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.
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9th Letter: Missing Overcoat Found (October 27, 1861)

Camp Fisher Oct 27th 1861

Dear Sister,

I will now attempt to answer your pencil note though I have no news of importance to communicate.

I have a slight cold at present, but that is nothing uncommon here. There is not much sickness in camp except mumps, which I have missed so far.

We have had some very cold weather for the last week, with heavy frosts, but we sleep very comfortably with our blankets and pine straw.

mapOur Colonel came back yesterday and brought with him a deserter from this Regt, who he overhauled at Okolona. I think he will be shot. for I can’t see what else they can do for him.

Click image of General William Henry Chase Whiting to learn more.

Click image of CSA General William Henry Chase Whiting to learn more.

Last Monday We had an awful march of about 12 miles. The day before we had orders to pack up all our extra clothing, to be sent to Fredericksburg.  Monday morning we struck tents and started off – each man with about 40 lbs on his shoulders.  We went a few miles and halted, where we found out what was to pay. Our general (Whiting) wanted us to camp at this place but the Col. wouldn’t do it.  So we came back to our old camp where we are now….

Joe Buford came back two days ago, looking as well as I ever saw him. I forgot to mention about about Tubby and Tom.  Tubby has the guanders but is getting.  I do not know what is the matter with Tom – though he is complaining some.. The Juanders have been nearly all through the company.

I suppose you have heard by this time of the glorious victory gained by our forces at Leesburg.  Some thing there will be a big fight, up about Mannassa now pretty soon but it all conjecture, no one knows nothing about it but some of the Generals.

You must tell the old man I found my coat and that I am very well pleased with it.  One of the boys in the company had it, though he did not know who it belonged to.

October 27, 1861: page 1

October 27, 1861: page 1

October 27, 1861: page 2

October 27, 1861: page 2

I don’t believe you will get all my letters and I know I don’t get half you write.  I am going to number every one I write after this.  Give me all the news when you write, for I never hear nothing here, but turn out to drill.  I can think of nothing else that would interest you and I must close. Give my love to all the family, rcd a portion for yourself. Tell Ma I will write her next.

I remain as ever your devoted

Brother P M Buford.


Blogger’s Notes:

"Confederate High Tide at the Tishomingo Hotel" by Keith Rocco. Click image to view virtual gallery and studio of Keith Rocco.

Painting is “Decision at the Crossroads – The Battle of Corinth” by Keith Rocco. Click image to view virtual gallery and studio of Keith Rocco.

  1. The Colonel that brought with him a deserter…who he overhauled at Okolona is Colonel William Hudson Moore.  Colonel Moore is returning after recovering from an accidental shot to the foot during the Battle of First Manassas and eventually returns home again.  He later commands the 43rd Mississippi and is killed at Corinth, Mississippi while defending against Yankee invaders.  Painting above by Keith Rocco may be showing Colonel Moore upon a horse in battle moments before his death.
  2. Tubby is Goodloe Warren Buford, Jr.
  3. Parham is referring to jaundice when writing of guanders and juanders.