Letter – J.P. Graves, 7 September 1864


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Letter written by Private J. P. Graves of the Warren County MS Light Artillery, Army of TN, to his sister, from a camp near Jonesboro, GA. Graves writes that most of his battery was captured by Union troops, although he and a few others escaped. He goes on to describe the fighting at Jonesboro and writes that they did not leave their guns until the Union troops were on their breastworks, at which time some Confederate men “clubbed muskets with the enemy.” Graves ran to safety as the Union troops mounted their works. He writes that Captain Charles Swett gave a speech to the troops, telling them they had the thanks of Generals Hood, Hardee, and Cleburne for their gallantry on the battlefield. Graves expects to be a regular scout for Hardee, as Lieutenant Harvey Shannon sent the order to Hood for approval.

-Page 1-

Camp near Jonesbourogh

September the 7/64

Dear Sister

I received Sallies letter the other day would of answered it sooner but did not have any paper as the yankees captured every thing I have, I expect you have heared that our Battery was capture and nearly all of Govans Brigade. Bud, Graves Tennent and myself escaped unhurt I expect you would like to know what Graves Tennent is doing in our Battery. He came up a bout two or three weeks ago and joined our Battery. He is a very good and nice boy. He says he left Holly Spring a bout three months a go. Aunt Mary and Cousin George Bird was well. Well I reckond you want to know something about the fight at Jonesbourough. Hardees Corps and Lees Corps were both at Jonesbou

-Page 2-

rough. Hardees Corps was on the left and Lees Corps was ond the right Ond the 31st of August Hardees and Lees Corps was ordered to charge. Hardees was succesfull and Lee was not. The next day Hardees was ordered to the right to contend with the whole yankee army; as Lees Corps was ordered back to Atlanta The enemy was seen to bee massing their whole army in our front our Battery commenced playing ond them; Then the enemy brought up four Batteries and commenced playing and our battery. we keep up the artilery duel until all of our limbers to the guns were shot down. all that time the enemy was massing in a hollow about three hundred yards on our front then they commenced charging. the first charge they were hurl back and skattered like leaves in a whi[r]l wind, but the[y] went back under the cover of the hill and

-Page 3-

formed again. They came again but were repulse[d] with the same result; all the time our battery was pouring double charges of canister in to their ranks. by this time their reserved lines had got up. and they come again with overwhelming numbers and our men were driven back with the loss of hald of Govans Brigade and Swetts and Key Batterys, we never left our Guns untill the enemy were ond our Brestworks some of our men club[b]ed muskets with the enemy. we lost seventeen men out of our Battery They were will wounded or captured when I run I thought the yankees would put a bout fifty bullet holes throug my back; but as it happens not a one touched me. I know that nothing safe me but the prayers of my mother. The yanky were mounting our works when Graves Tennent and my self left both of us came out safes–

-Page 4-

Captain Swett came down to the battery day before yesterday and made a long speach to us saying that we had the thanks of Generals Hood Hardee & Cleburne for gallantry showed on the field. Captain Swett complimented us very highly; and said he considered evry man of us a Hero. I expect we will now be regular scouts for Gen Hardee as Lieutenant Shannon says evry thing has been sent off to General Hood; and he expects and answer from him to day. and if Gen Hood grants it we will have a pritty nice time. we will be mounted. I have a great deal of news to tell you but have no paper. Bud is well. Tell Sallie I will answer her letter soon. I [sentence illegible]… love to you all. give my love to sister Sallie and Ma and except [accept] a share for your self

believe me as ever your affectionate Brother

J.P. Graves

J.P. Graves enlisted on March 20, 1864 in Dalton, GA in Captain Swett’s Company L, the Warren Light Artillery. He survived the war and is shown on a muster roll of Confederate soldiers paroled at Greensboro, NC on April 26, 1865.

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