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1863 Confederate Artillery Letter, Ashland, Virginia Light

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Your Price: $ 350.00
Item Number: CL545
 

 



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Artillery

Writes of the Great Christian Revival in the Army of Northern Virginia not long after the battle of Gettysburg!


4 pages, 5 x 7 1/4, in ink, written by Private Philip Samuel Mosby, to his sister, Polly G. Woodson. Very neat and well written Confederate letter.

Orange Ct. House, [Virginia] Aug.19th, 1863

My Dear Sister,

I joyfully received you kind favor of the 22nd of July and hasten to reply the morning after getting it. I got one of the same date from Nancy, and it really looked to me that fortune had smiled upon me getting two letters from home at once although they took 26 days to reach me. All that you both wrote was news to me. It is useless for me to say anything about Merry as the last I saw of him he belonged to Company I, a loafer, if he has not been home before now you may look for him soon. I hope he will stay in "I" as long as the war lasts if he can, and if there is any chance for him to do so without imposing his hand, I hope he will as he is no danger now since getting to be as the only danger "I" is in far from home the Yankees may play the grub game on them, but they will soon release them as they soon prove a curse to any country. Merry and myself go to see each other whenever we get in striking distance and have a good deal of our old dry fun. You will remember his old expression that there is no harm in old dry. I wish I could see him now but you may rest assured he is all right as I have heard from him on this side of the Potomac and the Yanks did not get him. Polly I reckon you are better able to judge what kind of creatures we are fighting since you have seen them. I was glad to hear the thieves treated you as respectfully as they did. We never have met them yet that we did not make them get further. I don’t feel under any obligations to the creatures for not calling on me. I look upon that as providential and feel that our creator is heaping blessings upon me. I was glad to hear from John and Joe as I haven’t heard from them since I went to Yankee land. John feels to me if possible more than a brother. I never will forget his and Martin’s kindness to my family. He did not stay in service long enough to learn the slight of hand in pressing things into service. While in Yankee land I did not eat anything but my rations for I could not press as many of our men did and would not offer to buy as they had no use for our money. I have cleared my conscience thus far throughout the war and mean to do so as long as I stay in service. I was truly glad to hear B.F. Wittshire has gotten home. I hope the poor fellow will be able to stay. I am truly sorry for Mrs. Whittshire. I hope Frank will not be permanently injured as so much depends on him. Present my best regards to him and the family. As you all have heard of all of the boys before now I will not say anything about them more than I believe they are all safe that you inquired about. I was very sorry to hear of the death of Thommy Johnson. I hope the poor fellow is better off. I am truly sorry for your Uncle Peter. He has had a great deal of trouble. I hope it will put him to thinking of the future. I reckon poor Zence is not long for this world but she will be better off. I told Josiah of the report of his being wounded it was true he was struck by a ball, but the skin was not broken. Joe sends his respects to you all. He is as good a fellow as ever lived. We are together all of the time. I saw J.H. Duggins [1] a few days ago. He is well and as dry and jokey as ever. Lucien Simms is also well, as well as the rest of the boys in his company from our neighborhood. A.B. Nacholds came to camp the other day and brought me the most glorious tidings that could possibly have reached my ears. I hope it is all true you must let me hear in your next. The news was this that all of you all and Nancy had joined the church after making a public profession of eternal happiness in the world. Polly you can’t imagine my feelings when I heard it. It is just what I have been praying for mos. When only my God and myself knew of it, my sister it seems to me that this war must end as there is so much religion in our land, great revivals are going on at home as well as in the army. We have meetings right here at us every night here of late. Joe and myself go every night together. Last night I did not sleep more than 3 hours after getting from meeting as I had to go on guard soon after getting to camp. Last night I saw upwards of twenty men go up to join the church. You can’t imagine the pleasantness of my feelings when I witnessed it and thought of those so dear to me at home. I wish I could be with you all now and hope and pray and believe I will ere long as our army seems so much bent on seeking the Lord while he may be found. To see the men in the woods with their muskets stacked around them day and night on their knees asking God to have mercy on their souls is a glorious sight to one who feels an interest in the future. Nan told me in her last that Martin had an idea of joining my company. I hope he will as we might be very useful to each other as company besides all of this. I think this much the safest branch of service and I think it is the duty of every married man to save himself in any honorable way so he can in times like these. Martin feels as a dear brother to me. Tell him and all to write to me. Give my best love to all and tell them to write to me. You must write often. My greatest pleasure is to read a letter from some of you. I must close praying the blessing of our heavenly father on us all.

From your affect. brother,
Phil
Direct to Longstreet’s Corps, Alexander’s Battln., Woolfolk’s Co.

Philip Samuel Mosby enlisted as a private in the Hanover Light Artillery in Hanover County, Virginia, on March 25, 1862. When the battery broke up in October 1862, Mosby transferred to the Ashland Light Artillery on the eight day of that month. At some point during the month of July 1864, Mosby was detailed to the Medical Department of than General Edward Porter Alexander's Artillery Battalion for duty under Surgeon, Doctor Henry Vincent Gray, where he no doubt saw the horrors of war from an even closer more personal perspective. Discharged from the Confederate Army on November 12, 1864, Mosby returned to Hanover County where he began a successful career as a carpenter.

Very well written letter by Philip S. Mosby a month and a half after General Lee's defeat at the battle of Gettysburg, as Lee's army regroups in Orange Court House, Virginia. There is some excellent content in the letter regarding the Great Christian Revival in the Army of Northern Virginia, and more. This letter was sold by Raynor's Historical Collectibles Auctions in November 2005 and clearly documents that the letter writer was Philip S. Mosby, of the Ashland Light Artillery. A copy of the auction lot write up will be included with this letter. I recently acquired it from the private collection it has been in since the Raynor Auction 12 years ago.

[1] The J.H. Duggins that Mosby mentions in his letter was Josiah H. Duggins, who enlisted on August 16, 1861, at Ashland, Va., as a sergeant, and was mustered into the Ashland Virginia Light Artillery. He was wounded in action at the hard fought battle of Fredericksburg, Va., on December 13, 1862. His place and date of discharge are unknown. He does however appear active on Confederate muster rolls as late as January 15, 1865.

In Mosby's closing he directs his sister to have the folks direct their letters to Longstreet's Corps, Alexander's Battalion, Woolfolk's Company. He is referring to General James Longstreet, commander of the 1st Corps, Army of Northern Virginia; Colonel Edward Porter Alexander, Chief of General Longstreet's Artillery Corps; and Captain Pichegru Woolfolk, Jr., the commander of the Ashland Virginia Light Artillery. Captain Woolfolk was severely wounded on July 2, 1863, at the battle of Gettysburg, receiving a severe gunshot wound to his right shoulder. Woolfolk was later captured on June 1, 1864, at Bowling Green, Ky., when Longstreet's Corps transferred to The Army of Tennessee. Woolfolk was confined at White House, Va., Washington, D.C., and Fort Delaware, Del., until being exchanged at Fortress Monroe, Va., on September 1, 1864.

Very desirable and scarce 1863 Confederate Ashland Virginia Light Artillery letter!

WBTS Trivia: Of the 103 members of the Ashland Light Artillery engaged at the battle of Gettysburg, 27 per cent were killed or wounded. This hard fought Virginia Artillery regiment surrendered at Appomattox Court House with only 2 officers and 64 men left. Captain Picheqru Woolfolk, Jr. was in command.




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