1864: Alexander H. Hoge to Mrs. Shirey

The following letter was written by Lt. Alexander H. Hoge of Co. I, 28th Virginia Infantry. Hoge enlisted at Salem, Roanoke county, Virginia, on 13 May 1861 as a private in Co. K originally but was transferred to Co. I by September. He was made 4th Sergeant on 12 December 1861 and commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant of Co. I on 28 April 1862. He was wounded on 27 June at Gaines’ Mill but returned to his regiment in time to be wounded again at Boonsboro on 14 September 1862, shot through both hips and left on the field where he was taken prisoner. He was exchanged by mid-December 1862 from Fort McHenry, and then furloughed for recovery. By the time this letter was written in mid-December 1864, Alexander had not been with his regiment for over two years and was only now being returned to duty as an invalid, having been promoted to 1st Lieut. on 5 November 1864.

From this letter we learn that Alexander anticipated being assigned duty as an enrolling officer.

Alexander was the son of James Hoge (1807-1885) and Juliett Howard (1809-1859). The brother he had not heard from for “so long a time” was Sergt. John Milton Hoge (1844-1913) who served in Co. F, 8th Virginia Cavalry. Alexander was married in 1867 to Sallie E. Whitesett and later lived in Kentucky and Missouri.

Camp Lee, Head Quarters, near Richmond. Illustration for Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (McDonnell Bros, 1886).


Camp Lee
Richmond, Virginia
December 14, 1864

Mrs. Shirey,

According to promise, I will now write you a few lines. After considerable suspense and delay, I have at last received my orders to report to Maj. Gen. [James (“Jimmy”) Lawson] Kemper. I was almost in hopes they had forgotten me and that I would be permitted to remain at home for six months at least. I reported to Gen. Kemper last Friday. He assigned me to Col. Shields and Col. Shields gave orders to the Quartermaster & Commissary to furnish me with quarters &c. at Camp Lee until I am assigned to duty as enrolling officer and sent away. It is probable that I will remain here all winter as all the officers of the state who are in my condition are ordered here and advised to come prepared to make their home at Camp Lee for the winter.

I have a very good room and a sufficiency of wood and water but my room is badly furnished. If I had a good bed, I would be very happily situated. Mr. Harlowe is here endeavoring to be placed on light duty. He has been sleeping in my room as his quarters are very bad. Mr. Page is said to be here but I have not seen him. I saw two of the Reserve boys in town last night—Stephens & Whitsett.

We hear cannonading almost every day. It is said that a general engagement is imminent but it has been too cold for the last few days. Mr. Hammond is in camp with the Cadets not very far from the city but I have not seen him yet. I was to Edward McCauley last night. He is improving slowly. Mrs. McCauley expected to start home today. Edward will get a furlough as soon as the Dr. thinks he is able to travel. 1

I have not heard from my Bro. for so long a time that I am becoming uneasy for his safety. If any more letters come for me to Salem, forward them to Camp Lee, Richmond, Va. Give my kindest regards to my friends in Salem, especially to Mr. Shirey, Miss Maggie, and Katie.

I am ever yours, very truly, — A. H. Hoge

1 Believe this to be the same Edward McCauley who served as a private in the 1st. Co., Milligan’s Independent Signal Corps.

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