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.  
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