33rd Letter: Guarding Fords, Building Breastworks (March 29, 1863)

March 29 63

Franklin, Southhampton Cty. Va-

Dear Mother-

I rcd your welcome letter by George Dooley and hasten to reply as I have an opportunity to send one tomorrow, though I have no news of importance to communicate.

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Click image to learn about Confederate breastwork construction.


We have moved our camp about 5 miles The Brigade is scattered about the River guarding fords and working on breastworks, our company will have to work on them tomorrow, for the first time since we have been in service, but if we have to fight I would rather fight them in breastworks than in the open field.

Our Pickets occasionally ou have a skirmish with the Yankee cavalry, but as yet we have had no fight, nor I don’t think we will unless they try to take Richmond by way of Petersburg.

I have been listening every day to hear of them fighting at Vicksburg. It is rumored that they Yanks tried to cross the River at Fredericksburg but failed, but it is seldom now that we ever get any papers and can not keep posted.

I hope the Yanks will keep out of Lafayette this summer and give you all a chance to make some thing to eat.

Do not think hard of me writing no more, for I have nothing that would interest me you- If you have a chance send me a shirt, I have enough of socks and drawers now.

Give my love to all the family and tell them to write soon. Do so your self.

Your devoted son. PM Buford

 

 

 

 

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Blogger’s Notes:

A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A. documents information about a comrade mentioned in this letter by Parham.

  • George M. Dooley, who delivered the mentioned letter to Parham, enlisted twenty years of age and single.  He was present and wounded at Seven Pines.  On account of wound and sickness he was with the company no more until the battle of the Wilderness; he was present two days, and again at Tolles Mill, where the record says he was mortally wounded, and died May 26 at Richmond, Va.  His wound was through the left shoulder.
  • William B. Cullen appears to have delivered this letter to Parham’s family based on information written to his sister on April 1, 1863. Cullen enlisted April 26, 1861, at Oxford, Miss., for one year.  Born in Virginia, was a clerk at Oxford, Miss.; eighteen years of age and single.  He was severely wounded at Seven Pines and lost his right arm, and was retired January, 1863. This letter was written, and presumably delivered from camp, months after Seven Pines and Cullen being retired from service; maybe the necessary timeframe for his being fit for travel.
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32nd Letter: 40 Saddles Emptied, 100 Prisoners Taken (March 18, 1863)

 

Southampton cty, Va

VA-trails2

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.]