SUBMITTED BY: Ruth Dutton Hill
[Note: David Black was a teacher, farmer, and Major in the Civil War.]
Sunday night, December 25th, 1864, Alex Black
Christmas night finds me home again all lonely and peacefully situated. We have had company today saw Betty and Dave, John and the children and William Taylor and his wife, but all have gone home.
I did not know when I would have the chance to write you again so I thought that I would write tonight. I wrote you a few days ago when at Raleigh.
We have got no letters from you for three or four weeks. I suppose that it is owing to us not getting to the Mouth of Wilson owing to Dec. 16. We have had some very cold weather lately but it is now moderating. I wrote you that I was coming to see you, but owing to a Yankee raid on the railroad about Marion and Wytheville I do not know when I can come. I have not learned the damage they done. I learned different accounts about it consequently will not attempt to tell you. There came a company of them across the Iron Mountain by William Grubb’s. Through the young settlement and up Grassy Creek by Johnson Perkins and in the direction of Tenn. I suppose they took a good many horses. They had some hard fighting in Smith Co. I suppose that you are aware of the Home Guards being called into camp in this county. The Alleghany and Surry Guards have been in camp in Alleghany for several weeks and perhaps will remain for several weeks more. I expect that we will keep a guard out all the time. I have seen several men hung dead since we were called out. And others have been hung that I have not seen. They hung three while I was gone to Raleigh and we hung two as we went down the Blue Ridge and Vaughn’s men enlisted one of our prisoners and shot him so you see how they are getting out of the way. The men hung are men proved to be robbers. Times hda got so a man could scarcely pass the Mulberry Road without being robbed. Numbers of houses have been plundered. Those in Alleghany were Dr. Long, Jno. R. Long, Dr. Bill Long, Jesse Bledsoe, A. J. Woodruff, and others. A few men of the bushwhackers have been shot in Alleghany. I saw Martin Crouse from Grayson after our men killed him in the brush. Our headquarters are at Laurel Springs. I must now tell you a little about our fight with the bushwhackers in Wilkes. But I suppose that Dave Pugh has given you a full history as he was one that participated. I must acknowledge that I was a little scared at the start and I believe that every other new hand was too. Although we kept very cool. The Alleghany boys fought like heroes, our right hand skirmisher Jonathan Stamper opened the ball. They then opened a volley on us. I heard the balls whistle around me like bees. They [illegible]. We then charged up a steep mountain about two hundred yds and killed (our boys say) 8. They say 4. And some say 18. We taken 4 prisoners low old men. I was carrying the ammunitions consequently did not fire again. I carried up the ammunition about the time they firing ceased. It lasted bout 20 or 25 minutes. It was near Jason Caudill. None of our boys were hurt.