A. W. Bradley
A Confederate in Company E of the 30th Tennessee Infantry
My name is Victor Clark and this page is mainly about my great great great grandfather, A. W. Bradley, who served on the side of the South during the Civil War. I have researched the Bradley family and discovered that besides a Civil War veteran, the family had a veteran in the War of 1812 and the Revolutionary War. For three consecutive generations, a Bradley served in the defining moment of his generation. I have a genealogy page that shows my descent from the head of the line-- Richard Bradley.
Richard Bradley was born in Duplin County, NC in 1758 and died in Sumner County, TN in August of 1827. Richard joined the Continental Army, and the quote below is from his pension application.
"Richard Bradley, while a resident of Duplin County, North Carolina, enlisted August 9, 1777, served as a corporal and sergeant in Captain Henry Dawson's and James Read's companies, Colonel Thomas Clark's North Carolina Regiment, wintered at Valley Forge, was in the Battle of Monmouth, went south, was in the siege of Charleston, South Carolina, and, on May 12, 1780, was taken prisoner and remained such for two years and three months, made his escape, and was discharged in the Fall of 1782, near Charleston. He served a tour of two or three months against the Tories in North Carolina, assisted in taking prisoners and in shooting one Tory, and was discharged in November or December 1783, officers’ names not stated."
Muster roll of soldiers that were at Valley Forge
During his time in the military, Richard married Catherine Taylor ( b. 1763 Duplin County, d. Aug. 1839 Sumner County) on 24 July 1783. They lived in Duplin County, North Carolina. Richard Bradley is listed in the 1790 census from Duplin County. The family eventually moved to Sumner County, TN. The earliest record of Richard in Sumner County appears to be a land grant from Tennessee dated 1803 for thirty six acres. He was granted land on Drakes Creek, and according to the 1820 tax records, he had 194 acres. Here is a copy of his will from 1827. He left his property to his wife and other children, one of which was Abraham, or Abram for short.
Abraham Bradley ( 13 Feb 1792- 25 Dec 1866) was born in Caswell County N. C. The earliest record of Abram is a land grant from Sumner County dated from 1813 for 46 six acres of land at Drakes Creek, near his father. Abraham fought in the War of 1812. He served under Colonel Thomas Williamson in the 2nd Regiment West Tennessee Volunteer Mounted Gunmen. This unit served from September 1814 - April 1815. According to the regimental histories, "they helped Jackson take the port of Pensacola from the Spanish on 7 November 1814. Williamson's men then participated in all of the engagements at New Orleans, where they were part of the left line of Jackson's breastworks. In March 1815 they returned to Tennessee via the Natchez Trace." Below is a copy of Abram's discharge from his service record.
Abram married Zelpha Dorris ( Oct 1795- 20 Sept 1864) on the 27th of June, 1818 in Sumner County. Abram was appointed postmaster of Fountain Head TN in 1839. Maybe his military service helped him get a job at the post office! Abram and Zelpha had four children-- Alexander (1819- 1872), Abigail (1822- 1855), Richard (1825- 1908) and on 22 July 1834, Abram and Zelpha had another child-- A.W. Their son, A. W., joined the 30th regiment when he was 27 years old. Zelpha passed away while A. W. was fighting, and Abram died about two years later. Here is a transcript of his will. They are buried side by side at Old Fountain Head Cemetery in Sumner County.
After the war, A. W. married my great great great grandmother Francis Empson, and they lived in Portland, TN. Below is a poem that Francis wrote A. W. shortly before they were married, because he lived in Sumner county, while she lived in Robertson county.
The love is true I have for you
If you love me as I love you
There is no knife that can cut our love in two
When this you see remember me
Though in Robertson I may be.
They had two children that survived to adulthood to have children of their own, John and Enola (my great great grandmother), and one that did not-- William Richard Bradley (28 Nov 1867- 18 Sept 1868). A. W. applied for and received a military pension (# S 5404) in 1903. In his pension application, A. W. said that he never took the Oath of Allegiance! Francis Bradley passed away on 18 Sep 1914 and A. W. passed away on the 9th of Jan 1919. They are buried together in Maple Hill Cemetery in Portland, TN.
A.W.'s daughter Enola married into the Cook family of Robertson County. Here is a page on this line of the Cooks.
Cook family of Robertson County
Bradley and Empson Families
The Bradley and Empson families joined together with the marriage of A.W. and Francis. The patriarch of the Empson family was William M. Empson (1811- 1886). William Empson served in the Seminole Wars in the company of the Second Regiment, First Brigade of Volunteer Mounted Militia, commanded by Brig. Gen. R. Armstrong. They were ordered into service of the United States from the 25th day of June, 1836, to the 25th day of December, 1836. His Captain was William Trousdale.
The matriarch of the Empson family was Margaret Freeland Empson (1815- 1901). Margaret and William had six children-- Thomas (1838- 1862), James (1841 - 1915), Nancy (1843 - 1866), William (1845- 1913), Francis (1848- 1914) and Isaac (1852- 1925). Here is a copy of the 1860 census that shows the Empson family, including Thommy who has his own family.
When the Civil War broke out, the two oldest Empson boys, Thommy and James, joined the Confederate Army. They were both in Company K of the 30th Tennessee Infantry. Both were taken prisoner after the fall of Fort Donelson and sent to Camp Butler. Thommy died at Camp Butler on the 30 April 1862 and James took the Oath of Allegiance. Here is a page from Thommy's CSMR and here is a page from James'.
My family also has an 1834 Empson Bible with the following entries
William Empson was born in Oct the 20 1811
Margaret Empson was born February the 14 1815
Thommy D. Empson was born in January the 2 1838
James R. Empson was born in November 2 1841
Nancy E. Empson was born in August 12, 1843
Wm H. Empson was born May the 25 1845
Francis E. Empson was born January the 6 1848
I. E. Empson was born August 15th 1852
William Richard Bradley was born Nov 28th 1867
Thomas Empson departed this life April 30 1862
N. E. Empson departed this life January 6 1866
William Richard Bradley died Sept 18th 1868
William Empson died Feb 5th 1886
Margaret Empson died July 1st 1901
William and Margaret Empson was
married February 16 1837
T. D. Empson and N A Jernigan was
married April 17th 1857
J. R. Empson and P A Shannon was
married the 22 March 1863
W. H. Empson and A R Barry was
married the 6 of June 1867
A.W., Francis, and Enola
Francis and Johnny
William M. Empson
Margaret Freeland Empson
and Nancy Empson
Francis and Isaac Empson
A.W. and Francis
Richard Bradley and
Mary Jane johnson
Here is a link that includes the combat seen by the 30th Tennessee Infantry regiment.
This is a list that I compiled that gives significant dates for the 30th
11- 16 Feb 1862 Battle of Fort Donelson TN
Feb- Sept 1862 Camp Butler IL
22 Nov 1862 Tippah Ford, MS (Abbeville)
3 Dec 1862 Springdale, MS
29 Dec 1862 Chickasaw Bayou near Vicksburg
March 1863 Port Hudson, LA
3 July 1863 Edward's Station, MS
12 May 1863 Battle of Raymond MS
13 July 1863 Yazoo City, MS
10- 17 July 1863 Siege of Jackson MS
Army of Tennessee
19- 20 Sept 1863 Chickamauga GA
25 Nov 1863 Missionary Ridge, TN
7-13 May 1864 Battle of Rocky Face Ridge
13-15 May Resaca, GA
9 Jun 1864 Pine Mountain, GA
27 Jun 1864 Kennesaw Mountain, GA
20 July 1864 Peach Tree Creek
22 July 1864 Atlanta, GA
31 Aug- 1 Sept 1864 Jonesboro, GA
Oct 1864 Big Shanty, GA
Invasion of Tennessee
26- 29 Oct 1864 Decatur, AL
30 Nov 1864 Battle of Franklin, TN
5-6 Dec 1864 Murfreesboro, TN
16 Dec 1864 Battle of Nashville, TN
The Last Battles
2 Apr 1865 Hazel Run, NC
21 Apr 1865 Battle of Bentonville NC
A. W. wrote many letters that have survived. His letters started at Fort Donelson and continued with his time as a prisoner at Camp Butler. There are no more war letters after April 1863. He had very neat handwriting and was a very good speller. He did misspell some words though, for instance he spelled Fort Donelson a couple of different ways-- Dolandson, Dollandson, Dollanson, and Donaldson. The abstracts of the letters below are all from A. W., unless otherwisw stated. A cannon indicates that A. W. talked about combat. A. W. mentions many men that he served with, and here is a link with names of all the men in company E. According to his Combined Military Service Record (CSMR), A. W. was promoted to sergeant on 22 June 1863. He was on active duty until Dec. 1864 when he became very sick and was put on sick leave. He was still on sick furlough in Montgomery, Al. when the war ended, and that is where he got his parole and safe conduct, which are shown below.
Letter 1 4 June 1861 Richard Petty at Oak Hill Seminary School to William Anthony. I do not know who either of these people were, but William Anthony might be the same man who was the chaplain for the 1st Tennessee Infantry.
Talks about various companies being formed. A story of how the ladies in McMinnville are making uniforms of hoop skirts and flowered petty coats for any young man that does not join the army.
Letter 2 29 Nov. 1861 Fort Donelson
Marched to Goodlettesville and took a train to Nashville, then took a boat to Fort Donelson. Two regiments, McGavock’s and Heads. Head had two companies of calvary and eighteen pieces of artillery. No arms yet, but the boat is there with weapons. The other regiment is well armed with minie musket and bayonet. They are blockading the river by sinking trees in it. They are building breastworks with 8-32 pound cannons. “The work is mainly done by negroes which are impressed into service.” Tent cloth issued is big enough for fifteen men. Rations are scanty. He is worried about who will have to join the militia back home and hopes it will not be Richard, Sander, or William ( A. W. had a brother named Richard and Alexander. Sander might be short for Alexander. I do not know who William is though). A.W. said there was no need of his parents visiting him. He asked that letters be addressed to Fort Donelson, care of Captain Turner, Colonel Heads 30th regiment Tenn. Vol.
Letter 3 4 Dec. 1861 Fort Donelson
A.W. caught a cold while standing watch over planks by the river. Nothing to eat but heavily salted beef washed down with water from the river. Thomas Bradley and Henry McGlothlin are sick in the hospital at Dover. The regiment is armed at last. The companies of Captain Jones and Bidwell drew Mississippi rifles, while the other companies drew old fashioned Harpers Ferry flintlock muskets. Brigadier General Tilghman issued strict orders that no man could sleep outside the guard line. Twenty rounds of ammunition each, but A.W. does not think he will have to use his for a long time. He wondered if the Yankees might try something at Bowling Green, but they held back. The soldiers believe that the great battle will be at Columbus. It seems that Richard, Sander, or William have not been called up for duty. He talked about the reasons for the war, about how they had disregarded their duty to God and country, and had been governed by bad, corrupt, and ambitious men. He said the country should be governed by duty, not vainglory. He closes with regards to old man Adams.
Letter 4 8 Dec. 1861 Fort Donelson
Thomas Bradley and Henry McGlothlin are recovering. J. B. Clark has the measles. Abner Baskerville has been sick a few days. John Winn had some sort of fit, and A.W. learned he has had these spells for some time. The company is starting work on the winter quarters. The log cabins will be big enough for ten men. Even though it is Sunday, A.W. has been hard at work unloading a boat. Last Sunday he had to chop and burn brush. He says that as he has been reared to respect the Sabbath, it seems strange to have to work, but he works on Sundays because of necessity and orders from superiors. They are eating better, and got some bacon and molasses—he said it went down better than the old pickled bull and mule. He asked his parent to send some more of the cholera medicine by Robert Huffman.
Letter 5 17 Dec. 1861 Fort Donelson
William Dorris had been sick at camp, but was getting better. Wesley and George Bradley were at the hospital. There had been a lot of sickness, but no man was lost in the regiment. They are building winter quarters, but General Tilghman is talking of moving further down the river. Several times, a “Lincoln” gunboat came within sixteen miles of the fort. Since the confederate boats did not go further downriver than the fort, Colonel Head took forty men with a hundred rounds of ammunition each, and two pieces of flying artillery and went down river, but did not find any “yankee” boats. A.W. asked his parents for a shirt. He wanted a colored shirt, as white shirts had to be washed every four days. Some of the company had drawn clothing, but A.W. thought it was very inferior, and expensive. Chaplain Featherston preached a good sermon last week, and Jonathan Wiseman preached this Sunday. Many said Wiseman beat Featherston, but A.W. disagreed. A.W. and others arranged the supply of testaments to people in the regiment. This letter was sent with Ben. He asked his parents not to sell his corn until spring. Stephen Johnson asked A.W.’s parents to tell his father, who was coming to the fort for a visit, to bring three pounds of soda, because he was tired of leather cakes.
Letter 6 29 Dec. 1861 Fort Donelson
Martin Anderson has the measles and went to the hospital. Robert Huffman is also sick. They moved into their cabin. They worked very hard to have a cabin so soon. On Christmas Day, A.W. brought rocks up from the river for the chimney. He only stopped working on the cabin when he had guard duty.
The commissioned officers signed a petition to General Johnson urging him to replace Tilghman with Col. Head. It seems the troops are dissatisfied with General Tilghman. Now there are three regiments at the fort: Head’s, Stacker’s, and Baylies [sic]. R. W. McGavock was only appointed, so there was another election in his regiment, and Stacker beat McGavock for the position of Colonel. General Tilghman has cancelled all furloughs because he expects the brigade to be ordered to Hopkinsville, Kentucky-- A.W. heard this from Captain Carson. The company got a load of provisions and they feasted for a couple of days. A.W. wants Uncle Davy to know that Thomas is well.
Letter 7 24 Jan. 1862 Fort Donelson
The health of the regiment is improving and the people with measles are getting better. “All are in fine spirits ready for the fray should the insolent Yankees see proper to attack us.” A.W. doubts the Union forces will actually penetrate into his area because “they so well know Tennessee chivalry.” News had recently reached the soldiers at the fort of General Zollicoffer’s death at the battle of Mill Springs. A.W. said it was painful news because Zollicoffer was an excellent officer and commanded one of the best brigades in the southern confederacy. The fort was reinforced with two companies of cavalry from Maury County. More infantry are also expected. A.W.’s parents did come for a visit. Tilghman was demoted to Major General, and Johnson of Nashville was appointed the new Brigadier General. A.W. received only one letter from Richard and Sander.
Letter 8 31 Jan. 1862 Fort Donelson
Clayton Faulding delivered a letter from his parents. A new regiment arrived. Col. Stackers regiment returned from Ft. Henry. The battle excitement has faded away. The officers are expecting an attack anytime. While on dress parade, Col. Head informed the officers that the men would work on fortifications. The work was suspended a few days after his parents left, and nothing has been done since. William Dorris is better. J. Perdue has been sick for several days. His parents wanted to know the size of the large cannon, but the guard would not let A.W. measure it. He asked some officers and they said it was 10 inches in diameter. Last Sunday they got a new rifled cannon, which weighed 14, 850 pounds. The bore is no larger than a six-pounder. The ammunition is 12 inches in length, with a steel point—the gunboats will tremble! He says hello to Tom and Bob.
Letter 9 3 Feb. 1862 Fort Donelson
A.W. is sending this letter with Joseph McGlothlin. He got some cakes from home. A.W. mentions some people that carried letters home when they were on leave-- John Bradley, Clayton Faulding, and Henry Lovell. The letter A.W. gave to Henry Lovell did not make it to his parents. It was directed to Richland, but as Henry cannot read, he may have taken it to Fountainhead. His mother wanted to know his bill of fare—they draw plenty of sugar and coffee, fresh beef, molasses, dried fruit, and flour. They have not had bacon for two weeks and the orderly did not know when to expect more. In a few days his company will draw “mess mule” but they will buy their own meat because they do not have “buzzard stomachs” yet! He said they had to boil the meat for 24 hours, and it had the appearance of a very flashy piece of calico and it did not taste like “any varmit or fowl that I ever whetted my grinders on.” He would like a glass of milk with a good biscuit and butter. He has not tasted milk since he was at Tyree Springs, but at least they get genuine coffee three times a day.
Colonel Stacker resigned and his regiment went to Fort Henry, but they returned to Fort Donelson. The fort was also reinforced with a regiment of infantry and a battalion of cavalry. All together the fort has four regiments of infantry, a battalion of cavalry, and an artillery company. Colonel Head wrote up his resignation, but the other officers talked him out of sending it. Head addressed the regiment and said that he had reasons for his conduct. A.W. said that Head acted as he did because Tilghman acted out of spite and treated the regiment more like slaves than soldiers. Head thought that there was animosity between himself and Tilghman, and by resigning, the regiment might get better treatment. As an example, a boat landed and head went to the landing. Tilghman was there and he told the sentry not to allow Head to pass. Later Head came back, the sentry halted him twice, but Head ignored him. Head walked all over the boat, but Tilghman was not there. Some of the men, when they heard that head had resigned, denounced him as a coward and a traitor. A.W. scolded them and said that Head was the best friend they ever had. He closed by saying there was no prospect of an attack (Little did A. W. know that the fort would be attacked in nine days).
Letter 10 30 April 1862 Camp Butler
A.W. has been sick for a while, but is getting better. H. J. Price died in the hospital last night. Martin Adams is sick. Thomas Bradley is still feeble. Granville Roney is at the hospital. A.W. sent his last letter to Franklin in the care of William Beson. M. Herman told a doleful tale about the low spirits of the prisoners, but A.W. says now they are wrestling, scuffling, jumping, foot racing, marble playing and other amusements. He got a letter from Richard, who said that there was too much rain back home. A.W. told his parents he did not need any clothes as he had just been issued a pair of pants and a pair of socks. There is preaching three times a week. A.W. hopes there will be a revival at the camp. He says to tell Sander to write.
My family also has a Bible with these letters. It was printed in Nashville in 1861. It was given to Tolliver Hughlette by the chaplain of the 30th, Rev. Featherston. There are other soldiers listed in it also, many who wrote Tolliver's name in it, so it seems he could not write. None of these men were in company E with A. W., though. I guess that A. W. must have attended church service with Tolliver, and that the Bible may have been given to A. W. after Tolliver took the oath of allegiance. Below are the men who are named in the Bible.
30th Tennessee Infantry Regiment, Company B
(Men from Vicinity of the Buntin Farm and Richland Station)
Hughlette, Tobry (Tolliver) - Captured at Fort Donelson, Tennessee. He took the Oath at Camp Butler, Illinois.
West, Albert - Captured at Fort Donelson, Tennessee. He took the Oath at Camp Butler, Illinois.
McGlothlin, William T. - 1st Sergeant on March 10, 1863. Transferred to Company E, Sept. 29, 1862. He was captured at Fort Donelson, Tennessee. Exchanged Paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina on May 1, 1865.
30th Tennessee Infantry Regiment, Company I
(Men from Sumner County)
Hurmans, J. C. - Captured at Fort Donelson, Tennessee. He took the Oath at Camp Butler, Illinois.
30th Tennessee Infantry Regiment, Company K
(The Majority were from Robertson County but some from Sumner County)
J. F. Summers - 1st Sergeant. Captured at Fort Donelson, Tennessee. He escaped from Camp Butler, Illinois on June 10, 1862.
Roney, John F. - He was captured at Fort Donelson, Tennessee. He took the Oath at Camp Butler, Illinois.
Letter 11 11 May 1862 Camp Butler
A.W. got a letter from his parents and Sander. A neighbor of theirs, Martin Adams died… he took the ensyphilus [sic]. John Dunn is very sick. John R. McGlothlin is sick. Richard lost his horses to glanders [sic]. A.W. and Smith Dorris wrote to Uncle Lewis Dorris.
Letter 12 6 June 1862 Camp Butler
A.W. got news from home that Lucy died from palsy. The health of the prisoners is better, but two more have died, Albert Honeycutt and William McCormick, and late yesterday Granville Roney died. Those who are sick in the company are improving, except J. B. Brigandine—his father is with him. Thomas Bradley and John R. McGlothlin have returned from the hospital. W. W. Brigandine is expected to return in a day or two.
His parents wanted to know who conducted the meetings. James Fulton, John Groves, and Jackson Bradley conducted the meetings. There was also a preacher named Lowry, who came from Tennessee. He is from Rutherford County and used to preach at Dry Fork. He writes on about his faith and how he hopes to see his parents again.
Letter 13 19 June 1862 Johnson’s Island---- W. G. Pond to his Uncle Abram (A. W. 's father)
This image came from here
W. G. Pond, First Lieutenant Company C, Thirtieth Regiment,Tennessee Volunteers. Surrendered at Fort Donelson by Gen. S. B.Buckner, of C.S.A., to Gen. U. S. Grant, of U.S.A., February 16,1862. Address, Gallatin. Here is his broken tombstone, beside his wife Frannie's. They are buried in Old Fountain Head Cemetery in Portland.
Pond is at Johnson Island, which he says is beautiful and there have only been two deaths. The rooms are 16 square foot and shared by five men. He said he is moved to tears when he thinks of the boys at Springfield. Pond knows that the officers conditions are much better than the enlisted men's at Camp Butler.
Letter 14 31 July 1862 Camp Butler--- Jackson Bradley (cousin of A. W.) to Abram Bradley (A. W. 's father)
Jackson starts his letter by telling Abram that his son,A.W., is in good health. Thomas Bradley is in very bad health with chronic diarrhea, the fates are against him. Jackson says that between 425-430 have died so far, with more expected. Camp Butler had a measles epidemic.
Letter 15 11 Aug 1862 Camp Butler
Thomas Bradley is worse and it seems he will not last long. W. McGlothlin is sick in hospital. There is excitement in the camp at news they might be leaving soon. A.W. hopes to get another letter before he gets back to Dixie.
Letter 16 13 Aug 1862 Camp Butler
Thomas Bradley is no better. W. McGlothlin is better. A.W. says he does not need any clothes. He does not know if he can get any money from Vallines or Brizendine.
Letter 17 29 Aug 1862 Camp Butler
A. W. got a letter from Richard. The health of the prisoners is improving. Thomas Bradley has improved and is able to walk around a little. William Kelly, a member of the company, died a few days ago. J. B. Brizendine died last night. There are only two or three others of the company that are sick. It will be about two weeks before they go to Vicksburg to be exchanged. General Campbell has not arrived yet. A. W. wants his parents to tell Ben Bradley that he wrote two or three times and has not received a letter from him and will write him no more!
Letter 18 5 Sep 1862 Jackson, MS
Thomas Bradley is improving. He will stay in camp until his health improves. Abner Baskerville will stay with him. 900 are leaving the camp tomorrow. Tom Bradley and George Byram are the only ones from the company in the hospital. A.W. says for Andy to attend to Pony and work him when there is any work. A.W. has some things for him and Sindy [sic].
Letter 19 30 Sep 1862 Jackson,MS
Left Camp Butler on the 7th, and reached Vicksburg on the 21st, but did not get off the boat until the 22nd. The water is not very good. Thomas Bradley was left at Camp Butler and Abner Baskerville stayed with him. Several of the boys became sick on the boat—R. L. Huffman, D. W. Walker, A. J. McGlothlin, D. J. Ashford, F. M. Kirby, S. Fulgum. Captain Turner is also unwell. The company was organized yesterday—Turner is Captain, J. H. King is First Lieutenant, George Guthrie is Second Lieutenant, F. T. Griffin is Third Lieutenant, and J. W. Bradley is O.S. (Orderly Sergeant). They will become a battalion and only have Lieutenant-Colonel and Major. Many of the boys died at Camp Butler, some escaped, some took the contemptible oath, and some just left. After they choose field officers, A.W. expects they will be sent to General Price, between Jackson and Corinth, where they will draw clothing and nine months pay. A.W. begins talking of the surrender at Donelson and the oath of allegiance.
They surrendered on 16 Feb. at about four A.M. On the night of the fifteenth, they were permitted to go into their quarters, having been out the entire siege. At about two in the morning of the sixteenth, they were awakened and began marching to Dover. They thought that they were being sent to reinforce the left. When they got to Dover, they were halted, and the officers seemed to convene secretly. They were then ordered to about face and go back to their cabins, but not sleep. As soon as it was light, Captain Turner told the men that they were surrendered. The Yankees marched into the fort with brass bands playing, fifes screaming, drums rattling and colors flying. About 2 P.M., the Yankees took charge of the quarters.
At 8 P.M. they were marched to Dover, where they got on a boat. A.W. said he talked with several Yankees, some who were commissioned officers, who said it was their intention to establish the old government. All that would retract, lay down their arms, and be peaceful citizens would be protected in property and person. A.W. still thought that the Yankees were invading the South. Many of the prisoners were sick, and the Yankees told them that their only hope of freedom, was to sign the Oath of Allegiance. Almost all the prisoners signed the oath. A.W. believes the Yankees are liars and tricked the prisoners into signing the oath. He talks about the men who had died in the prison camp—friend and neighbor H. D. McGlothlin, relative W. A. Dorris, M. V. Adams, G. Roney, and many others. On the 12th of August they got notice of a prisoner exchange. The notice about taking the oath and being exchanged came from Colonel John G. Fonda.
Letter 20 6 Oct 1862 Jackson,MS
A.W. is sending this letter with Captain Lovell. The battalion is organized and Major J. Turner was elected Lieutenant Colonel. Captain Bidwell was elected Major. For the seven months A.W. spent was in the prisoner of war camp, he could not write home what he wanted because of censors. He could not write about any Confederate victories, like the seven day fight before Richmond, for fear of his letter being destroyed. Now he out from under the contemptible Yankees. “The Yankees will have rough sailing before they can get us again.” He said that when he got on the train at Camp Butler and started for Dixie, he never felt as free in his life. Now A.W. starts to tell about events before his capture, just before the fall of Fort Henry.
Federal gunboats had threatened the fort for several days, and approached close enough to shell the fort. On the sixth of February six boats began a furious assault. He was at Donelson, 14 miles away, but could hear the cannon. Fort Donelson started firing at the Union gunboats. About 2 o’clock his regiment, and Colonel Sugg’s regiment, headed for Fort Henry. They met cavalry from Henry who said that the fort had surrendered. They went back to Donelson, knowing that its fall would endanger the capitol and give the enemy passage into the interior of the state. The went to work on the fortifications, intent on giving a warm reception. On the ninth they were reinforced by the Third Tenn. Reg. (Col. Brown) and 18th (Col. Palmer). General Pillow and Floyd arrived with several pieces of artillery. On the 10th General Buckner and his brigade showed up. On the 10th the were strengthening the parapets of the siege battery at the river, and mounting rifled cannon. On the 11th there was heavy skirmishing between the pickets. The two armies were in hearing distance of each other. “On the 12th, the ball was opened.” At noon the smoke of the enemy’s gunboats was sighted. About 1 o’clock, one rounded the bend and fired six shots which made no damage. A cavalry skirmish was also taking place, which resulted in a few deaths. The enemy cavalry were protected by infantry and artillery, so the southern cavalry returned to the fort.
On the morning of the 13th, two of the batteries in the center of the fort signaled the start of the attack, and the enemy opened up. Shells were flying around everywhere. The enemy fired at intervals until noon, doing no damage except killing Capt. Dixon. The enemy made an attack on the line and “leaden messengers flew thick and fast.” The enemy was driven back with heavy loss. On the 14th, six gun boats began firing on the fort. “I thought till then I had heard it thunder, but the belching of these of these bulldogs was more terrific than anything I had ever heard.” The batteries were gallantly manned by Bidwell and his men. One boat was sunk and the others retreated. On the 15th, battle raged for hours. The confederates captured two batteries, small arms, and two hundred prisoners. Enemy sharpshooters shot at them. It also snowed a bit. A. W. drew a little map.
Capt. Porter was badly wounded and many of his gunners killed. Lt. Col. Robb of Clarksville was mortally wounded by a minie ball that passed through his lung; he died in 36 hours. The moonlight illuminated the dead. The enemy forces numbered 50,000, while confederates had 10,000. A.W. thinks they lost 1100 hundred, and the enemy lost between 10-12,000. Saturday night the enemy was reinforced with 11 more regiments. There was a rumor that the fort did not get reinforcements because the telegraph operator was a Union scoundrel and did not send Gen. Pillow’s request to Gen. A. S. Johnson for more troops. General Buckner opened negotiations with Gen. Grant, while General Floyd and his brigade and General Pillows and Johnson made their escape. General Grant would submit to nothing but an unconditional surrender.
A.W. hopes that soon the enemy will be driven from their homes. He said that there is no better evidence of the utter ruination of the South, than the recent proclamation of Lincoln. (This recent proclamation is probably the Confiscation Act and Militia Act passed 17 July 1862. The Militia Act freed any black man who served in the army and the Confiscation Act freed all the slaves of disloyal ownwers or secessionists). He said God was ever with the right, and that God would crown their arms with a final and decisive triumph.
A.W. also penned the entire Oath of Allegiance in this letter and railed against those who voluntarily signed the oath. He said that they should be banished from Tennessee and driven to Lincoln’s government. He called them traitors of their bleeding country. A.W. learned that some had escaped prison, and would try to link up with the gallant Morgan, but after getting free, eventually took the oath of allegiance.
Letter 21 24 Oct 1862 Holly Springs,MS
This letter went home with W. G. Pond. G. W. Byram died at Vicksburg. There are about 45,000 troops at Holly Springs, including Van Dorn’s, Price’s, Lovell’s, and Tilghman’s commands. A. W. is in the Second Brigade, First Division of the Army of West Tenn. The brigade is under the command of Gen. Heiman, who commanded the 10th Tenn. Reg. at Fort Henry and Donelson. He ends by saying that he hopes their homes will soon be cleared of the enemy.
Letter 22 9 April 1863 Port Hudson, LA
A.W. said that many of his letters never made it home. He has not received a letter from anyone since he was in prison camp. He read a letter from Uncle Elias to Smith. It seemed from the letter of Uncle Elias that the Yankees were acting like Mohawks instead of civilized people. A.W. talks about General Marion in regard to the ravages of the British and Tories during the Revolutionary War. He assumes that the contemptible vandals have made everyone take the oath of allegiance. “They have no right to require such an oath from no Southern man.” A.W. read in a letter from Capt. Himms to Smith that Andy was gone, and he asks his parents if he left voluntarily or was forced from his land by the Yankees. A.W. felt like he wanted to kill every Yankee that had set foot on Southern soil. If Andy left willingly he will soon get sick of his bargain.
On the 24th of Dec. the army was reviewed at Grenada MS by President Davis. On the 25th, Greggs Brigade left for Vicksburg. On the 26th, the Yankees were landing above the city under cover of their gunboats. The Yankees were also shelling the woods trying to drive off the sharpshooters. On the 27th, there was skirmishing, but no general engagement. About 4 A.M. on the 28th an artillery duel, which lasted until morning, started. At sunrise a fight started between the 28th Louisiana Reg., of about 400 men, and 5,000 Yankees. It lasted about three hours, and the Confederates fell back, losing about 10 men. On the 29th, A.W.’s regiment, the 3rd and the 30th., saw action. They had moved to about two miles from the Yazoo River. At about 8 A.M., cannons commenced firing about a ¼ mile to his left. They had three cannons and the enemy had twelve. A.W.’s regiment got orders to protect the battery. They reached the battery under a shower of shot and shell, but nobody was hurt. The enemy infantry was about 800 yards in front of their position. The enemy advanced, and at 500 yards came to a field, and they began to double-quick step and yell. The Confederates unleashed volley after volley and repulsed the attackers. 400 Yankees were killed. The 3rd lost their Major and one Lieut. The 30th lost a Sergeant and a Private. The Confederates had about 800 men in the fight and the Yankees about 7000. They captured many guns also, Enfield and Springfield rifles and the Belgian rifle with saber bayonets.
On the 13th of January at Port Hudson, same Yankee gunboats came up from Baton Rouge. The boats did some shelling, but did no damage. On the 14th, about 11 o’clock at night, the Union ships attacked again. There were 10 warships and gunboats and 3 mortar boats. Not many men were actually killed or wounded—only 20 or so. Rankin of Carson’s old company was killed. Elias Fulgum was slightly wounded in the foot by a piece of shell. John R. McGlothlin was slightly wounded in the face by a splinter. One enemy ship, The Mississippi, was burned. The flagship Hartford and Albatross made it past the batteries. Andrew McGlothlin died the 10th of March of typhoid fever.
Letter 23 25 Oct 1868 Rockport, Ark from M. Walker to A. W.
The post office was taken from the town by one of the radical mail agents and moved across the river. The townspeople petitioned the general for another. The political condition is beyond description. The so-called laws are worse than those in countries ruled by tyrants. Tennessee has been down-trodden for 2-3 years. He used the term “mid-night rascality.” Governor Powell Clayton said the people would have no voice in the election.
Uncle Lewis Dorris letter
This letter is written to his nephews (A. W. and Jackson). Lewis is sorry to hear of the death of William (Dorris). He wants to know if William was willing to die or not and if he said anything about his family.
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