20th Letter: “Interposition of a Kind Providence” (June 3, 1862)

Camp near Richmond

Va

June 3d 1862

Dear Sister Dear Parents,

Again it is my pleasing duty to address you a few lines- which leaves me in good health,

June 3, 1862: page 1

June 3, 1862: page 1

I have, since I last wrote to you witnessed and been engaged in a bloody fight, and it is my painful duty to record the casualties in our company, which amounted to 2 killed, 28 wounded and 2 missing. And out of the regiment there were 230 killed and wounded, our company suffering worse than any one in the Rgt. It was by the interposition of a kind providence that as many of us escaped unhurt as did.

It was by the interposition of a kind providence that as many of us escaped unhurt as did.

Click image of Frank L. Hope to view source.

Click image of Frank L. Hope to view source.

All of the College Hill boys escaped unhurt except Frank Hope, who was slightly wounded, and Dick Shaw, who is missing. None of the compay know any thing about him, whether he was killed, wounded or taken prisoner- I know he went into the fight, for I saw him early in the engagement- I have strong hope that he is still alive and that we s will yet see him.

June 3, 1862: page 2

June 3, 1862: page 2

I will commence at the time we left camp and give him the particulars up to that time. I commenced a letter to you on the 28th of last month, five days ago, and had written few lines, when we were ordered to prepare to march. We started at dark and went 5 miles in a northern direction from the Richmond and within 1/2 mile of the enemy in the Chickahominy River, staying there two days. Our Gen said that we went to help some of our men out a difficulty, they were about to be surrounded by the enemy.

We then came back within a mile of the city where we staid all night in a severe thunder storm, which lasted nearly all night. We started early next morning and went about 4 miles in a South Easterly


Blogger’s Notes:

  • Click image to learn more about Battle of Seven Pines.

    Click image to learn more about Battle of Seven Pines.

    Parham writes of his first experience in battle.  He is describing the Battle of Seven Pines (also known as Battle of Fair Oaks or Fair Oaks Station) which took place just days earlier on May 31 and June 1 of 1862.

  • Only one sheet of this letter is in the blogger’s possession.
  • A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A. documents:
    • Frank Hope was seriously injured during the battle of Seven Pines, on account of which he was absent from the Company until the battle of Gettysburg, and
    • Robert (Dick) Shaw was present at Seven Pines and captured. Exchanged August 9, 1862, and died of scurvy at Richmond very soon after in the same month.
  • Dick Shaw may be another cousin of Parham.  Parham’s biological father had a sister who married a Shaw.
  • On this Thanksgiving Day 2014, it is a nice reminder that we all should be thankful to our Creator, no matter our present circumstances.  Here, Parham acknowledged in the aftermath of a bloody engagement, it was by the interposition of a kind providence that as many of us escaped unhurt as did.  With respect to Dick Shaw who is mentioned to be be missing in action since the battle, Parham writes of a strong hope that he is still alive and that we will yet see him.  Spiritual references such as providence and hope were not uncommon among soldiers of that day, both Southern and Northern, and is evidence of the historic Christian-influenced lens through which Parham viewed the world.  

19th Letter: A Shot Overhead (May 12, 1862)

Click image to learn more about the "Campaign for Corinth."

Click image to learn more about the “Campaign for Corinth.”

Be sure and tell me how our friends came out at Corinth

Monday Morning May 12, 62,

Camp 20 miles South East of Richmond

Dear Mother-

May 12, 1862: page 1

May 12, 1862: page 1

Again I will scribble you a few lines with the faint hope of hearing from you all.  I have heard once indirectly that you were all well, but as yet I have not rcd a line from any of you though I know you have written as I have written 5 or 6 times.  I suppose you rcd my letter written at Ashland which was carried to Okolona and there mailed.

May 12, 1862: page 2

May 12, 1862: page 2

On the march from Fredricksburg my feet were blistered and so sore that when the Rgt left there for Yorktown I was not able to march 3 miles a day. There were at least 2 of the Rgt that were not able to go and among them Tubby and Dick Shaw- Staid there nearly two weeks, during which time we fared finely and my foot got entirely well- We were hearing awful reports about the Regt- that they had nothing to eat ???? ???? but crackers and Bacon – and were marching and tearing around all the time, expecting a fight.  The There were 180 men died in the Hospille at Ashland out of 5 Regts from the effects of that march, while I was there, being from 8 to 20 a day- The N.C. Regt in our Brigade lost over 80 80 men. IndianolaSteamer At last the Lt in charge of us, got transportation and took us to Richmond. Staid there a day and night and took the cars for West Point on York River a half days ride on a Steamboat to Yorktown.  Our Long before we reached the town we heard cannon roaring ???? ???? and thought they having a little fight. When in sight of the Landing we could see the smoke curling up and then directly the report and sometimes see the shells burst in the air.  It was our Batteries and the enemy shelling on another. Our boat stopped 1/2 mile front of the w wharf, the captain being afraid to venture any nearer. In about ten minutes I saw the smoke rise from the enemies battery,  throwing a shell not more than 200 yards from our boat which made the water fly, but did not burst. We were certain they had seen us and were shooting at us. But our captain that they were too far off to do any execution. While talking about it on the upper deck, we saw the smoke rise again and hearing a whizzing sound we began to hustle, but in less then half minute the ball whistled exactly our over our head and struck about the same distance as the other beyond us. That was getting rather warm and we got further back.  Took on some sick soldiers.

Click image to hear "Richmond is a Hard Road to Travel."

Click image to listen to “Richmond is a Hard Road to Travel.”

We heard that our army was evacuating Yorktown which proved to be false. We went back to Richmond and staid there over a week when we got orders to join our Regt which we done day before yesterday. The boys should be without tents a month now – marching nearly all the time and eating nothing but crackers and bacon and some kind of half rations. 3 crackers and 1/4 pound meat to the man- which is all that we get now- I suppose you have heard of the skirmishes and the fight at Williamsburg– Part of our division was in a skirmish but our Rgt so far been out of any of them, though we are moving slowly towards Richmond and I think that we will have an engagement here soon- the enemy are only a few miles from us- I must close for want of more paper- I will write again soon. You have not the least idea how anxious I am to hear from you all- Write soon- Give my love to all the family- Your devoted son, PM Buford

P.S. I forgot to mention that the 19th Miss Rgt was in the fight in Williamsburg and that Col. Moot was killed. I have heard none of the particulars.


Blogger’s Notes:

  • The first statement in this letter is be sure and tell me how our friends came out at Corinth.  Parham is inquiring about how family friends fared during the build-up to the Yankee siege upon Corinth, Mississippi which would take place just 13 days later on May 25, 1861.  Corinth was a major rail hub for Confederate soldiers and supplies, and Parham wrote in his first letter of passing through there as he headed to Manassas Junction in Northern Virginia.
  • Parham mentions Tubby (i.e. Goodloe Warren Buford, Jr.) and Dick Shaw are among the number that eventually could not keep up with the march.
  • The event that Parham witnesses from the deck of a steamboat on the York River when a ball whistled overhead is the Battle of Eltham’s Landing.
  • Parham writes in the post script of his letter that Col. Moot was killed during a fight in Williamsburg.  He misspells the name Mott.  It was Colonel Christopher H. Mott who was killed on May 5, 1861 during the Battle of Williamsburg.

“We Rely Upon Your Strong Arms and Uncoiled Hearts”

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Image Source of Miss Sallie Wiley: ancestry.com

True to the time, 21-year old Miss Sallie Wiley gave a resounding speech to embolden local young men, her peers, of the Lamar Rifles. She shows a truly articulate speech calling on strong arms and uncoiled hearts before the town of Oxford, Mississippi on March 9, 1861.  On that day, Miss Wiley presented a flag to the Lamar Rifles on behalf of the women of Oxford.  Parham was likely  present among the ranks listening to the speech. North and South entered into war a little more than one month later on April 12, 1861 when Confederate artillery opened fire upon the Union occupation of Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina.

Captain Green and Volunteers of Lamar Rifles: I have been deputed by the ladies of Oxford and vicinity, to deliver to you the flag which I hold in my hand. Before doing so, however, it is expected that I should say a word. In the progress of every nation there are times of security and quietness, and times of difficulty and danger. In times of peace the minds of men become engaged with their business relations. The pursuit of gain so absorbs the mind that it excludes all other ideas and makes it difficult to introducing people to desist from the objects of their aims. These pursuits tend to effeminacy and tend to destroy that lively sensibility to their rights which characterize proud and independent freemen. The glory of a people depends upon their watchfulness and readiness to maintain the integrity of their rights and the full possession of the liberty which has been secured to them. Encroachment must be resisted. If we sleep upon our posts, it is certain we will be betrayed. Our country has reached that period in her history when our safety is in danger and our honor is compromised. To submit not only dishonors us in the esteem of all true and patriotic men, but it is convincing proof that the spirit of liberty which inspired the fathers of the Revolution, has passed from our midst. Our noble State, looking the danger full in the face, has resolved that she will submit to no inequality of, or denial of her rights. And by your volunteering to bear her flag against all opposers, you have shown your determination to uphold her in her lawful stand. She believes she has a right to maintain her honor and equality without the resort to force. But it may be otherwise. It may be that fanaticism, bloated with ambition and maddened with the possession of power, may attempt to invade our land and lay waste our fields, in order to constrain us to submit to degradation. When that hour comes, if come it should, we rely upon your strong arms and uncoiling hearts to defend our rights, protect the mothers, shield the honor of the maidens of the land, and give security and peace to our firesides. When you yield, our cause is hopeless.

It is on this account we feel so much interest in your organization, and we desire to present to you this memorial of our confidence and our approval. We hope you will accept it and bear it with you on the tedious march, the tented field, and in the hour of danger. As you gaze upon it you must remember that our eyes are upon you. We will sympathize with you in your labors and discomfitures, and rejoice in your triumphs. But we have no misgivings, no apprehensions that it’s honor will ever be tarnished. Whenever and wherever its folds are unfurled, we feel assured your stout hearts will rally to the rescue and we shall be safe. There is one consideration, however, which gives us pain. Those whom you expect to meet as foes ought to be our friends. Instead of trespassing upon our rights, they should be among the foremost in their defense. Ten thousand recollections of the past should impel them to throw their shields over our rights, and to draw their swords in defense of our honor and their equality. But we fear that patriotism has abandoned their bosoms, and mad ambition spurs them on to our subjugation. If it must be so, let the trial come; our brothers will prove sufficient for the protection of ourselves and our country.

Click image to listen to "The Young Volunteer."

Click image to listen to “The Young Volunteer.”

As man cannot love and cherish woman bereft of honor, so one cannot reverence and honor man devoid of courage. We commit the flag into your hands. It is an emblem of the independence of Mississippi, and that proud position of our State must be maintained at any cost or sacrifice. We rely upon you to do it.

Rare Book and Reunion

Lamar Rifles: A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A.

Lamar Rifles: A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A.

Lamar Rifles:  A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A. is a rare out-of-print book assembled by the Historical Committee of “The Survivors’ Association of Lamar Rifles.” Thomas P. Buford, Parham’s second cousin, served as Chairman. The Committee documented in the preface and introduction that in the Providence of God, it fell to the lot of our generation to dispose of grave issues which arose from the diverse constructions of the Constitution. Chapter one begins by explaining political feeling ran high all over the country.  Ominous war-clouds were seen rising on the Northern and Western horizon, and thoughtful men had grave fears of a coming storm. This primary source is an excellent work for gaining insight from Parham’s peers on the state of the Union leading up to Southern secession; the perspectives of those residing in Oxford, Mississippi and vicinity as they sent their sons to war; why the Lamar Rifles marched onto bloody battlefields; and how Northern victory set in motion the United States of America that had just entered the 20th century.

Click on image to listen to "Long Ago."

Click on image to listen to “Long Ago.”

The book has an official roster of the Company, including a short biography and list of engagements each member participated in.  It also includes the below photo from November 28, 1901 (Thanksgiving Day) of sixteen survivors assembled for a reunion in Oxford to reminisce when long ago they were young in the ranks.

Lamar rifle photo 5

Disease, Yankee Ambulance, Wounded Soldiers

620,000 soldiers died during the Civil War. Two thirds died of disease, not wounds.

Disease has been a major theme in the blog thus far.  How many of you have had dysentery, typhoid fever, ague, yellow fever, malaria, scurvy, pneumonia, tuberculosis, smallpox, chicken pox, scarlet fever, measles, mumps, or whooping cough?  Most of these illnesses are almost unheard of today in the Western world because of hygiene and vaccinations. The link below explains several things: why diseases were so prevalent, the types of illnesses soldiers were exposed to, and what an ambulance of that day was like. Parham referred to a Yankee Ambulance in his second and third letters.

First 11th Mississippi Battle Flag. Sewn by the Ladies of Crawford, Mississippi, this flag was retired shortly after the Battle of First Manassas.  Click image to view photo source.

First 11th Mississippi Battle Flag. Sewn by the Ladies of Crawford, Mississippi, this flag was retired shortly after the Battle of First Manassas. Click image to view photo source.

In his third letter, Parham wrote that several…have died within the last week or two, most of them having been wounded in the late battle.  The timing of this letter and the unit’s history indicates the late battle was likely the First Battle of Manassas (also known as Bull Run by the Union) which took place just 19 days before his enlistment.  The gruesome and archaic methods for medical care of the wounded are described in great detail in this link.

http://www.civilwar.org/education/pdfs/civil-was-curriculum-medicine.pdf

Preserving History

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Click image to view website of the Lamar Rifles, Company G of the 11th Mississippi Volunteer Infantry Regimental Civil War re-enactors.

One-hundred and ten years after the unit fought its last battle, Company G of the 11th Mississippi was re-activated. It was formed in 1975 by dedicated historians of the American Civil War who wanted to share their knowledge with others who had similar interests.

Purpose of Blog

Photo source:  http://www.11th-miss.com/roster.htm is credited with photo

Click image of Private Parham M. Buford to view photo source.

The purpose of this blog is to follow the footsteps of Private Parham Morgan Buford who served in 11th Mississippi, Company G during the “War for Southern Independence.” The primary sources are previously unpublished letters Parham sent to his family, military records of the Confederate States of America, and other eye-witness accounts. Secondary and tertiary sources are for enhancing subject matter within the primary sources for modern readers.