Thursday, December 20, 2012
1862 December 21 3rd Brigade Headquarters
Hd Qurs 3d Brigade
Dec 21st (Sunday) 1862
My own darling Jennie
Last night, to day, and to night we are ex-
periencing the coldest weather of the season and
our men and officers are suffering no little. So
far as I am concerned my tent & stove enable me
to keep comfortable. George & I sleep together and
Cupid fixed himself down by the stove and when
I get cold I call him up to make a fire for me.
Notwithstanding the fight and the terable [sic] whiping [sic]
we gave the Yankeys the campaign still continues
and as yet we see no signs of Winter Quarters
For instance – I have a picket of 50 men on the road
between me & the river and this evening I sent
two regiments and my battery to picket at
a point six miles below this place, thus keeping
half of the brigade on duty. This thing cant last
very long no set of men under the sun can stand
it, and we had better cross the river & give battle
to the enimy [sic] on their own ground than try
to keep up this sort of work. I am in perfect
ignorance as to the movements of the enimy [sic] &
Genl Lees purpose in relation to them. You see
the papers which is the only source from which
we get information and hence you know all
that I can tell you. I gather from the papers that
the Yankey army is very much demoralized and
from what the prisoners say I believe they will
never again make as good a fight as the last
one & that was a poor one indeed. And I hope
that the Lincoln Government will be so much dis
jointed by their last & repeated defeats that
eventually it will give up the contest, but I have
been so often disappointed in my hopes that
now I have a mind prepared for any sort of
contingencies except defeat. Having all the facts
before you to the same extent that I have I must
leave you to work out for yourself a theory for
peace. When I see the comments of the Northern
press on the result of our last battle I can better
form an opinion. The last letter I received from
you was through Bob Ewing dated 13” inst eight
days ago and am very anxious to hear again. I
am fearful that the children may get the scarlet
fever – try my darling and write to me as often as
you can so as to relieve my mind of its anxiety
about you. Your letter giving me an account of
Lizzie entertaining the soldiers was handed to me on
the battle field and I stood up and read it in
full view of the Yankey lines while the flag of truce
was in the field and thus in the midst of hostilities
which were removed by the time I was done reading
it. my mind was carried back to our sweet little
home in the Valley and its dear inmates – for
whom I was there fighting. It was a pleasant little
episode in the savage scenes of the day and
was a momentary & pleasant relief from the anx-
iety of mind which I felt & had felt during the day.
I had a singular position – a strong one in which
my men were well protected but in which my of-
ficers and especially myself & staff were greatly
exposed. I came near loosing my horse in 20 min-
utes after I came on the field a Minnie ball passing
under him & striking a tree – but thank be to God
who giveth the victory, our enimy [sic] was too much
dispirited & confused by the defeat of the day be-
fore to renew the fight again. I would like to have
seen Lizzie doing the honors of the house and as for
Jim I suppose he was a big man generally. I am
greatly pleased that your friends do not forget you
I always feel better after I get a letter saying that
you have had so many visitors especially if they
are of persons who I know are agreeable to you.
I know that you are always fond of company
of the right sort and in my absence it is a real
relief to you. In one of your letters you said that
some of the good people of HBurg were in some
commotion over the idea that I was a Brig Genl
You may say to them that I am only a Colnl &
not likely to be anything else. I have not asked
to be made a Brigadier nor do I intend to. I
dont want to be ambitious of military honors and
pray to God that I may not become so. I am only
desirous to fully discharge my duty, whether it be
as commander of a regiment or brigade and if I
succeed in doing this it will be because I have
been by a Higher Power blessed with the wisdom
courage & prudence to do so. I am therefore the
neither a subject for the envy or notice of the wicked
nor yet the a subject for the praise of the good. If
my conduct can always command the approval
of my own conscience, which it really does not
always do, I am certain my wife will approve
and I hope my Maker will approve and
I shall be or at least ought to be satisfied
Though I am perfectly free to confess I am
not insensable [sic] to the worlds applause and can
only say I will try not to look for it, and not
to be disappointed if I fail to receive it.
If I could see this war ended, our armies dis-
banded & sent home to their families & I myself
restored to my family & the pleasures of domestic
life I would ask for and receive desire no higher honors
and Oh! how often after each day of my life
do I put the question “when will this strife cease”?
“when will we have peace”? I am sick of scenes
of bloodshed carnage & death. Just think of
15000 living human bodies being mutilated in
a single day of 7000 men women & children &
the population of an entire city – being driven
from their homes in midwinter and sent
out among a people themselves have
scarcely enough to eat, and then of a town being
[letter abruptly ends.]
“Hd Qurs”, heading – Head Quarters.
“My own darling Jennie”, salutation – Warren’s wife Virginia ‘Jennie’ Watson Magruder Warren.
“George”, line 5 – Jennie’s brother – George S. Magruder, Private, Company C, 13th VA Infantry. At the time of the letter he was temporarily assigned as Colonel Warren’s orderly.
“Cupid”, line 6 – A servant or slave of the Magruder or Warren family, he was currently working for Warren.
“the brigade”, line 15 – As noted in the heading of the letter, Warren was in temporary command of the 3rd Brigade, Taliaferro’s Division, 2nd Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, which consisted of the 47th & 48th Alabama Infantry regiments, and the 10th, 23rd, & 37th VA Infantry regiments.
“Bob Ewing”, page 2, line 16 – Robert B. Ewan, 1st Corporal, Company B, 10th VA Infantry.
“the children”, page 2, line 18 – Warren had three at the time: seven year old Lizzie, six year old James M., and ten month old Virginia ‘Jennie’ Watson.
“Lizzie”, page 2, line 22; page 3, line 13 – Warren’s seven year old daughter.
“the Valley”, page 2, line 28 – Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
“Jim”, page 3, line 14 – Warren’s six year old son James M.
“HBurg”, page 2, line 22 – Harrisonburg, Rockingham County, Virginia.
“Brig Genl”, page 3, line 23 – Brigadier General.
“Colnl”, page 3, line 24 – Colonel.
Even though the last page of this letter is currently missing, it was written by Edward Tiffin Harrison Warren, Colonel, 10th VA Infantry.
[transcript by John P. Mann, IV]