This letter was written by 19 year-old William Nicholas Rose (1842-1915), the eldest son of Benjamin Bryan Rose (1817-1880) and Elizabeth (“Betsy”) Eldridge (1819-1872) of Newton Grove—about halfway between Goldsboro and Fayetteville—in Sampson county, North Carolina. In his old age, friends referred to William as “Squire Bill.”
William enlisted in May 1861 as a corporal in Co. E (the “Lone Star Boys”), 24th North Carolina Infantry (Formerly 14th North Carolina Infantry Vols.). He was promoted to 5th Sergeant of his company in February 1863. By July 1864, he had risen in rank to 1st Sergeant. He was taken prisoner near Petersburg, Virginia, on 27 March 1865 and was released from the Point Lookout, Maryland, prison on 19 June 1865. According to prison records, William was described as standing 5 feet 6 inches tall with light brown hair and gray eyes.
Below Sulphur Springs, Virginia
November 6th 1861
I once more seat myself to inform you that I am well [and] sincerely hoping these lines may find you all enjoying the same. I received your letter 28th of October which give me great pleasure to hear that you were all well. I suppose that our winter clothing is at the regiment at we are looking for the regiment here today and they will stay here a few days and then we will go on to Eastern Virginia somewhere to take winter quarters—probably to N. Carolina. If we do, we will come home sometime thins winter I reckon.
We have a great deal of sickness yet though a great many of the worse cases have died. Col. [William John] Clarke‘s brother died on Sunday morning last. Also John E. Thompson and Lovitt [B.] Grantham of our company has died. We have lost 12 men out of our company. No more dangerously sick in our company.
I have no news of importance to write you—only General Floyd has had a fight at Cotton Hill. 1 I did not hear how many was killed though I heard that Gen. Floyd took 500 Yankees which I expect is so. I have not seen Quint Sina. I received your last letter though I hear from him very often. He has ha the mumps but has got well. I am still waiting on the sick yet.
Tell Uncle Ira to write to me as I can’t get the chance to write to him. Tell Uncle Avery to write also. So you must write yourself as often as you can. I hope I will be remembered by you all. Nothing more at present—only your loving son until death, — William N. Rose
You will please direct your letters to Lewisburg, Va. in care of Col. Clarke, 14th Regiment N. C. Vol. I have got the worst pen you ever saw.
To my father, B. B. Rose by William N. Rose