Parham wrote I suppose you have heard some talk of the 60 day furloughs to his sister, Mary, on December 30, 1861. Wrestling with the decision on whether or not to take the furlough, Parham wrote several weeks later on January 21, 1862 that he would wait to hear his parents view on the subject.
A Confederate Muster Roll, with Parham’s signature of acceptance, makes it clear that he decided on the matter. Documented in military records, it shows he re-enlisted at Camp Fisher, Va, and furloughed Feb. 10, 1862. The Muster Role also indicates the bounty due was $50 for re-enlisting and that his term of service was extended for two years.
Immediately upon re-enlisting, Parham took a brief furlough to visit his family in College Hill, Mississippi. What was it like for Parham during his furlough? Did he sit around the dinner table with family, enjoying every bite of the home cooked meals? Did he sit in the pews of College Hill Presbyterian Church again for Sunday worship service? Did he walk the streets of Oxford and vicinity with friends? Did he contemplate if this would be the last time he would see and experience his childhood home of College Hill?
The next blog post will be a letter Parham wrote home on March 31, 1862 about his safe arrival to a different camp near Fredericksburg, Virginia. The Blockade of the Potomac had ended, and the Peninsula Campaign had begun.
Sixteen days after writing of safe arrival, the Confederate government passed the Conscription Act, a draft which required all healthy white men between the ages of 18 and 35 to a three-year term of service. The Act also extended the terms of enlistment for all one-year soldiers to three-years, granting the 60 days of furlough to those with extended enlistment terms.