that there would be no tableaux at all. We drove down to Maj. Bry’s with Miss Hannah, called on Miss Lou Hanna on our return, and when I got to Mrs. Stevens and met Mary’s affectionate welcome I felt like a weary mariner arriving at the long deferred port. The rest of the day passed pleasantly and quickly. Mary was just recovered from an attack of the chills, she looked quite badly, we had an animated talk of some length about the soldiers who recently passed through here, and about what Mary had seen of them. She actually had the honour of taking tea with Gen. Prince Polignac, and walked some distance with him for escort. She says his head just came to her shoulder and he is the ugliest little man she ever saw; I had just heard similar description from Capt. Williams. We called at Mrs. Dr. McGuire’s on our way out, to borrow some books for Mother. I also got “Hervey’s meditations,” have read but little in it yet but like that little very much. Am quite advanced in my “Girondins” my interest seldom flags, I read a great deal in it every day. Am now reading “Guy Mannering” aloud, I find it interesting and entertaining, as a novel of Scott’s could not fail to be. The evenings are so cool now that we have to leave the piazza and sit in the parlour; yesterday was warmer than it had been for the past week, we had rain in the morning, and also this morning early, it was very much needed. Mother is in bed this morning with a bad headache, Father has gone to Monroe. Father and I took a ride yesterday afternoon, Railroad was quite lively and I had a pleasant ride. Sent a note to Willie this morning, how I wish we could hear from him, we hear rumours of skirmishes and fights up in Arkansas, but nothing definite. We have heard no more from the East. Father is counting the days to the election in November, he says if McClellan is elected he thinks peace will follow. May a merciful Providence grant that Lincoln, that disgrace to humanity, may not continue in power.

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23 September 1864: “the officers are blamed more than the men were”

Item Description: Letter dated 23 September 1864 written by John H. Speed to his daughter Kate(?). Speed was a member of Company G, 3rd North Carolina Cavalry Regiment (also called the 41st Regiment, North Carolina Troops). During September 1864, Speed’s company was on picket duty in Virginia, guarding the Petersburg and Weldon Railroad.


Item Citation: Folder 1, in the Edmondson and Speed Civil War Papers, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Camp 3a NC Calvary

Barringn’s Brigade

Hampton Corps Calvary

Sept 23rd 1864

My dear daughter,

Yesterday was a happy one to me considering where I am. I received your dear Mothers letter of the 14th Sept. I am in hopes that your health continues good also your brothers & still enjoying the same blessing my health so far continues good. Tell your mother that nothing so far has been done in the way of punishment to the company they have retrieved the lost character– if they even lost any– the subject is a mooted question, a majority- and a very large one of the regiment consider that the few done no more than the service requires, and self preservation dictated I think that the officers are blamed more than the men were.

It is distressing news to learn that you uncle Alan is at last compelled to go in service but I hope that he will be enabled to get his detail extended for I do not know what gain mother will do for help if he is compelled to go away. I can only hope for the best, remember me kindly to your Aunts, Mr Grimes and the rest of those who think enough as to ask after me– There is to be a detail from this regiment to pick Fodder on the Roanoke River. I am trying my best to get in the ? so that I can have the pleasure of seeing you once more. Tell your mother that cannon firing of such daily occurrences in the vicinity that we hardly notice one days firing from another. Yesterday morning at sunrise the enemy charged into Petersburg but were repulsed with heavy loss. The big fight is looked for daily and when it does take place it will be a big one, also tell your Mother that they have not paid me off since my last so soon as it is done I will do as I stated that I would do for I know it will be of great help to her. Tell Johnnie that I am looking for a letter from him kiss Charlie & Kate for me– and I will pay you back I hope at some future day not far off, ask your Mother if she received a Jacket and towel by J White when ever she can get a chance she can send me the towel back for I have to use the one which I have left for a pocket half give my love to your dear mother tell her not to feel slighted– I will write to her in a few days. I would be pleased to hear from you at your earliest convenience + believe me yours

affectionate + loving father,

John H Blessed

PS Genl Rhodes is killed- in the valley- his remains have been brought to Richmond the valley army is suffering– the enemy is heading in that direction.

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22 September 1864: “I guess Hood will have us all in the saddle tonight”

Item Description: A letter from Thomas Clayton to his wife Emma regarding a friend who got a leave of absence, poor weather conditions, and troop movements. Thomas Clayton did not enter the military until January 1864. Before that he served as acting military storekeeper at the Confederate Armory in Asheville, N.C., and assisted friends in the Confederate army with their financial and personal business. In January 1864, Clayton was ordered to report to Columbia, S.C. After serving there for about a month, he was assigned to an engineering unit in General Hood’s Corps. Clayton was stationed in Georgia during the Atlanta campaign, writing letters from Dalton, Dallas, Marietta, and near Atlanta. He later moved to Jacksonville and Florence, Ala., where he was a member of General [S. D.] Lee’s Corps.



Citation: Folder 9 in the Clayton Family Papers, #4792Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.



Head 2nd Lee’s Corp

Near Palmetto, GA  Sept 22nd, 1864

My Dear Emma,

Since writing you this on West Point and Atlanta RR, ? Nash Hardy has got a leave of absence for sixty days and goes home this evening. I have included to draft you a few lines by time Thursday it will reach you earlier than by the mail. I am very tired though and have but little more to write in the way of news than I had this morning.  The indication today is that we will cross the River. In fact we have orders just received from Mjr Hd 2n to recommend the crossing of the River and I guess Hood will have us all in the saddle tonight and I dread it for it is now raining and will be very dark. But such is a soldier’s life if he does his duty and I will try and do mine. But some of our Buncombe friends do not ? much about this but I spec he don’t care. There is great dissatisfaction in his Regiment at his going away, and I expect many of the officers to resign or try to do so. The weather has been very bad for several days. Rain all the time and very dark my eyes are nearly out from hard use in making maps in such dark weather. It is now so dark I can hardly see where I am writing. If we should cross the River you must not looks for many letters from me. I will have little time to write and no way of sending my letters when written so you must not be weary about me if you do not hear from me often. I hope the campaign will soon end for this year. Then I will get to go home. I don’t want to go before then, and Thomas and Col Preston have both promised me that I might go home. I have never asked for a leave nor I never will as long as I am needed here. I received your letter of the 12th.  Ed Berry had not heard of Joe’s marriage until today I told him. It was the first time I have seen him since we commenced to war.  I think his opinions of ? is about like yours.

Thomas sends his love says tell them all he would write by Nash but has not time did not know he was going write this minute and has just come in from the line. Nash will start in a few minutes. I will close you my love to all at home so take good care of the children, God help them I wish I could see them. Farewell my dear and may the Father of mercy watch and protect you and then in the ? ? of you.

Devoted husband,

T. C.

Geo West is with me now don’t forget to make the gloves for him. I feel under many obligations to him and he is a very clever man.

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