30th Letter: Negroes Gone, Houses Burned, Food Destroyed (January 17, 1863)

Goldsboro NC Jan. 17th, 63.

Dear Mother-

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Click image of USA General Grant’s forces encamped at Oxford, Mississippi to learn more.

From what I can learn the mails to Oxford are now in operation, so there is once more a chance to hear from our beloved and down trodden homes. You can not have the least idea how anxious I am to hear from you and still at the same time I almost shudder to hear of the condition those infernal Yankees have left you in, but I hope they have left you all enough to subsist on-

I thought I would not write untill I was certain you would get my letter. Several of the boys have already rcd letters direct from home but none from our immediate neighbor- Tom Buford arrived a few days scince bringing some news about their operations in that quarter- he told me that old Peter and family had gone and that…

…nearly all the negroes in the county had gone that they had destroyed all that the people had to subsist on, even to the last fowl-

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Click image of Henry G. Fernandez to view source.

I learned also that they had burnt Fernandez house- and cut up generally, but as yet, I have heard nothing positive.

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Image is of Southern men taking the Oath of Allegiance to the United States.

I hope you may receive this soon and give me all particulars- and tell me particularly who took the oath of Allegiance. I just imagine they have utterly ruined that country- but I believe there is a day of retribution coming sooner or later- I have enjoyed excellent health and doing as well as could be expected under the circumstances, but it is with a sad heart that I hear of the death of so many good and brave men by the ball of the vile invader. Two evenings scince I heard of the death of John Buford George Hope and the wounding of several other boys from our neighborhood-

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Click image to learn more about CSA Brigadier General Joseph Robert Davis.

The last letter I rcd from home was just after we left Cullpeper Cty. We left our old Brigade to form one composed of Miss boys commanded by Joe Davis a nephew of Jefferson- We staid at Richmond a month, when we were ordered to this place where the Yankees were trying to make an entrance- They had a small fight at H Kinston, 20 miles below and came up this far when they burnt the K Rail Road Bridge, but hearing that we were on our way here to reinforce they retreated back to Newborn where there is now said to be about 50,000 intending to attack this place Welden and Wilmington, but there is no telling what they will do.

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Click image of North Carolina’s 1861 flag to prepare for your visit to this friendly state.

I am much better pleased with the old North state than I expected- We are living high, at this time on corn dodgers and Potatoes- rareties that we have not been used to- The people around here have not much wealth but they are good livers and as are as free hearted a people as it has ever been my lot to meet with.

We are encamped in a perfect Pine Thicket and it takes all the soap we can get to keep the Pine smoke off. We have a snug chimney to our tent and can fare finely this winter if they will only let us stay here- but our movements will be altogether owing to the movements of the enemy.

I must close for want of paper which I expect you need. Write soon and let me know the worst. We will draw money soon I will let you have mine if you need it. Give my love to all the family and tell them to write immediately. Tell the old man  to write as soon as he can I will write to him next. I would like to write more, but have not the paper. Let me hear from you as soon as possible. Ever your true and devoted son. P M Buford

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Blogger’s Notes:

  • This letter contains several complex topics.
    • The Emancipation Proclamation went into effect 16 days before this letter was written.
    • Total war upon civilian population shattered the morale of Southerners at home and serving far away.
    • logo2

      Click image to learn about UDC.

      Those who took the Oath of Allegiance to the United States before the war’s end were viewed as traitors and cowards.  No Confederate ancestor who took the Oath of Allegiance before April 9, 1865, shall be eligible to be used for application for membership within the United Daughters of the Confederacy. If proof of further Confederate service is available, thereby nullifying the Oath of Allegiance, the ancestor shall be considered for approval.

  • John Buford, likely an extended family member who served in a different regiment, is mentioned by Parham when he writes of the death of so many good and brave men by the ball of the vile invader.
  • Joseph (Joe) R. Davis, CSA Brigadier General, nephew of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, served in Mississippi senate during pre-war years.
  • A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A. documents information about comrades mentioned by Parham.
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      Click image of Thomas P. Buford to view source.

      Thomas (Tom) P. Buford, Parham’s cousin who brought the camp news of Northern operations in Oxford,  enlisted April 26, 1861; twenty-eight years old and single.  He was present at Seven Pines; was reported sick for several months of catarrh and bronchitis on Blackwater near Suffolk; he was furloughed to Mississippi.  His health was restored…and he returned to duty near Orange Court-House, in time to be present on 5th and 6th of May, 1864, at the battle of Wilderness.  On his last day of this engagement he was shot through the left thigh and sent to hospital at Richmond; from there he was furloughed again.  He had so far recovered from this wound as to return…in the trenches near Petersburg, Va.  He was present at Jones Farm, Hatcher’s Run, and Hawkes Farm, where he was again wounded, this time in the left knee; was sent to Richmond Hospital, 26th of March, 1865.  Gangrene attacked the wound and for weeks and months he was prostrated; was able to travel 1st of June…and (with his brother Warren) reached home July 1, 1863.

    • Hope photo

      Photo source of George W. Hope: “Lamar Rifles: A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A.”

      George W. Hope, who hand-carried a previous letter to Parham’s family, enlisted April 26, 1861. Born in Mississippi, a student, single and 20 years old.  He was discharged…by reason of accidental wound through left wrist. [After recovery he reenlisted in the 30th Mississippi and did gallant service for his country in that command.  Was killed at battle of Murfreesboro, Tenn.]

    • Henry G. Fernandez, whose house was burned during the Union occupation, enlisted April 26, 1861; twenty years old and single.  He was present first and second days at Seven Pines, Gaines’s Farm, White Oak Swamp, Malvern Hill, Freeman’s Ford, Thoroughfare Gap, first day, Second Manassas, second day, Sharpsburg; first day, Gettysburg, Falling Wilderness, and on account of ill health was never with the Company any more.

La Grange Synodical College

In a previous post (see http://wp.me/p40u7G-qS), the blogger incorrectly concluded Parham was a student at the University of Mississippi based upon a fraternity pin with his name engraved upon the back.  Just because no information is known about the Tau Eta Phi fraternity apart from the University of Mississippi, it does not mean he attended there. A follower was kind enough to point this out and provide a source which shows Parham was a student at La Grange Synodical College; a Presbyterian school of higher education; in La Grange, Tennessee.

Click image of La Grange Synodical College to learn more.

Click image of La Grange Synodical College to learn more.

Based on the names listed for the sophomore class on page 9 of the Second Annual Catalogue of the Trustees, Faculty and Students of the La Grange Synodical College, Session of 1858-59;  it is clear Parham attended this Presbyterian school. There are other recognizable names of students from Lafayette County, Mississippi listed in this catalogue (e.g. Henry C. Buford, John W. Doak, and George W. Hope). By automobile today, La Grange is a little more than one hour drive north of Oxford, just above the Mississippi / Tennessee border. The blogger does possess two pre-war letters from Parham, one of which contains the word “La Grange” at the top right corner of the first sheet; however, it was not understood until recently what La Grange meant.  In the letter, Parham writes of the cost of the boarding house, washing, and candles.  Interestingly enough, the expenses mentioned by Parham coincide exactly with what is listed on page 24 of the before mentioned source. If Parham was a sophomore during 1858-59, it is quite feasible he graduated with the senior class in 1861.  Class of 1861 at La Grange Synodical College had an accelerated senior year because of the outbreak of war.

Click image to listen to

Click image to listen to “God Save the South.”

It is no surprise Parham attended a Presbyterian College. Presbyterianism ran deep into the lives of individuals on that side of the family tree.  It was a Buford that provided land for the building of College Hill Presbyterian Church; many by the name Buford, including Parham’s parents, are buried in that old presbyterian church yard.  Parham writes of providence in a letter, a doctrine well known to Presbyterians of that day who subscribed to reformed theology.  Parham’s sister, Mary, eventually married a Confederate dentist and surgeon of Ulster-Scotch (i.e. Scotch-Irish) ancestry related to Rev. Samuel Eusebius McCorkle, a Presbyterian who studied under U.S. Declaration of Independence signer Dr. John Knox Witherspoon. Mary’s daughter married a man descended from Rev. Cephas Washburn, a Presbyterian missionary to the Cherokees displaced to reservations via the Trail of Tears.

La Grange Synodical College closed its doors after graduating the class of 1861 and never opened them again.  During the following years, U.S. Federal troops occupied the property as a strategic location to run raids across the border into Mississippi; used the college as a Union hospital and prison; tore bricks off the school to make stoves and fireplaces for soldiers; and eventually burned down the institution.

14th Letter: Delirium Tremens (December 30, 1861)

Camp Fisher

Dec 30th 1861

Dear Sister

I rcd your welcome letter a few days since which afforded me great pleasure.

Photo Source of George W. Hope:

Photo Source of George W. Hope: “Lamar Rifles: A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A.”

I have a chance of sending this to you by George Hope who is discharged, though I do not fell much like writing to night as I have been hard at work all day and fell very much fatigued, not knowing untill a few minutes ago that he was going to start so soon.

This leaves all in very good health except Newt and. Myself who have a very bad colds. One of our Regt died last week with the Mania Portu, the one death that we have had in the Regt for over a month.

December 30, 1861: page 1

December 30, 1861: page 1

It was thought for for two or three days since, that we would have a fight here but it has died out as usual and I do not beleive we will have one untill I am in it, though there is not a passes but you can hear the roar of cannon on the River, but I have never seen yet what good it has done, though I may not be the proper judge.

We have just finished repairing our house. It was a flat roof, and inferior boards. Last week it rained quite hard- and it was all he we could do to keep ourselves and chattels dry. We pitched in and made more boards and put a very respectable roof. The whole Regt is very comfortably quartered now, and I think we will stay here untill Spring.

December 30, 1861: page 2

December 30, 1861: pages 2 and 3

I suppose you have heard some talk of the 60 day furloughs Some of our company will take it, and a great many will not, and I think I will be among that number. I will serve my time out and I if I fell like reenlisting then I can do so.

I drew 50$ the other day and I will let send you 5$ for Pocket change.

I want you to send me a strip of Sand Paper in your next letter to I want it to polish some rings, none can be had here,

The drum is now beating for “lights out” and I must close. Give my love to all and tell the old folds folks that I will write to them soon.

You must burn this as soon as you read it and then answer. Yrs truly

PMBu


Blogger’s Notes:

  • It appears George W. Hope hand-carried this letter to Parham’s family.  George W. Hope enlisted April 26, 1861. Born in Mississippi, a student, single and 20 years old. According to Lamar Rifles: A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A., he was discharged…by reason of accidental wound through left wrist. [After recovery he reenlisted in the 30th Mississippi and did gallant service for his country in that command.  Was killed at battle of Murfreesboro, Tenn.].
  • Parham writes one of our Regt died last week with the Mania Portu.  He is referring to mania-a-portu, also known as delirium tremens.

12th Letter: Log Cabins and Hog Drives (November 30 – December 1, 1861)

Nov 30 1861

Mr. S Luckie                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     L.No. 2.

Dear Sir,

I will number my letters from this time on. You can know how many of them arrive. Mary’s was numbered. 1.  You must do the same.

Photo Source of Ad Isom: http://www.11th-miss.com/roster.htm

Photo Source of Ad Isom: http://www.11th-miss.com/roster.htm

As Ad Isom has at last concluded to go home, I thought I would send you a few lines – if for no more than to let you all know that I was enjoying good  health.  I sent a letter to Mary Jane last week and one to Ma, the week before, which I hope they rcd, as they were sent by hand. There is less sickness in our company now than any time since I have been in it. One of the company returned yesterday from Warrenton. He says that Walter is improving very fast, and will return shortly to camp. George Hope was gut sick last week with the Jaundice, but is now well or nearly so. Dick Shaw has been grunting for a day or two. There is not much excitement now in camp, though they have been telling us for the last 3 weeks that we would have a fight, but it has not come off yet, nor at present do I see any signs of it, except stopping of a road with trees, that leads from the River to this place.

November 30, 1861: page 1

November 30, 1861: page 1

Last Tuesday I was on guard, and while at the guard House I heard the Col, give the orders for the companies to fall in with their guns and cartridge boxes. I thought there was something exciting on hand, and I was anxious to go with the company, which I could not do, unless the Officers of the day released the whole guard, about 60 in number. We tried him, but told us there was no fight on hand and for us to be contented. The Guard is never released unless in cases of that kind. Gen Whiting had just took a notion to drill the Brigade a spell, about 2 miles from Camp.

November 30, 1861: page 2

November 30, 1861: page 2

I don’t think I will mind anything much in the military line this winter, but standing guard. Up to this time we have never been allowed to sit down or stand by a fire, while on guard duty, and if that is the case this winter, you may listen for hard times comin(g), though I think I can stand it, as well as any, from my experience so far. We have had a little snow, sleet, heavy frosts, hard winds, freeses, and every thing that constitutes a winter except hail. and still the weather is very changeable.

Image Source:  Library of Congress

Image Source of Confederate Winter Quarters: Library of Congress

I spoke of the rcpt of my goods in the other letters, but for fear they did not receive them I will do so again. I have got(ten) all that you have ever mentioned, as also my Over Coat, which I found in the company, the one that had it not knowing the owner. My boots are rather large, but all the better, as I can wear two pr socks. with them. I have enough of clothing for the present. About half of this Regt have built log cabins. not knowing how long we will stay here.  Our two messes went to work two days ago and erected two cabins. Paid  about 15 cts a piece for the hauling of the logs. To day we made enough bolts of timber (without any saw) to make the boards. We intended to cover with dirt, but there was a hard rain last night, and we saw that some of them leaked. We can finish in another day.

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Did Parham and his comrades eat bacon shortly after the hog drive?

We were interrupted in our work yesterday by a little circumstance that made me feel quite tired and hungry. The evening before our company only had rcd orders to get supper early and prepare one meal victuals, and be ready to march by sundown. We put breakfast in our haversacks and started about dark. I was then raining and very muddy. We went about a quarter, when the order was countermanded and we came back to camp. We were going about 7 miles down on the River to get some confiscated property, belonging to a Virginia Yankee that had left.  Next morning we were ordered to fall in and try it again, I happened to be off at the time, and when I came in they were about starting + I did not have time to get anything to eat. We got there about 11 OClock, finding the farm situated in sight of the River and the Bay of Occoquan.  Beside ours there was one company from each Regt, the expedition being commanded by a Major. I suppose they thought the Yankees might come over if we did not have a good force. Besides a large lot of horses, cows, sheep and hogs, there was were turnips, sweet potatoes, and about 500 bushels Irish potatoes, put in suppose for the Washington market, but they are gone by the board now, as our little Brigade are roasting them daily. I made by my dinner of roasted potatoes, not liking to ask of the boys that had carried it so far. Some were detailed to drive the hogs. I to load the waggons. The Hog Tail men had to stay there all night, getting in to day. We got back about dark.

November 30, 1861: page 3

November 30, 1861: page 3

I will note the prices of some things here so that you can tell how much we stingy fellows buy. Fresh Pork is 15 cts, butter 75.  Chickens, 40 apples 75 per dozen, tallow candles from 10 to 20 cts a piece. + + O + so on, the most extravagant I ever heard of. If you can get a chance, send me some little nick nacks, butter, potatoes. Peppersauce Onions and Pepper + + +.  The Three or four of the boys in our mess have rcd boxes of that kind and I don’t want to spunge on them.

November 30, 1861: page 4

November 30, 1861: page 4

I must close, as I am nearly froze(n), not knowing that Ad would start in the morning until after dark. Tell Uncle Newt I will answer his letter first opportunity. You can let ma read this. I will answer hers also. Give my love to all the family. Hoping to hear from you as soon as possible I remain yours truly. PM Buford

In the morning Nov 31st Dec 1st. Ad has concluded to wait untill. Monday. (Cannon, at our batteries I suppose opened this morning on some vessel firing 48 times).  I will have time to

Respt,

PM Buford


Blogger’s Notes:

  • It appears A. (Ad) Dudley Isom hand-carried this letter to Parham’s family.  Ad enlisted April 26, 1861. Born in Mississippi, a farmer, single and 24 years old. Discharge of disability December 1861 and reenlisted March 1862. Killed at Gettysburg 1863.
  • Parham mentions George Hope was gut sick…with the Jaundice.  George W. Hope enlisted April 26, 1861. Born in Mississippi, a student, single and 20 years old. Discharged December 1861 from accidental wound and later killed at Murfreesboro with the 30th Mississippi Infantry.
  • The log cabins constructed may have been similar to those within the above image of nearby 1861-1862 Confederate winter quarters in Centerville, Virginia.