Camp in Skinkers Neck
January 21st 1863.
My dearest Jennie
I commence a letter to you on this large
sheet of fools cap and will finish it at my leisure
The first news I have to tell is that this morning the two
Ala regiments in this brigade were ordered to Genl Laws
Brigade, Hoods Division and two N. C. regiments from
DHHills Division Doles brigade have been ordered here
in the place of the Ala regts I am very sorry for this
for two reasons. In the first place, one or both of the
N. C. Cols may & probably do rank me and I will con-
sequently loose [sic] my position & its comforts and in the
second place I had taught the officers of the Ala regiments
how to discharge their duties & had gained their respect
and esteem and if I am even permitted to retain my
command, I will part with them as with old friends,
for I have in a measure become attached to men and
officers. I am satisfied they are better troops than any
of DH Hills men and dont like the exchange for that
reason. This changing of regiments from one brigade
to another without their wish or consent never does
any good and generally does great harm, and
in this instance I fear harm will result from
it. If I am superseded I dont think under the
circumstances I am will be justified in resigning
yet I will certainly not like it. I cant yet say what
I will do. I am in trouble about it, and will con-
sider myself badly treated. Yet under precisely similar
circumstances Col Gibbons was assigned to this brigade
& placed over Col Fulkerson who before that had comman-
ded the brigade in ba one or two fights and exhibited great
talent for command. Fulkerson quietly submited [sic] & continued
in command of his regiment. So I think I ought also to re-
main and do duty in a more limited sphere, and
let promotion go to the dogs. As the brigade stood I
might have secured a promotion with new regiments
& ranking officers I give it up, but I think it will
secure me a furlough provided that rain keeps up
long enough to make it so muddy that the Yankeys
cant cross the River. Yesterday they came down
and established a camp opposite my position
not a very strong one I think, but not knowing
how many of them there might be in their rear
we all began to think the time for another fight
had arrived. I was down on the bluff last night my-
self trying to make out the extent of their movement
and could not come to a satisfactory conclusion.
I concluded however that if they were in strong
force they would attempt a crossing this morning
and hence if no crossing was attempted I would con-
clude that they were present in small force only, but
as it rained very hard all night with very high winds
I am not now any better informed than I was last
night. My impression is that the camp in view is only
a small – two or three regiments and they are possibly
only cavalry. Yet our Genls all seem to think that they
may will attempt another crossing and if they at-
tempt they are bound to succeed in crossing for we
will let them & then whip them afterwards, at least
that is the plan. I cant take up my paper to give you all
m the reasons they have for believing another fight cer-
tain, but the principal one is that the Republicans are
lossing [sic] popularity so fast in the north that they feel comp-
elled to fight now or give it up altogether. If they put it
off till spring they are whiped [sic], now they possibly may succeed
and as it is with them simply neck or nothing they will
conclude to take neck. In other words that such is the enormous
wickedness of the Lincoln party, that although they
have only a mere chance for success they will
sacrifice thousands of lives rather than give up
& let us alone. But I must not write any more
to day or at least not until night.
Wednesday night. The order for the transfer of the
two Ala regts was countermanded this evening – whether
only temporarily or for good I dont know, nor do
I know why it was countermanded – whether be-
cause I am now on picket or for other reasons
I cant say. I got your letter writen [sic] on sunday [sic]
& monday [sic] this afternoon. I hope Jim is continuing
to improve. I am not disappointed in hearing that
Lizzie & Eliza were both threatened with the
fever I only hope they will get along as easy
as Jimmy has done and that no two of them
will be sick at the same time. I to day wrote
to Lou to go over and take Judy with her – this
is the best plan that I can suggest just now – true
it would be vastly better if I could myself go
but that seems just now impossible but I dont
think that impossibility will exist many days, for
this rain is rapidly making the River botoms [sic] in
our front perfectly impassible. and I now in-
dulge the hope that the muddy time I have been
looking for is at hand. I think you made a
capital mistake when you cut up Nates britches
instead of mine (or Hillarys which ever it was)
Dr Campbell & I will be very agreeably surprised
if you get even $50 for the old wagon, it is
really not worth $25 but you may take all
it will bring. The bees you must take mighty
good care of – a few dried apples stoned and
a little sugar sprinkled over them is a most excelent [sic]
feed for them
I am delighted at your picture of dear little Jennie sitting
on the floor drinking out of a tin cup I know she looked
as sweet as could and Dr Campbell thought so to for
I of course had to tell him about it. I feel so sorry
when I think she has to be so sick with that hor-
able [sic] scarlet fever and poor dear little Lizzie who
has been sick so much I am uneasy about her
and cant help a feeling of the deepest pity. Tell
her to be good & papa will try & come & see her
soon. I dont think you are in danger of it, persons
of your age seldom take it. I have never had it &
dont think I would be likely to do so, but I am
afraid you will over exercise your strength – please
my darling take care of yourself. The remainder of
this sheet I ought to reserve for tomorrow. I dont ex-
pect you to do much towards preperations [sic] for summer
now that the children are sick. I will have to make
the effort them myself – for I really must get home.
I am a little surprised at Mr Effingers reply to you
and I intend to assure that gentleman when he returns
that he has had his last furlough. He has acted so selfishly
& so badly about doing favors of this kind for members
of the regiment that I am determined to punish him
for it. I have no priviledged [sic] gentlemen about me
I am the only boss in the concern & I mean to let him
& all others know it.
Thursday Morning. It rained all night last night and
still continues with intervals. It is just as muddy as it
can well be. We had a dish of tomatoes yesterday and
they made me sick, not much, but enough to make me full
badly this morning. I have no news my pickets report
all quiet in front this morning, and I think it is a
quiet likely to continue at least as long as the mud
continues. I dont expect to write any more unless I have
something especially good to tell & hence will leave this open
until the mail starts from here at 2 PM
[The following was written in the left margin of page 4.]
Kiss all the children & believe me as ever your
affectionate & devoted husband
“My dearest Jennie”, salutation – Warren’s wife Virginia ‘Jennie’ Watson Magruder Warren.
“two Ala regiments”, lines 3 & 4 –
“Ala regiments”, line 11 –
“two Ala regts”, page 3, line 7 – In all cases, Warren referred to the 47th and 48th Alabama Infantry regiments.
“brigade”, line 4; page 2, line 2 – Warren temporarily commanded Taliaferro’s Brigade, Jackson’s Division, Second Corps, Army of Northern Virginia. At the time of the letter the brigade consisted of the 47th & 48th Alabama Infantry regiments and the 10th, 23rd, & 37th VA Infantry regiments.
“Genl Law”, lines 4 & 5 – Evander M. Law, Confederate brigadier-general, commanded a brigade in Major-General John B. Hood’s Division.
“two N. C. regiments”, line 5 – While Warren presumably was not aware of the fact, the two regiments were the 1st and 3rd North Carolina State Troops (infantry regiments).
“DH Hill”, line 6, 17 – Daniel H. Hill, Confederate major-general, commanded a division in the Second Corps, Army of Northern Virginia.
“Doles Brigade”, line 6 – George Doles, Confederate brigadier-general, commanded a brigade in Hill’s Division, Second Corps, Army of Northern Virginia.
“Cols”, line 9 – Colonels.
“Col Gibbons”, line 27 – Simeon B. Gibbons, Colonel, 10th VA Infantry, killed in action during the Battle of McDowell, 8 May 1862.
“this brigade”, line 27 – The brigade to which Warren referred was for most of its existence the 3rd in the 1st (Jackson’s) Division, Second Corps, Army of Northern Virginia. On 22 April 1862 when the 10th VA Infantry was assigned to the brigade, it consisted of the 23rd and 37th VA Infantry commanded by Brigadier-General William B. Taliaferro.
“Fulkerson”, line 28, 30 – Samuel V. Fulkerson, Colonel, 37th VA Infantry. Fulkerson did, in fact, command the brigade at two battles before the 10th VA Infantry joined it. (See note above) However, when the 10th VA Infantry joined the brigade it was commanded by Brigadier-General William B. Taliaferro. He was present with the brigade as Warren mentioned in one of his letters at Conrad’s Store, April 1862, that General Taliaferro shared the men’s bivouac in the field. Warren was correct in that Gibbons did rank Fulkerson. Gibbons’ date of rank to colonel was 24 May 1861; Fulkerson’s date of rank to colonel was 28 May 1861. Therefore, if General Taliaferro had been absent, Gibbons would have ranked Fulkerson and commanded the brigade from 22 April 1862, when the 10th VA joined the brigade, to 8 May 1862, when Gibbons was killed in action during the Battle of McDowell.
“the River”, page 2, line 7; page 3, line 23 – Rappahannock River.
“Jim”, page 3, line 12 –
“Jimmy”, page 3, line 16 – In both cases, Warren referred to his six year old son James M.
“Lizzie”, page 3, line 14; page 4, line 6 – Warren’s seven year old daughter Lizzie.
“Hillary”, page 3, line 28 – Jennie’s brother John Hillary Magruder, Captain, Company B, 7th VA Cavalry.
“Dr Campbell”, page 3, line 29; page 4, line 3 – Joseph L. Campbell, Surgeon, 10th VA Infantry.
“dear little Jennie”, page 4, line 1 – Warren’s ten month old daughter Virginia ‘Jennie’ Watson.
“the children”, page 4, line 17 – Warren had three at the time: seven year old Lizzie, six year James M., and ten month old Virginia ‘Jennie’ Watson.
“Mr Effinger”, page 4, line 19 – Gerald M. Effinger, Quartermaster-Sergeant, 10th VA Infantry.
While the letter is unsigned, it was written by Edward Tiffin Harrison Warren, Colonel, 10th VA Infantry.
[transcription and annotations by John P. Mann, IV]