27 October 1863: “Consequently, the hard and long marches broke them down, so much so, that they were discharged. “

Item Description:  Letter dated 27 October 1863, from Thomas D. DuBose to Lieutenant Hamilton, in regards to the possibility of young men discharged during the Civil War, serving in Hamilton’s guard.  DuBose would like for Lieutenant Hamilton to give special consideration to his younger brother, Henry DuBose, in regards to joining the guard.

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Item Citation:  [Identification of item], in the Ruffin, Roulhac, and Hamilton Family #643, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Mechanicsville Oct. 27th 1863

Lieut. Hamilton

Dear Sir
The object of this not is to ask for information in regard to increasing your Prov. Gaurd. There are several young men in this Neighborhood who are between Sixteen and Eighteen years of age, who entered the service at fifteen years of age fought through the Battles of Shilo[h], Farmington, Per[r]yville, others, when they were too young. Consequently, the hard and long marches broke them down, so much so, that they were discharged. They having recruited to a great extent are very anxious to be doing something for their Country and wish to become members of your Prov. Guard.

One is a Brother of mine, that I would be more than glad to have with me, if you expect to increase your Guard, which I think more than probible [sp] you will do. I wish you to enquire if such men will be allowed the privilege of volunteering in your ranks. I assure you it is not to think better in the least, for each and every one can get a certificate from their Capt. that they were good soldiers , as he had, furthermore that they fought as brave if not braver through the above named Battles than any man he had. I know this to be so, for I was conversing with Capt. Richburg upon the subject the other day, when he said if anyone doubted their bravery, he would certify to it and if that would not satisfy, the dissatisfied could but try them and find out. If you will admit them, simply drop me a line when you want them. My father’s family is something better. I returned just in time to see the last of my youngest sister it seems to me that one or two more of the children will die in spite of all that can be done. Lieut. I shall allways feel ever grateful to you for your kindness extended to me in this my time of distress and affliction. I hope from the bottom of my heart that it may eventually be in my favour to confer as great if not greater favour upon you (don’t misunderstand me to wish you any bad luck in any way, not in the least God forbid anything should ever cross your path. Hoping to hear from you soon in regard to the above questions. I must come to a close (excuse all mistakes bad writing as I am still in great distress. I am Dear Lieut. Your respectful and most obedient servant
Thomas D. DuBose

P.S.
Address me as follows
T.D. DuBose
Mechanicsville
Sumter Dist.
S. Ca[rolina]

If there is any possible chance to get my Brother in your Guard please have him in it and oblige and[sp] ever grateful Friend, Thomas D. DuBose. His name is Henry Y. DuBose.

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26 October 1863: “The plan was to make me responsible for Polk’s supposed delinquency & give Pemberton the Corps. Polk’s manliness and P’s sense of propriety defeated the scheme.”

Item Description: “The following interesting letter, descriptive of the quarrels in the Confederate States’ Army, is printed from the original letter, now before us. We are indebted for it to our friend, Captain C. W. Elwell, of New York City.–Ed. Hist. Mag.” [Description of printed letter from the editors of the Historical Magazine.]

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Item Citation: Generals Bragg, D.H. Hill, and Polk, C.S.A. Cp970.73 H64g. Detached from Historical magazine., [Vol. 1, 3rd ser.] (Feb., 1872). [Morrisania, N.Y. Henry B. Dawson], 1872. North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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25 October 1863: “His wife went to see him but he was buried the day before she reached Atlanta.”

Item description: Entry, dated 25 October 1863, from the dairy of Samuel A. Agnew.  Agnew describes a church service and news from engagements in Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia.

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Item citation: From folder 9 of the Samuel A. Agnew Diary, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

October 25. Sabbath. The day has been clouded this evening was dark and threatening.  Rode out to Hopewell a small congregation was out. Preached from Eccles. 8:10.  In my discourse by a lapras linguae I said God sometimes made of wicked men the best rulers – [Maj.?] Wiley disagreed with me.  My meaning was how ever that God sometimes by wicked brought blessings in nationas that good services had been rendered to countrys by men who were wick-ed.  I do not think that wicked men are the best rulers.  The congregations was not large.  Learn at church that Calvin E. Buchanan is dead .  We was wounded in the thigh at Chickamauga,  He after he wounded wrote to his wife saying that he did not think his wound danger-ous.   But the wound sloughed into an artery – the large artery of the thigh, and he bled to death.  He died at Atlanta.  His wife went to see him but he was buried the day before she reached Atlanta.  Mr. Buchanan was an excellent man and I have often a guest at this house.  He leaves a wife & 2 young children to mourn their loss.  Mr. B. was a member of Hopewell Church and for some years the clerk of Sessions.  He was an affectionate child.  His aged mother now says “her stuff was broken.” Dine with Mr. Snipy and rode up to Aunt M.P.s and spend the night.  Have heard some items to day. Chalmey in his recent operations fought at Salem on the 8th: at Collierville on the 11th: had a skirmish on Coldwater near Byhalia on the 12th: and a several hours fight at Wyatt on the 13th.  He fell back to Water [Holly?] but has again moved up 2 his Head 2 more at Abbeville on friday. Part of Falkner reg is at Rocky Ford.  I heard these items from H. Caldwell of Mulls Company.  Mull had been attached to Inges Battalion and efforts are being made to fasten them to it.  Inge has been placed in McCullough Brigade and his men being disatisfied with the anounce-ment are deserting in large numbers. Caldwell thinks that after resting awhile they will move up the country again. [W. E.?] Caldwell tells me that Bragg is receiving large reinforce-ments.  About Atlanta some think he will fall back before long but other don’t think so. It is reported the Yankees are trying to flank him in the direction of Knoxville.  His lines are “shut down” and no one is permitted to go above Atlanta in the dire-ction of Chattanooga.  [Last?] battle was fought near the old Manassas battle ground. There was a fight at Charleston on Tuesday. 425 Yankees were captured.  Richardson’s brigade is at Cherry Creek. [Loring’s?] Division is about Jackson in this state at this time.

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24 October 1863: “…the undersigned hereby assumes Command of the Department and Army of the Tennessee.””

Item Description: General Orders, dated 24 October 1863, signed by Major General William T. Sherman and written to Major General James McPherson.  In this order, Sherman assumes command of the Department and Army of the Tennessee and names R. M. Sawyer as his Chief of Staff.

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Item citation: From folder 9 of the William Asbury Whitaker Papers, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

Head quarters

Department and Army of the Tenn.

Iuka, Miss. October 24. 1863.

General Orders

No. 1}

I. Pursuant to General Order No. 2 from Head quarters Military Division of the Mississippi, Louisville Ky. of date October 19, 1863. the undersigned hereby assumes Command of the Department and Army of the Tennessee.

II. Major R. M. Sawyer, Assistant Adjutant General, is announced as Chief of Staff.

W. T. Sherman

Major General

 

Maj. Genl. Jas. B. McPherson

Comd’g. 17th Army Corps

Vicksburg, Miss.

 

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23 October 1863: “Be Kind to the Soldier”

Item Description: “Be Kind to the Soldier.” (newspaper editorial) Semi-weekly North-Carolina Standard (Raleigh), 23 October 1863.

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Transcription:

Be Kind to the Soldier.

The Editor of the Biblical Recorder, in his account of his recent journey to the Western part of the State to attend the Baptist Convention, relates the following incident:

“A few miles from Morganton an incident occurred, which moved us deeply. We overtook a soldier on foot; the fever flush was on his cheek, and he moved slowly and in evident pain. We inquired where he was going, and why he was walking when he was clearly unfit for it ? He had no money, and was trying to make his way home, beyond Asheville, to see his wife and children, who were sick. The Captain knew him for as gallant and faithful a soldier as our army contains, and he had received a furlough in view of his excellent character and arduous services. We asked if no one would assist him? “No one has helped, me since my money gave out ,” was the reply. Had it taken our last dollar, we could hot have withheld it from him. Our companions were like-minded, and we soon made up a sufficient sum to defray his expenses, gave it to him, and left him to take the stage when it came along. How he has fared since we have not learned, but we hope he reached home safely, and found his loved ones, for whom he was attempting and suffering so much, restored to health. The thought of this man toiling along, unaided and unfriended, though weary, sick and in need, in a region where all ought to have been his friends, saddened us, and spoiled our enjoyment for the day, and we could not help asking ourselves whether a people who thus treat their defenders are worthy of freedom.”

“No one has helped me,” said the soldier, “ since my money gave out.” His money was a mere pittance, and was soon gone. It is a shame that with so many millions of property, and so many precious lives to defend, the pay of the soldier is not more than eleven dollars per month. It ought to be at least thirty. It would have been, but for a cold and unfeeling Senate. The House of Representatives passed a bill to increase the soldiers’ pay, but the Senate rejected it.

We beg our people every where to be kind to the soldiers, especially those of them who are sick or wounded. “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for another.” The soldiers are laying down their lives for those of us who are at home. They are fighting for our lives and our property. They are fighting for our negro property, and it is, therefore, the especial duty of slaveholders to be kind, to be generous to soldiers and their families. The winter is near at hand, when the wives and children of many of our brave defenders will suffer, and suffer greatly, unless they are aided by persons of means in their neighborhoods. The strong arm which once provided food, and clothing, and fuel for the wife and little ones, is either lifted on the battle-field to defend those at home, or is bent by rheumatism contracted in service, or palsied by wounds, or cold in death. Do not neglect that wife and those little ones. Do not neglect that widow and her fatherless children. Aid them, not in a grudging, patronizing way, but with a kindly spirit. Some of you urged the father to volunteer, and assured him when he left that his family should not suffer. Redeem the pledge. If you are a man of honor you will do it; if you fear God, who heard you make the pledge, you will do it; but if you are a bad, cold-hearted, faithless, selfish man, you will not do it. What elation of step and bearing would characterize all our soldiers, and with what additional determination would their arms be nerved in battle, if they could only know that during the coming winter their families would be kindly provided and cared for! If they could know and feel this, desertion would at once cease, and the last man of them would stand and die, if needs be, by the common flag.

We have received a copy of a “Petition “from the women of North-Carolina,” addressed to Gov. Vance, signed by 522 soldier’s widows, mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, and friends, in Guilford County, calling on the Governor for relief. Among other things they say:

“The wives and children of soldiers now in actual service, are looking forward to a winter of the greatest want and privation. Even now it is often almost impossible for them to obtain bread, though they walk miles with money in their hands, from mill to mill, craving it. Men who promised our husbands, sons, and brothers when they volunteered, to do much to supply their places, now turn a deaf ear to their entreaties, and leave us a prey to the merciless speculators and extortioners, who have monopolized so much of the produce of the country. The State has heretofore made some provision for us, which we have received with thanks to his Excellency the Governor for his generous exertions in our behalf; but our necessities again impel us to ask for relief and protection.”

We can confidently assure the women of Guilford, and of the State generally, that Gov. Yance is most anxious to relieve the distress which prevails, and that he will omit no efforts during the coming winter to provide for the families of our soldiers.— But the people of the various Counties, by organizing relief associations, can greatly aid the Governor in this noble work. The people of Johnston County, for example, held a meeting a few days since, at which some $6,000 were subscribed, and the sum is expected to reach $20,000, to be used in purchasing provisions for the families of soldiers and others. We learn that William H. Avera, Dr. J. T. Leach, Nathan Williams, and Dr. John Beckwith subscribed as much as $500 each, and others freely subscribed in proportion to their means.— Why may not Guilford County, and indeed all the Counties follow their example? No true patriot will seek to grow rich, or to add to his wealth during this war.

Remember, the greatest kindness which you can show the soldier is to provide for his family while he is absent in the service of the country.

Citation: “Be Kind to the Soldier” (newspaper editorial), Semi-Weekly North Carolina Standard (Raleigh, N.C.), 23 October 1863, [page 1], column 2.  North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Call number C071 Z.

The Daily Journal (Wilmington, N.C.), 24 July 1862, page 2, column 1.  North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Call number C071 W74j. – See more at: https://blogs.lib.unc.edu/civilwar/index.php/2012/07/24/24-july-1862-stonewall-jackson-is-a-rigid-presbyterian-and-does-not-believe-in-the-infallibility-of-this-pope/#sthash.iTA05OGz.dpuf
The Daily Journal (Wilmington, N.C.), 24 July 1862, page 2, column 1.  North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Call number C071 W74j. – See more at: https://blogs.lib.unc.edu/civilwar/index.php/2012/07/24/24-july-1862-stonewall-jackson-is-a-rigid-presbyterian-and-does-not-believe-in-the-infallibility-of-this-pope/#sthash.iTA05OGz.dpuf
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22 October 1863: “…for consolation I can only give you your elder brother’s maxim of ‘Try somebody else.’”

Item Description:  Letter dated 22 October 1863, from Roulhac to Willie, recounting details of Willie’s failed attempt at elopement.  Roulhac also asks Willie to attend to “some business” regarding his boots.

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Item Citation:  Letter dated 22 October 1863, found in folder 86 of the Ruffin, Roulhac, and Hamilton Family #643, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Weldon N.C.
Oct 22nd 1863

My dear Willie

At last my dear boy I find myself at leisure to write to you. I will not give you any excuse for not replying to your letter which I recd in Virginia because you know how busy I have been + then you know I have been home + seen you but still I felt myself bound to write to you for I could not let such a nice letter go by without a reply because I earnestly wished to be similarly entertained again + that my dear little blubber very often. I understand that you + Miss Carrie attempted an elopement the other night, your plan I heard was for Miss Carrie to let herself out of the window by a rope + meet you at the ground, all succeeded very well I understand that far but when she got to the ground her joy was so great that she fell into your open arms + screamed aloud for very joy which screaming awoke the ever faithful canine guard ..Miss Maria of the Factory + as you attempted to run out of the gate or as you were climbing the fence, Miss Maria caught you both by the coattails. I understand also that at the convocation of the Faculty of the Factory you were sentenced to be beaten with pillows for two hours + she to kiss you every five minutes during the operation.  Such an unsuccessful + unhappy termination de votre amour, grieved me exceedingly + for consolation I can only give you your elder brother’s maxim of “Try somebody else.”

I have some business Willie which I wish you would attend to for me, before I left Hillsboro I engaged Parks to make me a pr of boots which I wish you would see if he has done if not I wish you would gag him until he does + make him do them quick for I need them as soon as they are done. Write to me + let me know, if you have an opportunity, send them by individual, if not send them immediately by Express. Give my best love to all at home + to my Duck, kiss Sophie Manly for me + tell her I love her like hot cakes which are awful to behold. Give my love to the Floridan + tell every body to write to me. Tell John Song + Cunningham they both owe me a letter + I am looking for one daily.

Study hard + write often to your fond Brother

Yours,
Roulhac

 
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21 October 1863: “… a box of eatables and some lard…”

Item description: Letter, dated 21 October, 1863, from James A. Graham to his father, William Alexander Graham.  In this letter, Graham discusses the state of the railroad in Virginia, food shortages, and clothing.

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Item citation: From the James A. Graham Papers # 283, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

 Item transcription:

Camp of 27th No.Ca. Infty

near Rappahannock river

Oct 21st 1863

My dear Father,

We are camped about a mile or two south of the Rappahannock river near the Orange & Alexandria Rail Road.

I think it very likely that we will stay in this section for some time, for the Yankees will hardly attempt a forward movement soon as the R.R. is torn up from this place to Mannasses and the winter will soon be here.  We have been placed in Gen. Heth’s Division A. P. Hill’s Corps.

Brother Joe’s battery is attached to our Division.  He is camped near us and was at our Camp yesterday.

My leg has gotten nearly well and I have returned to duty with the Company.

If Lieut. Strayhorn has not left home please give him the money to pay for my coat ($110.) and ask him to call at Royston’s as he comes through Petersburg and get my coat and bring it to me.  The cloth was left there Oct 1st and it was to be done in ten days.

I left my sword belt and haversack hanging up in the passage when I left home.  Please send them to me by Lt. Strayhorn or the first one coming to the Co. Please send by Walter Thompson when he comes, a box of eatables and some lard, for we don’t get anything now-a-days but beef and flour and can buy nothing in the country for it has been completely overrun by the Yankees.  I understand that Walter Thomp-son will start to the Co. about the 27th or 28th.

There is no new about here at all and we know nothing of what is going on elsewhere for we hardly ever see a paper.

Love to all.  Write soon to

Your affectionate son,

James A. Graham

 

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20 October 1863: “a man in the next room has been bawling some information about a chicken that he got from Georgia that fought when ‘he cut off his wings and his spurs.'”

Item Description: Letter, 20 October 1863, from Phoebe Yates Pember to Louisa (Mrs. Jeremy Francis) Gilmer. Pember was a Confederate hospital nurse and writer from Georgia. During the Civil War, several of Pember’s letters to Gilmer were written from Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond, Va.; these letters mostly concern life in Richmond, including some descriptions of conditions at the hospital.

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Item Citation: From Folder 1 of the Phoebe Yates Pember Letters, #2232-z, Southern Historical CollectionWilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Chimborazo Hospital
20 October 1863

I am divided dear Len, between the double duty and pleasure of writing to you and [toasting?] coffee, as Candis is sick and Kate Bale gone to Charlotte in search of another brother who is reported slightly wounded. Whatever I say or however stupid and complicated my epistle is you will at least give me credit for my intentions.  I was really desoleé as that term expresses after you left and besides mental affliction I had all sorts of misfortunes happen to me [verily?], my malignant star became in the ascendent.

I received a note from Lucy who I did not see till a few days ago telling me of your safe arrival and the adventurous visit you and Sallie made to Fort Sumter, wishing to hear more of your warlike doings I paid a visit to sixth street. My first misfortune occurred there as the ambulance as usual did not come for me in time, and I walked long after dark to my lonely room on Church Hill. Mrs Stephens seems delighted with having a home, and perfectly satisfied with everything around her I passed the primmest Saturday evening with her, and did not find the company as agreeable as it “was”, I was careful to address all my pleasant commonplaces to the lady, and when “Master” took me home was in a paroxysm of distress that could not open the gate & some little detention was the result. However I am simply malicious in saying these things, for her whole manner and conduct shows that she never thinks of that silly affair, and they are very kind, obliging people.

Lucy wrote me that she had received a note from Mrs “Accomodation” Long, as she called her, in which she declines parting with any of those three petticoats upon any consideration whatever, so that financial scheme falls to the ground. She still thinks she will pay a visit to her husband.

I am preparing to go to my new room. Dr McCaw sent me word to make use of the ambulance as it had to go to Market every morning, and a few squares farther would make no difference. This makes me more comfortable as from the prices charged me monthly I could not have afforded to engage the little carriage of the next division. On paying a visit to Mrs Skinner I found that I was to have the third story front room, no gas above the second story and no carpet in this bitter climate, and without light, fuel, or carpet I was to pay sixty dollars a month. She had told me that she did not want to make anything from lodgers, that she had twelve rooms and paid eighteen hundred dollars a year, and I pledged myself under the circumstances to take one of the rooms. She asked me if I thought it was too much, and I said she was the best judge, and there the matter ended. I cannot say that I made much of a bargain.

I met Gen. Santon on the street, looking much stronger and better, he was on horseback; so I only had a word with him. How did you find your “lord and master” and did you give him the big apple. Mind that you go to Market Saturday evening in Charleston and buy some ground nut cake, and go and take a look at the elegant commencement of the new custom house.

I have but little news to tell you. Dr. H. has forsworn the flesh pots of Egypt, and abjured the fascinations of the fair sex. He comes early to his Hospital and returns late. His armed purpose is to devote himself to the future happiness of his children and by way of ensuring it he toots away at his flute all the leisure time he has, as when they attain the years of maturity he thinks they will stay at home to hear him play. He has secured the … of my room at Mrs Mc [Morris?], and asked permission to practise there. I could not refuse, but in going home found then and since a chair always put just in front of the looking glass so that he could practise the graces with the flute, and my soap and towals very wet. Since that time I have left one particular towal out for practising purposes, and locked up my tooth brush as a man with such saving propensities might take a “cheap brush” now and then, as it would cost him nothing.

I have all your Gospels safe and sound, presented to me by the Rev. Mr Madison, a successor of Mr Cooks. I will send them down to Major Reeves as soon as I can hear whether or not I can get you any straw for a hat. Peter offered me some money he said you left for milk, but as Dolan did not let me pay for that last month, or week I declined to receive.

I have no news to tell you. Mrs Randolph has gone into the country with her husband to recruit his health, he looks most miserably pale and of the consistency of white paper. Unless she takes great care of him I do not think he will live long. I have never seen any one so attenuated. Tell Ridgely I received an invitation from Miss Mary Gibson to spend the evening and sleep with her both declined, and also a visit from Mr David Forbes of two hours. Ask him if he is a fool, or only appears one. He tells me that the Yankees have caught Cary.

I really don’t know what I am writing. it is one of my nervous days and a man in the next room has been bawling some information about a chicken that he got from Georgia that fought when “he cut off his wings and his spurs.” I have heard “that chicken” man for one hour and have not a thought beyond.

Who shall I tell you about? Shirley is quite well I know you will be glad to hear, and getting a little stouter and my lips are also convalescent. He brought me a message from Mrs Fitz Lee begging me to come to and see her as she was “in such wretched spirits and heard I was so pleasant” I told him that as soon as I got my cap and bells and my suit of motley made I would go with pleasure. It is bad enough here to have persons come to see you to be amused, but to be summoned to them for that purpose is more than my philosophy can stand.

Goodbye, that chicken is too much for me, combined with the loss of twenty dollars some one stole out of my purse and the scorching of the skirt you gave me, while I was stirring custard on the stove for a wounded man, it makes a concatenation of circumstances too hard to bear. Give my love and kiss (till I can give it myself) to Gen. Gilmer, tell him I shall only consider it a pleasure deferred.

Phoebe

Do not be shocked at my paper

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19 October 1863: “…preparing for the decisive struggle which is generally believed to be not far in the future.”

Item description: Entry, dated 19 October 1863, from the diary of Samuel A. Agnew.  He discusses a case of horse-stealing, the activities surrounding a visit from CSA President Jefferson Davis, and recent operations of General James Chalmers.

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Item citation: From the Samuel A. Agnew Diary #923, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

October 19 Came on home after breakfast. J. Curtis Bolton of [Pontotoc?] was hers yesterday also Saturday might He was hunting beeves for the army.  He is an acquaintance of Mary.  Understand that Ham is camped on [Yarnuby?] near Judege Harris’ some 6 miles S. of Birmingham.  This is so few south of us that this section will reap little or no advantage from them – we are all left to the mercy of the Yankees.  Read the Mississippian of the 14th. Pres. Davis has gone to Braggs army.  He reviewed the army on the 10th.  Curtis Lee is with him and not the Famous Robert E. Lee as we had understood.  Everything was quiet on Missionary Ridge on the 10th.  Mary recd a letter from John Young yester-day dated Missionary Ridge Oct 6.  He thinks there is less prospect of a fight than was two weeks before.  Davis visit has some significance. His object doubtless is to inspect the army and give personal assistance in preparing for the decisive struggle which is generally believed to be not far in the future.  Gen. Wood has become offended, resigned and gone home. This evening we had one more case of horse-stealing.  One of Hams new came up into the neighborhood below this to day to get some baggage he had left on the route somewhere he found some of the ardent and I have reason to think drank more than enough. He came on to the head of Hollands lane and concluded he would take a nap especially as he had been on picket last night at Knights Mill and had lost sleep. So hitching his horse by the roadside he lay down and went to sleep.  A footman however came along and appropriated the horse.  He passed by here. I stopped him to hear the news but he had none. My father was out at Uncle Washs place this morning and met him footing it.  He claims to be one of Mat Carpenters men: seems to be quite a youth.  Had on as dirty clothing as I have seen in a long while. His pants had a huge hoel on the left knee: he was barefooted.  He seemed very attentive to the road.  Keeping his eyes open I supposed at the time that he was on the lookout for Yankees but it was really caused by a fear of pursuit.  The horse was a five large sor-rel horse.  The owner came in about an hour after he passed a foot. He went on in pursuit.  He says he would not take a thousand dollars for the horse.  Hear that a Miss Burrows horse was stolen out of J. D. Nelsons pasture Saturday night.  Rode one to Holland’s return his watch & bor-rowed his watch key.  From thence event on to Aunt Rillas and spent the night.  Mr. J. Curtis Bolton was there.  I made his acquaintance and think him a pious estimable gentleman.  He is in the Commissary business and is hunting beeves.  He gave me a clearer idea of Chalmers recent operations than I have yet had.  There was a fight near Salem and the Yankees were badly scattered.  From thence he went on to Collinsville: made some captures and surrounding the place dem-anded a surrender.  The railroad was torn up a short distance above and below Collinsville.  The officers in charge of that post telegraphed to Memphis for reinforce-ments which were immediately forwarded.  As they came out they repaird the R Road.  Chalmers had to raise the siege of Collinsville (after a sharp fight) and retreat the Yankee pursuing.  At Wyatt Chalmers turned on his pursuers and an obstinate fight en-sued for a few hours when Chalmers had to retire and when Bolton last heard from him he was at Abbeville.  [Huge?] wagon train has been ordered to Grenada from Pontotoc, & hence it is conjected Chalmers is making for that place.  It looks very much as if North Miss would be evacuated.  Ham has gone below from his camp at Harris.  He left I understand this morning.  The day has been clear and pleasant.

 

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18 October 1863: “the Virginians seem to be utterly indifferent, and continue to monopolize the foremost places & the pretty girls of this command with quiet and aggravating assurance.”

Item Description: Letter, 18 October 1863, from Benjamin Lewis Blackford to his father, William Matthews Blackford, describing life at his camp near Wilmington, NC. Benjamin Lewis Blackford was born 5 August 1835, and as a child, was called “Benny.” At some point, he began to be called Lewis. Lewis attended school at Mount Airy and at the University of Virginia. Before entering the Civil War as a private in Samuel Garland’s regiment, Eleventh Virginia Infantry, he had worked as a civil engineer. Later he was a lieutenant of engineers, stationed in Wilmington, N.C. After the war, Lewis went into the insurance business in Washington, D.C., and in 1869, married Nannie Steenberger (d. 1883). They had four daughters: Elizabeth Padelford “Lily”; Mary Berkeley “Daisy”; Alice Beirne; and Lucy Landon Carter. Lewis died in 1908.

[Transcription available below image]

Item Citation: From folder 85 of the Blackford Family Papers #1912Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Oct 18 Wrightsville

My dear Father

I have had the pleasure to receive in the last two days a long and interesting letters from you and mother. Though a bad correspondent, I was always fond enough of receiving letters, but they were never so welcome as now, when I feel myself more cut off from home than ever before. I have but little more to tell you of events down here since I last wrote. My last was written just as I was starting on trip down the river in Company with the Chief Engineer & several staff officers. My immediate object was to establish part of my Corps on “Bald Head” or Smith’s Island one point of which forms Cape Fear and having done this I spent two or three days examining the various defences of the Cape Fear River. These consist of Forts Fisher, Caswell, Campbell, Pender, St. Philip, and a number of outlying and flanking smaller batteries, besides a number of batteries up near the two whose names I cannot recall. The forts whose names I have mentioned are superb works. Gen. Whitings great skill as an Engineer is shown at Every step. I have seen no forts anywhere in the Confederacy that would at all compare with them. They are as neat & trimly sodded as our old show forts around Norfolk and of two times the solidity. They are not only built solid enough to withstand an indefinite hammering from any ordnance now known, but some allowance has been made for “growing.” Smithville, the site of one of these forts is one of the oldest towns in the State, and is the most foreign looking place I ever saw. The houses are old-fashioned, some of them quite handsome, and the streets are merely grass-grown lawns, dotted with many curious & beautiful trees, but every thing looks dead or asleep; the houses are tumbling to pieces, the Enclosures torn away, and the very garrison of the fort have a sort of mechanical and moss-grown appearance like old machines rusted by salt-water and inaction. I saw along the west bank of the river the first rice plantations I have yet come across. They are dismal-looking places, on which the owners dare not spend a single night for about six months in the year. Rice in the straw is issued down here as forage for horses, and most excellent forage it is. The blockade-running still goes on, and there is not a night that does not witness an arrival or departure. A day or two ago the Douro was pursued beached and burned by the Blockaders, but when one meets a like fate 20 come through scat free. I was told that the aggregate of sales at the late sale of the blockade cargoes amounted to about 5 millions of dollars, and the prices brought were beyond anything ever heard of before. I saw Sam Simpson, Guggenheimer, & Mr Davis from Lynchburg and found them rather disgusted with blockade prices and Wilmington Hotels. I entirely agree with you about the Virginians & Virginia; the people in this State are commencing, I believe, to look upon us as their natural enemies, and grumble furiously at the partiality, as they term it, shown us. but the Virginians seem to be utterly indifferent, and continue to monopolize the foremost places & the pretty girls of this command with quiet and aggravating assurance. I am truly sorry that Sister Sue is going to Georgia, I think it more than probable that Longstreet will come back to Virginia soon; if we can thrash Rosecranz again I have no doubt he will. You must be sure and write or telegraph me when she will pass through Wilmington and I will meet her at the cars. I am much gratified to hear of the complement to Eugine. Eugene, in my opinion made a fatal error when he failed to accept the colonelcy of his regiment long ago, if he had he would have been a Brigadier before now. We have been looking for several days for news from Gen Lee; I hear a rumor this morning that there has been another fight at Manassas in which we were victorious. I humbly hope it may be so. I wish I could have been at home while our Hanover friends were with us; I was never so home sick, I am going to have a 30 days furlough some time this winter at all hazards.

Tell Mother I thank her most affectionately for her long and interesting letter. I think she writes in better spirits than usual, and argue from it that her health was not so bad at the time, or at all events that she was suffering less pain. I beg, my dear Father that you will seriously take care of your health, you cannot safely expose yourself as you have done and your life is of much value to many people. Tell Mother not to talk nonsense about buying any of my English goods. I intend to send her & Mary all that can be of use to them, and ordered them for that purpose. Tell her when she writes again not to fail to send some kind message to Mrs. & Miss Sue Kidder & Willy Scott, who have been exceedingly & usefully kind to me. Miss Kidder is one of the finest girls I ever saw, handsome, well bred, modest, and having withal a certain refined audacity, which is very attractive. The Little I referred to is our old U.V. acquaintance Little, now a Capt. of Ordnance. John Payne is now acting Chief of Ordnance here, and is esteemed a remarkably good officer. Tell Mother to hold on to my vest till I come home. Give my best love to all at home, including Laury & tell Sister Sue to be sure and let me know when she is coming South. Address as before.

Your affectionate son
B. Lewis Blackford

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