Item Description: Letter dated 13 September 1864. He writes extensively about dodging shells in the trenches. James Augustus Graham was a resident of Hillsborough, N.C., and an officer in Company G (Orange Guards), 27th North Carolina Infantry Regiment, Confederate States of America.
In the trenches near Petersburg
Sept. 13th 1864
My dear Mother
I reached this place Sunday night having been delayed 24 hours on the road by the train running off the track between Greensboro + Danville. I had to stay all day Saturday at Danville and Sunday at Burkesville Junction. I met cousin Sophie Alexander at Greensboro and brought her on as far as Danville where she met Mr. McGeehee and went to Milton with him. I did not come into the trenches until yesterday (Monday) evening and have not yet gotten accustomed to the whistling of the bullets + shells and and dodge a good deal, much to the amusement of all the men who become accustomed to them. I think however that after a few days I will not dodge so much. There is nothing like getting used to a thing.
Robert came up to our Regt to see me yesterday but it was before I came in and I did not see him. He and Johnny were both well. Their brigade is about 500 yards to our left, Elliotts SC Brigade being between theirs + ours.
I expect to go down to see them in a day or two.
I am acting Inspector for Genl Cooke but expect to return to the Co in a short time, as soon as my leg gets so that I can march a little better than I can now for Capt. Dickson has made application to be put on the “retired list” and our company is without any officer now. Dickson is looking quite badly and I am afraid never will be fit for anything again unless he is retired and can rest a while.
Gen Cooke asked me to return his thanks to you for the gloves, also to Father for the bottle of brandy.
We have sharpshooting along the lines continually but there is very little danger if the men will not expose themselves unnecessarily. Very few men of our Brigade have been hurt lately and I don’t think there has been more than one struck in our Regt since we came in the trenches this time– about two weeks — and he exposed himself needlessly. We have some artillery firing also and now while I am writing the enemy are shelling the batteries to the right of our Brigade– about half a mile from me– pretty furiously.
I need not tell you that I dodge pretty often when the guns fire, for you can see that very plainly by the blots in this letter. Just count each blot a dodge and add on a few, for I don’t dodge for every shot, and you can tell how we are getting on. I don’t find the trenches now as disagreeable as I anticipated, still I hope that we will be relieved before long and allowed to rest awhile, but if there is any fighting to be done outside I would prefer staying in the trenches.
Love to all. ??
Your affectionate Son,
James A. Graham