Civil War Love Letters: September 28–30, 1862
After completing his last letter, James marched 10 miles from Greenwood, Kentucky, to Louisville, where he wrote once again. He continues to express great disdain for Union major general Don Carlos Buell, and wishes that Buell could be replaced by Major General Ambrose Burnside or Major General Franz Sigel. James also mentions that, on September 29, 1862, the commander of his division, General Jefferson C. Davis, shot and killed Major General William Nelson after an argument.
Sept. 28th 1862
My Dear Molly
I closed my last letter at Greenwood & mailed it as soon as I came in town. Since I arrived I have been busy & also crippled. I am only surprised I aint sick, as most of the men are, not so much from marching as from want of food & proper food
We have much to complain of, & now that we have been under Buell for a few days we also believe him a traitor.
Had he wished it, we need not have starved, need not have marched so far - as we could have fought and captured Bragg at Mumfordsville. But of all this hereafter. I only wish to state that Buell is at least doing all he can to prolong the war. Is that not Treason?
Well his last order is more atrocious than ever as we (were/are) commanded to move today at 6 A.M. with 3 days rations cooked & carry on our Back every thing we want.
For the men the items are specified, making a reasonable load for a mule, including Coffee Pots & Stew Pans. For the officers, I suppose they may go without clothes or eatables, to a place where probably none are to be got.
Now we wish, all of us to leave “Buell's” Army unless it would suit the country's honor & purse better that he should be superseded, court martialed or something else.
I have bought a small valise yesterday & given away my trunk & much of its contents (old clothes &c). A small parcel containing letters & other articles of little value to any but the owner, I will send by Express to William or you to be out of harms way. In it are your letters & also a deed in your name.
If the Officers under Buell cannot get an equal or a little superior treatment to the men, it is expected that over a thousand of them will resign at once. The threat has been made & the papers signed.
My Dear Girl
My Eyes have been at last gladdened by a sight of your delicate writing. After an interregnum of 6 weeks our Regt. got a mail again yesterday and I got the London News of the 23d, an Irish paper & your letters of the 2d & 10th Sept. We expect our August mails soon & as I suppose you have got some of my later letters if not all, I expect something later from you.
Just as I got into camp & read these letters, who should I see sitting alongside me but William. I couldn't believe my eyes, so rubbed them & opened them wider but there he was in Propria Persona, and was I not right glad to see him. From what he tells, somebody heard from me at Nashville but as to who or what letters got through I did not too curiously enquire, expecting to hear all in good time. I had quite a conversation as you may imagine, & soon after voted myself a nights leave of absence (what I have never got before) and went to the hotel with him forth with, remaining until after breakfast this morning. I heard in the meantime much of the news, but not as much as I wish, yet I had to hurry to camp & he had to attend to business so I promised to dine with him again if duty permitted which it did not - & he on the other hand promised to join me in camp in the afternoon If I did not.
I now await him & employ my time scribbling.
I expect our missing mail is at Corinth yet.
It is said Buell is or will be removed. I hope so. Most any change would cause an improvement in the morale of the Army! I wish they would send us Burnside or Sigel. We had a sad occurrence yesterday resulting in the death of a good General (Nelson) by the hands of our General of Division Jeff. C. Davis. He is now under arrest and another reigns in his stead, so we lose for the present when so badly wanted the service of two good generals.
It is very warm again today
I am nearly ready for the road again, & feel quite hopeful that if our generals only let us fight, the war can soon be ended both in Kentucky & in Virginia.
It might have been over in Ky now, but that is past and many of our men will die of fatigue or its resulting exposure, that had far better died in battle & so been of service to the cause
Love to all & especially yourself my dear girl
I am as ever
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