11th Letter: Hessian Revolutionaries (November 23, 1861)

Nov 23d 61.

Camp Fisher

Dear Sister.

I rcd your letters from home by Meadows three days ago. As I have an opportunity of sending mail down the road in a day or two I will write. This leaves me in good health – the company also. There is but little sickness at present in our Brigade  One of Tom’s Buford’s mess mates (young Orr) is quite sick now with the pneumonia.

There is nothing new or exciting going on here. We have been expecting a fight here for two weeks – but I hardly think we will have it, though we may – and if it does come I think it will be a whale  Our Gen says our Regt and the 1st Tenn. will have to go in front of the Brigade.

Click image to listen to song about Hessians.

Click image to listen to song about Hessians.

I had the pleasure of seeing Gen Johnson last week, though under peculiar circumstances to me. Last Friday about 2 Oclock we were ordered to fall in immediately with our Guns and Cartridge boxes. I had a severe headache at the time, and did not feel much disposed to march far, but as I had never missed one I thought I would try it. Imagine my surprise when our Regt with two others were formed into a line in front of our tents to receive the aforesaid Gen-He rode along the line, we presenting arms to him. We then marched back or our dens. I thought we were once more going out to meet the Hessians.

One of the Hawkner’s men that was taken prisioner at the battle of Mannassa arrived here last week direct from Washington, being released on Parole of honor. I did not see him. but heard that he said – that all the Regulars there wanted to join our army – says he was well treated while there.

There has been at least 40 cabins erected in this Regt and it is still going on as if they knew we were going to stay here all winter. Some are covered with boards – but the majority with pine brush and dirt.  Peters house would be a palace compared to any of them.  Tom’s Tent is next to ours, and we are speaking of making one next week.  We might as well do that as to lay around here and do nothing between drills even if we do have to leave it in a few weeks. We can make it in two or three days. Some think that if we don’t have a fight here before 1st decemeber that the 12 mo. vols will go home but I can see no chance for that myself. I think we will go into Winter Quarters somewhere near here.

November 23, 1861: pages 1 and 4

November 23, 1861: pages 1 and 4

I will now acknowledge the rcpt of the last bundle of clothing sent to me from home which came in good time. My Boots came in Walters bundle- There is nearly enough room in them yet for Group. but that is all the better they will last longer. I have enough clothing for the present. One change suit is about as much as we can well manage here. I sold the first vest you sent me and also two pr socks – 35 cts each for socks. I have four pr left- It is no fun to carrying two or three suits of clothing beside Gun and blanket. I have rcd all the clothing that has been sent to me.

Walter got a nice ham- Tubby and Tom – potatoes – butter – jelly – and dried fruit. They are luxuries here certain. (Walter has not come in yet- is was better the last time we heard). I would like for you to send me a bottle or two of Pepper sauce or Tomatto Catsup – butter – Preserves – any thing that is good to eat. if you can get a chance. Any thing would be good besides our beeff and flour Bread.

November 23, 1861: pages 2 and 3

November 23, 1861: pages 2 and 3

I must  close for want of something to write. dont show this to any one. Give my best regards to all the family. Let me know if Ma rcd my letter. I will number this letter, and you all must do the same. so I can know if you get half my letters. If you get it number your reply the same. I wrote to Ma two weeks ago. Give my best respects to all enquiring friends and receive a due portion for yourself.  Send my respects to the Union Gal in Grane.

Blogger’s Notes:

Click image to learn about General Joseph E. Johnston.

Click image to learn about CSA General Joseph E. Johnston.

1.  Parham may have misspelled the name of the general he saw by leaving out a “t”.  It may be General Joseph E. Johnston he wrote about.

2.  Parham wrote of young Orr having pneumonia.  There were two individuals by the name of Orr in Company G of 11th Mississippi, both equally young at the age of 23 during enlistment in 1861.  Young Orr is either Charles W. Orr or Ira Baxter Orr.

Click image to learn about Hessians.

Click image to learn about Hessians.

3.  Parham refers to Hessians in this letter which is what many Confederates of the time called German immigrants volunteering for service in the Union army.  Many of the Hessians had previously fought or were sons of fathers who fought in the old country during the German Revolution of 1848-1849.  Some of the Hessians identified the Union cause as a continuation of the ideas held by the European revolutionaries.

4.  Parham mentions Hawkner and Peters by name and concludes the letter by sending his respects to the Union Gal in Grane.  Who are these people?

5.  ”Tubby” is Goodloe Warren Buford, Jr.


2 comments on “11th Letter: Hessian Revolutionaries (November 23, 1861)

  1. […] possibly one he refers to as that Dutchman.  The term “Dutchman” was used for “German” at the time; some Confederates viewed them with […]


  2. […] E. Johnston (CSA Gen.) had been mentioned before by Parham (November 23, 1861 and January 21, 1862) as he was the original commander of the Army of Northern Virginia and […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s