Category Archives: 48th Mississippi Infantry

1864-65: John Ravenscroft Green to his Family

The following letters were written by John Ravenscroft Green (1830-1890), sometimes referred to to as “J. R.” or “Rave.” He was named after Bishop John Ravenscroft. John was the son of Bishop William Mercer Green (1798-1887) and Charlotte Isabella Fleming (1810-1860) of Jackson, Hinds county, Mississippi. He married 1st to DeLainey VanDusen McGahey, and 2nd to Hannah Lavina Lee. He became a physician after the Civil War and lived in southern Indiana for a time.

The 48th Mississippi Infantry was organized in November, 1862, at Fredericksburg, Virginia, using the 2nd Mississippi Infantry Battalion as its nucleus. Many of the men were from Jackson, Yalobusha, Warren, and Claiborne counties. It served in Featherston’s, Posey’s, and Harris’ Brigade and fought with the Army of Nourthern Virginia from Fredericksburg to Cold Harbor. The 48th was then active in the Petersburg siege south of the James River and the Appomattox Campaign. It sustained 4 casualties at Fredericksburg, had 10 killed and 44 wounded at Chancellorsville, and twelve percent of the 256 engaged at Gettysburg were disabled. 

Letter 1

Camp 48th Mississippi Regiment
in trenches near Petersburg, Va.
July 3rd 1864

My dearest sister,

This is the first opportunity that I have had for some time of getting a letter through, as the communication has been cut off with the South for some weeks. Nothing of great interest has occurred here lately. Our Brigade has been on the march back and forth for ten days assisting the cavalry in repelling the raiders. We captured several hundred of the scamps together with between six and seven hundred negroes that they had stolen in their route through the country.

The weather has been extremely warm for ten or twelve days—so much so that nearly all of the men are completely broken down and especially myself. I have gotten so that I cannot see to walk at night but hope that it is only temporary. If I don’t get better soon, I will be compelled to go to the hospital & I would rather be most anywhere else than there. I fid that I cannot stand infantry service an if I should get through this campaign safely, I shall resign & join some other branch of service.

I wrote to you that I had seen our cousin Sam. He looks well. How I wish I could hear from some of you. Do write as soon as you get this. Have you heard from [brother] Berke[ley] lately? And his is [brother] Dunk [Duncan] getting on? we have heard from Capt. Coffee. He is a prisoner at Fort Delaware. Tel Berke when you write that he must try and look him up and tell him that I am rejoiced to hear that he is safe. Hope that poor Burke will soon be at liberty although there is no telling when he will be exchanged now. This war seems to be just in its prime at this time, but there is no telling when it will end. God only knows. Although men may feel confident that the end is not far off, yet I think none of us can even conjecture as to that anxiously looked for time. But we must all trust in God and be of good cheer for nothing but Divine interposition will in my opinion tend to close this scene of blood.

If I could keep my health, I would not care so much how long the war lasted although I am heartily tired of it, I assure you, and I long for the time to come when I can once more be at home to enjoy the [ ] of all the loved ones there & not be limited to a short furlough of thirty days. I suppose that Father is still on his visitation and I sincerely hope that he has not been molested by the enemy at any time since he left home.

I would like very much to hear from Jim. What does he propose to call the baby & have you seen it yet. Give much love to them when you write and tell Jim that I think that he might write me a short note anyhow. My kindest regards to Wm. A. and Miss Fannie. Also Mrs. Ross & family, Miss Julia included. Much love to all the family & many kisses to dear All and be sure and write soon to your affectionate brother, — J. R. Green

Letter 2

Camp 48th Mississippi Regiment
Near Petersburg, Va.
February 5th 1865

My dear Father,

It has been but a short time since I mailed a letter to Sallie but as one is due you, and I have an opportunity of sending it now by one of our surgeons, Dr. Peel of the 19th Mississippi, I will avail myself of the opportunity. Drs. Peel & Croft have both been transferred to Mississippi. Dr. P. will go [illegible]

…so great; that scarcely any officer below the rank of Lt. Col. can afford it. I should think that [brother] Dunk [Duncan] would find no difficulty in obtaining a short leave now as the roads in [illegible] put a stop to all movements [illegible]. What can be the reason that I never hear from Jim? I hope that he is doing well.

Nothing of importance has occurred in this department lately. I suppose you have heard ere this that Misses Stephens [illegible]….once more breath the air of freedom and peace. I will continue to trust in God and endeavor to resign myself to my fate whatever it may be….

My best love to all with kisses to bother dear Sallie and Lizzie. Also my respects to Mrs. Ross and family. I feel quite sick all at once or I would fill up this sheet. Write when you have time and remember me in your prayers.

Your truly affectionate son, — J. Ravenscroft Green