“Four Score and Seven Years Ago”

Unknown-1Four score and seven years ago…These are the words which open the famous speech delivered on November 19, 1863, by US President Abraham Lincoln and known as The Gettysburg Address.  Many people in the United States, including this blogger, were required to memorize and recite the speech before their peers while in grade school.

So what happened four score and seven (i.e. 87) years prior? To be exact,  on the 87th anniversary of what event did Jack Fernandez write about Parham’s expected amputation from a hospital near Gettysburg?  To use the words penned by Thomas Jefferson, The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America. Today, we call this the Declaration of Independence.

Representatives gathered together as a Congress and signed the document to:

  • declare the causes which impel them to the separation (from Great Britain),
  • list a long train of abuses and usurpations,
  • state the patient sufferance of these Colonies,
  • explain that they had been reduced to live under absolute Despotism, and
  • confirm that it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Ironically, President Lincoln did not focus on these points in his speech. They were the very sentiments echoed in each of the declarations of causes of the seceding States. One may not agree with some or any of the reasons listed by the Southern states for choosing to secede; however, that is not the issue here. The fact is that elected officials from those sovereign states exercised what they believed to be their right to separate and in the same manner in which their forefathers had severed ties from Great Britain. Parham’s state of Mississippi, after building a case for secession, wrote in their declaration for far less cause than this, our fathers separated from the Crown of England.

How did President Lincoln respond when the Southern states declared their independence?  He did the same as King George III of Great Britain, sent troops to suppress the rebellion so that taxes/tariffs would continue to be gathered.  The politically correct term for this by the Lincoln administration was Preservation of the Union. How did the Southern States respond?  They did so in the same manner as the original thirteen States, raised-up arms against what they perceived to be an invasion from an occupying force. Separation (and the reason for doing so) is one matter; fighting for the right to do so after being invaded is another. Unfortunately, we learn about this embarrassing conflict from the 1860s in the modern classroom by mixing the two.  In 1776, there were people loyal to the crown initially opposed to separation who in the end chose to defend themselves against British occupation.  To be historically consistent, why is it different for the Confederacy?

Stay tuned for the next blog post when it will be explained what The Gettysburg Address was about, how it led to the creation of National Cemeteries, and why it influenced the reinternment of Parham’s remains back to Southern soil.

Lee-Jackson Day Presentation: Save Confederate Memorials — Civil War Chat

(January 9, 2020) On Saturday, January 18th, I will be making a presentation at the Lexington, Virginia Lee-Jackson Day memorial to explain why Confederate statues and symbols should be preserved. Presentation Subject: Defending Confederate Memorials Speaker: Philip Leigh Date: January 18, 2020 (a Saturday) Time: Noon Location: Hampton Inn on Col Mansion Grounds 401 East Nelson Street Lexington, Virginia 24450 […]

via Lee-Jackson Day Presentation: Save Confederate Memorials — Civil War Chat

“The Confederacy Had No Truer Soldier”

Screen Shot 2019-07-21 at 7.04.34 PMParham Morgan Buford passed away on August 15, 1863, as a prisoner of war at Camp Letterman General Hospital.  He held on for 43 days after being wounded on July 3rd during Pickett’s Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg and was less than six weeks away from his 21st birthday.  The cause of death was amputation, likely from infection which followed.

Several dates were documented for the date of death on various military records; however, August 15th is most frequently found which is why the great-great-grandson of Parham’s sister (this blogger) selected it for Parham’s grave marker.  Some military records indicate that Parham’s left leg was amputated, yet Pacolet (Jack) Fernandez wrote per Parham’s request in a letter to the family that a mini-ball entered just above the right knee and passed directly through.  

Parham was buried in grave number 26 of section 2 of the General Hospital, most likely just feet from the tent in which he passed.  Elderly survivors from his company, not having access to all military records, would write in 1901 the following about Parham in A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A.

copy-pic72.jpg

Click image of Parham M. Buford to view source.

PARHAM MORGAN BUFORD, enlisted August 9, 1861, at Camp Jones, for one year.  Born in Mississippi, and a student at College Hill where his mother resided.  He was nineteen years old and single.  He was present in all the battles in which the Company took part after he joined it until he was mortally wounded at Gettysburg, to wit:

  • Two days Seven Pines,
  • Gaines’s Farm,
  • White Oak Swamp,
  • Malvern Hill,
  • Freeman’s Ford
  • Thoroughfare Gap,
  • Two days at Second Manassas,
  • Boonsborough,
  • Sharpsburg,
  • Gettysburg, where he was wounded in the right leg; was captured at field hospital, leg amputated.  He died soon afterwards in July, 1863. [The patriotic ladies of Richmond removed our dead from Gettysburg to Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Va., so we conclude his remains have been reinterred in Hollywood.

The Confederacy had no truer soldier than he who bore the name Parham Morgan Buford.

IMG_0551

Click photo of Parham M. Buford’s grave marker to listen to “Wearing of the Gray,” a tribute to the fallen Confederates.

The Origin of Memorial Day

Parham's Letters

210In the midst of the current Cultural Revolution when it has become fashionable to dishonor Confederate dead by vandalizing and removing monuments and in vogue to erase the memory of our history, The Washington Times posted The Confederate gift to the nation at the close of Memorial Day, 2018 on the origin of the national holiday.  A wounded nation was inspired during post-Civil War years when Southern women decorated the graves of fallen soldiers, both Confederate and Union.  People of that day who once fought each other as foes on the battlefield set the example for future generations by annually memorializing those who gave the last full measure.  Memorial Day reminds us that reconciliation is possible and that it is honorable to remember.

View original post

Captured During a Religious Service

I was captured in the afternoon of a beautiful Sabbath day, the fifth of July, 1863, in a hospital tent, in the midst of a religious service, surrounded by the wounded on every hand, to whom I was ministering, and at whose urgent solicitation I had voluntarily remained within the enemy’s line.

pic14

Click the image of Thomas Dwight Witherspoon to view source.

These were the words of Confederate Chaplain Thomas Dwight Witherspoon.  Thomas was ordained in 1860 and installed as pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Oxford, Mississippi. He was influential in the lives of many university students within the community and enlisted with them when the call to arms came in 1861.  Thomas served in the 11th Mississippi Lamar Rifles with Parham until, as the need for chaplains in the Confederacy increased, he was transferred to the 2nd and later to the 42nd.  Providentially,  both he and Parham were attached to Davis’ brigade at Gettysburg.  It is possible that Parham, as an amputee, might have been in the hospital tent among the wounded on every hand during the religious service described above.

Upon being captured, Thomas and other chaplains remaining behind were allowed to continue ministering to their wounded at Camp Letterman until they and the medical doctors were transferred on August 7th to Union-controlled Fort McHenry, Fort Monroe, Fort Norfolk, and then back to Fort McHenry again. They were released on November 21st during a prisoner exchange.

Prisoner of War Leg is Amputated

July 4, 1863, the very day Jack Fernandez wrote the previously posted letter to Parham’s family, the Army of Northern Virginia began their escape from Gettysburg.  Parham’s fellow 11th Mississippians were strategically placed at the rear where they victoriously defeated the 8th Illinois Cavalry in hot pursuit at Narrow Fairfield Gap.

Screen Shot 2019-04-13 at 1.42.30 PMParham could not join the retreat; the day before during Pickett’s Charge a Yankee minie ball entered just above the right knee and passed directly through.  As a result of this wound, Parham was left behind at Camp Letterman General Hospital near Gettysburg where he was taken as a prisoner of war and had his leg amputated at the thigh.

 

hqdefault

Click image to view American Battlefield Trust video about period amputations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

37th Letter: Dreaded News (July 4, 1863)

Hospital near Gettysburg

July 4th 63

Mr Luckie

Unknown

Click image of hospital at Camp Letterman 1.25 miles east of Gettysburg to learn more about where wounded Parham was taken.

Dear Sir

I take it on myself at Parhams request to write to you and let you know how Parham is getting along with his wounded leg as I expect you will hear he is wounded before this He does not suffer much with his wound although it is a very severe one.  The ball entered just above the right knee and passed directly through.  

I expect it will be amputated.  

Tell Mrs Luckie not to be uneasy about him as Newt Shaw and and myself are both with him he is in as good spirits as any body.

I would give a list of the killed and wounded but there are a great many missing who we don’t know whether they are killed or Prisoners.  It was the most Horrible fight of the war. Our regiment in with 425 and came out with 65 we suffered I believe more than any other in the division. Our troops are still in very good spirits although we driven back.  

I will close by again telling you not to be uneasy about Parham for Newt Shaw has got permission to stay with him

                                                                                                                              Yours truly

Jack Fernandez

Parham will write in a day or two                                                                                             J.F.

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Blogger’s Notes:

  • With respect to Parham’s wound, the ball entered just above the right knee and passed directly through.  This may suggest Parham reached within Federal musket range during Pickett’s Charge somewhere between the vicinity of Emmitsburg Road and the stone wall near Brian’s Barn.  See previous post on Pickett’s Charge.
  • A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A. documents information about persons listed by name in this letter.
    • pic9

      Click image of Pacolet (Jack) Fernandez to view source.

      Pacolet (Jack) Fernandez, writer of this letter per Parham’s request, enlisted May 23, 1863, at Oxford, Miss., for one year. Born in South Carolina, and a student at College Hill, Miss.; seventeen years of age and single.  He was present and took part in the battles of Freeman’s Ford, Thoroughfare Gap, and Second Manassas, two days at Gettysburg; Falling Waters, Bristol Station.  In the engagements of August 22, 28, 29, and 30, 1862, he acted as an independent soldier.  After the battle at Bristol Station he was on detailed duty, I think as a courier.  Parham previously wrote of Jack’s family on January 17, 1863, stating that he learned Union forces occupied College Hill and burned the Fernandez house.

    • William N. (Newt) Shaw, who was granted permission to stay behind with Parham at the hospital, enlisted August 9, 1861, at Bristol Station, Va., for one year. Born in Mississippi; a farmer near College Hill, Miss.; twenty-three years old and single.  He was present at Seven Pines, two days; Gaines’s Farm, and was absent wounded until he was present second day at Sharpsburg, Gettysburg, two days; Falling Waters, Bristol Station, Wilderness, two days; Tolles Mill, Spotsylvania, Hanover Junction, Bethsaida Church, two days; then Weldon Railroad where he was killed on first day. Promoted to Corporal, November, 1864…Of the four (Shaw) brothers only one survived the war, and he was shot through the left lung.  How dear was the cause that required such costly sacrifices!  Is there any wonder that the memory of it should still be dear to every Southron?  Whilst time lasts may this memory be cherished.
  • The name “Fernandez” is noteworthy as it reveals the service of persons with Hispanic heritage in the town of College Hill, the state of Mississippi, and the Confederacy.  Many Hispanic Confederates came from well established and prominent families; some traced their ancestry to explorers who settled in North America generations ahead of the English according to National Park Service article Hispanics and the Civil War.
    • College Hill Presbyterian Church Cemetery list of buried reveals the Fernandez family was one of the early settlers in the community.  A total of 18 persons bearing the name are buried there, including the writer of this letter.
    • Pacolet was not the only Fernandez from the community who volunteered with the Lamar Rifles; Henry Gore also bore the name.  Both Pacolet and Henry Gore Fernandez are listed by John O’Donnell-Rosales in a 90 page directory of Hispanic Confederates.