The following letter was written by Solomon Tesh, a corporal in Co. H, 15th North Carolina Infantry. Solomon enlisted on 15 July 1862 at Raleigh, North Carolina. His muster records indicate that he was wounded in the fighting at South Mountain on 14 September 1862 and shortly thereafter furloughed for 60 days to recuperate. He was with his regiment again in December 1862 and promoted to corporal on 8 April 1863. Unfortunately, Solomon did not survive the war, though he expressed eternal hope that he might, asking his Lord to “give us peace in thine own way & grace to wait thine own time. Thy will be done, not mine.”
Solomon was the son of George Tesh (1796-1872) and Maria Sarah Boeckel (1796-1870) of Friedberg, Davidson county, North Carolina. He was married in 1851 to Phebe Malvina Perryman (1835-1923) who bore him five children—Letitia, Laura, Robert, Benjamin, and Lucy.
August 8th 1863
Dear Br. Hege,
I am happy to say I received a few lines from you yesterday by way of your worthy son, in answer to which I will drop you a few stating that I am tolerable well at present. I have been right sick for some two weeks past, as you no doubt have heard, but have about recovered. I am now getting along as well as a poor soldier can expect.
I have good tidings to tell, yet it will be no news to you as you have heard it before now—I mean the reviving influence of the Holy Spirit that has visited our regiment. We have been abundantly blessed in the last month. I hope the God of Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob will continue to bless our poor souls while the body has to suffer so much. We still keep up public prayer in most of our companies, sometimes at one tent and then at another. We meet & sing some old familiar hymns. Then one will lead in prayer. Then we sing again & pray and so on till we get revived. I see more enjoyment sometimes after the day is spent then I do during the day for these things are of more interest to me than all our hard marching or fighting. Yet, if we acknowledge this war as a judgment on us for our sins, it behooves us to suffer our part of the hardships, if possible without murmuring. To do this, it requires much grace. May God help us.
You know, dear Br., that my thoughts often go back to past days spent with you & many beloved Brethren in old Davidson & Forsythe at many places—especially at Friedburg. You know I love the place & those who worship there. And so strong are my affections that Simeonlike, it seems to me that only there I could cheerfully “Depart.” My prayer to almighty God is that I may live to enjoy some of the means of grace in this. If God will fit to bless me with such privileges, I solemnly promise Him to serve Him more fully idea by his grace.
I am indebted to sister Hege for the [ ] of my dear wife’s misfortune. I hoped for some time that in some time it was [ ], but alas, it is so. Hope sister Hege will assist her & drop some word of comfort as any such misfortune must add to sorrow already in divide. It is no small mater to have five little children depending on a poor woman & her husband in the army, now exposed to everything that is hard & dangerous—spiritual & temporal, & at the same time in a condition like here. These things are enough to weigh down my spirit, but turn the thoughts & cry out, “Bless God,” that it is no worse with us. My wife & dear children are still in the interior of the state where they know comparatively nothing of the horrors of war & at last account, we were all alive & had a hope to meet again in this world. And above all things else, I bless God for the hope after death. Then I wish to commend them to the care of their friends, the church & God, with the hope that all things will work together for our good.
But dear Br. & sister, I am running along too lengthy. I hope you will pardon me. You know I love to talk and it is a long time since you & I have been privileged to have a chat. If I was with you to dinner, I think I would enjoy myself & then we could spend Saturday evening pleasantly together.
I have seen a great deal since I am a soldier—much that is heart-rending to look upon. The awful destruction of our once prosperous & happy country, the lands & property of every kind, the many beautiful buildings that I have seen burnt—it looks to me like Old Abe has a poor way to restore the Union & Old Jeff seems to give little hope of any reward like freedom or liberty, so it looks dark for one who always loved a free & republic government. I hope that in some way the curse may be removed ere long. Lord, give us peace in thine own way & grace to wait thine own time. Thy will be done, not mine.
But I must close, dear Br., I hope you will remember when you read this the source from where it comes & will therefore receive it as well meant & overlook all mistakes C. A. is well. The boys are all about except Br. He is not about much. Cont is with us. He is some better. No more now. Your friend, wishing to be claimed as a brother—Solomon Tesh
to his esteemed Br Solomon Hege
Fredricksburg Va. August 8th 1863
One thought on “1863: Solomon Tesh to Solomon Hege”
Just one of the most insightful letters from a Christian Civil War Soldier I’ve seen… very balanced view, seeing both sides of the clamity!!