12th 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:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The log cabins constructed may have been similar to those within the above image of nearby 1861-1862 Confederate winter quarters in Centerville, Virginia.
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