The following letter was written by 36 year-old Pvt. Amaziah Francis Stevenson (1826-1863) of Co. F, 24th South Carolina Infantry. Amaziah enlisted in the regiment in March 1862 under the command of Capt. Thomas Addison. He appears to have been with the regiment until 14 May 1863 when he was killed in action at Jackson, Mississippi, less than two weeks after he wrote this heartfelt letter home to his wife and children.
According to the regimental history, the 24th South Carolina served in the Charleston area, fought in the Battle of Secessionville in June 1862, and then remained there through the winter of 1862-63. Shortly after sending off this letter, the regiment was assigned to Gen. Gist’s Brigade and trained off to Jackson, Mississippi, to meet Grant’s army who took the city before turning on Vicksburg.
Amaziah was the son of John J. Stevenson (1798-1873) and Margaret Bowen (1800-1882) of Anderson county, South Carolina. He was married to Mary Ann Baker (1823-1919) in 1852 and the couple had four children before his enlistment—John T. (1852-1925), Lindsay A. (1855-1857), William G. (1858-1860) and Amaziah D. (1861-1954). A fifth child, William E. was born in October 1863 after Amazia’s death.
Secessionville, James Island
May 3rd 1863
My ever affectionate wife and little children,
It is through the kind mercies of God that I am permitted this blessed Sabbath morning to drop you a few lines to inform you that I am well at this time and doing very well and I do hope these few lines may reach you in due time and find you and the children both well and doing well. I received your kind letter that was dated April the 25th. I have just finished reading it. Oh! you can’t tell what pleasure it was to me to hear you was all well.
Dear and affectionate wife, I am proud of the sewing thread you sent me. I wrote you a letter the other day [saying] something about me coming home before very long. Oh, I can’t tell you how bad I want to see you and the children but I do hope the time is not far off that I shall see you and the children once more if the Lord is willing.
There is 5 gone home now out of our company and I hope it will fall to my lot to get a furlough next to come home to see you and the children once more.
Dear and most ever loved wife, you said you wanted me to tell you whether the Yankees was gone from here now or not. There is plenty of them on Cole Island and Folly Island yet but they seem to be very still at present. The health of the regiment is very good now.
Mary, you must kiss the children for me. If I was there, I would squeeze Johnny till he would crack. I must close for this time. I am yours truly till death, — Amaziah F. Stevenson
To Mary, my love.