Tuesday, January 8, 2013
1862 December 24 Buckners Neck, Va.
Camp in Buckners Neck
Xmass Eve 1862
My own dear Jennie
I sent you a letter by mail this morning
but I have unexpectedly met with an opportunity
to send you one by Mr Jones who promises to deliver it
to you which I think will be earlier than my letter
by mail, so here goes for another but what to say I
dont know for I said almost everything I could think
of in the letter just sent of this morning.
Well this is XMass Eve. In times of peace at home
I would have been required by you & the children
to spend this day in your service I would have
been very buisy [sic] doing all sorts of things and
buying all sorts of notions so that the morrow
might be indeed a merry XMass to my treasures
As it is I am here in camp and you are far
away over the mountain in our Valley home
You must have your XMass in your way and
I must have mine at best I can. And al-
though I am detached from the Division on a
line of pickets yet we are arranging for
a XMass. We have a duck & chicken, have
a pudin [sic] engaged for dinner, have had for
four days past oysters & will have them
tomorrow & some other good things to eat
and to cap the climax we are to have an
Eggnog that is as much as a pint of whiskey
will make which will be a very small allow-
ance for a s large party like ours. I am just
as pleasantly situated here as I could be in
the army and would just as soon remain here
as any other place, away from you. I hope
you will all enjoy a pleasant XMass, but
I am afraid it will be lonesome. I have just
seen to days papers giving an account of the
dissentions and horrors & disappointments of the
Lincoln Government. What it will all come
to I cant imagine. They are certainly in greater
despondency than they have ever been at
any past time and with it all admit
that they have no hope of raising a new
army while we know that the present ar-
my is utterly demoralized – the privates are
perfectly free to admit that they are tired
of the dirty work and are not willing to
fight any more if it can be helped. My pickets
& the Yankeys are on the most familliar [sic] terms
and I find it impossible to keep the men
from crossing and recrossing the River. they
bid each other good morning across the River
& pass the complements of the morning and
when no officers are present cross over and
swap tobacco for Sugar Coffee & whiskey
The Yankeys in every conceivable way manifest
an earnest disposition to wind up the war and
go home & hesitate not to admit that they cant
whip us & there is no use trying. Thus it is unless
the yanks can raise a new army they cant expect
to accomplish much more towards our subjuga-
tion and will soon be compelled to give it up. If
we are forced into another campaign next sum-
mer they will find our resources equal at the
least to theirs. One thing I know to be true, we
have to day more men in the field than we ever
had before – for notwithstanding the arms we
have imported & captured we now have be-
tween 30000 & 40,000 unarmed men actually
in the field – they are almost all in the west
but we had before the last fight 4,000 unarmed men
in this army. This you must not speak of, I only
mention it to show that in men we are not de-
ficient at any rate. I dont think the North
with all the dissentions existing among them
can possibly have recuperative power enough to
enable them to put in the field next spring as
good an army as they had last spring while
ours will in every respect be better & stronger
This they will possibly find out in the next
two months and if so we may look out for an
armistice which will last during the summer
and terminate with a final settlement.
Our situation is a remarkable one just now. I dont
believe that even Genl Lee knows the exact position
of the Yankey army Genl Hampton has again
been looking after them & Genl Stuart will
if he is not now be feeling their sides in a day
or two. I have just been in Dr Campbells tent
and found him, Adjt Kisling & our cook buisy [sic]
making a pound cake & Egg-Nog for tomorrow
they were in big ernest [sic] & seem to have no
doubt but that it would be first rate – which I
expect it will be, if it is not spoilt in baking
which I fear it will be as it is now raining.
Boys & men do curious things in camp, dont
they? Kisling says when they finish the cake
they intend to bake some ginger cakes also.
I am curiously anxious to hear from you I cant
imagine why I dont get your letters for I know
you write two or three times a week any how –
yet I have not recd a line since the 13” of this
month. But it is in no use to talk about it we
must grin & endure it as long as the war lasts
and be only the happier when it is over
if we are spared to meet each other under
such favorable circumstances. And now
my darling I wish you all a Merry
Merry X-Mass and bid you a most affectionate
good night, & May God in his mercy bless
you all Ever yours
“My own dear Jennie”, salutation – Warren’s wife Virginia ‘Jennie’ Watson Magruder Warren.
“the children”, line 9 – Warren had three at the time – his oldest daughter seven year old Lizzie, his six year old son James M., and his youngest daughter ten month old Virginia ‘Jennie’ Watson.
“our Valley”, line 15 – Shenandoah Valley.
“the Division”, line 18 – Warren’s 10th VA Infantry served in Taliaferro’s Division, 2nd Corps, Army of Northern Virginia.
“the River”, page 2, line 24 & 25 – Rappahannock River.
“Genl Hampton”, page 4, line 3 – Wade Hampton III from South Carolina, Confederate general, commanded a brigade in the cavalry division of the Army of Northern Virginia.
“Genl Stuart”, page 4, line 4 – James Ewell Brown JEB Stuart, Confederate general, commanded the cavalry division of the Army of Northern Virginia.
“Dr Campbell”, page 4, line 6 – Joseph L. Campbell, Surgeon, 10th VA Infantry.
“Adjt Kisling”, page 4, line 7 & 14 – Whitfield G. Kisling, Adjutant, 10th VA Infantry.
“ETHW”, page 4, signature – Edward Tiffin Harrison Warren, Colonel, 10th VA Infantry.
[transcript by John P.Mann, IV]