1861-63: James Henderson Rutledge to his Family

The following letters were written by James “Henderson” Rutledge (1839-1863), one of fourteen children to James Madison Rutledge (1813-1863) and his wife, Susannah (Ziglar) Rutledge (b. 1815) of Meadows of Dan, Patrick county, Virginia, North Carolina.

Cap work by Pvt. Allen L. Hash of Co. C, 50th Virginia

In the 1850 US Census, James Rutledge was enumerated as a carpenter and he and his family were living in the southern part of Patrick County. Rutledge also served the community as a Primitive Baptist Minister. By 1860, he had taken his family to Meadows of Dan to serve as the miller at the Langhorne Mill. The Steptoe Langhorne Mill was located at the intersection of Helms Road and Langhorne Mill Road.

Henderson Rutledge was 22 years old when he enlisted with the 50th Virginia Infantry, Co. K in 1861 at Wythe county, Virginia. He entered the service as a private but was promoted to corporal on 20 September 1861. A month later he was hospitalized at White Sulphur Springs when he became ill and we learn from his letters that he did not regain his health until sometime in December when he caught up with the regiment in Tennessee and Kentucky. He was promoted once again to 1st Sergeant of his company before entering the Battle of Chancellorsville where he was killed in action on 3 May 1863.

“In the same year that Henderson enlisted, the diphtheria epidemic struck his siblings at home. Seven-year-old Martha died on October 28th, two-year-old Irvin passed on November 1st, sixteen-year-old Sarah on November 4th, eighteen-year-old Susan on November the 9th, and eleven-year-old William on November the 13th. Five children lay dead in the house at the same time. Coffins could not be made quick enough for all of them, so some of the children were carefully wrapped in sheets and all were buried at Meadows of Dan Baptist Church cemetery. This horrible, deadly infection was not done with the Rutledge children. Four-year-old Peter died on November the 29th, six-year-old John on the 2nd of December, and five-year-old George on the 30th of December. These three little boys (ages 4, 5, and 6) were buried with their siblings at the cemetery. Henderson was away with the 50th Virginia Infantry while this horrible tragedy happened, and you can tell by his correspondence that he was trying very hard to put on a brave face for his parents and remaining siblings.”  [Beverly Belcher Woody, The Enterprise, January 2023]

Henderson’s letters also inform us that his father, at age 48, also entered the service as a substitute for James A. Taylor in January 1863. He initially served in the 51st Virginia Infantry until he could be transferred to his son’s unit, Co. K, 50th Virginia. But sadly, after losing so many of his young children to diphtheria and losing his son at Chancellorsville, James lost his life too—killed in action on 2 July 1863 at Gettysburg. In the only extant letter written by James to his “companion,” datelined on 27 March 1863 from Camp Narrows, he wrote, “I hope to see the war end and get home and live at home. I feel myself in God’s hands and God may be my keeper. He will deliver me from evil.” Poor Susannah.

Letter 1

Camp Jackson
Wytheville, Virginia
July 14, 1861

Dear Father and Mother,

I am as well as common this morning. I got up, went to the spring and washed, brought up a big basket of water and made up some wheat dough and fried it in lots of grease. Made me a pot of strong coffee and had a delicious breakfast. There are 30 of Jeff’s Company down sick. [Andrew] Jack George & [Andrew] Jack Lewis is sick in my mess. George is nicely broke out with the measles.

We have no news here more than you all have. I have become very anxious about the reason you have not written to me before now. I want to hear from you all the worst in the world. Jack wants you to ask Brother Langhorne why in the world he has not written to him. Tell him I want him to write to me. Give my love to him & Sister Langhorne too and all enquiring friends. Tell all of them to write to us soon.

We fare tolerable well here but I have so much to do I can’t read much. We get up now and go to mustering at 5 o’clock. Then from 8 to 11 o’clock, then from 3 to half after 4 o’clock and it is excessive hard work. We have all our cooking to do without vessels enough to do it in. All a mess have [is] one iron bucket and one oven to cook in and a coffee pot we bought ourselves so you may know with what disadvantage we cook our bread to bake and everything.

God bless you is my prayer. Very truly yours, — J. H. Rutledge.

I ask best wishes.

Letter 2

White Sulphur Springs
Greenbrier County, Virginia
22 October 1861

Fear Father and Mother,

I again take occasion to write you a few lines to inform you that I am still improving. I wrote you a letter Sunday informing you that I received your letter of 22 September and was very glad to hear that there was nothing more the matter than common, notwithstanding you wrote that you were not all well. But I supposed nothing worse than was the matter or you would have more definitely mentioned it.

When I received your letter I was then on my way to the hospital so sick that I could not read the letter so as to elicit any sense from it at all. A few days ago I read it and learned its contents. I was glad to hear that Father was done at Clark’s Mill and that it did good business. I suppose Clark was pleased with it. I was glad to hear that you were done sowing your fodder and that your corn is good but I was sorry to hear that your buckwheat is not very good. You wrote that you were not done sowing rye. That was not satisfactory. You ought to have written how much you had sowed, or how much land you had sowed, &c. Then I would have known something about it.

I want you to sow all you possibly can. Be sure to sow all the Mill Field and as much [ ] as you. can. Sow my land if you can. If not, put it the first thing you can. Clear all you can for buckwheat next year. Tell Taylor & Ivy and the little boys to be smart and work hard. Clear all they can. If I live and nothing happens, I will be at home next spring to help them sow buckwheat.

I am still in fine spirits though I am just recovering from a very bad spell of sickness. Just getting so I can walk about a little. I am very weak yet but I hope the Lord will soon restore me to health again. I am tolerably well situated. I have a very good room to stay in and an old hard ,mattress to lie on but I have got used to it until I can rest tolerably well on it. We have plenty to eat—such as it is. Beef, soup, tea, and a little boiled milk is what we sick have to live upon, and bread. Some of, or the most of them are very fond of the beef soup but you know that I would soon pinch over beef soup. Milk and tea I like tolerable well. I can make out to live on it pretty well. I don’t pretend to eat soup atall. You know I never did like soup of that nature and you know that I never would eat any much that I did not like. I have very good care of myself so far and intend to until I get well.

You must write to me what you’re following, where you have a job, who you are at work for, &c. You must write how much buckwheat you make, how much corn, how many turnips you put away and you have a prospect for turnip salad or not….All such miscellaneous items are news to me. I am always very glad to get a letter from you…

I have no news to write at all. I do not know where our regiment is now. I do not even know where Floyd’s Brigade is much less our company. There are different reports as t where we will take up winter quarters but the general opinion is, I believe, that our winter quarters will be at Wytheville. But I do not know anything about it. If we stay ay Wytheville this winter, I shall try to get a furlough and come home and stay awhile. I do not expect to go into camp anymore until I get thoroughly well, if it is the Lord’s will for me to get well. I do not expect to go into camp anymore before winter [quarters] are taken up. I do not want to go into camp half well and get sick right off again and thus be puny and weak all the. time. I have gone through all the hardships of camp and stood it fine until I was taken sick.

The night before I was taken sick, I was out on guard duty and it rained and I had been marching hard all day which was pretty hard on a fellow. But I do not know whether that was the cause of my sickness or not. I do not know but what the fever has been working on me for some time. I am broke down sitting up. I shall have to quit. I am I think mending very fast now.

You must write to me just as soon as you get this. Do not wait a day. You have better chances than I have. You must back your letters just this way.

J. H. Rutledge of Co. K, 50th Regt. Floyd’s Brigade, White Sulphur Springs, Greenbrier county, Va.

I have done. Respectfully your son until death, — J. H. Rutledge

To James & Susan Rutledge

Letter 3

Knoxville, Tennessee
December 30, 1861

Dear Father & Mother,

I am well. In fact, I weighed more today than ever I did. I weighed 146 lbs. I went to the tavern this morning and have 50 cents for my breakfast and ten cents for a drink of rum and ten for a glass of wine, fifty cents for a pair of suspenders, and eight dollars for a pair of boots. I have not spent anything much for something to drink in a good while before.

Since we started last Friday from ____ Springs, I have seen more than I ever saw before in my life. A part of East Tennessee is a noble country. It’s spacious, productive, and almost perfectly plain. Farms are beautiful to behold. But the machinery at Knoxville is the grandest curiosity yet. They manufacture all kinds of castings here. Also car coaches and engines. In fact, almost anything is manufactured here by machinery.

I have seen the lonesome pylons from which the bridge across the Houston River was burned. Old [Parson] Brownlow is in prison at this place.

We expect to leave here in the morning for Nashville at which place we will arrive Wednesday night, Providence permitting. I had a fine ride of 220 miles to this place. No more.

Truly your son, — J. H. Rutledge

Letter 4

Bowling Green, Kentucky
January 4, 1861 [should be 1862]

Dear Father and Mother,

I again take occasion to write a few lines which will inform you that I am well and hearty as you ever saw me. I weight 146 lbs. and I exult in that. I can say that if my heart deceives me not, I am truly thankful to Him who upholds me and preserves my life at all events. He is still my shield and Buckler, my stay, my homestead and my song.

I am now about 600 miles from home but God’s protective army is around me here as well as elsewhere.

He that hath made his refuge God
Shall find a most secure abode
Shall walk all day beneath His shade
And these at night shall rest his head.

I wrote you a letter when at Knoxville and left there the next morning and came on to Bowling Green and have taken up camp where it is very probable we will remain all winter. There are a great many soldiers here. It is supposed about 75 thousand.

I came through the middle of Tennessee and from my observations, it is verily as great a country as it purports to be. I also came through the corners of Georgia and Alabama into Tennessee and it is truly a great country from what I have seen. Its climate is a little warmer than it is at the Meadows of Dan. I seen a good deal whilst prosecuting my journey to this place, have been in four cities and several fine towns. I have also seen a great many machine establishments. Father, I wish you could see all the machinery I have seen. There are a great many machines that you could build could you see them that are not expensive and are of considerable utility. If nothing happens, I will write to you every week and you must write to me. There is [no] chance for me to come home before the expiration of my time. Then if it is God’s will, I will come. You must all remember me in your petitions to our kind and indulgent parent above. And you may rest assured I remember you. I am perfectly contented—want for nothing and need nothing but what I have. I have plenty to eat and wear.

That God may give you peace and plenty. May bless you with all the immunities of Providence, and prepare you for heaven and with all mankind save you, is the cordial wishes of my heart. Respectfully your son, — J. H. Rutledge

Letter 5

Wytheville, Virginia
2nd May 1862

Dear Father and Mother,

I am well this evening and do hope you are likewise. I came here yesterday morning with my feet considerably affected by the tramp, but they are getting better. I came two miles past Hillsville the first day. we have a pretty large company and they are pretty rough fellows too.

There is a great stir up among the aspirants for office—more candidates than you ever saw. I think there will be more low privates in our company than any ever I saw for they all can’t be elected.

I have no idea where we will go when [we] leave here, nor when we leave here. Neither have I any idea when we will organize our new company but it will take place before long I suppose.

You must write to me soon. Truly your son, — J. H. Rutledge

Letter 6

Narrows, New River
Giles County
August 13, 1862

Dear Father and Mother,

I take occasion to write you a few lines which will inform you that I am well so far as health is concerned but have been for the last week so afflicted with boils that I have been unable for duty. The most of my time I could not walk scarcely atall. But I’m getting so that I can walk about right smartly now. If I have no more, I will be able for duty again in a week from now. I can’t sit up to write this letter. I have to lay down. I can lay or stand but can’t sit.

I have no news. There [are] no Yankees near here. We are doing finely getting a plenty to eat of well kept bacon, flour, rye, coffee some sugar, some molasses, dried beans and peas—lots of them. If I had opportunity I would send some money home. Perhaps I may have within a few days.

Oh! Mother, I want you to make me cloth enough as we spoke about to make a coat, 2 pair pants, and prepare me a lot of socks by fall. I want you to do this if I can get wool at any price without disfurnishing yourself. I don’t want you to disfurnish yourself. I had rather pay any price almost for wool and have you to make my clothing than to draw them because Confederate clothing is no con____ and the ugliest stuff you ever saw. I want mine nicely mixed black and white.

Give Sister and Brother Langhorne my love. Tell Sister Langhorne I will write to her as soon as I can sit up [and] write with any impunity. I must quit.

Oh! I will complain at Bro. Lewellen some for not writing to me. I wrote to him a long time ago and he got my letter and has not answered it yet. I hope you [have] the enjoyment of all the immunities of Providence. Your most affectionate son, — J. H. Rutledge

Letter 7

Narrows, Giles County, Va.
August 21, 1862

Dear Father & Mother,

I take occasion to write you a few lines which will inform you that I’m improving considerably. I haven’t [anything] but a very bad boil now but it is in rather a bad place. It is right on my sitter and it is about as big as a hen egg.

The cloth I wrote to you about making I want of a lighter color than what you are in the habit of making. I want it to correspond with the Confederate uniform colors as near as possible.

We have no news in camp. No Yankees are troubling us now. It is thought that [we] will make a move from here shortly though I know nothing about it myself. Paper and envelopes are very scarce here and stamps don’t be had atall hardly. I have right smart of paper myself at this time.

You must all write as often as you can. Your letters—what you write—gets here tolerably quick. I would like to see you all but don’t have the slightest idea when I will get to. I intend towards Christmas to try to get a furlough to come home and I will come if there is any chance.

I have some of the finest times conversing with Capt. [Elisha Clark] Burchett you ever saw. He is one of the finest men I ever saw and but few are better informed. 1

I would like mightily to come next month and be at our meeting but I can’t come. Tell Bro. Lewellen that I am tired waiting for him to write to me [and] that I thought he certainly would have written to me by this time. Give him and Mrs. Robertson my love. Also all the church and inquiring friends. I must quit.

That the Lord may bless you all is my prayer. Adieu. — J. H. Rutledge

1 BURCHETT, ELISHA CLARK: Capt., Co. B. B. Lee Co. 10/11/36. 1860: farmer, age 23, Lee Co. Enl., pvt.. Wytheville, Wythe Co., 7/17/61. Hosp., sick, White Sulphur Springs by 11/1/61. Elected capt. 5/8/62. Present in unit 5/26/62. Present comdg. co. 6/9/62 through 6/28/62, 11/30/62 through 12/17/62. and 3/21/63 through 4/22/63. Charged with cowardice for actions Chancellorsville 5/2/63-5/3/63. Deserts 7/1/63 “on the march to Gettysburg…just before reaching the Battlefield and did not come near the Enemy during the fight.” Absent through 11/10/63 when bde. cdr. recommends he be dropped from rolls and arrested, “if he can be found.”   “He returned home to —Jonesville, Lee Co. and has disappeared from that vicinity.   It is believed he has escaped to Indiana.”   Dropped from rolls for prolonged AWOL, ceases to be an officer 11/24/63. Died Vancouver, British Columbia. 2/3/1913. Bd. there. South Vancouver Cemetery.

Letter 8

Narrows, New River
Giles County, Virginia
November 12, 1862

Dear Father & Mother,

I have written you several letters and have not received a line from you in answer to them. I am therefore uneasy about you all, and am very anxious to hear from you. The last news I have is from a letter David Harrell 1 got from home about two weeks ago, and some two of you were then dead from dypyheria. I did not learn which two of you had died. I am expecting every day to hear that some more of you are gone.

I was much mortified to hear that that awful disease had gotten into your family but I am happy that I have long since learned not to find fault of Providence. I am thankful to tell you that I feel resigned to the will of my Lord and console myself with the thought that all of you who have attained to years of accountability are prepared for the solemn event of death, and those who have not—all will be well wit them if they die. I wish I could come home and see you all now, but there is no chance. You must all do the best you can. Take care of yourselves.

May the good Lord bless, provide form and uphold you is the prayer of your son, — Henderson

Please write to me soon. Direct to Dublin.

Yours very truly, — J. H. Rutledge

1 HARRELL. DAVID KENT: Pvt.. Co. K. B. 1/25/42. 1860: laborer, age 18. Patrick Co. Enl. Wytheville. Wythe Co., 6/22/61. Detail, nurse, Wytheville 7/31/61 through 8/2/61. Hosp. sent sick to White Sulphur Springs, 10/1/61 through 11/1/61. WIA, right arm. Wilderness 5/5/64. Hosp.. wound. Danville 6/15/64 to 6/21/64 when transferred to unspecified location. Enroute with CS personnel to rejoin commands by 4/12/65 when, at Big Springs [Elliston, Montgomery Co.], learns of Lee’s surrender and Gen. Echols’ order to disband and returns home. Living, age 61, Patrick Co., 4/2/1903. Died there, “branchy pneumonia,” 11/23/1921. Bd. Harrell-Robertson Cemetery, Patrick Co.

Letter 9

Camp near Richmond
December 21, 1862

Dear Mother and Father, 

I started from the Narrows, harassed considerably with tooth and jaw ache or rather neuralgia, and I broke down the first day, but after that, I commenced improving and have arrived here (five miles southeast of Richmond) in fine health and spirits, and did enjoy my trip very well. I have seen the magnificent City of Richmond and the elegant Lynchburg and various places of minor importance, but the site on which we are encamped is the most attractive and lovely of any I have seen since I left the Narrows. We have wood and water convenient and first rate beef, flour, and sweet potatoes to eat. There is no probability of any fight here soon. There was a considerable fight at Fredericksburg last week and we whipped the Yankees badly. We are expecting no fight here soon. Tell Mr. Shelor’s folks that Jno. and Jonathan is well. 1 You must write to me. Your affectionate son, — James H. Rutledge.

Direct your letters to Richmond.

1 SHELOR. JOHN B.: Pvt.. Co. K. 1860: farmer, age 31, Patrick Co. Enl. by 4/28/62 when en route to unit. Joined unit in field 5/2/62. Present in unit 7/17/62. WIA by 7/15/63 when hosp, Richmond. There to 7/26/63 when furloughed 35-day sick leave. Captured Spotsylvania C.H. 5/12/64. POW Pt. Lookout 5/1 8/64 to 7/30/64. POW Elmira 8/2/64 to 2/16/65 when died, anasarca, “exposure and starvation.”   Bd. grave 2181, Woodlawn Cemetery.

SHELOR, JOHN: Sgt.. Co. K. 1860: laborer, age 20. Patrick Co. Enl.. pvt., Wytheville, Wythe Co., 6/22/61. Present in unit 11/1/61. Promoted sgt. by 5/12/64 when captured Spotsylvania C.H. POW Pt. Lookout 5/18/64 to 7/30/64. POW Elmira 8/2/64 to 1/28/65 when he died, variola.   Bd. grave 1810. Woodlawn Cemetery.

Letter 10

Camp Medicine
January 6, 1863

Dear Father and Mother,

Our regiment (50th) now belongs to Brigadier Gen. Roger A. Prior, and is stationed near Franklin—a station on the Seaboard & Roanoke Railroad in Blackwater, in Southampton county, Virginia, forty miles from Norfolk.

I received the clothes you sent me by Lt. [Asa B.] Scott. 1 I assure you, I am a thousand times obliged to you for them, and am very thankful to Mary for the comfort she sent me. My coat and pants too, fitted me finely. I was highly pleased with everything you sent me. I got everything you sent me save the chestnuts. I did not get them but the clothing was what I needed worst. I do not need anything more clothing this winter that I know of. I would like to get a pair of boots. I was near enough to home, but I am so far there is chance ever to get them. It is therefore unnecessary to prepare them. I have no idea when I will come up the country.

Southeast Virginia is the poorest country I ever saw. The forest is almost entirely pine—little old sorry old-field pine at that. People who live in this country seem to be pretty wealthy but I cannot account for how they get so unless it is by hereditary estate, or by dint of hand labor at cultivating their sand, for the production of goober-peas & sweet potatoes. They raise large crops of those two kinds of vegetables.

You will please inform Mr. Shelor & family that John received everything they sent him, and was much pleased with his clothing for it was splendid. John and myself are well and in good spirits as could be expected under the circumstances with our bodies still unfalteringly resigned to the sacrificial altar of our country for the redemption of peace, and the security of freedom due us and you.

I will close by assuring you that I hope for you all the fortunes of health, blessings of Providence, and the happiness that old age ought to secure to us all. Your affectionate son, — J. H. Rutledge

Direct lettres to Co. K, 50th Va. Regt. Prior’s Eastern Virginia

1 SCOTT, ASA B.: 2Lt.. Co. K. 1860: carpenter, age 25, Patrick Co. Enl., sgt., Wytheville, Wythe Co., 6/22/61. Hosp., sick, and later detail nurse. White Sulphur Springs 10/1/61 through 11/1/61. Elected 2Lt 5/12/62. Present in unit 5/26/62 and 6/24/62 when comdg. co. Present comdg. co. 9/30/62 and 3/31/63. Court-martialed and acquitted 1/27/64 of neglect of duty and “suffering persons committed to his charge to escape.” Present comdg. co. 3/25/64. Captured Spotsylvania C.H. 5/1 2/64.. POW Pt. Lookout 5/14/64 to 6/23/64. POW Ft. Delaware 6/25/64 to 6/1 6/65 when released on oath. 71″, light complexion, light hair, gray eyes in 1865. Bd. Bowman-Jessup-Rorrer-Smith Cemetery, Patrick Co.

Letter 11

Camp near Franklin, Southampton county, Va.
[Probably mid-January 1863]

Dear Father and Mother,

I am tolerably well this morning and do hope you may be well. Lieutenant Rangeley is going to start home this evening and I think it a good chance to send you a letter. I want you to be sure and write to me often and tell me all about how you are getting along. I write to you ever week and oftener.

Father, if I had any money at home, I wish if you can, you would buy leather and make me a pair of boots and send them by Lt. [James Henry] Rangeley. 1 If you can make them, make them a little larger than I used to have my boots made. Make the bottom wide. Put irons on the heels. You know I wear my boots on the outside. Try to make the legs tolerable long and large. If you can do this without disfurnishing yourself, I will be glad.

I have no news. We are all doing very well down in this poor, sandy country. There is no great deal of sickness in this army. There is one case of chills and fever. I expect all of us will have it here in the spring. We are expecting no fighting here soon.

I suppose corn [prices] and everything is powerful high. If I was you, I would try very hard to make grain enough to do you next year because it will be impossible to buy any another year.

I would like to be at home with you all but I cannot. And God knows when that day will come when we can all be at home together—if ever. I wish the war would stop but I see no signs of its end whatever. We are pretty well fixed for wintering where we are now. We have little cabins. The chaplain of our regiment preached in my cabin last Sunday but he can’t preach much. He is a Presbyterian. Writes down his sermons.

That God may always bless you is the prayer of your unworthy son, — J. H. Rutledge

Write to me soon and often.

1 RANGELEY, JAMES HENRY: Lt.. Co. K. B. 1/26/43. Patrick Co. Enl.. pvt., Wytheville, Wythe Co., 6/22/61. Promoted 5Sgt by 9/15/61 when detailed, nurse, Raleigh C.H. Absent from unit through 11/01/61. Elected 2Lt. 5/12/62. Present comdg co.. Camp Narrows, 12/14/62. At home on leave by 2/10/63. Present comdg co. 9/5/63. Captured Wilderness 5/5/64. POW Ft. Delaware 5/1 7/64 to 6/6/65 when released oath. 67″, light complexion, dark hair, blue eyes in 1865. Postwar owner dry goods store, Stuart, Patrick Co., and by 1915 had also “taken front rank among the fruit farmers” of Patrick Co. Died 1919. Bd., Stuart Cemetery, Patrick Co.

Letter 12

Camp near Franklin
Southampton County, Virginia
February 4, 1863

Dear Sister,

I am well this morning and do hope you are well. I got a letter from home last week but it had been on the way nearly three weeks. I sent an answer to it and thought I would write again that you might hear from me in case my other should fail to go to hand.

To my astonishment and extreme regret I heard that Father had substituted for Taylor. I would not have had that to have taken place for any amount. All the money in the Confederacy would not have been any inducement to me to have come into the army. I do greatly sympathize with your all and hope you may be blessed with health that Providence and fortune may favor you. I will do all I can for you. You now can do what little work you are able to do to your own notion. But I am sorry your ground is in such a fix that you can’t do anything. The mill field is a good chance for corn if it was not for the logs on it. But they are there and you can’t get them off.

You must make all you can and do the best you can, I will come home at the earliest opportunity but I can’t tell when that will be. Tell Mr. Shelor Jno. and Jonathan are well. Write me soon and often. Your affectionate brother, — J. H. Rutledge

Letter 13

Camp near Franklin
Southampton, Virginia
February 26, 1863

Dear Mother,

I again take occasion to write you a few lines to let you know I am well for I have nothing else to write. I haven’t got a letter from any of you for about [ ] weeks. I am getting very anxious to hear from home. Thomas Hamill told me all about the settlement you all had at his father’s I Christmas. It was a pretty considerable time from what he says. Mrs. Langhorne was rather behind the time in point of justification but not in talk. She had to as good as acknowledge her self somewhat to blame.

If Claib. Lawson 1 don’t start before you get this, I want you to send me about ten or twenty dollars. I don’t know when we will draw any money. I have a good deal of money coming to me but I can’t get it until we draw. I wrote to Father the other day. I want to come home but don’t know when I will get to come. I will come the first chance.

You must all write to me often. I am always happy to hear from you. Yours affectionately, — J. H. Rutledge

1 LAWSON, CLAIBORNE T.: 1Sgt., Co. K. 1860: farmer, age 26. Patrick Co. Enl. Wytheville, Wythe Co., 6/22/61. Detail, to go to Patrick Co. to apprehend deserters, 7/23/61 to 8/4/61. Present in unit 9/6/61 when ruptured by falling limb while building fortifications near Gauley River. Present in unit 9/28/61 and 11/1/61. Detail, arresting deserters, 7/10/62 to 9/7/62. Present in unit 11/14/62. Detail, detached service, by 4/6/64 when WIA, lost two fingers left hand. Living, age 54, Patrick Co. 1/29/89 and 6/1/1907. Bd. Meadows of Dan Cemetery, Patrick Co.

Letter 14

Camp Corbin’s Neck, Virginia
April 11, 1863

Dear Mother,

I again take occasion to write you a few lines, which will inform you that Father and myself are well. He has been transferred to our company and getting on finely.

When I got to my regiment last Tuesday, it was ready to start to Fredericksburg, Virginia. We started about dark and arrived at Lynchburg next morning and about 12 o’clock we left there and come, and kept coming, until we got to Hamilton’s Crossing, 4 miles from Fredericksburg, day before yesterday. And we staid there all night before last. And while we were there, I saw several soldiers I have been acquainted with. I saw Cousin Leon Ziglar, Martin and Gray Rutledge, Peter Dalton, Billy Shelton, and Billy Frazier and others. They are all well. The soldiers are looking finely in the Grand Army. They have been lying in camp, doing nothing for a long time. They are, however, expecting to go to work soon now.

“Our Grand Army is encamped up and down one side of the Rappahannock and the enemy on the other. Their pickets and ours talk with each other across the river. They are friendly towards each other. A great many of them know each other’s names. They trade a little with each other.”

J. Hamilton Rutledge, Co. K, 50th Virginia, 11 April 1863

Our Grand Army is encamped up and down one side of the Rappahannock and the enemy on the other. Their pickets and ours talk with each other across the river. They are friendly towards each other. A great many of them know each other’s names. They trade a little with each other. Some of our company have been at the river and seen them. I expect the 50th regiment is permanently assigned to this Division of the Army. I have no idea any of us will come [home] before the war ends.

Oh! tell Buck Thompson I saw Tilghman and he is well and is camped close to us. Your neighbor boys are all well. You must all do the best you can. Make all the grain you can. Thomas Omohundri [?] said you found my cow.

You must write soon and often. Your affectionate son, —J. H[enderson] Rutledge

Direct to: Co. K, 50th Virginia Regiment, Second Brigade, Trimble’s Division, Jackson’s  Corp.

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