22nd Letter: “They Fell Like Pigeons” (June 30, 1862)

Hanover Cty Va

June 30th

62

Dear Mother,

Again I have been spared by an overruling Providence to pass through another engagement with the enemy of a desperate character, the result of which was a glorious victory of the Confederates, but alas, sad thought, it was accompanied with the killing of two of our company and wounding 18.  Sargt Duncan was killed and the ever faithful and Christian solider, D B Paine – my mess mate, and the wounding of Newt Shaw in the shoulder and Charley Gaston, though neither of them are dangerous, Newts was slightly in the shoulder.

I tried twice to write to you all after we left Staunton but they marched us so fast, that I could not get time to finish it, though I would like to give you the details of our sojourn at Staunton, but the Great Battle before Richmond is now the subject of conversation.

Click image of CSA Lieutenant General Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson to learn more.

Click image of CSA Lieutenant General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson to learn more.

Gen Johnson attacked the Yankees in front while Gen Jackson went to their rear. Gen Whitings division joined Jackson at Staunton and from there we took the cars and came with in ten miles of Ashland, and marched there that night where Gen Whiting told us we would draw 3 days rations of beef and crackers and crack crackers coock our beef without utensils and be ready to march at daylight, and that we were going right into the enemy enemies lines.

June 30, 1862: page 1

June 30, 1862: page 1

Sure enough we commenced the march in the rear of the evening led by the renowned Stonewall Jackson. Our Division was in front but the Texas Brigade was the advance Guard. After going about 5 miles – we came upon some of the enemy, the Texas scouts capturing several of them, They burned a bridge after them and tried to plant a battery on the other side from us, but we pressed them too close, bringing up our artillery, fired one or two rounds at them, killing two and wounding several, when they put out in Bull Run style, they had also cut trees in the road, but we soon had another one cut out and a bridge made, and kept pushing on.

Click image of Confederate Lieutenant John Bell Hood to learn more.

Click image of CSA Lieutenant John Bell Hood to learn more.

Late in the evening the Texas Brigade had a skirmish with them, which resulted in their rout again, we were quickly drawn up in line of battle, but the Texans met them again and did not give us a chance. We started much marching and marched slowly along feeling our way, for we were there in the enemys lines, and of course had to go slow. We crept along until about 4 O clock in the evening, (Friday) when we heard the artillery open to our right – and after awhile the rattle of musketing which got faster and heavier.  We moved off at quick time.

Click image of Lieutenant General Ambrose Powell (A.P.) Hill to learn more.

Click image of CSA Lieutenant General Ambrose Powell (A.P.) Hill to learn more.

Gen Longstreet Hills Division had opened the ball, We formed a line of battle in an old field.  by this time, the enemys Guns Battery began to play on us and at least two miles. It was the third shot I think that blowed a Texans head off and wounded Sargt Goodwin. in three feet of me. We then started and went through a ravine 12 men deep and got into the open field in full view of the enemys battery with was at least a mile and half off, the grape shot, canisters and shell falling thick and fast in our devoted ranks. Two divisions had tried to dislodge the enemy, but failed, when Gen Whiting rode out in front of us and told us to charge the Yankees. We never stopped untill within 30 yds of the enemies first breastwork. There was a branch between us and the first one, which was 8 ft wide, the banks being 6 ft high and perfectly straight.  It had The first one was about 20 steps from the branch, made of logs about 4 ft high and the same width at the bottom and placed so closely that it seemed almost impossible for a ball to go through it without an accident, and beside that one they had another about 30 steps further up on the hillside. behind both of which the Yankees were thick as they could be, and where the breastworks were, the bushes and trees were so thick we could not see where the enemy was by the flash of their guns, and up on top of the hill they had 8 pieces of artillery. When we stopped and commenced firing on them, we were in plain open view and exposed to the fire of the Yankees from both redoubts and the Battery.

June 30, 1862: page 2

June 30, 1862: page 2

They gave the order to charge again and we darted down the hill with a yell, into the branch and by the time we got over the Yanks started. We fired at them and they fell like pigeons. We climbed the first one and before we got to the next one they were out of it and going at full tilt. They tried to rally at their guns, but it was no use, they had started and had no idea of stopping. They had messed up two pieces and started off with them, but our balls killed enough of the hordes to stop the Guns. We drove them on before us, beyond the batteries at least a mile into the swamp.

They never saved a single piece out of the battery that we took. They threw away guns knapsacks haversacks –  every thing that would impede their progress. They give our Rgt and 4th Ala the credit of taking 8 peices. The battle extended for 4 miles and we drove them back at all points – taking 30 or 40 pieces of artillery.

June 30, 1862: page 3

June 30, 1862: page 3

It is certain that we have routed them and have taken 15 or 20,000 prisoners. It is said that we have got them surrounded, but I don’t know what to believe about it. I was unwell the evening. we went into the fight, but, as soon as we were fairly into it the excitement drove it all away, that evening we piled our blankets and lost them all, and I was without any that night, and was perfectly wet to the knees, and tried to sleep and couldn’t,

I hope I may never live to witness such a sight again.

Our Lt Col said he wanted some men to help him with the wound wounded, so I went with him and was up all night, waiting on the wounded. untill day light. I hope I may never live to witness such a sight again, men groaning, shivering and weltering in their blood. This is monday and the fight was on Friday and there is are some of our wounded on the field and some have died from want of attention. I will drop this subject for this time. I know in this you will hear more than I can tell you now.

June 30, 1862: page 4

June 30, 1862: page 4

I left Rgt yesterday, I have cold from reposun and my bowels are deranged but I think I will be able to join the Rgt in a few days. I will give you a list of the ill and wounded. Jess Hardgrove and Pierce were the only ones that are dangerous and I think they will get well. I will write you again as soon as possible.

I took a capt prisoner and had a hole cut in my coat sleeve by a minie ball and I am quite certain I killed the Yankee that did it.  He shot at me as I was going over the first breast work. I shot at him as he ran and saw him fall. I must close for want of paper. Give my love to all the family and enquiring friends. Write as soon as possible to your devoted son P.M.B.


Blogger’s Notes:

  • This is the third letter in a row in which Parham began by acknowledging an overruling Providence as the reason he was spared in battle, the previous two describing the Battle of Seven Pines, this one the Battle of Gaines’ Mill.
  • Following the Battle of Seven Pines described in the previous letter, Parham was transported along with the 11th Mississippi by rail car from the Richmond area to Staunton, Virginia to join Major General Stonewall Jackson’s (Shenandoah) Valley Army.  Shortly after arrival, the 11th Mississippi began the rapid march back toward Richmond.  Parham wrote that he tried twice to write to you all after we left Staunton but they marched us so fast, that I could not get time to finish it.  Stonewall Jackson had the unique ability to motivate his men to undergo sustained rapid marches, earning them the nom de guerre Jackson’s Foot Cavalry.
  • A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A. documents information about comrades mentioned by Parham.
    • William G. Duncan was promoted to Corporal August, 1861, and to Fifth Sergeant April 4, 1862.  He was killed at Gaines’s Farm.
    • David B. (DB) Paine was during Gaines’s Mill mortally wounded and died at Field Hospital, June 27, 1862…He deserves more than a brief mention when speaking of faithful soldiers.  He was most methodical and conscientious in the discharge of every duty called upon to perform, and…that the Confederacy lost a hero who deserves to be held in loving memory in the person of David Brainerd Paine. This 21 year old man left quite an impression on survivors of the Lamar Rifles 40 years later and was held in high regard by Parham in this letter.  What greater legacy is there for one to leave behind than to be described by comrades as ever faithful in carrying-out duties and Christian?
    • William N. (Newt) Shaw was present at…Gaines’s Farm and was absent wounded until he was present second day at Sharpsburg…at Weldon Railroad, where he was killed on first day.
    • Charles (Charley) Gaston was wounded at Gaines’s Farm…wounded again at Spottsylvania; present at Hanover Junction, and was absent wounded until close of war.  Slightly wounded by sharpshooter June 5th, 1864.
    • Jesse (Jess) Hardgrove was present at Seven Pines, Gaines’s Farm, and White Oak Swamp, and died June 29, 1862, from the effects of wound.  Parham must not have been aware about Hardgrove’s passing at the time of writing the letter the following day.
    • William A. Pierce at Gaines’s Farm was wounded…then wounded at Bethsaida Church.
  • The Texas Brigade Parham wrote about was commanded by CSA Lieutenant General John Bell Hood whom US Army Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas is named after.
  • Click image to hear the rebel yell.

    Click image to hear the “Rebel Yell.”

    Parham stated they gave the order to charge again and we darted down the hill with a (Rebel) yell.  The Yankee’s retreat which followed was described as Bull Run style, meaning the Union soldiers dropped everything, turned around, and fled at full speed as they had at First Battle of Bull Run (also known as First Battle of Manassas).

Eating Cattle Feed

wayneandjen:

Happy New Year 2015!!!
Enjoy those black-eyed peas.

Originally posted on Parham Morgan Buford (1842 - 1863):

Photo Source: Click Image

Southerners throughout the United States traditionally eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day for luck and prosperity throughout the year ahead.  Folklore dates its origin back to when Union troops waged total war upon the South.  During that time, invading Northern troops typically stripped the countryside bare of all stored food, crops, and livestock, destroying whatever they could not carry away.  Union soldiers did not bother with destroying black-eyed peas, also called cowpeas, because it was animal fodder.

Many Southerners on the brink of starvation discovered the spared cattle feed could sustain them.  Upon learning of the Northern invasion in his home town, Parham writes anxiously to his mother on January 17, 1863…I almost shudder to hear of the condition those vile Yankees have left you in, but I hope they have left you all enough to subsist on. It is not outside the realm of possibilities that Parham’s family…

View original 85 more words

21st Letter: “Some of Us Must Die” (June 8, 1862)

Image is of 11th Mississippi battle flag.

Miss Mary J. Buford

College Hill

Lafayette. Cty Miss

 

Politeness of A G Burney

Camp near Richmond

Va

June 8th, 1862

Dear Sister.

June81862 page 2:4

June 8, 1862: page 1

I sent a letter to Ma two days ago by one of our company that was going home and as another one is going home tomorrow I will write you a few lines. though I have nothing of much interest to write as I sent most of the particulars in that letter, both of which I do sincerely hope you will receive.

This again leaves all well and in good spirits, considering that we have not had a change of clothing and been eating bacon and crackers and running about for two weeks. I know ere either one of my letters reaches you you will have heard of the bloody fight that we were engaged in. I will not give any particulars in this letter as I am sure you will get the other, as it was sent by hand.

It was by the interposition of a kind providence that as many of us escaped unhurt as did. There was three two that we know was killed and another that we think was killed, besides 27 of them that was k wounded and several that will not join the company.  One that I know of th had his right arm amputated. Two missing. Dick Shaw and Joe Markett, poor fellows I am afraid that if not killed, they are taken prisoners. We have never heard one word from them since the fight, which was a week ago yesterday (Saturday). I know with what feelings the news will be received at Uncle Williams, but we must bear up with it as best we can, for some of us must die before we can gain our independence.

but we must bear up with it as best we can, for some of us must die before we can gain our independence.

June81862 page4:4 1

June 8, 1862: page 2

Of the College Hill boys Dick and Frank Hope and Jim Doak. and Jno Doak were among the wounded killed and missing. Frank had a slight wound in the foot Jno Doak in the arm, and Jim Doak was killed died on the field, making 32 in all and 192 in the Rgt.

Several times limbs that were cut off by the Grape shot fell on me, once the blood out of a man flew into my face and a musket ball knocked the dirt into my eyes.  You can imagine how thick and fast an they fell from the casualties in our Rgt, but our men were crowned with success.  We took between 800 and 1000 prisoners, got possession of their camp and equipage and took 15 or 18 pieces of artillery, though we lost a great many men, and all reports say the enemys lofs was twice as great as ours.

When going to the battle field- we went through a Yankee camp which they had ????? suddenly deserted, which for comfort is nothing to compare with ours. All of them have a large Oil cloths to make tents of, and they had left coffee and sugar and whiskey + fine clothes +. all of which we got. I found an envelope with five letters in it and it, one or two of which I will send you, which certainly a rarity. An old woman sent her son “five cents” in a letter and was anxious to know if he got it and the old man sent him a dollar to buy his cigars and tobacco with. I read something that was really too obscene for a gentleman to write. It was to Wm Moore 52nd Rgt Pa Vols.

After the fight Saturday, we lay in a thickett of woods close to where Sunday morning close to where they were fighting, but did not get into it. They threw shell all around us, but did not no damage, but killed two and wounded two in the fourth Ala Rgt. The enemy were again whipped, but I know nothing of the particulars, For two hours the artillery and musketry made one continual roar.

We have been moving about in the woods from one place to another to keep the enemy from seeing us, untill the day before yesterday our regiment was the advance guard. We were laying in a hollow and in an old field about 1/2 mile from the Yankees. Our skirmishers saw them once and fired at them, when they returned, We staid there untill dark when we were relieved by another Rgt. In going through the field we could see their white tents plainly. We came about 2 miles yesterday to this place, where we are now staying, waiting to see what will turn up next. They have an artillery duel nearly every day, but we have become so used to those sounds that we pay no attention to them whatever.  

June 8, 1862: page 3

June 8, 1862: page 3

I must close for want of paper. as I will have to take one side of this for an envelope.  I rcd a letter another letter yesterday from the old man Mr. L and Ma which was truly welcome, dated May 26th.  Our Gens say they are done retreating and I reckon Richmond will be our Post Office for a good while.  Be sure and answer this immediately. Give my love to all the family. Tell Ma I will write to her next. Newt and Rufus are both sick in Richmond. but I think they will return shortly. Wishing to hear from you immediately I remain as ever your devoted Brother and faithful friend.

P.M. Buford

Co G. 11th Miss Rgt. Richmond Va


Blogger’s Notes:

  • June81862 page 1:4

    June 8, 1862: wax sealed folded paper used as envelope

    The letter was folded such that the reverse side on one sheet served like the outside of an envelope.  There is a burnt orange waxy residue on the paper which likely served as a means of sealing the letter until its final destination.

  • Written faintly, almost too light to decipher, on the lower left side on the outside of the folded letter are the words Politeness of A G Burney.  The blogger believes this indicates Parham’s comrad, Addison G. Burney, hand delivered this letter from the battlefront in Virginia to College Hill, Mississippi for Mary to read.  Addison was severely wounded during the first day of the Battle of Seven Pines and likely returned home to recover; he returns back to the infantry, is mortally wounded, and died May 12, 1864 at the Battle of Spotsylvania.
  • A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A. documents information about comrades mentioned by Parham.
    • Frank Hope was seriously injured during the battle of Seven Pines, on account of which he was absent from the Company until the battle of Gettysburg.
    • Robert (Dick) Shaw, Parham’s cousin, was present at Seven Pines and captured. Exchanged August 9, 1862, and died of scurvy at Richmond very soon after in the same month.
    • Flavius J. (Joe) Market was a fine, stalwart youth, I suppose six feet or nearly tall, handsome and a manly fellow and good soldier…was killed at Seven Pines…The patriot could do no more than give his life for his country.  May he rest in peace.
    • Jim (James) Doak was present at Seven Pines, where he was killed in battle.
    • John M. Doak was present and wounded at Seven Pines.
    • Rufus Shaw, Parham’s cousin, was present at Seven Pines…at Sharpsburg, where he was severely wounded…was retired July, 1864 by reason of wound through left lung.
    • William N. (Newt) Shaw was present at Seven Pines…at Weldon Railroad, where he was killed on first day.
  • Click image to view speech from movie "Gods and Generals."

    Click image to view speech from movie “Gods and Generals.”

    Parham reveals his perspective in this letter on why he is fighting, to gain independence from the United States of America.  Americans today call their forefathers Patriots; however, they were known as Rebels by the armies of King George III of England.  Several generations later, the armies of President Abraham Lincoln likewise referred to Confederate soldiers as Rebels.  Both the Patriots and the Confederates had succeeded from a government.  Both King George III and President Abraham Lincoln sent military forces to “suppress the rebellion” of those who had declared their independence.

  • Parham writes of rummaging through letters in a Yankee camp which they (i.e. the enemy) had suddenly deserted. Specifically mentioned are letters to Wm Moore of the 52nd Pennsylvania Volunteers, one of which contains details too obscene for any gentleman (i.e. Parham) to write down.  Records show there were two individuals within Company C, 52nd Pennsylvania at that time whose letters these could have been.  The first is Wm. J. Moore who was discharged from the U.S. Army less than three months later on August 29, 1862 on a surgeon’s certificate.  The second is William Moore who was mustered out for completing his term of service on November 5, 1864.

La Grange Synodical College

In a previous post (see http://wp.me/p40u7G-qS), the blogger incorrectly concluded Parham was a student at Ole Miss based upon a fraternity pin with his name engraved upon the back.  Just because no information is known about the Tau Eta Phi fraternity apart from Ole Miss, it does not mean he attended Ole Miss.  A follower was kind enough to point this out and provide a resource which shows Parham was a student at La Grange Synodical College; a Presbyterian school of higher education; in La Grange, Tennessee.

Click image of La Grange Synodical College to learn more.

Click image of La Grange Synodical College to learn more.

Based on the names listed for the sophomore class on page 9 of the Second Annual Catalogue of the Trustees, Faculty and Students of the La Grange Synodical College, Session of 1858-59;  it is clear Parham attended this Presbyterian school. There are other recognizable names of students from Lafayette County, Mississippi listed in this catalogue (e.g. Henry C. Buford, John W. Doak, and George W. Hope). By automobile today, La Grange is a little more than one hour drive north of Oxford, just above the Mississippi / Tennessee border. The blogger does possess two pre-war letters from Parham, one of which contains the word “La Grange” at the top right corner of the first sheet; however, it was not understood until recently what La Grange meant.  In the letter, Parham writes of the cost of the boarding house, washing, and candles.  Interestingly enough, the expenses mentioned by Parham coincide exactly with what is listed on page 24 of the before mentioned resource. If Parham was a sophomore during 1858-59, it is quite feasible he graduated with the senior class in 1861.  Class of 1861 at La Grange Synodical College had an accelerated senior year because of the outbreak of the War.

Click image to listen to "God Save the South."

Click image to listen to “God Save the South.”

It is no surprise Parham attended a Presbyterian College. Presbyterianism ran deep into the lives of individuals on that side of the family tree.  It was a Buford that provided land for the building of College Hill Presbyterian Church; many by the name Buford, including Parham’s parents, are buried in that old presbyterian church yard.  Parham writes of providence in a letter, a doctrine well known to Presbyterians of that day who subscribed to reformed theology.  Parham’s sister, Mary, eventually married a Confederate dentist and surgeon of Ulster-Scotch (i.e. Scotch-Irish) ancestry related to Rev. Samuel Eusebius McCorkle, a Presbyterian who studied under U.S. Declaration of Independence signer Dr. John Knox Witherspoon. Mary’s daughter married a man descended from Rev. Cephas Washburn, a Presbyterian missionary to the Cherokees displaced to reservations via the Trail of Tears.

La Grange Synodical College closed its doors after graduating the class of 1861 and never opened them again.  During the following years, U.S. Federal troops occupied the property as a strategic location to run raids across the border into Mississippi; used the college as a Union hospital and prison; tore bricks off the school to make stoves and fireplaces for soldiers; and eventually burned down the institution.

20th Letter: “Interposition of a Kind Providence” (June 3, 1862)

Camp near Richmond

Va

June 3d 1862

Dear Sister Dear Parents,

Again it is my pleasing duty to address you a few lines- which leaves me in good health,

June 3, 1862: page 1

June 3, 1862: page 1

I have, since I last wrote to you witnessed and been engaged in a bloody fight, and it is my painful duty to record the casualties in our company, which amounted to 2 killed, 28 wounded and 2 missing. And out of the regiment there were 230 killed and wounded, our company suffering worse than any one in the Rgt. It was by the interposition of a kind providence that as many of us escaped unhurt as did.

It was by the interposition of a kind providence that as many of us escaped unhurt as did.

Click image of Frank L. Hope to view source.

Click image of Frank L. Hope to view source.

All of the College Hill boys escaped unhurt except Frank Hope, who was slightly wounded, and Dick Shaw, who is missing. None of the compay know any thing about him, whether he was killed, wounded or taken prisoner- I know he went into the fight, for I saw him early in the engagement- I have strong hope that he is still alive and that we s will yet see him.

June 3, 1862: page 2

June 3, 1862: page 2

I will commence at the time we left camp and give him the particulars up to that time. I commenced a letter to you on the 28th of last month, five days ago, and had written few lines, when we were ordered to prepare to march. We started at dark and went 5 miles in a northern direction from the Richmond and within 1/2 mile of the enemy in the Chickahominy River, staying there two days. Our Gen said that we went to help some of our men out a difficulty, they were about to be surrounded by the enemy.

We then came back within a mile of the city where we staid all night in a severe thunder storm, which lasted nearly all night. We started early next morning and went about 4 miles in a South Easterly


 

Blogger’s Notes:

  • Click image to learn more about Battle of Seven Pines.

    Click image to learn more about Battle of Seven Pines.

    Parham writes of his first experience in battle.  He is describing the Battle of Seven Pines (also known as Battle of Fair Oaks or Fair Oaks Station) which took place just days earlier on May 31 and June 1 of 1862.

  • Only one sheet of this letter is in the blogger’s possession.
  • A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A. documents:
    • Frank Hope was seriously injured during the battle of Seven Pines, on account of which he was absent from the Company until the battle of Gettysburg, and
    • Robert (Dick) Shaw was present at Seven Pines and captured. Exchanged August 9, 1862, and died of scurvy at Richmond very soon after in the same month.
  • Dick Shaw may be another cousin of Parham.  Parham’s biological father had a sister who married a Shaw.
  • On this Thanksgiving Day 2014, it is a nice reminder that we all should be thankful to our Creator, no matter our present circumstances.  Here, Parham acknowledged in the aftermath of a bloody engagement, it was by the interposition of a kind providence that as many of us escaped unhurt as did.  With respect to Dick Shaw who is mentioned to be be missing in action since the battle, Parham writes of a strong hope that he is still alive and that we will yet see him.  Spiritual references such as providence and hope were not uncommon among soldiers of that day, both Southern and Northern, and is evidence of the historic Christian-influenced lens through which Parham viewed the world.  

19th Letter: A Shot Overhead (May 12, 1862)

Click image to learn more about the "Campaign for Corinth."

Click image to learn more about the “Campaign for Corinth.”

Be sure and tell me how our friends came out at Corinth

Monday Morning May 12, 62,

Camp 20 miles South East of Richmond

Dear Mother-

May 12, 1862: page 1

May 12, 1862: page 1

Again I will scribble you a few lines with the faint hope of hearing from you all.  I have heard once indirectly that you were all well, but as yet I have not rcd a line from any of you though I know you have written as I have written 5 or 6 times.  I suppose you rcd my letter written at Ashland which was carried to Okolona and there mailed.

May 12, 1862: page 2

May 12, 1862: page 2

On the march from Fredricksburg my feet were blistered and so sore that when the Rgt left there for Yorktown I was not able to march 3 miles a day. There were at least 2 of the Rgt that were not able to go and among them Lubby and Dick Shaw- Staid there nearly two weeks, during which time we fared finely and my foot got entirely well- We were hearing awful reports about the Regt- that they had nothing to eat ???? ???? but crackers and Bacon – and were marching and tearing around all the time, expecting a fight.  The There were 180 men died in the Hospille at Ashland out of 5 Regts from the effects of that march, while I was there, being from 8 to 20 a day- The N.C. Regt in our Brigade lost over 80 80 men. IndianolaSteamer At last the Lt in charge of us, got transportation and took us to Richmond. Staid there a day and night and took the cars for West Point on York River a half days ride on a Steamboat to Yorktown.  Our Long before we reached the town we heard cannon roaring ???? ???? and thought they having a little fight. When in sight of the Landing we could see the smoke curling up and then directly the report and sometimes see the shells burst in the air.  It was our Batteries and the enemy shelling on another. Our boat stopped 1/2 mile front of the w wharf, the captain being afraid to venture any nearer. In about ten minutes I saw the smoke rise from the enemies battery,  throwing a shell not more than 200 yards from our boat which made the water fly, but did not burst. We were certain they had seen us and were shooting at us. But our captain that they were too far off to do any execution. While talking about it on the upper deck, we saw the smoke rise again and hearing a whizzing sound we began to hustle, but in less then half minute the ball whistled exactly our over our head and struck about the same distance as the other beyond us. That was getting rather warm and we got further back.  Took on some sick soldiers.

Click image to hear "Richmond is a Hard Road to Travel."

Click image to listen to “Richmond is a Hard Road to Travel.”

We heard that our army was evacuating Yorktown which proved to be false. We went back to Richmond and staid there over a week when we got orders to join our Regt which we done day before yesterday. The boys should be without tents a month now – marching nearly all the time and eating nothing but crackers and bacon and some kind of half rations. 3 crackers and 1/4 pound meat to the man- which is all that we get now- I suppose you have heard of the skirmishes and the fight at Williamsburg- Part of our division was in a skirmish but our Rgt so far been out of any of them, though we are moving slowly towards Richmond and I think that we will have an engagement here soon- the enemy are only a few miles from us- I must close for want of more paper- I will write again soon. You have not the least idea how anxious I am to hear from you all- Write soon- Give my love to all the family- Your devoted son, PM Buford

P.S. I forgot to mention that the 19th Miss Rgt was in the fight in Williamsburg and that Col. Moot was killed. I have heard none of the particulars.


Blogger’s Notes:

  • The first statement in this letter is be sure and tell me how our friends came out at Corinth.  Parham is inquiring about how family friends fared during the build-up to the Yankee siege upon Corinth, Mississippi which would take place just 13 days later on May 25, 1861.  Corinth was a major rail hub for Confederate soldiers and supplies, and Parham wrote in his first letter of passing through there as he headed to Manassas Junction in Northern Virginia.
  • Parham mentions Lubby and Dick Shaw are among the number that eventually could not keep up with the march.  Who is Lubby?  Could it be that Lubby is actually Tubby (i.e. Goodloe Warren Buford, Jr.).  Is it possible the “L” in Lubby within the faded writing of this delicate tissue-thin letter is actually a “T”?
  • The event that Parham witnesses from the deck of a steamboat on the York River when a ball whistled overhead is the Battle of Eltham’s Landing.
  • Parham writes in the post script of his letter that Col. Moot was killed during a fight in Williamsburg.  He misspells the name Mott.  It was Colonel Christopher H. Mott who was killed on May 5, 1861 during the Battle of Williamsburg.

Secret Society at Ole Miss: Tau Eta Phi

10466678_10204345844031279_535589122_n

THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED TO SHOW NEW INFORMATION.  CLICK FOLLOWING LINK TO VIEW UPDATE.  http://wp.me/p40u7G-tH

************************************************************************************

Throughout the research for this blog, a mystery has remained. In Parham’s military records, he is recorded as being a student, but where? There was no direct confirmation he attended Ole Miss. This summer, a family road trip came across the photoed treasure. A relative produced a fraternity pin with the name P.M.Buford engraved upon the back. Through research, it was discovered this secret society, Tau Eta Phi, existed only during the year 1861 at the University of Mississippi as all the members went off to war.

The family was unable to locate any images online or references to this fraternity except an obscure Ole Miss historical document entitled The University of Mississippi: A Sesquicentennial History. “Greek” societies were not allowed on campus at that time and could, therefore, only meet off campus in secret. There were seven secret fraternities, Tau Eta Phi being one of them.  Only two literary societies were permitted on campus.

The University of Mississippi 1861 Senior Class Book states:

During the spring of 1861, political events interrupted campus activities, and many students withdrew before the end of the school term to enlist in the Confederate Army. Most joined a company called the “University Greys” led by William B. Lowry, a nineteen year old student. Others joined the Lamar Rifles (another Lafayette County unit) or returned home to enlist in local units.

With only four students registered for fall classes, the university closed, and would not resume classes until 1865.

Ole Miss has the patriotic heritage of a student body in 1861 which put aside education to defend their homes, lands, and country.