Hd Qurs Taliaferros Brig.
January 28” 1863.
My dearest Jennie
We are having it now to the fulest [sic] extent.
It commenced snowing this morning at daylight
and has continued ever since & now at 12 M. without
any imediate [sic] prospect of its ceasing to day. It is
a cold wet snow & as hard on the soldiers as it
can well be. I doubt not it will effectually put
an end to all military operations, the mud will
be knee deep without a prospect of improvement to any
extent for a month. And I suppose Genl Lee will
now grant me a furlough to go home & see my wife
and dear little children. I intend to ask for
one any how. I got no letter from you yesterday
and hence I conclude all are doing well. I do hope
so any how. And I wonder how in the world you
are getting along with all this snow. It is bad enough
here, it must be a good dele [sic] worse in the Valley
where it is so much colder. Stephen ought to get
out the sleigh & then you could easily keep up
communication with town. I am consoled with
the reflection that you have plenty of flour & meat
& milk & so are not likely to star starve nor to
suffer for fire as long as Stephen & Billy can get to
& from Mr Liggetts woods.
I look upon this snowstorm as a victory for us.
It has driven Burnsides back to his den & will keep him
there, I think, for one good time. I was however of the
opinion that it was better for our cause to have another
fight this winter & strange to say looked forward to the
prospect with feelings of pleasure rather than other-
wise, for I thought another decided victory by our
army would certainly end the war. But Providence
has ordered otherwise, and as I am firmly convinced
that God is with us, I most cheerfully bow to the
circumstances which controling [sic] operations here prevents
another conflict of arms, and I now hope & pray that
further strife will be postponed until the people of
the North will have determined that the war shall
end. To us time is now everything. The tone & sentiment of
the Yankey army is being felt at home & is beginning
to express itself in tones of thunder. The cry for peace is
going out from all classes & it will soon be a cry
for peace on any terms not in their opinion disgrace-
ful & it will be no hard thing for them to say that it
is not disgraceful to acknowlege [sic] the independence of
a people who have so nobly & gallantly defended them
selves against an unjust tyranny. I say time to us
is victory – if we can postpone a battle until April
I consider our destiny as settled in our favor and
most likely without a fight after that date. I am
full of hope & confidence, let it come as it may. I
dont in the least doubt or fear for the result if we
have another fight now or later. I only want to a-
void any more blood shed if possible. I dont want
to see any more of our brave men killed and I am
sick & weary of seeing heaps of slaughtered Yankeys.
I therefore pray for peace without further fighting, and
can see nothing to prevent such a consumation [sic] if our
armies are compelled or permited [sic] to lie still. The
spirit of our men seems to improve daily, that of the
Yankeys seems to get worse, and so I say if we lie
still the sentiment of the Yankey army and of the Yankey
people will work out for us a peace. fighting will
not tend a great dele [sic] to help this sentiment unless indeed
we should be overwhelmingly victorious. The only news I
have to day is that the Artillery has all been ordered
back to Bowling Green. Wednesday Evening. I have just
received your note of the 26”, read it, burnt it, and
thought over it, and now find myself a little low
spirited. Lizzie does not seem to improve as I expected. I
did hope that to days letter would say she was much
better and I was hoping too, to hear of an improvement
in your health, in this I am also disappointed. I hope
your next will be more full and satisfactory. I am
by no means pleased with Newts apparent neglect. I
think it is his duty to visit you once each day
any way, no matter whether the children need his
attention or not. And I think too he might write
to me & let me know his opinion as to their situation
I know very well that I could not fail to extend
that much kindness to him. As I have heretofore said
I know nothing at all about scarlet fever & dont
know whether the swelling about the neck is a bad
symptom or not. Dr Campbell seems to think it is not. I
cant for a day or two apply for a leave of absence &
to tell you the truth I will not get it if I do. I must
select my time, and be very fortunate if I succeed.
And then again I cant get a leave for more than 15
day which will not give me over a week at home
I might spend this week with you & then be compelled
to leave you when the children were in a more crit
ical situation than when I got home. I dont therefore
want to start home until there is a necessity for
it, and I must say your letters are not satisfactory.
If the children are in a dangerous situation you
dont say so. If they are doing as well as could
be expected you dont say so. Thus it is your letters are
not sufficiently satisfactory to make me satisfied
with their condition nor yet sufficiently unsatisfactory
to give me grounds to make an application for leave of
absence. If in my application I say my children are
dangerously ill with scarlet fever, I say what I dont know
& really dont believe to be so, except so far only as chil-
dren with that disease may allways [sic] be in danger. If on
the other hand I say my children are ill with scarlet
fever my application will be rejected & I will be cen-
sured for applying to go home at a critical time
on an insufficient reason. The weather now is favorable
to an application of this sort & I hope to be succesful [sic]
when I do try. We have news to day of rather a lively
nature, my courier just returned from Genl Taliaferros
Hd Qurs informs me that it is stated there that the Western
troops in Burnsides Army mutinied & positively refused
to cross the River on the 22d of this month. I cant vouch
for the story, but am willing to confess that I will
not be surprised at such information. You cant expect
the soldiers to fight when the State Govt & the people
at home are in favor of peace. I am prepared for just
such news, but dont quite believe this because Burnsides
had another very good reason for not crossing, mainly the
rain. And possibly he may have found out that he was
mistaken in his opinion that our army had been very much
weakened by sending reinforcements south & west. It is true
we have sent some men south, but it is also true that to
day we are stronger than we have ever been at any time
past. And if Genl Burnsides had crossed over he would
have found to his sorrow that we were too many for his army
but as I said before I am glad it has turned out as it has.
The Yankeys are whiped [sic] & we have lost none of our men.
I suppose his honor Mr Effinger has concluded to carry the
buttons for you, no matter if he does, he shall not escape pun-
ishment for sending you a rude message. I am not saving
paper to write on tomorrow but I intend to put in an extra
half sheet. I have a rude set of chess men which affords me amusement
[letter abruptly ends]
“Hd Qurs”, heading – Head Quarters.
“Taliaferros Brig.”, heading – Warren was in temporary command of the 3rd (Taliaferro’s) Brigade, 1st (Jackson’s) Division, Second Corps, Army of Northern Virginia. The brigade consisted of the 1st & 3rd North Carolina State Troops (infantry regiments) and the 10th, 23rd, and 37th VA Infantry regiments.
“My dearest Jennie”, salutation – Warren’s wife Virginia ‘Jennie’ Watson Magruder Warren.
“12 M.”, line 3 – 12 Meridian, i.e. 12 Noon.
“children”, line 11; page 3, line 25, 29; page 4, line 1, 5 – At the time of the letter, Warren had three: seven year old Lizzie, six year old James M., and eleven month old Virginia ‘Jennie’ Watson.
“the Valley”, line 16 – Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
“Stephen”, line 17, 22 – A slave owned by Warren.
“Billy”, line 22 – A slave owned by Warren.
“Burnsides”, line 25, page 4, line 13, 19, 26 – Ambrose E. Burnside, Union general. He had commanded the Army of the Potomac. Warren was obviously unaware that Burnside had been relieved of command just days before the date of the letter.
“Lizzie”, page 3, line 4 – Warren’s seven year old daughter.
“Dr Campbell”, page 3, line 18 – Joseph L. Campbell, Surgeon, 10th VA Infantry.
“Genl Taliaferro”, page 4, line 11 – William B. Taliaferro, Confederate general, commanded the 1st (Jackson’s) Division, Second Corps, Army of Northern Virginia.
“Hd Qurs”, page 4, line 12 – Head Quarters.
“the River”, page 4, line 14 – Rappahannock River.
“22d of this month”, page 4, line 14 – The aborted crossing of the Rappahannock River by General Burnside’s Army of the Potomac occurred during the campaign which is referred to as the ‘Mud March’. This disastrous campaign, along with political problems which existed in the Army of the Potomac and Washington DC, led to the removal of General Burnside from command of the army.
“Mr Effinger”, page 4, line 30 – 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.
[transcript by John P. Mann, IV]