Gettysburg

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Click image to watch Nick Hodges’s History Buffs review of American war film Gettysburg (1993), written and directed by Ronald F. Maxwell, adapted from the historical novel The Killer Angels (1974) by Michael Shaara.

After a Confederate victory in Union country was secured, the plan was for the Army of Northern Virginia to march toward Washington, D.C. The hope was that the United States would recognize Confederate independence and agree to peace terms. Confederate and Union troops collided at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The three day battle which erupted has since fascinated historians and military tacticians around the world. Parham experienced first-hand what countless books, films, and documentaries have portrayed.

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Click image to order your print of artist Dale Gallon’s Imperishable Glory. Description: Just west of the Brian (Bryan) Farm – Gettysburg, PA, July 3, 1863 – Soldiers of the 11th Mississippi Volunteer Infantry Regiment valiantly rally around their flag and advance upon the Union line positioned on Cemetery Ridge during Longstreet’s Assault.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

35th Letter: Gathering Provisions (April 25, 1863)

Bivouac near Suffolk Apr 25th 63-

Dear Mother-

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Click image to learn about the significance of Virginia bacon from Suffolk in the the article “Siege of Suffolk Envelops Hampton Roads.”

I reckon you will be surprised to hear that we are at this place now, after forging so much on the Blackwater- we are close enough to see the town but are not at liberty to go in yet awhile- When we first came here I thought our Gens were going to try and take it, but it is now nearly 3 weeks since we came here and nothing done yet, but a little cannonading and very heavy Picket duty to do-

I think now the object of the move is to get the Forage out of this country, for they have most of the Quarter Masters + Comissarys at work now, buying it up and hauling it out – also taking up the Railroad iron on the two roads leading into Town-

It is said they have already got enough bacon to feed the army of Va over 2 months- + at this time that is a considerable item in this little Government of ours-

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Click image to locate this historical marker in Suffolk, Virginia.

Our lines are as close as we can get them without fighting, giving the enemy no chance at all to come out by Land without fighting- They have the place forayed fortified to perfection- We have also fortified along our lines- and those made by our Regt form a cross with some made during the old Revolution.  Our Pickets are so close to so the enemys redoubts that they can not be relieved in day light being safely ensconced in Rifle Pits and have orders to surrender if the enemy advances in Large numbers- and as sure as they stick their heads up the Yanks will shoot at them.  The Pickets being from 3 to 500 yds apart.

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Click Image to learn about “Mending the Broken Faces of War.”

They try to shell our reserve picket and whenever they go to load their cannons our boys score away at the Cannoniers- We have only had 3 wounded in our Regt and that was the first day before they had dug any pits- + only one seriously, through the chin, had part of his lower jaw taken out- + I think he will recover-

Our Company has been it the Pits once, but during the night,

It had been raining all day and nearly all night, and you could hear the boys stomping and their teeth chattering at all times of the night, but they had to grin and bear it untill just before day when they were relieved,

I being so fortunate as to be on the a more comfortable post, for this reason- the day before 60 of us were detailed to work on breast works, and had to work from 2 Oclock until 2 at night- and our company being on Picket the next night – our capt sent us with (unreadable) that we might fair a little better-

We arrived at camp next night about 8 Oclock, thinking to have a good nights rest, when Lo and behold 3 days rations of flour on hand to be cooked that night and be ready to have at 3 Oclock. We cooked them and it is now nearly night again and have not moved a pig. Such is the soldiers life-

My paper will not allow much more writing now-  Our boys all well except Tom B he has rcd a fur 30 days furlough John Allen has a NC sub in the company now- Jonny Brown has returned and brought the clothing and letters you sent- I would have written by Tom but had no chance. You can let any of the family read this, then burn it. Tell Uncle Newton I would like to get a letter from him. Write whenever you can + I will do the same- Your My Love to all- your devoted and affectionate son

P M Buford

 

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Blogger’s Notes:

  • Parham wrote I think now the object of the move is to get the Forage out of this country.  Below excerpt from article Siege of Suffolk Envelops Hampton Roads states the significance of buying it up and hauling it out. 

    Longstreet remained content to hold his lines and shield his massive foraging effort, leaving Suffolk only after sending millions of pounds of bacon, corn and feed north in a seemingly endless train of wagons.

    That made him late for the early May Battle of Chancellorsville, where a badly outnumbered Lee had to rely upon lesser troops in a brilliant if unlikely triumph over the Army of the Potomac.

    But when Longstreet finally arrived, he brought the provisions Lee so badly needed to take the war north to Pennsylvania.

    “The food from Suffolk is what Lee and his army took to Gettysburg,” former Virginia War Museum director John V. Quarstein says.

    “Without it Gettysburg may never have happened.”

  • The fortifications built by the 11th Mississippi Regiment in Suffolk, Virginia form a cross with some made during the old (American) Revolution
  • A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A. documents information about individuals referenced in this letter.
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      Click image of Thomas P. Buford to view source.

      Thomas (Tom) P. Buford, Parham’s cousin, was present at Seven Pines; was reported sick for several months of catarrh and bronchitis on Blackwater near Suffolk; he was furloughed to Mississippi for 30 days per this letter.  Although this will not be the only time he will be furloughed, this one likely saved his life as he was providentially hindered from joining the infantry during Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg.  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, 1865.

    • John N. Allen was present at Seven Pines and Gaines’s Farm, and is reported absent sick until he is present again at Jones Farm, October 2, 1864. Parham mentioned John’s North Carolinian substitute in this letter.  John’s days were not numbered such to been cut short during the war years.  Sickness spared John from several campaigns, including Gettysburg.  After the war he was killed in a private difficulty in Mississippi.
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      Click image of John F. Brown to view source.

      John (Jonny) F. Brown is mentioned to have returned to camp with clothing and letters from Parham’s mother,  He was present at Seven Pines, two days Gaines’s Farm, White Oak Swamp, Malvern Hill, Thoroughfare Gap, Freeman’s Ford, two days at Second Manassaswounded and captured at Falling Waters, when after an exchange and furlough he was present again at Weldon Railroad two days, Dobbs Ferry, Davis Farm, Jones Farm, Hatcher’s Run, and Hawkes Farm, March 25, 1865.

 

Captured 152 Years Ago This Day

Click image to hear American historian and novelist Shelby Foote speak about the Confederate battle flag.

Click image to hear American historian and novelist Shelby Foote (1916-2005) give his thoughts about the Confederate battle flag.

This is the flag which guided Parham and his fellow 11th Mississippians through battle until captured 152 years ago on July 3, 1863 during Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg by Sergeant Ferdinando Maggi of the Garibaldi Guards, 39th New York Infantry.  The flag is on display at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia.

There has been much debate by media and special interest groups with respect to the meaning of this flag.  Below lyrics to The Cross of the South written in 1861 by St. George Tucker were sung to the familiar tune The Star Spangled Banner.  These words may provide insight on what original users of the flag on battle fields thought it meant.  Did Parham sing this song?                   

  1. Oh! say can you see, through the gloom and the storm,
    More bright for the darkness that pure Constellation!
    Like the symbol of love and redemption its form,
    As it points to the heaven of hope for the nation.
    How radiant each star, as the beacon afar,
    Giving promise of peace or assurance in war;
    ‘Tis the Cross of the South which shall ever remain
    To light us to Freedom and glory again.
  2. How peaceful and blest was America’s soil.
    Till betrayed by the guile of the Puritan demon,
    Which lurks under virtue and springs from its coil,
    To fasten its fangs in the life-blood of freemen.
    Then boldly appeal to each heart that can feel,
    And crush the foul viper ‘neath liberty’s heel,
    And the Cross of the South shall in triumph remain
    To light us to freedom and glory again.
  3. ‘Tis the emblem of peace, ’tis the day star of hope,
    Like the sacred Labarum that guided the Roman
    From the shores of the Gulf to the Delaware’s slope;
    ‘Tis the trust of the free and the terror of foeman.
    Fling its folds to the air while we boldly declare
    The rights we demand or the deeds that we dare,
    While the Cross of the South shall in triumph remain
    To light us to Freedom and Glory again.
  4. And if peace should be hopeless, and justice denied,
    And war’s bloody vulture should flap its black pinions.
    Then gladly to arms, while we hurl in our pride
    Defiance to tyrants and death to their minions,
    With our front in the field, swearing never to yield,
    Or return, like the Spartan, in death on our Shield,
    And the Cross of the South shall triumphantly wave
    As the flag of the free and the pall of the brave.