32nd Letter: 40 Saddles Emptied, 100 Prisoners Taken (March 18, 1863)

 

Southampton cty, Va

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Click image to learn more about Franklin, VA area during the Civil War.

Camp near Franklin March 18, 63

Dear Sir-

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Click image to learn more about Brigadier General Micah Jenkins (CSA).

I rcd your welcome letters by Major Green two days scince, and having a chance to send a letter home I will do so- Tom Webb has furnished a substitute for five months and will start home to day.

I wrote to Ma by our last furloughed boys, which I hope was rcd- I no news of much importance- We are for one time since I have been in the army in a small command, and I hope we will not have so much marching & fighting to do as here to for- We have two Brigades and a battallion of infantry two Batteries and some cavalry- now another Brig Gen Genkins of S.C.- and guarding the line of Black Water River in front of the Yanks at Suffolk-

We have Pickets at every fordable point and good breastworks. Their Cavalry occasionally makes a raid up the River- to find our strength and positions- but as usual our boys make them skedadle-

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Click image to listen to “The Southern Soldier.”

Yesterday morning was clear and pleasant and about 8 Oclock an old Wardog was heard to open down on the River and in a few moments volley after volley of musketing- We were expecting to be ordered out every moment- but were not- A Brigade of cavalry made a dash on our Pickets- They ran in and a Rgt of infantry was then concealed over the River and when they came next time they emptied about 40 saddles and took about 100 prisoner and started towards Suffolk-

I am in hopes we will stay here to Guard this point; they take a company daily from our Rgt for Guard- We left our camp at Murphys station and came to this place 5 miles distant- moving into the Winter Quarters of the 63rd Va- Most of us have very snug cabbins. Some with plank floors and brick chimblys-

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Click image to learn about the referenced Yankee attempt to cross the Rappahannock three months earlier.

We are all very anxious to hear from Vicksburg- I hope our men will be able to hurl back the invaders from that point for they would I think rather have it now than Richmond- but I believe it will hold out yet- Every thing is quiet on the Rappahanock. Lee has breastworks all along the River and their next attempt to cross will be worse than the first-

Tell Ma I think she had better kept that money for you all will need it more than I do- Tell her also that she need not send me any more socks for I have enough now- All I need in the shape of clothing is a pr pants-

Give my undying love to all the family and write at every chance- Write soon – yrs affect- PMBuford

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Blogger’s Notes:

  • Parham penned that an old Wardog was heard to open down on the River.  What is an old Wardog and what does it mean to open down on the River?  Is it a reference to a canine used by military forces to sniff-out someone in hiding, a slang term for a battle hardened soldier, a reference to a River Boat, or something else?
  • Parham mentioned anxiety held by 11th Mississippians over Confederate defenses against Union forces at Vicksburg, a logistical gateway between the Eastern and Western theaters.  Both Parham and Vicksburg, Mississippi’s Rock of Gibraltar, will eventually fall into the hands of enemy forces on the same day.
  • Micah Jenkins, graduate of The Citadel, was promoted to the rank of CSA Brigadier General at age 26.  First Manassas, Seven Pines where wounded in the knee, Second Manassas where wounded in shoulder and chest, Sharpsburg,  at Fredericksburg not engaged, participated in campaign of Lt. Gen. James Longstreet against Suffolk, second day’s fighting of Chickamauga, Kimbrough’s Crossroads.  While riding with Longstreet during Battle of the Wilderness, both were struck down by friendly fire on May 6, 1864. Although Longstreet survived, Jenkins died several hours later of a head wound while rallying his men.  He left behind a son, Micah John Jenkins, graduate of West Point who served as one of “Roosevelt’s Rough Riders” during the Spanish-American War.
  • CSA General Robert E. Lee’s breastworks are mentioned for the prevention of a second Union crossing of the Rappahannock River as had previously occurred at Fredericksburg, VA.
  • A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A. documents information about other comrades mentioned by Parham.
    • Here we see that Francis M. Green appears to been promoted from Captain to Major since mentioned in a previous post.  Enlisted February 21, 1861, at Oxford, Miss., for one year.  Lawyer by profession.  Residence Oxford, Miss.; age, thirty-six; married.  Present at battle of Seven Pines; Gaines’s Farm; White Oak Swamp; Malvern Hill’ Freeman’s Ford; Thoroughfare Gap; Second Manassas; Boonsborough, Md.; Sharpsburg; Gettysburg; Falling Waters; Bristol Station; Wilderness; Tolles Mill in which latter engagement he was mortally wounded and died on the 15th of May, 1864.  When killed and for some time before was and had been promoted to Colonel, and was in command of the Regiment.
    • Upon paying a substitute to fill his role for five months time, Thomas (Tom) M. Webb hand delivered this letter home for Parham.  He enlisted April 26, 1861, at Oxford, Miss.  A farmer near College Hill, Miss.; twenty-three years old and single.  Present two days at Seven Pines; Gaines’s Farm, White Oak Swamp, Malvern Hill, Freeman’s Ford, Thoroughfare Gap, Second Manassas, two days; then absent sick and detailed.  Promoted Sergeant, and discharged in March, 1863. [After discharge Comrade Webb returned to Mississippi and raised a cavalry company and went into the service in Bragg’s Army, and was killed in front of Atlanta, Ga.; a gallant soldier.]

31st Letter: Parham’s Humble Prayer (March 10, 1863)

Franklin Southhampton Cty

March 10 1863- Va

Dear Mother

I rcd your letter on the 3d inst, which you may know was perused with the greatest pleasure- As the two furloughed boys have returned, and tw0 other will start soon I will will write by them- though I have no news of importance to communicate-

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Click image of Civil War era map to view Southeastern part of Virginia, from York River and West to Black Water River

We left this camp two days ago and were out on our post two days on the Black Water 5 miles distant- But the Yanks did not make their appearance during our stay- Thier main body is at Suffolk 25 miles distant- Occasionally a small scouting party makes a dash up this way, but soon return- Every day some one runs the Blockade from Suffolk bringing in shoes hats soda knives $ou The citizens are allowed to pass into our lines and bring in their produce and when we had the first chance at them we could buy things cheap- but alas for poor soldiers when a speculator gets hold of it- selling at 4 times cost. Here we can’t get Soda for less than 8$ per lb then for 2$- eggs 1$ ham 50 cents &&&-

I like our position here finely- we are guarding this line in front of Suffolk and if we stay here I don’t think that we will have much fighting to do- for I don’t think they intend to advance by this route- There has been an average of 2 deserters a day from Suffolk since we have been here- They all tell the same tale- tired of fighting – & I wish that all of them would taste that idea. But the men in authority at the North have hold of the wheels and can turn or stop them at their will- I think it is plain enough to the minds of the North that they can never subjugate us nor will they do it as long as Southern men will stand at their posts-

I have seen war and suffering in its darkest shades and can truly say that I have seen enough.

It is my humble prayer that the Confederacy have a speedy and honorable peace- I have seen war and suffering in its darkest shades and can truly say that I have seen enough- May we soon meet at home where there is peace and happiness, and if not there in heaven where there are neither wars nor rumors of war and where troubles are not known

Write soon and often to your true and ever devoted son.

PM Buford

All I kneed in the shape of clothing is a pr pants, if you can send them by any one do so.

PB

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Blogger’s Notes:

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    Click image to read “What is an Honorable Peace?”.

    Parham prays for a speedy and honorable peace for the Confederacy.  The New York Times article What is an Honorable Peace? from August of 1864 mocks the term in a vitriolic diatribe toward Confederates and Copperheads (i.e. Northern Democrats) and speaks of the salvation of the Union as a justification for the War (the end justifies the means). Media idolization of overreaching centralized government and disdain for those who prefer freedom over subjugation is not unique to our modern era.

  • Parham’s word choice of neither wars nor rumors of war is borrowed from Jesus as found in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark.