30th Letter: Negroes Gone, Houses Burned, Food Destroyed (January 17, 1863)

Goldsboro NC Jan. 17th, 63.

Dear Mother-

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Click image of USA General Grant’s forces encamped at Oxford, Mississippi to learn more.

From what I can learn the mails to Oxford are now in operation, so there is once more a chance to hear from our beloved and down trodden homes. You can not have the least idea how anxious I am to hear from you and still at the same time I almost shudder to hear of the condition those infernal Yankees have left you in, but I hope they have left you all enough to subsist on-

I thought I would not write untill I was certain you would get my letter. Several of the boys have already rcd letters direct from home but none from our immediate neighbor- Tom Buford arrived a few days scince bringing some news about their operations in that quarter- he told me that old Peter and family had gone and that…

…nearly all the negroes in the county had gone that they had destroyed all that the people had to subsist on, even to the last fowl-

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Click image of Henry G. Fernandez to view source.

I learned also that they had burnt Fernandez house- and cut up generally, but as yet, I have heard nothing positive.

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Image is of Southern men taking the Oath of Allegiance to the United States.

I hope you may receive this soon and give me all particulars- and tell me particularly who took the oath of Allegiance. I just imagine they have utterly ruined that country- but I believe there is a day of retribution coming sooner or later- I have enjoyed excellent health and doing as well as could be expected under the circumstances, but it is with a sad heart that I hear of the death of so many good and brave men by the ball of the vile invader. Two evenings scince I heard of the death of John Buford George Hope and the wounding of several other boys from our neighborhood-

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Click image to learn more about CSA Brigadier General Joseph Robert Davis.

The last letter I rcd from home was just after we left Cullpeper Cty. We left our old Brigade to form one composed of Miss boys commanded by Joe Davis a nephew of Jefferson- We staid at Richmond a month, when we were ordered to this place where the Yankees were trying to make an entrance- They had a small fight at H Kinston, 20 miles below and came up this far when they burnt the K Rail Road Bridge, but hearing that we were on our way here to reinforce they retreated back to Newborn where there is now said to be about 50,000 intending to attack this place Welden and Wilmington, but there is no telling what they will do.

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Click image of North Carolina’s 1861 flag to prepare for your visit to this friendly state.

I am much better pleased with the old North state than I expected- We are living high, at this time on corn dodgers and Potatoes- rareties that we have not been used to- The people around here have not much wealth but they are good livers and as are as free hearted a people as it has ever been my lot to meet with.

We are encamped in a perfect Pine Thicket and it takes all the soap we can get to keep the Pine smoke off. We have a snug chimney to our tent and can fare finely this winter if they will only let us stay here- but our movements will be altogether owing to the movements of the enemy.

I must close for want of paper which I expect you need. Write soon and let me know the worst. We will draw money soon I will let you have mine if you need it. Give my love to all the family and tell them to write immediately. Tell the old man  to write as soon as he can I will write to him next. I would like to write more, but have not the paper. Let me hear from you as soon as possible. Ever your true and devoted son. P M Buford

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Blogger’s Notes:

  • This letter contains several complex topics.
    • The Emancipation Proclamation went into effect 16 days before this letter was written.
    • Total war upon civilian population shattered the morale of Southerners at home and serving far away.
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      Click image to learn about UDC.

      Those who took the Oath of Allegiance to the United States before the war’s end were viewed as traitors and cowards.  No Confederate ancestor who took the Oath of Allegiance before April 9, 1865, shall be eligible to be used for application for membership within the United Daughters of the Confederacy. If proof of further Confederate service is available, thereby nullifying the Oath of Allegiance, the ancestor shall be considered for approval.

  • John Buford, likely an extended family member who served in a different regiment, is mentioned by Parham when he writes of the death of so many good and brave men by the ball of the vile invader.
  • Joseph (Joe) R. Davis, CSA Brigadier General, nephew of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, served in Mississippi senate during pre-war years.
  • A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A. documents information about comrades mentioned by Parham.
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      Click image of Thomas P. Buford to view source.

      Thomas (Tom) P. Buford, Parham’s cousin who brought the camp news of Northern operations in Oxford,  enlisted April 26, 1861; twenty-eight years old and single.  He was present at Seven Pines; was reported sick for several months of catarrh and bronchitis on Blackwater near Suffolk; he was furloughed to Mississippi.  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, 1863.

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      Photo source of George W. Hope: “Lamar Rifles: A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A.”

      George W. Hope, who hand-carried a previous letter to Parham’s family, enlisted April 26, 1861. Born in Mississippi, a student, single and 20 years old.  He was discharged…by reason of accidental wound through left wrist. [After recovery he reenlisted in the 30th Mississippi and did gallant service for his country in that command.  Was killed at battle of Murfreesboro, Tenn.]

    • Henry G. Fernandez, whose house was burned during the Union occupation, enlisted April 26, 1861; twenty years old and single.  He was present first and second days at Seven Pines, Gaines’s Farm, White Oak Swamp, Malvern Hill, Freeman’s Ford, Thoroughfare Gap, first day, Second Manassas, second day, Sharpsburg; first day, Gettysburg, Falling Wilderness, and on account of ill health was never with the Company any more.

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.