“…I am sorry for every man who has to leave his home and family to go to the tented field to a camp of destruction….” – Andrew Jackson Stone.
Susan Taylor Block
What follows is the gently edited text of a Civil War letter written by Andrew Jackson Stone, my great-great grandfather.
“Sept. the 25, 1862
(In care of) Phoebe S. Elmore
A. J. Stone, Manchester, Cumberland County
My Dear Brother,
I embrace the opportunity of writing you an answer to your kind letter that we received some two weeks ago. Have been waiting for Jesse to have it right for you, sent it to him, but he keeps putting it off till I have got tired of waiting and I am going to write it myself as there is no one present. We are all well at this time and hope when this comes to hand it may find you enjoying the best of health. I heard the yellow fever was ragin in Wilmington and am very uneasy about you for fear it will get in your camp. I was very glad to hear that you were better satisfied than you thought you would, but I am sorry for every man who has to leave his home and family to go to the tented field to a camp of destruction, I call it.
You wanted me to write where William Elmore is. I received a letter from him last evening. He is at Raleigh, Camp Mangum. He came home when the prisoners were exchanged and formed in the old company and went to Camp Mangum and is there yet and I don’t know when they will leave there or where they will go. He was well when he wrote his letter.
I want you to write, as soon as this comes to hand, how you are and if you have heard any more from Henry Oldham and if you hear anything from goshw (Joshua?) Stone for we can’t hear a word from him. Jesse doesn’t hope to leave….it all the factory will bear him from … and Sally says she is not a going to get married till all the soldiers get home for she is a going to have a soldier or none and she has not gotten a letter from the one that you speak of in two months or more and she can’t hear anything from him….”
(Cover addressed to Mrs. Emily H. Stone, Peddlars Hill P.O., Chatham County, N. Carolina. Legible part of postmark reads, “WIL.”)
-Andrew wrote this letter from Manchester, in Cumberland County. Company E of the 8th North Carolina was originally raised as the “Manchester Guardians” in Northern Cumberland County. Captain James M. Williams commanded this company. Additionally, the Carolina Boys of Cumberland County were Company K of the 38th North Carolina Regiment headed by Captain Murdoch McLaughlin McRae age 20. This unit boasted the highest percentage of men with Highland Scot names in the Confederacy. Captains Peter Mallet, O.H. Blocker, Francis N. Roberts and Peter Sinclair commanded troops in this regiment.
-Andrew wrote to his twin brother, William Stone. Their parents were Elijah and Phoebe Willitt Stone, who moved to North Carolina from Virginia, about 1820. Andrew and William were members of Company G. William was killed in the Peachtree Creek Battle in Atlanta, in 1864.
-Andrew lost his life to friendly fire when a Confederate soldier, who spotted him with a Union powder horn, mistook him for the enemy. Having lost his own powder horn during battle, Andrew had taken the horn off the body of a dead Yankee.
-At least 650 Wilmington residents were victims of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1862.
-William Elmore was married to Andrew’s sister, Phoebe Stone Elmore.
-Camp Mangum was located where the NC State Fairgrounds are today.
-William Oldham, killed in 1863, was married to Andrew’s sister, Martha “Patsy” Stone Oldham Dowdy. “Aunt Patsy Dowdy,” as my grandmother always called her, made a beautiful coverlet that has survived. When I asked Nana what the story was, she answered, “The coverlet is about the only thing the Yankees didn’t take from her house.”
(Information republished from this blog should be acknowledged as susantaylorblock.com)