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.
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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 which 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

3rd Letter: Yankee Ambulance (September 5, 1861)

Warrenton Va Sept 5th 1861.

Dear Mother-

Sept 5, 1861 page 1

September 5, 1861:  page 1 on right, page 4 on left

I suppose you all will think I intend to do all the writing, as I just wrote to Mary a few days ago. But as I have changed my place of abode I thought you would like to know about it.  I gave an account of my having the measles in Mary’s letter which I mailed two days before receiving hers.  Walter young (?) Stowers and myself are staying with a very nice family about 3 miles from Warrenton, the county seat of F’aquier [sic]. There is another very sick soldier here, but I think he will recover, though several of them around in the country have died within the last week or two, most of them having been wounded in the late battle.  The people through the country seem to take great interest in the welfare of the sick and wounded soldiers.  At some houses there are as many as 8 and 10.  There are a great many sick in our Reg. at this time, mostly cold and fevers.  For fear Mary’s letter may not reach its destination, I will give you also an acount of my sickness.  For two or three days I had a very severe cold and on Friday morning – (today two weeks ago) I broke out with the measles – Walter breaking out [previous two words scratched out in same ink] at the same time.  Preperations [sic] were immediately made to take us to some house, Tubby having procured one about 8 miles from camp.  We started about two Oclock [sic] in a Yankee Ambulance Tubby going with us.  By that time they were out very thick and I was too sick to sit up, the Ambulance being made somewhat like an Omnibus I lay down covering myself with a blanket.  Having lost our way we traveled over the roughest road I every saw until dark.  I can truly say that was the hardest time I ever had + if any one was ever glad to get rest it was me.  Walter not being near as sick as I was.  We were with a very clever man + rcd [sic] all the attenion we could ask of any stranger.  Next day Stowers + Brown came to the same place.  For three days I was very sick, eat nothing, + had no taste whatever + had a very coughs.  We then improved very fast, staying there ten days.  We then came to this place as I said before where we were kindly rcd [sic], a very strict old Presbyterian family.  The old man invites us to to [sic] family worship every night.  I think we will be able to

Sept. 5, 1861 page 2

September 5, 1861:  page 2 on left, page 3 on right

return to camp and resume active duty in a week or two. The Capt told us not to return until we got sound well if it was 6 weeks.  Tell all the family I would be gald to recive [sic] a letter from any of them. Tell the old man [scratched-out in pencil] I will write to him next.  Give my best respects to all the family and to all enquiring friends.  Write soon to your devoted son P M Buford.  Let no one outside of the family see this – they can read it if they want.

I suppose you all will not write often as you have to pay for my letters.  Though I can pay myself when I have the change, but I believe when the reciver [sic] pays for the letter it will be more apt to reach its destiny.

*** Blogger’s Note:  “Tubby” is Goodloe Warren Buford, Jr.

1st Letter: Journey to Virginia (August 17, 1861)

Aug19-61side1.doc copy

August 17, 1861: page 1

August 17th 1861.

Dear Mother –

I hope you will excuse me for not writing sooner.  We never got a tent until yesterday and we have been mixed up. so much that I could not well write-  I took cold two days after my lett arrival but am free of it now.  

Click image to view another primary source mentioning ladies greeting soldiers at train stations.

I will start at the first and give you particulars.  At Corinth Charles Gaston joined us– Nothing of interest occurred on the road- except the presents received from the ladies who greeted us at every station- untill we came to Lynchburg- when about 5 miles from there- when the boiler bursted and part of the tender ran off the track.  No one hurt-  We staid there about 3 hours waiting for an Engine-  About 30 miles from our stopping place we meet with Tom Buford and Morris Weeb who had been out in the country rusticating.  

We are encamped about 4 miles from Mannas south West. there is not much sickness in this company at present- Joe Buford is complaining- a negro belonging to this company died two days ago of pneumonia.  there is a great deal of sickness in Meets Regiment.  measles generally- several have died since our arrival- though at present they are not in our regiment- I have meet with several of my old acquaintances in the different Regiments around- all of whom seemed glad to meet us-

We live on wheat bread- fat meat. coffee. and rice and beef occasionally Vegetables are as scarce as hens teeth.  

Our Company was put on Brigade guard yesterday- Each man has to stand 8 hours out of 24. and relieved and two at a time.  I stood 4 hours during the day and 4 at night.  During the night an officer came round to try the sentinels.  he took guns away from three of our number of raw recruits who I will not mention as they have been plagued teased enough already. The old goat tried to get mine but I had heard of those tricks before I came here.  I was about a mile from the encampment in the woods.  I halted one feller and made him stand there about an hour waiting for the corporal of the Guard.  

August 17, 1861: page 2

August 17, 1861: page 2

The old is now sounding for drill and I must close giving more particulars next time.  Give my best respects to all the family + inquiring friends.  you can let any of the family read this-  I want all of you to write and give the news. Yrs truly

PM Buford.

P.S.  Address. 11th Reg. Miss. Vols. company

G Mannass Junction – care of Capt Greene.

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.