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Posts Tagged ‘desertion’

Kinston, NC

November the 2 1864

My Deir Wife and children

I seate my self this morning with a troub beld harte and a de strest mind to try to rite a few lines to let you no that I hiered my sentens red yesterday and hit was very Bad. I am very sory to let you no all read dy that I hafte to bee shot the 9 of this month. I am sory to in form you that I hav but 7 dayes to live but I hope and trust in god when thay have slane my body that god will take my sole to este whier I will meete my little babe that is gon be fore. My dier wife I think I could die better sadesfide if I could see you and the children one more time on erth and talk wih you but my time is so short I done exspct to ever see you and my dier lile dchildren eny more on erth.

I can in form you that I receved 2 leters for you yesterday witch I red with plesur witch you giv me some sadesfaction to heir that you was all well and doing well.  I receved the close that you sent to m by lt smith. I exspect that will be my bearying close. I receved a canteen of brandy also but am in too mutch truble to drink. My dier wife I wante you to come to see mee if you can gi abner brooks to come with you if can my dayes be perlonged. My dier wife if I see you no more on erth donte grieve for mee nether lamente nor morne mee. I hope I shal with my Jesus bee while you ar left a lon. I pray that god will be with you and helpe you rase your children up in the noledge of th truth and the lorde and savior Jesus christe.

A woird to my children witch is in my harte in nature seem to bind. James I wonted you to bee a good boy and obey your mother. Also sissy you muste bee a smarte little girl and bee good to the babey and call to Jobey. I hope that god will bee with you all so far well children you cane se you papy no more on erth.

My dier wife thes times has ben sweet.  I have spent with you but no I muste depart from you and nevr more return but let this no griv your hart. I pray that the lorde will bee with you and helpe you out in all your troubles and trile hier bee low. So far well dier wife

J.R. Redmond condem to die

 

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 the Military Collection, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh.

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Tuesday 17th [May 1864]

I have done nothing but knit a little today. My head aches some this evening. Betsey left here this evening. There was a man found dead in the Starnes settlement this morning, said to be Pinck Allen. Mr. Henry went up this evening to see him. They have taken him to Mrs. Norman’s. He is shot through the body under the arms. His sisters & wife take it very hard. He has been lying on nearly a year & stealing generally. He will steal no more in the world. May God temper the wind to the shorn lamb. Help his wife bear her great trouble.

 

Source: Diary of Cornelia Henry in Fear in North Carolina: The Civil War Journal and Letters of the Henry Family. Clinard, Karen L. and Russell, Richard, eds. (Asheville, NC: Reminiscing Books, 2008).

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Camp, Winter Quarters, April 21st 1864

My Dear Sister:

Once more in our same old quarters, though we little thought a week ago that we would ever live to see them again. We had a very quiet time on picket this week, at the same time the most pleasant we have had this winter. Only one day and night of rain, the rest of the time the most delightful kind of weather. The boys when not on duty amused themselves at various sports, some fishing, some digging ground hogs out of their holes (and animal that I never saw until I came to Virginia), while nearly the whole regiment amused themselves gathering wild onions. The doctors recommend them very highly on account of the preventing scurvy. Gen. Ransom had a kettle for each company brought down the line, for the purpose of cooking them. We had one man from our regiment Company D to desert while on his post. He left his gun and accoutrements and swam the river.

Last Tuesday the Yankees had a tremendous cannonading going on for upwards of two hours. Just across the river we could hear the balls flying through the air and also hear them explode. The most reasonable supposition f the cause was that they were practicing previous to their attacking us. We have a rumor today that they have fallen back towards Centerville, whether it be true or not, there were plenty of them on the river this morning when we left. Col. Grimes took our band down with us this time, and every night they would get on a high bluff on the banks of the river and give the Yankees a serenade, closing with Dixie and the Old North State. Sometimes one of their bands would strike up in answer. The week before we went down, there was a Yankee Sergeant deserted and came over to us, reporting that Grant was to have attacked us last Sunday morning. The whole picket force were under arms that morning two hours before day ready to receive him. I was on the outpost that night and just before day, could not help from wishing that they would come across and attack our breastworks. But Sunday came and passed and everything remained quiet on both sides.

The man who told you we were suffering for bread was mistaken. Our meat is very slim, though we make out very well. As for bread we get more than we can eat. There is not a man in our company who has not got him a bag of extra meal, gradually increased from his daily rations. We draw just as much sugar and coffee as we could wish for. Meat is the only thing we are stinted with. We have not drawn any beef or ham in a month or two. We have (that is General Lee has) just received an official telegram from North Carolina state that Gen. Hoke had captured sixteen hundred prisoners and twenty-five pieces of cannon at Plymouth, that’s cheering news indeed, particularly form North Carolina. I hope Washington and Newbern may fall likewise. My love to all.

Your devoted brother

Walter

 

Source: Laura Elizabeth Lee, Forget-Me-Nots of the Civil War: A Romance Containing Reminiscences and Original Letters of Two Confederate Soldiers (St. Louis, Missouri: A.R. Fleming Printing Co, 1909).  See also Joel Craig and Sharlene Baker, eds., As You May Never See Us Again: The Civil War Letters of George and Walter Battle, 4th North Carolina Infantry (Wake Forest, NC: The Scuppernong Press, 2010).

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The captured deserters

We mentioned in our last that several deserters from our army had been captured in front of Newbern, two of them executed, and others on trial. The Raleigh Confederate, whose Editor was on the ground, says,

“We learn that among the yankee prisoners taken below Kinston last week, there were forty five deserters from Nethercutt’s Battalion. They were in full yankee uniform, and will of course suffer the penalty so eminently due the base crime of desertion to the enemy. One desert from the 8th Regiment, caught in yankee uniform, was shot on Thursday last, with several others.

Source: Fayetteville Observer, February 11, 1864 as found on www.ncecho.org

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Camp near Orange CH

Feby1st 1864

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.

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Camp 24 miles northeast

Wilmington, NC

January 28, 1864

Dear family,

I received your kind letters dated 14. I was very glad to hear from home for I had been looking for  a letter for a long time. I did not get Emerson’s letter you spoke of. I got all the letters you sent. I want you to give me the date of all my letters you get there after. I was well pleased with the letters the children sent to me. I want them to be good children and be smart for I will come home sometime and I want to find smart children. I am sorry to hear Jonty has got to be lazy for he told me he would be a good boy. I want you to get Wood if possible for it won’t do to let the land lay idle. I would like to be there a few days to make some arrangements for you but I can’t come before spring. I got the cakes and pies and apples and sausage you sent me. They were all good. I wish I had some more for we are only getting 2 ounces of bacon per day and 1 pint of meal not sifted. We have to shoot three men tomorrow for desertion. The whole Regiment is in an uproar now about it. I don’t have to shoot for I am no guard till tomorrow night. We have all sorts of rumors in camp but no reliable news. We are now 24 miles from Wilmington working on breastworks. I don’t know when we will go back to camp. We are in 15 miles of New River, not far from the Yankee line. Great confusion among the soldiers. All want peace not caring how so all can get home. Some think the Army will break to pieces in the Spring. All in favor of going back in the Union hoping there will be a convention. The home guard in Hanover County is called into service and about 800 men in Wilmington drilling. My mess crowd is all well and I will tell you who they are William Hood, Nathan W. Smith, W.A. Smith, Giles Etchison, Peter Allen, S.M. Foster, Robert Orrell, Peter Harman, and Hiram Speaks. We have all been in one mess for a long time. I have given you about all the new I know. I have received two numbers of the press. I send you all my love hoping I will see you all in peace before six months.

I am in fine health. Hoping you are all well.

Tell Emerson to write to me again. I want you to tell Copes to write to me and I want you to write every week and tell me who wrote your last letter. I could not make out the handwriting. I would read it very well. Do the best you can till I come. If you don’t get a letter from em again soon don’t be uneasy, for I shall try to do the best I can for myself. I still remain your loving husband and son.

T.C. Riddle to Sophia R. Riddle, Nancy Riddle, and my dear little children.

Source: Christopher Watford, ed. The Civil War in North Carolina: Soldiers’ and Civilians’ Letters and Diaries, 1861-1865, Volume 1.

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Camp near Orrange Court House’

November the 13th /63

Dear father mother brother and sister

I once more embrace the present opportunity of writing you a few lines that I am in tolerably good health at this time truly and forever hoping these few lines may reach you in due time and find you all well and doing well. I can inform you I have nothing interesting to write at this time, only we are hear in camp near orrang court house in the same old camp but I cant tell you how long we will stay hear for we have our orders to cook two days rations but we don’t know where we will go yet. Some think we will go to Fredericksburg but I don’t know. We git enough to eat at this time. I can in form you I was in a fight last Sunday but come through safe. There was not but one killed in our regiment and all the rest of our Ashe boys is well. Calvin Childers and John Black and George Balckburn is in my mess and I want you to tell Jo Sexton that he had better come back as quick as he can for he is reported absent without leave and when he comes I want you to send me all you can to eat and I will sadisfy him when he comes. I expect we will have a bully of fight hear before long. Levi griffon is going to start to Abingdon in the morning. I will send the letter by him. They have got the officers under arrest out there. Capt Pacily and the rest of the officers we was under at the Saltworks and Liut Nowood and Luit Griffon is going to git our money for us. I want you to rite if you no anything of Marvin or not and if you do and can give him any word tell him to come back hear as quick as he can and tell him not to come under guard for if he does he will be shot and if he will come rite on he will come clear for Robert Mccarmick ahs come and has come hear and is out of the guard hosue. Tell Jo to fetch me some unions, a couple cheese and some molasses some butter and a hat if you can git it and if you cant send it now I want you to git some woold and get Miller to make me one and send it to me. So rite soon and often for no more at present only remain your affectionate son until death.

Thornton Sexton

To Pryor Sexton and family

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 Thornton Sexton Letters, Duke University Special Collections Library.

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