Letter – Lucy Reavis, 30 January 1864

2015.002.142

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Letter written by Lucy Reavis Jackson to her husband, Major Thomas K. Jackson, C.S.A., from Gainesville, AL. Lucy describes the events of the past couple of weeks, including a dinner party. The party culminated with ice cream and singing. Many of her acquaintances have asked about Thomas. Lucy describes two conscripts who were on the train with them from Eutaw to Gainesville. She also writes of an attempt to burn down a local school, possibly by a servant. She has seen a few old beaus, and remains glad to have married Thomas. She does, however, express some jealousy at the idea of other women paying attention to her husband.


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Home January 30th 1864-

My beloved Husband,

To-night I have received your two dear precious letters, so like yourself that I am perfectly radiant with joy & love after reading them – You are so good, two letters without once hearing from me! But I did write – Last Tuesday, while in Eutaw I sent you a poor apology for a letter – but they are all poor enough – Where & how shall I begin to write all that I have to say? Believe I will go back to the date of my last, and give you a little journal of events, trivial and unimportant in themselves, but I am vain enough to believe that all I do is of interest to my darling. We went over to Dr. Alexander’s to dinner – Mar Lou was delighted to see us, for she could not disguise that feeling of discomfort which all reserved people feel, when among strangers – the family were kind & polite, had an elegant dinner, finishing off with ice-cream, which I think a great luxury. After dinner they insisted on my singing as my fame had reached them long ago but they must have been sadly disappointed, for I croaked like a frog, not having entirely recovered from my hoarseness – Mar Lou came home with us & we had a pleasant night together, but she was dreadfully home-sick & tho’ we had gone to remain until Tuesday she visited on returning to-day. By the way, when I told uncle John of it to-night, he seemed highly gratified, exclaimed “Bless her little heart! I thank her for it.” Did he attribute it to a desire to see him? There is a question for the wise – Wednesday we walked around town, went to the stores & nearly melted, the Sun was so warm – In the afternoon I went to Mrs Riddle’s & spent the night with [Nic/Vic?] How lonesome they must be! But the old lady is very talkative & a little boisterous

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In [dit?] that she is a great drawback to [Nic/Vic?] – in the way of getting a good husband I mean – and and certainly she deserves the best – like wise she is going to Enterprise on a visit soon & I am really sorry you are not there – I’d go with her, Every body made particular inquiries about you & Judge Pierce & family desired to be remembered to you, Also Miss Rhoda Coleman – We called on her – She is very lonely, in that large house, without any companion, since Lida came home – She expected her to return yesterday, but Fannie Allen had a party last night & she remained in town in order to attend – I am sorry I did not get back in time to attend – Sister says they had a delightful time, danced til 2 O’clock & enjoyed an elegant supper My old admirer, Mr Jemison was there – he has been in town several days – I suppose I shall see him at Church to-morrow- Lis says he called he “Mit” as in the days of her childhood & she requested him to “put a respectful prefix to it-” I could not have said that – We had a delightful trip to-day – There were only two passengers from Eutaw besides ourselves – Both members of the company stationed there to do Conscript duty – One was a conscript himself – & bemoaned his lot very affectingly – He was exceedingly talkative & gave Mar Lou & Self some excellent recipes for dying cotton, cloth & even gloves – We were greatly amused by him – He left us at Clinton & another young soldier took his place. We chatted away gaily & finally we gave him our brush to take on with him – He was from Tenn. & the other, a very handsome little fellow from Miss. They were as attentive to me as possible – Mar Lou said she got quite jealous & had an idea of addressing me as Mrs Jackson to let them know I was married We are all distressed that our gallant Captain must leave. He came up this afternoon & we had a nice talk – he told me, he had

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received your letter in which you declared your intention of coming down as soon as your “well-away wife” returned – She is at home now & might anxious to see you – but as you are so very busy, you had better wait awhile – I’d rather you would come after Mar Lou leaves – but if you have leisure, don’t wait – You know mon cher, that I am always too anxious to see you – I can think of nothing else – tho’ I try not to talk too much – Uncle John received your letter, and desires me to say the shoes are finished & wishes to know, if he must send them by express, or let me take charge of them until you come – He bought Kittie such a nice pair – What do you suppose was the cost? 69 dollars – Isn’t that a great deal? But they were really elegant English shoes – She has not been down this week – Miss Murphy is quite sick & she is missing her – The boys tell me that an attempt was made to-day to burn the old Academy – or rather last night – They had a good deal of cotton in one of the rooms & while all the teachers were out spending the evening, a torch was thrown in & the cotton was all burning, when it was discovered – You remember hearing the girls tell of a difficulty they had up there, with some of the children & their maid – It is supposed that this servant of theirs did it – Ma has been spending several days at “Cedar Bluff” returned this afternoon quite sick, with fever – She desires her warmest love to her darling Son & thanks for the nice letter received this evening, says she is too sick to answer it just now – but will make me write for her if she does not get quickly better – Lis sends her love & says if you do not come down very soon, write her a note & let her know what you have to say to her. She is very much put out at the Captain’s removal – He is too funny – says he supposes you sympathize with Alfred also. He has lately taken unto himself a wife & does

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not want to leave her, although he has given him full permission to find another at every place they go to her– He seems to think people affections are easily changed from one object to another I left him in the parlor playing cards – to write to my dear old Precious, but Mr Jemison has just come in & I must go back & entertain him – Au revoir mon bien-aime — Well he has left and though it is nearly 11 O’Clock, I must finish my letter, as to-morrow is Sunday – They are all laughing at Mr Dobb about going to the party last night & patting his foot, while the dancing was going on – Ministers ought not to attend such entertainments I think – Poor Mr Jemison looks so badly, gave me something of mine he had – said he never intended to return it until I married or he died – I am mighty glad I married you, instead of him never was more surprised, than when he shook hands & called me by my new name – I thought certainly he’d say “Miss Lu” as he used to do. Your letters come very quickly generally, but to-day I received two at once – the 27th & 29th – I am glad the first did not come sooner, as it might have been sent to Eutaw & lost – my dear darling, you write such nice letters – I ought to be mighty good & thankful for your great love – I am sure I am as thankful as can be and love you in return with all my heart – To-morrow will be two weeks since I saw you Isn’t it an age? I know you were quite an acquisition to Miss Fannies party & helped nicely to entertain her guests. I am glad you enjoyed yourself & like the Sledge girls – When do they leave Macon? Capt W- asked me to give you his regard & say that you must give his love to the girls & tell them he will be glad to get the letter they propose writing – Oh! I laughed so heartily at that part of your letter, in which you spoke of Mr Hart’s being a beau – They (the young ladies) ought to see all the little scions, I am sure they would not care to have him as a beau, even if his wife were out of the way – You are almost as bad as Madame [???] our singing teacher’s husband – A Hungarian, he said all of the men in

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his country first valued their moustache – next their horse & thirdly the wife – but no matter what [missing] write I shall conclude to believe that I reign supreme in your affections I feel quite cut your allusion to Miss Edith’s promise to knit you gloves – Did you intend it so? I shall not allow these girls to be paying you so much attention I am afraid it is a bad plan to have so handsome a husband, & shall so be thinking that I ought to have followed M[missing] plan when she married such an ugly fellow [missing] gave as the reason, that no body would want to take him from her Mar Lou talks of going home Friday but I should insist on her remaining until the next week send much love to [missing] When may I expect you? – I don’t like [missing] you to be here, [missing] Lou is, for I cannot [missing] myself from you [missing] any with her – but [missing] cannot wait two [missing] longer, can we? I [missing] see you very much [missing] regard to Edith & Ka[missing] and write to me soon [missing] like a darling as you [missing] with great love, your Lucy


Lucy Reavis (age 21 in 1863) was the daughter of prominent judge, Turner Reavis. She met her future husband Thomas K. Jackson while he was stationed in Gainesville AL. They married December 16, 1863. At least 30 known letters exchanged between them during the war years have survived. They had five children together. Lucy passed away in 1876 at just 33 years old. Thomas never remarried.

Thomas K. Jackson was born December 12, 1824 in SC. He entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in June 1844 and graduated with the class of 1848. He was appointed brevet 2nd lieutenant of the 4th U.S. Artillery, then transferred to the 5th U.S. Infantry, then the 8th U.S. Infantry. He was promoted to 1st lieutenant in 1849. He served about 7 years on the Texas-Mexico frontier with James Longstreet, until he was assigned as an instructor of infantry tactics at West Point in 1857. In 1858 he rejoined the 8th in Texas. In 1861 he resigned from the U.S. Army and was made a captain in the Confederate Army. On September 26, 1861 he was announced as Chief Commissary of the Western Department under General Johnston. He was appointed major on November 11, 1861. He was captured at Fort Donelson in February of 1862 and imprisoned at Fort Warren. He was exchanged c. May and returned to duty as depot commissary in Gainesville, AL, where he met Lucy Reavis. They courted and were married December 16, 1863. Jackson was stationed at various sites throughout the remainder of the war. He was paroled at Gainesville on May 13, 1865 following General Richard Taylor’s surrender. He remained in Gainesville with Lucy to raise their family and work as a merchant and farmer.

Letter – Thomas Jackson, 27 January 1864

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Letter written by Major Thomas K. Jackson, C.S.A., to his wife Lucy, from Macon, MS. Thomas is unhappy at the prolonged separation from his new wife and inquires about her visit to Eutaw. He mentions a recent conversation with a local woman about securing a room for him and Lucy to board in. He also describes a party he attended the night before, and how they played plenty of games, although there was no music or dancing. Thomas remarks on the romantic lives of several of his friends and comrades, and mentions that “beaux are in demand.” He requests that Lucy send his love to her family, and writes that he hopes to see her within a few weeks.


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Macon, Jany 27, 1864.

My sweet wife,

I have just read over again your last two charming letters, and am all impatience to see you – Our wedded life has opened to me an unthought heaven., while this cruel separation deprives me of much of its happiness – Oh! I am too, too anxious to see you – To me, your voice is a delightful music – Your winning smile, an irresistible spell – If there is anything under the skies I worship, it is my honor – if there is anything dearer to me than that honor, it is your own sweet self –

My fond heart sends blessings to you upon every breeze, and I am entirely eternally yours.

Mr Hart came up from Mobile this morning – saw Reavis at the Junction, who told him you were to start to Eutaw today – I am glad you concluded to go – Miss Mar: Lou: deserves this attention from you, & will appreciate it – I hope you may enjoy your visit – You must tell me all about it, that I may share in your pleasure – I called upon Mrs Larnagin yesterday – Mrs Ferris

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was there – I soon made my business known – it was not unexpected – Kind Mrs Beauchamp had prepared the way – Mrs Larnagin has three gentlemen boarding with her – Would not mind taking others, if she could get anything to eat – She did not give me a positive or final answer – Mrs Ferris advocated our case warmly.

I told Mrs Larnagin we did not expect anything to eat – we were in love – and that I would call again before going to Gainesville – She seems a sweet gentlewoman, and willing to oblige us – only hesitates from want of confidence in her resources – La belle Fannie had he little party last night – We had cards, & games, syllabub & cake – no music no dancing – quite a pleasant little affair – I played the “agreeable” to Miss Pat Lyles, whom I found to be quite a sensible girl – She does not like her younger sister’s having married before her – is apprehensive the term “Old maid” will be applied to her prematurely – silly girl, in that, isn’t she? Miss Edith & miss Kate were present – They improve vastly – A little abrupt, or so – only habit – No letters from Charlie very recently – Had a long chat with the former – two of the Company, Doctors Brown & Rigg, are

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said to be in love with two others of the Company – the Misses Bush – One of the gentlemen affects the heroics, & tries to look consequential – the other attempts witticisms, but never gets beyond a species of waggery – The “Bushes” are thriving little shrubs, but require culture – altogether, the brace of couples seem very well matched, and appearances confirm the reports about them.

The young ladies here seem to think a girl very fortunate if her matrimonial prospects are visible – Beaux are in demand, & the advent of a single gentleman is forthwith telegraphed the length & breadth of the community – What do you think, all the girls want to know if any clerk were single – Ha ha! Old Jim Hart! Some of them asked me – You should have seen me presiding at dinner today – Half a dozen ladies at table – Capt Lucas absent – roast turkey to carve – I managed the turkey very well, but forgot the ladies names before I was ready to serve it – Called them all sorts of wrong names- my mistakes were ludicrous enough – La belle Fannie helped my out now & then – I was glad to amuse them however, even at the expense of my blushes – It was a delightful dinner party – we all laughed &

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enjoyed it vastly – I am vain enough to think I made an unusually favorable impression, notwithstanding my blunders, which, though numerous, I had sufficient skill & tact to turn to my advantage-

I have at last succeeded in getting the rooms I desired – they are delightful – I moved in yesterday – I’ve got Mr Hart in his shirt sleeves hard at work – Oh he will have such a delectable time fore the next two or three weeks – I shall be no better off – but sill always find time to write, if only a line, to my Darling, who is the bright queen of my thoughts – Do my letters reach you regularly? – I hope so – this is the fourth since I saw you. Give my love to your Mother – Tell her I remember her affection for me with pride & gratitude – I only wish I were more worthy of such goodness –

I send much love to your Father, and sweet sister, little Willie & all – I hope to be with you in the course of two or three weeks if not sooner – I shall work hard – At the bare thought of seeing you soon, my heart beats as if it had wings. Good bye my own sweet wife – fondly yours TKJ


Lucy Reavis (age 21 in 1863) was the daughter of prominent judge, Turner Reavis. She met her future husband Thomas K. Jackson while he was stationed in Gainesville AL. They married December 16, 1863. At least 30 known letters exchanged between them during the war years have survived. They had five children together. Lucy passed away in 1876 at just 33 years old. Thomas never remarried.

Thomas K. Jackson was born December 12, 1824 in SC. He entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in June 1844 and graduated with the class of 1848. He was appointed brevet 2nd lieutenant of the 4th U.S. Artillery, then transferred to the 5th U.S. Infantry, then the 8th U.S. Infantry. He was promoted to 1st lieutenant in 1849. He served about 7 years on the Texas-Mexico frontier with James Longstreet, until he was assigned as an instructor of infantry tactics at West Point in 1857. In 1858 he rejoined the 8th in Texas. In 1861 he resigned from the U.S. Army and was made a captain in the Confederate Army. On September 26, 1861 he was announced as Chief Commissary of the Western Department under General Johnston. He was appointed major on November 11, 1861. He was captured at Fort Donelson in February of 1862 and imprisoned at Fort Warren. He was exchanged c. May and returned to duty as depot commissary in Gainesville, AL, where he met Lucy Reavis. They courted and were married December 16, 1863. Jackson was stationed at various sites throughout the remainder of the war. He was paroled at Gainesville on May 13, 1865 following General Richard Taylor’s surrender. He remained in Gainesville with Lucy to raise their family and work as a merchant and farmer.

Letter – Lucy Reavis, 8 January 1864

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Letter written by Lucy Reavis Jackson to her new husband, Major Thomas K. Jackson, C.S.A. Lucy is writing to Thomas even though he is expected to return home the next day. Captain Butler was supposed to visit, but was unable to come due to the frigid temperatures. Lucy updates Thomas on the state of her family members, and mentions the recent cold weather. She writes about how she recently made ice cream. Lucy is thrilled at her new title of Mrs. Jackson, though she worries that she will not see Thomas as much now that they are married as when they were engaged.


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Home. January 8th 1864

My Precious One

Mar Lou says it is foolish in me to write to you this afternoon, as you said in your letter that you’d be here the last of the week, and to-morrow is Saturday – but perhaps you will not be able to come & if you do, you will have this to entertain you to-night at the delectable Junction. Oh! I am so glad you are coming – It seems an age since you left and I have wished for you contantly – If Mar Lou were not here there is no telling what would become of me – As it is – I am in a measure contented, for I could not be so constantly with her, were you here – I am so fond of my Beloved, that I cannot stay with my best friend when he is near – We were very much disappointed yesterday that Captain Butler did not come – The cars did not go out on Wednesday – Arrived about 4 in the afternoon & found every thing so frozen up, that they could get not water from the tank – So they remained inactive until late evening. We were all glad to hear the Captain was coming & Ma had a nice dinner cooked & charged Uncle John to bring him up – Sister had her home-spun ready for the occasion & expected to make him waver in his attachment for the young lady at Jackson. What do you think of Kittie? Going down to Meridian she abused widowers unnecessarily – He was certainly kind & attentive to her, gave her his shawl to make her more comfortable & when she returned it, remarked that he prized it very highly, as it had been his wife’s. Kit was thunder-struck – she had never heard that he belonged to the abused class – I hope he came to-day. The cars arrived as we were going to dinner – Kittie got home on Tuesday – Also arrived on that day to Ma’s & Mrs Anderson’s great joy the body of the unfortunate

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Doctor – He is still unburied – as the ground is too hard frozen to dig the grave – Sallie has been very sick, so poor Mrs A- is in distress in every way. Haven’t we had a splendid freeze? The Captain was here Tuesday night, as impudent as ever. When he left, I thought it must be snowing & sure enough next morn the whole earth was covered – Mar Lou & I have had such charming walks – The next evening we started, enjoyed the walk finely, tho’ both got a hard fall. I was building air-castles for our entertainment, & like the milk-maid – I found them over-turned, by my own fall. We went to see Lizzie Bradshaw this morning – She looked really blue & wintry, tho’ we were in a glees, with the rosiest cheeks — and noses you ever saw – Poor Mr B- has been suffering from an attack of his old enemy, and is still confined to his room. He begs that you will come to see him when you return. We all wished for you Wednesday night Mar Lou & I made some elegant ice-cream – You would have enjoyed it – Your letter came that night – Pa gave it to me, saying “here is a letter for the Major” – He has not become accustomed to my new name yet. I have any quantity of things to tell you, but will wait until to-morrow. Isn’t it too nice? The idea of seeing you so soon – I am mighty sorry Edward was sick, hope he is well again & able to assist you, in taking possession of your new quarters – It will be very disagreeable for you to have to stay all night at Junction when you come down. I am afraid you will not come as often as when we were engaged – Pa & Ma send their love. Kit was delighted, at the affectionate measure in which you spoke of her – She & Mar Lou desire their love – Mammie has gone to see her father – I shall get Mr Warren to take this to the Junction as you suggested – if he finds you there he will give it to you – In the hope of seeing you soon I am your happy & devoted little wife

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I wrote to you on Tuesday & enclosed a letter from some of your friends


Lucy Reavis (age 21 in 1863) was the daughter of prominent judge, Turner Reavis. She met her future husband Thomas K. Jackson while he was stationed in Gainesville AL. They married December 16, 1863. At least 30 known letters exchanged between them during the war years have survived. They had five children together. Lucy passed away in 1876 at just 33 years old. Thomas never remarried.

Thomas K. Jackson was born December 12, 1824 in SC. He entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in June 1844 and graduated with the class of 1848. He was appointed brevet 2nd lieutenant of the 4th U.S. Artillery, then transferred to the 5th U.S. Infantry, then the 8th U.S. Infantry. He was promoted to 1st lieutenant in 1849. He served about 7 years on the Texas-Mexico frontier with James Longstreet, until he was assigned as an instructor of infantry tactics at West Point in 1857. In 1858 he rejoined the 8th in Texas. In 1861 he resigned from the U.S. Army and was made a captain in the Confederate Army. On September 26, 1861 he was announced as Chief Commissary of the Western Department under General Johnston. He was appointed major on November 11, 1861. He was captured at Fort Donelson in February of 1862 and imprisoned at Fort Warren. He was exchanged c. May and returned to duty as depot commissary in Gainesville, AL, where he met Lucy Reavis. They courted and were married December 16, 1863. Jackson was stationed at various sites throughout the remainder of the war. He was paroled at Gainesville on May 13, 1865 following General Richard Taylor’s surrender. He remained in Gainesville with Lucy to raise their family and work as a merchant and farmer.

Letter – Chester Ellis, 4 January 1864

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Letter written by Sergeant Chester C. Ellis of Company H, 80th IL Volunteer Infantry, to his uncle from Whitesides, TN. Ellis says that his regiment has left the 11th Corps, and are now attached to the 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 4th Corps, under the command of Colonel Grose of the 36th IN. He writes disparagingly of the “Potomackers,” with whom they fought at Lookout Mountain. Ellis describes the battle as the “grandest” and “coolest” thing he ever saw, and writes how the Army of the Cumberland and the Army of the Potomac stood side by side with General Joseph Hooker and the Eastern Corps. Ellis goes into great detail about the fighting, which lasted a few days. The day after Hooker stormed Lookout Mountain, his regiment marched to support Sherman. They were marching to Knoxville when they heard that Ambrose Burnside had defeated James Longstreet. Ellis describes a difficult march back to camp, beleaguered by cold weather and a lack of provisions. Some men marched barefoot when they wore out their shoes.


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Whitesides Tenn

Jan 4 1864

Dear Unkle

I received your kind letter when we got back to camp after the fight and was glad to hear from you again And I was glad but somewhat surprised to hear that you had been to Ill I did not get [Pru?]’s letter that you spoke of for 2 weeks after I recd yours. I am in good health and we are all in fine spirits the health of our regiment is excellent. We have left the 11th Corps and are permanently attached to the 3rd Brigade 1st Division 4th Corps. The Brigade is commanded by Col Gross of the 36th Ind. that regiment is here and I saw Mr Turner (I believe his name is) the other day. He has left the hospital &

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is with his Reg; We are are all well pleased with our situation for we did not like the Potomackers a bit but they fought like dogs at Lookout Mountain

We were all through the fight at Chattanooga but it happened to be our luck not to be engaged as a Reg: Althought we lost 7 men on our skirmish line ie wounded one (Lieut)

To take the battle from beginning to end it was the grandest as well as the coolest thing I ever saw We left our camp at Lookout Valley about 9 AM of the 22″ and went over to Chattanooga got there after dark the next morning we got up and found the town full of troops: We all knew what was to be done and it was plain to be seen for down on the plain not a mile distant the rebel picket lines

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and back of them were their camp in full view although they had moved a great many the night before. Their lines and ours were from 150 to 200 yds apart

We lay here until noon: And if a stranger had been along and seen us laughing and talking he would have said that we did not know that we were agoing into a fight that day

About 12, the troops were all brought out on to an open field of some 80 or 100 acres & there was about enough to cover it the different divisions were assigned their places, that was prettiest sight I ever saw. There the glorious Old Army of the Cumberland stood with one Corp of the Army of the Potomac side by side while still further on the right was Hooker with the other Eastern Corp and we all well knew

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that Sherman had gone 8 miles up the river to cross with 2 as good corps as ever shouldered a rifle. such determination I dont believe was ever expressed on the countenances of men as were there shown. you could look over that vast army and see men from almost every state & territory from Maine to California. And judgeing from the flags which waved there they were men of the true blue style for some of their flags had been so cut up in former battles, that had every shred been fastened together there would not have made 1/4 yard of cloth. the staffs were in some places almost cut in two by balls – yet they dared to carry them into another perhaps fiercer contest than ever before. About 1 PM some 8 or 10 Regiments commenced filing off down the hill to form a skirmish line Each regiment followed by 8 or 10 men carrying stretchers to bring back the wounded on. They had not been gone long until the cannon from Ft. Wood opened and then the sharp rattle of musketry announced that the ball was opened. in 20 minutes from the time the firing commenced back came the stretchers loaded with wounded

The men went off down the hill as cool as if they were going

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down there to cut wood: every man had when he started, the flaps of his cartridge box raised and buttoned on his coat so that his pills would be handy after they had been fighting some time we started and double quicked it down to the once rebel picket lines 7 found that our skirmishers had driven them from the first line of rifle pits we formed a line of battle & after maneuvering there some time night came on and we lay down and slept sound

The next morning (24″) we were aroused at 2 and after standing around sometime we again lay down and slept until 5. It was today that they shot so many of our skirmishers Sergt Millburn of our Co: was on

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the line at noon I got his dinner and took it down to him. I got up to within 60 yds of him he says “be careful Ellis theyll shoot you sure” he was standing behind a large tree, he came back and while he was eating his dinner I took his post And poked my head around the tree to see if they’d shoot. I was soon satisfied that they would by seeing the smoke of a gun & drawing my head back the ball came whistling past me And concluding that turn about was fair play I levelled my piece and took a pull at them and we had it turn about there for some time. It was playing Ante over on a pretty rough scale but there was some fun in it. While I was there they shot at the man on my right now “says he “you tried me a pull

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poke your skull a little further around the tree and I’ll try you a shot”. They would stand there & tell each other where they shot whether too high too low of too far to the right or left. If it had been me I would have left it to their own judgement & perhaps they would not have hit so often

About 3 oclock Hooker commenced storming Lookout. I thought I had head cannonading before but this surpassed anything I had ever before heard & they kept it up until 12 that night

The next day we marched 8 or 9 miles to the left to support Sherman who was giving them fits up there, we built rifle pits and lay there until next day when after the fog blew away rebs were gone. but for three days we

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here firing from different quarters as they were retreating towards Atlanta. We then struck out for Knoxville and got to within 15 miles of there when we found that Burnside had whipped Longstreet and the latter was retreating. We then turned back & got to our old camp on the 17″ Dec after the hardest marching we ever done. some of our boys marched 3 days barefooted their shoes being worn out & almost every morning the ground would be froze until 10 oclock yet you scarcely ever here a murmur from them. We marched 250 miles in 15 days counting every day that we marched and some we did not go over 8 miles. We had to forage nearly all our provision and when it comes to foraging for 3 army corps you can guess that it makes food scarce If we had went to Knoxville which I was in hopes we would I would have found Hubbard had he been there

Well Uncle I have strung this out about long enough and will quit by asking you to write soon

your Nephiew

Chet C. Ellis


Chester C. Ellis, from Rome, IL, enlisted on August 12, 1862 as a sergeant in Company H, 80th IL Infantry. After losing heavily at Perryville, KY, the regiment was mounted as infantry in April 1863. Ellis was captured with his regiment at Blount’s Farm, AL on May 3, 1863 by Nathan Bedford Forrest’s command, but was soon paroled. The regiment was exchanged that fall, and Ellis and the 80th IL participated in the Chattanooga Campaign as part of the 11th Corps. In 1864, having been assigned to the 4th Corps, they fought throughout the Atlanta Campaign, but on September 2, 1864 Sergeant Ellis was killed in action at Lovejoy Station, GA.

Letter – August Willich, 19 January 1876

2015.002.115

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Letter written by former Brigadier General August Willich of the U.S. Volunteers, to the editor of the Cincinnati Commercial, from St. Mary’s, OH. Willich is criticizing a letter written by General Judson Kilpatrick, concerning the battle at Missionary Ridge which was published in the newspaper. Willich writes that Kilpatrick manufactured heroes in his article by giving credit to a few select officers, rather than the whole Army of the Cumberland, whomoved forward as one without the direct orders of their leaders during the battle. Willich hopes that his letter will be published, to “help lessen the stupid and nefarious hero worship.” A note written in the margins, possibly by the editor, gives the title, “The Battle of Chattanooga and the vindication of history.”


St. Marys January 19th 1876

Editor Comercial!

The Comercial of January, 13th contains General Kilpatrick’s story of the storming and taking of Missionary Ridge.

Public opinion had settled down to the belief, that the whole line of the army of the Cumberland had been carried simultaneously forward and over the entrenchments of the enemy, on the top of the ridge, by an enthusiastic impulse of the soldiers, without order of their leaders.

Those next concerned in this act were willing to let it rest so. Gen Kilpatrick now opens again the manufactory of heros, kept in full blast during the war by so many correspondents, and writers of official reports. In a few phrases, in the sparkling of ey[e]s of one or another intended hero, he absorbs, all the merits of thousands of galant and devoted soldiers and their leaders. A statement of the naked facts of the storm of Miss. Ridge will have the approval of all, who participate in it, and who do not claim, but their due share of the credit connected with it. It may also throw some light on the manner of heromaking, and may help to lessen the stupid and nefarious hero whorship. I ask the favor of you Mr. Editor to give this a place in your paper and oblige Yours Respectfully

August Willich


August von Willich was born in Brausberg, Prussia on November 19, 1810. After graduating from a Berlin military academy he entered the Prussian army, rising to the rank of captain. A follower of Karl Marx, was court martialed and fled to the U.S. in 1853. He worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yard as a carpenter, and in 1858 became the editor of a German language newspaper in Cincinatti. After serving as a lieutenant and A.A.G. of the 8th OH Infantry in 1861, he recruited and was commissioned colonel of the 32nd IN Infantry. His strong combat record at Shiloh, Perryville, and Stones River (where he was captured) resulted in his promotion to brigadier general July 17, 1862. Once exchanged, Willich fought as a brigade commander at Chickamauga, and was foremost in leading his troops in the famous assault of November 25, 1863, up Missionary Ridge. His troops were the first to reach the crest and break the enemy line at “Sharp’s Spur.” Willich was wounded in the shoulder at the Battle of Resaca, GA in May 1864, and later served as commander of the post of Cincinnati, OH. After the Civil War, he went to Germany to fight in the Franco-Prussian War, but was ultimately thwarted in seeing combat. Returning to the U.S. he lived in St. Marys, OH until his death on January 22, 1878. He was rather fondly known for being an eccentric, including having a pet raccoon.

Letter – Sereno Bridge, 19 January 1862

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Letter written by Private Sereno Bridge, Gilbert’s Company of Illinois Independent Cavalry [later Company H, 12th IL Cavalry], to his wife, from Benton Barracks in St. Louis, MO. The miserable weather has given him time to write a letter. Bridge describes the conditions of the camp. He also writes that the army chaplains are overpaid and not focused on the spiritual well-being of the men, while the officers are “unprincipled, profane” and “have no regard for God.” Bridge believes that if the war ends, it will be because of the prayers of citizens in spite of the “sin and iniquity” of the army. He worries that his regiment may be disbanded.


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Benton, Barracks Jan 19

Dear Wife I received your letter of the 11 of Jan on Thursday last and to day being Sunday and a damp foggy day and (not) so much is going on as usual I thought I would write you afew lines to let you k[n]ow we are getting along well in the first plase as you are a good deale worr[i]ed on a count of my health I will try and releive your anxiety on that acount for the preasant for to day I feel as well as at any time since I have been here, although as I have written to you before I have not been entirely free from a cough since I came here some days quite bad and others about well I have not lost a meal on the acount of sickness since I enlisted one of the men that came back

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from the hospital said he thought I had grown fleshy while he had been gone but I do not know how that is as I have not been weighed since I left Geneva you wanted to know how we lived here our living is about the same as in Geneva with the exception that the dirt is more plenty and I do not think quite as good as it was there you wish to know where the Chaplains in the army are now every Reg has a Chaplain and government pays them some $130, per month they weare a fine uniform have a horse and waiter if they like and rank next to the field officers in the army now that some of them are good God fearing men I have

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no doubt and are doing much good. but with a greate many of them it is somthing as it is with myself now being a private I can take care of the sick and do some little good but if I had gone home with straps on my sholders which Grandfather Bruce discovered that I did not have on, I should have proberly got above my buissiness and not done as much good as now I think if our Chaplains was paid about the saim as the common soldier and had to wear plain cloths we should have those in the army that would labour faithfully for the temporal and spearitual good of the men but it is a hard matter for a Chaplain to exert much influence in the army for the officers from the hiest [highest] to the loust [lowest] with

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a few exceptions are unprincipled profane men they have no regard for god nor some of them for man if this reb[e]llion is ever put down and our country saved it will be bcause there is riches praying peopple out side of the army and government enough to save it in spite of all the sin anickety [iniquity] that is committed in high places there is some prospect that our com[pany] ma[y] be disbanded but I harldy think it will at preasant if it should I do not think i should come home I think if our country ever has needed my servises it needs them yet I think now I should go to Kansas and join Jim Lanes expedition proberly you have seen an acount of it in the papers there was a Reg of Caval[r]y from Ohio just come in to the Camp that are going to join Lane’s forces I here that our Reg is on the road backe here again kiss the boys for me good by

S. Bridge


Sereno Bridge, from Elgin, IL, enlisted as a private in Gilbert’s Company of Illinois Independent Cavalry on September 6, 1861. He was transferred out on February 17, 1862 to Company H, 12th IL Cavalry, then on December 25, 1862 to Company G, 15th IL Cavalry. He was mustered out of service on October 31, 1864.

Letter – John Harris, 17 January 1862

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Letter written by 1st Sergeant John S. Harris of Company F, 11th MA Infantry, to his brother, from a camp near Budd’s Ferry, MS. Harris describes marching several miles from Leonardtown to their present camp. He is currently under arrest in his quarters, and expects to be court martialed and demoted. Harris claims that if he could be promoted by a vote from the company, he would already be lieutenant, but he has to be appointed by Colonel William Blaisdell. Harris refers to some of the officers as selfish, and writes that he hopes to live long enough to “smile over their dead bodies.”


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1862

Camp near Budds Fery Jan 17

Dear Brother

I recieved your kind letter & paper in due time was very glad to hear that you and all the folks are well although I have been somewhat used up since we arrived in camp from Leonardtown we started from L on Sunday the 12th and marched to Newport a distance of about 25 miles through the mud the next day we marched to port Tobacco 14 miles on Tuesday we marched to camp 16 miles.

I am under arrest in the quarters and I expect to be court martialed

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but the most they can do with me is to reduce me to the ranks and I dont care much about that we have got a new Capt his name is Debereaux from Salem but we have not found out much about him yet, but I will try live long enough to get square with them all, if I could be promoted by vote of the Co I should have been Lieut long ago but I have to be appointed by the Col and there is 2 or 3 working against me all the time but it is a long road that dont turn and I will let you know as soon as thare is any change in the programe over

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the opinion here it that thare will be a general forward movement soon but it is hard telling any thing about it here, but God knows I dont care how soon for I am tired of being in hell I if I have come out here to die I dont care how soon but I will them that I wont show the white feather [cowardice] and I think my life will be spared to see some of these selfish Officers die so that I can smile over their dead bodies

I dont think you would know me I have got as cross as hell, ———–

I should like to see Augusta Comstock for old aquainntance sake and if you see her give her my respects

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to her and tell her I should like to hear from her I shall write to Jennie today or tomorrow

please write soon to your Brother

J.S. Harris


John S. Harris was a 25 year old “driver” from Boston, MA. He enlisted on June 13, 1861 as a 1st Sergeant with Company F of the 11th MA Infantry. The reason for his arrest in the above mentioned letter is unknown, but Harris was in fact promoted to 2nd Lieutenant, August 11, 1862, and 1st Lieutenant, March 13, 1863. He did see his prophecy of living to “smile over the dead bodies” of certain selfish officers fulfilled at the Battle of 2nd Bull Run, where the 11th MA Infantry suffered 113 casualties, including that of Lt. Colonel George P. Tileston. Unfortunately, Harris was also destined to “come out to die,” and was killed at the Battle of Chancellorsville, VA.

Letter – William Pitzer, 25 January 1865

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Letter written by Private William B. Pitzer of Company E, 2nd Battalion VA Reserves, to his father, from Richmond, VA. Pitzer is exhausted after being on duty for nearly 25 days. Though he is serving for a “noble cause,” he hopes that war will be over soon and he can return home. He asks his father to pray for him so that he will not be tempted to sin, and passes on the tragic news that his best friend died in a hospital at Camp Lee. Pitzer has applied for a furlough, but is not sure if he will get it. He is interested in transferring to the artillery. He inquires about a pair of shoes and new socks, as his have worn thin from all the marching. Pitzer concludes the letter when he has to go on post, and sends his love to his family back home.


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Richmond Jan 25th 65

My Dear Pa

I received your kind and affectionate letter yesterday and as I have time this morning I hasten to answer it I was so glad to hear that you were all well at home I am well but I need to rest very much as I am nearly broken down I have been on duty twenty five days and nights and have not been releived but two nights we stand on two hours and off four have to walk our beat all the time and are not allowed to rest our guns on the ground it is hard to bear but I am serving in a noble cause

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but I hope this cruel war will soon be over and we can return to our homes and enjoy the privelidges denied us and if we never meet on earth I pray that we may meet in heaven where loved ones have gone Pa pray for me that I may not be led into temptation and sin. I have the sad news to inform you of the death of my friend Tom Ballard he died in the hospital at camp Lee I could not get to see him I was on duty and could not get a pass to see him he was one of the best friends I had and it is hard to part with him. I have applied for a furlough for fifteen days I do not know whether I will get it or not I hope that I will

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you said in your letter you had written to Mr Hord to aid me in getting a transfer to the artillery I will be off of duty tonight and I will go and see him tomorrow and try and get it you [send?] the shoes by Capt Breckinridge send me a

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pair of socks walkin so much in the shoes I have has worn my socks very thing. I am grieved to hear of the death of Poor Neely it is a great affliction but it is time for me to go on post I will bring my letter to a close kiss all the children for me give my love to cousin Jennie and except a large portion for yourself I never received the letter you directed to camp lee

your affectionate son

WB Pitzer

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give my love to all the black ones write soon Tell sister Fannie to write me a letter your son WP


William B. Pitzer enlisted in Company E of the 2nd Battalion VA Reserve Infantry, circa July, 1864. He served in the Department of Richmond, in Brigadier General P. T. Moore’s Brigade, Brigadier General George W. C. Lee’s Division at the date of this letter. The unit was paroled April 9, 1865 after its April 6th capture at Saylers Creek.

Letter – C. Alexander Thompson, 27 January 1863

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Letter written by C. Alexander Thompson, a civilian arms worker, to his friend in Bridesburg, PA, from New Haven, CT. Thompson is requesting a job with his friend, as a U.S. Inspector recently visited his own workplace and said that their work was done incorrectly. As they will need to alter their tools, Thompson will not be able to do any work for quite a while.


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New Haven Jan 27th 1863

Friend Dodge

You will probably be surprised at my writing to you for a job i was foolish that i did not come when you wrote for me but they promised to give me a good thing here but last week there was a US Inspector here and he said the work was all wrong so they have got to make an alteration in there tools and it will be some time before i will have

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anything to do so if you have not got all the men you want i will come immediately on receiving a letter from you i wish you would write so i can get a letter by Saturday if you dont want me i wish you would ask Tupper if he wants anybody give my respects to all and be sure and write and oblige

Yours Muchly

C Alexander Thompson


It is believed that Thompson worked for the New Haven Arms, Co., which manufactured the Henry Repeating Rifle. He is possibly writing to the manager of the Jenks and Son plant in Bridesburg, PA.

L. Dodge is believed to have been an employee and possibly a manager at Alfred Jenks & Son in Bridesburg, PA. They made contract US arms and various patented arms such as the Jenks carbine.

Letter – James Cooper, 27 January 1865

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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.


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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

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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.

                       Sincerely yours,

                                        Cooper


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.