34th Letter: The Tyrant and Vilest Government (April 1, 1863)

Franklin Southhampton cty. Va

April 1st 63,

Dear Sister

I wrote Ma a letter to send by Cullen two days since and as he has not yet gone I thought I would send you a short epistolary notice of things and general and particular, though of neither have I anything hardly worth mentioning at present.

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Click image hear the Southern “Battle Cry of Freedom.”

We first camef off Picket Guard this morning on the Blackwater 2.50 miles distant and not to work on entrenchments as I supposed + said in Mas Letter. They are coming down rather tight on us now, taking from 3 to 5 cos. a day for various duties. It rained quite hard last night on some of our boys, but I was fortunate enough to be relieved before night and slept as soundly as if I had been on my bunk in camps, having a good shelter- On the return to camp several rcd a ducking in crossing the branches, being swollen by the rain, but that was nothing to be compared with wading those large streams during the chilly months of October and November last.

The 42nd Miss crossed the river yesterday and made a nice trap for some Yankee calvary, which were just in the act of going into it, when some thoughtless brave fired his gun at them and they skedaddled, if perfect silence had been kept, the last scoundrel would have been captured, but alas all are doomed more or less to such misfortunes, but a very fortunate affair, for the invader of our sacred and heaven born soil- We are prepared to meet them at any point they may attempt to Land – having batteries and rifle Pits at every fordable point.

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USA President Abraham Lincoln

It is my sincere desire that we may never again have to fight, but if we do I can do it, for I believe I am trying to support a holy and righteous cause, worthy the suffering and if need be the lives of any People- It has cost us much money and lives, but I am willing it should cost us more, rather than be the subjects of the Tyrant that is trying to subjugate us- It pains me very much to hear of men that I once thought were true + Loyal to the South taking the Oath of allegiance to the vilest Government now in existence, and men too that have sons falling for their rights, and undergoing insurmountable hardships.

They ought to be looked upon with shame and dishonor.  The Stain will be upon their Great-grandchildren…

…but still it is a pleasing thought that none in our neighborhood done it, (I leave out that Dutchman) It reflects great credit on it as a neighborhood, May they ever prove as true as they have done, and we will see the fruits of it,

It is my humble prayer that an All Wise + just God may soon stop this suffering and blood shed- and that we may meet again, if not on earth, in heaven, where parting is no more-. I must close for want Paper Write soon and a long letter to your devoted brother PM Buford.

Give my love to all the family and tell them to write often-

 

 

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Blogger’s Notes:

  • A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A. documents information about a comrade mentioned by Parham.
    • William B. Cullen appears to have delivered both this letter and the previous one dated March 29, 1863. He enlisted April 26, 1861, at Oxford, Miss., for one year.  Born in Virginia, was a clerk at Oxford, Miss.; eighteen years of age and single.  He was severely wounded at Seven Pines and lost his right arm, and was retired January, 1863.  This letter was written, and presumably delivered from camp, months after Seven Pines and Cullen being retired from service; maybe the necessary timeframe for his being fit for travel.
  • Parham clearly wrote in this letter his view that:
    • Union forces had invaded Southern sacred and heaven born soil;
    • He was trying to support a holy and righteous cause;
    • Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States of America, was a tyrant;
    • The Government of the United States of America was the vilest in existence; and
    • Fathers of Confederate soldiers who had taken the Oath of Allegiance ought to be looked upon with shame and dishonor.  He previously wrote in a January 17, 1863 letter of the Oath being administered during Union occupation, asking for names of those who took it.  At the time of writing this letter, Parham believes none in his neighborhood of College Hill had pledged their allegiance, with the exception of possibly one he referred to as that Dutchman.  The term “Dutchman” was used for “German” at the time; some Confederates viewed them with suspicion.

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Monument – 11th Mississippi Infantry Regiment at Gaines’ Mill

The monument to the 11th Mississippi Infantry Regiment at Gaines’ Mill is in Mechanicsville, VA on Watt House Road (Virginia Route 718) 0.2 miles south of Cold Harbor Road (Virginia Route 156).  Coordinates are 37° 34.815′ N, 77° 17.436′ W; map.  It marks the site of events described by Parham in two separate letters written on June 30th and July 11th of 1862.  He wrote of four men from Company G listed on the monument in red text below who were killed or died of their wounds in this action, one of which was mortally wounded within three feet of him.  Parham also described the efficacious charge which was accompanied by the famous “rebel yell,” an event which has been etched into the monument.

The erected stone of remembrance documents that Confederate President Jefferson Davis personally visited with the 11th Mississippi Regiment the day following the battle to congratulate them on the victory and to compliment their gallantry.  Why didn’t Parham mention this momentous visit?  It’s difficult to know for sure; however, there may be clues within the letters.

  1. The battle went well into Friday evening
  2. Following the battle, Parham
    1. was perfectly wet to the knees, tried to sleep and couldn’t and
    2. was also up all night, waiting on the wounded. untill day light (on Saturday, the same day as Davis’ visit)

Parham left the Regiment on Sunday due to illness.  Maybe Parham was “providentially hindered” from meeting the Confederate Commander-in-Chief because of night duty, excessive exhaustion, and / or illness.  It’s also possible that Parham was present and just didn’t mention it.

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Click image of monument to view photo source.

Front of Monument:

11th Mississippi
Infantry Regiment
Law’s Brigade
Hood’s Division
Jackson’s Corps
Lee’s Army
of
Northern Virginia
C.S.A.

Dedicated 2016
In their honor

The men who carried this position were soldiers indeed.

Stonewall Jackson on this field June 28, 1862

Side of Monument:

Nearing 6:00 P.M. on June 27, 1862, Gen. Robert E. Lee sensed a critical situation in his stalled attack at Gaines’ Mill and ordered a last charge against the Federal line of General Porter’s V Corps above Boatswain’s Creek. Lee sent forward Gen. Whiting’s Division, consisting of Gen. Hood’s Texas Brigade and Col. Law’s Third Brigade, to the left of Gen. Longstreet’s position.

The 11th Mississippi, attached to Law’s Brigade, pushed toward the ravine without firing and, with fixed bayonets, toward Gen. Morell’s First Division on the upward slope. A soldier in Co. K. 11th Mississippi, recalled “the famous yell was raised that sent terror to Yankee hearts, and a charge began that broke every line in front of the Confederates.”The Union line collapsed when the Rebels stopped and fired point blank into the exhausted Federals, who retreated up the slope toward the plateau near the river. Whiting’s soldiers on the high ground then captured the better part of two Union regiments and fourteen pieces of artillery near the Watt House.

The following evening, President Jefferson Davis visited the quarters of the 11th Mississippi and congratulated them on their victory, paying high compliments to their conspicuous gallantry.

Rear of Monument:

Companies of the 11th Mississippi
A. University Greys
University of Mississippi
B. Coahoma Invincibles
Friars Point
C. Prairie Rifles
Okolona
D. Neshoba Rifles
Philadelphia
E. Prairie Guards
Crawfordsville
F. Noxubee Rifles
Macon
G. Lamar Rifles
Oxford
H. Chickasaw Guards
Houston
I. Van Dorn Reserves
Aberdeen
K. Carroll County Rifles
Carrollton

Side of Monument:

Men of the 11th Mississippi who were killed or died of wounds in this action

Pvt. Henry Anthony, Co. A
Pvt. Daniel O’Leary, Co. A
3rd Cpl. Robert Irvin, Co. B
2nd Lt. Thomas F. Nealy, Co. B
Pvt. Lucius B. Smith, Co. B
Pvt. George Matthews, Co. C
Pvt. Henry L. Shannon, Co. C
Pvt. James P. Wright, Co. C
Pvt. Leonidas W. Burnside, Co. D
Pvt. Bright R. Ham, Co. D
Pvt. George W. Johnson, Jr., Co. D
Pvt. Allen J. Lowry, Co. D
Pvt. Wiley M. Warren, Co. D
Pvt. James E. Halbert, Co. E
Pvt. William J. Norwood, Co. E
Pvt. John C. Brown, Co. F
5th Sgt. Andrew V. Connor, Co. F
Pvt. Levi B. Windham, Co. F
5th Sgt. William E. Duncan, Co. G
1st Sgt. James R. Goodwin, Co. G
Pvt. Jesse E. Hardgrove, Co. G
Pvt. David B. Paine, Co. G
Pvt. John F. Cockrell, Co. H
Pvt. William K. Cook, Co. H
Pvt. Jack J. Dulaney, Co. H
Pvt. John Hellenthal, Co. H
Pvt. Samuel H. Irby, Co. H
Pvt. Robert T. Johnson, Co. H
Pvt. Walter M. McBee, Co. H
Pvt. George L. Reid, Co. H
Pvt. Patrick H. Sims, Co. H
Pvt. Charles J. Wilson, Co. H
Pvt. Alexander D. Pope, Co. I
Pvt. Joseph L. Davis, Co. K
Pvt. James H. Gillespie, Co. K
Pvt. Joseph S. Hoover, Co. K
Pvt. William F. Julien, Co. K
Pvt. Donald McDonald, Co. K
Pvt. Newton A. McMath, Co. K
Pvt. Ambrose M. Moore, Co. K
Pvt. Thomas T. Moore, Co. K
Capt. Pleasant A. Peebles, Co. K
1st Sgt. William W. Pennypacker, Co. K
Pvt. Isham Pittman, Co. K
Pvt. James H. Young, Co. K

 

33rd Letter: Guarding Fords, Building Breastworks (March 29, 1863)

March 29 63

Franklin, Southhampton Cty. Va-

Dear Mother-

I rcd your welcome letter by George Dooley and hasten to reply as I have an opportunity to send one tomorrow, though I have no news of importance to communicate.

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Click image to learn about Confederate breastwork construction.


We have moved our camp about 5 miles The Brigade is scattered about the River guarding fords and working on breastworks, our company will have to work on them tomorrow, for the first time since we have been in service, but if we have to fight I would rather fight them in breastworks than in the open field.

Our Pickets occasionally ou have a skirmish with the Yankee cavalry, but as yet we have had no fight, nor I don’t think we will unless they try to take Richmond by way of Petersburg.

I have been listening every day to hear of them fighting at Vicksburg. It is rumored that they Yanks tried to cross the River at Fredericksburg but failed, but it is seldom now that we ever get any papers and can not keep posted.

I hope the Yanks will keep out of Lafayette this summer and give you all a chance to make some thing to eat.

Do not think hard of me writing no more, for I have nothing that would interest me you- If you have a chance send me a shirt, I have enough of socks and drawers now.

Give my love to all the family and tell them to write soon. Do so your self.

Your devoted son. PM Buford

 

 

 

 

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Blogger’s Notes:

A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A. documents information about a comrade mentioned in this letter by Parham.

  • George M. Dooley, who delivered the mentioned letter to Parham, enlisted twenty years of age and single.  He was present and wounded at Seven Pines.  On account of wound and sickness he was with the company no more until the battle of the Wilderness; he was present two days, and again at Tolles Mill, where the record says he was mortally wounded, and died May 26 at Richmond, Va.  His wound was through the left shoulder.
  • William B. Cullen appears to have delivered this letter to Parham’s family based on information written to his sister on April 1, 1863. Cullen enlisted April 26, 1861, at Oxford, Miss., for one year.  Born in Virginia, was a clerk at Oxford, Miss.; eighteen years of age and single.  He was severely wounded at Seven Pines and lost his right arm, and was retired January, 1863. This letter was written, and presumably delivered from camp, months after Seven Pines and Cullen being retired from service; maybe the necessary timeframe for his being fit for travel.

Monument – 11th Mississippi Infantry Regiment at Sharpsburg

The monument to the 11th Mississippi Infantry Regiment at Sharpsburg is on the south side of Cornfield Avenue (39°28’51.2″N 77°44’43.7″W; map), 800 feet east of Dunker Church Road.  It marks the site of events described by Parham in a letter to his mother on September 22, 1862.  He writes of four men listed on the monument in red text below, three officers and one enlisted, who were killed or died of their wounds in this action.

 

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Front of Monument:

Mississippi

11th
Mississippi

Infantry Regiment
Law’s Brigade
Hood’s Division
C.S.A.

Dedicated 2012
on the
Sesquicentennial
of the battle

Duty brought them to the field
Honor led them into Battle
Valor covered them with glory

Duch amore patrie
The love of my country leads me

West Side of Monument:

The men of the 11th Mississippi
first engaged the Federals in
the East Woods the evening
of September 16, 1862. In that
action Colonel Philip F. Liddell
commanding was mortally
wounded. The regiment withdrew
for rest that evening to the
shelter of the West Woods
behind the Dunker Church. The
men were cooking hoecakes
at daylight the next morning
when the battle reopened in fury.
Ordered into line as part of
Col. Evander Law’s brigade
they swept across the Hagerstown
Pike and despite heavy casualties
drove Gen. James Rickett’s Division
back over D.R. Miller’s clover
pasture and crossing this point
through the cornfield.

The Mississippians advanced
to a fence at the north edge
of the Cornfield where they
encountered fresh Federal
troops of Gen. George Meade’s
division and were unable
to hold their position. Law’s Brigade
fell back to the West Woods.
Lt. Col. Samuel Butler was fatally
wounded and Major Taliaferro Evans
killed in the charge.
Thus the 11th Mississippi lost
three successive commanding
field officers in the action.
One hundred nineteen men of
the 11th Mississippi were killed,
wounded or missing after two days
of battle on these fields. 

Rear of Monument:

Companies of the 11th Mississippi

Company A – University Greys
University of Mississippi
Company B – Coahoma Invincibles
Friars Point
Company C – Prairie Rifles
Okalona
Company D – Neshoba Rifles
Philadelphia
Company E – Prairie Guards
Crawfordsville
Company F – Noxubee Rifles
Macon
Company G – Lamar Rifles
Oxford
Company H – Chickasaw Guards
Houston
Company I – Van Dorn Reserve
Aberdeen
Company K – Carroll County Rifles
Carrollton

East Side of Monument:

Mississippi

Men of the 11th Mississippi
who were killed or died
of their wounds in this action

Commanding officers
Col. Phillip F. Liddell
Lt. Col. Samuel L. Butler
Major Talieferro S. Evans

2nd CPL Lewis T. Fant Co. A
PVT Anderson Reeves Co. A
PVT Robert N. Taylor Co. A
CAPT James K. Morton Co. B
PVT William L. Gillian Co. C
PVT William T. Kidd Co. C
PVT John I. King Co. C
PVT Jesse Spray Co. C
2nd SGT Isaac G. Perry Co. D
PVT William J. Donley Co. E
5th SGT Joseph C. Howarth Co. E
5th SGT James Feemster Co F
2nd LT William K. Wiggins Co F
PVT Hezekiah Turner Co G
PVT Richard K. Laughlin CO H
PVT John M. Pulliam CO H
2nd CPL John P.F. Stribling CO H
PVT Joseph W. Aiken CO K
PVT Benjamin C. Elam CO K
PVT Samuel M. Hemmingway CO K
PVT Francis M. Hoover CO K
4th SGT James H. Petty CO K

Sources:  Monuments at Antietam, 26th Letter: “Pure Southern Air of Virginia” (September 22, 1862)

32nd Letter: 40 Saddles Emptied, 100 Prisoners Taken (March 18, 1863)

 

Southampton cty, Va

VA-trails2

Click image to learn more about Franklin, VA area during the Civil War.

Camp near Franklin March 18, 63

Dear Sir-

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Click image to learn more about Brigadier General Micah Jenkins (CSA).

I rcd your welcome letters by Major Green two days scince, and having a chance to send a letter home I will do so- Tom Webb has furnished a substitute for five months and will start home to day.

I wrote to Ma by our last furloughed boys, which I hope was rcd- I no news of much importance- We are for one time since I have been in the army in a small command, and I hope we will not have so much marching & fighting to do as here to for- We have two Brigades and a battallion of infantry two Batteries and some cavalry- now another Brig Gen Genkins of S.C.- and guarding the line of Black Water River in front of the Yanks at Suffolk-

We have Pickets at every fordable point and good breastworks. Their Cavalry occasionally makes a raid up the River- to find our strength and positions- but as usual our boys make them skedadle-

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Click image to listen to “The Southern Soldier.”

Yesterday morning was clear and pleasant and about 8 Oclock an old Wardog was heard to open down on the River and in a few moments volley after volley of musketing- We were expecting to be ordered out every moment- but were not- A Brigade of cavalry made a dash on our Pickets- They ran in and a Rgt of infantry was then concealed over the River and when they came next time they emptied about 40 saddles and took about 100 prisoner and started towards Suffolk-

I am in hopes we will stay here to Guard this point; they take a company daily from our Rgt for Guard- We left our camp at Murphys station and came to this place 5 miles distant- moving into the Winter Quarters of the 63rd Va- Most of us have very snug cabbins. Some with plank floors and brick chimblys-

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Click image to learn about the referenced Yankee attempt to cross the Rappahannock three months earlier.

We are all very anxious to hear from Vicksburg- I hope our men will be able to hurl back the invaders from that point for they would I think rather have it now than Richmond- but I believe it will hold out yet- Every thing is quiet on the Rappahanock. Lee has breastworks all along the River and their next attempt to cross will be worse than the first-

Tell Ma I think she had better kept that money for you all will need it more than I do- Tell her also that she need not send me any more socks for I have enough now- All I need in the shape of clothing is a pr pants-

Give my undying love to all the family and write at every chance- Write soon – yrs affect- PMBuford

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Blogger’s Notes:

  • Parham penned that an old Wardog was heard to open down on the River.  What is an old Wardog and what does it mean to open down on the River?  Is it a reference to a canine used by military forces to sniff-out someone in hiding, a slang term for a battle hardened soldier, a reference to a River Boat, or something else?
  • Parham mentioned anxiety held by 11th Mississippians over Confederate defenses against Union forces at Vicksburg, a logistical gateway between the Eastern and Western theaters.  Both Parham and Vicksburg, Mississippi’s Rock of Gibraltar, will eventually fall into the hands of enemy forces on the same day.
  • Micah Jenkins, graduate of The Citadel, was promoted to the rank of CSA Brigadier General at age 26.  First Manassas, Seven Pines where wounded in the knee, Second Manassas where wounded in shoulder and chest, Sharpsburg,  at Fredericksburg not engaged, participated in campaign of Lt. Gen. James Longstreet against Suffolk, second day’s fighting of Chickamauga, Kimbrough’s Crossroads.  While riding with Longstreet during Battle of the Wilderness, both were struck down by friendly fire on May 6, 1864. Although Longstreet survived, Jenkins died several hours later of a head wound while rallying his men.  He left behind a son, Micah John Jenkins, graduate of West Point who served as one of “Roosevelt’s Rough Riders” during the Spanish-American War.
  • CSA General Robert E. Lee’s breastworks are mentioned for the prevention of a second Union crossing of the Rappahannock River as had previously occurred at Fredericksburg, VA.
  • A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A. documents information about other comrades mentioned by Parham.
    • Here we see that Francis M. Green appears to been promoted from Captain to Major since mentioned in a previous post.  Enlisted February 21, 1861, at Oxford, Miss., for one year.  Lawyer by profession.  Residence Oxford, Miss.; age, thirty-six; married.  Present at battle of Seven Pines; Gaines’s Farm; White Oak Swamp; Malvern Hill’ Freeman’s Ford; Thoroughfare Gap; Second Manassas; Boonsborough, Md.; Sharpsburg; Gettysburg; Falling Waters; Bristol Station; Wilderness; Tolles Mill in which latter engagement he was mortally wounded and died on the 15th of May, 1864.  When killed and for some time before was and had been promoted to Colonel, and was in command of the Regiment.
    • Upon paying a substitute to fill his role for five months time, Thomas (Tom) M. Webb hand delivered this letter home for Parham.  He enlisted April 26, 1861, at Oxford, Miss.  A farmer near College Hill, Miss.; twenty-three years old and single.  Present two days at Seven Pines; Gaines’s Farm, White Oak Swamp, Malvern Hill, Freeman’s Ford, Thoroughfare Gap, Second Manassas, two days; then absent sick and detailed.  Promoted Sergeant, and discharged in March, 1863. [After discharge Comrade Webb returned to Mississippi and raised a cavalry company and went into the service in Bragg’s Army, and was killed in front of Atlanta, Ga.; a gallant soldier.]

Three Presidential Inaugural Addresses

45th President Donald J. Trump recently delivered his inaugural address, a speech which occurs every four years and represents the issues of the day.  Although this most recent address came at a time in which there is much division within the United States, 2017 pales in comparison to the year 1861.  The political climate was a “powder keg” as two presidents, Confederate and Union, were sworn in.

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Click image hear the call to arms in “Everybody’s Dixie.”

Confederate President Jefferson Davis delivered his inaugural address in February of 1861, stating the case for secession and the need to establish an army and navy.  Two weeks later, 16th US President Abraham Lincoln delivered his first speech in the executive role, arguing that secession is the essence of anarchy.  Northern and Southern differences erupted into war within 10 weeks at Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. Parham Buford’s senior year at La Grange Synodical College was accelerated that year, so he and his classmates could answer the call to arms in Dixie.

Readers are invited to view each of the three before mentioned speeches for insight on some of the weighty issues which have shaped the American experience.

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Click image to hear first inaugural address by USA President Abraham Lincoln, given on March 4, 1861.

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Click image to hear inaugural address by  CSA President Jefferson Davis, given on February 18, 1861.