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    Archive of Texas Confederate Soldier. Archive of letters and ephemera mostly related to William Woodson, Jr. of Marshall, Texas. Came out of a Bluff View [Dallas] area estate. Woodson seems to have been a clock repairman and farmer. He served in the 7th Regiment Texas Infantry (Gregg's Brigade). Woodson entered the service as a private and rose to orderly sergeant. The regiment was organized in the summer of 1861 and was sent to Fort Donelson where it was part of the garrison. They were captured in February 1862 and exchanged. They were then assigned to J. Gregg's Brigade, Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana and was part of the Army of Tennessee. Substantial archive of letters and ephemera. The central core of the collection consists of 47 war-date letters, the vast majority from William Woodson, Jr. to his wife Mary (Mollie), dating from October 1861 to April 1863. Most are written from Hopkinsville, Tennessee or Port Hudson, Louisiana. Woodson apparently died at Port Hudson. The archive includes a letter written by Lush Woodson to Woodson's mother, informing her of her son's death. The letters are well-written and rather charming, as Woodson often teases his wife about the pretty ladies he visits and fawns upon. Woodson avoided drill and guard duty and spent much of his time drawing rations for the troops. Army life seemed to suit him and he was generally healthy and well stocked with food and clothing. After Fort Donelson (mentioned numerous times), he did not see any action until Port Hudson. The letters contain the usual complaints about not receiving letters from home, waiting to get paid, the high price of commodities, unfounded rumors, long absences of officers, the merits of the Enfield rifle, dissatisfaction with medical care, the high death rate from disease, pride of being a "Texian", hoping that Texas Rangers would join the regiment, expectations of the war ending soon and being able to return home. There are several mentions of Confederate commanders, especially the siege of Vicksburg and one reference to Nathan Bedford Forrest. There are also many comments that relate to the use of negroes as servants, cooks and menial laborers. Some post-war letters from Woodson's father give insight to the dire economic situation in Texas and the relationship between white people and the former slaves. Although the number of letters with "battle content" is quite limited, the archive gives a very good "feel" for the life and point-of-view of Confederate soldiers (specifically "Texians") during the early years of the war, touching upon many aspects of military and civilian life. For a complete listing of the archive, with extended excerpts of the letters, please access the extended on-line description.

    More Information:

    William Woodson, Jr. Archive.

     

    1.       Late 19th/20th century leather purse that contained the material.

    2.       CDV of Mrs. Mary Curtis (re-married wife of Woodson)

    3.       Unsigned post-war manuscript poem possibly by Mrs. Woodson, both sides of a single sheet, with photo.

    4.       Letter from William Woodson, Sr. to his son, misdated December 7, 1861 (actually 1860), from Powellton, Texas, secession crisis content: "There are flying rumors about Wigfall and Lovejoy, Johnson of Tennessee and Davis and many about South Carolina which no person believes. We are standing over the crater of a volcano expecting an eruption every minute, but praying that it may not occur. Buchanan cannot think of coercing a Southern State when he suffered so many of the North to nullify a law of Congress [ed., Fugitive Slave Act] decided by the Supreme Court to be constitutional."

    5.       Partial letter (2 full sides and 2 halves). Routine camp life letter. He is occupied drawing rations for the troops and prefers this to drilling and guard duty. General Clarke is reluctant to grant furloughs. Went to hear a sermon and reckons that will hold him for one year. Discusses their diets and provisions. "The commissioned officers are not allowed to draw any provisions. They have to buy all they eat."

    6.       Partial letter from Hopkinsville, Tennessee (four pages written on both sides of two sheets). Asks about Texas Republican and Southwestern newspapers. 4000 men are encamped . They cut down almost all the trees and fences. "I suppose we have 400 troops at this place well armed." [small sketch of camp site] "I am still of the opinion we will not have a fight. All the boys want to winter at Memphis." The General won't permit local merchants to sell liquor to the troops. One Dutchman tried it, got caught (".he was sent to prison & had all his stock of liquors poured in the streets. the old lady & children took on dreadfully. Jim Stevens was another one [ordered to assist] & he had to draw his Bowie knife to keep the old lady off with her hatchet."

    7.       1877 rent receipt Woodson estate.

    8.       October 8, 1860 letter from Powellton, Texas, written by Charles Woodson to his brother, William Woodson, Jr. Amusing letter about the delivery of a subpoena in the presence of a client who feared it was an indictment against him. "I gave Morrison the wink and you ought to have seen him leaving. He went tearing through the wilderness like a deer."

    9.       Three envelopes (one postal used from Shreveport with two CSA 5-cent stamps, along with a circa 1910 satin ribbon inscribed "Brown's" (possibly a CSA re-union ribbon).

    10.   Three examples of CSA money in fair condition ($10, $10, $50). All common varieties.

    11.   4-pg. letter from Hopkinsville, TN, January 3, 1861 from Woodson to wife Mollie. Possibly misdated (may actually be 1862). Dreary news on the first page about men dying left & right. "Three of Capt. Davis men died last night. He has only three well men left in his company. I had to send a man from ours to help him bury his dead. Our regt has lost sharply over a 100 men since we have been here. We don't know when better times will come." Discussing the mess, it says we have ". three negroes to wait on us. we are now receiving plank for flooring our cabins. we use our tents to cover them." Mentions that many of the men have not received letters from home since they left Marshall.

    12.   2-pg. letter from Camp Monroe, October 22, 1861. "We are all bustle & confusion this morning preparing to take the cars for Vicksburg. it will take us all day to cross our baggage over the river."

    13.   2 ½ pg. letter, Memphis, TN, October 27, 1861. ".We had quite a warm reception from the Mississippi ladies all along the way. But here they don't pay any attention to soldiers. We have camped at the fairgrounds. I don't think the war will last long and I hope it may end soon."

    14.   6-pg. letter, Camp Tilghman, Kentucky, November 7, 1861. "Up in Tennessee they treated us finely & think Texians are the greatest fellows in the world. Here in Ky. we find some fine Lincolnites but they keep very close while we are about. We have four thousand men well-armed & could give the Lincolnites a warm welcome. It is reported that Seward, Scott, Cameron & Blair have resigned & that Fremont has been whipped in Missouri. the opinion is here that peace will soon be made." Talks about having clothes mended and a tooth pulled, but not being charged for the services. Received a flag from one of the local ladies during a parade and promises to bring it home..  General Tilghman says ours is the finest regiment he ever saw & he thinks we can whip the devil if we had a chance. There is some mighty pretty girls up here & if you will give me leave I will court some of them for fun."

    15.   4-pg. letter, Camp Alcorn, Hopkinson, KY, Nov. 10, 1861. Written to his sister in Marshall. ". the girls come in crowds every evening to see us and you ought to see me chatting them but they ain't pretty like our Texas girls. It is a good thing to be in the Capt.'s mess. We live too well for soldiers. "

    16.   4-pg. letter, Camp Alcorn, Hopkinson, KY, November 22, 1861 to wife Mollie. Talks about a close encounter near Princeton that failed to come off. ".We could hear the firing of the cannon plainly at Princeton. The Dutch [Union troops] have a great aversion to Texians & so do all them Lincolnites out here." Discussion of illness and loss of men to disease. General Tilghman went to Columbus and General Clarke of Mississippi is in command.

    17.   4 pg. letter, Hopkinsville, KY, Dec. 4, 1861 to Mollie. Talks about two Negroes assisting with cooking meals, another as a personal valet. ". the other boy we had left is so trifling that we won't allow him to do anything. Last Saturday we were furnished with the Enfield Rifle, the best army gun I ever saw. Government took our private guns at a fair valuation. our blankets were also valued & we will get pay for them also.. We manage to sleep warm by digging a pit in our tents & filling up with coals. "

    18.   4 pg. letter, Hopkinsville, KY, Dec. 12, 1861 to Mollie. Has sufficient money and clothing. Many of the soldiers came down with measles and the mumps. Hopes the war will be over soon.

    19.   2-pg. letter, Hopkinsville, KY, Dec. 15, 1861 to Mollie. Talks about sending a flag back home to Marshall. Moved camp to a different location as they had burned all the wood. Thirty-three of the men in the regiment have died (".The Western men die mostly.") Comments on the irony of these deaths in contrast to the ideal weather that they typically enjoy.

    20.   3-pg. letter, Hopkinsville, KY, Dec. 19, 1861 to Mollie. Discusses various men who received discharges and are returning home. ".To day we heard that England had acknowledged the Independence of the South & declared war against Lincoln's government. If this be true, it will help us very much. Our boys are very much elated to hear the news. You ought to see me sawing on tough beef & handling fat bacon. It is anything but light work." (some loss)

    21.   4-pg. letter, Hopkinsville, KY, Dec. 28, 1861 to Mollie and sister Sade. Discusses numerous deaths and illness. Has taken over as Orderly Sergeant. Doesn't have the time or opportunity to have his photograph taken. Pays someone to do his laundry. Has worn but one clean shirt since leaving Marshall. Wears his socks until they are completely worn out. Some of the men have built log cabins with brick chimneys for shelter.

    22.   3-pg. letter, Port Hudson, LA, January 4, 1862 to Mollie. ". the Yankees have not yet got us. We are rather in a state of suspense just at this time on account of the fights at Vicksburg & Murfreesboro Ten. Our fortifications are about complete & we are ready at any time. Our new General (Gardner) reached here a few days ago. The absence of the officers is creating some dissatisfaction. The men are getting out of patience waiting for them. They ought to be here."

    23.   4-pg. letter, Hopkinsville, KY, Jan. 8 [1862] to Mollie and Mr. Thetford. Regiment has lost 133 men to sickness, despite a "clever careful Dr." in charge. They hear nothing of the enemy. Yet another doctor shows little respect for the sick and abuses them verbally (".worse than a master would do his Negroes. Several have sworn they would shoot him if they ever got well and had a chance.")

    24.   4-pg. letter, Hopkinsville, KY, Jan. 16, 1862 to Mollie. Teases his wife about going to Clarksville and having fun with his pretty cousins. Discusses the cost and availability of food. ". The beef we draw we give to the Negroes. We have only three to wait on us. There is no talk of a fight and I don't think we will have one soon. So you need not expect to hear of us killing any of the enemy soon." Their commander would sooner discharge a man from the service than grant a furlough.

    25.   4-pg. letter, Hopkinsville, KY, January 3, 1862 to Wife Mollie (loss at top). Sick soldiers avoid using the hospital, but prefer to convalesce in a private home or travel to the countryside. Men are returning to Texas to get new recruits. Waiting to get paid. Won a pair of boots playing cards, but doesn't play much anymore.

    26.   1-pg, letter, [n.p.], January 20, 1863. Brief note about rumors. ".We may fight or we may retreat to Clarksville."

    27.   2-pg. letter, Camp Alcorn, Hopkinsville, KY, January 22, 1862 to Mollie. A substitute soldier has arrived to replace Billy Thompson who is very homesick and ". will never join another company... Forrest took 500 of his cavalry night before last to go out to see about it [anticipated attack by the enemy]. He has not yet returned and we will be in the dark until he gets back.  if we don't fight I am going down to stay a week or so  [in Clarksville] and have some fun with my pretty cousins there and all other girls I see."

    28.   2-pg. letter, Clarksville, TN, February 9, 1862 to wife Mollie. ". we expect to go to Fort Donelson this evening as the Yankees are expected to come up there. They took Fort Henry & the next move will be against Donelson. The people of Clarksville are very much frightened. Many of them are leaving feared the Yankees will come. the cars and boats are very busy carrying troops and wont carry any passengers."

    29.   2-pg, letter, Clarksville, TN, February 6, 1862 to wife Mollie. Teases his wife about "sparking" and kissing most of the girls. ". General Pillow has command of us now. All the troops have been ordered from Hopkinsville to Clarksville. " He paid visits to a local widow and three Bradley girls. ".Don't you think that is getting along quite fast for a new hand." Regarding two pretty cousins, ". I take them by surprise tomorrow & have another good time." He hears the bombardment of Fort Henry.

    30.   2-pg. letter, Vicksburg, October 6, 1862 to Mollie. His carriage overturned in the mud. Passed through Monroe and Tallulah. ".Vicksburg shows some effects of cannon balls but not as much as I expected."

    31.   1-pg. stampless cover, Clinton, Mississippi, October 9, 1862 to Mollie. Enroute to Holly Springs. ". Van Dorn & Price have been badly whipped at Corinth & every available man is being sent up there to reinforce Price.. " The men at camp were happy to see him and have more clothing than they can carry.

    32.   2-pg. letter, Holly Springs, MS, October 19, 1862 to Mollie. Men have returned to Texas to recruit. The 7th Texas, 49th and 55th Tennessee regiments are under the command of Col. Bailey of Tennessee. His regiment has been assigned to Price's army. ". We are armed with the Springfield musket a very good gun but not equal in point of range to the Enfield rifle.  I hope the rivers will all continue so low that gunboats cannot operate. "

    33.   3-pg. letter, Port Hudson, LA, November 1, 1862 to mother.  ". Our men were very much dissatisfied with all of our officers going home. Col. Gregg told me that he was going to write to Talley to come back & take command of the company. We have some 6000 men here."

    34.   4-pg. letter, [n.p.], November 3, 1862 (with some loss) to Mollie. Transmittal envelope included. Typical teasing of his wife. Mentions regretting not being able to visit her after his release, before going into action. ". the 7th Texas Regt. is treated worse than any other in the service.  When I see you I will give you a description of a prisoners life.  Try and hire a negro as cheap as you can but I expect your Pa will assist you in that."

    35.   3-pg. letter, Port Hudson, LA., November 9, 1862 to  Mollie. ". Col. Bailey thinks we will be kept here during the winter to defend the fort." Talks about crops and opportunities for speculation. ". The girls over here say they will marry any of the boys that show them a biscuit. I want you to send me some and I will try them. We are very anxious to see our officers back again. "

    36.   2-pg. letter, Port Hudson, LA, November 12, 1862 to Mollie. Routine content, transmitting a homemade ring and advising investment in sugar (with envelope).

    37.   3-pg. letter, Port Hudson, LA, November 24, 1862 to Mollie. "..There are a good many negroes here working on the fortifications. The gun boats came near here the other day & fired a few shots & went back down the river. I wish we could get a little brush with the Yanks. But I don't want a fight like the Donelson affair. you may rest assured that I will not be taken unless I am wounded."

    38.   4-pg. letter (incomplete), Port Hudson, LA, November 27, 1862 to Mollie. Expects to winter in Port Hudson ". if the Yanks don't play another Fort Donelson trick on us. We have negroes doing the work here on ditches & rifle pits & they work every day Sunday not excepted. ". Inquires about recruiting efforts back home. ". there is not a Texian here but hates [Col.] Bailey. Several have already applied for transfers. Write me where Lane's Regt. has gone to as some of the boys speak of joining him. I suppose the Rangers have gone at last after a good long stay. I would like to have some of the Rangers join us."

    39.   2-pg. letter, Port Hudson, LA, December 9, 1862 to Mollie. ". we never think of getting a drink for it is so mean you can't smell much less drink it. Today most of the troops are working on the ditches also a goodly number of negroes making every ready to give the Yankees a warm reception. We have ten times better works here than we had at Fort Donelson and if this place should be surrendered I am going to make a strong effort to get away & not be taken prisoner for I do not wish to try Yankee hospitality next time they might not treat so well."

    40.   2-pg. letter, Port Hudson, LA, December 18, 1862 to Mollie. ". Last Sunday the Gunboats Essex & No. 2 had a brisk little fight with a battery of our light artillery in which we got much the best of it. Yesterday the news came that 14 gunboats & a fleet of transports were at Baton Rouge 15 miles below this place. The work on the fortifications goes on night and day four thousand men working at a time."

    41.   2-pg. letter, Port Hudson, LA, December 27, 1862 to Mr. Thetford. Fortifications are complete. Soldiers buy commodities and make $20 or $30 profit per day re-selling them. ". We had a drawing yesterday for some Enfield rifles (43). Our old company got (12) of them & I got one of the twelve. We are all looking very anxiously for the return of the officers & the men think they have been treated rather badly. The government furnishes good jackets pants & shoes at much less price than you can get them at home. Tell Tennie howdy for me & to be a good little girl."

    42.   3-pg. letter, Port Hudson, La, December 30, 1862 to Mollie. ". They give us very good Texas beef. our new Genl. Has arrived Major General Gardner. I saw him this morning. He is a stern looking fellow. "

    43.   2-pg. letter with envelope, Port Hudson, LA, January 10, 1863 to Mollie. He is busy making out pay rolls. The flies are numerous and fill their tents. ". Genl. Gregg with his brigade arrived here a few days ago. His men are without tents & poorly supplied with cooking utensils. " Complains about the folks at Marshall going to dances and parties ("I rather think it is out of time & place.")

    44.   3-pg. letter, Camp near Fredericksburg, VA, January 11, 1863 from Charles Woodson to his sister. Visited relatives in Virginia during a two-week leave of absence and likes it there better than Texas. ". The Yankees are still to be seen just across the Rappahannock river while our army occupies the same position it did previous to the recent battle. I do not think the Yankees will be foolish enough to attempt another battle here. I think we can whip any force the enemy can send against us here. A report had been in circulation here that Vicksburg had been surrendered to the enemy."

    45.   4-pg. letter, Port Hudson, LA. January 26, 1863 to Mollie. Routine letter dealing mostly with personal family matters.

    46.   2-pg. letter, Port Hudson, LA, January 28, 1863 to Mr. Thetford. ". There is a rumor in camp that Banks is coming up from Baton Rouge to attack this place with twenty thousand men. He had better bring a heap more men than that if he expects to visit Port Hudson for we have made ample preparations to accommodate a much larger force than Banks has with him. It is also said that the Yankees have planted a battery on the river below Vicksburg to cut off our communication with that place. "

    47.   1-pg. letter, Port Hudson, LA, February 28, 1863 to Mollie. Has had typhoid fever. Men have gone to Clinton, MS to get tents and cooking utensils. ". we have captured two Yankee gunboats that passed Vicksburg."

    48.   2-pg. letter, Port Hudson, LA, March 12, 1863 to Mollie. Discusses the men who handle the mess. ". Arch has a negro who cooks for us." Has received good food in packages sent from home. ". General Gardner ordered the beeves to the pastures & that no more be killed until they got fat. we manage to live very well."

    49.   2-pg. letter, Port Hudson, LA, March 18, 1863 to Mollie. Shot & shell fell "thick & fast" as he was observing the Yankee ships and gunboats.. It made a hole about the size of a hogshead & about fifteen feet deep. I tell you they are ugly customers. "  A second mortar attack occurred around midnight with Confederate batteries responding. ".They came up like a ball of fire & came down with a whizzing noise." A Yankee ship was set ablaze. The survivors came ashore and were captured. The wounded aboard ship were left to their fate when the powder magazine exploded. A Yankee soldier set fire to a private home. Report of friends dying of small pox at P.O.W. Camp Douglas. The camp doctor is considered cowardly and appeared quite frightened during the battle.

    50.   2-pg. letter, Port Hudson, LA, March 24, 1863, to Mollie. ". If Vicksburg should be taken we can't hold Port Hudson for we depend on the Red River for all our supplies. " Talks about the size and composition of cannon balls and shell fired by the Union forces.

    51.   2-pg. letter, Port Hudson, LA, April 7, 1863 to wife. ". We have got 60 pieces of light artillery posted on the bank & two or three Regts as sharpshooters. two Brigades have been sent from here up to the Yazoo. We never hear a word about Banks' army nowadays & don't know where it is. we are tired of soldiering. Our regiment got a great many boxes of provisions mostly bacon."

    52.   2-pg. letter, Port Hudson, LA, April 20, 1863, to Mollie. Routine letter. Talks about moving to a different camp site for the sixth time, further removed from the gunboats.

    53.   1-pg. letter, camp near Yazoo City,  Headquarters Dept. of Mississippi & East Louisiana, Walker's Division, Gregg's Brigade, from Lush Woodson to his mother, announcing the sad news of William's death. ".it is a consolation to know that he fell in a holy cause, offered up his life in a willing sacrifice in defense & protection of his affectionate loving wife, and innocent & defenseless little children."

    54.   2-pg. letter, Port Hudson, LA, December 21, 1862 to Mollie. Troops are working on fortifications ".as we are looking for an attack and would like everything to be in readiness to give the enemy a fitting reception. We are all very anxious for our officers to get here before the fight comes off, as we do not wish to be commanded by Tennessee officers. we are willing to go anywhere with Talley but not an inch with officers we know nothing of.  The soldiers buy anything at any price. but they go it strongest on something to eat." Talks about his preference for a jacket over a coat. ". a soldier can handle his gun much better than if he had a coat & then it don't take so much cloth to make one... we have no drum but the biggest horn you ever saw. They blow that when they want us to go to drill or guard mounting. "

    55.   2-pg. letter, Powellton, TX, February 2, 1871 from William Woodson, Sr. to Mary Curtis. Discusses the death of "Tennessee", his recent illness, family matters, the price of cotton, etc. ".Our prospects for farming are not flattering, Negroes are still idle and do not seem disposed to make contracts as they are disappointed in the price of cotton."

    56.   2-pg. letter, Powellton, TX, March 3, 1871 from William Woodson, Sr. to Mary Curtis. Discusses the possibility of giving up control of granddaughter Tennie to Mary, but seems reluctant to do so, feeling he can better manage her. ". Money is very scarce and a good & honest living hard to make here. I have never known times so tight & stringent. Julian has rented my farm and will support Tennie and me. I can do nothing but tend to my garden and orchard.Labor is very hard to get and the white people must reconcile it to themselves to do most of their own work and not depend on the negroes. We have a woman that pretends to cook & wash for us but she is rather a poor thing and gets worse daily."

    57.   4-pg. letter, Marshall, TX, June 15, 1879 from King Thetford to daughter "Aney". Routine content.

    58.   4-pg. letter, Somerlon, OH, March 8, 1884 from Harry to Lon relating the history of his adoption.

    59.   1 pg. undated letter from William Woodson, Sr. to his son William Woodson, Jr., together with envelope. Deals with the disposition of a package. ". all well and truly delighted that Lucian and the other prisoners have been exchanged and are now again in the South."

    60.   2-pg. letter with envelope, Louisville, KY, October 11, 1885 from Harry Carr to his wife, Tennie Carr, in Dallas, TX. Sending money and discussing her trip to Louisville.



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