36th Letter: “God Only Knows When This War Will End” (May 24, 1863)

                                                                                         Bivouac on Blackwater

May 24th, 63

Dear Sister-                       

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Click image of Parham’s church in College Hill, Mississippi to learn about his home community behind Yankee lines.

Not knowing whether you are in the Yankees lines or not, I will write for I know you are all anxious to hear from me. I am in good health, as also the company with the (page torn, word appears to be consumption) of one or two that never are well enough to do duty-

We have been running about quite briskly for the last week- up and down our line, for you must recollect our two Brigades has a line at least 60 miles long to guard- We crossed the River yesterday and had a skirmish with the enemy about 4 miles beyond, but without the loss of a man- They threw a few shells at us, but they passed harmlessly over our heads- We lay in line of battle untill night, when we recrossed the River, with our whole force- This makes the second time lately that our Gens have offered them battle on that side of the River, and I hope now that they will wait for them to try to cross-

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Click image to watch Vicksburg Animated Map by American Battlefield Trust.

We have splendid fortifications at every ford and will give them a warm reception whenever they attempt to cross I (words unknown, page torn) to think the Yankees have come as far into Va as they will ever get- but alas, the bad news reached us yesterday that Pemberton had been whipped, with the loss of 38 Pieces of Artillery and had fell back to Vicksburg. I am inclined to disbelieve it if it is so it will be an awful slam on us-, but I am still in hopes Jonston will strengthen that army out down there and make them do something yet- Vicksburg is one the principal objects of the Yankees, and if they get it,

God only knows when this war will end. May an honorable and speedy peace soon…

 

 

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Blogger’s Notes:

  • John Pemberton

    Click image of CSA Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton to learn about his defeat.

    Parham’s sister in College Hill, Mississippi was behind Yankee lines, and Parham previously wrote on January 17, 1863 of learning about the burning of a home within the community by occupying forces. Assuming family food provisions had been taken by the enemy, he also mentioned sending money home in the same letter and again on March 18, 1863.

  • Parham wrote of two individuals in this letter.
    • John C. Pemberton (CSA Lt. Gen.) is stated to have been whipped, showing how quickly, just seven days, news of the disastrous blow to the Confederacy at the Battle of Champion’s Hill traveled from the Mississippi River to the 11th Mississippi located in Southeast Virginia.
    • Joseph 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 replaced by Robert E. Lee when wounded at Seven Pines.  Upon recovering from his wounds, Johnston commanded the Western theater where Parham wrote he hoped to see him strengthen that army out down there and make them do something yet.
  • The remaining sheet(s) of this letter appear to have been lost to time; hence, the reason for the abrupt end.
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