Friday, January 25, 2013

1863 January 16 Head Quarters Taliaferros Brigade

   Hd Qurs Taliaferros Brig.
     January 16” 1863.
My dearest Jennie
I recd to day your letter writen [sic] on the 14”  I
was happy in reading the first part of it, but was made
very uneasy by reading the latter part telling me of
Jimmys illness.  I had somehow been indulging the
hope that the children would escape the fever.  I
was persuaded they would and am now sorely
disappointed and am uneasy notwithstanding
you tell me his symptoms are not bad, for at
the time you wrote to me he had not been sick
long enough for the disease to develop itself, and
then if he does not have a severe attack there
are the other children to take it, and one is just
as dear to me as another and then I cant leave
here just now to go home.  From some cause or
Genl Lee seems to anticipate another battle here
I dont know the grounds for his opinion, but we
are called on to be constantly prepared for
action with one days rations cooked – furloughs
are therefore not granted to officers, not even to
captains and it is not only useless to ask for
them but is very prejudicial to the officer
asking for it, and besides this I cannot, unless
the illness of the children becomes dangerous &
alarming, think conscientiously ask for leave

[page 2]
here so long as a fight is anticipated.  This is I think
the best brigade in the Division.  I have their confidence
& can I think properly manage them in a fight –
and if I leave I am not satisfied how it will do
Col Sheffield is absent & Col Williams is next senior
officer.  I must therefore beg of you my darling not
to become alarmed  try & give me as often as you
can a correct & frank account of the condition
of the children, if it is only a few lines. I can
get your letter promptly for instance your letter of
thursday wednesday, was recd to day, friday.  I hope
and trust all will yet be well, and belive that
our Father in Heaven will take care of you all.
He has ever dealt with us with so great mercy
and protected & blessed us in so many trials that
we must even now humbly trust in his mercy.
You must get Fanny to assist you all she can & must
try & take care of yourself too my darling – your health
will not permit too great exertion & too much loss of
sleep.  Let me hear from you often as you can and
I will make every effort to be with you if either of
the children become so ill as to require my presence.
I dont feel like writing any more to night, and am
really tired for I have been kept very busy all
day long.  The work seems to increase on my hands al-
though I aim to finish up all business as it comes
in, leaving nothing for next day except next days
own work.  Good night my precious darling.

[page 3]
Sunday Morning.  I had no opportunity to send
my letter to the post office on yesterday, but was too
much engaged during the day to write any more
& am availing myself of the quiet of a sabbath
morning to fill another half sheet.  It seems the
longer I remain in camp the more work I have
to do.  I am kept almost constantly employed, but
have no objection for it keeps my mind employed and
thereby keeps off the blues, and besides that I can see that
good is resulting from my efforts & the number of men
for duty in the brigade is steadily on the increase.
 I am both sorry & pleased that you are constantly in-
dulging the vain hope that I am going to surprise
you by appearing at home unanounced. [sic]  Sorry, because
it certainly dooms you to many bitter disappointments
and pleased, because it shows how deeply & truly you
love me, and that the children have learned to do
the same thing.  I got no letter from you last night
and I therefore conclude that Jimmy is no worse &
is probably doing well as he could under the circum-
stances.  I am fearful the others may take it, but
hope & pray God in his mercy to take care of you
& protect you.  I know I ought to be with you and
feel that you do not get along without me, but I
can see no prospect of obtaining such a leave as will
enable me to be of any service, if indeed I could
get leave at all.  Genl Lee has been compelled on
account of the great abuse by officers of the priviledges [sic]

[page 4]
of their positions to adopt the most stringent
rules in relations to leaves of absence.  None are
granted to captains or field officers at this time
though if February turns out to be a wet month
like it usually is I doubt not we can then get
off.  at present as I said in my letter of yester-
day the Yankeys are making demonstrations
as if they intended to attack us again.  a
new commander has been appointed for them
& I suppose he must do something, my im-
pression is that all they are after here is
to make us believe they intend to cross over
again & thus detain our men here while they
send off a sufficient force to enable them to make
an attack at some other point, but until
their purpose is certainly known we cant blame
our genl for keeping his army together.  I men-
tion this not only to show how dificult [sic] it is for me
to get leave to go home but also to explain any appre-
hension you may have of another engagement here
in a short time.  I cant help feeling very uneasy
about you as well as the children.  May Heaven
defend & protect you all
Most affectionately

“Hd Qurs”, heading – Head Quarters.

“Taliaferros Brig.”, heading –

“brigade”, page 2, line 2; page 3, line 11 – In all cases, Warren referred to the brigade, Taliaferro’s consisting of the 47th & 48th Alabama Infantry and the 10th, 23rd, & 37th VA Infantry regiments, which he temporarily commanded.

“My dearest Jennie”, salutation – Warren’s wife Virginia ‘Jennie’ Watson Magruder Warren.

“Jimmy”, line 4; page 3, line 19 – Warren’s six year old son James M.

“the children”, line 5, 23; page 2, line 9, 22; page 3, line 17; page 4, line 22 – Warren had three at the time, seven year old Lizzie, six year old James M., and eleven month old Virginia ‘Jennie’ Watson.

“the Division”, page 2, line 2 – Jackson’s Division, commanded by Brigadier-General William B. Taliaferro, Second Corps, Army of Northern Virginia.

“Col Sheffield”, page 2, line 5 – James Lawrence Sheffield, Colonel, 48th Alabama Infantry.

“Col Williams”, page 2, line 5 – Titus V. Williams, Colonel, 37th VA Infantry.

“Fanny”, page 2, line 17 – A slave owned by Warren.  This same Fanny is mentioned in Warren’s earlier letters but never able to be positively identified until now.

“field officers”, page 4, line 3 – The field-grade officers in a regiment consisted of the major, lieutenant-colonel, and colonel.

“my impression is that they . . . attack at some other point”, page 4, lines 10-15 – Without placing too much into this statement, as military officers are trained to pin the enemy and attack somewhere else, Warren is describing what happened in May 1863 which led to the Battle of Chancellorsville

“ETHWarren”, page 4, signature – Edward Tiffin Harrison Warren, Colonel, 10th VA Infantry.

[transcript and annotations by John P. Mann, IV]

MSS 7786-g

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