1862: Archibald Alexander Little to James R. Jordan

Only a year apart in age, Alexander Little may have borne a strong resemblance to his brother, John Peyton Little, shown here in his Asst. Surgeon’s uniform.

The following letter was written by Archibald Alexander (“Sandy”) Little (1824-1877) of Fredericksburg, Virginia, who was assigned duty as a civilian to serve as special agent traveling in charge of quartermaster stores from Richmond, Virginia, to Columbus, Mississippi, that was consigned to Major L. F. Johnson, Quartermaster. A receipt for his services consisting of 45 days at $4/day ($180) was submitted to Maj. J. B. McClelland, Quartermaster, C. S. Army, on the 18th of June 1862.

Sandy became the editor of the Fredericksburg News in 1853 where he “wielded a most graceful and facile pen, and illustrated a thorough knowledge of his profession with a rare culture and kindly humor.” (The Virginian Pilot, 19 July 1877) His pre-war editorials no doubt promoted secession and influenced a large number of readers. Though he had to vacate his office in Fredericksburg during the war which was ransacked by Union soldiers, he returned to his profession after the war until his death in 1877.

Sandy had an older brother named John Peyton Little (1823-1874) who was a physician and served as an Asst. Surgeon in the Provisional Army of the Confederate States of America.

The letter was addressed to Dr. James R. Jordan (1801-1862)—a physician who resided and practiced in Lexington, Virginia. He died on 26 December 1862. I can only speculate on the nature of the correspondence. Perhaps Dr. Jordan was dying and he was concerned about the validity of an insurance policy he held with a U. S. company.

A “Major Lacy” is mentioned in the letter. Could this have been Major James Horace Lacy of Fredericksburg and the owner of Chatham Manor? He was only a Lieutenant at the time but was often referred to as “Major” prior to his promotion. He was taken prisoner in June 1862 and was widely reported to have been released in October. Perhaps he was released earlier than thought.


Richmond, Virginia
August 16, 1862

Dr. J. R. Jordan
My dear Dr.,

Yours of 3 May has just been handed me by Maj. Lacy. He received it after I had gone to Corinth & before he was taken prisoner. On his return he mentioned he had received a letter for me and found it today. I can only repeat what I said a year ago—especially as I have heard nothing from the company. It will be the interest of the company to keep their promise to make all right after the war is over. They insure in France, England & Canada—foreign counties as the South will be. I will keep your note & advise you as soon as I hear from the company.

Hoping you are quite well now.

Very truly your friend, — A. Alexander Little

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