28th Letter: Fathers Visit Wounded Sons (October 8, 1862)

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October 8, 1862: page 1

Camp near Winchester Va, Oct 8th- 62

Dear Sister- Again I will avail myself of the present opportunity to send you a few lines- I am enjoying good health and hope this may find you all likewise-

I have no news of interest to communicate- I have never heard from Rufe Shaw yet, nor have I any chance. Old Man Houston came here two days ago to see his son- they are both together at Shephardstown just this side of the River- I expect to hear some thing from him when Houston returns-

Photo is of Walter Scott Buford.

Click image of Walter Scott Buford to view source.

Uncle Newton is with Walter at Warrenton or Richmond, and most all the boys rcd letters by him except me, I was sure you would send a letter- I rcd one from Aunt Polly last week, they were all well, but did not have much to eat, as well as myself.

We have been here two weeks and have not eaten any thing, but beef and bread, and hardly enough of that and haven’t draw did drawn bacon but once- nor can we forage any, for they won’t let us out of the lines- and it won’t pay to buy any thing that is brought in to sell- apples 50 cts pr dozen, honey 1$ per lb- and so on

Our Rgt had just 100 men on drill this morning and this time last year, we had 800- We have now just about 150 for duty- the result of 6 fights that we have been in- I suppose you have heard all the particulars of our last fight by this time, if not let me know in your next & I will particularize-

You may rest assured that I never want be in another battle, such as the last- I could tell you things I saw that would sicken you, but I refrain-  I have myself become some what used to such sights, which I thought I never could do-

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October 8, 1862: pages 2 and 3

Some think that there will be another big fight soon, but there is no telling- I believe the Yankees here are as willing to rest awhile as we are- If they don’t fight in less than a month I don’t believe they will fight anymore this winter- You may rest assured that I never want be in another battle, such as the last- I could tell you things I saw that would sicken you, but I refrain- I have myself become some what used to such sights, which I thought I never could do-

I must close for the present, having nothing to interest you- Write me a long-long letter as soon as this is rcd. Give my love to all the family & servants – & to all enquiring friends- Wishing an immediate reply I remain your affectionate and ever faithful Brother

PM Buford


Blogger’s Notes:

  • A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A. documents information about comrades mentioned in this letter by Parham.
    • Rees A. Houston present at Sharpsburg, where he was severely wounded.  Although this letter does not specifically mention Rees by name, we know it is him that Parham writes of because he is the son of  Old Man Houston.
    • Rufus A. Shaw, Parham’s cousin, 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 Sharspburg.
    • 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.]  
  • Thomas Newton Buford, referred to as Uncle Newton by Parham, is mentioned in this letter as visiting with his son, Walter, in either Richmond or Warrenton.  What Parham does not yet know when writing this letter on October 8th is that Walter passed away 23 days earlier on September 15th.  Parham will soon learn of this tragic turn of events and write of it in his next letter.
  • It is assumed that both Old Man Houston and Uncle Newton have traveled from Mississippi to Virginia to visit their wounded sons.
  • Mary Polly Buford, referred to as Aunt Polly by Parham, is indicated to have written a letter about her side of the family not having much food to eat.  Aunt Polly and Parham’s biological father, though not siblings, share a grandfather who was an American Revolutionary War veteran.
  • Parham mentioned there is a shortage of food provisions and that he and his comrades are not permitted to forage for food.  Why was this?  Could it be that the army could not afford to have its dwindling numbers picketed off?  In one year’s time, their numbers dropped from about 800 to 15o as a result of six engagements with the Yankees.
  • Parham referred to the last battle at Sharpsburg, known as Antietam by the Federals, indicating that he never wants to be in such a battle again and that he will refrain from mentioning the horrors he has grown accustomed to witnessing.
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Dear Sir

Who is Sir that Parham writes to in his fourth and fifth letters?  In the fifth letter, Parham identifies Sir as Mr. S Luckie.  The requests made by Parham in these before mentioned letters are of the nature of one writing to another within the same household, like a son to a father.  The November 6th posting entitled Family Connections, however, shows that Parham’s biological father (my great-great-great grandfather) passed away within two years of the birth of his son and 20 days after the birth of his daughter (my great-great grandmother).  Parham’s mother, Ann A. Buford (my great-great-great grandmother), married Samuel Luckie, III some time after the passing of her first husband and the passing of Samuel’s first wife.  The 1860 United States Federal Census shows these two households were joined together, making Sir or Samuel Luckie, III Parham’s step-father.

Many Bufords and a number of Luckies are buried in the College Hill Presbyterian Church Cemetery. Parham's mother, father, and step-father as well as the step-father's first wife are buried here. College Hill was founded in 1836 by Goodloe Warren Buford (father of Thomas and Goodloe Buford of 11th Mississippi, Company G) who donated land for the Presbyterian church, cemetery, and school.  Union General Sherman camped his troops on the property using the church for a hospital. American writer and 1949 Nobel Prize laureate, William Faulkner, from Oxford, Mississippi was married at this church.  The facility today is used by a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) denomination.  Photo source: http://hottytoddy.com/2013/06/26/faulkner-grant-walked-the-aisles-of-oxfords-college-hill-church/

Many Bufords and a number of Luckies are buried in the College Hill Presbyterian Church Cemetery. Parham’s mother, father, and step-father as well as the step-father’s first wife are buried here. College Hill was founded in 1836 by Goodloe Warren Buford (father of Thomas and Goodloe Buford of 11th Mississippi, Company G) who donated land for the Presbyterian church, cemetery, and school. Union troops under General Grant and General Sherman encamped on the property.  American writer and 1949 Nobel Prize laureate, William Faulkner, was married at this church. The facility today is used by a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).  Photo source: http://hottytoddy.com/2013/06/26/faulkner-grant-walked-the-aisles-of-oxfords-college-hill-church/