1862-63: John Lewis Elliott to Ann (Caminade) Elliott

I could not find an image of J. L. Elliott but here is one of Willis Calloway Watkins of Co. D, 4th South Carolina (Photo Sleuth)

These five letters were written by John Lewis Elliott (1831-1863), the son of Lewis M. Elliott (1802-1881) and Winniford Weston Edgar (1805-1898). John was married to Ann Neal Caminade in 1853 and had five children by the time he enlisted to serve in Co. B, 1st South Carolina Palmetto Sharpshooters. He was wounded at the Battle of Wauhatchie on 29 October 1863, a relatively small affair which turned out to be the last best chance for the Confederates to prevent the Yankees from reinforcing Chattanooga. Elliott died of his wounds on 28 November 1863 at Oliver Hospital in LaGrange, Georgia. His remains now lie buried in the “Stonewall Confederate Cemetery” in LaGrange. In the 1860 US Census, John was enumerated in Shallowford, Anderson county, South Carolina.

Serving with him in the same battalion was his younger brother, Edward “Hardy” Elliott (1837-1864), mentioned throughout the letters. Hardy was killed at Spotsylvania, Virginia, on 11 May 1864.

Letter 1

Camp near Richmond
July 11th 1862

Dear Wife,

I seat myself this morning to drop you a few lines to let you know that I have got well and I hope that this may come to hand in due time and find you and the children all well. I got your letter yesterday that you wrote the 3rd and I was glad to hear that you was all well but Tete. I was sorry to hear that she had the bowel complaint but I hope you are all well now.

I got a letter from Papa that was wrote the 4th and he said that Jane had got poisoned or something. I hope she is well and I hope and pray that you may all keep well until I get home, and then on.

Dear, I am so glad to hear that you have so many fine Irish potatoes and beans, but I am sorry that I can’t enjoy the pleasure of helping you eat them. But I hope there is a better time ahead for us. I was also glad to hear that my filly had such a fine colt and was so gentle. I would like very much to see it but I would a heap rather see my dear wife and little children. May the Lord grant that I may soon enjoy that pleasure. I want you to pray for my safe return and also for yourself and our children and myself very often and I do hope the Lord in His mercy may hear and answer our prayers.

Tell your Ma that I want her to pray for me and John. Poor fellow—I suppose he is a prisoner. I hope he will get home safe yet. Give my love to all of your Pa’s family. Tell Pa that our men drove the Yankees about 30 miles and gave them an awful whipping but they killed a heap of our men. We had to charge their breastworks and then is when they got so many of our men. I was not in any of the fight. I was not able to be with them. I went to the regiment last Sunday. I have walked about 50 miles since last Sunday morning and I stood it pretty well considering we did not march fast or I could not have stood it. We have got back to our old camps. We got here yesterday but I don’t think we will stay here long from what I can hear.

Dear wife, I forgot to say that I was so glad to hear that our corn and watermelons look so well.

My dear, I do hope England and France will recognize us and stop the war shortly and let us poor fellows come home shortly to our families.

Dear wife, I will now close for this time with my best love and prayers for you and my little children. So farewell for this time. — J. L. Elliott to his wife, A. N. E.

P.S. Hardy is not well but I hope he will soon get well. He sends his best respects to you and the children. Derrick is not very well. He sends his love to you all.


Letter 2

Camp near Richmond, Va.
July 4th 1863

My Dear Anny,

I seat myself this morning to drop you a few lines to let you know how I am getting along. I am tolerably well—only I have been sorter sick at my stomach for 3 or 4 days and I am pretty near tired down. We had orders Wednesday night to cook up our rations and I did not sleep much that night. Then we started from camp and marched about 16 miles and then our company was called on to skirmish with 8 other companies. We then advanced on the Yankees and drove them off. We took some prisoners and they say there was three regiments of infantry and one of cavalry and one or two of artillery. Our skirmishers and artillery run them clear off. Then we marched back about 5 miles which took us until about 12 o’clock in the night. Then we lay down and rested until a little after sun up. Then we marched about 5 miles and then we took the train and come back to camp and you would think we were tired and not think far wrong.

I have just been to the doctor and he gave me a big dose of salts. You need not be uneasy about me. If I get worse, I will write immediately.

Well we killed some few Yankees and taken some 10 or 12 prisoners. They run and left a good many of their things. Our cavalry got 4 or 5 haversacks and about the same of canteens. I got one pretty good oil cloth and a half of a little tent. That is all me or Bud got. John Patterson got three haversacks but he gave them to his mess. He has quit the mess I was in. They bursted up the mess while I was at home. Me and Bud has been messing by ourselves till a day or two ago. W. O. Singleton drew with us.

Dear, I do want to see you and the children mighty bad. I do hope and pray this war may soon end so I may come home to live with you the rest of our days. I put my trust in the Lord and I cannot help but feel that He will bless us with the happy pleasure of living together yet. But we must wait until it is His will to do so. We must pray earnest for it and act accordingly and He has promised to answer us. Our Savior says ask, and ask expecting to receive just the same as if you was to ask your Pa for anything with the expectation of his giving it to you. May that time soon come is my humble prayer. Give my love to Pa, Ma, and all of the girls. Tell them to write to me. Give my love to Papa, Mama, and all of the family. Tell them that Bud is well but very tired. I hope these few lines may come to hand and find you and all of our babes well and all of Pap’s folks and Pa’s. Give my love to Jenny and Uncle Lewis and Hannah.

I must now close for the present saying I remain your true and loving husband. Bud sends his love to you all and to Pap’s family. I send a kiss to you and all of the children.

— J. J. Elliott to his dear little wife, Ann N. Elliott and children, Jane, Judy, Martha, John & Susan.

There was nary man killed in our brigade. There was one killed in a North Carolina Brigade and two wounded by a shell. They was in the rear of us.


Letter 3

Camp near Lookout Mountain
October 2d 1863

My Dear,

It is with pleasure I seat myself to drop you a few lines to let you know how I am getting along. I am well at this time and I hope these few lines may reach and find you and all the children enjoying the same good blessing. I have nothing new to write to you at this time—only I received a letter from you a few days ago and was very glad to hear you was all well and I was glad also to hear everything was getting along as well as it was. You said something about putting your hogs up early to fatten and you wanted to know what I thought about it. I think it the best to put them up as soon as you possibly can so as to kill about two weeks before Christmas, I am glad to hear Jenny and Hannah has got fodder enough pulled to do them. Tell them I want them to pick just as many peas as they possibly can. Tell them I have not forgot them. Give my love especially to Jenny and tell Lewis there is something else I must tell you. About a few days ago, we got out of bread and had to do without from one morning until the next day dinner and I got so hungry against it come to us I eat such a batch of the coarsest cornbread you ever saw and bacon that it made me right sick for awhile. But I have got over that. We eat our coarse cornbread, husk and all.

They say furloughing is stopped so I am afraid I will not get home soon unless Bud gets me a recruit. Give Bud my best respects. You said you wanted to know whether you ought to go to Papa’s or not without they asked you. My advise is not to go. If they are so mad, they will not ask you. I would not go where I was not wanted.

Our company went out on picket night before last and it rained on us all the time we was out. We was relieved yesterday evening and got a house to stay in for the night and it rained nearly all night. But his is a very pretty day. It has been very dry out here and dusty. I received a letter from Ma a day or two ago which gave me great pleasure. She says for me to write back forthwith but you must tell here to excuse me for I have no paper with me. I got this from E. H. I have not saw my knapsack since we left the railroad. E. H. sends his love to you and children. Give mine and Hardy’s love to Papa, Mama, and all of the family. Tell them Hardy is well. I will now close by giving my best love to you and the children. Give my love to all Pa’s family. — J. L. Elliott


Letter 4

Chattanooga, Tennessee
October 20, 1863

My Dear,

I seat myself this morning to drop you a few lines in answer to one I received yesterday from you dated the 11th which gave me great pleasure to hear from you and hear you was all well. I hope you may all remain so. This leaves me well. all to the bellyache. I have got over my head and backache but I have got the bellyache. I reckon it is from eating too much fresh meat. The boys brought a fine chance with them the other day off of the mountain.

I have no news of interest to write to you as everything is quiet here. There is no advance being made on either side. I showed your letter to the captain and he says there is no chance for me to get a furlough. He is perfectly willing to give me a furlough but it is not in his power to do so. The captain says for me to tell you he would do anything in his power for us but it is impossible for him to do anything now. But he says there may be a chance this winter but he says if you could get anyone to come as a recruit for me, I could then get a furlough for forty days. He asked me if I knew anyone that I thought I could get. I told him about Robert Scruggs, if his mother would let him come, but I told him what you said about his Mother. I told him she would not let him come for the war to save all our lives. The captain asked me his age and I told him he was about sixteen and he says if she knew what was best, she would let him come for he says they will take him anyhow before long and and then they would send him just anywhere they pleased so she had better let him come here where he has some friends. So I will ensure her that if she will let him come here as a recruit for me, I will be a friend to him as long as we both live. So you can see Mrs, Scruggs and state the case to her and see what she says and let me know in your next letter. Tell Mrs. Scruggs that I do not wish her son to be obliged to go to the army but it is just as the captain says, he will be certain to have to go before long and it would be better for him to be where all South Carolinians are. Our whole brigade are South Carolinians. But just let her do as she pleases, but when she lets him be taken and they carry him to the coasts and takes sick and dies with disease, then she will wish she had let him come here in a healthy country. And if we leave here, we will be apt to go to Virginia where it’s healthy. We will be apt to be in a mountain country all of the time.

You said you wanted to know if I wanted the woolen shirts made. I don’t care anything much about them so you can make the cloth up for the children. I need some cotton shirts but you need not make any. I aim for the government to find me in clothes as you have so much hard work in getting your cloth wove. I like the color of your dresses very much. I want you to send me my overcoat by Bud when he comes and one pair of socks. Pa sent me two plugs of tobacco. Tell him I am glad he has not forgot me if he don’t write to me, and tell him I do thank him for them and tell him to write to me for I want to hear from him and tell him I want to know if he thinks this war will end any time soon. The most of the people out here think it will end this winter but I don’t know what is their reasons for thinking so without it is foreign intervention. I do hope and pray that it may end soon and that I may get home.

Tell Susan that John is well. He send his love to you all. Give my love to Papa’s family and also to Pa’s. I reckon you and Hardy and Papa has got the letters I sent you by A. J. Litton and I am in hopes Bud will be here soon to take my place for wahile. We will be apt to be through this fight before he gets here. I would like for him to be here now if I knew he would not get hurt. But if he was here, he should not take my place till this fight is over. I send a special kiss to you and also one to the children, — J. L. Elliott

to A. N. Elliott


Letter 5

Oliver Hospital, Ga.
November 5th 1863

Dear,

I this evening seat myself to drop you a few lines to let you know that I am still alive and doing as well as could be expected under the present circumstances. I suppose you have heard of me getting wounded before this time. Do not make yourself uneasy about me. We have very good nurses here. The man that dresses my wound is very tender with it. I went before the board yesterday but did not get a furlough. The doctors said my wound was rather bad for me to leave at the present but they saud they would meet again in a few days, then I think I will get off. There was a great many that got furloughs so I think my chance very good.

I must soon close as it is my right shoulder that is hurt and I am afraid it will not do for me to use my hand too much. I hope these few lines may soon reach and find you all well. I hope to see you all before long. I will write to you in three or four days again. I do not expect to hear from you at all unless E[dward] H[ardy Elliott] remails your letters.

I will now close with my best love to you all. — J. L. Elliott

If you have not got wheat enough to do you, buy 5 or ten bushels or get someone to but it for you. As for salt, I do not know what to say to you about that but I hope they will be some way provided to get it. — J. L. Elliott

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