Submitted by Sandra White Hinton: Letter Transcribed by Cheri Todd Molter & Sandra White Hinton; Edited by Cheri Todd Molter
Near Brandy Station
So. side Rappahannock Riv[er]
Oct. 22nd, 1863.
Dear Bro, I Reckon you think I have forgotten to write to you. I would have written you sooner, but I have not had the opportunity. owing to so much moving about. I now have a leasure [sic] moment. which I proceed to give you a few items of our voyage. in the first place we were ordered off from gordansville [sic] to Madison Court House we were put in Heath Division A.P. Hills Corps. we have been marching some ten or Twelve days in succession. if my memmory [sic] serves me Right on the 7th day we overtook the enemy, that is on the 14th of this month, and fought them at Bristow [sic] Station in about 6 miles of Manassas old battle field. we had two Brigades ingaged [sic] against two Army Corps. which is about ten to one. Our Regt. double quicked about one mile & a half when we were Pushed Right in the fight. the yankes [sic] had a strong position behind the Rail Road we charged on them but had to Retreat, owing to their strong position and superior in numbers we had a plenty troops then but our General failed to put them in the fight. but we Rallied our forces again and went back, by this time it was nearly dark and did not Charge on them any more, though we lay on our arms on the Battlefield all knight [sic]. by morning the yankees Retreated for Manassas. we took about one Hundred prisoners. our loss was heavy. we lost about 6 six Hundred men killed wounded & prisoner in both Brigades. we [sic, uncompleted thought]
This fight was badly managed. we lost 5 piece’s [sic] of artillary [sic]. if it had been managed Right we could have taken them all prisoners. but our General was deceived in their numbers. if the yankees had stayed until next morning. we Certainly would have been Successful. though Genl. Lee had Run them as far as he intended. the next day we were ordered back and tore up the RailRoad to the Rappahannock River. where we are now; about 8 or 9 miles from Culppepper [sic] Court House. I think this will be our lines for a few day’s [sic]. I think we will fall back as far as the Rapid Ann [sic] River before long. it is Rhumored [sic] in camp that the yankees is after us, but let them come we will give them a warm Reception Genl. Lee has a very good Army and is prepaired [sic] for them. I Saw Bro. Lal Since the fight he is looking well and appears to be in fine spirits we have had some very bad weather to contend with since the fight. it Rained some three or four day’s [sic] in succession. and we [word crossed out] had to take it as usual. no tents nor nothing to make us Comfortable Road wet & muddy. Such is the fate of war we must be contented. Our independance [sic] must be gained at all hazards, our prospects are brighting [sic] Genl. Bragg has Routed the enemy in the west, and Genl Lee has put them to flight in Virginia. Such is encouraging, I hope the dawn of day is breaking and if we are successful which we will be, what a glourious [sic] Rebublick [sic] we will have. it is getting late I will close by Saying give my Respect to the neighbors
To M. White O.P. White
“O.P. White”: Oliver Perry White (1824-1900), the author of this letter, was the brother of Murdock, Lalister, and James White. In 1860, according to census records, Oliver lived with his parents, James Sr. and Martha White, and his brother, Lalister. Oliver was a thirty-seven-year-old Sampson County farmer when he enlisted on March 10, 1862, as First Lieutenant in the Confederate army. He served in Company I of the 46th Infantry (North Carolina). He surrendered with his regiment on April 9, 1865, at Appomattox Court House, Virginia (North Carolina Troops 1861-65, A Roster, 1993). After the war, Oliver married Elizabeth Draughon.
“Murdock White”: Murdock Minson White (1822-1879) was the brother of Oliver, Lalister, and James White. He was a farmer who lived in Sampson County with Ann, his wife, and their children.
“Bro. Lal”: Lalister Mallett White, or “Lal” (1833-1864), was born in Sampson County, North Carolina. He was the brother of James, Murdock, and Oliver White. He lived and worked on his parents’ farm before the Civil War started. On April 20, 1861, when Lal was twenty-eight years old, he enlisted in the Confederate army, serving in Company A, 30th Infantry North Carolina. On Sept. 3, 1863, he was promoted to First Lieutenant. On May 12, 1864, Lt. Lal White was mortally wounded at Spotsylvania Court House in Virginia.
Near Brandy Station
So. Side Rappahannock River
October 22, 1863
Dear Brother, I Reckon you think I have forgotten to write to you. I would have written to you sooner, but I have not had the opportunity, owing to so much moving about. I now have a moment of leisure in which I proceed to give you a few items of our voyage. In the first place, we were ordered off from Gordonsville to Madison Court House; we were put in Heath Division, A.P. Hill’s Corps. We have been marching for some ten or twelve days in succession. If my memory serves me right, on the 7th day we overtook the enemy. That was on the 14th of this month. We fought them at Bristoe Station, about 6 miles of Manassas old battlefield. We had two Brigades engaged against two army corps, which is about ten to one. Our regiment double-quicked about one mile & a half when we were pushed Right in the fight. The yankees had a strong position behind the railroad. We charged on them but had to retreat, owing to their strong position and superior numbers. We had plenty of troops then, but our general failed to put them in the fight. We rallied our forces again and went back; by this time, it was nearly dark, and we did not charge on them anymore, though we lay on our arms on the battlefield all night. By morning, the yankees retreated to Manassas. We took about one hundred prisoners. Our loss was heavy: We lost about six hundred men—killed wounded, & prisoner in both Brigades. We […(uncompleted thought)].
This fight was badly managed. We lost 5 pieces of artillery. If it had been managed right, we could have taken them all prisoner, but our general was deceived by their numbers. If the yankees had stayed until the next morning, we certainly would have been successful, though Gen. Lee had ran them as far as he intended. The next day. we were ordered back and tore up the railroad to the Rappahannock River, which is where we are now, about 8 or 9 miles from Culpepper Court House. I think this will be our lines for a few days. I think we will fall back as far as the Rapidan River before long. It is rumored in camp that the yankees are after us, but let them come. We will give them a warm reception. General Lee has a very good army and is prepared for them. I saw Bro. Lal since the fight. He is looking well and appears to be in fine spirits. We have had some very bad weather to contend with since the fight. It rained some three or four days in succession, and we had to take it as usual—No tents nor nothing to make us comfortable. Roads are wet & muddy. Such is the fate of war: we must be contented. Our independence must be gained at all hazards. Our prospects are brightening. General Bragg has routed the enemy in the west, and Gen. Lee has put them to flight in Virginia. Such is encouraging. I hope the dawn of day is breaking, and if we are successful, which we will be, what a glorious Republic we will have. It is getting late. I will close by saying give my respects to the neighbors.
To M. White Oliver P. White