5 x 8, in ink, written by William H. Nelson.
Libby Prison, Va., Febr. 28th, 1864
Yours of 30th ult. rec’d yesterday. Regrets to hear of the Capt.['s] illness. For your sake am glad he is at home, but for the good of the Batt. would rather he was with it. I agree with Newlin’s prediction. You write encouragingly of an exchange, but regardless, for my repugnance to slang phrases, must say can’t see it yet. I would rather remain here indefinitely than to have any concessions made by the so called U.S. Not well.
My kindest regards to the Capt.
Will H. Nelson
The top edge of the letter sheet is stained. This is well away from any of the content. Otherwise in very fine condition. Neatly written letter with a very interesting comment saying that he would rather remain in prison indefinitely than for any concessions to be made by the "so called U.S." Very desirable Libby Prison item.
William H. Nelson, enlisted as a private on September 5, 1861, and was mustered into Co. B, 13th U.S. Infantry. He was promoted to sergeant, and 1st sergeant, the dates of these promotions unknown. He was promoted to 2nd lieutenant, on May 31, 1862; 1st lieutenant, on October 2, 1862; brevet captain, on January 10, 1863, for gallantry at Arkansas Post; and brevet major, on July 4, 1863, for gallantry at Vicksburg. He was captured on July 11, 1863, near Jackson, Mississippi. Date of his exchange or discharge is unknown. He did however survive his prison ordeal as he had subsequent service in the U.S. Army after the Civil War, retiring in 1874.
Included with this p.o.w. letter is a xerox copy of a Sept. 4, 1863 letter, from Brigadier General S.A. Meredith, to Robert Ould, who was the Confederate Agent for Prisoner Exchanges. It reads: "Can you obtain for me any information concerning Lieut. William Nelson, 13th U.S. Infantry, he was taken prisoner at or near Clinton, Miss., on or about the 12th July inst."
A xerox copy of the reverse of this letter is also included. It shows an interesting record of how General Meredith's request for information about Lieutenant Wilson traveled through the Union and Confederate commands.
On Sept. 7, 1863, Robert Ould, refers the matter to General Winder. Then on Sept. 10th, General Winder's office refers it to Captain Turner, who was commandant at Libby Prison at the time. On Sept. 11th, the C.S. Military Prison, at Richmond, states that, "the within mentioned officer is confined in this prison and is in good health." Robert Ould respectfully returns the information to General Meredith on Sept. 24th, and then General Meredith notifies Capt. Charles Smith, of the 13th U.S. Infantry, at Vicksburg, on Sept. 30th, of his findings.
Libby Prison, established March 26, 1862, was situated on the corner of Cary and 20th streets, on the James River in Richmond, Virginia. The building was the wharehouse of Libby and Sons, ship chandlers, before the Civil War. Outside of Andersonville Prison, Libby Prison was perhaps the most notorious Confederate Prison.