Once more being able to sit up I will pen you a few lines- I broke out with measles last Friday and for three days and nights I neither slept nor ate anything. I never was as sick in my life. I broke out with them at camp was immediately taken to the country in a Yankee Ambulance, traveling over the roughest road I ever saw. Walter took sick at the same time and came with me. We are staying with a very clever man. I think we will be able to go to camps [sic] in a week or two – 3 more of the recruits were taken with the measles at the same time. there are none in our Regiment, but one of the boys went over to the 19th caught them. There has been a great many deaths in that Reg. from them scince [sic] our arrival. At last accounts Dick Shaw had not taken them and I suppose he must have had them before he came. My habbits of living have been greatly changed since I left home. Instead of a good bed I have to sleep on the ground with with [sic] one blanket under me and one over me, and anything I can get hold of for a pillow. We have beef and Miss Pork- flour- Rice to eat. Wheat bread shortened with grease and coffee without milk + often without sugar. We drill about 1 1/2 hours in the morning and evening spend the balance of the cleaning up around our tents – and sleeping and reading news papers [sic] whenever we can get one. I miss the water melons [sic] and peaches that I left behind most awfully. I hope when you eat them you will think of my case. I bought 3 small melons last week while at camp for 60cts [sic] a piece and before I had gone 50 yards. they crowded around me to get them- They pestered me so, I finally sold two for 75cts [sic] each. and went to camp with the other- I have seen smaller melons than some I had at home for sale for $1.25. You must write all the war news you hear of any importance and all other news- for we hear nothing hear here [word crossed-out and modified in pencil]. Tell Ma and the old man [words crossed-out in ink] and all. that they must write whenever they can- Tell me where they are thriving in Nurion (?)- and especially BH (?). Give my love to all enquiring friends- Let no see this. Write as soon as you can.
Yr [sic] affection [sic] Brother
Address. PMB 11th Reg. Miss. Vols. can [sic] Capt. Greene
I hope you will excuse me for not writing sooner. We never got a tent until yesterday and we have been mixed up. so much that I could not well write- I took cold two days after my lett arrival but am free of it now.
Click image to view another primary source mentioning ladies greeting soldiers at train stations.
I will start at the first and give you particulars. At Corinth Charles Gaston joined us– Nothing of interest occurred on the road- except the presents received from the ladies who greeted us at every station- untill we came to Lynchburg- when about 5 miles from there- when the boiler bursted and part of the tender ran off the track. No one hurt- We staid there about 3 hours waiting for an Engine- About 30 miles from our stopping place we meet with Tom Buford and Morris Weeb who had been out in the country rusticating.
We are encamped about 4 miles from Mannas south West. there is not much sickness in this company at present- Joe Buford is complaining- a negro belonging to this company died two days ago of pneumonia. there is a great deal of sickness in Meets Regiment. measles generally- several have died since our arrival- though at present they are not in our regiment- I have meet with several of my old acquaintances in the different Regiments around- all of whom seemed glad to meet us-
We live on wheat bread- fat meat. coffee. and rice and beef occasionally Vegetables are as scarce as hens teeth.
Our Company was put on Brigade guard yesterday- Each man has to stand 8 hours out of 24. and relieved and two at a time. I stood 4 hours during the day and 4 at night. During the night an officer came round to try the sentinels. he took guns away from three of our number of raw recruits who I will not mention as they have been plagued teased enough already. The old goat tried to get mine but I had heard of those tricks before I came here. I was about a mile from the encampment in the woods. I halted one feller and made him stand there about an hour waiting for the corporal of the Guard.
August 17, 1861: page 2
The old is now sounding for drill and I must close giving more particulars next time. Give my best respects to all the family + inquiring friends. you can let any of the family read this- I want all of you to write and give the news. Yrs truly
First Company Muster Roll shows Parham enlisted on August 9, 1861 in Manassas by Colonel Liddell for a period of one year. Parham was absent during this muster because he was sick at private quarters near camp. The next postings will include letters in which Parham writes home about his journey to Virginia, introduction to camp life, foods that he misses, and details of the illness listed here.