31st Letter: Parham’s Humble Prayer (March 10, 1863)

Franklin Southhampton Cty

March 10 1863- Va

Dear Mother

I rcd your letter on the 3d inst, which you may know was perused with the greatest pleasure- As the two furloughed boys have returned, and tw0 other will start soon I will will write by them- though I have no news of importance to communicate-

default

Click image of Civil War era map to view Southeastern part of Virginia, from York River and West to Black Water River

We left this camp two days ago and were out on our post two days on the Black Water 5 miles distant- But the Yanks did not make their appearance during our stay- Thier main body is at Suffolk 25 miles distant- Occasionally a small scouting party makes a dash up this way, but soon return- Every day some one runs the Blockade from Suffolk bringing in shoes hats soda knives $ou The citizens are allowed to pass into our lines and bring in their produce and when we had the first chance at them we could buy things cheap- but alas for poor soldiers when a speculator gets hold of it- selling at 4 times cost. Here we can’t get Soda for less than 8$ per lb then for 2$- eggs 1$ ham 50 cents &&&-

I like our position here finely- we are guarding this line in front of Suffolk and if we stay here I don’t think that we will have much fighting to do- for I don’t think they intend to advance by this route- There has been an average of 2 deserters a day from Suffolk since we have been here- They all tell the same tale- tired of fighting – & I wish that all of them would taste that idea. But the men in authority at the North have hold of the wheels and can turn or stop them at their will- I think it is plain enough to the minds of the North that they can never subjugate us nor will they do it as long as Southern men will stand at their posts-

I have seen war and suffering in its darkest shades and can truly say that I have seen enough.

It is my humble prayer that the Confederacy have a speedy and honorable peace- I have seen war and suffering in its darkest shades and can truly say that I have seen enough- May we soon meet at home where there is peace and happiness, and if not there in heaven where there are neither wars nor rumors of war and where troubles are not known

Write soon and often to your true and ever devoted son.

PM Buford

All I kneed in the shape of clothing is a pr pants, if you can send them by any one do so.

PB

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Blogger’s Notes:

  • unknown

    Click image to read “What is an Honorable Peace?”.

    Parham prays for a speedy and honorable peace for the Confederacy.  The New York Times article What is an Honorable Peace? from August of 1864 mocks the term in a vitriolic diatribe toward Confederates and Copperheads (i.e. Northern Democrats) and speaks of the salvation of the Union as a justification for the War (the end justifies the means). Media idolization of overreaching centralized government and disdain for those who prefer freedom over subjugation is not unique to our modern era.

  • Parham’s word choice of neither wars nor rumors of war is borrowed from Jesus as found in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark.

The First Confederate Memorial Day

From the Times-Dispatch

July 15, 1906.

100px-Warrenton-Seal

How many of our States claim the first memorial organization? What matters if there are no records to prove it? New Orleans claims it; Georgia claims it; Portsmouth, Va.; Richmond, Va., claim it. But the little village of Warrenton, Va., claims, and can prove it, the first Confederate Memorial Day.

Killed in skirmish at Fairfax Courthouse, June 1, 1861, Captain John Quincy Marr, Warrenton Rifles, 17th Virginia Regiment, buried in the little village graveyard, June 3rd, with military honors; wept over by the old and young; flowers strewn on his grave, and the first Confederate Memorial Day was observed. After the first battle of Manassas, July 21, 1861, the dead and mortally wounded, numbering many, were brought to this same little village, and again memorial day was observed by the women and children.

314pre_1fac571cc800529

Click image of women in Warrenton decorating graves to view source.

Was this, the women’s work, discontinued? No, organized; no, but the spontaneous outburst of the Rachels throughout the land weeping for her children and would not be comforted. The graves of these dead after the battle of Manassas were hastily marked on mere headboards. The living had to be cared for, and only a little band of women to do it. Women, tenderly raised and sheltered, went to the bedside of the wounded and with their own hands dressed the wounds, fed and cared for those men. There were no trained nurses, and only a very few doctors.

300px-Warrenton_va

Click image of street scene, Warrenton, Virginia, ca. 1862 to view source.

When the spirit left the body they were buried in the same little graveyard, and the memorial work went on. The names on the boards being almost obliterated, a band of children, none of them over sixteen, determined to replace these boards. A kind carpenter offered to give the smooth plank and make into markers. My mother’s long black porch became the paint shop. One of the boys, now an artist, Mr. Richard N. Brooke, of Washington, cut out letters, which we traced on the white headboards, and repainted as we finished them at the graves, and the memorial work went on. We felt very proud of our work, but in the winter of sixty-three, I think, the Yankees made a raid through our town and camping near the graveyard, they burned the headboards to make their camp fires; but as soon as the spring flowers came, we placed the blossoms on these graves, and each year continued our memorial work.

After the war the bones of these dead were placed in one common grave, and a beautiful monument erected, which bears this inscription: Virginia’s Daughters to Virginia’s Defenders. And so, I claim for Warrenton, Va., the first memorial day, dating it June 3, 1861, when we laid to rest the remains of Captain John Quincy Marr, killed by the invaders of our Southland, June 1st, Fairfax Courthouse, 1861.

R.

 

Walk in Parham’s Footsteps

Walk in Their Footsteps provides an interactive way of searching a soldier’s history across Virginia’s battlefields, listing all regiments that were engaged in over 120 battles in Virginia and providing battle and regiment summaries, overview of engagements, travel itinerary planning, and more.

IMG_1580

Click on image to walk in Parham’s footsteps through Virginia.  His service in the infantry, as described in future letters and blog entries, will also take him to other states.

Enlistment

July:Aug61Civil war records Buford2First Company Muster Roll shows Parham enlisted on August 9, 1861 in Manassas by Colonel Liddell for a period of one year.  Parham was absent during this muster because he was sick at private quarters near camp.   The next postings will include letters in which Parham writes home about his journey to Virginia, introduction to camp life, foods that he misses, and details of the illness listed here.