Monday, November 19, 2012
1862 November 18 Camp Cooper
Camp Cooper Nov: 18” 1862.
My own dear Wife
I received your most acceptable letter
writen [sic] Sunday evening, this morning. I was gratified
to hear you were all well and doing well, and that
Joe had actually commenced work again. I hope you
will succeed in keeping him at it until he finishes
it all up. I do not expect to be disappointed in your work
of improvement. I know you will get along slowly because
you will labor under so many disadvantages. I dont think
you ought to stop Stephen & Billy until they finish the
corn and have it all put safely away. if you havent got
room enough for the corn in the granery [sic] put it in the
smoke house, and if that wont hold it you will have to sell
the balance, but I dont think you will have any to sell.
All I mean to say about the tree planting is that you
must plant them between now & spring and that you must
not plant more than you can plant well. I am equally
interested in the garden fence, if it is not built you
will be in a bad way indeed next summer. I spoke to
a Mr Spitzer who lives just a mile below Mt Clinton
for some plank he did not promise any, but said
he would try. You had better send either Joe or
Stephen out to buy the plank to be delivered to you.
I would like so much to see you all in your new
winter clothes I know baby is the sweetest & prettiest of
the whole party and can make more fuss & kick up
a bigger row than any of you. Jim I suppose is very
important in his new jacket & brass buttons, and as for
my dear little daughter I suppose she thinks herself
a grown up lady.
While Joe is at work have a place fixed for the
Bees and when the first cold real cold weather comes
let Stephen take the spring wagon & bring them out.
I am very much disappointed in not getting my boots by
Maj Pendletons man. I do think I am treated worse than any
man living. Miller ought to have finished my boots two weeks
since and yet I suppose he has not touched them. well
I suppose I can stand it. I will certainly have to do so. I
will be disappointed if I dont get something good to eat
by Pendletons wagon and a bucket in the bargain. the
only thing I have to keep water in my tent is a canteen
holding a little over a pint of water.
Wonesday Morning. For the three days past it has been
raining, but this morning there is an indication of at least one
day of clear weather, at which we all rejoice although
plenty of rain & mud is the thing just now needed for
the Confederacy. Mud enough to keep Burnsides back until
winter comes in hard ernest [sic]. I had a pleasant visit from
old Judge Frey yesterday He thinks if we hold the Yankeys
off this winter or even until Xmas we will be safely
through the contest. I hope he may be correct for I have
no doubt of our being able to meet them this winter at
all points, and I have no doubt that Burnsides will do
everything in his power to make a winter campaign and
a bold one too. We have heard nothing whatever from
either of the Taliaferros for some time. knowing ones
say they are both in Richmond working for their in-
dividual promotions instead of being here attending to the
wants of their men. I dont like such doings one bit.
Promotions are very pleasant when they come in a
regular way, but when sought after become valueless.
We have no camp news beyond the fact that we have
destroyed the Manassas R Road from Strasburg to Peidmont
which is an indication that when we can no longer
remain here we will take a position about Strasburg
I cant think of one solitary thing of the slightest interest
in camp to write to you about. We are in a state of
quiet, not exactly in winter quarters nor yet on the
march. but liable to be called on to march any day
and dont know & will not know either when or for what
purpose are we do go. A condition in which we are
most likely to get tired & home sick especially if not very
well which in my condition pretty much all the time.
The mind under such circumstances naturally turns
to home where it will find most of sympathy & of love.
I feel like writing about the rocks and woods in and
around the her town, the [?] rail fences and the want
of more like them, the horses, colts, cows, calves pigs and
chickens. It seems to me now that if I was at home I would
certainly take it on myself to take the children out every
morning & feed the chickens. I would like to watch babys de-
light and interest in the operation. And I know her
mother would not be very far off during the performance
and thus it would give me so much pleasure to sit
down and eat breakfast with you all and after that
do a hundred little things that would be interesting
to our little family and no one else. but when
the time will come when we can do all these things
no mortal can tell. Sometimes I think very soon and
then again I can see little or no hope. But the next
thing to being with you is receiving long letters from
you telling me all about yourself & children and
every little thing you all do and say. Your letters
are very interesting but there is not enough of them.
Take more time write a letter every two or three hours
in the day. Do such things as duty calls you to do
then sit down and tell me about it. then do something
else & then tell me about that & so on each day,
until you have made up a long letter full of home things.
You are under a mistake as to Dr Moffetts whereabouts, he
is no longer with the Regiment but at Culpeper hospital
Dr Campbell is now our surgeon, we have no assistant
Dr C & Billy Jennings attend to all the sick which I
am glad to say are very few. I wish you would send
me a scab off of one of the children. I want to have
myself revaccinated & dont care about trusting the
scabs we get here
Wednesday Evening. I wonder what my precious darling
is doing this evening and what my dear babys are all
at. If I were to step in just now what would they
all have to say. They would be glad to see papa I
know. I left home about the 22d of September October I think
so that in a few days I will have been absent a month
what have you all done in that time not much, and
yet to our little household a great deal for their comfort
and convenience. You think Stephen gets on slowly in
shucking corn. I think he is doing very well if he was
half done when you wrote to me last week and he &
Billy will finish very likely this month. You have never
said a word about the cows, how they are improving
&c. When you commence a letter just begin with
some low thing on the place & run the list en-
ding with the most important children & self.
If you hear any news from Mother & the folks in
town I would be glad to hear it. My dinner is
just ready – we eat twice a day – late breakfast
& very late dinner… We had a dinner of beef, sweet
potatoes, molasses, Quince butter, butter & bakers bread. very
nice indeed was it not. We get our supplies from Rock-
ingham, Page & Shenandoah. I doubt if you live so well
although you have killed hogs & have such nice honey &c
[letter abruptly ends.]
“My own dear Wife”, salutation – Virginia ‘Jennie’ Watson Magruder Warren.
“baby”, line 24 – Warren’s youngest daughter, almost nine month old Virginia ‘Jennie’ Watson.
“Jim”, line 26 – Warren’s son, six year old James M.
“my dear little daughter”, line 28 – Warren’s eldest daughter, seven year old Lizzie.
“Maj Pendleton”, page 2, line 3 & 8 – This is most certainly a reference to Alexander S. ‘Sandie’ Pendleton, de facto Chief of Staff to General Thomas J. ‘Stonewall’ Jackson.
“Miller”, page 2, line 4 – George Miller. According to the 1860 Rockingham County Census, he was listed as a 50 year old master shoemaker living in Harrisonburg. His total worth was listed as $4,750.
“Wonesday”, page 2, line 11 – Unusual variation of spelling Wednesday. No indications exist to explain why Warren would have used this spelling.
“Burnsides”, page 2, line 15 & 21 – Ambrose E. Burnside, Union general, commanded the Army of the Potomac.
“the Taliaferros”, page 2, line 24 – William B. Taliaferro, Confederate general, commanded the division in which the 10th VA Infantry served. He had been seriously wounded at the Battle of Brawner Farm, 28 August 1862, and was still absent from division command.
John James Alexander G. Taliaferro, Confederate colonel, commanded the brigade in which the 10th VA Infantry served. He too had been seriously wounded at the Battle of Brawner Farm, and was still absent from brigade command.
“Dr Moffett”, page 4, line 2 – Samuel H. Moffett had served with the 10th VA Infantry from the beginning of the War, but had been assigned to the Culpeper hospital early in the month of November.
“Dr Campbell”, page 4, line 4 – Joseph L. Campbell, Surgeon, 10th VA Infantry.
“Billy Jennings”, page 4, line 5 – William T. Jennings, Hospital Steward, 10th VA Infantry.
“I wish you would send me a scab. . .”, page 4, lines 6-9 – Warren responded in his letter of 14 November to a letter from his wife concerning the sickness of the family from vaccination. It was not disclosed which disease the Warren family had been vaccinated against. However, it was common practice, at that time, to use a portion of a scab from a previously vaccinated patient to vaccinate another. Obviously, Warren felt a scab was safer from his children.
While no signature appears on this letter, it was written by Edward Tiffin Harrison Warren, Colonel, 10th VA Infantry.
[transcript by John P. Mann, IV]