Camp near Cumberland gap,
May the 27th, 1863
Dear companion I seat myself to drop you a few lines to let you know that I am well at present hoping these lines may find you and the children well. I wrote you a letter when we was at Morristown Tenn. We reached this place yesterday evening late after a tiresome march of six days in the dust and heat. The heat was so severe we suffered considerably from the effects of our march. Several of our boys is left behind, ...some is sick and some broke down. You never have saw the like of soar feet in all your life. Our officers say we will rest here until our feet gets well. On our march to this place I saw some of the spoils of the enemy. We come thorugh a town called Gazwell (or Tazwell) (Tennessee) that the yankees has burnt most of the town.
|This copy of the second page of Solomon's hand written letter is missing the left hand side. This is due to the many copies of copies that have been made over the years. The typed version on left is from a typed letter made later. We are in search of a more original copy or better yet, the original itself. If anyone knows of of one, please contact us.|
A great many brick walls is standing there with
everything burned out of them and a heap of them that the walls has fell down beside this
numbers of framed buildings also consumed. Also I saw farms that every rail was burned
from around them. We are now at the yankee fortifications that they throwed up when they
was in posession of this place. It is an extensive fortification. The timber is all cut
down from the foot to the top of as high mountains as ever you saw. Also rifle pits dug
out from the foot of the top of the mountains. We are now in sixteen miles of Cumberland
Ford, at which place there is sixteen thousand yankees stationed. I will not write any
more until tomorrow.
This morning finds me well. we have not made any further ________ (line missing on old recopy) ________
move than. The General sent up orders for about forty men from the Regt to go on picket. They are now gone but none went from our company. Also he sent for one hundred men for fatigue duty they are gone. I am not able to say what he wants with them
Late yesterday evening I went over the cumberland mountain and looked at our mens fortifications. I dont think that one hundred thousand yankees can hurt a hair on our heads at this place. Our regt can whip ten thousand yankees in the rifle pits and battery fortifications we have at this place but I have no idea that the yankees will ever attack us hear. If they do they will soon get a decent whipping. The war news is very favorable at present. We got a dispatch last knight from Vicksburg (Mississippi) which say there has been hevy (heavy) fight at that place.
The telegram says there was
ten thousand yankees lying dead on the field of battle, it was a complete victory on the side
of the confederates. I think a few more such whippings as this will end the war. I will
send you a piece of poetry that is called the ladies breeches. If it is not any amusement
to you perhaps some one will fancy it. Also I send you foar small tracts which I want you
to keep until I come home, for they are something interesting to the soldier.
I want you to write as soon as you get a letter before we have to leave this place. Direct your letters to cumberland gap, Tenn (Co) G... 62nd Regt NC Troops, Gracies Brigade ... to be forwarded.
I must close nothing more at present but remains your affectionate and loving husband
August the 23rd, 1863
It is with pleasure I seat myself to let you know that I am enjoying a reasonable portion of health at present, ever hoping these lines reach their destination and find you and the children enjoying the best of health. I can inform you that we are somewhat flustrated here now. There came a dispatch to this place night before last reporting thirty thousand yankees to have crossed to Cumberland mountain four miles from this place. It has caused considerable excitment at this place. It is thought by some of the officiers that they are trying to surround the gap, but I do not think so. My notion is they intend making a raid on the "railroad" but I may be mistaken. We have moved our commissary stores to more secure parts within our fortifications and if they come here, they're going to get hurt. Our boys is in fine spirit. we was ordered yesterday to cook three days rations. We don't know for what purpose but we know one thing, it is either to take up the line of march or to go into our rifle pits, provided the enemy should attack us. But, for my part, I am not uneasy for we are well fortified and can defend ourselves securely from far superior forces. And, if they come here, you will hear of them getting hurt. Also, if they should surround us and cut off our supplies, we have provisions to last a considerable length of time. But, I have no fears of this for the enemy has no chance of getting supplies on the south of the line of the intruder so, I apprehend so serious results to follow.
Marth, I want you, if you can, to write to me often. I have not got a letter in over
a month. The boys in our company is in tolerable good health. Marta and your cousins
here is well. Nothing more but remains your affectonate husband until death.
|Camp Douglas, Chicago, Ill
Dec. the 27th, 1863
Dear companion, I take this method of letting you know I am well at present. Hoping these lines may find you and the children well. This day twelve months ago I left home. I have lived through many hardships since that time and I am yet alive and enjoying good health, better than usual. It is a sad misfortune that the horror of war has cast our lots in a foreign land but it is even so and we have to submit to its consequences whatever they may be. Hope it will not be long until we are exchanged and get back to our beloved homes and family.
The health of the reg and company is tolerable good at present.
Tell the friends of ____________(illegible), their relatives are generally well. M.M. Shelton is not very well but on the mend. ________ Hooper, L.W. and T.S. are all well. Send word to pop and Elizabeth.
Martha I want you to write to me and let me know how you are all doing. You will be limited to a short letter otherwise it will not pass through. Write every week, probably I will get a letter after a while. Direct your letters to Chicago camp Douglas Illinois marked to the Co. and Regt.
Nothing more but ramins your affectionate husband until death.
Tell L.S. Shelton's (?) family, he has
been sick but getting well fast.
Asks for them to write to him.
All of the CSA soldiers who died at Camp Douglas are buried at Oak Woods Cem. in a mass grave called The Confederate Mound. Most were buried in individual graves in either the Chicago City Cem. until it was closed in the late 1860s or in the smallpox cementary in Camp Douglas until the camp was dismantled at the end of the war. Their remains were moved to Oak Woods and buried in a common grave. There are supposedly 4000 men buried in this grave but the true number is said to be closer to 6000.
You can order Soloman's CSA service records for 8.00 from the NC State
Archives. The address is
DEPT. OF CULTURAL RESOURCES
DIVISION OF ARCHIVES & HISTORY
ARCHIVES AND RECORDS SECTION
109 EAST JONES STREET
4614 MAIL SERVICE CENTER
RALEIGH, N.C. 27699-4614
Ronnie W. Bagwell
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