Copy of letter written by Private William S. Moore of Company B, 40th TN Infantry, to his wife from Tuscumbia, AL. At the top of the letter is a note written by Moore’s granddaughter, Elsie Moore Guinn, stating that this is a copy of the original letter sent to her grandmother the day before Moore was executed after he was convicted of being a spy for the north.
Moore informs his wife that he is sentenced to be shot the next morning, and that this will be his last letter. He writes that he is not yet ready to meet his God, but will spend what few hours he has to live praying. He has requested the provost to leave his body where his friends may retrieve it, as he wants to be buried with his siblings. Moore vehemently declares his innocence and signs the emotional letter, “Wm. S. Moore, a condemned soldier.”
July 23rd, 1863
Mrs. W.S. Moore
It is through a great tribulation and aching heart and trembling hand in order I take to write to you this evening and inform you of the condition I am in. Dearly and much beloved Alcy, how can I bear to pen down to you this evening that I am condemned to be shot. Dear Companion, this is the last letter I expect I shall ever have the chance to write to you in this world. You must do the best you can for yourself and our sweet little children. I shall never see them nor you any more, nut I want you to remember me when i am gone and not bring any one over our little children.
You can bring them up in the way they should go. Tell my blessed old Father and Mother to remember me when i am gone. This will be great terror to them I know, but there is no remedy for me. I must go. Farewell vain world, I am going to my long home in a few hours. Dear friends, it is impossible for me to describe my feelings at this dread and awful moment; as yet I am not satisfied to meet my God, but what few hours I have to live, I shall spend in praying and supplication to Almighty God. I feel like there is a change with me, but I want to feel more reconciled to my God, the Great I Am, of Heaven and earth. I want all my friends and relatives to live in the discharge of their duties that are enjoined upon them and try and make their way to Heaven. I am sorry to leave you all, I love you so well, I love you dearly, but I shall never see you again.
I requested the provost to have my body placed where my friends could get it. I want to be buried by my brother and sister. Oh, how I long to be with those in health is more than I can describe, but woe, woe is me.
Long before this you can see, I’ll be in eternity. Great God, can it be possible that a poor innocent man must be killed! O, God forbid that these things should be.
Dear loving Wife, I want you to try and take care of all those things that are left, and apply them to yours and the children’s benefit as best you can. I want you to love them and teach them to love one another, and educate them as well as you can. Oh; dear loving Wife, the great of great of my affections, how often I have
thought of you since I left you last Thursday morning, and the tears I have shed since then is almost a fountain; and how often I have thought of my thoughts and feelings.
Dear Love, when I shook hands with you, I felt like it would be the last time, and now I am sure it is the last time. Farewell, Dear Wife, remember me when I am gone. Oh, if I could be with you a little while and commune with you, what satisfaction it would be to me, Alcy. I want you to move back to the old place, and tell Father I want him to see that my children do not suffer for anything to eat.
I must close my last words to you; it breaks my heart, children, farewell. Farewell, loving wife, farewell father and mother, farewell, brother and sister.
William S. Moore
Oh, how can I quite writing when this is the only way I can say anything to my blessed wife and sweet little children that are so near and so dear to me.
Oh, wife, tkae care of this letter, and read it often for my sweet children that have been so good to me, and so kind to me. Oh, dearest kindly Wife, I shall remember you to the last moment of my life. My heart is broken. I am sick and faint. My doom is nigh at hand.
Farewell, beloved wife and sweet little children that are so near my heart. Farewell, farewell, to Alcy Moore and Family.
Wm. S. Moore
A Condemned Soldier
July 23rd, 1863
Wm. S. Moore