Item Description: A letter from the cousin of Margaret E. Blackwell describing his experience in the Confederate Army in Alabama. He explains several small skirmishes between his men and the Union army, a wagon stampede, and what he gets up to in his free time.
Camp near Bailey’s Springs Ala. Nov. 14th 1864
Misses M.A. Blackwell and TR. Crawford. Dear Cousin and Niece,
I received a letter from Cousin Agnes of 27th & 28th Oct(?) a few days ago, and one from Bob a few weeks ago, but have not time to reply till now. Will likely be stopped ere I get through, as we are saddled up to meet the Yanks. I have been on picket duty at Bailey’s Springs for the last three day, and am just relieved. Have had no Beef issued us for four or five days, but I am not hungry. The boys have been conscripting Hop and I have got one meal a day from the citizens, who have generally very little to eat, and who will have to move off or starve. Our Army ruins the country wherever it goes. Sucks everything from the rich and the poor. The soldiers have no money, not being paid. 13 months pay due them and not half enough issued to the Cavalry to subsist them and the results is the county is plundered where ever we go. It is generally thought we (the army) will move forwards on tomorrow, to middle Tennessee. Infantry now crossing at Florence. Armstrong Brig crossed and came here on the 5th oct, since which time we have been fighting every day. On the sixth I went out to piquet(?) and had placed out a half dozen cadettes and a few scouts to the front and had just retired to reserve camp when we came full the cadettes and Scouts, before I had my other intimation of the attack. The Yanks close upon their heels and firing into them, we did not hear their guns till they got with 300 yds of us. It amounted almost to a surprise, but I had plenty of men (7 companies) to hold the place, and as good luck would have it I was mounted and found enough men ready to meet them instantly, and check them till the others could get into position. We fought till night when they retired. Lt. Lenox, of your acquaintance I suppose, was badly wounded, had just tendered his resignation and expected it within a few days. They tried us in heavier force next day but we were better fixed and drew them off directly. Col. Pinson has lost more men than any other Rgt. I think he has lost 8 or 10 men. Comd. King and Lieut Henly among the killed in his Rgt.; the names of the men killed and wounded I do not know. When the Yanks would let us along I had a nice time piqueting? at Baleys Springs. Met with some pretty young Ladies one of who I began to fancy and thought I had begun to interest her a little when she very seriously asked me if I were not a relation Davy Crockets. I have determined to get a better suit of clothing, if I have to nob a yank; I met an old acquaintance of Pas. Rev. Robt Williams, of McNairy County, Tenn. in very bad health at the Springs; another old acquaintance of his Rev B. L. Andrews lives not far form here. Nearly all the Captains living in North Georgia & North Alab. are poor. Some of them very poor and I can’t see how they can live here. Tom Grace is well but getting very tired of the service. Cross went 7 or 5 miles North West after forage yesterday. And while the wagons were loading we went out a half mile in front to picket and, finding a squirrel, commenced firing at it with his pistol. The wagons stampeded and lost a good load of the forage. He and another man took after them to stop them but the wagoners thought the were yanks, and drove furiously forward beating them to camp. Tom met with a number of his Tippard acquaintances in the Infantry yesterday. I sent some memoranda for you to transcribe up to some time in September, but do not know whether you received it. Please let me know when you do receive it and Up to what date, so I may know where to commence next time. I commence and go over again partly by guess-as my pencil notes are defaced. I would write much more if I had good paper and oftener if I had leisure. You must both write me every opportunity I have been looking for Cousin & Bro. Joseph, as time of furlough is up. Yours Truly,