Friday, January 18, 2013

1863 January 2 near Port Royal

                        Camp 13th Va. Inf. Near Port Royal
                        Thursd  Friday night Jan. 2nd 1863.
My dearest Page: _
                             I have just returned from
preaching for my namesake bro. Jno. W. Jones,
at the 25th Va. and will employ this time
that intervenes between this and my entrance
into dream land in a chit chat with
[The date, 1863, is written over “in” on the preceding line.]
you – though I will, unfortunately, have
to do all of the talking myself and
with a tongue not quite so glib as my
natural one.  I begun a letter to you
last night immediately on the reception
of your’s of the 26th inst. but as I’ve con-
trived to lose what I wrote I must
begin tonight de novo.  This is a beau-
tiful night and I enjoyed preaching more
than my wont.  From the text “Hither to
hath the Lord helped me” I tried to
make an honest [“Honest” is a guess as the word is unclear.] practical talk
on the blessings wh the Lord has
given us during the past year as
a nation, a brigade, and as individuals_
and to draw thence lessons of thankful-
ness for the past and trustfulness and
obedience for the future.  I tried to preach
to myself as well as to others for truly
the Lord has been good to me during
the past year – for more than I have in
any way deserved.  I enter the New Year
with deep humiliation in view of my short-
comings in the past – (both in what I have
done & what I have failed to do) – and with
many resolves for the future – God help
me to keep them.  Let us begin the New Year
with determination to help each other make
progress in personal holiness, and labor
together for the good of others.  If our

[page 2]
hearts are only kept right it is always easy
and pleasant to do good – E. G. I have generally
found it very hard to talk with officers
(especially comparative strangers) on the subject
of religion and yet when an occasion
offered this evening I found it easy and very
pleasant to talk to Col. Higinbottom (of the
25th) about his soul, and urge him to seek
after a personal interest in the Savior’s
blood.  He thanked me for my talk and
asked me to come and see him and talk
with him again, in a manner wh gives
me hope that, with God’s blessing, my words
were not without effect.  By the way you
suggest to me in yr letter the duty of speak-
ing plainly to Ed of his condition, and
future prospects – I did so the last time I
was at home and had done so, indeed,
before.  And I rejoice to believe that he is
fully prepared (if it be God’s will to take
him from us) to enter a better home.  He
says that ^ ‘he’ is not afraid to die – that he
trusts in Christ – that His blood is suf-
ficient to cleanse him from all his
sins.__ God grant that he may be spared
to us, or if not that his hope may be
brightened and his faith strengthened.___
But I must hasten on with my letter
and ere I forget endeavor to answer
the questions in your’s letter wh you
charge me so especially to reply to.  About
the nurse – I wrote you in my last, wh
I hope you duly recd., that as I failed to
get “Lou” I told Pa to engage Miss Lute
Payne’s girl at once – I hope that he
did so and that she proves a good
one in every respect.  You have cer-
tainly been very unfortunate in your
nurses thus far, and I hope most

[page 3]
sincerely that you have now begun a new
era in that respect.  I am sorry that I can
not give you any definite information con-
cerning “Steve” – I saw a list of casualties in his
Regt, however, and his name was not mentioned.
I want to go to see him in a few days –
will be difficult as the troops are so
scattered.  By the way I hope you explained
to Sister that I did not get the shoes
for Steve because her letter was nt recd.
by me until the day of the fight – and
then I did not know the size of his
foot, and supposed also that he had
been supplied by that time.  There is no
time fixed for the funeral at bro. Nuckols’
but I suppose it will probably be put
off until the Spring.  I expect, however,
to preach at “Little River” the third Sun-
day in this month, and shd like above
all things for you to form one of the
congregation if circumstances will admit.
Lou ask if you are not “unfortunate in
having Carter to nurse so long”.  Yes! but
not so much so as many a poor woman
who has a houseful of babies, and no
one to nurse for her at any time.
I said nothing in my letter about
“Nelly & the diphtheria” simply because
I heard nothing about it when at
home, and yr letter was the first of
my knowing she hd hd it.  She was
(apparently at least) well, and I sincerely
hope that we may have no more
cases at home.  Of course I wd
not be willing fr either Carter or
yrself to go where it is..  Pen did not
go home Xmas but will probably go in
a few days.  I did not stay longer
at home because my duties called

[page 4]
me back to the Regt., and I did ^ ‘not’ feel inclined to
neglect them, as I cd not see you.  I find it
somewhat difficult to get fifty dollars to
Richmond at this time and for fear you
may need money before I can send the
check I’ll risk ten dollars in this letter –
let me know if you get it safely._ I have
been staying pretty closely in camp since
I last wrote holding services every night
&c _ We are faring pretty well at present
as I bought for the mess this morning
some chickens & ducks, four old hares
&c and one of the boys has gotten from
home a ham, some chine, crackling
bread &c – these with our ration of
beef & bread afford us good living – more
especially when we have dumplings as
we often do from some fruit I brought
from home with me.  I have been sleeping
with Will Ashby – Pen is now at brigade
Hd. Qrs. with Capt. Boughan who is now acting
as brigade Qr. Mr. – but our tent caught fire
from our stove this morning and was
entirely burnt up.  Will lost about hun-
dred dollars worth of clothes but I was
so fortunate as not to lose a thing.
I’ll sleep very comfortably tonight with
John Biggers.  I am glad to hear that Gen ^ ‘Lee’
has somewhat relaxed the rigor of his orders
about furloughs – if this be so I shall most
certainly apply for one very soon and you
may expect me at Oakley in about
ten days.  I am dying to see you & Carter
and anxious to see the other loved ones
at Oakley.  But I must really bring this
to a close as it is now nearly 12 O’clock
and I’ve some other writing to do.  Best love
to all and many kisses to our little
Darling,  Tell him to be a good boy and
not forget Father.  And now good night,
Dearest, _ Angels watch around thy
couch & the Lord bless & keep you!
                       Yr own devoted

John William Jones,  13th Virginia, noted later as the author of Christ in the Camp

                                  Q.M. Office, Earley’s Brig_
                                  January 4th 1863
   My dear Lute:
                        Your letter of the 31st ult.
has just been received and read with
much pleasure.  I had begun to get quite
anxious about you all and especially con-
cerned about Ed. as John represented him
as not being quite so well as usual when
he saw him.  I hope you will continue
to write more punctually in regard to
him for I am considerably uneasy
when I fail to hear from you.
I was glad to learn that the cases
of Dyptheria were well and that there
were no new ones for the disease has been
extensively fatal wherever it has been.
I was already aware of Uncle William
Ashby’s ill health and indeed conclud-
ed some time since that his days
were numbered for earth.  Poor Aunt
Cynthia you say is again complain-
ing much.  I am so sorry for her –
she has certainly enjoyed little phys-
ically in this world but her sad afflict-
tions have drawn her nearer to the
world of light & liberty.  What an

[page 2]
example of patience and Christian fortitude
has she presented to the world!
Christmas has once more come and passed
away.  My time was spent in our office
and I was so busy I almost forgot that
it was Christmas or at least seldom
thought of it.  There was considerable move-
ment throughout camp but my “residence”
is secluded and retired and conse-
quently I saw very little of it.  The weath-
er was exceedingly fine and resembled
a beautiful May Day rather than Christ-
mas weather which has been almost inva-
riably cold and stormy.  Our mess was
without a cook during the whole time
and as the others are more experienced
in the Culinary Department I was
employed only as a “hewer of wood and
drawer of water” while they did all
the rest necessary in the preparation
of a big Christmas Dinner – I wish
I could have been at home but perhaps
can spend my time as pleasantly at
another period which I trust may
not be very distant.  We are now
engaged on our Monthly & Quarterly Returns
to the Department at Richmond and
as soon as we get fairly through

[page 3]
lines; the troops picket on the river and
sometimes the enemies Cavalry videttes
make their appearance on the opposite
side.  John speaks of going home
as soon as he can get off; he expects
to travel by RailRoad if he can pro-
cure the proper authority & if not will
have to make the trip on horseback.
What in the world could have induced the
people to give so many parties during
Christmas while things are in such a
crippled condition;  I thought that par-
ties had been laid aside until after
the dreadful war.  Politics visit the
haunts of the camp and field and now
there are lively discussions as to who
will be the next Governor and who is to
succeed the lamented Preston in
Congress.  Extra – Billy Smith who is
Colonel of the 49th Va. (in our Brigade)
is highly commended for the Post of
Governor and could our boys decide
the Election his chances would be favorable.
     We have made new arrangements
about our mail which I hope will be
received more regularly in future; we
have a special agent at the Depot &

[page 4]
a regular Post-boy for the brigade, so
that we will receive our letters daily.
Ours is the distributing office and I have
been very much amused in deciphering
the dreadfully written directions which
come to the North-Western men in the
Brigade; they are entirely uneducated &
illiterate & their families at home indi-
cate the same unhappy misfortune.
   It is late and I must close.  With
much love to all at home and to
the kind neighbors & friends, and hopeing
that you will write again soon &
a long letter, I remain,
                          Yr. Affectionate Brother
                             F. Pendleton Jones.
Miss Lute M. Jones.}
      Louisa Co. Ho.  }

Francis Pendleton Jones,  Louisa Blues, 13th Virginia Infantry

[transcript by Mary Roy Dawson Edwards]

MSS 13407

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