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?

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-

Oct8page2of2068

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.

27th Letter: Barefoot and Ragged (October 1, 1862)

In camp near Winchester Va

Oct 1st 62

Winchester_Virginia_Seal

Click image to learn about the history of Winchester, Virginia.

Dear Sir

I will write you a few lines, though I just wrote to Ma a few days since- + I rcd her letter of the 12wlt yesterday- This leaves me in good health- as also those of our company that are present-

I suppose ere this you have heard all of the particulars about our trip into Mary Land- I gave some account of it in my letter to Ma- so I will say nothing of it now- I think our Gens accomplished their purpose -vis – the 11000 Yankees at Harper’s Ferry –

Click image to read

Click image to learn about Shephardstown during the Civil War.

Since I last wrote I have heard that Rufe Shaw + Rese Houston were left at or near Shepardstown- and I would not be at all surprised if the Yankees got them- though one of our company – John Brown was left with them- I thought all the time that they were carried off with the rest of our boys, but they were not able to be moved at the time – I think if Rufe gets the proper attention he will get well-

October 1, 1862: page 1

October 1, 1862: page 1

We had a mint of men wounded in that fight, but never lost 1/3 as many killed as the Yankees- That was certainly one of the hardest contested battles that has ever been fought in this part of the army- I think we got the best of it- They were driven back on the left and we held our ground on the Right-

We have now about 200 men in the Regt and nearly 1/3 of them bare footed and all pretty ragged + I among the number.

October 1, 1862: pages 2 and 3

October 1, 1862: pages 2 and 3

We are in camp about 5 miles from Winchester, living on beef and bread, have not drawn any bacon in two weeks- We have now about 200 men in the Regt and nearly 1/3 of them bare footed and all pretty ragged + I among the number- I reckon we will draw shoes soon- I got a tolerably good pair of pants from Tubby that will do me untill I get those from home- You must write soon and give me all the news about that western army you can- for Ma and Mary never does in their letters – Wishing to hear from you soon I remain your devoted son PM Buford

P.S. Since writing I have heard that Rufe is in Winchester which I hope is so- he will receive proper attention there-


Blogger’s Notes:

  • Parham writes of his cousin, Rufus (Rufe) A. Shaw, and Rees (Rese) A. Houston again.  In the previous posted letter, it is explained that both were severely wounded at the Battle of Sharpsburg.
  • A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A. documents information about another comrade, John F. Brown, mentioned by Parham as staying behind at or near Shepardstown with Rufus Shaw and Rees Houston.  No mention is made in the before mentioned reference about John being present at Sharpsburg; it does indicate he was present two days at Second Manassas which occurred just prior to crossing into Maryland.  John was wounded and captured at Falling Waters, when after an exchange and furlough he was present again at Weldon Railroad two days, Dobbs Ferry, Davis Farm, Jones Farm, Hatcher’s Run, and Hawkes Farm, March 25, 1865.
  • Tubby” is Parham’s cousin, Goodloe Warren Buford, Jr.

 

26th Letter: “Pure Southern Air of Virginia” (September 22, 1862)

Near Martinsburg. Va

Sep. 22nd 1862.

Dear Mother-

Once more I am permitted to breath the pure Southern air of Va and to write you that I am have made the trip to Mary Land and am now well, though many from our Regt are lying under the sod of Mary Land cold in death.

September 33, 1862: page 1 of 5

I suppose you have ere this heard of the fight we had over the River, in my opinion one of the hardest fought battles that we have had in this army.  We had 8 wounded in our company, One mortally wounded H. Turner now dead, and only two dangerously Reese Houston and Rufe Shaw-I imagine with what sorrow the news will reach uncle Wms family- just after losing one son.  Rufe is badly wounded, but I do not think his wound is mortal, and the doctor thinks with the proper attention he will recover, the ball entered the left shoulder and came lodged just under the skin and under the shoulder blade.  I am in hopes he will soon get home, where he will be properly attended to.

Confederate troops marching West in Frederick, Maryland on East Patrick Street, September 12, 1862.  Click image to view source.

To learn more about Civil War history in Frederick County, click image of Confederate troops marching West on East Patrick Street, September 12, 1862.

I wrote to you the day before we crossed the Potomac, which letter I hope you rcd.  I will now give you a brief sketch of our trip into Mary Land. We crossed the River and went near Leesburg and went about 25 miles to Frederick city on the Baltimore and Ohio River Rail Road.  There we rested two days, to blow up the Rail Road Bridge at that Point, one of the finest I ever saw, made of Rock and iron.  It certainly cost millions of dollars.

We came through one or two more little towns rather bearing around towards the River again untill we came to Hagerstown where we halted a day + 1/2, wh were then in 6 miles of the Pensylvania line just as far north as I wanted to go.  We met with a few friends and plenty of enemies.  I think we got two Regiments of infantry- We got there a a few days before Lincolns draft was to take effect.  We left Hagerstown If we had had any gold and silver we could have bought any thing we wanted, things sold as cheap as dirt.  Our Quarter Masters got what shoes and clothing they could.

Sept 22 1862 2:3

September 22, 1862: pages 5 and 2 respectively of 5

At Hagerstown we learned that the enemy was after un us with a large force, so we turned back to meet them at the Mountain.  When our Division got there they were fighting in the mountain We had two Brigades there to hold it, but the Yankees flanked them on both sides driving them back and killing a great many. taking some prisoners.  They carried us up on the mountain and formed a line of batteries in the roughest kind of a place, it was then late in the evening.  Our Brigade had a skirmish with them after nights.  The 4th Ala + 2nd Miss fired several rounds, and the balls flew all as and bombs flew all around us, but hurt no one.  There was a few killed in the other Regiment. We lay in line of balls under 12 O clock when we fell back about 4 miles to a better position where we had the big fight.

The Yankees followed us next morning untill they came in sight, and then both sides lay there all day grinning at one another, preparing to fight next day.  

We had a little skirmish late in the evening. in which Lt Nelms was wounded and Graham of our company.  Col Liddell was mortally wounded with a piece of shell.  The ball that wounded Nelms did not miss me 3 in- We were lying down in the open ground exposed to a battery of the enemy.  We had been in front all day and after the skirmish was over we we were relieved by other troops.

September 22, 1862:  pages 3 and 4 respectively of 5

September 22, 1862: pages 3 and 4 respectively of 5

We drew some flour and salt that night and Tub Buford and Rufe Mitchel were detailed to coock it,- so they did not get into the fight next day. As soon as day dawned the enemy made the attack.  We were then in the rear in a skirt of woods, but still in mack of the enemys cannon- The bombs and Grape shot fell around us and in our ranks.  There were two or three wounded and one killed in Our Regt.  I was lying behind a a tree and a piece of shell came whizzing along and cut off a limb as big as my arm which fell at my feet, the battle had been raging then for two hours or more when we were ordered up- and away we went amid a showers of balls and bombs- We were ordered to charge, which we did.  We got in 150 yds of the enemys battery, had driven the infantry behind it and they were just fixing to leave when the enemy came in such force that we had to fall back.

Click image to learn more about Antietam.

Click image to view animated map of the Battle of Antietam.

Reese Houston was then wounded and I carried him off the field.  Lt Col Butler was wounded and left the field.  Major Ivans was killed and our Adjutant was wounded.  I could We held our ground, neither side gained any thing.  We lay in line of battle of all next day but the Yankees would not attack us and that night we crossed the River and it is said the Yankees fell back to the mountain that night also-

I must close for want of paper.  We are now lying in the woods resting and washing ourselves and and clothes.  I will send you a list of the killed and wounded in our comp.  I rcd yours and Marys letters yesterday- Send things by Newt that you spoke of.  Give my love to all the family and tell them to write.  I will write soon again and give particulars. Your devoted Son P.M. Buford


Blogger’s Notes:

  • This letter was written near Martinsburg, Virginia.  Little did Parham know that by year’s end, efforts would be made to snuff-out the “pure Southern air of Virginia” from Martinsburg.  An application would be made to Congress on December 31, 1862 for the admission of the Western region of Virginia to the Union.  Martinsburg would soon lie within the new state of West Virginia, the only state formed through secession from the Confederacy.
  • Parham was engaged in the following two battles during the Maryland Campaign since the previous posted letter:  Boonsborogh, Sharspburg (also known as Antietam).
  • A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A. documents information about comrades mentioned by Parham.
    • Hezekiah (H) Turner present at Boonsborough, where he was killed on the last day of the battle of Sharpsburg.
    • Rees A. Houston present at Sharpsburg, where he was severely wounded.
    • 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.  Is the wound described by Parham (i.e. ball entered the left shoulder and came lodged just under the skin and under the shoulder blade) also what resulted in damage to the lung? Although eventually retiring almost two years later, Rufus is not cited as having served in any battles following Sharspburg.
    • William G. Nelms, a 2nd Lt. whom Parham wrote of as being hit by a ball which narrowly missed him, was present at Seven Pines, where he was wounded; at Gaines’s Farm, where he was again severely wounded.  He was at Boonsborough and at Sharpsburg, when he was again wounded.  The second day at Sharpsburg he was more severely wounded.  He was present again at Gettysburg, when he was again severely wounded.  First day on Weldon Railroad he was wounded and on the second day he was again severely wounded; at Hawkes Farm he was again severely wounded on 25th of March, 1865, and was sent to hospital at Richmond, where he suffered for several months.  Finally he recovered and returned to Mississippi…He made a fine soldier, always ready for duty when not disabled…His record speaks more eloquently than any other words of ours, his devotion and service to the cause so dear to every true Southron, for it tells of the many scars which he bore upon his person, relics of the noble struggle he made for his country.  We trust that his brave spirit now rests in the peace which is eternal, and that he will meet his comrades in that reunion which shall have no end.
    • James H. Graham present at Boonsborough, Sharpsburg, where he was wounded on the second day of that battle…battle of the Wilderness, where he was again wounded on the second day…at Bethsaida Church, two days, and was no more with the company because of sickness.
    • Goodloe (Tub) W. Buford, Parham’s cousin, whom Parham wrote of as being on cooking duty was at Boonsborough, Wilderness, where he was wounded in the head…Hatcher’s Run, where he was again severely wounded in the hip.
    • Rufus N. Mitchell whom Parham wrote of as being on cooking duty was previously wounded at Seven Pines, and was absent on wounded furlough until the Battle of Boonsborough, and was present in every battle thereafter till close of the war except Hatcher’s Run, where he was on furlough.
  • Other individuals from the Regimental Staff mentioned by Parham are as follows.
    • Phillip Franklin Liddell, Lt. Col. died from wounds received at Sharpsburg.
    • Samuel F. Butler, Lt. Col. died from wounds received at Sharpsburg.
    • Taliaferro Sidney Evans, Major was killed at Sharpsburg.

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.

15th Letter: “Old Abe and All His Crew” (January 12, 1862)

THIS POST, SPECIFICALLY THE SECOND POINT IN THE BLOGGER’S NOTES, HAS BEEN UPDATED TO SHOW NEW INFORMATION.  CLICK FOLLOWING LINK TO VIEW UPDATE.  http://wp.me/p40u7G-yV

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Camp Fisher Jan 12th 62

Dear Sister

January 12, 1862: page 1

January 12, 1862: page 1

Again I am seated to perform the pleasant task of writing to you. I am enjoying fine health at present and hope this scrap will find you all down with the same complaint.

January 12, 1862: page 2

January 12, 1862: page 2

For the last week we have excellent weather, but the one previous will long be remembered by a majority of the Lamar Rifles. Last Sunday night we had heavy snow for Miss, but a light one for Va, remaining on the ground for two days, when a heavy sleet fell on that, and Thursday our company was detailed to go out on Picket Guard.  It was an extremely raw morning with a high North Wind, and the ground frozen as hard as a rock.

Photo source of Confederate Brigadier General Louis Trezevant Wigfall: Lawrence T. Jones III Texas Photographs, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University.  Click image to learn more.

Photo source of CSA Brigadier General Louis Trezevant Wigfall: Lawrence T. Jones III Texas Photographs, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University. Click image to learn more.

We had to go 3 miles, arriving there about 10 O Clock. We had a very comfortable house to stay in while off Guard, but the worst feature of all, was that the house was a church, where the before the war broke out the peaceful and happy inhabitants worshipped God, now the place expected for a fight with the Abolition hordes, who were the cause of all this carnage and bloodshed, and who will have to account for it at the bar of an a just and impartial God. It is on the Road where the approach of the enemy is expected. There are only two roads that an army can approach us and that is one of them, Wigfall’s Brigade guarding the other.

As soon as we arrived six were detailed to go out and relieved the old Guard which six stood all day. At dusk 10 others were detailed to relieve them and stand. the remainder of the da night, your humble servant Ruf Shaw being of that number.  There were two each post, and two posts, one on each side of the church. My post was on a very hill in a clump of cedars where I heard for a mile on in every direction it being in an old field.

January 12, 1862: page 3

January 12, 1862: page 3

About 7 O clock. it commenced raining. and never ceased it untill 8 O clock next morning. We were not allowed any fire on the post and had our guns loaded. As it was so extremely cold and wet, we were relieved every hour, the ordinary time being two hours. Those that were not on post had a fire under the brow of the hill where it could not be seen in the direction of the enemy. It was so dark after it commenced raining that you could not see an object 20 paces off. I stood four. hours. though the night. as there were ten of us we were relieved every fifth went on post every fifth hour.

Click image to listen to

Click image to listen to “Old Abe Lies Sick.”

The second time I was on I was standing in the rain and wind wishing old Abe and all his crew in the bottom of the Atlantic, when I thought I heard the tramp of an approaching of a horse going at full speed. I listened attentively, and I heard it distantly coming right toward us. I told the other fellow to get on one side of the road, I on the other. Directly he came tearing up the road and when 30 paces off I cocked my piece and halted him. I asked who he was, he said friend, I then told him to advance and give the counter sign, he said he did not have it. He wanted to go on anyhow. I told him there was no use in talking, that I could not let him pass. So I told the other fellow to there and I took him to the officer who released him. We were on a dangerous post, and if he had started off he would certainly have got a load in him. He was the only soul that I saw the whole night.

January 12, 1862: page 4

January 12, 1862: page 4

At present there is now talk of a fight here. I think the enemy will hardly attack us here this winter. I suppose they are waiting untill next spring, and right here the this great furlough arrangement comes up. Yesterday the Captain called out the company and gave us a little talk and wanted to know how many of us would reenlist for two or the war years. I think 52 have signified their intention to do so. Only one of our mess here, Walter.

Photo source of Union Major General George B. McClellan:  National Archives.  Click image to learn more.

Photo source of USA Major General George B. McClellan: National Archives. Click image to learn more.

13th. Since writing the other, Dick and Ruf both seem to me to be inclined to take it also. I can not say whether or not they will. I am as  yet on the fence and do not which way to jump. Though be for deciding I would rather hear the views of you all on the subject. I think myself it is a good arrangement for all the 12 months troops, for it would folly on our part to let all the volunteers go home in the spring, for them McClellan would over run our little army on the Potomac. But I had rather not reenlist for two years, and I want to be free to join any company I like at the end of my time.

I think I have written enough for the present, unless you conclude to write more. I rcd those pants yesterday, which came in good time, but I think what I have now will do me untill next spring. Let me know if you rcd that money and Pipe. Give my love to all the family and enquiring friends and ever remember your devoted brother P M Buford. You can let the family any of the family read this if they want.

Tell me Ma I will write to her soon. You must write written often and give me all the news that is afloat and especially about the 60 day company. I want to know who are the officers.


Blogger’s Notes:

  • Parham writes of Abolition hordes, misspelling hoards which means an amass or gathering.  Found in a few newspapers during the time, the term abolition hoards was periodically used to refer to Union forces.
  • Parham’s thoughts on the U.S. abolition movement and slavery are unknown. According to the 1860 United States Federal Census records, he did not live in a slave owning household the year before the war.
  • Old Abe is 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.
  • This is the first letter where Parham provides a political opinion about who caused the war and of Old Abe and all his crew.  Like most Southerners of the time, Parham may have come from a conservative Democratic family; Abraham Lincoln represented the new liberal Republican party.  The two parties have since reversed roles.