Saturday, December 31, 2011

1861 December 30 Fort Griffin

My darling wifey,
I wrote you a note enclosed in a letter to
Mittie which I hope you have received as I wrote sev-
eral things which I want yo to read--I also wrote
to you on Christmas day; the letter preceeding that you
have received--It is so quiet and uninteresting down
here that I h ave nothing worth the dignity of being
written, but were I with you I could talk until twelve
I have scolded you once or twice about being harried
and allowing yourself to be interrupted when writing
to me. I am half inclined to think that you are
anxious to round off you periods, but see the
excuses, "Breakfast summons me"' "Dark, so good
night"' "cousin Louisa Blair calls me" &c--when I
write to you, I like to do so at night, when every
thing is quiet and I can think of you without
being disturbed.

I came across a piece in the Spectator which made
me think of you and which I will transcribe:
"I am married, and have no other concern but to
please the man I love; he is the end of every care
I have; if I dress, it is for him; if I read a poem,
or a play, it is to qualify myself for a conversation
agreeable to his taste; he almost the end of my

[page 2]
devotion; half my prayers are for his happiness,
I love to talk of him, and never hear him
named but with pleasure and emotion." Tell me
this in you next and I will give you ten dollars.
Recollect that , as it is with you so it is with me
a great pleasure to be assured, again and again

that you love me.

If you get any letters from the VMI professors,
send me copies of them--I feel so anxious about
the election--I will be so happy in being with you.
When you see Ma, thank her for the nice
things she sent me in the box which I received
this evening--Every thing was very acceptable and
very nice--such a compliment she will value
as they are very rare. I expected a letter from
you to-night and have been disappointed, but
have received a long and interesting one from
Ma--tell her that I have fared a great deal
better during the last five months than I ever
expected and as for wanting to leave the service
I never wanted to enter it--thank Mittie for the visor
and you can afford to give me that much
time--Love to all at both places
and believe me as ever
your devoted

Mrs. Nannie L. Cochran

from Howe Peyton Cochran, Sergeant, 1st Virginia Artillery,

MSS 9380

Thursday, December 29, 2011

1861 December 29

[from the diary of Francis G. Hale of the 34th Ohio Zouaves]

We left Barboursville
last night a bout 7 oclock
we went down the
road toward mud and
then went crost the
country untill we
came on the guyan
road at Dusen bureys
Mill on the guyan
river we crost the river
and then took the road
for a creeke called Beach[?]
fork we stopt at a house
Spencer Bontecew he is
called Dock we stayed
all night got our break
fast and started on the
next house we took a fellow
prisner he starte
to run but we halted
him and he stopt
and came back the boys
was just going to shoot
as he halted. his wife
cried very hard when
we left her she had a
small child in her armes
his name is Collens
when we asked for him
his wife said he was not
there but we seene him
at the door and then
we saw him going
up the hill double
quick he looke to be
a bout 27 years old
tolerable well dressed

the roads was
frozen and very ruff
and very bad traveling
we traveled on to the
next house then we wen
to a house up hollow
they had left the house
and put the fire out
we went from there to
the next house and then
be fore we got there
we stopt and looking
at the house we saw
a man runing we
holwed hault but he
run on we fired as
he got over the fence
there was two men on
horse back we fired a
bout fifteen rounds
at them but we did not
kill any one of them the
men farley flew on horse
back we are now where one
of our men got wounded
a bout three weekes ago
we are in a dangerous
part of the country
and forty nine men
and our captain
there Was five of the boy
went to the next house
where we saw some
men go in but they
did not get them they
was children

we left Beachfork
and went up Racoon
fork we stopt at a house
and got our dinner
we had to cook it
our selves we had
a big cettle and filled
it a bout half full of
pork fresh bones for they
had just butchered at
the place we are about
5 miles from guyan falls
there is but two women
at the house we left
there and and went back
a pice and then we
went over the moutain
a crost to a man hous
by the name of davis
he is a secesh and is
out some place as we
was crossing a mountain
we saw fresh horstrack
where a man had come
up and turn back he
made his horse run like
every thing from the look
of the track he run
his horse down hills
that a man could
not hardly get down
we asked at one
house what his name
was but the woman said
she did not know
for he was going so
fast she did not know
whether he had a hat
on or not he was
on a sorrel horse and
had dark clothes on
he went up hills
that we could not
hardly go up we
got to Davises a little
after dark went to
bed with out supper

the other part of the company met us here.

MSS 13405

1861 December 29

[from the diary of James Dinsmore Templeton, musician and private in the 23rd Ohio]

Played as usual
mended my stockings
&c received letters
from Libbie C. W.
Archie of Co J has just
come in very drunk
read & talked some with
Jeff on the Testament Clear

MSS 10317

1861 December 29

[from the diary of Jesse Calvin Spaulding of the 25th Massachusetts]

Did not go ashore today
Sat by the fire and talked and
read. The Col. of the 24th Mass was here this
forenoon to see about getting a place for
his regiment on the boat. This afternoon Col.
Upton and Brown were here on the same
errand. very pleasant to day.

MSS 11293

1861 December 29 Camp near Winchester

[right hand margin of this letter has been ripped away at top and bottom]

Ever Dear Kate [Amanda Catherine Armentrout]

I recieved your lette[ ]
on the 20th & it was a most welco[ ]
letter for our Reg. was on picket near
the banks of the Potomac & occatio[ ]
the Enimy would throw a bombshell as
if feeling for our situation but [ ]
warsted amimition in vain be[ ]
you may know that your letter
being recived in such a p[ ]
would make a lasting impres[ ]
on my mind & thare I vowed
before Almighty God that I wou[ ]
never play annother card it was
very seldom that I ever played; when
I played it was for mear amusement
but will I know thare was a better way
to spend my time. this is quite a
lonesome day hear, though a beautifull
Sabbath morning evry thing looks
quiate but dull it is quite a
picture to look around on my m[ ]
some are Cooking some eating som[ ]
writing & some sleeping we had [ ]

[page 2]
[ ] for breakfast you would laughf if
[ ]u could seeus Cooking evry one
[ ]ust have something to say how
[ ]noh & such a thing ought to be done
[ ] H. Brownlee is hear to day tis the
[ ]st time I have seen him since
[ ]e went to Washington Co. he loos
[ ]ery well. Tome is Gen Garnett orderly.
[ ]hat sort of a Christmas did you
have mine was very dry it seemed
[ ]o me like a Sabbath it was
[ ] beautiful day I would like
[ ]ry much to have been at home
[ ]r I know that I could have had
[ ]ome pleasure I will long remember
[ ]he presant hollow days we had
a turkey christmas day for dinner
* have had one since, thare was
an inspection this morning a 9 O
clock A.M. whe had a tolerable hard
trip to the Potomac a fiew weeks
a go an it is hard to me as
I was not very well I had the
yellow Jaunders I was very near
broke down it is useless to
[ ]ite evry think that happened
[ ] it has been published in the news papers

[page 3]
I hope John is getting well so h[ ]
can enjoy him self through the [ ]
low days I assure you that I sha[ ]
never think less of him for tellin[ ]
on me for he is a man I grat[ ]
esteem I only wish that he w[ ]
correct me of evry fault that [ ]
have give my love to him if he
is at home when this reaches yo[ ]
you can keep the socks, untill
I return my health is very good at
preasant & hope when these fiew
uninteresting lines come to ha[ ]
you may be enjoying the same
blessing. my Brothers are both wel[ ]
your cousin Abe was down hear
yesterday the most of the boys trea[ ]
him coldly because he had him
self detailed to wait on the sick
he spent to most of his time
with me I hurd that he started
home yesterday I hope that he may
have a pleasent time. I must
bring this short letter to a clo[ ]
I ask an interrest all your [ ]
give my love to all & resurve
respective portion for your

[page 4]
[ ]rite soon as I am always glad
[ ]hear from nothing more write
[ ]on
W.G. Brand
[ ]New years gift

William Francis Brand, 1840-1932, 5th Virginia Infantry, Co. E (Augusta Grays); afterwards a farmer.

MSS 11332

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

1861 December 28 Head Quarters U. S. Forces Paducah Ky

Special order
No 159.

In honor of the arrival of Brig. Genl. Grant
Commander of the District of Cairo, a Salute of Eleven
Guns will be fired from Willard's Battery, paraded near
Fort Anderson.

By order of
Brig Genl. C[harles]. F[erguson]. Smith

MSS 10645

1861 December 28

My darling wifey

I received your sweet letter
this morning and as usual you were called
off from the writing to you absent husband by
something trifling I suppose. You haven't
written me a single letter, but that you
were hurried int he writing of it. If I
can find time to write, I think you might.
The above is more of a scolding than I
intended to give and more than I ought
considering that you have missed your ____.
What do you think of that? I suppose you
will retract all the abuse you heaped upon
me in Wmsburg___ I hope my darling will
be extremely prudent and careful of herself
but I have no doubt her mother will sus-
-pect something shortly and make her do
it. Write to me, my precious, and tell me
everything--you may feel no hesitation
in saying that I that I feel an interest in what
concerns you--I have written a long letter
to Millie which you can see, but this is
for your eyes alone--I need hardly ask
you to show it to none. the cream of all
my letters to you is that I want to see you
and love you with all my heart, and I
I[sic] think of my darling a great deal and
it is so pleasant. We have been seperated
this time longer than we have ever been
and I am getting extremely anxious to see you

[page 2]
with regard to Chas do as you please
I hope to have use for him before long
in our new home--I wish you would
devote one whole morning to writing
me a long sweet letter and I will
give you ten dollars, but if you neglect
to tell me twenty times that I am
your own darling husband and that you
love me with all your heart, I shant
give you a cent--Will you give me $10 if
I tell you the same--Well hand it over
Give my love to your Mother and Sister Va.
and believe me, my own precious darling
wifey, as ever your devoted and loving

Howe Peyton Cochran, Sergeant, 1st Virginia Artillery

MSS 9380

concerns you

1861 Dec 28 Centreville Va

Tendering my compliments
to the Misses Cary, I must
return them my thanks for the
nice "Christmas gift" sent me.
It was very delicious and
enjoyed in appreciative
quantities by a select circle
of military gentlemen who did
us the honor to dine with us.
I shall be in Richmond
in a few weeks and antici
=pate as the one of the speciall
pleasures incident of the trip
the opportunity it will afford me
to make your acquaintance
Although the intimate
[page 2]
official & personal relation between
your brother and myself almost
from the commencement of my
career in the Army, together
with my sincere regard for him
scarcely permit me to consider
you as entire strangers to me
Praying a pleasant Christmas
and a happy New Year for you
both I remain
with highest respect
Your friend
Alfred M. Barbour

Miss Hattie & Jennie Cary

Capt. Alfred M. Barbour had been civil superintendent of the United States armory at Harper's Ferry and then served as Chief Quartermaster under General Joseph Johnston

MSS 1415

1861 December 28

[from the diary of Francis G. Hale of the 34th Ohio Zouaves]

The camp is in a stir
this morning for the
cavelry has come up
from Guyandott they
are going after
a fellow by the name
of Clawhamer he is
at Mud bridge or was
there last evening
we are to start to night
to help them if they
neede us we will
have to march all
night I am cook
to day and a good
day but not a
very good cook
I got a letter from
my Father to day
the first I eve[r] had

MSS 13405

1861 December 28

[from the diary of James Dinsmore Templeton, musician and private in the 23rd Ohio]

Played and practiced as
usual attended a funeral
this afternoon of a member
of co B Washed my pants
this evening read a letter
from Libbie C.W. to Campbell
mostly Clear Cool

MSS 10317

1861 December 28

[from the diary of Jesse Calvin Spaulding of the 25th Massachusetts]

This forenoon took account
of stock. Overhauld all the
stuff belonging to the government, and
mad a list of them. After dinner went
ashore in the boat. First went to the
Lieutenants office, then to see Brown then
to Capt. Goodrichs and then out on
the street. Bought a cap and some other
things, came back to the steamer in the
Zouaves boat. Have been reading the
papers, and wrote a Letter to Jennie
this evening. Have enjoyed today much.
It has been a nice day and I have felt well.

MSS 11293

1861 December 27 Winchester

My Darling Wife –
I will write you to day a short business letter about some
matters which I had intended to have attended to in person if I had
gotten home as I expected to have done. I enclose a diagram which will
explain to you the work which I propose for the farm next year. It shows about
eighteen acres for corn and about twenty acres for oats. To do this you will
require (in addition to the services of Jack and Fitzgerald) a boy some 15 or 18
years old who can be hired for some $60 to $75. I have written a letter to Wm.
White to hire such a boy for me. Send it to him by Jack and direct Jack
make inquiry and find one who will suit. I have written to Col Paxton, Nelson
and Page who hired negroes to me last year that I will pay their bills as soon
as the crops which I raised last year can be sold. Hay, I understand, is now worth
Lexington about $1.25 per hundred and straw some 50 to 75 cents. I wish you would
use the corn stalks in feeding your cows, which make a very good feed so as to have
as much hay and straw to sell as practicable. I think it might be arranged so as when
the wagon went with a load of hay or straw it might bring back a load of manure
to be thrown out on the poor land opposite the avenue gate now in wheat
You had better have a pair of hay ladders made so as to answer the purpose
and at the same time with some thin plank put at the sides and bottom to
haul manure. The manure I have been in the habit of buying at $1 for a
four horse load & the load of straw would bring at the rate it is now selling
for some $10 or $15. The manure would be worth as much on the land as the
straw would be.
I have written to Pa requesting him to buy for me some 10 or 12 stock hogs and
send them in to you. Enclosed you will find the letter which you can send to him by
the first opportunity.
I suppose you have from our wheat crop an abundant supply of bran

[page 2]
to keep your cows this winter. The old cow which I bought at John G. Hamiltons sale
is very indifferent and I doubt whether her milk will pay for her feed, and you
had better ^ ‘get’ Jack to sell her for you. You will still have three left and her
feed added to theirs will give more milk than you get from her. Are you milking
the two Durham heifers? I know they both lost their calfes. I wish good care taken
of them.
You will need for the land which I have directed to be sown in clover
some 60 acres about eight bushels of seed. It will not be needed until
about first of March and I will make arrangement to get it before that
Helen said in one of her letters that you had made 600 bushels of corn. This is
not as much as I expected. I thought the 12 acres by the side of the avenue would
bring about 50 bushels per acre and 35 acres on the other side of the plank
road would bring about 20 per acre which would make some 300 bushels
I hope the hands were able to get the crop gathered before Christmas
If so the plows had better be started as soon as the weather is favourable
leaving the fencing and other work to be done when the weather is
not suitable.
I have generally bought all the ashes I could get at about 8 or 10 cents
per bushel. I think you had better get all that may be for sale at the
Institute, College, and Hotels, and they can be hauled by the wagon
which can take in a load of hay or wood. I desire to have plaster
and ashes sown upon all of the land which is in clover and grass
This must be done in the spring and I will make arrangements to
have the plaster provided before it is needed.
I have thus given you my plan of next years campaign on the farm
You had better call a council of war consisting of Fitz and Jack, read
over and explain my letter and diagram, and I know they will do
their best to have the work done as well as it can. If they suggest anything
as impracticable in it write to me about it. Find out from them and
let me know how much corn they think has been made after fattening
the hogs & how much there will be for sale after keeping enough for
our own use next year. How much hay they think there will be for
sale after keeping enough for our own use.
I still have a hope of getting home before very long. I have no doubt
the General will close operations when the first snow falls and I know
you will concur with me in the hope that this may be very soon.
I hope by the time this reaches you, you may be able to write to me
I will write to you again on Sunday not on business
Goodbye Ever Yours
E F Paxton
[The above letter does not appear in Civil War Letters of General Frank “Bull” Paxton.]

Elisha Franklin "Bull" Paxton, University of Virginia alumnus and Confederate General, commanded the 27th Virginia Infantry and later the 1st "Stonewall" Brigade at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville.

MSS 2165

1861 December 27 Camp Federal Hill Baltimore

My Dear Father your letter of the 23d is received as you think
my last letter was rather long I thought I would make this A short
letter for that purpose I have taken A small sheet of paper the first
question you ask is are we in comfortable quarters yes, we are, we
moved into Barracks Tuesday we are all in with the exception
of the Officers & four companies,& they will be in less than A week
who is the writer that makes so much fuss about the Soldiers on
Federal [Hill] suffering so much from the cold, as I wrote you in my last
we have as much wood as we want to burn there are some that would
grumble if they had roast turkey every day, those that grumble are
the ones that always play sick when there is any duty to do, I cannot
stand the cold better than anyone else, I have not suffered any yet
now it is true had A few cold nights & there has been but two of us in
A tent while the other tent had from three to five in them you
would not think the men suffered any if you could see them get
up in the morning & go to the Hydrant & strip to the waist, that is
done every morning the whole story is the Colonel of our Regiment is A
hard working man & whatever he can do for the comfort of the men
he will do he has worked himself sick several times while we were
at work on the Fort he was not absent halfe an hour in the day
he was all over the work first with A shovel next with A pick
then again with A Baltimore Hack, that is the name we give it
some folks call it A wheelbarrow if the men behave themselves they
have no better man in the Regiment if the men do not behave themselves
they can find no harder one to deal with, The men that do not
behave themselves & get punished are those that make complaint
to give you some Idea what kind of A man we have for A Colonel
I will relate A little incident that happened one evening on dress
Parade, every evening on dress parade it is the rule to read off the
Order such as trial of court martial Regimental order & the evening
I speak of it was rather cold & the men having no gloves their hands
were verry cold when the Adjutant took the book for the purpose of
reading the order the col stoped, this may seem A small matter but to us
it was A big thing. the one that told the story about Genl Lockwood left out
the best part of it he said he could find out the man so he went along the
line & picked out A man that was sick & had not been out of camp since the
Regt had been at Easville the man happened to have some feathers on his blanket
it was then that the men began to gobble, Gen Lockwood was verry much disliked
by the whole Brigade as for taking turkeys & chickens when we were hungry we
did what was right we were in an enemys country & every man countanenced
the Rebellion we were hungry & provisions here gave out we wanted something
we wanted something to eat we got it that was all, we took no property nor
destroyed any no one was injured, as for Gen Lockwood perhaps he is not
the most Loyal Gen in the Army, now about Suttlers it is true they charge
tremendous prices for their goods but many of the suttlers may be situated like the
suttler of our Regt untill this month he had no commission from the government
has been doing business here the men knew that he was not an aurthorized
suttler & of course he could not oblige the men to pay him of course he must
charge enough to make up for those that did not pay him & I have no doubt
that A great many others have lost large sums of money, but now the suttler
of the Regt is appointed by the Government & is oblidged to charge no more
than A fair profit if he charges more than he ought the men are protected
by law in regard to suttlers, it is no use Suttlers cannot be dispensed with
'they do not make any more than the Quartermasters if you was A soldier
used tobacco writing papers, pens, & blacking you must have them & if
you are verry far from any City or Village & want these articles the suttler
is indispensible in regard to setting price the suttler of this Regiment does not
keep any the men do not buy of the suttler if they can help it there are A
number of poor Women that bring pies, cake, apples &c to the Camp & the
soldiers buy of them I can keep away from the suttler unless I want their
things & must have them this is all I have to say about them. I saw A leter
in the transcript from A member of the 8th Maine dated at Port Royal, the
writer of the letter I think shows A lack of good sense when he writes as he
does about the 10th Maine suppose they did not have A battle suppose they
did nothing but to guard their Corps as the writer says what of that did
they not do what they were ordered to do the 10th of Maine is as good A
Regiment as any in the service & if they are ordered into Battle will be as
ready & willing as any other I am sorry that one from the same state should
write in such A manner I am personably[sic] acquainted with the Col, Major
& A large number of the Officers & I know they will not be behind any of
Regiments in Battle I notice what you say about Cols Dow & shepley with
the exception of their want of A Military education they I think will
prove to be two as good Cols as Maine has sent to the war I am not surprised
at all that the folks in Portland should say what they did of things for
there are some if they are not fortunate enough to obtain them get
commissions themselves turn & abuse them that are fortunate enough
to obtain them as for myselfe I am satisfied I am on good terms with
every man in the company & can get as many favours from them as
an other one in the company there has been A large number of
commissions given to men in this company men are being promoted
every day there are four vacancies to be filled in company F caused by
two of the men obtaining commissions in other regiments & two Men
were promoted I have written Just what I think & just what I believe
& hope the letter will prove interesting I recd A letter from Joseph
yesterday he says he as signed the allotment bill by which you can
draw fifteen dollars every pay day from you Son Geo W Leavitt

Letters from George Leavitt of the 5th New York and his brother Joseph of the 5th Maine were copied into a ledger by their father John Leavitt in October 1865 "because they are of value to me and I was fearful that they might get mislaid." Both boys were mortally wounded in the war, George at Second Bull Run, August 30, 1862, and Joseph at Spotsylvania, May 18, 1864.

MSS 66

1861 December 27

[from the diary of Jesse Calvin Spaulding of the 25th Massachusetts]

Got up this morni[n]g about seven
Had a good breakfast and got
ready to go ashore but the Captain said
it was against orders, so I sent for a
permit which was granted me
after dinner. I went ashore with the
mate in the boat. It was pretty rough
and the boat danced over the waves
beautifully. Went and got a general pass
to get out of the yard and saw Brown
and Emily Upton and Mrs Brown and
then came back to the steamer. Am
enjoying myself finely. May I not forget
from whom all blessings are received
and give all the praise to God.

MSS 11293

1861 December 27

[from the diary of Francis G. Hale of the 34th Ohio Zouaves]

I was on guard last
night I came near
freeseing my feete for
it was awfull cold
and we had no fire
to day is very cold
and the boys keepe close
to the fire we had
Batalion drill and the
boys did not do right
some times and then
the Liewtenant Colonel
wou[ld] cuss for surtain
we had lots of fun
the boys part of them
would not go out
they came near
going in the guard house
we had rosted potatoes for super.

MSS 13405

1861 December 27

[from the diary of James Dinsmore Templeton, private and musician in the 23rd Ohio]

Played & practiced as
usual. Bathed last night
washed my clothes this
morning Sent my Boots
out to have mended
partly clear cold

MSS 10317

1861 December 27 Camp near Centerville 19th Regt Va

Miss Rachel [Bramham]

Your kind and most heartily
welcome letter of the 18th inst was duely
Received some few days since and I having
to leave for Picket duty at an about that time
prevented me from having an opportunity to
Respond as promptly as I had anticipated But
I trust it is not too late to reach you Before
you leave your Papa. I have for several days been
feasting on the hope and Really the expectation
of getting a furlough for some few days
but alas, my hopes were Blasted yesterday
when it was made known that no fulouhgs[sic]
would be granted only to those that would
Reinlist for the war that I could not nor wou
-d not do though I have as great a desire
as any person to visit my friends Relations
and the Ladies above all: If I could have gotten
a furlough as my officers promised me I shou
-ld have spent one day and night at least
at your pas that was my intention when
I made the application. But I suppose our
supperiours knows what is Best, for us and
we privates are obliged to submit to their
Requirements let them be what they will

[page 2]
I will give you a short Detail of our Picket
excu[r]sion as I imagine you are not much acquai-
nted with that part of a soldiers duty, we the left
wing of our Regiment that is half of the Regt--
Started last Sunday morning for our post which
is about five miles below here we arrived there about
twelve oclock we left two companies at the main
post as is customary while the others are placed
away out on out post to to[sic] wa[t]ch the movement
of the enemy and it fell to the lot of my company
to go out on the extreme out post and you
Recollect I have no doubt how it rained hailed
and snowed sunday night But we could not
keep in doors our account of the weather I was
out on post four hours during the night and
feel none the better from it now thoug[h] I am
not sick this duty we have to perform about
twice a month--you are aware I have no
doubt that soldiers have to live as they can
their only shelter from the weather to the
preasant time have been cloth Tents. But
finding them insufficient since the weather
has become so cold,we have Built log cabbins
and my self and mess have just completed
and moved into ours: a small cabbin Built
of logs stick and dirt chimney and covered
with oak Boards and hardly large enough
for a lady to turn around in dressed in

[page 3]
the usual summer habilhaments, though
it is small and rough yet it adds consider-
ably to our comfort: Just imagine for a moment
a mess of eight men sitting a round a Bright
Blazing fire in a rude cabbin what comfort
what pleasure a,las, it is no pleasure for me
to be excluded from the preasance of all the
fair ones there is no Real pleasure in such
a life, when I can clasp some gentle fair
hand in mine and call it my own when
I can have one near and dear that will
share equally with me in pleasure and
distresses then I would call this life a Real
pleasure I look forward with much anxie-
ty to that time if the Lord sees fit to spare
my life I trust I shall ere long be the happy
mani I think one is under those circumstances

I will not weary you any longer with
my uninteresting letter But close by
Remaining your freind

Most cincerely
R. L. Omohumndro

your Request will be acceeded to with the
greatest pleasure and trust you will not
forget to Burn or tare mine as soon as you

[page 4]
get them do write soon

Good By

MSS 3437

1861 December 27

[from the diary of Z. Lee Gilmer, Sgt., Co. B of the 19th Virginia, the Albemarle Rifles]

Went on Picket four
miles from Centreville
on the Bradoc road. had
quite a cold time & bad
wether Capt Taylor
in command of the Bat-
tallion (a poor exucse)
the men got a plenty of
whiskey but drank
prudently. returned to
Camp Christmas day.
attend'd dress parade &
heard the order read res-
cinding the granting of
of furloughs. This in
my opinion was only a
catch to prevent the men
from runing the blockade
(or in other words) going
home & to get them to
reinlist for the war & gra
nt them furlough not exceding 60 days.

MSS 4459

1861 December 27 Camp Franklin Near St Johns Seminary

Dear Father your kind & welcome letter of the twenty first came safe at
hand & I can tell you that it gave me great pleasure to receive one from home
& hear that all the Folks were well, next Pay day I am gone to try & get A
pass to go to Baltimore to see George which will be in A few days as they
are making out the Payrolls now I do not want you to write to him & tell
him I am talking about it because if I get it I want to take him by surprise
you thought I was not verry much pleased to see Mister Staples which you
thought wrong in fact I was pleased & should like to see any one from Port
land that I know but there is one thing I did not like & that was this you
said that I did not have enough to buy boots with, Which in fact I did
& have Five to spend as the boots cost five dollars what I am writing is
true but as you wrote you took it as if I was not telling the truth as I
took it but what you write about the Sutlers is true & nothing but
the truth I have not wrote anything but the truth to you & if you
think I have I want you to point it out it is kind of hard to have you
think that I did not write to you the truth I want to know what good
it would do me to write to you what I know to be false & about my
own money what I have work for ever since I have been here I can
tell you what I have earnt out here has been work hard for & if I send
you fifteen dollars every Pay day which will be deducted from my
Pay every Pay day from the Pay Master I think I shall be doing well
you said that I did not write about those mittens which I wrote
in A letter before this they fit me first rate & tell Mother I am glad that
she thought so much of me which I shall never forget write as soon as
you get this from your affectionate Son Joseph Leavitt
And dont forget to tell William to send them stamps that I
wrote about & tell him & Henry to write
this is my last postage stamp

Letters from Joseph Leavitt of the 5th Maine and his brother George of the 5th New York were copied into a ledger by their father John Leavitt in October 1865 "because they are of value to me and I was fearful that they might get mislaid." Both boys were mortally wounded in the war, George at Second Bull Run, August 30, 1862, and Joseph at Spotsylvania, May 18, 1864.

MSS 66

1861 December 26 Centreville

My Dear Father:
I had no time to wish
you all a merry Christmas yesterday as
I was on guard and had my hands full
in taking care of those who had too
much Christmas in their bones. On the whole
I have had quite a pleasant time although,
I cannot say that Christmas in Camp
is by any means to be sought for.
The recent battle at Drainsville is
Still theme of conversation & criticism.
It seems that on the day of the fight,
the federals arrived at D. only half an
hour before we did, and that if we
had had that much time the
advantage we would secureds the position
and in all probability won the day.
The affair I am compelled to say
was in my opinions greatly mismana-
ged. Genl. Stuart precipitated the attack with-
out knowledge of the enemy’s force, and know-
ing him to occupy one of the most com-
manding positions in the entire Country.
His Artillery, consisting of but 6 & 12 pound-
ers, and with no position but a narrow
lane, was subjected to a terrible enfilading
fire from a superior force of the Enemy’s
Twenty pounders, and thus we fought at
disadvantage on every side. Notwithstanding
our many adverse circumstances I think
we would still have repulsed the Enemy
had we made as bold a charge

[page 2]
as some made at Manassas. Thrice we heard
the Enemy’s Officers give the order to charge
but each time the men obstinately refused
to budge. Their sharpshooters and their
Artillery however were terribly Effective
and to these alone can our disaster be
attributed. The Engagement is greatly to
be lamented, as heretofore the Army of the
Potomac has known nothing but victory. In
the present instance that glorious prestige so
honorably won by our brave troops was
lost and it will require exertion &
blood to regain it.
I am still encouraged to think that
I can get men to join me if I can get
the armament for an Artillery Company.
Some 8 or 10 have voluntarily tendered me
their services to go in such a company
for the war and if I can get the assurance
that the Equipment wille be furnished
I can soon enroll the names. I under-
stand that if I can get sixty men they
will be mustered in and granted at
once the bounty & furlough offered to
those who reenlist. I have written to
Capt. Baldwin, but will be glad if you can
get some friend in Richmond to see the
authorities and procure for me the promise of
the guns. I am well & comfortably fixed.
It will be impossible for me to meet you
in Lynchburg or Richmond earlier than
the first of Feb. if then. I will meet you at
Manassas on the evening of Jan. 3rd & secure
you tolerable quarters if you say so.
Wishing Ma, Mrs. Cabell & yourself a
[Written on top of page one:]
Merry Christmas & many happy returns I remain
Your Affectionate son,
Jno. W. Daniel

John Warwick Daniel, 1842-1910, Co. C, 27th Virginia and later Co. C, 11th Virginia, attained the rank of major before being permanently disabled in the Battle of the Wilderness. Afterwards studied law at the University of Virginia, entered politics and served int he Virginia House of Delegates, the U. S. House of Representatives and the U. S. Senate. Called the "lame lion of Lynchburg" he was a noted orator who gave speeches on many memorial occasions and was especially known for his address on Robert E. Lee.

MSS 158

1861 December 26

[from the diary of James Dinsmore Templeton, private and musician in the 23rd Ohio]

Played as usual
Saw some Tents with
Stoves in them this
monorning. Joe Crotty came in
attended a funeral of
an member of the 11 reg
who died from wounds got
at Cotton Hill partly Clear

Joseph Crotty, another of the musicians in the 23rd, apparently had been home on furlough

MSS 10317

1861 December 26

[from the diary of Francis G. Hale of the 34th Ohio Zouaves]

on guard to day I am
one of the supernumery
we go a round town
and stop all riets
and any one we
catch drunk we put
them in the guard
house and any one
we find with whiskey
we have to take the
whiskey away from
them and put them
put them [sic]in the guard
house or report to
the colonel there was
two fellows taken up as
spies to day I do not
know what they did
with them I was sent
out on picket at dark

MSS 13405

1861 December 26

[from the diary of Jesse Calvin Spaulding, Co. F, 25th Massachusetts]

Got up this morning feeling
much better than yesterday
Have had nothing to do yet. Sergeant
Sprague came and put aboard eighteen
barrels of potatoes,which are under my
charge. This evening we all played "round
the horn" for a few minutes and enjoyed
it much.

MSS 11293

1861 December 16 Camp Stephenson

Dear Sister

I will endeavor to write
you a few lines this morning to let you
know that I am well and hope you may
be enjoying the same blessing when these
few lines reach you. I hope you all
enjoyed your Christmas as it was certainly
a beautiful day here at any rate. We got
back to camp last Sunday evening after
an absence of two weeks the greater part
of the time being made up in marching
night and day. I wrote to you from
Martinsburg telling you of our first trip
to dam No. four in which we did not
do much execution besides taking a few
prisoners; on the next day after I wrote
the brigade came on and we took up
the line of march for dam Number
five we staid there until Saturday
morning when we left for camp during
our stay there we tore up the dam and
stopped operations on the canal for the
winter there was one man killed on our
side a Mr Parks belonging to the Rockbridge
rifles and one of the artilery was wounded
I do no know how many of the enemy

[page 2]
were killed as the skirmishing was done
altogether across the river but there was
several of the enemy seem to fall and
carried off by their friends its is strange
there was no more of us killed than
was as the bombs were bursting around
us the whole time some of our company
picked u pieces of shell that fell
close to them. Our company or a part
of it were at work on the dam
one night the enemy seen did not
see us going in the dam but after we
had been in the dam an hour I went
to the top to look around and in
the moonlight they could see me when
they opened fire upon us the first
balls whistled over my head and
after that I got out of the way
when they opened a perfect shower of
balls upon us but we were prety
well protected and fortunately no one
was hurt. Mr Andrew Lucas arrived
here last sunday evening just about
dark I received the things you sent
me and it just came in time as
we were about out of provisions we
do not fare very well on a march
as there is not time to cook our
provisions, but in camp we fare very well

[page 3]
the roundabout you sent fits me very
well and the socks I will keep although
I do not need them just yet, but I
suppose I will need them after while I will
send the box home by Mr Lucas and
have got knapsacks and I will send
my sachel with what things I have
I send the undershirt home again as I
do not like to wear them here I have
put my uniform coat in and some lead[?]
and other things sam Lucas has a pair of
pants and a flannel shirt in and David
Hanger put in a pair of old socks John
Beard sent his old knapsack it is a
black one and the other sachel is B. F.
Hupps. I had some other things but
when we moved every thing that could
not be taken along was thrown away and
destroyed. the lead is in a little poke it
was picked up from off the field at
Manassas. John Clemmer told me to write
that he wanted enough of cloth like
my roundabout to make him a coat and
pair of pants he said he would give two
dollars a yard or whatever you sold it at
and pay the money as soon as he got the
goods when you write let me know
whether you have any of the cloth to spare
or not.

[page 4]
But I must stop writing as I have
taken up the most of my paper already
Give my love to all enquiring friends and
relations and receive a large share yourself

T. M. Smiley

[written sideways on page 4]
I send you a
button taken off
the coat of a
dead United States
soldier who fell
on the battlefield
of Bull run July
21st 1861

T. M Smiley

Thomas M. Smiley, Private, Co. D, 5th Virginia Infantry

MSS 1807

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

1861 December 26 Orange Court House

Dear Father and Mother

I wd take the present
Opertunity of dropping you
A Few lines to let you
know that I am well
at present and a hope
when theas Few lines come
to hand, they may find
you injoying the Same
Blessing I received your kind
letter yesterday I was glad
to here from you all tell
uncle S C Abbott I will
write to him soon I have
my health better then I
ever did when I left home
I weighed 131 lbs and now I weighed
150 pounds I have nothing of
importance to write you it
is knot worth while to say any thing
thing[sic] about the war [word smeared out] news for
we dont know when we
hear the truth we air Fairing
very well we get so much
beef to eat we hafto build
a fire on top of our
heads to melt the tallow
out of the ruff of our moths
I am still at Orange C H
the ladys of Orange give the
Soldiers a Big dinner to day
I done some eating I would
like to see you all verry well
but i it may be verry possible
that I never See you any more

[page 2]
i get my washing done for
nothing and vast quantity
pretty girl look at I
tell Brother G. W. to write
to me Soon I expect to
send Father $50 00 dolladrs
Before long & now I
must bring theas few
lines to a Close Give my
love to all the children
and to all inqireing friends
so nothing more
but I hope to remain your
affectionate son untill death
so Fare well

James. B. Painter

Dear Brother it is
with pleasure to drop you
Few lines to let you know
that I am well
and hope when theas few
lines come to hand they
may find you enjoying
the same blessing I was
amused to here of your
double quicking from
Harvest nothinge more
dear Brother
G. W. P J. B. P.

James B. Painter, Corporal, Co. K, 28th Virginia Infantry

MSS 10661

1861Christmas Day New York

Gen J. H. Cocke (Bremo Bluff, Va.
My dear christian Friend

Though it is long since we have heard
from each other, I trust that good health, &
other blessings of an ever faithful Providence
still attend you old age. Our family are
all well and at home. Brother Wm is in
the theological seminary, while father and I
still labor to circulate the leaves of
divine truth. the Fulton st. Prayer Meetings
are fully attended, and the Holy Spirit is poured
out in answer to fervent prayer, all over the
country. Rev. Dr. Marsh I see frequently, & your old
friend John Tappan, I believe, is well. So also is Mr. Dr.
Smith, whose son Ews. B. I saw yesterday. Ex-Chief-
Justice Williams, late president of the Tract Society died
last week at Hartford, aged 84 years. A season of unusual
health, & such abundance that more is exported than ever
before, give us reason for gratitude to the "Giver of every good and
perfect gift." With Kind regards, hoping if we do not meet again
here, we shall in the world where sin & sorrow do not enter.
I am yours in hope of a Better Covenant

B. T. Eastman.

John Tappan, 1781-1871, older bother in the famous Massachusetts family of merchants, reformers, abolitionists and philanthropists.

Thomas Scott Williams, 1777-1861, active in Connecticut politics and president of the American Tract Society, to which Cocke also belonged, an organization founded in 1825 to spread Christian literature.

The Rev. Dr. John Marsh, 1788-1864, was a leading temperance reformer, another reform in which Cocke was deeply interested.
MSS 640

1861 December 25]

[from the diary of James Dinsmore Templeton, private and musician in the 23rd Ohio]

Played & practiced. no Dress parade
Billy fox came in this morning
Phil & I saw the major about
going home he gave us some
encouragement. Wore our Dress
coats this morning
mostly cloudy cool

MSS 10317

[1861 December 25]

[from the diary of Francis G. Hale of the 34th Ohio Zouaves]

to day is chrismass
we have nothing to do
to day no drilling to do
to day a good many of
the boys have gon to
Guyandott to see the
cavelry that are there
they brought in the word
that there was a good lot
of cavelry a going to attack
us to night I went to
church to night we had
a class or speaking meeting
I took my gun a long
and other fixings so
that if we was attacted
I would be ready we
had a very good meeting
there was a boy
in Comp K got shot
to night by axident

MSS 13405

1861 December 25

[from the diary of Jesse Calvin Spaulding of Co. f, 25th Massachusetts]

I did not sleep much of any
last night. Some of the fellows
who were in the room played cards nearly
all night. I got up and ate sugar out
of a two quart measure which was there.
We kept a fire all night. this morning we were
taken on board the Admiral again to
breakfast, where we staid the main part
of the forenoon, and were then taken back
to the yard. I went to see Ed Brown awhile
and then went back. We were then
put in a row boat and placed one by one
on a steamer or vessel. I was put on
the New Brunswick of Maine in whose after
cabin I am now writing (about 3 o'clock)
Had a good dinner of roast beef and
turkey, potatoes and vegetables and pudding
I am rather homesick as I am here alone
with nothing to do but God I feel will
carry me through all things if I but
trust in him.

MSS 11293

1861 December 25 Fort Grafton

My darling wifey

A happy christmas and
a merry new year--or a merry christ-
mas and a happy new year--the christ-
mas will hardly be a very happy one
to either of us, being as how we are
separated, but I do hope that it will
be a happy new year to us.

This is the most beautiful Christmas day
I ever saw, and we are not altogether
without some sources of amusement
and pleasure. Lieut Brown has a
large bowl of egg-nog (eggs 50 cts per doz)
which he is dispensing to his friends
and Major Brown has invited me
to dine with him.

I was very much disapointed that
I didn't receive a letter from you
yesterday, but hope to get one tonight.
Your letters are always agreeable and
welcome, and you have nothing else
to occupy your time but write to
your husband. I was sorry to see in
pone of your late letters that you
stopped because some body called

[page 2]
I have written to you several times
lately do let me know if you have
received my letters and let me
know what you have done with
regard to obtaining for us the
professorship--Three weeks from
to-day the election takes place; I
hope it will pass quickly--I would
like greatly to be with you about
that time and I dont know any
way except applying immediately to
the war department--You know that
Genl Magruder allows two privates and
one non-commissioned officer to go
home every twelve days without
any particular reason and the
way our officers determine who shall
go is by lot--but those who have
been home are not allowed a
chance until all the others have
been and I am in the former
class because I had the pleasure
of seeing you in Wmsburg, and
they think that is all a man wants.
This rule with regard to furloughs is unfair to our company
because we have two or three times
as many men in our company

[page 3]
as are in any other company. What
do you think of applying for me?
I would like very much to have
a furlough commencing about the
8th of Jan. so that if I am elected
there will be no occasion for my
coming back--and if I am not, you
will console me--besides if I am
elected, from the time I get the news
to the 6th of February when I have to
commence my duties is too short
to make my arrangements--do
talk this over with your mother
and see what you can do--
I want Charles kept at home
at least until I can see whether I
will need him--Tom, you had
better hire out--

I think about my darling a great
deal and last night I had a long
dream about her. Do write often
and believe me as ever your
devoted husband
Give Sister Virginia and your Mother
much love and extend to them the
felicitations of the day.

Mrs Howe P. Cochran

Howe P. Cochran, Sergeant, 1st Virginia Artillery

MSS 9380

1861 December 25, Cavalry Camp, Leesburg

[letter from Edwin R. Page to his wife continues]

Wednesday night--Christmas
I went into town this morning my darling to Church,
I thought I had managed matters so as to be free from duty
to day, but Col Jenifer sent out this morning for an
officer and a detail of men for special service, Capt
Tebbs of the Albemarle Company, who had been appointed
to visit the picquet stations to day, had to go, and Lieut
Carr or myself had to take his place. We drew straws
who should go and the lot fell upon Carr, so I was
released, after church I went to Dr. Clagett's to dinner,
it was a family party, no strangers except Tom. Randolph
and myself. We had a nice dinner and a pleasant time
the ladies made many enquiries about you and
were anxious to know when you were coming,
every body seems to take it for granted you are
coming to Leesburg this winter, and I am
somewhat of the same opinion myself, we have
all been in high hopes for some days of getting
home, orders came from Head Quarters last week
authorizing furloughs to be granted to officers and
men for a limited time, and to a limited number,
to be so arranged as to allow all of us to go home
during the winter, but this morning comes
another order countermanding that one
and expressing an apprehension that the enemy
wou.d make a general advance in the next four
days. I think it very probably that this is merely
a temporary suspension of the former order, and
that it will be renewed after a short time. I have
no idea that the enemy will make any general
advance this winter, the present campaign, I
think, is at an end, if the order in reference to
furloughs should be renewed I will be at home some
time during the winter, most probably next month,
if it is not, why there is but one alternative, and
that is for you to come to Leesburg, I had much
rather see you at home, but if I can't do t his
I must see you here. I have been away from you now

[page 4]
very nearly two months, and I am not wiling to be
separated from you much longer if it can be avoided,
I hate to bring you here my darling because I know
it will be an unpleasant trip to you, and if is in=
convenient for you to leave home and the children,
but you need not be surprised if I were to order
you here at any time, and remind you I am accus=
tomed to having my orders obeyed,
I will send you
a draft for $100, as soon as I can get it. Mr Powell
the cashier of the Bank in Leesburg has been
absent in Richmond for several days, and I can
not get a draft until he returns, which will prob=
ably be tomorrow or next day, Joe has been after
me for some time to let him go home and I
will send him perhaps in a day or two. I have a
notion of sending Black Douglass home, but I
have not determined yet, if I do I will make
Joe ride him home. We are still at the Fair
Grounds, but there is some talk of our moving
and we may have to move at any time to a
more convenient place in the neighbourhood.
if we do move I want to keep Joe until we
get fixed in our new camp, and then I will
send him home for a few days. Tardy[?] got back
to day, rather sooner than I expected for I calcu=
lated on his staying at least a week in Richmond,
he says if we have to decide by lot, (as we probably
shall) who is to go home on furlough I may have
the benefit of his chance and mine too, but
I shall be able to tell you more about this when
I write again, Col. Jenifer has just sent out an order
for me to report to him tomorrow morning with
six men, I don't know what is the object, or where
I am to go, the last letter I wrote you--I sent one enclosed and
directed to each one of my little darlings, I supposed you would

[in top margin of page 1]
get it Wednesday
Morning Xmas
day, it seems
to me if I ccould
see you all onve
more, just for a
day or two, I could
be content to stay
away a month or
two longer if, ne=
cessary, but if
I were to go home
for a few days only
I fear it would
go as hard with
me to part from
you as it did
at first, at any
rate I would
like to try the
me to Tom
Cobbs and
Cousin Molly,
has she
gotten over
the tooth
ache yet?
Kiss the
little darlings
for me, has
Mary's little
foot got well
where she
stuck the
thorn in it.
if Papa cd
Kiss it I think
it would help
it some,
God bless you
my own wife
your devoted

Edwin R. Page, 1st Lieutenant, 2nd Virginia

Colonel W. H. Jenifer, 8th Virgnia Cavalry
Captain Willoughby Tebbs, Company K, 2nd Virgnia Cavalry
2nd Lieutenant Thomas Jefferson Randolph, Company K, 2nd Virginia Cavalry

MSS 8937

1861 December 24

E.T.H. Warren note to be inserted

1861 December 24 Picket Post No 5 2 Miles West Fairfax Co. Ho.

[This next letter has missing pieces at the beginning and end.]

My dear Little Nannie:
Yours of [____] was [________]
at Centreville & that of the 2 [____] as ju[_____]n handed
& to enable me to send it by the Waggon about to re-
-turn to Centreville this must be short & hurried –
Augustine will find difficulty in securing the
Navy Lieutenancy on account of which I scarcely know
how to advise him –
I am thankful that you and “The Cap’n”
are doing so well – Wish that I could be with
you on to-morrow!
Clark remained at the Centreville Camp
before leaving I asked him to go or send some
person to receive the Xmas box this evening –
Our five miles march to this place through
the wind & snow of yesterday was by no means a-
-greeable but in the two deserted houses we occupy
we found good fires left by the Loudo[u]n Battery
which we revived – I brought my Cot with me
& am quite comfortable in one corner of the room
the floor of which at night is covered by slumbering
& snoring men – To day the sun shines brightly but does
not seem able to thaw the frozen ground – The
wind blows cold & I pity the Infantry & Cavalry on
the outposts – They pass here frequently & report “all
quiet to day” – We go back to Camp next Monday –
With love to all & a Kiss for “The Ca[____] [Must be “The Captain”.]
I am “N[_______] {Must be “Nannie’s Choctaw”.]

Please send me some
Envelopes when you can

[“The Cap’n” must be Nannie and William’s baby boy.]

MSS 6682

Monday, December 26, 2011

1861 December 24 Manassas Junction Va

[letter written in pencil that has smeared]

Dear uncle I drop you a few lines
to let you know that we are I am
well at present hopeing when these
few lines reaches you they may find
you all injoying the same blesing
I recd your letter last saturday & Nat
got one yestord day &c I have no importing
news to write to you at present only we had
a little Scirmish last week as our
regiment was agoing to starte in afor
picket they command was to go with the

[most of the following line obliterated by a fold in the paper]

went with them and took one piece of
artilery with them and took a pass at them
they run them off of [word scratched out] there post
and they went onn and the yankes got in
to an old Church and and[sic] the atilrey
shot in to the house and they biled [piled?]out
at the windows like if you was to
throw against a hornets nest and then
we left and come back got what feede
they wanted and next day Borygarde went
out with [?] face and they tock a
nother [?] all together with artilry I dont
know what the loss was the reporte is that
both [?] at once but we wont here the
trouth is that you can here this before we can
fore they wont tell us if we do get [?]
Did you see in your letter I wrote so smal
that you thought I must be out of paper
and invlos and this is the last invelop

[page 2]
and you sed someting about clothing
I need winter clothing very bad I want
you to get you me some if you please I want
you to get have me two pare of britches and
two weskets and I [want] you to get me a over-
coat you can have me one made out of
my Faters over coat if you [?] you
would if it will mak it make them
heavy and thick shirts I have plenty
and socks Nat ses he wants a pare of
britches and wants you to send him 8 or 10
lbs of [?] if you can get a good oppirtunity
they sell for 50 cts a lbs cloth is not to be
had here that is any account some of our boys
give 5 and [?] dollars a pare and one lasted
a wekes and the other pare a daye
W.S. own got his box Nat got his basket
amd gloves I got my sock and was glad
to get them I have six pare &c
I have nothig more of any importing
so I still remain you obedent
From J. C. Jarvis
To J. M. Vawter

MSS 10571

1861 December 24 Cavalry Camp Leesburg

I sent you a long letter yesterday morning my
darling. do you know why I am writing to you
again to night? I'll tell you, it is the night of the
24th of Decr. and the anniversary of an event
which I always remember with gratitude as the
greatest blessing of my life, it is one my darling
which a life time of devotion can never repay;
this night eleven years ago I took you to my bosom
as my wife, and since that time, whatever may
have happened, although I may sometimes have given
you cause for pain and resentment, (and I can
never remember such an occasion but with
the deepest regret) there has never been a day or
an hour or a moment that I have not been
a perfect slave in my devotion to you, and now
after all these long years, which have passed like
a dream, I can clasp you to my breast with an
ardour unabated, and a love that has only
gathered strength from the lapse of time,
even before we were married, my darling, my
attachment for you was of a most remark=
able character, and now in addition to this, which
is as fresh and fervent as it was in the "smiling
days of courtship," I know and appreciate your
value, I know you are a good and true and
loving wife to me, and I can never have a
thought of happiness or enjoyment that is
unconnected with you, life indeed would be
no life to me without you my wife,--
I wonder if you get all my letters, I have hardly
ever missed sending you two a week hitherto,
though I have been very much engaged lately,
and it may be that this will prevent me from

[page 2]
writing to you sometimes as often as I would wish.
I will always find time to write to you my darling
whenever I can, but if I should fail to do so at any
time, you may know that my duties have
made it impossible. I have to go off sometimes
to the piquet stations and stay several days and
nights, and then I am liable to be called off at any
time, I went down to Dranesville yesterday, and
looked over the ground where the battle occurrred
last Friday. I fear it was even more disastrous
to us than it has been reported, from the best in=
formation that I can get 42 of our men were killed
and more than a hundred wounded, there are
various conflicting accounts of the enemy's
loss, but I could not hear of but two that were
certainly killed, after examining the position
it seemed a mercy to me that Stuart's whole
force was not destroyed, he advanced along a
narrow road between pines so thick that a
man could not walk ten steps into them, until
he tot within point blank range of the enemy's
guns, which were planted upon a hill command=
ing the road completely, they had to retreat by the
same road whilst the enemy was pouring grape
and canister shot into them from eight guns
almost as far as they could reach, they killed
13 of our horses, our loss was greatly increased by our
men firing upon each other, I see the papers also
give an account of a battle near this place, which
is altogether a fabrication, as you have perhaps
learned before this, --

[letter will continue on Christmas night]

1861 December 24

Dear Father as i was out on Picket I receivd yours & Mothers of the 17th &
as I have been in about Fourh hours from Picket, I thought I would sit down
& tell you that I had received A Letter from George & Frank Crawford
I have just answered it but Frank Crawfords I shall not answer till sun
day I like Pickiting for one thing & that is this we have A House to stop
in but I do not like the Idea of standing guard over the Rebels property
which is done & if the men even take the least thing they are sent in under
arrest if they mean to carry out the thing I do not see why they do not
carry it out by taking the things belonging to the Rebels not keep guard
over them & their Property there is one regular secessionist by the name of
Boyant he lives out where we stand Guard & they even give him A pass
to go where he wants to go Jo Brady has arrived here with eighty new recruits
for this regiment & eight of them is in this Company & among them is
the world renowned John Shaw he is in this Company & the same one
that lives in Pleasant Street Place I suppose you have heard of this
renown Shaw he has A wig something like his Brother Andrew only
in its A little grain darker the said Shaw says he does not want to go
home not till the Regiment goes, when I get Paid off and you receive
that allotment money I want you to give Mother five dollars of it which
I promised her & I want her to have it & then you may have the rest
of it & do what you want to with it I am well, From your Son
Joseph A. Leavitt

MSS 66

1861 December 24

[From the diary of James Dinsmore Templeton, musician and private in the 23rd Ohio]

Did not go out to Guard mounting
this morning practiced as
usual Dress parade this evening
Will Critchfield came in this
afternoon brought papers from
his sister Cold. Clearing off
this afternoon.

MSS 10317

1861 December 24

[from the diary of Francis G. Hale of the 34th Ohio Zouaves]

it is very cold this morning
and not mutch wood
to warm by so we have
to get clost to the
fire and it keepes part
cold and part warm
there is one of our
boys that had a fit
last night and had
one the night before
and has one now
his name is Harrison
from frost station
he will get a discharge
I expect there is a lot
of the boys going home
now on furlough for
we have been payed off
we was payed off yesterday

MSS 13405

1861 December 24

[from the diary of Jesse Calvin Spaulding of Co. F, 25th Massachusetts]

Got a letter from home. Slept
down in the steerage last night
very well. After breakfast we were
all taken over to the Navy Yard where we
were instructed in making out the rations
Waters and myself were then permitted to go
to camp after our knapsacks &c We then
came back and started to go back to the
Admiral, but couldnt go over tonight.
We then came back to the building again
where we were furnished with coffee,
bread, butter and cheese. We are to stop
here to night.

MSS 11293

Sunday, December 25, 2011

1861 December 23

[from the diary of Francis G. Hale, 34th Ohio Zouaves]

It is very cold this
morning I am cook
to day we have got
our bunkes fixt up
they are bully bunkes
to 4 of us in a bunk
and lots of Body guards
I had lots of fun cooking
we had crackers and
coffee and salty pork
for breakfast and
salty pork & crackers
for dinner mixt with
water I did not have
to drill any so
I rested on my owers[?]
for they was tiard
any way got supper
kicke round made
afuss & then to roost.

MSS 13405

1861 December 23

[from the diary of James Dinsmore Templeton, private and musician, 23rd Ohio]

No dress parade
practiced on new piece
Scots Q[Quickstep?] Billy & Jo have
not arrived yet.
cold stormy snows a little

MSS 10317

1861 December 23

[from the diary of Jesse Calvin Spaulding of Co. F, 25th Massachusetts]

Sent a letter home this morning
Was detailed this morning for
the Commisary Dept. Went down and re-
ported to the Commisary General and
staid at headquarters till about 4
oclock and then we were taken over to
the Steamer Admiral, and given a
supper of fried oysters, bread, butter and
coffee. We then went ashore and were
sent right back to stop on the boat over
night. I am now on the cabin stairs

MSS 11293

Friday, December 23, 2011

1861 December 23 Fort Grafton Near Yorktown

My darling wifey

I wrote you a hurried
letter on yesterday which I hope you have
received but for fear you have not
I will make myself liable to the charge
of repetition--I am now with the company
here in quite a thickly settled neighbor-
hood about a mile from the fort is
a very fine house, inhabited by very
respectable folks, an old lady and
her sons and daughters--and I have
fixed on that place to board you for
some time, if I am not elected
professor--But this latter, I can't help
hoping for and expecting--and if
I am not, I shall be greatly disap=
pointed--I have written quite a long
letter to Mr D'arcy Paul of Petersburg
in order to enlist him more firmly
in my behalf--I hope you have
written all those letters, I requested
you to do and besides, done every
thing that was necessary to advance
my claims--You must leave nothing
undone--I have done all I can.
I have sent you Lieut. Brown's letter

[page 2]
and one from Capt Southall and Lieut
Peyton--I sent you a very complimen-
tary one from Major Goode by
Slaughter Ficklin--Slaughter was at
lur camp on Saturday evening and
expected to leave for home next day
so I asked him to carry it--it was
directed to Dr Smith and he wouldn't
carry it unless sealed, but I expected
you to open it and put on the
back in pencil "for Mrs H P Cochran"
Let me know if you have gotten
all these letters because I cant
afford to lose any--and be very
careful to see that they go safely
to Dr Smith--Ross, one of the young
men, to whom I requested you to
write is Major in Col Baldwin's
regiment--It is now only three weeks
before the election and immediately
upon your learning the news, if good
telegraph: if not, you can write it.
It will be necessary to get my discharge
if elected: and I dont want any
delay about that, because every day
of delay, keeps me that much longer
from you. I suggested in my letter
to you yesterday, that the petition for

[page 3]
my discharge should be signed by
all the Board--see to it.
Gen Magruder has been trying to
get us excited on the war question
but we have gone into winter
quarters and are preparing for the
cold weather which must certainly
succeed this mild and beautiful

There is no news of any interest
down here--the mail facilities are
very bad, which accounts for my
not writing more regularly.
I recd mother's letter and shall
answer it soon. I hope Maggie
is better--

With much love to Va & your
mother I am yours devotedly

Tell Va that I have recd her cap and
it is beauty and a comfort--two men
offered to buy it the first day I put
it on. I believe she said something
about making more for the soldiers
if so, tell her to make them of
coarser yarn.

Mrs. H.P. Cochran

Howe Peyton Cochran Sergeant, Co. H, 1st Virginia Artillery In this and previous letters, Cochran writes about his efforts to attain a teaching position at Randolph Macon College. See particularly letter of November 20
MSS 9380

1861 December 23 Manassas

Dear Miss Fanny

I wrote you a day or two
ago and begged you to write me
a Xmas letter to cheer me
At that time I supposed I would
spend that cheerful season at
Camp. Now I am on my way
to Columbia S.C. to attend
the meeting of the convention
of the People of So. Ca. the Same
that passed the Ordinance of
Secession, of which I think
you did not much approve.
Now, however, I hope you
do no consider us so rash
as when we first met. My
purpose in writing this
hasty note is to assure you
of my continual thought
of you and to beg that you
will address me at Camden
S.C. from which place I will
receive my letters. More anon
Most Truly Yrs.


Miss Fanny Dickens

General Joseph Brevard Kershaw, 1822-1894

MSS 5533-d

1861 December 23

[from the diary of Wesley A. Hammond of the Dixie Greys, Co. E of the 42nd Virginia]

Departed to be examined by
Dr. this morning

[added later though still dated the 22nd.]

Remained at Hospital
till the first of Jan. during
which time nothing in
West transpired worth

MSS 5526

1861 December 22

[from the diary of Jesse Calvin Spaulding of the 25th Massachusetts]

Rather cold and raw. Had
services at eleven o'clock. Mrs.
Col. Upton and others were there.

MSS 11293

1861 December 22

[from the diary of James Dinsmore Templeton, musician and private in the 23rd Ohio]

Were paid late last night
received 40 dol. no dress parade
to night. rained this afternoon
received package of papers from
home. Have been entertained by
a contraband now working for
Hood & Stevens. Windy cool

MSS 10317

1861 December 22

[from the diary of Francis G. Hale of the 34th Ohio Zouaves]

it commenced
to rain to day and
rained most all day
the pay master has
come and we are to
be payed of to day
or to morrow we
had regimental in
spection to day I
felt to tiard to go
out so I stayed
in quarters I expe
ct I will have
to go on guard
for it tomorrow
the boys seeme very
well pleased to see
the pay master and
think they will
have good times now.

MSS 13405

1861 December 22 Camp Federal Hill Baltimore

My dear Father your letter of the 14th inst is receivd your
letters are always welcome your letters are always welcomed[sic], you
need not be afraid to long letters I am always glad when the
mail brings A letter from you, you wish to know if they had
paid all that is due, no but we shall get it by and buy it will
be allowed us when we settle for our clothing which is I believe
once A year then each man in the regiment is allowed so
much. A year for clothing & rations & at the end of the year there
is A settlement when everything that is due is paid over or credited
to the next years account in regard to the complaint you mention
from the Boston correspondents as far as our Regt is concerned we
have plenty of clothing and we are allowed as much wood to burn
as we wish to be sure our tents are not so warm as in the Summer
but we manage to get along verry well we will not have to stop in
tents more than one week longer as our Winter Quarters are nearly
finished the boards in our tents of course are not so soft as in the
Summer but in fact as the cold wether comes on the boards grow
hard & turn them as often as we will they will not grow soft there
are A great many that will grumble no mater how well of they are
Company F did not try to get clear of going on the Expedition but
they on the contrary were affraid they would be left out you will
please excuse the shortness of this letter as this is the sixth letter
that I have written to day since dinner & the light will have to be
put out in A few moments the next time I will try to make up for
the shortness of this one remember me to all from you Son Geo W. Leavitt

[note from John Leavitt made as he was copying the above letter]

the following was enclosed in the above but dont seem to belong to
it but I will record it as I find it, this day August 22d 1865 John Leavitt

One is played out we have been contenting ourselves that the rebels had
no arms, no clothing, no food but such things I have never beleivd
for A moment I believe they have A plenty of everything & as for starving
them out it is foolish to think of, as I said before it has A bad influence
in the Army their letting known traitors to at large remember me
to all I intended to have written to Edward this evening but as my
candle has nearly burnt out I shall not have time but will write
soon hopeing that I soon shall have the pleasure of meeting you
all again I am your Son


Letters from George Leavitt and his brother Joseph Leavitt were copied into a ledger by their father John Leavitt in October 1865: "because they are of value to me and I was fearful that they might get mislaid." Both boys were mortally wounded in the war, George at Second Bull Run, August 30, 1862, and Joseph at Spotsylvania, May 18, 1864.

MSS 66

1861 December 22 Camp Federal Hill, Baltimore

Brother William As I have not written to you since the great
Expedition to Accomac, I will now try & write you A few lines I
suppose you have heard the particulars of this great expedition about
the Batteries that were taken the marching of six thousand Soldiers
through the Counties of Worcester, Accomac, & North Hampton
yes from New Town Maryland to Eastville Va & back to Pongotague
after Rebels but Nary rebel was to be found, it was what we called
A wild goose chase one Regt could have done as well as six if Accomac
& North Hampton counties are A fair sample of Virginia all I have to say is
they are fifty ears behind the times the meanest looking Village in the North
cannot compare with the Villages we passed through on our March from
Newtown to Eastville as I wrote in my letter to Father the People look as though
we had noked them out of A fifty years sleep the Houses were mostly
built in the year One I should judge. at Easterville we were encamped
one week & while here we lived on Chickens, Turkeys sweet potatoes and
corn bread for A pair of chickens they would charge twelve cents all
the money they had in Eastville were shin plasters & twelve cents were
worth haveing we had the genuine Nigger every evening in Camp we
would make A ring & get two or more inside & they would sing and
dance & such singing & dancing you never saw at any Nigger Concert
every where we went the Darkies would Crowd into the Camp and
to Join the Regiment, we got A great deal of information from the darkies
I asked on fellow why the Rebels stand he said that Col Smith
(that is the name of the person that had command of the Rebels)
said he was going to cut the Yankees up into mince meat, but
when he heard them fellows with the red Breeches were coming
he said it was getting to hot could not stay any longer, we had
some Tough marches but got through with it without any being
sick my health is verry good in fact I have not been on the sick
list since Joining the regiment, I wish you would send me A
few Postage stamps some letters I write I do not like to frank A
few stamps would come handy I have not received but one paper
from you since the twelveth of Nov please send me the back numbers
of the transcript hopeing to meet you again in A few months I&
I remain your Brother
Geroge W. Leavitt

Thursday, December 22, 2011

1861 December 22

[letter of Edwin R. Page continues]

Sunday evening I went to church this morning
my darling, and heard a right good sermon from
Mr Williams, it is the first time I have heard
him preach, last Sunday I was out on piquet
duty and did not get back to town until after
church. I went this morning with Lizzie Lee,
passed by Mrs Lee on my way to church just as
they were getting ready and went with her and
the old lady, I have done but very little
visiting since I have been here, indeed I
have been so constantly on duty that I have
not had an opportunity, I was invited to a great party

[page 3]

at one of the Hotels in Leesburg one night last
week but did not go. I was tired and did not
care about it any way, the truth is I
never feel like visiting any body, I can
take no pleasure in any society whilst I
am away from you and my children, there
are a great many ladies in Leesburg, but
I have not visited these more than about
twice, I believe, since I returned, I had just
as soon, and indeed rather be at my post,
for I feel then that I am doing my duty,
Would you like to see me at home on Xmas
day my darling? When did I ever spend my
xmas away from my wife before, but I shall
have to do it this year, I can make no cal-
culations about coming home yet, I have
spent so much of my time at home, and
there is not wanting at least one to make
a fuss and complain about it, although
constantly absent from camp and shirking
all the duties, whilst I am doing the
work, but still I think it is my duty to
stay here as long as my services are needed,
it comes very heavy upon us now, we have
a piquet line of about sixty miles to defend,
and only four companies of cavalry, with
not more than 120 men for duty, to do it,
and these are scarce of commissioned officers
which makes it harder upon those that are
here, Col Munford left here last Thursday
for home on a leave of absence for 10 days,
he promised me to go and see you if he
could possibly do so, but his time is so lim=
ited, I fear he will not be able to do it.

[page 4]
I suppose Sam will give you a plenty of news, but
he generally draws pretty largely on his imagination
for his facts. I was somewhat amused at your ap-
prehensions in reference to him and the Lynchburg
man you spoke of, I could have told you before hand
how it would have terminated, he is a very well
disposed boy however, and that covers a good many
of his faults. I believe it is a safe rule not to believe
any reports from this part of the country unless
authenticated by some reliable person, the tale
about Genl Evans being angry with Jno. Alexander
and myself about going over the River under a flag
of truce is without any truth, in the first place
John was not with our party and has never been
over the River at all, and then the Genl. was not
angry about it as all, he scolded me a little about
it but it was done in a jocular and good humored
way, he scarcely thought it was rash and incon=
siderate, -- I had an invitation today from Dr.
Clagett to dine with the Genl at his house on
Xmas day, I promised to go it I was not out on
duty, but I do not expect to enjoy it, it will
be a sad and unpleasant day to me my darling,
for I shall be thinking about you and home
all day. it will be the first Xmas that I have
spent from you since the blessed day we were
married, it is a hard fate, but it is what we all
have to endure. Tom Randoplph one of the
Lieuts in the Albemarle company here with
us has a daughter more than six months
old that he has never seen, my darling I
am very sorry to hear about your complain=
ing so, don't you know I asked you to prom=
ise me not to expose yourself, and especially not

[page 5]
to get your feet wet, I want you to remember this
and bear it in mind, I don't ask you to do this
on your own account, but I ask it for my
sake, for just imagine my own darling what
would become of me if anything were to hap=
pen to you, and our little children too, God know
it is hard enough for me to bear this separation
which I trust is only temporary, but if I were
deprived of the hope of meeting you and being
in sweet communion with you again I
should never wish to see the light of heaven
any more but there are those my beloved wife
dear to us both and doubly dear to me because
borne to me by the wife of my bosom and the
darling of my heart, whose welfare and future
destiny should be a paramount consideration
and I think it is a very important duty for us
both to take care of ourselves on their ac=
count as well as for the sake of each other
don't you think so my darling. I wish
you would reflect upon this and act ac=
cordingly, I am sorry to hear that your ser=
vants are behaving so badly, I wish I could
get home for a short time so that I could
have a opportunity of bringing them to
their senses. I promise you when I get
back you will not have cause to com=
plain of them long, it never was my
intention for Tony & Lankford to keep the
hogs that they raised, I intended t follow
your mother's plan, which I think was a
wise one, and pay them for raising the hogs, and
than put them in the smoke house. I desire
that they shall not be permitted to raise anymore

[page 6]
I don't object to some of the negroes about the
house raising a hog or two, but they must
go into the smoke house, this is my law
and it must be obeyed. I intend always to judge
what is best for my negroes or any that may be
under my control, I know that I can judge
better for them than they can for themselves,
but I hope you will be able to get along with
them until I come home, i don't think they
will trouble you after that, I see and know
every day the importance ofmaking those
under authority obey, Joe is very anxious to
go home about xmas, and I have been thinking
of sending him. I don't know when he will
go, but it may be tomorrow or the next day,
my darling I can see no prospect at this time
of getting home. I would greatly prefer going
if I could get off, to your coming here, but if
I shall not be able to go,you must come to me
here, that is after things get quiet here I wd
be afraid for you to come just now, but I
think the campaign will be closed in a few
days now, we have had some very nice weather
lately, but now it is raining and sleeting pretty
hard, and winter must be close at hand, several
of our Leesburg friends enquired to day when
you were coming. I have $100 I wish to send
you if I can contrive it to you safely. I was
very near buying a mare for you a day or two
ago, and if I had I should have sent her home
by Joe, I may get her yet, though it is doubtful.
Kiss my little children for me. What a joy it would be
to me, if I could sit down at home among you all
to night, good night my own wife, remember me kindly
to Tom Cobbs and his wife, Your devoted husband E.R.P.

[across top margin of page 6]
I hope to
see you
next month
either here
or at home.
Early talked
of coming
over again
as soon as
we were
fixed for the
winter, &
to bring you
with him
if you wish
to come, if
he should not
come you
will no
doubt find
some other
but I don't
wish you
to come unless
you are well
good night
god bless you
my darling
this is the
constant prayer
of your husband

Edwin R. Page, 1st Lieutenant, 2nd Virginia

MSS 8937

1861 December 22 Fort Grafton

My darling wife
an opportunity occurs
of sending you a letter two or three
days earlier than by mail and I
avail myself of it--I write in
Henry Edmunds' tent--his regiment
is very near our fort, gut this is
the first time that I have been
down to see him--Paul is here
having returned to his company
the same day that I did
I hardly know what to do with
regard to applying for a place
to Chas Carrington or through
Mr Hughes--I would dislike to
put them to any inconvenience for
for nothing--it was for t his reason
that I refused Major Eades' offer
I think it would be rather better
to concentrate our efforts upon
obtaining the professorship and
if we fail in that then we
may trouble our aforesaid friends
I sent you by Mr Slaughter
Ficklin a very complimentary letter
from Major Goode--I hope you got

[page 2]

it. Let me know if you did
not as also the letter of Capt
Southall--if you didn't get them
I must get them to give me
others--We must be very careful
to see that all the letters I
obtain reach Dr Smith--I would
rather have the professorship
than any other place, for the
obvious reason that I would be
more with you. Let me know
what you have done with regard
to writing to the tutors of the Va
Military Institute--Be sure to
wrote to them as soon as you
find out their address-- their
names are Hardin, Ross & Morgan
We are now in Winter Quarters
quite comfortably fixed--but I
want very much to be with
you--I received your two
letters written on the 18th--Did
you receive mine written on
the same day? The mails from
here are very slow. it takes
5 or 6 days for a letter to reach
you after it has been written

[page 3]
Write soon and write often
I wait in a good deal of
anxiety for the 15th of Jan. to
decide my fate--leave nothing
undone. Don't forget to obtain
a recommendation for a dis-
charge signed by all the
trustees, if I am elected
get Mr Holcombe or some
influential man to present
it to the secretary and if it
is granted, telegraph immediate-
ly and send the discharge
by mail. I write under some
difficulty and in great haste
Excuse me and believe me
as ever with much love
Your devoted Husband

Love to all

[unsigned letter written by Howe Peyton Cochran, Sergeant, Co. H, 1st Virginia Artillery

MSS 9380

1861 December 22 Winchester

Dear Ma

I seat my self this morning to
write you a few lines in answer to
your kind letter that you wrote to
me I am well and hope these few
lines will finde you all in good health
you said you hoped that we was
all in winter quarters but we are not
and dont expect to get into this winter
you said that you was afraid that I
slep cold these nights but I sleep warm
we have a fire place to our tent it
is rite smart help to us I sleep with
Bolivar Cowan & Levy Cline we put all
of our blankets to gether and we sleep war
m Ma you said you would like to see
me, but I cant come home untill spring
but I will send my pickture and you all
can take a look at it. Ma I will tell
you who my messmates are they are
George & Bolivvar Cowan Fielden Coombs
William H. Smith. Levy Cline & Harry honaker
I had my picture taken yesterday at town
and will send it home before long the
boys all say it favers mitely Their is
very little sickniss in the army at this

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time. We have had very good weather
evry Since we left greenbrier but it
has been very cold and it looks verry
much like snowing this morning. The
yankees attacked our men on the Aliganys
some days ago but I suppose you know
as much about the fite as I could tell
you. Ma I would lie to see you & Pa
& all the rest and I hope the day is coming
when I will be permitted to see you all
Tell Hayes that it is so cold and disagreeable
that I cant write to him to day this letter
will answer the same purpose as if I was to write you
both Ma I havent had but one pair
of my pance on and they fit very well
only they are a little too tight around the
waist I washed the shirt that my pickture
was taken in. Tell uncle William aunt
Nancy an cousin Te Morton howdy for me
Ma I will have to bring my badly writte
n and spe[l]t letter to a close so Christmas
gift to youall Nothing more at present
but remain your affectionate son

William R. Gilmer

Mr Charles
Mary Gilmer

Private, Co. I, 37th Virginia Infantry

1861 December 22 Winchester

My Darling Wife –
We left here on expedition to the
Potomac on last Monday morning at 7 Oclock and
returned again this evening. We lost one man
Joshua Parks killed by the enemy & his body I suppose
by this time has reached his friends at Lexington
to whom it was sent for burial. Present my Kind
regards to Mrs Parks and say to her that I hearti
ly sympathise in the sad bereavement which
his fallen upon her. He was a brave and
good man universally esteemed and beloved
by his comrades, and his loss is much dep-
Whilst gone we slept out, without our tents
four nights. I had plenty of blankets and slept
as sound as if I had been in quarters. I really
could not have thought, I could stand so much
exposure with so little inconvenience. I think
if my health continues to improve under
such out-door life I will soon be able to
stand every thing but ball and shell.
I received Helens letters for which give her
my thanks. I was delighted to hear that our
baby is well and improving rapidly. I am much gratified
too at your pressing invitation to come
home. I believe Love you must want to
see me. It has been my purpose to ask
for a furlough as soon as winter had
fairly set in so as to make active

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operations impracticable. To day was very cold
so cold that we all had to get off our horses
and make the greater part of the march on foot
To night we have sleet and snow which
I think will pass for winter especially as
it now wants only three days of Christmas
So Love I shall ask for a furlough sometime
this week and if I can get it will be off
for home. And if you hear a loud rub
at the door some night before long you
need not think robbers are breaking in
but that is your own dear husband
coming home to see wife and little ones
dearer to him than every thing else on
earth. But Love you must not calcu-
late with too much certainty on seeing
me. If I can get leave I will, but
that is not a certainty.
I hope you all may have a happy Christ-
mas and wish I had the means of sending
some nuts and candy for Mathew & Gala.
Many who spent the last Christmas with
wife and children at home, will be missing
this time perhaps to join the happy group
in Merry Christmas never again. But let
us be hopeful – at least spare the effort
to merit fulfillment and fruition of the
hopes we cherish so fondly. Now, Dearest,
good bye till I see you or write again.
A Kiss to the children as my Christmas gift
Ever Yours
E.F. Paxton

[transcription by Mary Roy Dawson Edwards]

Elisha Franklin "Bull" Paxton, University of Virginia alumnus and Confederate general, commnaded the 27th Virginia Infantry.

MSS 2165