Prisoner of War Leg is Amputated

July 4, 1863, the very day Jack Fernandez wrote the previously posted letter to Parham’s family, the Army of Northern Virginia began their escape from Gettysburg.  Parham’s fellow 11th Mississippians were strategically placed at the rear where they victoriously defeated the 8th Illinois Cavalry in hot pursuit at Narrow Fairfield Gap.

Screen Shot 2019-04-13 at 1.42.30 PMParham could not join the retreat; the day before during Pickett’s Charge a Yankee minie ball entered just above the right knee and passed directly through.  As a result of this wound, Parham was left behind at Camp Letterman General Hospital near Gettysburg where he was taken as a prisoner of war and had his leg amputated at the thigh.

 

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Click image to view American Battlefield Trust video about period amputations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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37th Letter: Dreaded News (July 4, 1863)

Hospital near Gettysburg

July 4th 63

Mr Luckie

Unknown

Click image of hospital at Camp Letterman 1.25 miles east of Gettysburg to learn more about where wounded Parham was taken.

Dear Sir

I take it on myself at Parhams request to write to you and let you know how Parham is getting along with his wounded leg as I expect you will hear he is wounded before this He does not suffer much with his wound although it is a very severe one.  The ball entered just above the right knee and passed directly through.  

I expect it will be amputated.  

Tell Mrs Luckie not to be uneasy about him as Newt Shaw and and myself are both with him he is in as good spirits as any body.

I would give a list of the killed and wounded but there are a great many missing who we don’t know whether they are killed or Prisoners.  It was the most Horrible fight of the war. Our regiment in with 425 and came out with 65 we suffered I believe more than any other in the division. Our troops are still in very good spirits although we driven back.  

I will close by again telling you not to be uneasy about Parham for Newt Shaw has got permission to stay with him

                                                                                                                              Yours truly

Jack Fernandez

Parham will write in a day or two                                                                                             J.F.

 

 

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Blogger’s Notes:

  • With respect to Parham’s wound, the ball entered just above the right knee and passed directly through.  This may suggest Parham reached within Federal musket range during Pickett’s Charge somewhere between the vicinity of Emmitsburg Road and the stone wall near Brian’s Barn.  See previous post on Pickett’s Charge.
  • A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A. documents information about persons listed by name in this letter.
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      Click image of Pacolet (Jack) Fernandez to view source.

      Pacolet (Jack) Fernandez, writer of this letter per Parham’s request, enlisted May 23, 1863, at Oxford, Miss., for one year. Born in South Carolina, and a student at College Hill, Miss.; seventeen years of age and single.  He was present and took part in the battles of Freeman’s Ford, Thoroughfare Gap, and Second Manassas, two days at Gettysburg; Falling Waters, Bristol Station.  In the engagements of August 22, 28, 29, and 30, 1862, he acted as an independent soldier.  After the battle at Bristol Station he was on detailed duty, I think as a courier.  Parham previously wrote of Jack’s family on January 17, 1863, stating that he learned Union forces occupied College Hill and burned the Fernandez house.

    • William N. (Newt) Shaw, who was granted permission to stay behind with Parham at the hospital, enlisted August 9, 1861, at Bristol Station, Va., for one year. Born in Mississippi; a farmer near College Hill, Miss.; twenty-three years old and single.  He was present at Seven Pines, two days; Gaines’s Farm, and was absent wounded until he was present second day at Sharpsburg, Gettysburg, two days; Falling Waters, Bristol Station, Wilderness, two days; Tolles Mill, Spotsylvania, Hanover Junction, Bethsaida Church, two days; then Weldon Railroad where he was killed on first day. Promoted to Corporal, November, 1864…Of the four (Shaw) brothers only one survived the war, and he was shot through the left lung.  How dear was the cause that required such costly sacrifices!  Is there any wonder that the memory of it should still be dear to every Southron?  Whilst time lasts may this memory be cherished.
  • The name “Fernandez” is noteworthy as it reveals the service of persons with Hispanic heritage in the town of College Hill, the state of Mississippi, and the Confederacy.  Many Hispanic Confederates came from well established and prominent families; some traced their ancestry to explorers who settled in North America generations ahead of the English according to National Park Service article Hispanics and the Civil War.
    • College Hill Presbyterian Church Cemetery list of buried reveals the Fernandez family was one of the early settlers in the community.  A total of 18 persons bearing the name are buried there, including the writer of this letter.
    • Pacolet was not the only Fernandez from the community who volunteered with the Lamar Rifles; Henry Gore also bore the name.  Both Pacolet and Henry Gore Fernandez are listed by John O’Donnell-Rosales in a 90 page directory of Hispanic Confederates.

Pickett’s Charge

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Click image to watch History Channel’s portrayal of Davis’ Brigade during Pickett’s Charge.

History Channel portrays a minute by minute description of the artillery barrage into which CSA Brigadier General Joseph R. “Joe” Davis led the 11th Mississippi.  The long march from west of the tree line on Seminary Ridge to the stone wall near the Brian Barn, known as Pickett’s Charge, is believed by many to be the turning point of the War.

Below are the on-site monuments to the 11th Mississippi and their inscriptions about the fateful charge.

11th Mississippi
Infantry Regiment

Davis’ Brigade – Heth’s Division
A.P. Hill’s Corps
Army of Northern Virginia
Confederate States of America
Afternoon July 2 – July 4, 1863

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Click photo to view source on gettysburg.stonesentinels.com.

 

The 11th Mississippi Infantry Regiment, under the command of Col. Francis M. Green and Maj. Reuben O. Reynolds, formed west of the tree line on Seminary Ridge behind Maj. William Pegram’s Battalion of Artillery and immediately south of McMillan’s Woods on July 3, 1863. Shortly after 3:00 p.m., Color Sgt. William O’Brien of Company C, memorialized on this monument, raised the colors and the regiment stepped forward. Although clusters of men reached the stone wall near Brian’s Barn, the attack was driven back with heavy loss, and the remnants of the regiment reformed in this vicinity.

Combatants – 393
Killed in action/died of wounds – 110
Wounded/wounded captured – 193
Captured unwounded – 37
Non-casualty – 53

11th Mississippi Regiment 
Company A – University Greys
Layfayette County – 1st Lt. Jonathan V. Moore
Company B – Coahoma Invincibles
Coahoma County – Capt. William D. Nunn
Company C – Prairie Rifles
Chickasaw County – Capt. George W. Shannon
Company D – Neshoba Rifles
Neshoba County – Capt. Jonathan R. Prince
Company E – Prairie Guards
Lowndes County – Capt. Henry P. Halpert
Company F – Noxubee Rifles
Noxubee County – Capt. Thomas J. Stokes
Company G – Lamar Rifles
Lafayette County – Capt. William O. Nelms
Company H – Chickasaw Guards
Chickasaw County – Capt. Jamison H. Moore
Company I – Van Dorn Reserve
Monroe County – Capt. Stephen C. Moore
Company K – Carroll County Rifles
Carroll County – Capt. George W. Bird, Jr.

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Click photo to view source on Civil War Talk.

July 3, 1863. The 11th Mississippi Infantry regiment, with its ranks growing thinner at every step, advanced with the colors to the stone wall near the Brian Barn.

The regiment was here ‘subjected to a most galling fire of musketry and artillery that so reduced the already thinned ranks that any further effort to carry the position was hopeless, and there was nothing left but to retire.

– Report of Brig. Gen. Joseph R. Davis

Gettysburg

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Click image to watch Nick Hodges’ History Buffs review of American war film Gettysburg (1993), written and directed by Ronald F. Maxwell, adapted from the historical novel The Killer Angels (1974) by Michael Shaara.

After a Confederate victory in Union country was secured, the plan was for the Army of Northern Virginia to march toward Washington, D.C. The hope was that the United States would recognize Confederate independence and agree to peace terms. Confederate and Union troops collided at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The three day battle which erupted has since fascinated historians and military tacticians around the world. Parham experienced first-hand what countless books, films, and documentaries have portrayed.

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Click image to order your print of artist Dale Gallon’s Imperishable Glory. Description: Just west of the Brian (Bryan) Farm – Gettysburg, PA, July 3, 1863 – Soldiers of the 11th Mississippi Volunteer Infantry Regiment valiantly rally around their flag and advance upon the Union line positioned on Cemetery Ridge during Longstreet’s Assault.