1865: Caroline Crane Faxen to John Wellington Faxon

This letter was written by Caroline (“Carrie”) Crane Faxon (1848-19xx), the daughter of Charles Faxon (1799-1867) and Lucy Ann Steele (1804-1874). Charles Faxon was a printer, bookseller, and editor who hailed from Connecticut. In the 1820s he relocated to Catskill, New York, where he edited the Catskill Recorder. He then moved to Buffalo, New York, where he started the Daily Star. In 1843, he moved to Clarksville, Tennesee, where he commenced the publication of the Primitive Standard, an Episcopal Journal, with Rev. James Hervey Otey, afterwards Bishop of Tennessee. He also started the Clarksville Jeffersonian. Carrie married Robert Warner Thomas in December 1868.

Carrie wrote her letter to her older brother, John Wellington Faxon (1840-1917). John married Florence Herring in February 1866. John joined the 14th Tennessee Infantry and served until 1863 when, on account of disability, he was transferred to the CSA Treasury where he clerked until war’s end.

Carrie’s older brother, Henry W. Faxon (1826-1864), enlisted on 15 January 1864 at Buffalo, New York, as a private in the 24th New York Cavalry. He died of disease at Harewood Hospital in Washington D. C. on 11 September 1864.

Carrie’s letter mentions several Clarksville hometown boys who fought in Co. A, 49th Tennessee Infantry. This hat was work by Sergt. William McKeage of Co. A who finally deserted after the Battle of Nashville in mid-December 1864.


Clarksville, Tennessee
February 3rd 1865

My Darling Brother,

I suppose you will be quite surprised to find that I am in Clarksville, Tennessee, instead of Buffalo, New York. I received your letter a week ago last night and can assure you was highly delighted that you had at last condescended to write to you little sister, I have been thinking of you ever since I came home—especially all this week before Christmas when all the girls nearly in town, and all the young men that are left, assembled at our church for the purpose of decorating it. Lou Ellen Anderson was there, also Julliet, Nannie H., Jane Ward, Hattie Elliott, & all the other pretty girls in town. All sent their love and spoke of the Christmas that Lewis clark, Willie Kerr & yourself were with us and what a nice time we all had down to the church.

I have a great deal of news to tell you but some is what you will not like to hear. In the first place, Sallie McKoin was married today to Quint Atkinson 1, & Mr. [Hugh] Dunlop 2 is to be next week to Miss Mattie Williams. The next thing, the small pox is in town. Dr. McMullen & his wife both died of it. Also old Ely Lockhart. Old R. Beaumont has died since I came home but not of small pox. Old grandmother Shackelford, brother John’s little Marietta, & others.

Mont. Ghoram [Gorham] was shot across the river and his remains brought home. Also Lem House 3 whose remains will be brought home tomorrow. Bob Bringhurst 4 & young Willie Munford 5 were both killed at Nashville & brought home. Polk W[ilcox] 6 has had his left arm cut off and is a prisoner. The whole family are in town. Miss Sallie has the typhoid fever and is quite sick. Little Georgie sends his love to you. He has been very sick but is well now. Dixie, or little Emmy, & Sallie say, “Tell Uncle John I kiss him.” Goodbye. Write soon. With much love, — Carrie

Emma Derring, Dr. McMullen’s niece, has the small pox. I tell you this so if you see any of her relations in Mississippi, you can tell them of it. — Carrie

1 Quintus C. Atkinson (1840-1894) served as a private in Co. A, 49th (Confederate) Tennessee Infantry. He was discharged for disability following a year’s service. He was married to Sarah (“Sally”) Elizabeth McKoin on 3 February 1865 at Clarksville, Tennessee.

2 Mr. Hugh Dunlop (1811-1879) was an elderly farmer who loved near Clarksville, an emigrant from Scotland. He married Miss Mattie Williams on the 17 May 1865.

3 Lemuel F. House served as a private in Co. A, 14th Tennessee Infantry. After he was wounded at the Battle of Sharpsburg in September 1862, he left the regiment to join Forrest’s Cavalry.

4 Robert Bringhurst was a sergeant in Co. A, 49th Tennessee Infantry. He was among the garrison at Fort Donelson that were captured in February 1862 and sent to Camp Douglas in Chicago. He was exchanged in September 1862. Nothing more appears in his muster rolls but we learn from this letter that he was killed at the Battle of Franklin. It is believed that the remnants of the 49th and 55th Tennessee were consolidated with the 7th Texas to form “Bailey’s Consolidated Regiment of Infantry.”

5 William B. Munford also served in Co. A, 49th Tennessee Infantry. He was taken prisoner at Fort Donelson and later exchanged. Elevated in rank to a Lieutenant, Munford was later placed on detached service as a clerk on Gen. Quarles staff as A.A.A.G. He was killed at the Battle of Franklin according to the Military Annals of Tennessee.

6 James Polk Wilcox also served in Co. A, 49th Tennessee Infantry. He was wounded and taken prisoner at Franklin, Tennessee. He was sent to Louisville, Kentucky, and then to Camp Chase in Ohio. He died of pneumonia on 5 March 1865 according to muster rolls. His left arm was amputated on 1 December 1864 in an attempt to save his life.

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