Letter – Penbrook, 3 September 1864


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Letter written by Private Penbrook of Trenton, NJ, serving in Company G, 2nd Battalion, 18th U. S. Infantry, to his motherfrom a camp near Jonesboro, GA. Penbrook is writing to let her know that he is alive and well with his regiment in GA. He describes “one of the greatest charges of this whole campaign,” referencing the Battle of Jonesboro. Though he was in the Confederates’ works twice, Penbrook was forced to fall back each time lest he be captured. Penbrook writes that the Confederates were well-fortified, though could not hold back the 14th Army Corps. He mentions seeing a few friends and family members recently, and writes that the campaign may end soon. He wants to come home, but not as a dead soldier like so many of his comrades, neither does he want to be taken prisoner by the “infernal Rebs.”

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Camp near Jonesboro Ga,

September 3rd 1864

Dear Mother

It is with the greatest of pleasure that I take my pencil in hand to scratch off a few lines to you to let you know I am still alive, well and harty. I received your kind and welcome letter of the 20th a few days ago and was happy to hear from you. I am with my regiment now I came here the last of Aug. just in time to be in one of the greatest charges in this whole Campain my Regiment lost killed wounded and missing only 95. our Brigade charged twice and was drove back both times. I was in the rebs

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works twice myself and was obliged to fall back both times or be taken prisoner we had an open field to Charge a crosst about 40 rods wide and about a mile long. the enemy was well fortified but not well enough to hold back the 14th army corps our corpse took over 600 prisoners the 4th A.C. tooka great meny also I saw Pete Swick the other day he was over to see me he is well. Uncle Elie I have not seen him since I wrote to you last I saw his Reg yesterday, but he was not there he was sun-struck the day before. there is great talk of this Campain a comming to a close before long. you said something about all of the rest comming home but me Well for my part I dont want to come home as hank and Bill Atkinson did. to be sure bill is all right but for my part I dont want to ever fall in the hands of them infernal rebs. I had rather stay my time out with comming home. than to get out all up as a good meny I saw day before yesterday. I cannot tell you half as much as I want to tell but if I ever get back I can tell all so I will close for this time you must not look for a letter from me when I can write I will do so so good by

from your son


Co. G, 2nd Batt

18th Inft USA

2nd Brig 1st Division

14th Army Corps

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.

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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

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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

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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–

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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.

Letter – Albert Wilson, 3 September 1864


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Letter written by Surgeon Albert Wilson of the 113th OH Volunteer Infantry, to his father, from the 113th headquarters in Jonesboro, GA. Wilson writes that they have destroyed the Macon railroad, and mentions the constant skirmishing on their march from Atlanta. The Union troops were able to drive the Confederates back. As the Confederates evacuated Atlanta, they destroyed their magazines, ammunition, and locomotives along the way. Wilson writes they will continue to pursue the Confederates, as General Sherman is not the type to rest while there is still work to be done. Wilson hopes that the war will soon be over, but is mortified that “Rebels of the free states” are joining together to resist the draft.

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Hd Qrs 113th OVI

Jonesboro Georgia Sept 3d – 1864

Dr Father

We are now at the above named place 20 miles from Atlanta (by Rail) on the Macon RR which we have destroyed in a great measure for a number of miles both in front & rear. About 8 days since we cut loose from atlanta moving with 15 days Rations passing to the south of Atlanta and striking the R.R. at Rough & Ready about 8 miles from this place & now to our rear. During this movement we had constant skirmishing as we were closely watched and entirely surrounded by rebel cavalry. Our movment when first discovered was mistaken for a retreat and they detached 30 thousand men to take care of us On Sept 1st we came up and found the enemy entrenched along the R.R. Our Corps was ordered to attack which they did and succeeded with comparatively small loss in driving them from their works & capturing many prisoners & 8 pieces artillery And putting the army to flight much of this success is attributable to our division and not a little to our brigade. Pursuit was made at the earliest convenient moment and since then we have no reliable news

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but brisk artillery firing 6 or 8 miles distant was heard last eve and nearly all day today. The rumor last circulated in Camp says that the 4th Corps attacked on yesterday and the rebel army now reinforced by the force left back at Atlanta and in trenched and were repulsed but both the armies are now said to be in trenched and a rebel deserter just in says the rebs intend to attack today. Official news of the occupation of Atlanta on yesterday at 11 oclock reached us today the Rebel army having evacuated the previous night. They blew up their magazines and burned 80 car loads of ammunition & destroyed several locomotives. The latest rumor is that the 14th Corps will return to atlanta I do not think we will rest however until the Rebel army in our front is completely routed & I cannot say that I have any desire to stop until the work is thoroughly accomplished. Sherman’s not the man to desist or rest for an hour while there is work to be done. I have been unwell for the past 2 weeks but have still kept on duty. I am very anxious to hear from Cossins but shall not be able to for the present the 23d Corps passed up to our left yesterday eve

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I have strong hopes that the war will soon be over and we will be permitted once more to return to civil life. I am very much mortified to learn that the peace party or rather the rebels of the free states are banding themselves together for the avowed purpose of resisting the draft. Political demagogues who mislead them however will some day (when the soldiers who have fought the battles of the country) be brought to justice and made to regret the day they ever gave aid and comfort to the rebels in arms. We in the army are of the opinion that as the war democrats have had sufficient strength to nominate a war ticket at the Chicago Convention that there need be but little fear of resistance to the draft to come off on the 6th inst Weather here has been escepively hot & dry untill today. Today we have had copious rains. The Mail is about to leave and I must close

I remain your unworthy son

A. Wilson

Col Jesse H Wilson

Albert Wilson originally enrolled at age 32 as an assistant surgeon with the 1st OH Volunteer Infantry on April 16, 1861. He was mustered out on August 16, 1861, but rejoined them immediately and served with the regiment until he was discharged for promotion on September 30, 1863. He then joined the 113th OH Volunteer Infantry as a surgeon and served until mustering out at Louisville, KY on July 6, 1865. His father Jesse was a former Ohio militia colonel.