The following letter was written by Andrew Haller Nye (1834-1918) from Monterey, Highland county, Virginia, where he was attending to his older brother, James Alexander Kincannon Nye (1833-1861) of Co. F (“Glade Spring Rifles”) of the 37th Virginia Infantry. They were the sons of John R. Nye (1797-1871) and Sarah McDonald Kincannon (1807-1878) of Washington county, Virginia.
James was married in September 1858 to Ann Eliza Byars. He died of typhoid fever while in the service at Monterey just two days after this letter was written.
Andrew later served in the war himself, enlisting in March 1864 to serve in Levi-Barr’s Light Artillery. He was taken prisoner at Sailor’s Creek and held until 1 July 1865.
Monterey, Highland county, Virginia September 3rd 1861
Since I wrote last there has been but little change in James but I think maybe he is a little better this evening, though but very little. Some think he looks right smart better. I hope he feels better than he looks. He has taken so much medicine he has no appetite for anything. The doctors have been giving him some powders to sharpen his appetite. He asked Samuel Hutton 1 to let him taste his wine. I gave him two teaspoonfuls of it and he said it tasted good. I am in hopes he will begin to eat a little in a day or two.
Dr. Butler gave him a little roasted apple this morning. I do wish it was so I could get him away from here if it was but a mile or two in the country for there is a continual rattling of wagons here in town, though he don’t appear to mind it much.
P. B. Thurman 2 died night before last [and] was buried today. Dr. Gaines lost another child with dypyheria.
Dr. [Robert E.] Grant’s company (Co. H, 37th Virginia] arrived here today. They will leave for Greenbrier in the morning. Bush looks tolerable well. He drove a wagon from Staunton. Tell P. to keep my ch____ stopped tight and my cases where they will not get wet. I received a letter today from Staunton from men wanting to buy. I must close. No fight yet at Greenbrier.
Give my love to all the family and accept the same yourself. My best respects to the neighbors. Write soon and give me all the news. I haven’t received but one letter yet that Dr. [Christopher C.] Alderson brought me. I would write more but haven’t time. In haste, your brother, — A. H. Nye
1 Samuel John Hutton (b. 1838) enlisted on 25 April 1861 at a 2nd Lieutenant in Co. F, 37th Virginia Infantry. He was from Glade Spring, Washington county, Virginia.
2 17 year-old Powhatan B. Thurman enlisted on 5 May 1861 at Glade Spring, Washington county, Virginia, as a private in Co. F, 37th Virginia Infantry. He died at Monterey, Virginia, on 1 September 1861.
This letter was written by Samuel (“Sam”) Vance Fulkerson (1822-1862), the son of Abram Fulkerson, Sr. (1789-1859) and Margaret Laughlin Vance (1794-1864) of Abingdon, Washington county, Virginia. He wrote the December 1861 letter to his 29 year-old sister, Catherine (“Kate”) Elizabeth Fulkerson (1832-1903).
Samuel was born on his father’s farm in the southern part of Washington County, Virginia, but he was principally raised in Grainger county, Tennessee. He enlisted as a private in Colonel McClelland’s regiment during the Mexican war, and served throughout the war. He studied law and began a law practice in Estillville (Gate City) and Jonesville in the southwestern Virginia counties of Scott and Lee. In 1846, Samuel was elected to the Constitutional Convention of 1850, and then elected judge in 1856. He served as judge until the spring of 1861, when he was elected and commissioned colonel of the 37th Virginia Regiment of Infantry, and commanded that regiment until June 27, 1862, when he was mortally wounded while leading the 3rd Brigade in a charge against a strong Northern position on the Chickahominy. He died the following day, and was interred in the Sinking Spring Cemetery, Abingdon, Virginia.
This early-war letter is significant for revealing the emerging conflict between Major General “Stonewall” Jackson, commanding the newly created Valley District headquartered in Winchester, and General William (“Old Billy’) Loring, in charge of a Division under Jackson’s command. The quarrel was initiated when Jackson accused Loring of not moving his troops quickly enough to Winchester in order to launch an expedition to wrestle Romney away from Union troops garrisoned there. Jackson was not tolerant of Loring’s excuses for the delays in moving his troops despite the winter weather. The quarrel intensified after Romney was captured and occupied, with Loring complaining that Jackson had abused his men and was continuing to do so. The fact that Loring’s men were forced to weather the cold and wet conditions at Romney while Jackson’s men quartered in better conditions in Winchester almost resulted in a mutiny. [See Loring-Jackson Incident]
Taking the lead among Loring’s command to complain of his men’s treatment under Jackson was Col. Fulkerson of the 37th Virginia who wrote letters to former political associates of his, including Confederate Congressmen. Perhaps Fulkerson felt emboldened to criticize Jackson due to the previous encounter in December at Monterey that is mentioned in the third paragraph of the following letter. Of course Sam Fulkerson and Stonewall Jackson barely knew each other at this stage of the war. Most likely as the war progressed and the fighting qualities of each man became better known to each other, a mutual respect evolved. Once Colonel Fulkerson gained recognition for his bravery in leading his regiment and the 23rd Virginia in a desperate, but costly, attack on the Pritchard’s Hill at Kernstown in March 1862, and again in the Battle of Gaines’s Mill where he was killed, Stonewall Jackson wrote of him: “Col. S. V. Fulkerson was an officer of distinguished worth. I deeply felt his death. He rendered valuable service to his country, and had he lived, would probably have been recommended by me before this time for a brigadier generalcy. So far as my knowledge extends, he enjoyed the confidence of his regiment and all who knew him. I am, Sir, your obdt. servt, T. J. Jackson”
Winchester, [Virginia] 9 December 1861
I arrived at this place night before last having left Staunton three days before. I come down on my horse and had a pleasant ride of it, the weather being dry and fine.
The Valley is one of the best and most beautiful portions of Virginia. The road is macadamized and dotted all along with pretty towns and villages. I enjoyed the leisure of the trip very much though I did not find the public houses very well kept. I could not get to houses in the country where I would have preferred stopping, but had to stop in the towns.
I was kept at Monterey about a week when General [William Wing] Loring ordered me to go to Staunton and to report to him there personally. He kept me there about a week. He and General [Thomas J. (Stonewall)] Jackson did not agree about my case. General Loring taking my side and General Jackson the other. General Loring referred the matter to the authorities at Richmond and kept me waiting for a decision. After a week’s delay and hearing nothing from Richmond, General Loring released me from arrest and ordered me to join my regiment. Whether anything further will be done with the case, I do not know but I am of the opinion that it will not be noticed again.
I found the regiment in very good health and sprits having suffered less from the march than I expected. For several days they had snow and rain and very cold, but the balance of the time the weather was good. They marched some one hundred and fifty miles and being on a stone road a part of the way, their feet became very sore. My regiment has the name of the “Foot Cavalry.” We have marched over six hundred miles, having crossed the Alleghany Mountains six times, the distance across being eighteen miles. Besides all this we have made divers little marches of from ten to twenty miles.
We are in camp about two miles from Winchester on the Romney Road. Col. [Arthur C.] Cummings [of the 33rd Virginia] is also near Winchester. His wife is in town but I have not seen her. She was in camp a time or two before I got here. I do not know how long we will remain here, nor what will be our destination when we leave. The weather is not near so cold here as it was in the mountains. Capt. Vance is very well and also Will [H.] Ropp.
I sent a check to Col. Gibson for some money to be placed to my credit in Bank and also for $100 to be placed to your credit. Ask him if he got the check and write to me about it. I hope that you will be able to get supplies. When you write, tell me what you have procured and what prospect there is of getting all you will need. You must try and get at least one hundred and fifty bushels of corn and hope that you can get 1500 or 2000 pounds of pork, and also beef enough to do.
When Lee is not otherwise employed, I want him to cut wood. Tell him to see to it that the young apple trees in the orchard are not destroyed by the cattle.
I had a letter from Mary the other day. Where are Abe and Ike? I am interrupted so often that I can’t write more now.
Write immediately and tell Mother to write. Your brother, — Samuel V. Fulkerson