29th Letter: “Human Slaughter Pens” (October 18, 1862)

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Click image of Walter Scott Buford to view source.

From P M Buford- Co “G” 11th Miss Regt

 

Mrs Ann. A. Luckie

College Hill

Lafayette Cty

Miss

Oct 18-62

Camp near Winchester

Dear Mother-

I will send you a note by Rufus- he can tell you any thing you want to know- I am well and doing as well as could be expected living on beef & bread and not enough salt to season it-

EsomBDooley_CollegeHillCemetery_OxfordLafayetteMS_29Jun2012

Click image of Esom B. Dooley’s tombstone in College Hill to view source.

Just came in two days ago, much sooner than I expected- You have no idea how glad I was to receive those letters + clothing- I had just got a pair of pants from Tubby about two weeks ago.  I was nearly naked-

I reckon you will all be surprised to see Rufus as well as glad but alas- the aw ful news of Walters + Esoms death- I fell sorrow for Uncle Newtons family- but the sad calamity that befel them was the will of an overruling providence and we ought to fell thank ful to him for having spared the lives of so many in the vareid and bloody conflicts than we have in which we have been engaged-

There does seem to be any prospect of another fight soon- + I do hope there will not be for I am heartily tired those human slaughter pens called battles-

…for I am heartily tired of those human slaughter pens called battles

I would like for you to send the other clothing you mentioned the first opportunity- + if you can do so send me a pr of Gloves.

I will close with this- should Rufus get home he can tell you all particulars- Tell the old man I will write him soon. Give my love to all the family and receive a portion for yourself- I remain as ever your devoted son. P M Buford

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Blogger’s Notes:

  • A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A. documents information about comrades mentioned in this letter by Parham.
    • Rufus A. Shaw, Parham’s cousin returning home to recover from wounds hand delivered this letter to Parham’s mother, present at Boonsborough, Sharpsburg, where he was severely wounded and brought back to Shepherdstown, Va.  He was retired July, 1864 by reason of wound through left lung.  Parham described the wound in a previous letter as being a ball which entered the left shoulder and came lodged just under the skin and under the shoulder blade. Although eventually retiring almost two years later, Rufus is not cited as having served in any battles following Sharpsburg.
    • Walter S. Buford, Parham’s cousin, present at Second Manassas, where on the second day he was mortally wounded, August 30, 1862; was taken to the hospital, where he died on the 15th of September.  […as gallant a soldier as ever stood before an enemy.  The record the Company shows that he was present at every battle in which the Company was engaged until he was mortally wounded.  Such records made the imperishable names of Lee and Jackson.  Our independence would have been assured could we have recruited our army with such material.  We would have been invincible. – A COMRAD.]  
    • Esom B. Dooley, enlisted…16 years of age…He was present at battles, to-wit:  Two days at Seven Pines, Gaines’s Farm, White Oak Swamp, Malvern Hill, Freeman’s Ford, Thoroughfare Gap, and Second Manassas, where he was morally wounded and died at Gainesville, Va., September, 1862.  […a mere youth, modest and gentle as a girl, but every inch a soldier who neglected no duties and always ready to obey orders.]
  • Uncle Newton is Walter’s father who is reported in the previous letter of traveling to Virginia to be with his son.  Did Uncle Newton arrive in time to be with Walter before he died?
  • Did Esom’s remains return to Mississippi from Northern Virginia for burial in College Hill?  Did families of fallen soldiers place markers over empty graves to remember the sons and fathers who never returned home?
  • The phrase the old man in reference to Parham’s step-father is again seen scratched-out in this letter.  Who in my ancestry was offended by the term and marked it out? Was it Parham’s mother, his sister, my great grandmother, or my grandmother whom I received these letters from?
  • Parham again references the will of an overruling providence and the significance of remaining thankful to Him in spite of life’s circumstances.  Does this point to a cultural view of God and man held during the mid-19th century or to a personal belief held by Parham and his family?
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10th Letter: Shoot a Deserter, Hire a Negro, Hang a Spy (November 14, 1861)

Camp Fisher. Nov 14th 1861

Dear Mother

I rcd yours of the 1st two days ago, which afforded me great pleasure, as it had been nearly a month scince I had heard from any of you.  As this leaves me in good health I hope it will find you + family enjoying the same blessing.  There is but very little sickness in camps at present.

Our Col came back about a week ago – stayed only two or three days – returned on leave of absence for two months and a half.  He was wounded at the battle of Mannassu in the foot, He is still lame and I think it doubtful about it ever getting well. On his way here – he took up a man that had deserted from this Regt and brought him here in chains.  He is now handcuffed and is in the Guard House.  The penalty is death but his case has not been settled yet.

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Last week a man was drummed out of a company in this Regt for ungentlemanly conduct.  They give him 25$, and told him to trot.

The weather has been very pleasant for the last two or three days –  but up to that time we had some very cold days.

November 14, 1861: page 1

November 14, 1861: page 1

Some one has hit upon a plan to make a fire place in tents and nearly all this Regt has caught the fever and gone to work at it.  It is a simple and I think a good institution.  The most that I have seen are made by digging the tent out inside about 2 ft deep, and digging out a square  hole for the fireplace within in a corner or side.  the hole is then slanted upwards through the bank of waste dirt on the top of which is sit a barrel for the top of the chimney. By digging the dirt out of the tent – it gives more room and eight men can sleep in it with all ease. The beds are made by sitting up forks and laying poles on them. By that means they can have one under another. We have not made one yet – waiting for colder weather.

MSH2345-linephpThumb_generated_thumbnailI rcd yesterday a bundle from home, which was certainly very acceptable. There was [was corrected with pencil to were] two shirts – home made Linsey I suppose – two pr drawers – two pr socks and a vest.  I also rcd a pr socks that came in a bundle for Walter about 3 weeks ago. That is all I have ever got, with my Over Coat. You can tell Uncle Newton I would like to have my boots as soon as possible – for I don’t think my shoes will last more than 3 weeks longer and I don’t want to buy another pair.  I took the cloth that was around the clothes and made a haversack and fixed it so as to have my name on it.

UnknownWe have hired a negro to do our cooking and washing for 12$ per month. There was another boy came into Tom Bufords mess that had a negro and he does the cooking for both Missrs.  It is only 2$ per month for each of us –  which I think is cheap enough.  Our Regt drew their pay last week for the month of July + August. Those of us that came in August drew 28$. I have only 15$ left, but I have got 10 owing to me – Which is good – I know. So that leaves me with 25$ which will do me for a while.

November 14, 1861: page 2

November 14, 1861: page 2

There has been nothing exciting in camps for a month nearly until day before yesterday. It was my day to cook. We had done with [done with scratched-out with pencil and replaced with finisheddinner and I was just taking my water off the fire to wash the dishes – when I saw a courier going toward the Col’s tent with all possible speed.  In less than two minutes I heard the order – “Turn out your companies immediately with their guns and cartridge boxes.”  In less than half an hour – we were on the march. The Yankees were supposed to be landing near Occoquan creek about 10 miles above us.

November 14, 1861: page 3

November 14, 1861: page 3

We went about 3 miles and stopped in an old field. As soon as we stopped in line, one company was detailed to throw down a fence near us – You could see couriers going in every direction. The cannon were roaring like thunder – but three times as fast as you ever heard it. Our Col rode out in front of the Regt, and told us it was his opinion that we were going to have a little fight – to obey our officers.  keep cool and if we meet the enemy to stand firm and aim low.  I was certain then that we would have a pull at them, from all I could see and hear. We stood in line of battle for half an hour.  We then left there and went 1/2 mile farther where we staid until nearly sundown.  The Yankees did not show themselves.

November 14, 1861: page 4

November 14, 1861: page 4

We the started back to camp – arriving here about 8 O’clock.  We made some coffee and fried beef liver – and with some cold-hard crackers. we had a good supper for hungry chaps.  About the time we had finished supper another order came to cook up two days rations. As we did not know when we might be called on to march, we had to go to cooking immediately. Cooked two ovens of biscuits – and put on some beef to boil. That was night before last, and we have rcd no marching orders yet, but not more than two minutes ago, we had another order to cook up all the provisions we had. Some think we will have a fight before many days.  Though I won’t believe it until I can see the white of a Yankees, eyes, as we have been fooled so often.

November 14, 1861: page 5

November 14, 1861: page 5

So you can see what a life a soldier leads. For weeks at a time he has nothing to do but cook and eat and drill about 3 hours in the day. And next week he does harder work than any negro in Miss. Running about over these rocky hills from one place to another – without sleep and a great many times nothing to eat. He is always in suspense, for he never knows, what he is going to do until he right at it. nor where he is going, until he is there, for there is [pencil correction of areno Sign Boards in this country. We may have to march from here to day and we may not go at all – no one knows.

November 14, 1861: page 6

November 14, 1861: page 6

I heard from Walter yesterday. He is still in Warrenton – and improving – he says he is going to the country in a few days.

I rcd a letter from Cousin Sarah last week.  They are all well.  She said John Toney had joined a company and would start for Mobile in a week.

I forgot to mention at the first – that you might send me a pr of pants – when Uncle Newton sent my boots. Also one flannel undershirt.  All of these and the Blankets might be sent in one box.

I must close for the present. Tell Mary Jane I will answer her letter next – at the first opportunity. Give all my love to all the family and best respects to all enquiring friends.  I remain your devoted son,

P M Buford

Click image to learn more.

Click image to learn more.

P.S. I would like for you to send me a pocket Bible as I have none, though there is [pencil correction of are] three in our mess – but I had rather have one of my own.

Click image of Sickles to learn more.

Click image of USA Major General Daniel Edgar Sickles to learn more.

N. B. While I was looking over this letter I heard that our pickets had brought in two Yankees, who said that they had deserted from Sickels Brigade which is on the other side of the River. opposite our Batteries one of our boys has seen them. I think I will go up directly and take a look at the gents.  I believe they are spies and ought to be hung