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    "I hope and pray that I will never see another battlefield as long as I live."

    [Battle of Chancellorsville] Charles M. Anderson of Co. I, 33rd North Carolina Infantry, CSA: Letter to His Parents Describing the Horrors of the Battle. Four pages in ink, 7.25" x 9.25" on lined paper, Camp Gregg, Near Fredericksburg, Virginia; May 10, 1863. Charles Anderson was a twenty-one year old farm boy living in Stokes County, North Carolina, when he enlisted in the Confederate Army on August 10, 1861. This letter was written shortly after the notoriously bloody Chancellorsville battle, April 30- May 6, 1863. May 3rd has the distinction of being the second bloodiest day of the Civil War, with more than 21,000 men lost between the two armies. Anderson would be captured at the Battle of Funkstown just two months later during the Gettysburg Campaign. Excerpts below. Included with the lot is a full transcript and copies of his service records from the National Archives. It reads in part:

    "I thank God I am blest with the pleasure this Sabbath morning to write to you again..."

    "...the Yanks fired into our Regt. and we Skirmishers fired, & the line of Battle behind us fired right thru us & then we was between too heavy fires. We was between our lines and the Yankees. Now for the truth. It was in the night but it appeared like the bullets came as think around me as if I had been standing in the midst of a large bee swarm. You know how thick they will fly around you. It did look like it was impossible for a man to escape in there, but I called on God for help and he granted me my request and carried me out safe..."

    "A week ago that morning [May 3] the Yankees had 40 pieces of Artillery a playing on our Brigade. At once the cannon balls come by us and through our lines part of the time faster than you could count..."

    "We took in a large number of prisoners. I seen myself not less than six thousand prisoners that we took, and I am satisfied I did not see all that was taken. We went in with five hundred and sixty men & came out with 270 men. We lost over half..."

    Condition: Smoothed folds with occasional smudged word that does not affect legibility. Small hole near top margin that does not touch the text.


    More Information: Camp Gregg near Fredericksburg, Va.

    May 10th, 1863

    Dear Father & Mother,
    I thank God I am blest with the pleasure this Sabbath morning to write to you again. And what I say is so you can depend on it. And what I say is reported. You will know that I am not certain it is so. I will inform you that I am not well though. It is cold that ails me. I felt better this morning than I did yesterday. I will now give you our trip. We left camp the 29th of April and we returned back the 7th inst. to the old camp. We marched the first day up to the old battlefield and there we stayed all night & the next day we threw up breastworks and that evening we lay under the fire of the enemy about two hours & the next morning we marched some ten or fifteen miles & was under the fire of the enemy that evening again. And the next morning we flanked the enemy by marching ten or twelve more. And about 4 o'clock in the evening a general engagement took place. And we drove them back some 4 miles till sundown & then our Brigade was put in front & our Regt. was deployed as Skirmishers & we had not been deployed more than a half an hour before the Yanks fired into our Regt. and we Skirmishers fired, & the line of Battle behind us fired right thru us & then we was between too heavy fires. We was between our lines and the Yankees. Now for the truth. It was in the night but it appeared like the bullets came as think around me as if I had been standing in the midst of a large bee swarm. You know how thick they will fly around you. It did look like it was impossible for a man to escape in there, but I called on God for help and he granted me my request and carried me out safe. The fight continued all night and the next morning. The hardest of the fight came on and the fight continued till 1 o'clock P.M. We drove them back about 2 miles that is to say. A week ago that morning the Yankees had 40 pieces of Artillery a playing on our Brigade. At once the cannon balls come by us and through our lines part of the time faster than you could count. And we charged their batteries and took 8 pieces of it -but it was by the loss of a power of men but I must tell you that I seen more of the Yanks killed than I did of our men though I seen a power of each side killed and I thought I had seen wounded men but I never seen many till this fight and I cannot draw any idea how many wounded men I did see, tho I think they can be numbered by thousands. I seen a great many Yanks that was burnt partly up. I don't know whether it was then purposely or not. They was in the woods and the woods was set on fire but I don't know who fired the woods. I hope and pray that I will never see another battlefield as long as I live. The timber is all torn to pieces and the little bushes is the same way. There was 4 men killed in our company. I will give you their names - C. J. Clowder, G. Dawson, J. Nine, A. Seat and several wounded I cannot remember the names of all. A. L. Newson was slightly wounded in the right ankle. I think it was his right, though not dangerous. He came to the regiment last Tuesday evening. He told me it did not hurt him much. I think he will get well in a few days if nothing happens though he went back to the hospital again. We took in a large number of prisoners. I seen myself not less than six thousand prisoners that we took, and I am satisfied I did not see all that was taken. We went in with five hundred and sixty men & came out with 270 men. We lost over half. In our Brigade there are over half killed, wounded and missing. We never fired on the enemy till they crossed the river and they had possession of five miles on this side.

    I have not gained any more information about Sanford, only they all say he is a prisoner and if he is will stay there with them. If he is you will hear it before I will. I want you to write soon as you hear of it to me and let me know it. I am now on Provoce Guard at General Hills Head Quarters and I will stay here a week and maybe longer, I can't tell. I must close for this time. Answer soon. Direct as before. So nothing more only remaining your son, C. M. Anderson

    To Wm. Anderson

    N.B. The news has just come that the Yanks is crossing the river again but I hope it is false. Tell Gilam Newsome that Hart was killed.


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