23rd Letter: Run Away (July 11, 1862)

In camp two miles from Richmond Va

My Dear Parents-              July. 11th, 62-

July 11 1862 1/2

July 11, 1862: page 1

Again I am permitted to pen you a few lines, which I think you will surely get as it will be carried by Newt Shaw who was wounded in the ever memorable battle before Richmond in which we drove the enemy 25 miles, where they sought shelter under their Gun Boats- I will not give any particulars about the fight as he can tell you all you want to know about that fight and the one at Seven Pines

Parham describes the Yankees as fleeing

Parham describes the Yankees as fleeing “every man for himself” like a “gang of sheep.”

We drove the enemy out of two breastworks made of logs and supported by 10 pieces of artillery which we took I mean our Brigade. We had four killed in our company and 10 or 12 wounded. When we charged, we never stopped untill within 30 yards of the first breastwork, where we halted and commenced shooting, being there about 15 minutes during which time I think I shot 15 rounds, the minie ball and canister shot- falling as thick as hail in our devoted ranks. They give the order to charge again and down the hill we went with a yell. and before we got within 20 ft of the breast work the Yankees started, every man for himself throwing away every thing that impeded their progress- They went like a gang of sheep, then I wanted a double barreled Shot-Gun.  I shot 20 rounds altogether, took one prisoner and got one bullet hole through my coat sleeve. As I said before Newt can tell you all the particulars so I will close, for I know you can hardly read this.

July 11 1862 2/2

July 11, 1862: page 2

One of our best men, Mr Paine was killed- though I think he is in a better world than this-

You all must write every opportunity. I will do the same. for I believe we will get some rest now- Nothing more at present. I remain your devoted son

P M Buford


Blogger’s Notes:

  • This rushed letter is a brief recap of the previous two already posted.  Parham mentioned in the previous letter that his cousin, Newt Shaw, was wounded during the Battle of Gaines’ Mill.  Here we see that Newt returns home to recover and hand delivers this letter to Parham’s parents in College Hill, Mississippi.
  • A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A. documents information about comrades mentioned by Parham.
    • David B. (DB) Paine was during Gaines’s Mill mortally wounded and died at Field Hospital, June 27, 1862…He deserves more than a brief mention when speaking of faithful soldiers.  He was most methodical and conscientious in the discharge of every duty called upon to perform, and…that the Confederacy lost a hero who deserves to be held in loving memory in the person of David Brainerd Paine. This 21 year old man left quite an impression on survivors of the Lamar Rifles 40 years later and was held in high regard by Parham in letters.  What greater legacy is there for one to leave behind than to be described by comrades as ever faithful in carrying-out duties and Christian?
    • William N. (Newt) Shaw was present at…Gaines’s Farm and was absent wounded until he was present second day at Sharpsburg…at Weldon Railroad, where he was killed on first day.

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22nd Letter: “They Fell Like Pigeons” (June 30, 1862)

Hanover Cty Va

June 30th

62

Dear Mother,

Again I have been spared by an overruling Providence to pass through another engagement with the enemy of a desperate character, the result of which was a glorious victory of the Confederates, but alas, sad thought, it was accompanied with the killing of two of our company and wounding 18.  Sargt Duncan was killed and the ever faithful and Christian solider, D B Paine – my mess mate, and the wounding of Newt Shaw in the shoulder and Charley Gaston, though neither of them are dangerous, Newts was slightly in the shoulder.

I tried twice to write to you all after we left Staunton but they marched us so fast, that I could not get time to finish it, though I would like to give you the details of our sojourn at Staunton, but the Great Battle before Richmond is now the subject of conversation.

Click image of CSA Lieutenant General Thomas Jonathan

Click image of CSA Lieutenant General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson to learn more.

Gen Johnson attacked the Yankees in front while Gen Jackson went to their rear. Gen Whitings division joined Jackson at Staunton and from there we took the cars and came with in ten miles of Ashland, and marched there that night where Gen Whiting told us we would draw 3 days rations of beef and crackers and crack crackers coock our beef without utensils and be ready to march at daylight, and that we were going right into the enemy enemies lines.

June 30, 1862: page 1

June 30, 1862: page 1

Sure enough we commenced the march in the rear of the evening led by the renowned Stonewall Jackson. Our Division was in front but the Texas Brigade was the advance Guard. After going about 5 miles – we came upon some of the enemy, the Texas scouts capturing several of them, They burned a bridge after them and tried to plant a battery on the other side from us, but we pressed them too close, bringing up our artillery, fired one or two rounds at them, killing two and wounding several, when they put out in Bull Run style, they had also cut trees in the road, but we soon had another one cut out and a bridge made, and kept pushing on.

Click image of Confederate Lieutenant John Bell Hood to learn more.

Click image of CSA Lieutenant John Bell Hood to learn more.

Late in the evening the Texas Brigade had a skirmish with them, which resulted in their rout again, we were quickly drawn up in line of battle, but the Texans met them again and did not give us a chance. We started much marching and marched slowly along feeling our way, for we were there in the enemys lines, and of course had to go slow. We crept along until about 4 O clock in the evening, (Friday) when we heard the artillery open to our right – and after awhile the rattle of musketing which got faster and heavier.  We moved off at quick time.

Click image of Lieutenant General Ambrose Powell (A.P.) Hill to learn more.

Click image of CSA Lieutenant General Ambrose Powell (A.P.) Hill to learn more.

Gen Longstreet Hills Division had opened the ball, We formed a line of battle in an old field.  by this time, the enemys Guns Battery began to play on us and at least two miles. It was the third shot I think that blowed a Texans head off and wounded Sargt Goodwin. in three feet of me. We then started and went through a ravine 12 men deep and got into the open field in full view of the enemys battery with was at least a mile and half off, the grape shot, canisters and shell falling thick and fast in our devoted ranks. Two divisions had tried to dislodge the enemy, but failed, when Gen Whiting rode out in front of us and told us to charge the Yankees. We never stopped untill within 30 yds of the enemies first breastwork. There was a branch between us and the first one, which was 8 ft wide, the banks being 6 ft high and perfectly straight.  It had The first one was about 20 steps from the branch, made of logs about 4 ft high and the same width at the bottom and placed so closely that it seemed almost impossible for a ball to go through it without an accident, and beside that one they had another about 30 steps further up on the hillside. behind both of which the Yankees were thick as they could be, and where the breastworks were, the bushes and trees were so thick we could not see where the enemy was by the flash of their guns, and up on top of the hill they had 8 pieces of artillery. When we stopped and commenced firing on them, we were in plain open view and exposed to the fire of the Yankees from both redoubts and the Battery.

June 30, 1862: page 2

June 30, 1862: page 2

They gave the order to charge again and we darted down the hill with a yell, into the branch and by the time we got over the Yanks started. We fired at them and they fell like pigeons. We climbed the first one and before we got to the next one they were out of it and going at full tilt. They tried to rally at their guns, but it was no use, they had started and had no idea of stopping. They had messed up two pieces and started off with them, but our balls killed enough of the hordes to stop the Guns. We drove them on before us, beyond the batteries at least a mile into the swamp.

They never saved a single piece out of the battery that we took. They threw away guns knapsacks haversacks –  every thing that would impede their progress. They give our Rgt and 4th Ala the credit of taking 8 peices. The battle extended for 4 miles and we drove them back at all points – taking 30 or 40 pieces of artillery.

June 30, 1862: page 3

June 30, 1862: page 3

It is certain that we have routed them and have taken 15 or 20,000 prisoners. It is said that we have got them surrounded, but I don’t know what to believe about it. I was unwell the evening. we went into the fight, but, as soon as we were fairly into it the excitement drove it all away, that evening we piled our blankets and lost them all, and I was without any that night, and was perfectly wet to the knees, and tried to sleep and couldn’t,

I hope I may never live to witness such a sight again.

Our Lt Col said he wanted some men to help him with the wound wounded, so I went with him and was up all night, waiting on the wounded. untill day light. I hope I may never live to witness such a sight again, men groaning, shivering and weltering in their blood. This is monday and the fight was on Friday and there is are some of our wounded on the field and some have died from want of attention. I will drop this subject for this time. I know in this you will hear more than I can tell you now.

June 30, 1862: page 4

June 30, 1862: page 4

I left Rgt yesterday, I have cold from reposun and my bowels are deranged but I think I will be able to join the Rgt in a few days. I will give you a list of the ill and wounded. Jess Hardgrove and Pierce were the only ones that are dangerous and I think they will get well. I will write you again as soon as possible.

I took a capt prisoner and had a hole cut in my coat sleeve by a minie ball and I am quite certain I killed the Yankee that did it.  He shot at me as I was going over the first breast work. I shot at him as he ran and saw him fall. I must close for want of paper. Give my love to all the family and enquiring friends. Write as soon as possible to your devoted son P.M.B.


Blogger’s Notes:

  • This is the third letter in a row in which Parham began by acknowledging an overruling Providence as the reason he was spared in battle, the previous two describing the Battle of Seven Pines, this one the Battle of Gaines’ Mill.
  • Following the Battle of Seven Pines described in the previous letter, Parham was transported along with the 11th Mississippi by rail car from the Richmond area to Staunton, Virginia to join CSA Major General Stonewall Jackson’s (Shenandoah) Valley Army.  Shortly after arrival, the 11th Mississippi began the rapid march back toward Richmond.  Parham wrote that he tried twice to write to you all after we left Staunton but they marched us so fast, that I could not get time to finish it.  Stonewall Jackson had the unique ability to motivate his men to undergo sustained rapid marches, earning them the nom de guerre Jackson’s Foot Cavalry.
  • A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A. documents information about comrades mentioned by Parham.
    • William G. Duncan was promoted to Corporal August, 1861, and to Fifth Sergeant April 4, 1862.  He was killed at Gaines’s Farm.
    • David B. (DB) Paine was during Gaines’s Mill mortally wounded and died at Field Hospital, June 27, 1862…He deserves more than a brief mention when speaking of faithful soldiers.  He was most methodical and conscientious in the discharge of every duty called upon to perform, and…that the Confederacy lost a hero who deserves to be held in loving memory in the person of David Brainerd Paine. This 21 year old man left quite an impression on survivors of the Lamar Rifles 40 years later and was held in high regard by Parham in this letter.  What greater legacy is there for one to leave behind than to be described by comrades as ever faithful in carrying-out duties and Christian?
    • William N. (Newt) Shaw was present at…Gaines’s Farm and was absent wounded until he was present second day at Sharpsburg…at Weldon Railroad, where he was killed on first day.
    • Charles (Charley) Gaston was wounded at Gaines’s Farm…wounded again at Spottsylvania; present at Hanover Junction, and was absent wounded until close of war.  Slightly wounded by sharpshooter June 5th, 1864.
    • Jesse (Jess) Hardgrove was present at Seven Pines, Gaines’s Farm, and White Oak Swamp, and died June 29, 1862, from the effects of wound.  Parham must not have been aware about Hardgrove’s passing at the time of writing the letter the following day.
    • William A. Pierce at Gaines’s Farm was wounded…then wounded at Bethsaida Church.
  • The Texas Brigade Parham wrote about was commanded by CSA Lieutenant General John Bell Hood whom US Army Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas is named after.
  • Click image to hear the rebel yell.

    Click image to hear the “Rebel Yell.”

    Parham stated they gave the order to charge again and we darted down the hill with a (Rebel) yell.  The Yankee’s retreat which followed was described as Bull Run style, meaning the Union soldiers dropped everything, turned around, and fled at full speed as they had at First Battle of Bull Run (also known as First Battle of Manassas).

21st Letter: “Some of Us Must Die” (June 8, 1862)

Miss Mary J. Buford

College Hill

Lafayette. Cty Miss

Politeness of A G Burney

Camp near Richmond

Va

June 8th, 1862

Dear Sister.

June81862 page 2:4

June 8, 1862: page 1

I sent a letter to Ma two days ago by one of our company that was going home and as another one is going home tomorrow I will write you a few lines. though I have nothing of much interest to write as I sent most of the particulars in that letter, both of which I do sincerely hope you will receive.

This again leaves all well and in good spirits, considering that we have not had a change of clothing and been eating bacon and crackers and running about for two weeks. I know ere either one of my letters reaches you you will have heard of the bloody fight that we were engaged in. I will not give any particulars in this letter as I am sure you will get the other, as it was sent by hand.

It was by the interposition of a kind providence that as many of us escaped unhurt as did. There was three two that we know was killed and another that we think was killed, besides 27 of them that was k wounded and several that will not join the company.  One that I know of th had his right arm amputated. Two missing. Dick Shaw and Joe Markett, poor fellows I am afraid that if not killed, they are taken prisoners. We have never heard one word from them since the fight, which was a week ago yesterday (Saturday). I know with what feelings the news will be received at Uncle Williams, but we must bear up with it as best we can, for some of us must die before we can gain our independence.

but we must bear up with it as best we can, for some of us must die before we can gain our independence.

June81862 page4:4 1

June 8, 1862: page 2

Of the College Hill boys Dick and Frank Hope and Jim Doak. and Jno Doak were among the wounded killed and missing. Frank had a slight wound in the foot Jno Doak in the arm, and Jim Doak was killed died on the field, making 32 in all and 192 in the Rgt.

Several times limbs that were cut off by the Grape shot fell on me, once the blood out of a man flew into my face and a musket ball knocked the dirt into my eyes.  You can imagine how thick and fast an they fell from the casualties in our Rgt, but our men were crowned with success.  We took between 800 and 1000 prisoners, got possession of their camp and equipage and took 15 or 18 pieces of artillery, though we lost a great many men, and all reports say the enemys lofs was twice as great as ours.

When going to the battle field- we went through a Yankee camp which they had ????? suddenly deserted, which for comfort is nothing to compare with ours. All of them have a large Oil cloths to make tents of, and they had left coffee and sugar and whiskey + fine clothes +. all of which we got. I found an envelope with five letters in it and it, one or two of which I will send you, which certainly a rarity. An old woman sent her son “five cents” in a letter and was anxious to know if he got it and the old man sent him a dollar to buy his cigars and tobacco with. I read something that was really too obscene for a gentleman to write. It was to Wm Moore 52nd Rgt Pa Vols.

After the fight Saturday, we lay in a thickett of woods close to where Sunday morning close to where they were fighting, but did not get into it. They threw shell all around us, but did not no damage, but killed two and wounded two in the fourth Ala Rgt. The enemy were again whipped, but I know nothing of the particulars, For two hours the artillery and musketry made one continual roar.

We have been moving about in the woods from one place to another to keep the enemy from seeing us, untill the day before yesterday our regiment was the advance guard. We were laying in a hollow and in an old field about 1/2 mile from the Yankees. Our skirmishers saw them once and fired at them, when they returned, We staid there untill dark when we were relieved by another Rgt. In going through the field we could see their white tents plainly. We came about 2 miles yesterday to this place, where we are now staying, waiting to see what will turn up next. They have an artillery duel nearly every day, but we have become so used to those sounds that we pay no attention to them whatever.  

June 8, 1862: page 3

June 8, 1862: page 3

I must close for want of paper. as I will have to take one side of this for an envelope.  I rcd a letter another letter yesterday from the old man Mr. L and Ma which was truly welcome, dated May 26th.  Our Gens say they are done retreating and I reckon Richmond will be our Post Office for a good while.  Be sure and answer this immediately. Give my love to all the family. Tell Ma I will write to her next. Newt and Rufus are both sick in Richmond. but I think they will return shortly. Wishing to hear from you immediately I remain as ever your devoted Brother and faithful friend.

P.M. Buford

Co G. 11th Miss Rgt. Richmond Va


Blogger’s Notes:

  • June81862 page 1:4

    June 8, 1862: wax sealed folded paper used as envelope

    The letter was folded such that the reverse side on one sheet served like the outside of an envelope.  There is a burnt orange waxy residue on the paper which likely served as a means of sealing the letter until its final destination.

  • Written faintly, almost too light to decipher, on the lower left side on the outside of the folded letter are the words Politeness of A G Burney.  The blogger believes this indicates Parham’s comrad, Addison G. Burney, hand delivered this letter from the battlefront in Virginia to College Hill, Mississippi for Mary to read.  Addison was severely wounded during the first day of the Battle of Seven Pines and likely returned home to recover; he returns back to the infantry, is mortally wounded, and died May 12, 1864 at the Battle of Spotsylvania.
  • A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A. documents information about comrades mentioned by Parham.
    • Frank Hope was seriously injured during the battle of Seven Pines, on account of which he was absent from the Company until the battle of Gettysburg.
    • Robert (Dick) Shaw, Parham’s cousin, was present at Seven Pines and captured. Exchanged August 9, 1862, and died of scurvy at Richmond very soon after in the same month.
    • Flavius J. (Joe) Market was a fine, stalwart youth, I suppose six feet or nearly tall, handsome and a manly fellow and good soldier…was killed at Seven Pines…The patriot could do no more than give his life for his country. May he rest in peace.
    • Jim (James) Doak was present at Seven Pines, where he was killed in battle.
    • John M. Doak was present and wounded at Seven Pines.
    • Rufus Shaw, Parham’s cousin, was present at Seven Pines…at Sharpsburg, where he was severely wounded…was retired July, 1864 by reason of wound through left lung.
    • William N. (Newt) Shaw was present at Seven Pines…at Weldon Railroad, where he was killed on first day.
  • Click image to view speech from movie

    Click image to view speech from movie “Gods and Generals.”

    Parham reveals his perspective in this letter on why he is fighting, to gain independence from the United States of America.  Americans today call their forefathers Patriots; however, they were known as Rebels by the armies of King George III of England.  Several generations later, the armies of President Abraham Lincoln likewise referred to Confederate soldiers as Rebels.  Both the Patriots and the Confederates had succeeded from a government.  Both King George III and President Abraham Lincoln sent military forces to “suppress the rebellion” of those who had declared their independence.

  • Parham writes of rummaging through letters in a Yankee camp which they (i.e. the enemy) had suddenly deserted. Specifically mentioned are letters to Wm Moore of the 52nd Pennsylvania Volunteers, one of which contains details too obscene for any gentleman (i.e. Parham) to write down.  Records show there were two individuals within Company C, 52nd Pennsylvania at that time whose letters these could have been.  The first is Wm. J. Moore who was discharged from the U.S. Army less than three months later on August 29, 1862 on a surgeon’s certificate.  The second is William Moore who was mustered out for completing his term of service on November 5, 1864.

18th Letter: Crowded in Muddy Boxcars (April 11, 1862)

April 11th, 1862

Camp near at

Ashland VA

Dear Sister.

April 11, 1862:  page 1

April 11, 1862: page 1

Again I will drop you a few lines to inform you of my situation and condition. I wrote to Ma last week which letter I hope was rcd though I have not heard from any of you yet.

BApr 11 1862 page 2

April 11, 1862: page 2

We have just experienced one of the severest marches on the record of the Larmar Rifles. Last Monday I went on guard last and about 10 O clock in the morning it commenced raining and continued until Wednesday night.  About 3 O C Tuesday evening morning while on post I heard a drum beat and presently until the rest of our own struck up.  I then began to think something was in the wind.  In a few moments the order came for us to commence cooking and be ready to march at any moment.  It was then raining and it was with the greatest of difficulty that fires could be started, though we made out to get some bread and meat cooked by daylight. At 8 O C we were ordered to strike tents and leave for parts unknown to us. Our Col said that he would have either the blankets or knapsacks for us. We traveled 12 miles that day through the mud and rain and halted in a pine thicket for the night. It was a very disagreeable night indeed We were perfectly wet it was still drizzling rain and you know that we had no sleep that night. I slept two hours I suppose and not a wink the night before.

April 11, 1862:  page 3

April 11, 1862: page 3

Dick Shaw fell in the water that was day and was sick at night. He only went about two miles next day and that was last I saw of him until last night when he came in still sick, but I think he will be well in a few days.

April 11, 1862:  page 4

April 11, 1862: page 4

The next in That day we went between 12 and 15 miles to a stain station on the Richmond and Fredricksburg Railroad. That was undoubtedly the severest march this company ever experienced.

The First day I stood it as well as any one in the Rgt and would have done it the second if it had not been for my feet. I suppose you recollect the thin pair of shoes that I left home; I thought I could not march in them and got a pair of boots from Newt Shaw. The second day my feet began to hurt me and it was with great difficulty that I could keep with the Rgt. The boots did not fit my feet and the skin was actually rubbed in five places when I arrived here and still I was with the company when it came, though there was only 20 and we started with 60 odd.

Click image to learn more about Milford Station during the war.

Click image to learn more about Milford Station during the war.

On the second evening we came to Milford station to take the cars.  We stood there in the rain and sleet for two hours waiting for the Ala & Miss Regt to get aboard. You may imagine your thoughts at that time. Every one of us was wet to the skin, and positively I could not see a man but what was shivering like a leaf. We were at last crowded into a boxcar without any thing to sit on and the mud on the floor at least 3 inches deep. We arrived here about 10 O C Wednesday night almost frozen.

As soon as we landed we made a fire out of the cord wood at the depot and about the time our fire got to burning good, we were ordered to leave it and not burn that wood. We moved out and started another fire and in two hours another informal officer told us to leave there that we might set some houses afire. Some of the boys cursed him untill he sounded ashamed and left and that was the last of him.

Click image to learn more about Union Major General Don Carlos Buell.

Click image to learn more about USA Major General Don Carlos Buell.

This is all the paper I have at present and will give you all the remaining particulars in my next letter.  I suppose you will be pleased to learn that I got that box of provisions a few days before we left. Everything was good but the ribs, they were spoiled. When we left we took the butter and hams in our haversacks. The sausage meat was rather old but splendid.  We heard of the defeat death of Buell and the defeat of his army at Corinth.  I do hope it is sure though we  have heard no particulars as of yet.

We are half way between Fredricksburg & Richmond, to reinforce at Y Yorktown or Fredricksburg either. I am anxious to hear from you all and from our brave friends at Corinth. Give my best respects to all inquiring friends and write immediately. Direct your letter to Ashland. We may be gone before you caught a letter here but it will be sent to me Va


Blogger’s Note:

Parham wrote about hearing of the death of Buell and the defeat of his army at Corinth. This was clearly a rumor based on misinformation among the troops; Union Major General Don Carlos Buell lived another 36 years.

8th Letter: Schooners and War Ships (October 20, 1861)

Camp Fisher Oct 20th 1861

Dear Mother,

Oct. 20 pt 1

October 20, 1861: page 1

I rcd yours and sisters [appears “the old mans” has been ripped off and “sisters” penciled in, possibly in another hand] letters two days ago which afforded me the greatest pleasure.

I have no news of importance to communicate.  We are hemed [sic] up here and never hear news, nor know anything only what is going on just around us.

I am enjoying good health at present having entirely recovered from the cold I had.  Newt and Dick are both complaining, but not very sick.  There is not much sickness in our Regiment at this time.  Though one died yesterday.

UnknownOur Battery on the River captured two schooners, loaded with Hay, Whiskey, and Corn. They also injured the War Vessle [sic] Pawnee, and thought she would sink if she did not get help soon. They have fired on our Batteries several times, but have done no damage yet.

It is thought we will have a fight pretty soon up about Mannassa [sic], but it is all conjecture, no privates know anything in these wars.  We now have orders to be prepared to march at a moments warning. We may march to morrow [sic] and may be a week, no one knows.

We got our cooking utensils last week and now doing our own cooking. I can make very good [“good” written in pencil, possibly in another hand] bread, good coffee, good stake [sic]. One of our mess has sent to Richmond for a negro– though I do not know [“know” written in pencil, possibly in another hand] whether he will come or not.

The Shaw boys rcd their winter goods yesterday all safe and sound.  Mine has not yet come, though I am not in need of them just now.

October 20, 1861: page 2

October 20, 1861: page 2

I must close for want of something to write. Tell Mary Jane and the [appears torn from page, possibly said “old man”] I will write to them soon.  Give my best respects to all the family and receive a portion for yourself. I remain as ever your devoted son.

P M Buford