Letter – John Wiggins, October 1862


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Fragment of letter written by Sergeant John W. Wiggins of Company F, 39th NC Infantry, circa October of 1862. The incomplete letter describes the retreat from Perryville, KY, which involved Colonel John C. Vaughn’s 3rd TN Infantry. Wiggins describes the number of Union troops that were killed or taken prisoner, and the Union’s unsuccessful attempts to kill Colonel Vaughn. The letter ends with his account of how many Confederate men were killed or wounded.

[top line lost]

Killed 2 of there men [???] wound one that we had prisoner and we stayed there that knight and next morning at day light they fired on our piquetts and killed one Lieut in Col Vaughns Regt and drove in the rest to arms to arms was the cry and col Vaughns men sprung up out ther beds with a yell and charged around the high bluff and came up on ther back side and would have killed and taken all but they knowed our countersign but not withstanding all that we killed about 15 or 20 of Robers Col Vaughn lost 4 men killed and several wound they was several of the cavalry wounded one have died since the cavalry was not as much exposed as the infantry although they could not do anything they had to stand in line in the thickest of the fire they like to have got Col Vaughn he went up to them thinking they was his own men and he said who comes there they said your friends and said who is that he said Col Vaughn and they said kill him damn him kill and I was standing looking at him and he jumped 25 jumps and fell and slid down the hill out of their sight we lost 4 men killed and 12 or 15 wound just

[rest missing]

John W. Wiggins, age 19, from Cherokee County, NC, enlisted in Company F, of the 39th NC Infantry, circa February 23, 1862. He is listed as a sergeant as of November 25, 1862, and was wounded at Stones River on December 31, 1862, but returned to duty the next day. He was promoted to 1st Sergeant of Company F on March 1, 1863. He was fatally wounded at Chickamauga on September 19, 1863, and died in the hospital on September 21st. He was twice reported on the Confederate Honor Roll for valiant service, at Stones River and Chickamauga.