Camp near Orange CH
Dear Parents and Fanny
I again drop you a few lines to let you know that I am yet in the land of the living tolerable well. I have a bad cold that pesters me right smart. Hoping this finds you all well and hearty anddoing well.
I have witnessed a scene that I never want to again. I saw two men shot today they belonged to the 52nd Regt. I have drawn a scale of the Brigade and how it was formed. Each regiment is numbered the way it was formed. After the command to fire was given one of the prisoners hallowed a few times. The guard was ordered to fire a second time and a third before he was killed. The other was fired at twice. The guard was about five paces from the prisoners. After they were dead the whole Brigade was marched by where they lay and were tied to the stakes. It was an awful sight. A terror to all deserters or those who ought to be. I do no ever think I will ever bring such a disgrace on my family and relations. It is true camp life is a hard one, but to die the death of a deserter is a worse one.
I have but little news to write. The Yankees have made moves on our lines and captured about 30 of our men near Rapidan river above Rappahannock Station. We will go on picket the 2nd inst. The whole brigade will go. IO will write again in a few days. I have not heard form home since Cain came back to his Regt. Write often and soon.
I remain your son and husband.
James W. Wright
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). Original in John Wright Papers, North Carolina State Archives.