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    The Battle of Fredericksburg, the Confederate view: Letter and Battle Map by Joseph P. Jones, 24th Alabama.
    An 8 page letter written in nice dark ink on blue paper and includes a 2 page battle map with great detail. The writer, Joseph P. Jones, served in company H of the 24th Virginia Infantry. They were part of Kemper's Brigade, Pickett's Division, Longstreet's Corps in Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Jones would be killed at Drewry's Bluff May 16th, 1864 where the 24th Virginia lost more than half of its members. The letter is headed, "Camp Near Fredericksburg Va. Sunday Morning Dec. 21st 1862". Writing his sister Jones gives her detailed descriptions:

    "After series of battles have been fought which crowned victory to the Confederate arms and many other unforeseen occurrences, I seat myself to let you hear from me and to give you a few details concerning the fight of Fredericksburg."

    "On the night of the 10th of this month while in the halcyon hours of slumber, I was aroused by the booming of cannon in the direction of town. In a short time we received orders to get in readiness."

    At this point in the letter Joseph has been called away and he lets his
    cousin write the next 14 lines before he returns.

    "The shock of the great battle has shaken the banks of the Rappahannock and it has pleased Jehovah the Lord of Battles to crown once more with victory the standards of the Southern Confederacy. Gen. Lee has added a new leaf to the laureate wreath which he won on the hills of Richmond, and at an expense of Southern blood comparatively small, a fearful slaughter of the enemy has been accomplished."

    "Joseph has again returned, and I (Peter P. Davis, Jr., cousin of Joseph) hand it over to him for completion. Sis, being desirous of taking a walk this morning, I agreed to go with Mr. Waller to Hamilton Station but it being very cold and disagreeable, I declined going and will try and finish my letter. As I stated in the beginning, we taken up our line of march for the battlefield."

    "At the dawn of day the morning of the 11th, we marched out and formed line of battle. As near as I can tell you about one and a half miles from town on the right occupying the right wing of Longstreet's Corps, we remained in line of battle until night. We were then ordered back a short distance in rear of the line to bivouac. We remain there until next morning. On the morning of the 12th, orders were for us to resume our same position as before. We marched out expecting every moment to have to fight. We moved up and down the line occasionally to the different points where the Yankees were making the strongest demonstrations. During that day which was Friday about two o'clock p.m., we were relieved by a Brigade of Georgians. We then fell back a few hundred yards from the line of battle in ravine. There we remained until next morning."

    "During this time Burnside was throwing his forces across the river making ready for an attack Saturday. The fighting that taken place Thursday & Friday was mostly artillery and sharpshooting. It was kept up continually from both sides."

    "Saturday morning the ball opened. We were ordered near our position we occupied the day before in order to reinforce. It commenced on the right in plain view of us. We could see the dark lines of Infantry of the Yankees march up in the nicest order. Immediately on the right of our division, A. P. Hill's Division, a Division of Jackson's Corps, they engaged the enemy several hours."

    "They were reinforced by Gen. Earley's Division. I expected every moment that we would be in. I could see them as they would advance on our men. The cannon move their ranks. The fight has ceased some on the right. We received orders to move in the direction of Fredericksburg at double quick. When we arrived in hearing such musketry, I never before heard in my life, we were ordered to reinforce those that was there engaged."

    "We double quick about a half a mile while the shell and Minnie ball fell thick as hail. Several of our men were wounded. We had to cross the head of a mill pond. The boys pitched into it. They also had to break the ice. We moved up within 3 hundred yards where they were fighting our men behind their fortifications."

    "Just as this, S. P. Davis was wounded & taken him from the field. Night come on and under cover of the dark, we occupied the fortifications where our men had been fighting all day. We were all supplied with one hundred rounds of cartridges that night, ready for them. Next morning at the dawn of day the pickets commenced firing and fell back. Then every man was at his post. Me at mine, laying as close to the ground as circumstances would admit."

    "We were in a short distance of town, in full view of the Yankees. The boys shot at them all day as they would run from house to house. It is unnecessary for me to try to bring the imagination upon you to correspond with what was to be seen there."

    "The ground that the Yankees occupied the day of the fight was literally covered with them. If they had have resumed the attack next morning as it was expected, we would kill more Yankees than was ever killed before. We remained in that position until about ten o'clock that night when we were relieved by another Brigade. We fell back about one mile and bivouac that night."

    "On the morning 13th, we were ordered to the right. We moved near our former position and formed line of battle and remained there all day and night until next evening when the Yankees recrossed the river. We retired to our same old camp."
    "Sis, I have written you a long letter and tried to give you all the information that I could at present concerning the battles. I am very anxious to hear from home. I have not received a letter from home in a month. Christmas is most here and I have neither eggs nor brandy to make an eggnog."

    "...be sure to write & direct to Richmond Va. Tell Charles to write me that two mile letter he promised. Your devoted Brother, Jos. P. Jones"

    Confederate letters that contain maps, especially as large as this two page map, are extremely rare. In fine condition. From the Calvin Packard Civil War Battlefield Letter Collection


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