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    Description

    Confederate Soldier's Letter Group of Twelve Letters by Thomas Blalock of Co. "A", Captain Birch's Company, 50th North Carolina. With related papers. Blalock's letters are written while out in the field in Virginia and North Carolina between July 13, 1862 and April 19, 1863. Blalock mustered into Co. "A", North Carolina 50th Infantry. His company engaged in multiple skirmishes, but most of their hardships were the result of lack of equipment and food, and rampant disease. Blalock was a young farmer of 25 when he enlisted, leaving a young wife at home. Most of his letters are all written to her, and a few are accompanied by the original transmittal envelopes.

    The earliest letter in the group is written from Petersburg, Virginia on July 13, 1862. Two pages, on repurposed ledger paper, 5.75" x 9". Blalock tells his wife that they have had a hard march of two days; slept without tents for five nights. There is no fighting going on, but his brother William is sick, though not dangerously. He thinks he will be home as the war will soon end. With cover.

    Writing from Drewry's Bluff on September 9, 1862 he sends two letters home, a 2-page letter to his mother, written together with his brother William. William sends news that his legs are swelled but he is doing well; their company is about 12 miles away on picket duty. Thomas wants to see if he can get William home. With cover. William was 18 at this time. Despite the multiple illnesses, he managed to survive the war.

    On the same day, Thomas writes to his wife with news that Stonewall Jackson has crossed the Potomac into Maryland. He hopes Jackson will whop them well and that his company may have to go to them. But he does not believe they will be called to N. C. They are on the James River as guards and a comrade has jaundice. With cover.

    Blalock writes one more letter from Virginia, and the rest of the correspondence is from North Carolina. The letters are mainly concerned with Thomas' efforts to keep William from harm, and their troop movements. During this time, Susan (Thomas' wife) has lost her mother, and Thomas is unable to get a furlough home. Disease is a frequent theme, and in a letter from Kinston, N. C. dated February. 15, 1863 (two pages, 5" x 8") Thomas is worried about smallpox reaching home and wants her to get vaccinated.

    Writing on April 19, 1863 (2 pages, 6" x 8") Blalock writes that they are now at Greenville. They were at Washing[ton, N. C.], but there was not much fighting going on. He wants to come see her and the children as he is tired of war, just as all men are. He has sent fifty dollars to pay off an old bond; wants her to get money to help pay off the remainder as he does not want to be liable for the interest. With cover.

    The following week on Apr. 26, 1863, Blalock writes his final letter (four pages, 5" x 8"). His company is suffering very hard times. He is nearly barefoot and ragged; they are promised to be clothed soon and they have to buy their own meat and bread. Very often, they do without. They have marched very hard and have been exposed to bad weather including a hail storm. He does not know how they are going to live without peace being declared; thinks the war will soon come to an end because food is so scarce and men are tired of it. He reports that men are running [deserting] everyday; but that none of his company have deserted yet. William is at Kinston with the tents. This letter has a stamped (pair of Jeff Davis five cent stamps) cover.

    Thomas Blalock died of disease the following month on May 26, 1863.

    The group includes two documents transmitting warrant payments to Thomas's widow in the 1880s, and a sheet listing Blalock's expenditures in 1860.

    Condition: Condition varies. A few have dark and uneven toning. Three are written in pencil. Blalock is uneducated, and though his writing very legible, the letters lack proper grammar and spelling.


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    October, 2016
    19th Wednesday
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