Seventeenth Letter: Safe Return from Furlough (March 31, 1862)

Mar 31st 62

Camp Barlow near Fredricksburg, Va

    Dear Mother

                             

March 31, 1862 page 1 of 2

March 31, 1862: page 1

I avail myself of the present opportunity to inform you of my safe arrival at this place.  I have been quite well since I left home, though Jno Doak has been quite sick ever since he came.

We arrived here on Friday in a very disagreeable time, it has snowing and raining every since untill to day, which reminds me of a spring day in Miss, though it may be snowing tomorrow.

All the furloughed men but 6 have arrived and I think they will be in tomorrow.

We are camped about 2 miles from town. There are a great many men here. I reckon you were all surprised to hear that our army had fallen back to the Rappahanick River, instead of towards Centerville as we heard. I canit can not see the point in it but it may that our generals do.

I think you will stirring times about Corinth soon. Our Brigade lost nearly all of their goods that they could not carry with them. I lost a great many of my things, though some of them were reported sent to this place, and now they are gone to Richmond, and we have orders to march at any moment, and it is thought that we will leave here in a day or two, though we are all in the dark as to where we are going. Some think we are going to N.C.

Click image to learn more about the "bell shaped" Sibley tent.

Click image to learn more about “bell shaped” Sibley tents.

We have but eight tents in the the company and for the present we have to arrive in as best we can. We have new tents, but I don’t think they are as good as the old ones. They are bell-shaped – the others wall-tents.

Click image of Confederate Lt. General Wade Legion to learn more about the "Hampton Legion."

Click image of Confederate Lt. General Wade Legion to learn more about the “Hampton Legion.”

The boys all say that the march from Dumfries here was the hardest they ever had. It took them three days and only 30 miles. Hampton’s Legion that was with our Brigade had a skirmish with the enemy the morning they left. Our Brigade stayed at the camp waiting for the Yankees to come up but the cowardly scoundrels waited untill they left and then they marched right into our cabbins.

The above was written before drill this evening and since supper I heard that the chaplains of our Regt (leaison) was going home tomorrow morning + that would be a certain transport for my letter as far as Corinth Miss.

March 31, 1862:  page 2

March 31, 1862: page 2

The boys say they have never seen any thing of that box of provisions. I suppose the Yankees have got it by this time. The provisions we brought us answered a very good purpose. We had two or three hams left after we got here.

I want you to answer this immediately. I will write again this week, if I can send my letter off. Wishing you to write soon I remain

Your devoted son,

P M Buford


Blogger’s Notes:

  1. Parham wrote Jno Doak has been quite sick.  The three Doaks serving in the Lamar Rifles were James, John, and Julius.  The blogger believes the identity of the abbreviated Jno is John Doak.
  2. This letter was written from Camp Barlow near Fredricksburg, Va…about 2 miles from town.  Where is the exact location of this camp?
  3. It appears this letter was hand delivered to at least Corinth, Mississippi by chaplains within the regiment identified as (leaison).  Who or what is the identity of (leaison)?

Re-Enlistment and Furlough

Confederate Muster Roll documenting Parham's re-enlistment

Confederate Muster Roll documenting Parham’s re-enlistment on February 10, 1862

Parham wrote I suppose you have heard some talk of the 60 day furloughs to his sister, Mary, on December 30, 1861.  Wrestling with the decision on whether or not to take the furlough, Parham wrote several weeks later on January 21, 1862 that he would wait to hear his parents view on the subject.

A Confederate Muster Roll, with Parham’s signature of acceptance, makes it clear that he decided on the matter.  Documented in military records, it shows he re-enlisted at Camp Fisher, Va, and furloughed Feb. 10, 1862.  The Muster Role also indicates the bounty due was $50 for re-enlisting and that his term of service was extended for two years.

Immediately upon re-enlisting, Parham took a brief furlough to visit his family in College Hill, Mississippi.  What was it like for Parham during his furlough?  Did he sit around the dinner table with family, enjoying every bite of the home cooked meals?  Did he sit in the pews of College Hill Presbyterian Church again for Sunday worship service?  Did he walk the streets of Oxford and vicinity with friends? Did he contemplate if this would be the last time he would see and experience his childhood home of College Hill?

Click image to listen to "Take Me Home."

Click image to listen to “Take Me Home.”

The next blog post will be a letter Parham wrote home on March 31, 1862 about his safe arrival to a different camp near Fredericksburg, Virginia.  The Blockade of the Potomac had ended, and the Peninsula Campaign had begun.

Sixteen days after writing of safe arrival, the Confederate government passed the Conscription Act, a draft which required all healthy white men between the ages of 18 and 35 to a three-year term of service.  The Act also extended the terms of enlistment for all one-year soldiers to three-years, granting the 60 days of furlough to those with extended enlistment terms.

 

 

Sixteenth Letter: Should I Take Furlough? (January 21, 1862)

Camp Fisher

Jan 21st 1862.

Dear Mother,             

Photo, courtesy of family (N.H.), is of young Parham Morgan Buford during pre-war years.

Photo, courtesy of family (N.H.), is of young Parham Morgan Buford during pre-war years.

I rcd your letter 4 or 5 days since, and thought as I had just written to Mary I would not answer yours immediately. I have nothing of importance to communicate. We are well and doing fine at present having nothing to do, but eat and Keep up fires, making rings and pipes.

One of our company has been quite sick with pneumonia but is now better. He is in the Regimental Hospital about 1/2 mile from camp. There is less sickness in camp now than any time since we have been here. But from signs out doors I think we are bound to have some sick before- ness before long, for the mud is at least 3 inches deep, any where you can go. We had a 3 inch snow last week which staid on the ground 2 days, when it com-commenced raining and has not yet ceased.

January 21, 1862: page 1

January 21, 1862: page 1

We perform not duty now except guard, which lighter than formerly, the number of guards being reduced.  Our Col took the guard off the Regt. altogether, but the Gen – came along one day and seeing no guard, told him to put them on again. Now we have only one around the Regt and his orders are to present arms to the Gen.

We are coming down to hard living again, nothing but beef and bread, occasionally sugar + coffee. They havent givin us any bacon in nearly a month. Occasionally we buy from the huxsters, but they ask very unreasonable prices.

January 21, 1862: pages 2 and 3

Our Col went to see Gen Johnson about the furlough, but he said he would have nothing to do with it.  I heard he was going to see the war department about it.  A I do not w know whether to to take it or not.  I thought though I would wait and hear your’s and the Papa’s views about it.  My reasons at present are that there will be a change of officers that won’t suit suit me. at least that is my opinion.

I heard fr rcd a letter from Aunt Polly. they are all well. If you can not get a good chance to send that Box-  just let it alone though I would like to get it very much. I will send a pipe first opportunity and some, rings to the girls. Give my love to all the family and write sooon. Your devoted son P.M.B.


Blogger’s Notes:

  1. The Colonel (i.e. Col) Parham wrote about is likely Colonel William Hudson Moore.
  2. Parham may have misspelled the name of Gen Johnson by leaving out a “t”.  It may be General Joseph E. Johnston he wrote about.

Fifteenth Letter: “Old Abe and All His Crew” (January 12, 1862)

Camp Fisher Jan 12th 62

Dear Sister

January 12, 1862: page 1

January 12, 1862: page 1

Again I am seated to perform the pleasant task of writing to you. I am enjoying fine health at present and hope this scrap will find you all down with the same complaint.

January 12, 1862: page 2

January 12, 1862: page 2

For the last week we have excellent weather, but the one previous will long be remembered by a majority of the Lamar Rifles. Last Sunday night we had heavy snow for Miss, but a light one for Va, remaining on the ground for two days, when a heavy sleet fell on that, and Thursday our company was detailed to go out on Picket Guard.  It was an extremely raw morning with a high North Wind, and the ground frozen as hard as a rock.

Photo source of Confederate Brigadier General Louis Trezevant Wigfall: Lawrence T. Jones III Texas Photographs, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University.  Click image to learn more.

Photo source of Confederate Brigadier General Louis Trezevant Wigfall: Lawrence T. Jones III Texas Photographs, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University. Click image to learn more.

We had to go 3 miles, arriving there about 10 O Clock. We had a very comfortable house to stay in while off Guard, but the worst feature of all, was that the house was a church, where the before the war broke out the peaceful and happy inhabitants worshipped God, now the place expected for a fight with the Abolition hordes, who were the cause of all this carnage and bloodshed, and who will have to account for it at the bar of an a just and impartial God. It is on the Road where the approach of the enemy is expected. There are only two roads that an army can approach us and that is one of them, Wigfall’s Brigade guarding the other.

As soon as we arrived six were detailed to go out and relieved the old Guard which six stood all day. At dusk 10 others were detailed to relieve them and stand. the remainder of the da night, your humble servant Ruf Shaw being of that number.  There were two each post, and two posts, one on each side of the church. My post was on a very hill in a clump of cedars where I heard for a mile on in every direction it being in an old field.

January 12, 1862: page 3

January 12, 1862: page 3

About 7 O clock. it commenced raining. and never ceased it untill 8 O clock next morning. We were not allowed any fire on the post and had our guns loaded. As it was so extremely cold and wet, we were relieved every hour, the ordinary time being two hours. Those that were not on post had a fire under the brow of the hill where it could not be seen in the direction of the enemy. It was so dark after it commenced raining that you could not see an object 20 paces off. I stood four. hours. though the night. as there were ten of us we were relieved every fifth went on post every fifth hour.

Click image to listen to "Old Abe Lies Sick."

Click image to listen to “Old Abe Lies Sick.”

The second time I was on I was standing in the rain and wind wishing old Abe and all his crew in the bottom of the Atlantic, when I thought I heard the tramp of an approaching of a horse going at full speed. I listened attentively, and I heard it distantly coming right toward us. I told the other fellow to get on one side of the road, I on the other. Directly he came tearing up the road and when 30 paces off I cocked my piece and halted him. I asked who he was, he said friend, I then told him to advance and give the counter sign, he said he did not have it. He wanted to go on anyhow. I told him there was no use in talking, that I could not let him pass. So I told the other fellow to there and I took him to the officer who released him. We were on a dangerous post, and if he had started off he would certainly have got a load in him. He was the only soul that I saw the whole night.

January 12, 1862: page 4

January 12, 1862: page 4

At present there is now talk of a fight here. I think the enemy will hardly attack us here this winter. I suppose they are waiting untill next spring, and right here the this great furlough arrangement comes up. Yesterday the Captain called out the company and gave us a little talk and wanted to know how many of us would reenlist for two or the war years. I think 52 have signified their intention to do so. Only one of our mess here, Walter.

Photo source of Union Major General George B. McClellan:  National Archives.  Click image to learn more.

Photo source of Union Major General George B. McClellan: National Archives. Click image to learn more.

13th. Since writing the other, Dick and Ruf both seem to me to be inclined to take it also. I can not say whether or not they will. I am as  yet on the fence and do not which way to jump. Though be for deciding I would rather hear the views of you all on the subject. I think myself it is a good arrangement for all the 12 months troops, for it would folly on our part to let all the volunteers go home in the spring, for them McClellan would over run our little army on the Potomac. But I had rather not reenlist for two years, and I want to be free to join any company I like at the end of my time.

I think I have written enough for the present, unless you conclude to write more. I rcd those pants yesterday, which came in good time, but I think what I have now will do me untill next spring. Let me know if you rcd that money and Pipe. Give my love to all the family and enquiring friends and ever remember your devoted brother P M Buford. You can let the family any of the family read this if they want.

Tell me Ma I will write to her soon. You must write written often and give me all the news that is afloat and especially about the 60 day company. I want to know who are the officers.


Blogger’s Notes:

  1. Parham writes of Abolition hordes, misspelling hoards which means an amass or gathering.  Found in a few newspapers during the time, the term abolition hoards was periodically used to refer to Union forces.
  2. Parham’s thoughts on the U.S. abolition movement and slavery are unknown. According to the 1860 United States Federal Census records, he did not live in a slave owning household the year before the war.
  3. Old Abe is 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.
  4. This is the first letter where Parham provides a political opinion about who caused the war and of Old Abe and all his crew.  Like most Southerners of the time, Parham may have come from a conservative Democratic family; Abraham Lincoln represented the new liberal Republican party.  The two parties have since reversed roles.

Fourteenth Letter: Delirium Tremens (December 30, 1861)

Camp Fisher

Dec 30th 1861

Dear Sister

I rcd your welcome letter a few days since which afforded me great pleasure.

Photo Source of George W. Hope: "Lamar Rifles: A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A."

Photo Source of George W. Hope: “Lamar Rifles: A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A.”

I have a chance of sending this to you by George Hope who is discharged, though I do not fell much like writing to night as I have been hard at work all day and fell very much fatigued, not knowing untill a few minutes ago that he was going to start so soon.

This leaves all in very good health except Newt and. Myself who have a very bad colds. One of our Regt died last week with the Mania Portu, the one death that we have had in the Regt for over a month.

December 30, 1861: page 1

December 30, 1861: page 1

It was thought for for two or three days since, that we would have a fight here but it has died out as usual and I do not beleive we will have one untill I am in it, though there is not a passes but you can hear the roar of cannon on the River, but I have never seen yet what good it has done, though I may not be the proper judge.

We have just finished repairing our house. It was a flat roof, and inferior boards. Last week it rained quite hard- and it was all he we could do to keep ourselves and chattels dry. We pitched in and made more boards and put a very respectable roof. The whole Regt is very comfortably quartered now, and I think we will stay here untill Spring.

December 30, 1861: page 2

December 30, 1861: pages 2 and 3

I suppose you have heard some talk of the 60 day furloughs Some of our company will take it, and a great many will not, and I think I will be among that number. I will serve my time out and I if I fell like reenlisting then I can do so.

I drew 50$ the other day and I will let send you 5$ for Pocket change.

I want you to send me a strip of Sand Paper in your next letter to I want it to polish some rings, none can be had here,

The drum is now beating for “lights out” and I must close. Give my love to all and tell the old folds folks that I will write to them soon.

You must burn this as soon as you read it and then answer. Yrs truly

PMBu


Blogger’s Notes:

  1. It appears George W. Hope hand-carried this letter to Parham’s family.  George W. Hope enlisted April 26, 1861. Born in Mississippi, a student, single and 20 years old. According to Lamar Rifles: A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A., he was discharged…by reason of accidental wound through left wrist. [After recovery he reenlisted in the 30th Mississippi and did gallant service for his country in that command.  Was killed at battle of Murfreesboro, Tenn.].
  2. Parham writes one of our Regt died last week with the Mania Portu.  He is referring to mania-a-portu, also known as delirium tremens.

Thirteenth Letter: Corn Dodger and Broiled Fat Bacon for Breakfast (December 5, 1861)

Camp Fisher

Dec. 5th, 1861

Dear Mother,

Dec 5 1861 1:2

December 5, 1861: page 1

I rcd yours of the 23rd abt two days ago, as also a short note from Mary Jane. I was glad to hear that you all were in moderate health, except Virginia, who I hope has recovered this reaches you.

I have had the Diarrehea quite bad for two days, but am now well, though that is a common complaint here in camps. The health of our Regt is better now than at any time since I have been in it.

For the last two weeks we have had some severe weather in the shape of rain, snow- sleet and freezes, though yesterday and reminds me of Spring.

Dec 5 1861 2:2

December 5, 1861: page 2

If nothing happens we will be ready to move into our House tomorrow. I think we can live in it very comfortably all winter if we stay here. It is a very neat cabbin with the exception of the floor. Most of the Regt have already have already built, and the rest are hard at now.

As for war news I am flat, for I can hear nothing from no source whatever. It is still thought by some that we will have a fight here yet but I can see nothing to make one believe it. If the Yankees on the Occoquan intend to attack us, it seems to me that now is a good a time as any, If attacked we will suffer, but I am confident of victory.

Mary Jane said that the cal cavalry company at the Hill and some of the Home Guard were going to Columbus Kty. If they have gone you must let me know, who went from the Hill.

Click image to view recipe "Gritty Corn Dodgers" by Lorraine Thompson.

Click image to view recipe for “Gritty Corn Dodgers” by Lorraine Thompson.

We had something nice for breakfast this morning in the shape of Corn Dodger. It certainly did taste sweeter than ever wheat Bread did after doing without  a month or two. It has been over two months scince I tasted any. I never was as tired of beef and flour in my life. I have not eat(en added in pencil) any of the former in a week, preferring a piece of fat Bacon slightly broiled. We have had no sugar for two weeks until yesterday.

If you can get a chance send me some nick nacks for you have no idea how they do go here. Catsup – Pickles – some raw onions for hash – Pepper – Butter. Potatoes, +++. Anything that you can send and know that I would. like.

I wrote to the old Man (old Man scratched out and Mr L written above in pencil), the other day by Isom. which I hope he rcd. I must close. for the present. Wishing to hear from you soon I remain your devoted son P M Buford

Twelfth Letter: Log Cabins and Hog Drives (November 30 – December 1, 1861)

Nov 30 1861

Mr. S Luckie                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     L.No. 2.

Dear Sir,

I will number my letters from this time on. You can know how many of them arrive. Mary’s was numbered. 1.  You must do the same.

Photo Source of Ad Isom: http://www.11th-miss.com/roster.htm

Photo Source of Ad Isom: http://www.11th-miss.com/roster.htm

As Ad Isom has at last concluded to go home, I thought I would send you a few lines – if for no more than to let you all know that I was enjoying good  health.  I sent a letter to Mary Jane last week and one to Ma, the week before, which I hope they rcd, as they were sent by hand. There is less sickness in our company now than any time since I have been in it. One of the company returned yesterday from Warrenton. He says that Walter is improving very fast, and will return shortly to camp. George Hope was gut sick last week with the Jaundice, but is now well or nearly so. Dick Shaw has been grunting for a day or two. There is not much excitement now in camp, though they have been telling us for the last 3 weeks that we would have a fight, but it has not come off yet, nor at present do I see any signs of it, except stopping of a road with trees, that leads from the River to this place.

November 30, 1861: page 1

November 30, 1861: page 1

Last Tuesday I was on guard, and while at the guard House I heard the Col, give the orders for the companies to fall in with their guns and cartridge boxes. I thought there was something exciting on hand, and I was anxious to go with the company, which I could not do, unless the Officers of the day released the whole guard, about 60 in number. We tried him, but told us there was no fight on hand and for us to be contented. The Guard is never released unless in cases of that kind. Gen Whiting had just took a notion to drill the Brigade a spell, about 2 miles from Camp.

November 30, 1861: page 2

November 30, 1861: page 2

I don’t think I will mind anything much in the military line this winter, but standing guard. Up to this time we have never been allowed to sit down or stand by a fire, while on guard duty, and if that is the case this winter, you may listen for hard times comin(g), though I think I can stand it, as well as any, from my experience so far. We have had a little snow, sleet, heavy frosts, hard winds, freeses, and every thing that constitutes a winter except hail. and still the weather is very changeable.

Image Source:  Library of Congress

Image Source of Confederate Winter Quarters: Library of Congress

I spoke of the rcpt of my goods in the other letters, but for fear they did not receive them I will do so again. I have got(ten) all that you have ever mentioned, as also my Over Coat, which I found in the company, the one that had it not knowing the owner. My boots are rather large, but all the better, as I can wear two pr socks. with them. I have enough of clothing for the present. About half of this Regt have built log cabins. not knowing how long we will stay here.  Our two messes went to work two days ago and erected two cabins. Paid  about 15 cts a piece for the hauling of the logs. To day we made enough bolts of timber (without any saw) to make the boards. We intended to cover with dirt, but there was a hard rain last night, and we saw that some of them leaked. We can finish in another day.

Slices-of-Cooked-Bacon-iStock

Did Parham and his comrades eat bacon shortly after the hog drive?

We were interrupted in our work yesterday by a little circumstance that made me feel quite tired and hungry. The evening before our company only had rcd orders to get supper early and prepare one meal victuals, and be ready to march by sundown. We put breakfast in our haversacks and started about dark. I was then raining and very muddy. We went about a quarter, when the order was countermanded and we came back to camp. We were going about 7 miles down on the River to get some confiscated property, belonging to a Virginia Yankee that had left.  Next morning we were ordered to fall in and try it again, I happened to be off at the time, and when I came in they were about starting + I did not have time to get anything to eat. We got there about 11 OClock, finding the farm situated in sight of the River and the Bay of Occoquan.  Beside ours there was one company from each Regt, the expedition being commanded by a Major. I suppose they thought the Yankees might come over if we did not have a good force. Besides a large lot of horses, cows, sheep and hogs, there was were turnips, sweet potatoes, and about 500 bushels Irish potatoes, put in suppose for the Washington market, but they are gone by the board now, as our little Brigade are roasting them daily. I made by my dinner of roasted potatoes, not liking to ask of the boys that had carried it so far. Some were detailed to drive the hogs. I to load the waggons. The Hog Tail men had to stay there all night, getting in to day. We got back about dark.

November 30, 1861: page 3

November 30, 1861: page 3

I will note the prices of some things here so that you can tell how much we stingy fellows buy. Fresh Pork is 15 cts, butter 75.  Chickens, 40 apples 75 per dozen, tallow candles from 10 to 20 cts a piece. + + O + so on, the most extravagant I ever heard of. If you can get a chance, send me some little nick nacks, butter, potatoes. Peppersauce Onions and Pepper + + +.  The Three or four of the boys in our mess have rcd boxes of that kind and I don’t want to spunge on them.

November 30, 1861: page 4

November 30, 1861: page 4

I must close, as I am nearly froze(n), not knowing that Ad would start in the morning until after dark. Tell Uncle Newt I will answer his letter first opportunity. You can let ma read this. I will answer hers also. Give my love to all the family. Hoping to hear from you as soon as possible I remain yours truly. PM Buford

In the morning Nov 31st Dec 1st. Ad has concluded to wait untill. Monday. (Cannon, at our batteries I suppose opened this morning on some vessel firing 48 times).  I will have time to

Respt,

PM Buford


Blogger’s Notes:

  1. It appears A. (Ad) Dudley Isom hand-carried this letter to Parham’s family.  Ad enlisted April 26, 1861. Born in Mississippi, a farmer, single and 24 years old. Discharge of disability December 1861 and reenlisted March 1862. Killed at Gettysburg 1863.
  2. Parham mentions George Hope was gut sick…with the Jaundice.  George W. Hope enlisted April 26, 1861. Born in Mississippi, a student, single and 20 years old. Discharged December 1861 from accidental wound and later killed at Murfreesboro with the 30th Mississippi Infantry.
  3. The log cabins constructed may have been similar to those within the above image of nearby 1861-1862 Confederate winter quarters in Centerville, Virginia.