SUBMITTED BY: Michael Stroupe; transcribed by Cheri Todd Molter
Frederick Washington Dellinger, commonly called “Wash,” was born on Oct. 28, 1834, in the Cherryville area of Gaston County. His name was also spelled “Fredrick” and “Fred” in some records. Wash was the son of Frederick Lineberger Dellinger and Polly Dellinger. Wash grew up in a large family: Fred and Polly had eight children: They had three daughters—Barbara Caroline, Margaret Cynthia, and Fannie—and five sons—Wash, Daniel Conrad, Jacob Riley, Peter, and Henry. Wash and his four brothers all served in the Confederate Army.
On March 15, 1862, at Lincoln County, Wash enlisted in the Confederate Army for a term of “three years or for the duration of the war.” According to his compiled military record, Wash served in Company I of the 11th Infantry, North Carolina Troops. To learn more about Wash Dellinger’s war experiences, read “F. Washington Dellinger: The Confederate Veteran Who Said He was at Ford’s Theatre when President Abraham Lincoln was Shot.” (https://nccivilwar.wpengine.com/f-washington-dellinger-the-confederate-veteran-who-said-he-was-at-fords-theatre-when-president-abraham-lincoln-was-shot/).
Editor’s notes regarding other people named in the letter:
“James Wyott” or James R. Wyatt: According to his compiled military record, on September 1, 1861, “J. R. Wyatt,” enlisted in the Confederate Army in Wake County, North Carolina. He served in Company A of the 26th Infantry, N.C. Troops. On March 14, 1862, Wyatt was taken prisoner at New Berne, N.C., and was paroled about ten days later. He was documented as present on rolls dated July 1, 1862, but no further information was provided in his records. According to Wash, Wyatt was shot and killed for the “crime of desertion” on January 26, 1863.
“Capt A. S. Haynes” or Capt. Albert Sidney Haynes: Haynes was twenty-four years old when he enlisted in the Confederate Army at Lincoln County, North Carolina. According to his military record, he was a Sergeant in Company K of the N.C. 1st Volunteers Infantry. He was promoted twice, then mustered out on Nov. 12, 1861. On Feb. 12, 1862, Haynes was promoted Captain, and a couple of weeks later, he was commissioned into Company I of the 11th Infantry, N.C. Troops. Capt. Haynes was wounded and taken prisoner at the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863. He was hospitalized then taken to the prison at David’s Island, New York, on July 17, 1863. A few months later, in October, Haynes was transferred to Fort Wood at Bedloe’s Island, now known as Liberty Island, which was also in New York Harbor. He wasn’t there long: A week later he was transferred again to Johnson’s Island, Ohio. On March 14, 1865, Haynes was transferred to Point Lookout, Maryland, and remained there until he was exchanged on March 22nd.
The following are transcriptions (one exact and one with modern punctuation and spelling) of the letter Wash wrote to his father on Jan. 25, 1863. (Click on images to enlarge the letter.)
Transcription of the original:
January the 25th 1863
in camp near magnola NC
Highly esteemed farther I seat my self to drop you afew lines to let you now that I am well at this time as I have bin since I have bin in camp fondly hoaping these few lines may meate with safe convey and find you and al the family ingeoying the verry best of health I can inform you that I heante Received aletter from hoom in twoo weakes I can tell you that we have left weldon we left there laste monday and landed hear tues day morning befour day and staid hear till aboute nine a clock and marched oute hear and Campt and weare hear yet tho we doante now how long we will stay hear they have bin talk¬ing aboute leaving hear eversince we got hear and weare hear yet and I doante think that we will leave hear in several days I can tell you that we have to witness apowerful sceene to mor Row in our bregade the is aman to be shot in our bregade and the hoal bregade hasto see it he is amember of the twenty sixt Regt N.C. troops his name is James Wyott he deSurted and he has to suffer death for the crime & yess I can tell you some thing elce the was two days meating hear yesturday and to day the church is in twenty steps of our camp it is abaptist Church and the oald brother preached afirste sur mente and the was alarge Congrigation withoute the seoldiers and the was enny amounte of them I Roate to you some time ago to bring me some thing down hear I will juste say to you that if you can send me the thing do so and if you cante doante come to bring them the Coste will over Run the profit and another thing is we ar moving aboute somuch that it is un certen where you will find us I have twoo toler able good shirts yet and I think that we will draw in march again I would like if you could send me a good pare of half soales if you can git them to me withoute twoo much trouble I will juste say to you that the mess is all well and in Good spirit and we git plenty to eat such as flour and oald bacon we have had fresh meate beef and poark till since we come up hear and we draw oalde bacon now I can tell you some good nuse since I be gun to Rite the nuse is that the furlows to be granted now acompany that has seventy five sendes three hoam at atime that will do aboute that Wright som and direct your letters to magnola N.C. in care of Capt A. S. Haynes the 11th bethel Regt NC Troops Gineral petagrews Bregade
To his farther F. L. Dellinger
Transcription with modern spelling and punctuation:
January the 25th 1863
In camp near Magnolia, N.C.
Highly esteemed father, I seat myself to drop you a few lines to let you know that I am well at this time, as I have been since I have been in Camp, fondly hoping these few lines may meet with safe conveyance and find you and all the family enjoying the very best of health. I can inform you that I haven’t Received a letter from home in two weeks. I can tell you that we have left Weldon; we left there last Monday and landed here Tuesday morning before day and stayed here ‘til about nine o’clock and marched out here and Camped, and we are here yet, although we don’t know how long we will stay here. They have been talking about leaving here ever since we got here, and we are here yet, and I don’t think that we will leave here in several days. I can tell you that we have to witness a powerful scene tomorrow in our brigade. There is a man to be shot in our brigade, and the whole brigade has to see it. He is a member of the Twenty-sixth Regt., N.C. Troops. His name is James Wyatt [recorded as J. R. Wyatt in his compiled military record]. He deserted, and he has to suffer death for the crime, & yes, I can tell you something else, there was a two-day meeting here yesterday, and today the church is in twenty steps of our camp. It is a Baptist Church, and the old brother preached a first sermon, and there was a large Congregation without the soldiers, and there was any amount of them. I wrote to you some time ago to bring me something down here: I will just say to you that if you can send me the thing do so, and if you can’t, don’t come to bring them. The Cost will overrun the profit, and another thing is we are moving about so much that it is uncertain where you will find us. I have two tolerable good shirts yet, and I think that we will draw in March again. I would like if you would send me a good pair of half soles, if you can get them to me without too much trouble. I will just say to you that the men are all well and in good spirits, and we get plenty to eat, such as flour and old bacon. We have had fresh meat—beef and pork—’til since we came up here, and we draw old bacon now. I can tell you some good news since I began to write: The news is that the furloughs are to be granted now. A company that has seventy-five [men] sends three home at a time. That will do about that. Write some and direct your letters to Magnolia, N.C. in care of Capt. A. S. Haynes [Albert Sidney Haynes] the 11th Bethel Regt., NC Troops General Pettigrew’s Brigade
To his farther F. L. Dellinger