My article on the Bond Schoolhouse battle between Unionists and Confederate militia in Yadkin County, NC, is published at The New York Times / Disunion The historic village of Rockford, North Carolina, is hosting a re-enactment of the incident March 2 through 3, 2013. Click link below for the flyer and full information. Maybe I’ll see you there!
In Oakwood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia, most of the Confederate dead, known and unknown, moulder in graves marked only by numbered blocks of granite. That doesn’t mean they’re lost. The National Park Service, as my father remarked recently, is “God” when it comes to locating CW soldiers, and is the first place to turn for locating CW graves. My friend Ben Cleary, a former NPS ranger, located for me the grave of Abner Stokes Haire, a Confederate soldier whose death made way for my own ancestor (story here). When I went to find the grave, by chance I met F. Lee Hart, III, of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. He helped me find the stone and described the arrangement of the three men buried around it. Abner Stokes Haire’s grave is numbered 17; he lies to the right of the marker as you face it.
Haire died at Moore Hospital in Richmond. The hospital site, at 25th and Main, is now a vacant lot. Ben referred to it as a “North Carolina” hospital, because they brought many NC soldiers there. The battlefield where Haire sustained his mortal wounds was about 10 miles away. How sad! Maybe poor Haire and many other boys would have lived to see their families again, had they not been forced to endure the long, rough wagon journey.
Well-worn sentimental phrases and verses make the letters of Civil War soldiers no less poignantly heartfelt.
The letters of ordinary Civil War soldiers can be rough-cut: misspelled and unpunctuated, with tender sentiments amidst worries of money and conditions at home. To add a more romantic air to letters for sweethearts and wives, these unschooled men often “googled” love words from their companions. The well-worn sentimental phrases and verses makes the letters no less poignantly heartfelt.
Camp Mangum / Wake County, N.C. / Jan. 2, 1862: I dont want to see nobody Els in the world but you and my little boy I got the print of his hand and the lock of his hair you Sent me When this you see Remember me though we be many miles apart I was very sorry to here that Everthing was so high there….
Goldsborough / 38th Regt. / April 5, 1862: Ellan I do want to See you so bad I don’t now what to do O my little boy Sweet little baby God bles its little Sole May God be with you both I want to kiss you both Elan do the best you can and I will do the same Shure as the grap groes on the vine I am yours if you are mine When this you see Remember me although I now not Where Ile be You rote to me that you was agoing to have a garden….
These extracts come from the letters of Abner Stokes Haire, 38th NC Infantry Regiment, Company B. Haire’s regiment was badly hit on the second day of the Seven Day Battle. From the US NPS:
…Brigadier General Dorsey Pender’s brigade strode toward the mill and felt the sting of more than a dozen Federal cannon and supporting infantry. Pender’s assault, like those before it, failed to dent the Federal line….Darkness closed upon the scene of suffering, ending the combat and initiating a night of torment for the hundreds of wounded men lying in the swamp….
Abner Stokes Haire may have been one of those unfortunates. He died of wounds received June 26, 1862, at Beaver Dam Creek / Ellerson’s Mill, Virginia. I carry a debt to this man’s death: his wife’s second husband was my ancestor.Letters of Abner Stokes Haire, p. 143 of The Heritage of Yadkin County, Frances Harding Casstevens, editor. 1981, Yadkin County Historical Society, NC. 38th NC history: Hal Sharpe’s 34th North Carolina Infantry Regiment page. The Battles for Richmond, National Park Service History E-Library