Letter – William Bracewell, 15 August 1863


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Letter written by Private William S. A. Bracewell of Company G, 49th GA Infantry, A. P. Hill’s Corps, from a camp near Orange Court House, VA. The first part of the letter is addressed to Bracewell’s mother. He inquires about Private Wiley K. Bracewell [Co. G, 49th GA Infantry], who was wounded and captured at Gettysburg. He asks her to pray that the war may end soon, so that they may see each other again “this side of the grave.” Bracewell writes that the army is demoralized and many men are deserting. The second part of the letter is addressed to Bracewell’s brother, J. F. R. Bracewell. William updates his brother on the current state of several of their friends from home who are fighting, one of whom was killed at Gettysburg.

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Camp near Arange courthouse va

Aug 15th 1863

Dear Mother thru the tender mercies of god I am spard to write you a fiw lines that will in form you that I am well at this time and you dont no how glad I was to hear from you and to hear that you ware well and you cant tel how glad I was to hear from Wiley I wanted to know where he is and when you write to me let no all that you about him I hope that he will soon be paroled and if he is I think that he will get the chance to come home and stay

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Tel he gets well and I want to no whether his thigh was ambutated or not I hope it was not I hope it will get well with out being ambutated My Dear Mother you sed that you and all the chill dren wanted me to see me verry Bad Mother I no that you dont want to see me any wors than I do want to see you and I want you to Pray for me and also for the close of this cruel war that we may be spared to meat you all a gain this side of the Grave and if we never meat on earth that we may meat in heaven Dearest Mother you ast me to write you all the

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nuse that I have I cant tel half of it as it is tho I will tel you that our aRmy is demarilised wors than it ever has bin and the men is a desrten evry knight more or les and you can think of things as they are and now that that it is bad times here Mother I must close for this time by remaining your son T[i]ll Death, W.S.A. Bracewell

Dear Brother J.F.R. Bracewell it is with great satisfaction that I am permited to writ you a fiw lines that will in form you that I am well and I hope those lines

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may reach you well and enjoying your sefrelll [several] I had lik to have forgot the request a bout the boyes Jackson Spell is well and at his Co. Wm Spell was kiled at gettysburg, PV, and left on the battle field and I hope that Washington Spell was gone home and James Brantly I dont no where he is and Tel unkle Seburn that I havent herd from [Jesse?] in some time and I want him to remember me in his Praryres to the god that permits us to Live and Josiah you must be a good boy so that if we never meat on earth we may meat in heaven [???] Good Bye, W.A. Bracewell

William S. A. Bracewell, from Laurens County, GA, was one of several brothers and relatives who enlisted in Company G, 49th GA Infantry. He enrolled as a private on May 16, 1862, and was wounded in the left knee and captured at the Battle of the Wilderness, May 6, 1864. He is listed as hospitalized at the Union 2nd Corps Hospital as of that date. He was later paroled and sent home, where he was discharged April 15, 1865.

James W. Bracewell, age 24, enlisted in Co. G, 49th GA Infantry, on March 4, 1862. No further record.

Jesse A. Bracewell, age 18, enrolled May 16, 1862 in Co. G,  49th GA Infantry. He was wounded on July 2, 1863 at Gettysburg, captured April 3, 1865 at Petersburg, VA, and released June 15, 1865 at Hart’s Island, NY. He died in 1916.

John C. Bracewell, age 20, enrolled March 4, 1862 in Co. G, 49th GA Infantry. He was discharged for wounds on February 11, 1864 at the Richmond, VA hospital. Listed as wounded in the left arm on June 26, 1862 at Mechanicsville, VA. He died in 1920.

Wiley K. Bracewell, age 22, enrolled March 4, 1862 in Co. G, 49th GA Infantry. He was mortally wounded in the leg on July 2, 1863 and left in the hands of the Union army where he subsequently died.

Letter – Edward Hendren, 13 February 1864


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Letter written by Private Edward B. Hendron of Company I, 26th NC Infantry, C. S. A., to his parents, from camp near Orange Court House, VA. Hendron is writing to let them know that he is alive and well, and to thank them for a box of clothes and shoes that they sent to him. He is camped near the Rapidan River and doing picket duty. He describes how the Union forces advanced on them a few days prior, mentioning picket fighting and cannonading. Hendron writes that he has grown weary of the war, and that many men from the 26th NC Infantry were refusing to reenlist. He himself hopes for peace so that he may return home.

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February 13th ‘/64

Camp near Orange C.H. V.A.

Dear Father – and Mother through the kind mercies of God I am once more blessed with the opportunity of writing to you informing you that I am tolerable well at present for which I feel very thankful and truly hope these times may find you all blessed with good health and doing well I received your very kind letter last evening that you sent by Mr. Millsaps and was very glad to hear from you once more. I am sory to inform you that I did not Receive the box you you started to me by Mr Stephenson and the one that was started by Mr. Millsaps was left at statesville he said he thought it would be at

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Orange today and I hope I will get it for I need it very bad. I received the shews that was sent to me they fit me very well and I was very glad and thankful to get them although I did not need them very bad I had bought me some leather and got an old pair of shews and mended them and made me a firstrate pair of shews. I can inform you that we are camped near the Rappidan river and doing picket duty our picket lines are along the river the yankees advanced on us last sinday I was one on the front post Saturdy night and the Regt. was marched in to the breast works at dayligh and stayed in line of battle all day there was picket fighting and canonading but no general engagement.

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Febr 16th ‘/64

I will finish my letter as I did not get to conclude my letter the other day. I went to Orange Saturday to see if my box had come I was on picket Sunday and I went to town again yesterday but I have not got my box yet but some of us will go to town every day till we get them if they come there there has been a great many boxes brought to camps this winter and I have bought something to eat of them when I was suffering. i have always been tired of this war and I am so yet they made an effort to get the men of the 26th to reenlist last sunday and there was nary man enlisted in Co F. ther was none from Co. C and only about 60 officers and all in the Regt

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The men are generally getting very tired of the war and a great many of the old vol. say they are going home when their time is out in the spring I do hope providence will so rule that we may be blessed with peace in our country once more I hope the people of N.C. will do something to relieve us if they have the privilage of voteing for a convention I must close by saying I want to see you all very bad and enjoy peace and liberty about my native home once more

Please write as often as you can so I remain yours as ever E.B. Hendren

To J. Hendren

Edward Bunyon Hendren was from Statesville, NC. He enrolled at age 23 on September 23, 1862 in Company I of the 26th NC Infantry. He was wounded at Gettysburg. In November of 1863 he was listed as a deserter, but returned to duty January 1, 1864. He was captured at Burgess’ Mill, VA on October 27, 1864, confined at Point Lookout, MD then paroled March 28, 1865. He was transferred to Boulware’s Wharf, VA on March 29th, 1865 and received by Confederate authorities the next day. Hendren lived as a farmer in Wilkes County, NC. He was a prominent citizen, representing the county in the state legislature in 1898 and passed away from a heart attack in 1909.

Letter – Rufus King, 27 July 1862


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Letter written by Brigadier General Rufus King to Colonel George D. Ruggles, Chief of Staff of the Army of Virginia, from the division headquarters in Fredericksburg, VA. King is writing to report to the headquarters of Major General John Pope on the reconnaissance march of General John Gibbon’s troops towards Orange Court House. King writes that Gibbon has already returned to the camp, and has reported that the forces of Confederate generals Beverly H. Robertson, Richard S. Ewell, and Stonewall Jackson are located near Orange Court House and Liberty Mills. King states that the Confederates were expecting an attack from Warrenton or Madison Court House, rather than Fredericksburg.

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Division Head Quarters

                               Fredericksburg, July 27,‘62

                                     11 A.M.

Col. Geo. D. Ruggles

Chief of Staff, Army of Virginia

Washington, D.C.


                  I telegraphed yesterday to Head Quarters the result, as far as ascertained, of our expedition in the direction of Orange Court House. The column bivouacked, last night, about 18 or 20 miles from here, and, early this morning, resumed its march for camp. The advance is now within a few miles of town. They have met with no casualties. I will transmit Gen. Gibbon’s detailed report of the movement, as soon as it is rendered.

              Gen. Gibbon himself   has this moment

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returned. He confirms substantially what I telegraphed, to wit: that Gen. Beverly H. Robertson, with two or three regiments of cavalry, is within a mile of Orange C. H.  Gen. Ewell, with a force of all arms, three miles beyond; and the rest of [Stonewall] Jackson’s forces stretched along for six miles towards Liberty Mills. The whole force is estimated at 25 to 30,000 men. They were anticipating an attack from the direction of Warrenton or Madison Court House, and did not expect an advance from this direction.

                                Very respectfully,

                                       Rufus King

                                          Brig. Gen. Cmdg.

General Rufus King, was the Union general who organized the famous Black Hat or Iron Brigade. In July of 1862 Gen. McDowell told King to “use every effort and employ all the means in your power to obtain… reliable information of the enemy at Louisa Court House and Gordonsville [OR’s 1-12-3-498].” King chose John Gibbon, now commander of the “Black Hat” brigade, for this mission. Gibbon was told to “ascertain what Confederate forces are at Orange Court House and Gordonsville.” Gibbon’s troops consisted of a detachment from the Iron Brigade (2nd, 6th, 7th Wisconsin Inf., Battery B, 4th U.S. Artillery) and several other units from King’s division (3rd Indiana Cavalry, and Co’s. A,C, 2nd U.S. Sharpshooters).