Letter written by Confederate Captain James Cooper, Assistant Adjutant General for General John Bell Hood, to Captain Francis M. Farley of the 8th FL Infantry, from the headquarters of the Army of Tennessee near Tupelo, MS. Cooper begins by mentioning an “ill-fated” campaign into Tennessee, then encourages Francis to continue fighting despite recent losses. Cooper is determined to not give in to depression, for he feels confident in the Confederacy’s victory. He describes the current movements of corps commanded by: Benjamin F. Cheatham, Stephen D. Lee, Alexander P. Stewart, and Nathan B. Forrest. Cooper recently took on the responsibilities of the A. A. G., and has been busy furloughing troops. He gives Francis the unfortunate news that his old brigade has not done well recently.
HdQrs. Army of Tenn
Tupelo, Miss Jan. 27 1865
My dear friend
More than a month has passed since I received your last letter – it reached me during our ill-fated Campaign into Tennessee. It is useless to attempt to excuse myself for not answering sooner, for though I may have had some reasons for not writing at times, and at other times had no opportunity to write, yet I should before this time replied to your letter. But believe me, my friend, if I did neglect to write, I did not fail to think often of you – to sympathize deeply with you in your troubles, an account of which I received in your letter. It is a consolation to know that you were enabled to offer gallant resistance to the foul invaders of your home and that you succeeded in punishing to some extent the Yankee wretches. I am proud of your conduct on the occasion; it was however only what I would have expected of you.
I can appreciate & respect your feelings, Farley, at the time you wrote to me – but you must cheer up. Do not yield to gloomy feelings. The spirit displayed by the inhabitants of your little town [Marianna, FL] of itself (however sad in result) shows what the Yankees have to do before they can accomplish their ends. I have witnessed recently much to discourage; our army beaten & disgraced – disorganized and suffering. But I will not yield to depression. I have faith in
our final success the justice of our cause and feel certain of success. And at all events let us go
down with colors flying.
Cheatham’s & Lee’s Corps of this army are now en route for Augusta. I shall leave in a day or two. Stewart’s Corps and Forrest’s Cavy will be left in this country under command of Lt. Gen. Dick Taylor. I do not know who will command the army in Georgia, but suppose Beauregard will command in person.
After the army reached this place I was very busy for a week, both night & day, furloughing the troops, having all the work of the A.A.G.’s office thrown temporarily on my shoulders. I assure I am glad to be relieved by the movement of the troops from the irksome task. Col. McDonald of your old regt [1st Florida Inf.] returned to the army a few days since, after 2 years’ absence; has tendered his resignation & left on 30 days leave of absence. Your old brigade [William B. Bates’ (Finlay’s)] I am sorry to say did not gain much reputation on the recent campaign. To Bates’ Division is ascribed the misfortunes of the Army. They will do better another time.
It is so cold that I can’t write more. I am in a tent and my fire won’t burn. I only write to you now because I leave here tomorrow & do not know when I shall write again. By the way I wrote to you twice before receiving your last letter. So you owe me one.
James Cooper was originally commissioned as a captain in Co. D of the 1st LA Infantry, in March of 1861. He was captured near Pensacola, FL and sent to Ft. Warren Prison in Boston Harbor before being exchanged. After returning to duty with his regiment he was assigned sometime in August 1863 to duty as an inspector’ general at General Braxton Bragg’s headquarters. When General Joseph E. Johnston assumed command in 1864, Captain Cooper remained on the commanding general’s staff. In July 1864, when General John Bell Hood was made army commander, Cooper served in the same capacity again on his staff.
Francis M. Farley was originally commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in Co. E of the 1st FL Infantry on April 5 of 1861. He was captured at Santa Rosa Island, FL later that year, and imprisoned at Fort Warren, Boston Harbor, where he met and became good friends with Captain James Cooper. After being released from prison, Farley was wounded at Fredericksburg, VA, and later resigned November 2, 1863. He subsequently served with the 8th FL Infantry.