9th Letter: Missing Overcoat Found (October 27, 1861)

Camp Fisher Oct 27th 1861

Dear Sister,

I will now attempt to answer your pencil note though I have no news of importance to communicate.

I have a slight cold at present, but that is nothing uncommon here. There is not much sickness in camp except mumps, which I have missed so far.

We have had some very cold weather for the last week, with heavy frosts, but we sleep very comfortably with our blankets and pine straw.

mapOur Colonel came back yesterday and brought with him a deserter from this Regt, who he overhauled at Okolona. I think he will be shot. for I can’t see what else they can do for him.

Click image of General William Henry Chase Whiting to learn more.

Click image of CSA General William Henry Chase Whiting to learn more.

Last Monday We had an awful march of about 12 miles. The day before we had orders to pack up all our extra clothing, to be sent to Fredericksburg.  Monday morning we struck tents and started off – each man with about 40 lbs on his shoulders.  We went a few miles and halted, where we found out what was to pay. Our general (Whiting) wanted us to camp at this place but the Col. wouldn’t do it.  So we came back to our old camp where we are now….

Joe Buford came back two days ago, looking as well as I ever saw him. I forgot to mention about about Tubby and Tom.  Tubby has the guanders but is getting.  I do not know what is the matter with Tom – though he is complaining some.. The Juanders have been nearly all through the company.

I suppose you have heard by this time of the glorious victory gained by our forces at Leesburg.  Some thing there will be a big fight, up about Mannassa now pretty soon but it all conjecture, no one knows nothing about it but some of the Generals.

You must tell the old man I found my coat and that I am very well pleased with it.  One of the boys in the company had it, though he did not know who it belonged to.

October 27, 1861: page 1

October 27, 1861: page 1

October 27, 1861: page 2

October 27, 1861: page 2

I don’t believe you will get all my letters and I know I don’t get half you write.  I am going to number every one I write after this.  Give me all the news when you write, for I never hear nothing here, but turn out to drill.  I can think of nothing else that would interest you and I must close. Give my love to all the family, rcd a portion for yourself. Tell Ma I will write her next.

I remain as ever your devoted

Brother P M Buford.

Blogger’s Notes:

"Confederate High Tide at the Tishomingo Hotel" by Keith Rocco. Click image to view virtual gallery and studio of Keith Rocco.

Painting is “Decision at the Crossroads – The Battle of Corinth” by Keith Rocco. Click image to view virtual gallery and studio of Keith Rocco.

  1. The Colonel that brought with him a deserter…who he overhauled at Okolona is Colonel William Hudson Moore.  Colonel Moore is returning after recovering from an accidental shot to the foot during the Battle of First Manassas and eventually returns home again.  He later commands the 43rd Mississippi and is killed at Corinth, Mississippi while defending against Yankee invaders.  Painting above by Keith Rocco may be showing Colonel Moore upon a horse in battle moments before his death.
  2. Tubby is Goodloe Warren Buford, Jr.
  3. Parham is referring to jaundice when writing of guanders and juanders.

8th Letter: Schooners and War Ships (October 20, 1861)

Camp Fisher Oct 20th 1861

Dear Mother,

Oct. 20 pt 1

October 20, 1861: page 1

I rcd yours and sisters [appears “the old mans” has been ripped off and “sisters” penciled in, possibly in another hand] letters two days ago which afforded me the greatest pleasure.

I have no news of importance to communicate.  We are hemed [sic] up here and never hear news, nor know anything only what is going on just around us.

I am enjoying good health at present having entirely recovered from the cold I had.  Newt and Dick are both complaining, but not very sick.  There is not much sickness in our Regiment at this time.  Though one died yesterday.

UnknownOur Battery on the River captured two schooners, loaded with Hay, Whiskey, and Corn. They also injured the War Vessle [sic] Pawnee, and thought she would sink if she did not get help soon. They have fired on our Batteries several times, but have done no damage yet.

It is thought we will have a fight pretty soon up about Mannassa [sic], but it is all conjecture, no privates know anything in these wars.  We now have orders to be prepared to march at a moments warning. We may march to morrow [sic] and may be a week, no one knows.

We got our cooking utensils last week and now doing our own cooking. I can make very good [“good” written in pencil, possibly in another hand] bread, good coffee, good stake [sic]. One of our mess has sent to Richmond for a negro– though I do not know [“know” written in pencil, possibly in another hand] whether he will come or not.

The Shaw boys rcd their winter goods yesterday all safe and sound.  Mine has not yet come, though I am not in need of them just now.

October 20, 1861: page 2

October 20, 1861: page 2

I must close for want of something to write. Tell Mary Jane and the [appears torn from page, possibly said “old man”] I will write to them soon.  Give my best respects to all the family and receive a portion for yourself. I remain as ever your devoted son.

P M Buford

7th Letter: Bang Went a Cannon (October 16, 1861)

Oct. 16, 1861

October 16, 1861: page 1

October 16, 1861: page 1

I rcd your welcome letters to day, + as I have an opportunity of sending it tomorrow I will write as I do not believe half our letters will reach their destination by mail.  I had not rcd any before in over a month.

I am just tolerably well at present, having suffered a great deal from cold and sore throat, but I think I will be clear of it in a day or so.  Dick Shaw is complaining to day, though generally there is not much sickness in our company at present at this time.

Image source of

Click image to view source of “Blockade of the Potomac” cannon.

We have had no more marching scince the last trip, of which I spoke in a letter by Doak.  About day light this morning cannon commenced firing at the River and for 3/4 hour as fast as you could count- and we expected to march every minute, but the Yankees did not land and I don’t believe they are going to try, though We do not know at what minute we may be called to march.

Image source of Confederate mess mates: http://www.rourscivilwar.com/food.html

Click image to view source of Confederate mess mates.

I hardly know what to write as we are confined here in certain limits and never here any news and know nothing only what is going on just around us. We have six in our mess, every man does his own washing, but there is two to cook each meal. I am on the dinner Relief. Can make very good corn and wheat bread- beff hash, coffee + +. though half the time We cannot get enough meat to make our own bread greasy, our rations of bacon gave out and we have to fall back on the beef.  I made Rice Pudding yesterday for dinner, which I pronounced good as it was the first we had had.

We have a very nice bed to sleep on, considering the make, by putting four forks in the ground and arranging pine poles accordingly. and then pilling on a great supply of pine leaves and blankets which last article I am in need of though I spoke of it in letter by Doak.

I want a good brown or Grey lined with some thiner material and one other doublet- if can be had. I reckon I will get socks and drawers in a few days.  I suppose they are boxed.

October 16, 1861: page 2

October 16, 1861: page 2

We rcd our letters today from Ivan by a visitor.

Bang went a cannon just then down on the River.  I suppose our battery was let loose again on the Yankee vessels. During the time I was writing the above two lines not less than a dozen fired, and still they continue, but we have become used to that sound, and are ready to march at a moments warning if necessary.

I must close for want of something to write. Give my respects to all enquiring friends and receive a portion for yourself. It is now Roll Call, and lights put out directly after.

Write as often as  possible.

P M Buford

Tell Mary Jane I will write to her in a  day or two.

6th Letter: The Missing Overcoat (October 12, 1861)

Damfries Va

Oct 12th 1861

Dear Mother.

October 12, 1861: page 1 right

October 12, 1861: page 1 right

I have written two letters home since I heard from any of you, and now as I have an opportunity I will write you a few lines.

I have been in camps two weeks and have enjoyed good health so far, though I had a severe rising on my lip which troubled me two or three days. The mumps have been in our company for 3 weeks, but as yet I have escaped them. There is not much sickness in our Brigade at this time.

I suppose you rcd my letter speaking of the march we made. Scince that time we were called out again, expecting to meet the enemy, and again disappointed. We went about 3 miles, then returned to camp, and now we are expecting marching orders daily, keeping three days rations cooked ahead.

We are about 5 miles from the Potomac. I saw the river to day. I went 1/2 miles from camp, and saw it by climbing a tree.

I can not write much now, as I did not know that Dark was going to start so soon.

Click image of overcoat to view source.

You must tell the Old Man that I think I have lost the Over Coat clean. I was not in camp when it came. One of our boys put it in a box and when it came to the camp it- the coat was gone. I never saw it all. I was was away when it came to the other camp, and also this. I wrote before for one blanket, and I don’t believe we will draw any, and if you can get another I would like to have it. I suppose you got the other list.

October 12, 1861: page 2 on left, page 3 on right

October 12, 1861: page 2 on left, page 3 on right

I rcd letters from Claudia Rodgers and Aunt Polly. They are all well except Ab Rodgers child was dead, the deaf and dump one.

I must close for the present, as it is night and the boys keep up such a fuss that I cant write. I would like to get letters from you all at any time. Give my best respects to the family and inquiring friends. Write soon.

Yrs respt. P M Buford

5th Letter: Antibilious Pills, Hucksters, and Whiskey (October 9, 1861)

Camp Fisher Oct 9th 1861

Mr S Luckie

Dear Sir.

October 9, 1861: page 1

October 9, 1861: page 1

As I have an opportunity of sending a letter by Mr. Wilkins. I thought I would take advantage of it and send you a few lines.

It has been at least three weeks since I rcd a letter from any of you. I can not see why it is that I do not get your letters for I am fool enough to believe that you all write oftener than that. Mr. Paine is the only that rcs letters from the Hill with any thing like Regularity.

Click image to view source.

As usual I have nothing of interest to write. I was quite sick two days last week with cold and fever. I took a dose of Antibilious pills which set me all right. I am now in fine health and doing fine in all respects with the exception of our eatables- which are few and far between, though we get things from Huxsters sometimes- which helps out considerably- but we have have to pay double price for almost everything we get.

Our Regt went down to the batteries one evening last week and lay on the ground all night + went back next morning. + and I think it probable we will have to go back in a few days.

Click image to listen to "Think of Your Head in the Morning."

Click image to listen to “Think of Your Head in the Morning.”

Gen Whiting gave orders that if any civilian was caught selling whiskey in this Brigade to tie him up and give him 39 lashes with a Waggon whip well laid on. I know it is not generally the case to run down a company or Regt in ones own Brigade- But there is one Reg in ours that bears off the palm vis- the 1st Tennessee. I have no doubt but they will do good fighting- but they are a rough set certain. Some of the them to my certain knowledge has sold whiskey in this Reg for 11$ per quart. and I think they ought to have about 40.

October 9, 1861: page 2

October 9, 1861: page 2

I would like to know when I will get my clothes. You must be certain to send a blanket or two if you can get them. and I don’t reckon a pr good brown pants would go amiss- for one pair that I started with are literally no account. the pr like my coat. My overcoat is the very thing for cold and rainy weather.

Give my best respects to all the family. Tell Ma I will write to her next and Mary Jane to answer my letter as soon as possible. Write soon yours.


P M Buford

P.S. About two hours after sealing this I rcd Ma’s letter. Tell her I will answer it as soon as I can conveniently. P.M.B

Blogger’s Notes:

  1. It appears Mr. Wilkins hand-carried this letter to Parham’s family.  Who is Mr. Wilkins?  Parham serves in the “Lamar Rifles” with Newton B. Wilkins, occasionally referring to him in letters as Newt.  Mr. Wilkins was possibly Newt himself who, according to Lamar Rifles: A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A., enlisted at age twenty-three while single and a clerk at Oxford, Mississippi; was severely wounded on the last day of Gettysburg; and died in Richmond in August of 1863 from effects of wound in right shoulder.
  2. Newt should not be confused with Walter Buford’s father, whom Parham calls Uncle Newton or Uncle Newt.
  3. Parham indicated Mr. Paine is the only that rcs letters from the Hill with any thing like Regularity.  Mr. Paine was possibly David B. Paine who, according to the before mentioned referenceenlisted at age twenty-one while single and a student at College Hill, Mississippi; was mortally wounded at Battle of Gaines’s Mill; and died at a field hospital on June 27, 1862.

4th Letter: Arrival at Camp Fisher (October 2, 1861)

Camp Fisher Oct 2nd 1861

Dear Sir

I wrote to you, Mary and Ma but as yet have rcd no answer.  I came to camp a few days sooner than I expected in the hope of getting letters from some of you- but as yet have received none in reply.  Though beforehand I rd one from each of you.  Yrs mentioning the coat which as yet I have not rcd.

I stayed away from camp 3 (?) weeks.  On my return from the company in good health excepting a few cases of the mumps- which disease I stand a good chance to take.  There are 7 or 8 of the company the company [crossed-out in ink] in the country yet I saw Joe Buford the day before I left. He looks worse than I ever saw him- but I think  he will recover in a few weeks.

I arrived here yesterday about 2OC thinking I would report myself ready for duty in a day or two.  I had just fried (?) myself on some cedar poles to sleep about 9OC, when the the [sic] order “Prepare to march in ten minutes” was given.  You can imagine the bustle that ensued.  They have never given me nothing but musket and you know I was somewhat a little in time in getting a bayonet caps and cartridges [sic]. In lefs [sic] than 3/4 of an hour 60 answered to their names and we were on the march for  _____ nobody knowd [corrected over in pencil with “knew”] but old Gen Whiting.  They did not give us time to get anything to eat.  Those that had any old bread left from supper took some in their pockets and haversacks. (I suppose you had heard of us being near Dumfries).

After marching 1/2 mile we saw we were going in the direction of the River.  There were a great many conjectures as to where we were going, but the majority thought that the Yankees were trying to land and we were going to support our batteries.  All seemed eager to meet them, as they were 60 in raks [sic] when the order was given to march, and that evening there were not exceeding 40 out on drill.

We had marched about 3 miles over a rough road at a rapid gate, when we were halted in an old field- which I supposed to be about 1 mile from the River. where we staid [sic] until morning, some sitting around the fire laughing and talking, others rolled up in their blankets sound asleep.  As unconcerned as if there was not a Yankee in a hundred miles.

At daylight, our Reg and the 2nd Miss were formed into a timeline [“time” smudged] and ordered to pile our blankets, on the ground, marching forward 200 yds, faced about and old Whiting drilled us about 2 hours and marched us back to camp.  I believe he did it to see how many men he could muster.  It was reported that a deserter said they were going to try to land, but I believe it was all a farce.  There were men in that march that hadn’t drilled in two weeks, therefore they will have no excuse next time from drill.  Everyone expected to engage the enemy at daylight.  It learnt [marked over with pencil as “learned”] me one lefsen [sic]-vis to be prepared next time.

We expect to hear that [crossed-out in ink] every day to hear that Battery set loose on their velles [crossed-out in ink] vessels, but I hardly think they will try to land there.  If they do you may look out for squally times.  It is thought they will have a fight shortly up about Fairfax, though every think [sic] is conjecture in the camps.

I want some clothing new [sic] soon.  I want one or two pr drawers of some warm material- one flannel undershirt- two thick flannel over ones- grey or brown and made plain- and if you think best a good pair of boots for winter use.  You can tell Uncle Newton what I want.  Also a good woolen jacket- round about fashion.

Love to all.  Tell them all to write and do so yourself as soon as possible. Respt. P M Buford

2 oct 1861 side 2

October 2, 1861: page 1 on right, page 4 on left

2 oct 1861

October 2, 1861: page 2 on left, page 3 on right

2 oct 1861 side 3

October 2, 1861: page 5