Hd Qurs Taliaferros Brigade
Monday Morning Jany 5” 1863.
My own darling Jennie
I am commencing a letter to you under very un-
favorable conditions, that is, I have not heard a word
of inteligence [sic] from Tennesse [sic] or from any other quarter since
I closed my last letter to you and hence I am without
foundation on which to build a letter and am afraid
to write less I may say something said in my last or
one before the last. You may tell Mrs Hardesty the next time
you see her that I succeeded in getting a clerkship for
Bob Ewing at Genl Taliaferros and it will be perma-
nent if Bob pleases them, otherwise if not. I think
he can do all they want him to do. I would have taken
him in my office but you know it is very uncertain
how long I may exercise the command of a brigadier
and I did care to give him only a temporary place.
That is one thing which makes my situation unpleasant
and hence can make no permanent arrangement to do
the work, but I leave nothing undone on that account.
I am gradually increasing the number of the Brigade
improving their clothing discipline &c I am so con-
stituted that I must work or have the blues most terably [sic]
I always get low down when I get to thinking. I am
to day almost by myself no one with me but my clerk and
two couriers. George has gone to see James & Edward. Kisling
and Samuels have finished their morning work and
taken a ride and Dr Campbell has gone to Richmond
on a three days leave of absence. So I am by myself
with nothing to do but write to you. We are enjoying
a most extraordinary fine weather. I feel all the
time like winter had come and gone and like spring
had almost passed away, the roads are fine & invite any
sort of winter military operations and I have little or
no doubt but that the River & the bluffs on this side
are the only thing that prevent operations in this quarter.
I have not seen to days paper but understand that it con-
tains another dispatch from Genl Bragg saying he has
had another hard fight, but is silent as to any decided
result. I suppose as in the battles at Richmond the enimy [sic]
in their retreat have made a stand & succeeded for a day
in holding us off. He says that his cavalry under Genl
Wheeler have again gained the enimies [sic] rear and
captured large trains &c I cant tell how it will all end
but have some how a very strong faith that we are
to be so succesful [sic] there that will end the war. I am
informed (reliably) that some of our politicians are now
afraid of foreign intervention, that is they say we can
now for ourselves make a much better peace than
any other power can make for us, and that it is now
impossible to prevent intervention between this and
early spring. I must confess that the idea of intervention
does not alarm me in the least. I am willing to see
it & have no idea it will hurt us. Let it come as soon
as they please and if anything sooner, I want peace I am
sick of war and all of its troubles. I want to see
& live with my wife & children they need my care
and attention I am under bonds to do all I can
for their happiness and can only be happy while
I am imediately [sic] doing it. I dont think it my duty
to fight for those who will not fight for themselves
nor for the gratification of the ambition of men. We
(I mean the States engaged in the war) began it for peace
we are fighting for peace now – and so soon as that
is attained I am willing to lay by the sword &
musket & return to home & its quiet pursuits. From
Genl Lees Hd Qurs down we all think there is daylight
a head but dont repeat what I say of Genl Lee.
I suppose Stephen is ploughing I wish I was there to see
it. I would take baby out & let her learn how ploughing
is done. I suppose Jim will take a great interest in every
thing connected with a horse. How does the new cow
do, does she improve any, your last account gave a
doubtful account of her and how does our little prize
cow do. I suppose you have by this time one or possibly
two new litters of pigs, and have killed your eight little
hogs and now have plenty of port sausage, pigs feet &c
wish I was there dont you my darling. I suppose you
have moved the bees, this is a very hard winter on them
I am afraid they will eat up everything & starve before
spring opens. Stephen ought to do his ploughing with
tap & fly & not work either Frank or the colts. Has
Fly improved any and have you had the colt brought
home from Jones. By the way Jacksons Brig Genl Jones
is now on picket here & he has established his
Hd Quarters in the woods about 200 yards from
me. We have no communication though he
called on me (impudence dont you think so) I did
not return it & from my Hd Quarters in a big house
look down on the little individual. I have How
do your sheep & the calves come on, did you gelt get
the calf from Mother? or have you only the two
have you heard of another a chance to buy another
cow you must have at least one more fresh one
in the spring say April or May. Jennie Watsons
supply must not be cut short. The papers which I
have just read make a great crow over Braggs vic-
tory & think alls well. I am getting impatient again
I want to hear more, something more decisive, something
more than what only excites hope, but I will not write
about it. I wonder if Mr Christie can get my cape done
in time to send it to me by Mr Effinger when he comes back.
What do you think of Rices sell out in Texas & of his com-
ing to Va to join the army. I will tell you what I
think of it. Rice is famously tired of Texas & wants
to return to old Virginia and has been wanting
to do so for some time and has taken advantage
of circumstances to get back. Rice will never
return to Texas and will not join the army either
you see if he does. And I am glad he is coming back
to Va, I think one county can hold us both, dont
you? I want to see Rice very much indeed.
To days mail has not come yet though the tattoo has
beat & soldiers are making down their beds, at least
I suppose so, for it is time. I wonder if I will get a
letter from you to night – ought to I know, for
I want one very much, but I have been writing so
often to you here lately that I doubt if you will think
it worth while to write to me. You write most when I write least
Tuesday Evening. My darling wife – I have just seen to days
papers Jany 6” and lo! Genl Bragg after gaining a brilliant
victory “retires” 30 miles in good order. Now I want to know
what in the name of common sense made Bragg such a consumat [sic]
fool as to fight the enimy [sic] in a place where he could not stay
after he had whiped [sic] them. It is too much thus to throw
away the lives and spirit of our men and thus throw away
the victory. One thing is absolutely certain either Bragg
is whiped [sic] or else he is the biggest fool in the Confederacy
It is the same old story from the west, two days victory
and then a run. I am out of all patience, and give
it up. We will have another campaign next summer, and
may be another fight here this winter. Nothing but foreign
intervention will prevent it and in that I have no confidence
notwithstanding the fears of Richmond politicians that it will
come. I know you will think it sinful in me to be thus
out of humor with Genl Bragg. But it seems to me that
God has given us the victory and then by our own act
we give it up, either from a want of confidence in him
or for some other perfectly unaccountable reason. I dont
understand it, and can only pray that notwithstanding
our want of faith and folly and all our other sins he will
yet in a way not understood by us spedily [sic] put an end to
this war. In the mean time it becomes us to prepare for the
worst and try in the present emergency to do our whole
duty. I am not disposed to be low spirited I am disappointed
greatly disappointed, but not discouraged, nor disheartened. I will
now go to work in great ernest [sic] to get my regiment ready
for the field next spring, and in order to do so I must have
15 days leave of absence in February next. I cant yet say
what time I will even ask for the leave, certainly not when I can
get home. Shall I get me a new confederate uniform this spring
I think I ought, but it will cost me a full months pay, but
any other kind of suit will cost half a months pay. Tell me what
I must do. I have delayed my letter in the hope that I
would get a letter from you by this evenings mail, but
having failed to do so, I must finish because this letter must
be mailed before I get another mail. My regiment is again
going up I have now 383 present, but of this number I have
only 313 for duty. I have 16 sick 37 on extra duty and 17 under
arrest (in the guard house). I have 151 officers & men absent sick,
18 officers & men absent with leave and 29 men absent without
leave and 28 absent on extra duty, and 169 deserters who
I have reported and intend to publish as such. Of the
151 absent sick I have no doubt the half of them are fit
for duty and ought to be here, and a good many of the extra
duty men I suspect have no business out of ranks. I will
soon have them all straight if I keep on, which I intend
to do as long as I have the chance. Of course I issue to the
other regiments the same orders I issue to my own but in
mine I personally attend to the execution of the order, and
the result shows the difference. I have more men present
for duty than any other regiment in the brigade and
is really next to the smallest regiment. I am perfectly
unyielding in my punishments and intend to keep it up, but
my darling excuse me, this is all nonsense to you I know
and I am foolish to be taking up your time in writing about
it. George returned to day, he did not see Edward but spent
the night with James in his camp, found the young qentle-
men well & the boys full of bigg [sic] talk and whiskey both
the result of the recent raid by Stuart. So Hillary wishes
to give up his company and try the Medical department.
Tell him he can do so very easy, all he has to do is to
get leave from Genl Jones to appear before the Medical Ex-
amining board either here or in Richmond and with
that permission he will without further ceremony go
before the board and if he stands the examination he
will be commissioned otherwise not. If he was here now
I could get him a place in my regiment, but he will not
be in time for that now. I suppose Hillary is just like
all the rest of us, most horably [sic] tired of this war. I know we
are all tired of it here. The nights are terably [sic] long and yet
if I was at home with you they would be short. we could have
a good long chat & then I could read to you & then read some
to myself just to worry you a little and then we could
talk a little more & so on the evening would pass
before we would know it. If I could have my wife and
children all with me and had $20000 in Bank Stock for their
benifit [sic] I would not mind the war half as much as I do, but
being seperated [sic] for months from them and never knowing with
any certainty when I can visit them is indeed an unpleasant
affair, but if my happiness was all that is at stake [sic] it would
not be so much, but then there is the dearest sweetest wife any
body ever had who thinks every thing goes wrong when I am
away & everything right when I am with her, and I know
my little children would be much happier if I was there to
romp with them now & then. Well it is no use to grieve over
things I cant help. We are in it, and have to remain
in it in order to get out of it. And so I will just do my
best where I am, thankful that I am yet alive and that
I have now a pleasant command and good comfortable quarters
under the command of pleasant officers and no di-
agreeable associates. My surroundings are just as pleasant
as they can be to an officer exercising a command above
his rank, with a prospect of returning to my regiment
as soon as active operations begin in the spring. The winter
by the way has not commenced here, and I am told does not
usually begin until January & lasts through February, from
the fact that it is so much later than usual I anticipate a
very late and wet spring so that active operations will
hardly begin before after the 15” or 20” of March.
I am sorry my dear Jennie that my letters have to be so dull
and monotonous to you. I want to write to you. I love to write to
you, but have nothing to write about. I can only say my own darling
that I make them as interesting as I can & for that which is wanting
I can only say that if unbounded love for you & my dear children could
make them so every word & line should be as pearls of joy and
happiness to you. It seems a long time since I saw you and I
have so much to do & think about & have passed through so much
since I left you that I have almost forgot how you all look
cant I intend to bring your pictures with me the next time I leave
home. The remainder of this I must leave open until just before
I start the mail tomorrow, to add the latest news. for the present
[The following was written in two columns at the end of the letter.]
Wednesday Morning. If
you conclude that I must
get a new uniform you
had better cut the buttons
off of my old coat and
send them to me by Mr
Effinger. I have concluded
to sell Hornet & keep Frank
I will want him the last
of February – so that
Stephen must begin to
faten [sic] him now. Tell
him to take ½ bushel
of flour 2 bushells [sic] of corn
meal and 2 bushells [sic] of
wheat bran or ship stuff &
mix all well together &
feed it to him as chop
& curry him well three times
a day, and keep him
well supplied with hay
& keep him all the time
in the stable, & not let
Billy ride him out of a
“Hd Qurs”, heading; page 3, line 12 – Head Quarters.
“Taliaferros Brigade”, heading – Warren was in temporary command of the brigade which consisted of the 47th & 48th Alabama Infantry regiments, and the 10th, 23rd, & 37th VA Infantry regiments.
“My own darling Jennie”, salutation; page 8 line 17 – Warren’s wife Virginia ‘Jennie’ Watson Magruder Warren.
“Mrs Hardesty”, line 7 – Susan M. Ficklen, wife of J. Robert L. Hardesty. J. R. L. Hardesty enlisted 18 April 1861 as a 1st Lieutenant, Company G, 10th VA Infantry. His resignation was accepted 31 August 1861.
“Bob Ewing”, line 9 – Robert B. Ewan, 1st Corporal, Company B, 10th VA Infantry. The 1860 Rockingham County Census listed him in the same household with J. Robert L. Hardesty. The January/February 1863 Company B Muster Roll shows Ewan detailed as a clerk to the brigade headquarters.
“Genl Taliaferro”, line 9 – William B. Taliaferro, Confederate general, commanded the division of the 2nd Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, in which the 10th VA Infantry served.
“my regiment”, line 16; page 6, line 1, 11; page 7, line 13; page 8, line 10 – 10th VA Infantry.
“the Brigade”, line 19 – Warren was in temporary command of Taliaferro’s Brigade as noted above.
“my clerk”, line 23 – Abner K. Fletcher, 2nd Sergeant, Company G, 10th VA Infantry.
“George”, line 24; page 7, line 2 – Jennie’s brother George S. Magruder, Private, Company C, 13th VA Infantry. He was temporarily assigned to the 10th VA Infantry as Warren’s orderly.
“James”, line 24; page 7, line 3 – Jennie’s brother James W. Magruder, 1st Lieutenant, Company K, 2nd VA Cavalry.
“Edward”, line 24; page 7, line 2 – Jennie’s brother Edward J. Magruder, Lieutenant-Colonel, 8th Georgia Infantry.
“Kisling”, line 24 – Whitfield G. Kisling, Adjutant, 10th VA Infantry.
“Samuels”, page 2, line 1 – Green B. Samuels III, 2nd Lieutenant, Company F, 10th VA Infantry. At the time of the letter Samuels was detailed as Brigade Inspector.
“Dr Campbell”, page 2, line 2 – Joseph L. Campbell, Surgeon, 10th VA Infantry.
“the River”, page 2, line 9 – Rappahannock River.
“Genl Bragg”, page 2, line 12; page 4, line 13; page 5, line 2, 4, 8, 17 – Braxton Bragg, Confederate general, commanded the Army of Tennessee.
“Genl Wheeler”, page 2, lines 16 & 17 – Joseph Wheeler, Confederate general, commanded the cavalry of the Army of Tennessee.
“children”, page 3, line 2; page 7, line 22; page 8, line 1, 21 – Warren had three at the time – seven year old Lizzie, six year old James M., and ten month old Virginia ‘Jennie’ Watson.
“Stephen”, page 3, line 14, 26; page 8, column 1, line 11 – A slave owned by Warren. This same Stephen is mentioned numerous times in Warren’s earlier letters but never able to be positively identified until now.
“the baby”, page 3, line 15 – Virginia ‘Jennie’ Watson, Warren’s ten month old daughter.
“Jim”, page 3, line 16 – Warren’s six year old son James M.
“Frank”, page 3, line 27; page 8, column 1, line 8 – One of Warren’s war horses.
“Brig Genl Jones”, page 3, line 29 – John R. Jones, Confederate general, commanded a brigade in the same division in the 2nd Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, in which the 10th VA Infantry served.
He had been born and raised in Harrisonburg but left prior to the war. When the war began he returned and raised a company in the 33rd VA Infantry which he commanded. He eventually rose to the command of the regiment.
Jones left the field at Sharpsburg under questionable circumstances. At Fredericksburg charges of cowardice were leveled against him by various officers in the division.
“Hd Quarters”, page 4, line 2 – Head Quarters.
“Jennie Watson”, page 4, line 11 – Warren’s ten month old daughter Virginia ‘Jennie’ Watson.
“Mr Christie”, page 4, line 17 – George S. Christie, an Harrisonburg merchant and tailor.
“Mr Effinger”, page 4, line 18; page 8, column 1, lines 6 & 7 – Gerald M. Effinger, Quartermaster-Sergeant, 10th VA Infantry.
“tattoo”, page 4, line 29 – A military call which told the soldiers to return to their quarters, whatever they might be, and prepare to go to bed. A few minutes later the call “Extinguish Lights” would sound and all lights would be extinguished, men were expected to be in their beds, and all loud noise was to cease.
“full months pay”, page 6, line 6 – The pay for a colonel was $195.
“other regiments”, page 6, line 23, 26 – The other regiments in the brigade which Warren temporarily commanded were the 47th & 48th Alabama Infantry regiments, and the 23rd & 37th VA Infantry regiments.
“Stuart”, page 7, line 5 – James Ewell Brown JEB Stuart, Confederate general, commanded the cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia.
“Hillary”, page 7, line 5, 14 – Jennie’s brother John Hillary Magruder, Captain, Company B, 7th VA Cavalry. He had enlisted as a private on 14 June 1861 in the first Company K, 10th VA Infantry, but was transferred along with the remainder of the company on 23 June into the cavalry. The company became Company B, 7th VA Cavalry. He was elected captain on 6 June 1862.
“Genl Jones”, page 7, line 8 – William E. ‘Grumble’ Jones, Confederate general, commanded a brigade in the cavalry division of the Army of Northern Virginia.
“Hornet”, page 8, column 1, line 8 – One of Warren’s war horses.
“Billy”, page 8, column 2, line 11 – A slave owned by Warren. This same Billy is mentioned numerous times in Warren’s earlier letters but never able to be positively identified until now.
While this letter bears no signature, it was written by Edward Tiffin Harrison Warren, Colonel, 10th VA Infantry.
[transcript and annotations by John P. Mann, IV]