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Submitted by Sandra White Hinton: Letter Transcribed by Sandra White Hinton and Cheri Todd Molter; Content notes written by Cheri Todd Molter

Original Transcription

Northern Virginia

Oct. 13, 1862

M. White

Bro. it has been some time since I wrote to you, or heard from you. nor neither have I seen Bro. Lal since he was at home. I never get no news since we have been stationed in No. Va. we are continually moveing [sic] about from one place to another every two or three days. we have no tents we have to take the Rain, build fires to keep us warm & to sleep by. this is a soldiers life here. Sometimes nothing to cook our Rations in. we get nothing to eat but Beef & Flour which is very good for hungary [sic] soldiers provided we could get salt enough to salt our fresh beef. we have not suffered more than a day & knight [sic] at a time for provisions. I merely state this to you so you may be prepaired [sic] if the last Conscript act should take you in. I hope that it will [page break] not be your unhappy lot. If it should be hire you a substitute. for a soldiers [sic] life is bad make the best of it you can and when he is led by his officers to the Battle Field [sic], it looks to me like leading men to a Slaughter pen not knowing how many may fall in the engagement. the Sharpsburg Battle was so terriffick [sic] that I cannot explain every particular & for this Reason I say but little about it. I will Say to you that the 46 Regt N.C. Troops faught [sic] Bravely Our Company did honour [sic] to themselves they faught [sic] Bravely, we got six of our men Slightly wounded. Our Regt, 4 killed & 72 wounded I am glad to say that our Regt fuffered [sic] but little though the Sharpsburg Battle was one of the hardest faught [sic] Battles that has been faught [sic] during the war I do hope it will bring about a  Reconciliation for peace. though I am expecting a fight every day [page break] Some where [sic]. though times are perfectly calm now. there is something on hand it is either for peace or a continuance of this war. if nothing prevents I shall be at home in Decr. I wrote to farther [sic] yesterday to say to Bro, James to buy me Five Gallons of Peach Brandy & have it home by that time also some Honey to go with it. I would like very much to see you all once more at the old cottage provided I should be fortunate enough to get off then. which I think I will unless things changes [sic] very much from now. I would write oftener [sic] to you all but my chance is bad. this sheet of paper cost me ten cent besides I walked Eight miles after it. but there is one thing certain I have got youst [sic] to Marching. Since i left Camp Lee I Marched 12 days in succession & I have not failed as yet. there is but few of our men that stood with me. nearly all gave out & got sick [page break] Thos Cooper gave out & got sick at Fredrick [sic] City Maryland and I am afraid he is in the hands of the yankees or dead I have not heard of him since. also Isham McLamb & Richard Tew left without leave in Maryland they are either Runaway or in the hands of the yankees. I had Rather they were in the hands of the yankees than to Runaway. I know that hard Marching is very bad and but few men can stand it. but than [sic] we should never Run away, we should always stand indefence [sic] of our Country and be Ready to meet the exegency [sic] let it be what it may since we have been marching I think that I have Marched over 1000 miles & I feel proud that I am yet able to stand the storm give my respects to sister, Franklin & Willie. Give my respect to John W Matthews & Jonathan Owen and say to them that we will gain our independence some time but I am afraid we will have more hard fighting to do yet

Your Brother

O.P. White

P.S. in a few days we will move 100 miles from here to Staunton Va.

We will be nearer to Richmond by 100 miles – OPW

Editors Notes:

“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 as First Lieutenant in the Confederate army on March 10, 1862. 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 White (1822-1879) was the brother of Oliver, Lalister, and James White. He was a farmer who lived in Sampson County with his wife, Ann, 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.

“farther”: This is Oliver’s spelling for the word “father.” His father was James White Sr. (1792 – 1876) of Sampson County.

“Bro. James”: James White Jr. (1829-1882) of Sampson County was a brother of Murdock, Oliver, and Lalister M. White. According to census records, he lived at home with his parents, James and Martha White, in 1850 and was an independent farmer by 1860. James married Susan Royal, who was a schoolteacher.

“Thos Cooper”: Thomas Cooper was a twenty-two-year-old farmer and resident of Sampson County North Carolina when he enlisted in the Confederate army on March 12, 1862, in Sampson County. On April 16, 1862, he mustered into Company I, N.C. 46th Infantry. Cooper was listed as a prisoner of war on September 14, 1862, at Frederick, Maryland. He was confined a few days later at Fort Delaware, Delaware. Cooper was exchanged a couple of months later, on November 10, at Aiken’s Landing, Virginia. Cooper returned to serve with his regiment on January 30, 1863. In July 1864, he was hospitalized at Fayetteville, North Carolina. On March 31, 1865, Cooper was taken prisoner at Hatcher’s Run, Virginia. Afterward, he was confined at Point Lookout, Maryland. Cooper took the Oath of Allegiance on June 26, 1865, before being released from Point Lookout.

“Isham McLamb”:  On April 26, 1862, Isham McLamb was a 22-year-old Sampson County farmer who enlisted as a Private in the Confederate army at Sampson County. He served in Company I, 46th Infantry (North Carolina). McLamb was wounded on December 13, 1862, at Fredericksburg, Virginia. He returned to service a few weeks later, in January 1863. In May of 1864, McLamb was taken prisoner at Wilderness, Virginia, and was confined at Point Lookout, Maryland. On July 27, 1864, he was transferred to the prison at Elmira, New York. McLamb was transferred again back to Point Lookout on February 13, 1865, and took the Oath of Allegiance there in May 1865.

“Richard Tew”: Richard Tew was a Sampson County man who served as a private in Company I of the 46th North Carolina Infantry, CSA. He enlisted on March 7, 1862. In September of the same year, Tew was listed as absent, and he returned to serve that November. Tew deserted again on April 26, 1863.

“sister”: Ann Eliza Brown White (1838 – 1927) was married to Murdock White and the mother of Frankie and Willie White. Ann was Oliver’s sister-in-law.

“Franklin”: Franklin “Frankie” Mallett White (1856-1918) was the son of Murdock and Ann White.

“Willie”: (1858-1924) William “Willie” White was the son of Ann and Murdock White.

“John W Matthews & Jonathan Owen”: John W. Matthews & Jonathan Owen were Sampson County men who were neighbors of the White family.

 

Modern transcription:

Northern Virginia

Oct. 13, 1862

M. White

Bro., it has been some time since I wrote to you or heard from you; nor neither have I seen Bro. Lal since he was at home. I never get any news since we have been stationed in Northern Virginia. We are continually moving about from one place to another every two or three days. We have no tents; we have to take the Rain, [and] build fires to keep us warm & to sleep by. This is a soldier’s life here. Sometimes, [there’s] nothing to cook our Rations in. We get nothing to eat but Beef & Flour, which is very good for hungry soldiers, provided we could get salt enough to salt our fresh beef. We have not suffered more than a day & night at a time for provisions. I merely state this to you so you may be prepared, if the last Conscript act should take you in. I hope that it will [page break] not be your unhappy lot. If it should be, hire you a substitute. For a soldier’s life is bad. Make the best of it you can, and when he is led by his officers to the Battlefield, it looks to me like leading men to a Slaughter pen, not knowing how many may fall in the engagement. The Sharpsburg Battle was so terrific that I cannot explain every particular, & for this Reason I say but little about it. I will Say to you that the 46 Regt N.C. Troops fought Bravely. Our Company did honor to themselves: they fought Bravely. We got six of our men Slightly wounded. [In] our Regt, 4 [were] killed & 72 wounded. I am glad to say that our Regt suffered but little, though the Sharpsburg Battle was one of the hardest fought Battles that has been fought during the war. I do hope it will bring about a Reconciliation for peace, though I am expecting a fight every day [page break] Somewhere. Though times are perfectly calm now, there is something on hand; it is either for peace or a continuance of this war. If nothing prevents, I shall be at home in December. I wrote to father yesterday to say to Bro. James to buy me Five Gallons of Peach Brandy & have it home by that time—also some Honey to go with it. I would like very much to see you all once more at the old cottage, provided I should be fortunate enough to get off then, which I think I will unless things change very much from now. I would write more often to you all, but my chance is bad. This sheet of paper cost me ten cents; besides, I walked Eight miles after it. But there is one thing certain—I have got used to Marching. Since I left Camp Lee, I Marched 12 days in succession, & I have not failed as yet. There is but few of our men who stood with me. Nearly all gave out & got sick. [page break] Thos Cooper gave out & got sick at Frederick City, Maryland, and I am afraid he is in the hands of the Yankees or dead. I have not heard of him since. Also, Isham McLamb & Richard Tew left without leave in Maryland. They are either Runaway or in the hands of the Yankees. I had Rather they were in the hands of the Yankees than to Runaway. I know that hard Marching is very bad, and but few men can stand it, But then we should never Run away. We should always stand in defense of our Country and be Ready to meet the exigency, let it be what it may. Since we have been marching, I think that I have Marched over 1000 miles, & I feel proud that I am yet able to stand the storm. Give my respects to sister, Franklin, & Willie. Give my respect to John W Matthews & Jonathan Owen and say to them that we will gain our independence sometime, but I am afraid we will have more hard fighting to do yet.

Your Brother,

O.P. White

P.S. In a few days we will move 100 miles from here to Staunton Va.

We will be nearer to Richmond by 100 miles. – OPW

 

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