My Dear Wife
Yours of the 25th came to hand the 11th and found me well & in the ditches with the boys. I was on a visit to see them and I found them generally well, but a good deal of grumbling & dissatisfaction – rations rather short and so much duty to do that they are worn out. The yanks breast works are in plain view here & a constant shelling which keeps the boys close to their breast works. The pickets fight all the time. Its one continual roar of small arms in plain view of both breast works.
Our regt has escaped remarkably well lately. None killed since I wrote you last, 3 or 4 have been wounded. Collins (Eli’s son) & Nichols (David’s son) of Co I. Collin’s middle finger left hand was amputated. Nichols right side by a piece of shell and some others who you are not acquainted with. I started out yesterday morning to see the boys and the shelling was so heavy that I came back. I think there was 40 or 50 struck within 100 yards of me & I thought some came near hiting me and learning the regt was going out on picket last night I came back to the cooking train where I stay badly scared as for war news. I have but little. Wheeler is certainly gone to the rear of Sherman & reports say tore up 20 miles of R Road. If so, Sherman will have to fight or retreat. If he charges our works he is whipped. He must do something soon for his supplies for he cant get them from the country. Both armies are well fortified here. The Yankees shell Atlanta both day and night. They bomb a house nearly evry day or night & occasionally kill some they have killed several women & children. Still that don’t make them leave town. I feel sorry for them I think they ought to take their children & git out of harms way & the reach of the shells.
Well I have an apology to make you. This is the first letter I have written since I left Griffin over 2 weeks ago. The cause of my not writing you last week was the yanks had cut the R Road & stoped communications for a few days & then I thought I would wait until I visited the Regt. The day I rec’d your letter I wrote out my resignation which was excepted by the Col. I asked for leave of absence which was not granted, so I waited until I could hear from the later paper hoping that I could git to go home but Coleman disapproved it & so did all the others. I suppose it will be 30 days before I hear from my resignation which has to go to Richmond. I tendered it unconditionally and immediately. I said nothing to my boys about it as they told me they heard I was going to resign & if I did they swore they would go too. I told Lt. Anderson about it & he hated it very much but said he could not blaime me. The boys all know it now & I fear as soon as they git their pay which I learn will be in a few days, many will go home. Woodberry Owens left for home a few nights ago 12 or 14 of the Jackson Co has gone home. If this seage last much longer I fear half of our armey will leave but I have hope that Sherman will have to retreat soon & we may yet drive them back. Capt Dyche and Lt. Whitaker have tendered their resignation & asked for a leave of abasence. Their resignations were excepted but they have not heard whether leave is granted or not. Capt Hughes & others say they are going to resign. John Reid tis trying for a furlough but has not heard from anyone yet. I got a letter from Joe a few days ago dated July 18th. He was well their & near Petersburg. I also got one from Samey dated July 29th. He was in Richmond in the quarter masters dept & said he heard that Joe was about to loose one of his eyes. I have not received your letter giving me the particulars of Anns death in that this is the only one I have red lately except the one Anderson brought me & I supposed what you said was that Ann died on your birth day. Will Woodfin also told me of her death.
I will go out to the regt in a day or two or I may strike out to git off soon. The yanks are shelling bery heavy this evening. It is a continual fire a general engagement could not be much heavier. I hope to be with my two wives soon to receive the good things presents they have in store for me. The clothing I don’t need at present so bad but the sleeping with my wife I am very needy. I hope the time is close when I can git both clothing & the sweet kisses & pleasant bed mate.
Kiss my sweet babes often for me. My love to all. I ever remain your devoted husband. Write often.
Source: Christopher Watford, ed. The Civil War in North Carolina: Soldiers’ and Civilians’ Letters and Diaries, 1861-1865, Volume 2. (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2003). Diary of Major William W. Stringfield. Original in the Alfred Bell papers, Duke University Library Specila Collections.