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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Taking the War to the Enemy

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Click image to learn about Stonewall Jackson’s death.

There is a 41 day gap from the previous posted letter and the next one dated on July 4, 1863 from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  Shortly after the previous letter was written on May 24th, the Army of Northern Virginia was reorganized from two to three smaller Corps as a result of the death of CSA Lieutenant General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson.

In early June, CSA Brigadier General Joseph R. “Joe” Davis was ordered to report to General Robert E. Lee in the vicinity of Fredericksburg, Virginia with the least practicable delay.  From there, the Confederacy would take the War into the enemy’s country.

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Click image to purchase Steven H. Stubbs’ Duty-Honor-Valor: The Story of the Eleventh Mississippi Infantry Regiment.

 

 

Steven H. Stubbs’ Duty-Honor-Valor: The Story of the Eleventh Mississippi Infantry Regiment provides a description of events Parham would have witnessed during the time gap from Southeast Virginia to Gettysburg.  Below is a brief summary of what the before mentioned source provides in greater detail.

June 2:  Order received to cook 3 days rations and prepare to move

June 3:  3:00 am reveille, marched two hours later, 10:00 am reached Ivor Station, 3:00 pm boarded railcars for Petersburg, arrived around 5:00 pm

June 4:  Marched 23 miles through Petersburg toward Richmond

June 6:  4:00 am boarded Virginia Central Railroad cars in Richmond, rode north and changed to Fredericksburg & Potomac Railroad cars to Fredericksburg, arrived that evening

June 7:  Remained in trenches and breastworks at Fredericksburg

June 13:  11th Mississippi set-up theatrical performance in warehouse

June 14:  Departed trenches and breastworks, marched through carnage from six week’s prior at battlefield of Chancellorsville

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Click image to listen to “The March of the Southern Men.”

June 16:  Up at 2:00 am, departed 11:00 am, halted mid-day beyond Chancellorsville, moved within 11 miles of Culpeper Courthouse

June 17:  Marched about 1.5 miles beyond Culpeper Courthouse, stopped for night at 10:00 pm

June 18:  Marched, very warm day, several overheated and fell out of ranks, camped on North side of Rappahannock, rained all night

June 19:  Continued march at sunrise, passed through Sperryville, moved up east slopes of Blue Ridge mountains near Chester Gap, 27 miles marched

June 20:  Early dawn, struggled to top of Chester Gap, rested on summit of mountains, marched down western side of Blue Ridge, camped three miles east of Front Royal

June 21:  Moved-out 4:00 am, marched through Front Royal and down Winchester Turnpike, then east to parallel road toward Potomac River, passed through White Post and camped 3 miles from Berryville, 12 miles marched that day

June 22:  Rested

June 23:  Departed 11:00 am; passed through Berryville and Rippon, West Virginia; moved within three miles of Charleston, West Virginia and camped for night

June 24:  Marched within two miles of Shepherdstown, West Virginia on the Potomac

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Click image to see period sheet music and lyrics to “Maryland, My Maryland!”

June 25:  Marched early dawn, crossed Potomac into Maryland and band played Maryland, My Maryland, camped south of Hagerstown

June 26:  Departed about 9:00 am; marched northeast and crossed into Pennsylvania, met by several hundred observing girls as they marched past a school, several of whom demonstrated Confederate presence; stopped two miles south of Waynesboro

June 27:  Moved north at 5:00 am for seven miles through Funkstown and Fayetteville, turned east and marched three miles

June 28:  Camp awoke to band playing hymn Safely Through Another Week, Sabbath rest and communion services

June 29:  Marched toward Cashtown and within sight of Gettysburg that day

June 30:  Some of CSA Brigadier General Joe Davis’ men stayed in camp as rain continued through day while others went on picket duty, camped at Cashtown that night

July 1-3:  Battle of Gettysburg

July 4:  Date of next letter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

36th Letter: “God Only Knows When This War Will End” (May 24, 1863)

                                                                                         Bivouac on Blackwater

May 24th, 63

Dear Sister-                       

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Click image of Parham’s church in College Hill, Mississippi to learn about his home community behind Yankee lines.

Not knowing whether you are in the Yankees lines or not, I will write for I know you are all anxious to hear from me. I am in good health, as also the company with the (page torn, word appears to be consumption) of one or two that never are well enough to do duty-

We have been running about quite briskly for the last week- up and down our line, for you must recollect our two Brigades has a line at least 60 miles long to guard- We crossed the River yesterday and had a skirmish with the enemy about 4 miles beyond, but without the loss of a man- They threw a few shells at us, but they passed harmlessly over our heads- We lay in line of battle untill night, when we recrossed the River, with our whole force- This makes the second time lately that our Gens have offered them battle on that side of the River, and I hope now that they will wait for them to try to cross-

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Click image to watch Vicksburg Animated Map by American Battlefield Trust.

We have splendid fortifications at every ford and will give them a warm reception whenever they attempt to cross I (words unknown, page torn) to think the Yankees have come as far into Va as they will ever get- but alas, the bad news reached us yesterday that Pemberton had been whipped, with the loss of 38 Pieces of Artillery and had fell back to Vicksburg. I am inclined to disbelieve it if it is so it will be an awful slam on us-, but I am still in hopes Jonston will strengthen that army out down there and make them do something yet- Vicksburg is one the principal objects of the Yankees, and if they get it,

God only knows when this war will end. May an honorable and speedy peace soon…

 

 

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Blogger’s Notes:

  • John Pemberton

    Click image of CSA Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton to learn about his defeat.

    Parham’s sister in College Hill, Mississippi was behind Yankee lines, and Parham previously wrote on January 17, 1863 of learning about the burning of a home within the community by occupying forces. Assuming family food provisions had been taken by the enemy, he also mentioned sending money home in the same letter and again on March 18, 1863.

  • Parham wrote of two individuals in this letter.
    • John C. Pemberton (CSA Lt. Gen.) is stated to have been whipped, showing how quickly, just seven days, news of the disastrous blow to the Confederacy at the Battle of Champion’s Hill traveled from the Mississippi River to the 11th Mississippi located in Southeast Virginia.
    • Joseph E. Johnston (CSA Gen.) had been mentioned before by Parham (November 23, 1861 and January 21, 1862) as he was the original commander of the Army of Northern Virginia and replaced by Robert E. Lee when wounded at Seven Pines.  Upon recovering from his wounds, Johnston commanded the Western theater where Parham wrote he hoped to see him strengthen that army out down there and make them do something yet.
  • The remaining sheet(s) of this letter appear to have been lost to time; hence, the reason for the abrupt end.