Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Not Everybody Left Town

Today at Brandy Station: June 30, 1863

Not everyone went to Gettysburg. At least two from Huger's Battery remained in Brandy Station.

From R. Thomas Crew's and Benjamin H. Trask's book "Grimes' Battery, Grandy's Battery and Huger's Battery Virginia Artillery:

"Private James Addison (detailed as a blacksmith) and Private Richard Montgomery (detailed as artificer, blacksmith & farrier) at Brandy Station [30 June] through 31 August 1863. Each was paid .40 cents a day extra duty."

Though it isn't documented, I suspect they remained after the Army of Northern Virginia went north.

Huger's Battery holds a special place in my heart. To date at least six of this battery; Edward Moreland, Robert Lewis, Joseph Moore, George W. Butt, John W. Ashe and Robert Peed (5 times) signed the walls of the Graffiti House in Brandy Station.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Breakfast with Beverly

Today in Fauquier County: June 29, 1863

The armies are moving ever closer to a confrontation around the town of Gettysburg. The Federals in the vicinity of Fredrick, Maryland; the Rebels are in Carlisle and York. JEB Stuart is clashing with the 1st Delaware Cavalry in Westminster.

Where is Brig. Gen. Beverly Robertson? On June 28, R.E. Lee sends a messenger to Robertson and Brig. Gen. Grumble Jones, both of whom, with their cavalry are guarding the passes to prevent Federals from encroaching into the Shenandoah Valley. Notice where the Federals are on the 29th?

They will eventually begin to move north, but it will be too late to help the Confederates.

But where is Beverly today? According to the diary of Mrs. Eliza (Ida) Dulany, he is breakfasting with her at her home Oakley near Upperville. I wonder what was on the menu?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Day Late

Today at Brandy Station (sort of): June 24, 1863

As it appeared in the July 23 issue of the Richmond Daily Dispatch

--A correspondent who participated in the late cavalry fight at Brandy Station, writes us an account of Col. White's 35th Va. battalion in that engagement. It captured a battery, 100 prisoners, and four stand of colors, in which it was aided by a company of the 6th Va. We should publish the letter, but it is written at so late a day that the particulars given have been pretty generally published. We should feel obliged to soldiers for letters descriptive of engagements, if they can be sent to us directly after the engagements occur.

I have always liked this little news clip. The Daily Dispatch is gently reminding those who send letters from soldiers describing events to get them to the paper DIRECTLY after the engagement -- not a couple of weeks later.

So, in honor of this unknown participant from the 35th Virginia Battalion -- whom by the way participated in a great way: 8 killed, 39 wounded and 66 missing for a total of 113 -- by far the largest unit loss in the fight. I decided to post a day late.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

An Englishman passes through

Today at Brandy Station: June 20, 1863

From the Colonel Arthur J. L. Freemantle Diaries.

Armed with letters of introduction from the Secretary at War for Generals Lee and Longstreet, I left Richmond at 6 a.m. to join the Virginian army. I was accompanied by a sergeant of the Signal Corps, sent by my kind friend Major Norris, for the purpose of assisting me in getting on. We took the train as far as Culpeper, and arrived there at 5:30 p.m., after having changed cars in Gordonsville…The weather is quite cool after the rain of last night…Culpeper was, until five days ago, the headquarters of Generals Lee and Longstreet; but since Ewell’s recapture of Winchester, the whole army had advanced with rapidity, and it was my object to catch up as quickly as possible. On arriving at Culpeper, my sergeant handed me over to another myrmidon of Major Norris, with orders from that officer to supply me with a horse, and take me himself to join Mr. Lawley, who had passed through for the same purpose as myself three days before. Sergeant Norris, my new chaperon, is cousin to Major Norris, and is a capital fellow. Before the war he was a gentleman of good means in Maryland and was accustomed to a life of luxury. Although he was unwell when we arrived, and it was pouring with rain, he proposed that we should start at once – 6p.m. I agreed, and we did so. Our horses both had sore backs, were both unfed, except on grass, and mine was deficient of a shoe. They nevertheless traveled well, and we reached a hamlet called Woodville, fifteen miles distant; at 9:30. We had great difficulty in procuring shelter; but at length we overcame the in hospitality of a native, who gave us corn for our horses, and a blanket on the floor for ourselves.

Some would call Colonel Freemantle in today's terms a military attache. But in fact, his visit to North America was unofficial, hence he was a tourist. A Englishman from the Coldstreams Guards, he travelled through the south in the spring of 1863, catching up with Lee's Army in time for the Battle of Gettysburg. The Freemantle Diaries is a wonderful read, and gives a very fair treatment (no real bias) of his experiences.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Powell Returns Home

Today at Brandy Station: June 16, 2010

A. P. Hill's Third Corps, Army of Northern Virginia begins crossing the Rappahannock today and makes camp in and around Culpeper Court House. The Third is the last of Lee's army to head north. Hill was born and raised in Culpeper (his boyhood home still stands), returns home as a corps commander for the first time.

By the 16th, Robert Rodes Division of Richard Ewell's Corps has already crossed the Potomac and is beyond Williamsport, Maryland. This is after Ewell invested Winchester (June 13-15). James Longstreet is at Gaines Crossroads with George Pickett's Division and Lafayette McLaw's Division is in the vicinity of Sperryville and John Hood's Division in in Markham, just east of Manassas Gap.

The Army of the Potomac has also begun it's slide to the north, doing it's best to keep between the Rebels and Washington, D.C.

A very nice study of the Lee's movement north can be found in Blue & Gray's Spring 2004 issue. The lead article "Lee Steals A March On Joe Hooker, June 1863 was written by Bud Hall. Back issues are still available

Monday, June 14, 2010

Marched to Catlett Station

Today at Brandy Station: June 14, 1863

From the diary of Edwin Weist, 20th Indiana Infantry Regiment

Cadlit station. Revellie at 3. o.clock this morning with orders to be ready to march at 4. Did not get started till 4 in the evening however. Marched to Cadlit station where we arrived about 9. o.clock. The road we passed over was very familliar to me who had been over so often. The house at wich Gen. Kearny had his head quarters is in sight.

The 20th Indiana -- assigned to Brig. Gen. J.H. Hobart Ward's Brigade, Maj. Gen. David Birney's First Division of Dan Sickle's Third Corps -- has left Stafford County and now is moving up the Rappahannock, shadowing the Army of Northern Virginia as both armies move towards Gettysburg.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Prisoners Arrive

Today at Brandy Station: June 13, 1863

Two articles from the Richmond Dispatch:

--Fifty-nine Yankees, most of them wounded, captured in the fight at Brandy Station, were received at the Libby prison during the day yesterday.

--The fight at Brandy Station
The following dispatch, dated Washington, June 9th, is the only notice of the fight in Culpeper which has reached the New York papers:
A severe engagement took place this morning between our cavalry and that of the rebels, under Gen. Stuart. The locality at which it occurred was Beverly's ford, on the Rappahannock, five miles above Rappahannock Station and about the same distance below the Sulphur Springs.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

We lost several noble men

Today at Brandy Station: June 12, 1863

The letters describing the fight are now being written. This one is from a soldier in the 14th South Carolina Infantry, part of Abner Perrin's Brigade in Pender's Division. A portion appears below.

Dear Father and Mother and Sister,
We was on the march from Fredricksburg to Culpepper when I received your letter and it is the first chance that I have had to write to you. I have no news to write you of importance. I can say to you that our calvary and the yankees Calvary had a very hard fight on the 8th [9th] of this month. They cut our men up very bad but our boys run them back on the other side of the river. I reckon you all know Fate Turner. He killed a yankee. They all say he got the yankee gun and his pistol and his sword. They say it was the first shot that he ever shot at one. We lost several noble men. William Farley got killed in that. They wasn't any of our infantry engaged in the fight. We was in hearing of the fight. We was marveled very hard to get into the fight but it was over before we reached the place.

We are in camp near Culpepper now, but I can't tell you how long we will stay here. I don't know how long we will stay here. I think that we will move up the river when we leave here. I fear that we will have some hard fighting to do before long. If we do, I hope and pray the Lord will be with us all in the contest. I do believe that we are on the right side and if we are we will be sure to gain the victory. ...

Dear Father, you wrote to me if I wanted anything that you would send it to me. You can send me anything that you wish to send me and I will gladly receive it and take it as a great favor. I want you all to write to me as soon as you can and give me all the news that you have in that old country. ... I want you to send me some onions if you have any big enough to pull up.

Dear Father, I will come to a close for this time by saying to you that I still remain your truly loving son until death.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A letter from Bealeton

Today at Brandy Station: June 11, 1863

Below is a portion of a letter from an unknown soldier in the 124th New York Infantry. The 124th took part in the fighting at Brandy Station two day prior and had a front row seat to activities that took place on the St. James Church plain.

Bealeton Station, Va., June 11 1863.
Dear Mother
The day before yesterday we had quite a battle at "Beverly Ford" on the Rappahannock. I wrote to you on the 8th from this place place, as we were going up, and on the night of the day that I wrote to you, we marched to the vicinity of the Ford just above Rappahannock Station on this R.R. [Orange & Alexandria] where we laid until morning. Before day light everything was stirring, and at daylight we were down to the Ford. Some cavalry crossed before us, but the 124th was the first regiment of infantry that went over. The water was about three feet deep, but the bottom was good, and we got over with (page two ) -out any trouble, except, wet pants. The slope from the river, back, from about half a mile was clear, and then you came to a large piece of woods, and there the cavalry was at work with the enemy. As soon as we were across we were ordered to the front, and as we marched up the slope we met cavalry men coming back, some of them with prisoners; others wounded or helping those that were. We soon got into the woods, on the Gordonsville road I think, and every little way we would see dead and dieing rebs. When we had got into the woods about half a mile, we were deployed on the left side of the road, and then moved forward in line of battle till we arrived within about ten yards of the outer edge of the woods, there we were ordered to lay down and await the coming of the enemy. No sooner than we had got this position when (page three) they commenced to shell us, but they shot too high and no one was hurt. Soon the word was passed along the line that the rebel cavalry was preparing to charge on us, and that we must "stand like a rock and shoot at the horses." In about five minutes we could see them as they came sweeping across the open space in our front, and in another instance they were in close pistol shot of us, when we jumped on our feet and poured in a volley which through them into confusion and dismounted a great many while the next volley sent them rolling back a disorganized mob. Some prisoners that we took said that they did not know that we had infantry in the woods or they would not have made the charge. A little while after this they attempted to turn our right flank and get command of the Ford, and our regiment and a regiment from the (page four ) the"12th Corps" was taken down there to stop them. When we arrived there, our cavalry [The 6th Pennsylvania - Rush's Lancers] had just made a charge on a reb battery and been driven back, and the enemy's skirmishers was following them up. (they were dismounted cavalry men.) Prospects did not look very bright at that time, but in a few moments, Co B. & K, under Capt. Jackson was ordered to deploy as skirmishers down along a stonewall that run towards the river. The enemy's skirmishers were about three hundred yards in front of the wall, and advancing towards it, and as we ran down along the wall, the balls flew around our head in every disagreeable manner. When we were all deployed, we turned our attention the to their grey backs and in about fifteen minutes we had driven them back out of range of our rifles, excepting a few that were not able to take themselves off on account of them getting in the way of our bullets. About one hundred yards behind our first line, was the house of "Capt. Dick Cunningham, a rebel gorilla...

Unfortunately, the letter ends here. At least the last page is missing, maybe more.

It is a wonderful account of the movement and fighting in the early part of the fight. It makes you wish for more.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dr. George Russell Aylor, Jr.

Today at Brandy Station: June 9, 2010

While today is the 'day' in the calender year for Brandy Station, other things are more important. This past week, the town and county of Culpeper, and the Brandy Station Foundation, lost a very good friend, Doc Aylor.

The obituary is from Monday's Culpeper Star Exponent.

George Russell Aylor, Jr., age 70, a beloved husband and father went to be with his Lord June 4th, 2010. He was preceded in death by his parents, Elizabeth Thornhill Finks, John H. Finks, George Russell Aylor and infant grandson.

He is survived by his loving wife of 46 years, Page Bolick Aylor; his children, Katherine Page Aylor of Glen Allen, Virginia, and Dr. Scott Andrews Aylor and his wife, Danielle of Culpeper; his sister, Betty Ann-Finks Sevachko of Charlottesville; his nephew, Steven Sevachko and his wife, Caroline of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Dr. Aylor was born in Culpeper, Virginia and raised in Alexandria, Virginia where he graduated from Mount Vernon High School. He was a distinguished military graduate from Virginia Military Institute. After getting his DDS from the Medical College of Virginia he served 2 years as Captain of the Preventative Dental Unit at Fort Polk, Louisiana during the Vietnam War. In 1966, he, along with his wife and infant daughter, moved back to Culpeper where he opened a dental practice. He continued to work for over 45 years and was proud to have his son join him in that practice 10 years ago. He was a dedicated member of the Culpeper United Methodist Church and enjoyed serving the community.

Dr. Aylor was a founding member of the Culpeper County Planning Commission serving as chairman since 1989. His many other memberships included the Culpeper Foundation Board, past president of Culpeper Community Concert, past member of the Culpeper Hospital Board, Jefferson National Bank board of directors, the Lions Club, and State Board of Directors for the American Cancer Society.

As an avid enthusiast of history and 'student of the Civil War', he was a member of the Brandy Station Foundation and the Civil War Preservation Trust. In 2005, he was proudly named a Culpeper Colonel for his outstanding community service.

He and his wife truly enjoyed raising and racing Thoroughbred horses. Dr. Aylor's kindness and generosity will be greatly missed by all those that knew him.

Funeral services will be held Thursday, June 10, 2010 at 11 a.m. at Culpeper United Methodist Church with Rev. Randy Orndorff and Rev. Nancy Palmer conducting the service. Interment will follow in Fairview Cemetery.

The family will receive friends Wednesday, June 9, 2010 from 6 until 8 p.m. at Clore-English Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Brandy Station Foundation, P.O. Box 165, Brandy Station, VA 22714; Culpeper United Methodist Church, 1233 Oaklawn Drive, Culpeper, VA 22701 and/or the Culpeper United Methodist Church Missions Fund or General Fund, 1233 Oaklawn Drive, Culpeper, VA 22701. Condolences may be given at Arrangements have been entrusted to the Clore-English Funeral Home, 11190 James Monroe Highway, Culpeper, VA 22701.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"We expect to start early tomorrow"

Today at Brandy Station: June 8, 1863

A portion of a letter from James M. Homerick to his brother.
Camp near Brandlt Station
Culpeper Court House
June 8/63
Dear Brother,
...We left Dayton one week today ago and after five days of marching we encamped at this place. We have had two grand reviews of five brigades of cavalry about 12,000 in number under Gnl. Stuart. The first took place Saturday when we were inspected by Stuart and I have just now returned from the second when we were inspected by Lieutenant General Robert E. Lee in person. He is a fine looking old man but very gray haired.
We are now in a battalion of artillery numbering about 16 pieces under the command of Major Beckham. ...The ?? artillery was along you can expect out for some small fighting before a week. We are now about two miles from the Rappahanock at Beverly’s Ford
I expect from the preparations that are being made that we are going to make a grand raid towards the Potomac as soon as the valley is cleared.
...excuse the shortness of this letter as I have just returned from the review and I feel tired from riding so much. Direct your letter
To Chew’s Battery
Jones Cavalry Brigade
Culpeper Court House
Please answer immediately, as we may leave in a couple days.
Remaining your
affect. brother James M. Homerick

Homerick enlisted into The Ashby Horse Light Artillery (Chew's) in December 1862 and would survive the war. The letter is from the Robert Luddy Collection.

Jed Hotchkiss, in his diary for the 8th, is making plans for tomorrow. A portion follows:

I went to work on a map reaching to the mountains, towards Front Royal, as Gen. Ewell told me that was the route he wished the troops to take tomorrow after they had rested and cooked rations. .... Our wagons were busy until late at night loading up commissary stores. The day has been quite pleasant. We expect to start early tomorrow.

Monday, June 7, 2010

"Be Troubled ye Careless Ones"

Today at Brandy Station: June 7, 1863

It is a Sunday, but the Rebels our on the march.

The Fluvanna Artillery passed through Vierdieville and Somerville, and reached Culpeper at 3pm.

Richard Ewell's Corps crossed the Rapidan at Raccoon and Summerville Fords, Ewell was their to greet his men, and cheers went up as he moved along the column. Ewell would arrive in Culpeper around 10 am and be met there by Robert E. Lee. His Corps would move north along the Rixeyville Road, north of town. Robert Rodes' Division in the lead, Jubal Early and Edward Johnson's Divisions about four miles behind

James Longstreet Corps had already arrived. His Corps was camped Southwest of Pony Mountain, just outside town. John Bell Hood's Division was just coming back from near the river. Lafayette McLaws was marching through town and his division would camp along the Sperryville Road.

George Pickett's Division and the whole of A.P. Hill's Corps had yet to arrive.

JEB Stuart's Cavalry was spread out in front of the Infantry, providing the screen in case Yankee cavalry poked its head across the Rappahannock. However, one Yankee column did cross into Culpeper County.

Alfred Napolean Duffi'e's command moved across the Rappahannock and at Jeffersonton, turned south towards the Hazel River and Rixeyville. He returned back into Fauquier County, failing to find any enemy. He did not see and Confederate Cavalry, which were posted the Sperryville Turnpike and at Brandy Station, on either side of the Rixeyville Road his avenue of approach.

The grass was high and thick, the air bracing.

Back in Falmouth, those soldiers of the 4th Michigan Infantry who decided to attend church, heard a sermon titled, "Be troubled ye careless ones."

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Nathaniel Peed writes home

Today at Brandy Station: June 6, 1863

Below is a portion of a letter from Nathaniel Peed of the 9th Virginia Cavalry to his mother. Peed in his letter mentions Jimmy and Phil Peed. Probably brothers, at least cousins. Nathaniel and Phil would survive the war. Jimmy would be wounded in the thigh and taken prisoner on September 13, 1863 at Culpeper. Jimmy would die at Point Lookout, Maryland on December 22, 1863.

What makes this letter interesting is that Nathaniel discusses his attitudes of members of his company and the politics of promotions.

The letter is from the collection of Robert Luddy.

Camp near Brandy Station June 6, 1863
Dear Mother
I intended writing to you sometime ago but failed to do so. Jimmy got to camp yesterday morning safe. He somewhat surprised me for I made sure that the Yankees had captured him. His horse stood the ride very well. All to his feet they got very sore. But he has had him shod now. We had a grand review today of five Brigades of cavalry & Hoods infantry Division. It was a grand show. The general supposition that Longstreet is to threaten Washington this way & Lee to position the front at Fredercksburg. ...
Jimmy is a little poorly. He has slight chills & fevers very slight temp. I suppose you heard of the death of poor Georgie McClanahan. He was poorly when earlier I had left. But not sick enough to go to the hospital. He left camp and went to a private house Monday morning & died the next morning. I was never so surprised when I heard in my life for I thought he had nothing but a cold. How is Jeb getting along? Tell him we are fairing very well now.
We get half a pound of bacon, peas _____ & sugar & molasses. Sometimes Joseph Billingsley [Billingsley went AWOL in May] is our company commissary. The men are not at all satisfied with him. He tried to use too much authority with the men for a private...Capt. [John A.]Billingsley is very unpopular with the men There is usually a man who likes him. He tried to be strict but he don’t know how to carry it out... I thought I have no right to grumble for he treats me as well as he can. He headed the company very badly about the selection of officers.
Bob Coakley had been elected as Sr. Second Lieut., because they would not select [Sgt.] Phil Peed. He had him appointed ahead of Bob Coakley. The company is very much dissatisfied. We had the right to elect our officers & we wanted to use it. The company to a man wanted Jim McKinney Billingsley kicked up a fuss about Coakley being elected we didn’t want... He got ¾ of the vote of the company. Harrow got 3 votes.
Phil Peed & I don’t speak we had a falling out about a month ago. He was in fault. He cursed me & ordered me not to speak to him any more & I inclined to fulfill his orders. He is the second man that I have ever had a fuss with since I have been in camp.
Mother, The first chance you have send my carbine as I have use for it. Don’t forget it. Our horses was valued again yesterday. Jims was valued at $500 dollars, mine $5?? ...Saddle. Write soon.
From your dutiful son
Nathanial P.
PS I write in a hurry
& for fear you should
Understand about the
Election I put again before
You Phil Peed appointed Senior Second
Lieut. Coakley Junior Second
Nathaniel Peed, Co. I, 9th VA

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A 'grand display'

Today at Brandy Station: June 5, 1863

Today was a big day for JEB Stuart. Not a happy one for John Minor Botts. Nearly the entire Cavalry Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia gathered in the corn of Bott's farm. Those who could, journeyed from Culpeper and points south by foot, horse, wagon and rail to witness the event.

John Opie, a trooper in the 6th Virgina Cavalry, wrote it was a "brilliant affair and that it was a grand sight to behold this splendid pageant." It was a review of the Army of Northern Virginia's Cavalry.

The event was bracketed by dancing. The previous evening their was a ball at the Courthouse in Culpeper. Afterwards, officers and ladies would celebrate the days events by firelight in front Afton, Stuart's headquarters.

Numbers vary, but between 7 and 10,000 participated. Four regiments were on duty elsewhere, and there were men who were dismounted. Beckham and his horse artillery were on the field.

Stuart left his tents on Afton at 8 am, meaning the horse-soldiers, very familiar with the adage, "hurry up and wait", were doing just that.

The event took several hours. After Stuart and his staff passed his command, they took position on a small hill and the 'review' began. The command turned out and passed. They were led by the horse artillery who, after passing, went into battery on a nearby hill .

Each regiment would pass twice. The first time at a walk, then they as each successful until would pass, they circled back to their starting location and would come forward at a gallop and charge. Beckham's men added to the experience by firing blanks and, moving to alternate locations and again commencing fire.

The activity on Bott's farm did not go unnoticed north of the Rappahannock River. Brigadier General John Buford, commanding the Regular Division, messaged his superior, Brigadier General Alfred Pleasonton that he heard cannon firing near Culpeper and he believed it was a salute. He had been told that Stuart was to inspect his command.

The day ended for the the gray cavalrymen, not with a fire-light ball, but with a return to the regimental camps to care for their horses first, and then finally, in the gathering darkness, themselves.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The "Brandy Rifles"

Today at Brandy Station: June 3, 1861

A portion of an article in the Richmond Daily Dispatch:

"I forgot to mention, in my account of the volunteers from this county, the name of the Brandy Riflemen. This company is composed of intelligent and highly respectable gentlemen, from one of the most beautiful and wealthy districts of Culpeper, and is commanded by Stockton Heath, Esq., formerly of Richmond. R. H. Cunningham, Esq., an uncle of the Captain, who resides near Brandy Station, where the company was organized, and who possesses wealth and influence, has not only opened his heart to our cause, but his purse, too, to the amount, first and last, of over $1,000. He has not only furnished the Riflemen with external protection and comfort in the shape of uniforms, but has also contributed to the gratification of their "inner man" by the donation of edibles, both delicate and substantial. "

The "Brandy Rifles, " were formally mustered into service on June 30, 1861 under the company name "Culpeper Riflemen," and became Company E, 13th Virginia Volunteer Infantry. Their career would be short-lived, mustering out on November 8, 1861.

A reconstituted Company E of the 13th Virginia, this time officially known as the Brandy Rifles was organized in March 1862 and mustered a month later. This time, the Company would serve for the remainder of the war and was under the command of Captains Daniel Field and William A. Ashby.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

"I dreamt you was here"

Today at Brandy Station: June 2, 1863

A portion of a letter from Albinus Fell of the 6th Ohio Cavalry, to his wife. Fell wrote this letter from Bealeton Station. (original spelling)

"...I dreamt you was here last night. I showed you over several of the Battle fields of Va and the Bridge over Potomac Creek which our men built this spring, visited several Hospitals with you. I though you shudered and turned back the first one we went into but I persuaded you to go in. You said you never had any idea of half the horrors of war untill you had seen for yourself. Dreames are curious things yet I like to dream of home and old friends. It does me good. My dream of last night if not true onley lacked your presence to make it so..."

"...My time is half up the 9th of this month. Only 18 months more and my time will be up unless they hold me..."

Dreaming of a visit from you wife is one thing, but Albinus dreams of taking his wife on a tour of all he has seen, to include the hospitals, after his encouraging words. The bridge he is referring to is the beanpole bridge built across Potomac Creek

Near the end of the letter, Alibinus states that on June 9, he will be halfway though his enlistment. I believe he will be thinking of other things on that day. Albinus and his fellow troopers will be fighting in front of Hansbourgh Ridge and in Stevensburg, a few miles East of Culpeper.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Weapon's for the New Trooper

Today at Brandy Station: June 1, 1863

Today we have another letter from Jacob Kent Langhorne -- this one to his father.

A portion of it: "...I had my mare valued at 650$. My arms have not cost me a cent. One of the men gave me a rifle captured at Chancellorsville and I drew a pair of pistols from ordnance wagon which I will return as soon as I can capture one. I bought a sabre for 3$, the best one I have seen..."

There are a few interesting items in this letter. The mare is valued at $650. Inflation has begun to take hold in the south. At the start of the war, good horses were sold (if you didn't already have one) for between $200 - $400. By the end of the war, horses would be valued at over $1000. Now Kent didn't buy his horse, it was appraised, but you can see the effects the war was having on the economy.

His weapons. Kent received a captured rifle from a trooper, his pistols were a temporary issue and he purchased the sabre for $3. In June 1863, the Confederacy is having difficulty supplying arms to its' forces. New recruits are receiving battlefield plunder, loaned weapons until he can they can capture their own and have to pay for sabres.

The impact of the blockade, and the inability of the southern industry to produce war material is effects a new recruit. He discusses it with his father as if it is routine. Unfortunately, it is.

The letter as well as a wealth of other terrific material can be found on the University of Virgina's Valley of the Shadow website.