4th Letter: Arrival at Camp Fisher (October 2, 1861)

Camp Fisher Oct 2nd 1861

Dear Sir

I wrote to you, Mary and Ma but as yet have rcd no answer.  I came to camp a few days sooner than I expected in the hope of getting letters from some of you- but as yet have received none in reply.  Though beforehand I rd one from each of you.  Yrs mentioning the coat which as yet I have not rcd.

I stayed away from camp 3 (?) weeks.  On my return from the company in good health excepting a few cases of the mumps- which disease I stand a good chance to take.  There are 7 or 8 of the company the company [crossed-out in ink] in the country yet I saw Joe Buford the day before I left. He looks worse than I ever saw him- but I think  he will recover in a few weeks.

I arrived here yesterday about 2OC thinking I would report myself ready for duty in a day or two.  I had just fried (?) myself on some cedar poles to sleep about 9OC, when the the [sic] order “Prepare to march in ten minutes” was given.  You can imagine the bustle that ensued.  They have never given me nothing but musket and you know I was somewhat a little in time in getting a bayonet caps and cartridges [sic]. In lefs [sic] than 3/4 of an hour 60 answered to their names and we were on the march for  _____ nobody knowd [corrected over in pencil with “knew”] but old Gen Whiting.  They did not give us time to get anything to eat.  Those that had any old bread left from supper took some in their pockets and haversacks. (I suppose you had heard of us being near Dumfries).

After marching 1/2 mile we saw we were going in the direction of the River.  There were a great many conjectures as to where we were going, but the majority thought that the Yankees were trying to land and we were going to support our batteries.  All seemed eager to meet them, as they were 60 in raks [sic] when the order was given to march, and that evening there were not exceeding 40 out on drill.

We had marched about 3 miles over a rough road at a rapid gate, when we were halted in an old field- which I supposed to be about 1 mile from the River. where we staid [sic] until morning, some sitting around the fire laughing and talking, others rolled up in their blankets sound asleep.  As unconcerned as if there was not a Yankee in a hundred miles.

At daylight, our Reg and the 2nd Miss were formed into a timeline [“time” smudged] and ordered to pile our blankets, on the ground, marching forward 200 yds, faced about and old Whiting drilled us about 2 hours and marched us back to camp.  I believe he did it to see how many men he could muster.  It was reported that a deserter said they were going to try to land, but I believe it was all a farce.  There were men in that march that hadn’t drilled in two weeks, therefore they will have no excuse next time from drill.  Everyone expected to engage the enemy at daylight.  It learnt [marked over with pencil as “learned”] me one lefsen [sic]-vis to be prepared next time.

We expect to hear that [crossed-out in ink] every day to hear that Battery set loose on their velles [crossed-out in ink] vessels, but I hardly think they will try to land there.  If they do you may look out for squally times.  It is thought they will have a fight shortly up about Fairfax, though every think [sic] is conjecture in the camps.

I want some clothing new [sic] soon.  I want one or two pr drawers of some warm material- one flannel undershirt- two thick flannel over ones- grey or brown and made plain- and if you think best a good pair of boots for winter use.  You can tell Uncle Newton what I want.  Also a good woolen jacket- round about fashion.

Love to all.  Tell them all to write and do so yourself as soon as possible. Respt. P M Buford

2 oct 1861 side 2

October 2, 1861: page 1 on right, page 4 on left

2 oct 1861

October 2, 1861: page 2 on left, page 3 on right

2 oct 1861 side 3

October 2, 1861: page 5

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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.