The Lost Letters (Part 4)
This Confederate 2-cent stamp was issued in 1863, the same year as the Gettysburg Campaign.
Background posts: Introduction, Part 2, The Rebels and the U.S. Post Office, Part 3.
The first couple of letters in this series were rather impersonal, sticking to the basic military facts. This one is a little more personal. The writer could never have known his family would never receive the letter, and that, instead, Yankees would be the first people to read the note. It would later be published in a popular periodical for all to read, and 145 years later, in something called the Internet.
Hundreds of men rejoined the CSA army on the road after being released from parole (as prisoners of war) or from medical facilities; the roads north were filled with small parties of men who struggled to find their regiments. Some did not rejoin until after Gettysburg and the army was heading back to the South.
York, Pa., June 29, 1863
My Still Remembered and Dearly Beloved,
How long has it been since I saw you and listened to your sweet voice? And when about to leave you, the clasp we gave each other’s hands, the kiss, the last fond look, and thus we parted. This is all fresh to memory, and will be until I behold you again, in the same way true friends are known to meet. What I have suffered and gone through since I left you I cannot describe. It appears like a long time to me, and you are ever present in mind, and I hope that I am still remembered by my dearest love.
After a very difficult and perilous route, I arrived at this place at about eight o’clock last night, and found the rebels in full control of the city. They have been skirmishing about the neighborhood this morning. They destroyed some of the railroad track at Hanover on Saturday, captured a good many horses, but they were returned, the men not being authorized by the officers to do so.
I had to give my horse, “General Lee,” to a man to pilot us. I hated to part with him; but I will soon get another one, a better one than I have now.
George and I have temporarily joined the Seventeenth Virginia cavalry; that is, until we can get with the Maryland companies, which are not very many miles distant… It is likely we will be in a battle to-morrow morning at Harrisburg, if it is not surrendered.