1865: Charles Wesley Peden to Benjamin Jefferson Hill

This letter was written by Capt. Charles Wesley Peden (1834-1889) who began his service in the Confederate army as a 1st Lt. of the Rock City Volunteers, but beginning in April 1862 he became a Provost Marshal and filled posts for various lengths of time in Corinth (MS), Tullahoma (TN), Shelbyville (TN), Chattanooga (TN), and Atlanta (Ga). With the fall of Atlanta in September 1864, Capt. Peden’s Provost Marshal’s office was relocated to the Macon Arsenal in Macon, Georgia, where he wrote this letter. Macon was a center of textile manufacturing and supplied cloth for officer’s uniforms and other needs of the Confederate army.

Charles grew up in Campbellsville, Giles county, Tennessee, the son of Elisha and Frances (Chenault) Peden. He became a dry good merchant in Nashville after the war and was married to Sarah Luella Tenison (1852-1925) in the 1870s.

Charles wrote the letter to General Benjamin Jefferson Hill (1825-1880), a native of McMinnville, Tennessee, who was a merchant politician prior to the Civil War. He began his service as Colonel of the 5th Tennessee Volunteers (Prov. Army of Tennessee) and then in the Confederate Service as Colonel of the 35th Tennessee, organized in time to participate in the Battle of Shiloh and at Corinth. Later in the war he served as Provost Marshal of the Army of Tennessee (Feb thru Aug 64), and then was promoted a Brigadier General of cavalry in November 1864 under Lt. Gen. Bedford Forrest.


Macon, Georgia
February 27, 1865

General B. J. Hill
Dear Sir,

I send you by Capt. Reynolds your uniform. I trust he will get it through to you unsoiled and that you will get a good fit in it and be well pleased with it.

I am indeed glad to hear your prospects are so flattering to raise a good Brigade. If in raising your command you have any place you think you could make me more useful to the cause, than in the present position, I will be pleased to service you.

I see there has been a resolution offered in Congress to abolish all Provost Marshals only in the immediate vicinity of the Army. If I am thrown out, I am coming to you whether I get a position or not. I suppose you will always have a musket in reserve for me if nothing else. Is not a Brigadier General of Cavalry entitled to two Adjutant Generals? As I said before, if you have no position reserved for me—if I am left out, you will have a musket and I am coming to join you in some capacity.

I am, General, with much respect, your friend truly, and obedient servant.

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