Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Another Civil War Letter

I've mentioned before that I'm on a maillist of West Point graduates, and one fellow member of the list recently wrote about transcribing family letters from the Civil War. Click on Letters From History at the end of this post and you'll see I've done the same thing with the few letters I have. One difference between our letters, though, is that while mine were written to a soldier (my great-great-great grandfather), his is written by a soldier. Read all of them and you can get a snapshot of both the army and of the home front.

With his permission I'm posting the transcript he provided, as well as a link to a scan of the first page of the letter.

Vincent_Martin_Elmore_Ltrs from the Civil War_4May1861
Context of this letter:
 Alabama seceded four months prior (11 January)
 Ft Sumter has been fired upon 3 weeks prior (12 April)
 VM Elmore, 21, [private?] is on a troop train going North
 1st Manassas (Bull Run) has not yet occurred (21 July)

Lynchburg May 4th
My dear Father
We arrived at this place this morning about 4 o-clock all well. Our transportation reflect a disgrace upon the Secretary of War. We were for the most part crowded into box-cars in which stock had been previously been carried. but this was a minor evil --- in one car (the one in which I was) there was upward of forty persons. You can imagine how suffocating it was. Mention it not -- for it would seem that I was
dissatisfied whereas such is not the case. In Alabama very little excitement was perceptible, but in Georgia Tennessee & Virginia the reception of our Regiment was sufficiently gratifying to have satisfied the most inveterate unbeliever in Southern Rights that it had a flourishing existence. At every station we were met by immense crowds of men women & boys cheering and seemingly influenced by the wildest enthusiasm or rather frenzy. -- The ladies (God bless them. as Charlie Bryan says) were ready with all their provisions to feed the tired & hungry soldiers. Before I believed that Lincoln could never conquer us, but Now I know it. In Knoxville - Brownlow's* especial theater of action & eloquence - we were received with Southern banners and by immense crowds. Speeches were made intensely Southern in feeling.

It is doubtful how long we shall be here, but I think it probably we will not leave before next week. Would you not like to see the Lynchburg [news]papers? We passed a Regiment of rifle who will be here soon. A great number of Tennesseans are expected here.

Love to all. Kiss Coirie[?] for me. My thoughts are ever of home. Joe Gwen has just asked me to send word that he was well and would write tomorrow.
Your Son V.M. Elmore
The man who sent this to me? Michael Elmore Havey, West Point Class of 1968. Mike, thank you for granting permission to post this, and for providing the transcript and link.

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