SUBMITTED BY: Lois McPherson (written by D.W.P.; edited & vetted by Cheri Todd Molter; transcription with modern spelling & punctuation by Cheri Todd Molter)
I received this information from my cousin. I’ve attached a letter that my Great-Uncle Oliver McPherson wrote and sent back home to his family at Snow Camp. I’ve also included a picture of the wooden marker that was made by his war buddy and attached to the lid of the casket Oliver was sent home in. After he was killed in battle, Oliver’s body was sent from Lynchburg to Burlington by train. I also sent a picture of his tombstone: Oliver was buried at Rock Creek Methodist Church Cemetery at Snow Camp, North Carolina.
Editor’s notes regarding some of the people mentioned:
Oliver McPherson (author of letter): According to his compiled military record, Oliver McPherson was born in Alamance County, North Carolina and enlisted in the Confederate Army at Mecklenburg County on May 28, 1861. The twenty-three-year-old farmer mustered into Company F of the 6th Infantry (North Carolina) that same day. He was wounded at Lynchburg, Virginia, and died of those wounds on June 18, 1864. (North Carolina Troops 1861-65, A Roster)
Oliver McPherson letter at this link: Letter Written by Oliver McPherson April 30th
Click images to enlarge.
John R. Stockard: On May 21, 1861, John R. Stockard was a thirty-three-year-old resident of Alamance County, North Carolina, when he enlisted in the Confederate Army as a Captain. He was commissioned into Company H of the 15th Infantry (North Carolina). Captain Stockard was listed as “absent sick” (no date), then dropped from rolls due to prolonged absence on March 22, 1862. (North Carolina Troops 1861-65, A Roster) Oliver mentioned Stockard’s company on page 2 of his letter.
Alvin Noah: Alvin Noah, a twenty-year-old resident of Alamance County, enlisted in the Confederate Army on May 21, 1861. He mustered into Company H of the 15th Infantry (North Carolina), Captain Stockard’s company, the same day. On Sept. 14, 1862, Noah was noted as “missing” near Crampton’s Pass, Maryland. Afterward, there was no further record of him. (North Carolina Troops 1861-65, A Roster) Oliver mentioned being visited by Alvin on page 2 of his letter.
James M. Patterson: According to his military records, James Patterson was a twenty-four-year-old clerk who lived in Alamance County, North Carolina, when he enlisted as a Private in the Confederate Army on May 8, 1861. He served in Company E of the 13th Infantry (North Carolina) and was promoted Corporal about two months later. On June 24, 1862, Patterson was promoted to Sergeant. Sgt. Patterson was wounded on Sept. 17, 1862 at Seven Pines, Virginia, but returned to his company before Jan. 30, 1863. On May 3, 1863, Patterson was injured again and promoted to 1st Sergeant. He was in the battle at Chancellorsville, Virginia, where he was wounded in his left arm. On July 30, 1863, after recovering from his injury, Sgt. Patterson returned to his company. After being promoted to 3rd Lieutenant, Patterson mustered into Company I, 8th Infantry (North Carolina). (North Carolina Troops 1861-65, A Roster) Oliver mentioned visiting “J. M. patterson” on page 2 of his letter.
Monroe Thompson: According to his military record, Monroe Thompson was a twenty-six-year-old farmer from Chatham County, North Carolina, when he enlisted in the Confederate Army on Sept. 12, 1862. He served in Company D of the 61st Infantry (North Carolina). Thompson died on Nov. 22, 1862 at Tarboro, North Carolina. (North Carolina Troops 1861-65, A Roster) Oliver mentioned visiting “monrough thompson” on page 2 of his letter.
John Doan: Twenty-seven-year-old John Doan enlisted in the Confederate Army on Oct. 8, 1862 at Alamance County, N.C. He served in Company F, 53rd Infantry (North Carolina). On July 26, 1864, John was hospitalized at Charlottesville, Virginia. He “died of disease” there on Aug. 17, 1864 (North Carolina Troops 1861-65, A Roster). Oliver mentioned John Doan on page 3 of his letter.
Sampson Doan: Twenty-four-year-old Sampson Doan enlisted the same day as John (above) and served in the same company, Company F, 53rd Infantry (North Carolina). He was marked as “absent sick” on Nov. 30, 1862 but returned to serve before Jan. 30, 1863. Sampson was wounded on May 10, 1864 at Wilderness, Virginia. (Source: North Carolina Troops 1861-65, A Roster) Oliver mentioned Sampson Doan on page 3 of his letter.
William Atkinson: Oliver mentioned “william Atkinsen” on page 3 of his letter; however, there were ten men named William Atkinson who served the Confederate Army in North Carolinian regiments. Five of them enlisted mid-war or later, so I was unable to determine which one was the one Oliver knew.
Transcription of the letter with modern spellings and punctuation:
Camp, Eagle Farm, Va.
April the 30th
Dear Pa & Ma
I take my pen this evening to drop you a few lines to inform you that I am well, & I hope these few lines may find you all enjoying the same great blessing. We have ended our long & hard march & are encamped at the peninsula between the York and James Rivers near Yorktown. There is a powerful army encamped around here. Our army is said to number 140 thousand, & the enemy is supposed to be several hundred stronger. We marched about 125 miles in coming to this place. We are expecting a heavy battle to come off somewhere close to here every day. Our pickets & the enemy are in a few hundred yards of each other. They shoot at each other almost every day & very often kill each other. There is hardly a day passes but what there is three or four men killed along the line between [us] & the Yankees. There was a battle fought near this place a few days since, fought while we were on the march to this place. John. R. Stockard’s company [Company H, 15th Infantry (North Carolina)] was in the battle: Three of his men [were] killed & 5 wounded. The fight did not continue but a short time. We saw…an account of the Yankees having taken possession of New Orleans [stated in the Richmond papers this evening]. I hope it is not true. It is reported that our men evacuated the place before the enemy reached it, burning everything before they left. [I’m] thinking that it would be impossible for them to hold the place. Oh today, Alvin Noah, son of Jery, was to see mee. They are encamped close to here. Yesterday, I was to see J. M. Patterson & Monrough [Monroe] Thompson. We are encamped one mile from each other. It [did] me a great deal of good to meet up with them. They all want to get home, but the president has passed an act to keep all the twelve-month volunteers as long as the war continues, & all between the ages of 18 & 35 at home have to turn out & help fight it out. Tell John & Sampson Doan to come here where I am if they have to go to the army & William Atkinson, too. I am very sorry to hear that [those] young men all have to leave home. I can’t see how [this will] help carry on the work [there] is to do. I saw Mal Robinson a few days ago. He told me that he saw [Mistby?] in Goldsboro a few days before this & that he was well & looking finely. This place is the best fortified that I ever saw any place. It is now corn planting time or past. Oh, how glad I would be if this war would come to a close, & we could get home to help you do your work. I hope it will soon come to a close & we get home. Direct your letters to Yorktown, Va. Write soon
from your loving son, O. Mcpherson
Dear Ma, I must tell you something about what a kind lady I met up with while on the march to this place. One day, we stopped to rest, & I felt very hungry, & I saw a very fine looking residence a little distance from the road, & I went to it, & there was one of the kindest ladies lived there that I ever met with. I asked her if I could get some bread & meat to eat, & the reply was that anything she had in that line, I was welcome to. She was very wealthy, too. She had one of the best dinners sat [out] that I ever ate. I shall not attempt to name what she had, but [there was] plenty of everything, & after I got through dinner, she sat [out] one of the nicest baskets of…apples that I ever saw & told me to help myself & then she gave me any amount of ground pees & filled my haversack full of the best of victuals. I offered to pay her. The reply was, “[D]o you suppose I would charge a soldier for anything?” I said if I ever got sick & could not get home, I wanted to go there. [And that] is not all, she had one of the prettiest girls out…