Tag Archives: Edward Porter Alexander

22 September 1861: “I cannot explain what my place is exactly because I don’t know but one man I can trust and because this letter might get in the wrong hands…”

Item description: Letter, dated 22 September 1861, addressed to Union General George McClellan from an unnamed correspondent. According to a note penciled at the bottom of the letter, this letter was in fact a piece of counterintelligence employed by Confederate … Continue reading

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16 August 1861: “At the suggestion of Genl. Longstreet I enclose herewith a cypher found on the battle field of the 21st.”

Item description: Letter, 16 August 1861, from William Mumford, Lt. Col., 17th Regiment, to Edward Porter Alexander, enclosing a captured “cypher” letter. According to Mumford, the letter was found on the battlefield at First Bull Run (First Manassas), the author … Continue reading

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5 August 1861: “I have deciphered & read two letters that were brought in, but am stuck on a note book picked up on the field of battle…it was written by a confoundedly smart fellow.”

Item description: Letter, 5 August 1861, from Edward Porter Alexander to his wife in which Alexander describes some of the cryptanalysis that he has been doing for the Confederate Army. Item citation: From folder 8 of the Edward Porter Alexander … Continue reading

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1 August 1861: “Oh, Pidge, I do want to see you awfully, but won’t we be happy when Old Lincoln dies & the war is over.”

Item description: Letter, 1 August 1861, from Edward Porter Alexander to his wife Bettie. Alexander updates his wife on his situation in the weeks following the Battle of First Bull Run: he comments further on his promotion, notes the receipt … Continue reading

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27 July 1861: “today I snatched time to ride with the two Generals and their staffs to look at and criticize the positions of the armies in the fight. The smell of the field was awful…”

Item description: Letter, 27 July 1861, from Edward Porter Alexander to his wife in which he addresses matters about which she had written him before, namely her missing trunk. Turning to matters of his own, he discusses his promotion to … Continue reading

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10 July 1861: “Your dear letter of the 7th only reached me this morning, my own dearest Presh…”

Item description: Letter, 10 July 1861, from Edward Porter Alexander to his wife Bettie. [Item transcription available below images.] Item citation: From folder 8 of the Edward Porter Alexander Papers, #7, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North … Continue reading

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5 July 1861: “You need not feel in the least alarmed for me, for I candidly do not believe that any attack will be made on us at least for a long time…”

Item description: Letter, 5 July 1861, from Edward Porter Alexander to his wife Bettie. At one point Alexander describes the mobilizing Confederate forces in a coded message, written in an “unknown tongue.” Several pencil notations were written above the coded … Continue reading

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29 June 1861: “Delay is worth ten times as much to us as to them…for delay alone can conquer them by bankrupting them nationally & individually at a rapid rate…”

Item description: Letter, 29 June 1861, from Edward Porter Alexander to his wife Bettie. In the letter Alexander describes his new role leading five artillery batteries, and discusses the effect that delays in between battles have on each side (claiming … Continue reading

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7 June 1861: “But if I was a whole crowd of fellows I could scarcely do all the things that they talk of setting me at.”

Item description: Letter, 7 June 1861, from Edward Porter Alexander to his wife Bettie. The letter describes Alexander’s activities at the beginning of the war including details on his responsibilities as an engineer and as organizer of the Confederate signal … Continue reading

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