"Life in the Army": Letters of the Beavers Boys
Duke University Library, Special Collections
These letters written by two brothers James Sidney Beavers and his brother G.T. Beaves to their family from the ranks of the Cedar Fork Rifles, Company I, 6th North Carolina State Troops in the Confederate Army. These letters from the Civil War are in the collection of Isham Sims Upchurch who married Mary, the sister of the Beavers brothers, on Dec. 23, 1851. They give a unique insight into life in the army and shows us what is on the minds of a family in wartime.
< > The Beavers family was of middle class standing worked the land much like all of their neighbors in community around the Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church which straddled the lines of Wake and Chatham County. James was the older of the two born in 1835. Strangely enough his tombstone tells us something of his life before his enlistment in Wake County on May 28, 1861. Its says that he was excommunicated from Mt. Pisgah Church for opposing white and black equality. A very strange story for a tombstone inscription but gives us a exceptionally unique clue to James' character and his community on the verge of war. His brother, G.T., was born on October 26, 1839 in Chatham County and resided there as a farmer. In January of 1860 men in the surrounding community met at the Cedar Fork Academy which was founded and principled by Richard W. York.
James, George, and several other members of the Mt. Pisgah Church caused a ruckus when the news of North Carolina's secession reached their community. They entered the church and broke up the service according to chruch records. For their scene, they were excommunicated.
The Cedar Fork Rifles were a local unit consisting of men from the area of western Wake County and eastern Chatham County. Therefore when the boys signed up they were in the ranks with their neighbors and friends. Many of them show up in their letters home.
The first letter of the collection comes on the day before the unit is officially turned over to the Confederate government for service. They were at Company Shops, modern day Burlington, going through their "basic training".
Campt Alamance July the 2th 1861
Dear Brother I take this privelige of writing you a few lines to let you no that I am well and hoping to let you no that I am well and hoping when these few lines come to hand they may find you and sister and all the rest well I should like very mutch to see you all and to talk with you but i dont no when I shall get the chance for we are not lowd to go to the Shops without a permit and we are not lawd to miss a drill without a furlo sickness permit we are under tite rules you dont no haw tite they are I wish I coul see you and them I could tell you what I thought of campt life it is very tite rules and confinen
we have got our funs we have returned our muskets and got rifle muskets they look much better but I havent tride them we haveent got any close since we have bin up here some of us have got shoes we haveent got but fifteen dollars apeace since we volunteerd Tom is well except his arm where he was vactiannated Ive bein vactionnated twice and now my arm is very core we have meat and bread and coffey and sometimes molasses and some times other things when we pay for them our selves there are sevel here to day from cedarfork Mr lo Mr Lewter Mr Larence and severl more some went down yesterday there is a rite smart of sickness in this campt we are crowded in our tent there is six of us and our guns and bedding and cloathing satchels & c Isham I wish you would come up here you and pappy or John it looks like some of you might come to see us we would be glad to see you I wish I could see the Girls about home if I could come to old Chatham I would hug them as hard as ever I did for when I was down there before I huged them and they hughed so good I want to huy them again I dont no the Girls up here and if I did I could not have the chance to be with them there is some mity pruty ones up here and some ugly one mity ugly if you can come bring me some one dollars bills or some silver or both in so doing you want I oblige your friend for small money is scerce up here we caint get money changed up here without giving fifteen or twenty per cent tell Father and Mother we are well except our arms is sorter stiff and sore write to to me as soon as you get this tell our folks to write to me our company is the skirmish company and we have to a great deal one company came here to day it takes the rise of fifty to stand guard evey day it takes six from our company every day I will close by saying write to me excuse bad writing and spelling if we met no more on earth I hope to meet in heaven where parting will be no more so farwell for this time yours truly until death.
James S. Beavers
When this you see remember me tho many miles apart we may be.
On July 8th Governor John W. Ellis died and companies B and C were sent to escort the body.
Raleigh N.C Wake Co July the 16
Dear Brother I seat myself this morning to write you a few lines to let you no that I am well at presant an I hope when these few lines com to hand that may find you all in going the same blessing we are all well as comon genrley through our company we arived here yesterday about 2 oclock P.M. and we was very hungry an ____ for we had fasted ever since the evening of the 7th but we had a very good brekfast this morning. our fair will be beter here after a while any how.
You said ____ wanted to be with you to goapt ____. I am gain to goapt Old Abe befour I take my station tell all the inquires to write to me if there be any, an let me no that they are geting an with the firles in that neighboorhood.
Tell Miss Mildred Yates to write to me an let me no how she is geting on with the gentlemen. Tell cousen H. Booker to write. I was glad to here that you are all well an injoin good helth. I.S.B. got a leter from home yesterday an ____ done all well as comon. I reckon you think we will never com back but you may be mistaken for I dont count on nothing but coming back. I should be the glades in the world to com and stay with you a week or to but I cant get off for we s____ hav to leave shortly I think. I was suprised yestady to here of our governor deth he did in Petersburg on the 7th of July an to as our Regment companys stainded yesterdy to bring him here thay will arive here to day, an is looked for he dide at the Sulfer Springs in Petersburg. I want to go an kill Old Abe an com back home an mary the _____ of Chatham an then I will be as fress as and any body.
I am non in a a honey for Casles Yates is here an his wife wants to see me an Sid an I want to see them. Cousen Mary Anson said she wanted to see us. I am goin up in town to see them now. He sed thay none all well as comon. I should like for you to com down here befoer we leav. Tell sister an children ___ howdy for me an if you com let Papys folk no it so thay can send us somthing to eat we have a plenty but not any thing but meet an bred an coffee and I am very warm now. I must come to a close by saying write to me as soon as you can. Your truly G.T. Beavers.
I made a mistake in writing in severl respeks in spelling and forming.
I _____ to meet you all in a beter world than this good by for this time .
State of Va. Aug the 24 1861
I seat my self this evening for the purpus of anserwing you kind leter which we recived the day forgoten give us mutch satisfaction to here from you all an to here that you were all well. I should be glad to here from you all again I should be glad to be there with you eat water milions with you an drink cidar. I should be glad if you would com an bring som cider an whiskey I rather hav cider than any thing you cood bring. I an Sid are not well but up about we have ben very lon for some time we recived your money that you sent to us. we was glad to recive it for I had non at all not anus to send a letr. I hav been so sick that I cood not write. I would be mity glad to see you all an tell you som of our troubles an sufenns.
I wish you cood be with us a while to see how we fair. Miss York has ben here about a week sh tends to us all like a mother I want to no where you have made any cider or not if you have I should like to have som of it for I hant drunk a drop this year. Mr. H. Mulkalon an Ms Wm. A. Barbee an Mr. Wm. Batchelor leves here on the 28 of Aug thay hav wated on us like a father . It would be a grate plesure to me to see you all an stay with you a while I want som cider worse than any thing in the world it looks like you mite com for expence would only be about 415 dollars an if I was there I would give twenty to com I should like to see you an papy coming up with a larg_unlet of cidr just from the pres. I am very well sadesfid when I can have my helth but when I get sick I want to com home an stay untill I get well. You dont no how glad I would be to com an stay with you about a week an tell som of my big lyis J.L.______ I hant had a bit of water milion this year I crave cider an water milion more than any thing in the world it look lik I would give most any thing in the world if I cood get one bate of cider an water milions.
Tell diley I should to see him very well. I should like to help you eat peches I want som of ___ that tree stand in the old well if you pleas save me one an bring it to me when you bring that cider what makes me talk so shur I think you will bring it. You an papy can fix a box an put such thing in it an com with it. I dont want you to send it thout you com with it an if you com I want you to bring me a hat I havent got time to write mutch but I hope you will bring me a peck of __ that tree an of your best sweet cider if I cood get a belly full of cider an peches I think I should be redy to die.
Be sure an bring me som cider an peches box them up in a strong box so that thay may keep good. Direst your leters to monases junction N.C. State trops 6 infentry company I in care of capt R.W. York
Your affectionit Br.
P.S. we expect a fight in a day or to thay hav advanced on both sids untill they cant have no picket gard thay are so near each other.
To I.S. Upchurch an family
from J.S.B[eavers] an G.T.B
State of Va Manassas Junc
This sept the 22 th
Dear brothre I will try to write a few lines to let you no that I am well except my brest it hurts very bad the later part of the night so that I hardly can sleep the docter ses I hant got clear of the mesles I received your kind letter this 20th which I read with much delight I was glad to here from you all I was at the hospittle I went there yester was a week ago and stade til Friday night I was there to wait on the sick we have moved tose that was able to march come started Wednesday and got here thurdsday and sent the wagons back so Saturday morning we half way men started the sick rode on the wagons and some walked we traveld about eight mile and then tuck up camp and stade till morning then started and came here we got here about 12 o clock to the camp but we are ___ done moving we have four tents here and the is at the old camp ther are several of our company thereyet we are near dumfriese on the Potomac we are about 2 miles from the river we are going to camp here I think I have hern fifteen canons since I comensed writing I recon they are fiting you asked several qushtions about the fight I have not time to anser them all I fired at them eight times I went past the baterey I got behind the wagon and while I was loding on of the horses was shot there was three lying there hiched to the wagon the ball was flying all the wile thick that was the ennemes batrey so then we give back and the yances follerd but severl other regimens cam in and had a long fight but after awhile the yances started back an double quick and our men folerd and our artilery made lains among them I got thirsty when we give back and tierd I went to where we stoped that morning I wont you to come so I can tell you all I no it would take a week to write it I will your a nother letter before long I must close by sayin I remain your true friend until death
This letter mentions the death J.B. Lassiter who lived near the Beavers in Chatham County and enlisted on the same day. He had become sick and sent back home, dying on Sept. 14, 1861. The largest killer of men in the unit was disease. Many of these farm boys had never been in close quarters with large groups of men and it was this lack of resistance to many diseases which took its toll on the men.
State of Va.
Sept 22 1861
I seat my self this evening for the purpus of anseren you most kind an affectionet leter which cam safe to hand the ____ of Sept. I was very glad to have from you all an sory to here from our brother solds J.B. Lasters deth I dont no of any _____ that I can bye I hav ben looking but they have sent the most of them home for the protection of the folks.
I was glad to here from Miss mildred Yates that she was getting on fine with boys I advise hir not to love none of them till pece is acomplished an all of the solders return home to there entended and most hiley respected.
We moved abuot 16 or 17 miles from manases sorter south east an station our selves near dumfriese in about 2 or 2 an ½ mile off we are about 30 miles from W. city we can here canones every day I hird the other day that some men was old long tom 3 miles at an old ship ansued it pluged a hole every time for 4 times the ship was no acount som ses we are stationed for the wenter but I dont no nor I dont thank they do.
Tell Miss Mildred that I would be glad to here from hir at any time it would giv me joy. I dont like to make a blunder in writing it looks very bad to me you stated in your last leter about som close I dont think you need to trouble your self yet we dont need them yet an if we hav to march we cant carry them with us ________ I should be very glad to here from you all or to see you all tell all of my friends to write to me if I hav any there with you they may be _____
Dont send any thing till we write for them and then you must com with it an take ______ of it our leters may be backed the same way as be four we moved I hant got but one firle to write to me yet I wish you cood see som of the leters that is fast to an from I hird this morning that H. Lewter was ded at nichman. We left all the sick at our last camp but som of them cam to day. Sid an severl of others I must close by ____ write to me soon as you get this
Dont forget your friend
Till deth Yours affectionate
To Miss M. Yates
Miss I pray that the winds that blow over the tops of the trees may cosy my love to my native land an my hapy home an oh to my entended never forget.
Write soon Yours truly,
State of Va. Camp Fisher
this Nov. The 10th 1861
Dear brother I take my pen in hand to anser your most kind and effectionate letters which was dated Nov. The 4th. I was very glad to here from you and to here that you was well you dont no how much good it does me to get a letter from any one in good old N.C. when the mail comes and dont bring me many letter it makes me feel bad. S. Mulhollan J.J. Jinkins S. Upchurch and H. Kelly got here on the 8th we was all glad to see them and received many a harty shake they left J.H. Upchurch at Petersburg with the boxes. I am well at this time except a bad cole Tom is nearly well of the Fanders He stood guard last night I wish thos boxes were here then I would no what to write I will write you a nother letter I started a letter to John mourning we had a very bad march the 7th of Nov we went to guard the batter y 8 or 10 miles from here I saw our men fier at a yankee vessel we could see the balls strik the water I think some of them tuck effect read Johns letter it will tell you something about it if I could tell you a good many things if I was with you I caint write like I can talk I wish I could see you all. Sister I wish I could be at your hous to day to take dinner with you for I am tired of beef. I will close Tom wants to finish the letter give my love to all enquiring friends and recive a dew portion your self yours as sever J.S. Beavers to I.S. Upchurch
Giv my love to your famly an my fathers famly
Be contented for we will gain the fite after while
By many hard t__renles.
I grasp my pen of affection this morning for the purpus of ansering your kind leter which was coudly recived Friday last which giv us mutch sadisfaction to here from you all an to here that you was all well.
We hav not recived those things you sent to us yet but thay are at bristoe station we will get them to day or tomorow I think, I shal be very glad when I get them so I can eat som ___ I can almost tast him now. I hav nothing of importants to write to you. I was very glad to see the boys when they com. Uncle bill was left at weldon he was after whiskey an the train left him. An J.H. M_______ was left at petersburg he was wating for the boxes.
I wish I cood com home an stay a while with you all we hav som very bad wether here rain an cold. I stood gard las night an never slep non at all about dark it comenced raining in the evening an continued till after dark a while. The wind blode very cold an the ground was so wet I had to sit up all night. But today is very warm an plesant. I hant got spase to write mutch but will make it up when we get the boxes. I must close by saing I return my cincier thanks to you all for your kindness to me. Nothing more at presant,
This letter is from Isham Upchurch who writes back home to his wife telling her of his trip to see his brothers-in-law.
Saturday night after supper
Nov 16th 1861
My Dear wife I seat myself to night to let you know where I am. I was a little unwell at dinner today and could not eat much dinner but I feel well now hoping these lines will find you and my dear Children well I can not tell when we shall get to Manassas on the account that we can not get our baggage a long on the cars it is the hardest matter in the world to get freight to gow on to its destination M.D. Williams H. Sears others & a Mr. Hannis from S.C. are gone down to the Depot to see if our things has come the freight traine came in at 5 P.M. and if has come we wile stant to the boys in the morning and if we stand then with no accident we will get to them Monday next so you see that we will not have long to stay with them as we want to get home by tonight weak but if we fail do not bea uneasy about me for I feal safe where I am the people seams kind here but I have to pay a high price for the kindness. I receive only $2.50 for day night and loging. I will tell you of some things I have seen since I got here last night I went to the soldiers theaton and saw a goodeal this morning me & a young soldier from Orang took a strole in town went to the one of several market houses which made me open my eyes to see so much & so many things the house is some 3 hundred yards long I think . came back eat brakfast started a gain went to a grist mill where I saw 13 wheat mill runing & several still and a host of other things the greatest was the monument to Geo Washington on a large horse away up in the air._______ after dinner I.H.L & Wm. A.B. went down on the river at the worfe I saw several saile vesels flat bottom & one steme boat which was right smart for me to see went to the paper mill saw them making paper Richmond is a great place for any body to see that has never seen no more than I had. You may gow out look all around and see buildings 2 or 3 miles every way Just over the river there is Manchester there is buildings here 10 storis high I am in the American hotel 5 story room No 8 I wroat John a little note before I left Raleigh. Tell John he would be surprised if he could see Richmond. If the men has com from the depot and our things has com I write to necttey Ill go down and seee. Mr. Williams has come up tells me our things has not come.
I will close by saying fare well for this time.
I. S. Upchurch
This is the first day of winter quarters for the unit. The camp was named after founder of the regiment Col. Charles F. Fisher who was killed at the battle of First Manassas.
Camp Fisher Dec the 2nd 1861
Dear Brother I seat my self this evening to let you no that we are both well but very slepy by standing gard last night an it was very cold. I recived your most affectionet leter Dec 2 which five us mutch sadsfaction to no that you had arived at home safe an sound but I supose you want wont very sound when ariving.
I must say befoar I go any futher I am mutch pleased with the tax, so that J. Williams will hav to pay his part he sed that he was not goin to hav any thing to do with it.
You sed you failed to ask me one question that was if we recived that money which papy sent to us. We recived on dollar when we was at camp Jones. I hav nothing of importants to write about our camp the helth of the camp is about the same as when you was here it is very cold here to day I think it will snow befour long. We have comenced our wenter quarters to day, we wated till the Northern congres sat thay sat to day. we thought that that yould want to fight befour they sat so thay cood hav somthing good to tell buy they was afraid we would whip them an that would make it worse than ever. Two stemers past our batry on the first day of this month without being stoped. I dont no how Mr. D. Parish can hav the fase to tell such a tail as what he dos I never should went home as he has don. I wish I cood see you all at would aford me mutch plesure.
I am sory to say we hant got that box yet I dont no when we will it is at manases but the wagons is so busy they hant had time to fetch it yet I recon when we get into our new houses we will get it.
We went out about 2 miles on picket gard last thurday morning an staid till the next moring an it raind all night an was very cold. on company has to go every day from our regiment . S. Mulhalon has the mumps very bad. I dont no any thing to write at presant an it is to cold to write much.
Tell papes folks to write to us soon an you mush write to an all of your neighbors. I cant wait to them all. we hant had many letrs from home sense you was here excuse my bad writing an spelling for I am so cold I cant hardly set still.
I wisll write somthing interesting the next time I write .I must close by saing write to us as soon as you can after reciving this.
Yours with grate plesure
J.S. Beavers & G.T. Beavers
This letters reveals that brother James has fallen to sickness. Col. Dorsey Pender wrote of this period that his men were "the most sickly men I ever saw. I have tried to all in my power for them. We have (a) good deal of pneumonia,"
Dec the 20 1861
Dear Brother I onse more take the presant opotunity of writing to you to let you no that I am well at presant but Sid is very sick but I think he is improving a little but slow he has ben sick about a week an out of his hed all the time. I recived a leter from you yestady which giv me mutch plesure to here that you was all well I rote a letr to Father last week about sid being sick I sent him word to com not him perticlur but som of them an I sent on by Mr. J. Jinkins who started from here a day or so back I am anxious to here from home.
The helth of the _____ is generly well with a few exceptions an but few I am in hops of coming home som time but dont no when it may be a long time first.
I sent for a box of potatrs I ___ you to see to it an I wont som whiskey fo sid had to drink it reglar I am ______ for anthing to write I would like to hav ben there to tuck chrismas with you all we had a li____ time _____ we had about 20 fites on that day but no body was hert bad I hene canons firing very hevy but they are a long ways off I will tell you what I want I want a box of potaters an hav a division in it with som whiskey an cakes if there be come.
Pleus write to me soon as you get this for I want to here from you all very bad tell all houdy for me.
We recived them things was sent to us soap and potatrs and cakes we moved into our houses where we are well fi___ and sadisfid through the camp.
I must close by saing write soon as you can
Remaining YourTrue brother
By this time brother James had probably been sent to a hospital due to his worsening condition. This letter reveals a very interesting fight which happened between Pvt. Mark Wimbly and Cpl. Quinton Hudson. Wimbly had stabbed Hudson for some reason, it is not all too clear. Also it mentions Harmon Sears who was wounded at First Manassas who it seems is looking for a substitute according to Beavers.
Camp near Fredericksburg Va
Sunday morning January the 11 62
I seat my self this morning for the purpus of leting you know that I am well at presant hoping these few lines may find you endoing the same good blessing there is no nuse worth relating. One thang we had a fight between two of our boys Mark Wimbly & Q.I. Hudson Mark stuck him with his knife in front of his left hip 2 or 3 inches deep he bled _____ but he is now beter. I thought yestaday that he would die befour now but I now think he will get well after while.
I recon you had herd what he was in the guard haus for Mark rote that he was in for sthe time of the fight here which was so Quinton has ben in ever since the fight.
I dont want you to expose this leter for it may rase a fus an I dont want you to let every body know hoo rote it to you.
I under stand that you wanted H. Sears to have his name insold as a conscript I hope that hant your notion if it is I am deseved in you for I hope no body there in that neighborhood hant of that notion You must not thank haird of me for writing what i do. I dont mean any harm I only mean that I hope you hant of such a mind.
I recived some thangs from home the other day I was mutch pleased for them but I wont to com home just as bas as ever geting thangs dont sadisfie me about coming I would be proud to see all mutch more to com an see you all at home an in doing good helth I recived a leter from charles the other day which stated that he had ben in one fight an was taken prisener I recon he thought that me was in the very den of he hant seen the monkey yet by the time he stays out 2 years he can hav more to talk of than he has now I dont dout but he has seen hard times.
Give my love to sister an the children tell them houdy for me an that I wish I was thair with them. I dont thank I stand som chance of coming this winter the wether is cold and I must close.
Pleas write soon,
As ever your affectionate Brother
This letter was written by neighbor of Upchurch's serving in the unit, John Ferdinan Williams.
Camp Fisher Va
January the 19
Mr Upchurch I seat my ____ to wright you a few lines to let you now that I receved you kind leter
and was glade to her from you that you was well thes lins _____ me well I hope when thes few lins come to hand my freind you all well I hav now neus as to intres to wright you but we are all very well ____ at this time you must come over to see us all one more time I hope
if I shall see you all one more time But if I do not I hope to meet you all in heaven wher we may never part you are ___ as good out of they chruch as you was in the chruch you must give my I or to all my frend and _____ you must wright soon I remane you Dear Frend
Williford Upchurch is a cousin of Isham and writes telling him of how much sickness is abound in the company due to bad weather, mentioning Pvt. John Kelly. He tells that Capt. Richard W. York is trying to secure furloughs for the married men to return home. Williford would turn up missing in 1864 after the battle of Cedar Creek in the Shennandoah Valley.
Camp Fisher Jan the 19 62
Dear cosson I take the presant opitunity of droping you a fiew lines to let you now that I am well at presant hoping when thoes few lines comes to hand that they may find you and famely well Winship is not verry well at presant but he is up A bout the rest of the sick mess are A mending we have one very sick man in the hospittal. John kelly is verry sick with the newmoney bout I think he is A mending the rest of the boys are well as far as I now we have had A verry bad time here with cold rain hale sleat and snow but the snow is gon and it is a raining to day I wish it was so I could come home to see you all but I fear I never wil the Capting has been A trying to git A furlow for some of the married men but he have not got them yet but we are A living here verry well we git A plenty of ___ eat such as it is I must come to A close by saying write soon I remain yours untill Death Isom tell pappy and famely that I am well as ever tell him Sid is not verry he is not as fleshy as he was when he came from home
Here we learn of the sad detail of James' death.
Jan the 19 1862
Dear Brother I seat my self this evening to let you no that I saw your kind leter yesterdy which giv me grate sadsfaction to here that you were all well an hapy I am well as ever in my life an fat as a hog I hant got any thing of important to write only we are most well there is two or three sick but not dangrous I dont think Som of the boys has the mumps.
I should like to see you all at this time but I cant com yet but I hope I shal be S____ to n___ home one more time befour I die. I was sory to giv Sid up but he is beter off than when he was dow in this troobledsom world I hav a strong hope for him You sed for me to let you no if he said any thing about ding he never sed nothing at all about it. I think he was willing to go. He was wated on as good as cood be expedtd concidering our chance he was not by him self mosy moment during the time of sickness the boys seemed to take a delight in wating on him we sat up every night which was about 15 or 16 days an nites. I hope Father an Mother wont greve no more than they can help. som of the boys wants to write som so I wont write mutch at this time pleas rite to me soon as you get this yours as ever
The health of the regiment is getting better as more clothing and supplies come to the men, but the young Beavers thoughts turn to the thoughts which all soldiers dream about — food and women.
February the 3 1862
Dear Brother I once more seat myself to drop you a few lines to let you no that I am well an helthy as ever an fat as a pig hoping this leter may find you all injoying the same good blessing
I hav nothing of importants to write you as I no of now but I will write somthing I dont no what.
The helth of the redgt is beter than what it has ben for som time we hant had many deth in som time.
I ____ a leter from home som two or three days ago which giv me grate Sadesfaction to here from them and to here that they wor all well I hant rote to you in som time I recived your leter an paper was ____ I put it of till I got som paper I rote som to you in my ____ home for you an Rufus and I should like to see you all a while but it is imposable for me to do so. Tell all your famly houdy for me and all inquring frinds if there be any there. I hird that Wake co had ben drafted I hope thay have got som lazy people an them that thought that thay would not go to defend there hapy cuntry wating for som to do it all to liv or die as thes chance ____ be but I hope it may be ___ hapy but to see our cuntry ___ and shall return to my hapy home my parants which has ben so kind to me when I thought was trouble but now I find it was a hapy time. I hope that sort of a time will Soon com again. I am almost a tird a living here in this world of trouble I hant hird from Miss Mildred in so long I ____ she has forgoten me but I hant forgoten her yet fiv her my best love and respeck I should be mity well sadesfede if I cood hav a girle to fly around about once a week that is what I like where in this troubled world I want to no if John an Charles gose to see the girles or not John dont write any thing about going to see them I dont want them to get mared till I com back home I you all are drafted do the best you can for your self for it is our duty to defend our h____ country. I never want to see the time when to yankees will invad our hapy South if you are drafted I want to be there to go with you to fite the yankes
I must close my remarkes befour long for I am wary of writing but not becaus it is to you I would like to here from you all very much.
I sent for Som potatrs and som other things but I dont no whether thay hav started them or yet I should lik to recive them with som whiskey. I hate to finish on Whiskey.
I must com to a close by saying writ soon as you get this excuse all bad writing an spelling an c_____ all mistakes for this leter contains them all.
Write soon with plesure
Remember your affectionet Brother
The 6th is now engaged in the defense of Richmond against Federal Gen. George McClellan. Again the stalker of Confederate soldiers is not the Yankee force but disease. Mentioned are Rufus Barbee and Sandy Lewter. Rufus would be well enough to participate in combat with the unit and become injured at the battle of Seven Pines on May 31.
May the 23 1862
Camp near Richmond Va
Dear Brother I seat my self this morning to inform you that I am well at presant hoping these pen lines may find you injain the same good blessing. I hav nothing of inportants to write to you at presant. I recieved a leter from you when to boys cam out here which giv me grate sadesfaction to learn that you was all well an hapy as you was. I would be mity glad to com to see you but the distants is to grate to com every day. It looks like you mite com to see me twice a year when you no I cant com at all. if I cood get the chance I would walk all the way I hav traveld till I hav got use to it. We are now about 1 mile from the city which I expect to visit tomorow we an C.L. Williams. The boys are helthy as camon withe the exceptions
of a few Rufus Barbee is sick and Sandy Lewter and a few more which you no not if I was to giv you these names my hand trembles so bad I cant write we hav just com off of drill an the wther is very warm I want to be there to go a fishing the wether is so pleasant. We hav had hard times marching if you wanto bring or send me any thing send it so it can be toted as in a satchel if any person comes out here you can send what you think would be use ful to me Such as somthing to eat Mother is goin to Send me som things when She gets the chance I was Sory that I cood not get the things which the boys brough You may tell Mother not to send but one pair of pants 1 pair of drawers and one shirt that is as mutch as I feal like toting if we should hav to march I sent papy word to send me a pair of shoes he can send the the first sportunity if a good one if you or any body comes out here send by them it is a ______ chance to get a box from town. I am in a hury an I must com to a close by Saing pleas write soon.
I remain Your Brother Till deth
P.S. tell all the children houdy for me an sister two.
G.T. writes and mentions the battle of Sharpsburg, September 20th, but states he wasn't there for it due to sickness or hospital duty. He makes the first mention of conscripts to the unit and the religious revival taking place at Olive's Chapel in Wake County and Mt. Pisgah Church in Chatham County.
Camp near Winchester V.a.
Oct the 5 1862
Dear Brother with hapiness do I seat my self this morning to drop you a few lines to let you know that I am well at presant hoping these few lines may find you and famly well as ever it has ben som time since I rote to you but I hope you will excuse me for my chance has ben bad an paper is scerse I hav been at the hospital for som time but am now with the boys but few of them are here som of them was taken prisners an som wouded and som sick our company numbers 45 but 8 of them is conscripts. Sandy lewter has not com to the redg. Yet the last I hird from him he was mending.
I would fiv you som acount of our last strugle but I was not thaire but from all acount I think it was awful tite the redgment went over into medraland at a place called sharpsburg is where they had a haird fight after that we fell back across the river there is no talk of a fight now it is the stillist time I most ever saw. I rote to papy not to write till I rote to himbut I mean he mite Direct his leters to winchester. I thought then we would leve in a day or tow but I dont know when we will leve now. Some talks of pece but I dont think there is any chance for it I hird of a grat revival at Olivs chapel I would of giv $25 to of ben there it ___ think when I hird of it an what made me think more was som person profest I was glad to here of that profeston I hope she will be a faithful member of M. Puisgy church if I hant don my duty I like to se others do thairs. It is now diner and I must close. I hope the lord will be with you all through all our trials.
Pleas write to me soon as you get this. Yours as ever
A letter where you can feel just how young private Beavers felt. Having to spend your birthday on a rainy miserable day and your only joy is writing your family and unable to find enough paper. To top all of it off as he is writing, his she-bang falls in on him. Manassas Herndon and Edward. Parrish are his bunk mates.
Camp near Winchester V.a.
Oct 26 1862
I seat my self this morning to anser your kind leter which com to hand yestady the 25 I was proud to here from you all an to her that you was all well.
I have nothing of importants to write and if I did this is all the paper I hav I offerd 25 cts for a sheet this morning & cood not get it. I am sory that you all had to leev home but I hope if you leav you want her to stay long.
You stated something about writing about every bodies children if I had the paper I would not mind it _____ by the time I get started I hav to stop for the want of space. I am 24 years old to day an it is a mity bad day for it has ben raning ever sence last night about 3 o clock Tell papys folk that I am well an that I rote to them a few days ago but hant got no anser I draud a coat an pants so I dont need no pants.
Tell all houdy for me I would be glad to see you all but I hope I shal coam this winter I must com to a close by saing write soon as you get this. I hav a bad chance to write we hav no tints. I an manass Herndon & .E. Parish has built us a small bunk down side of a larg nack but sence I hav comenced writing the leves and dirt has becom wet and the fork split but as it hapend the fork ketched the crop pece a helt it till I got a fork an placed it in the place of the other.
I will stop writing now as I cant think of nothing funey. Yours as ever
Camp near Fredericksburg Va.
November 30 62
I received yours of the 23 which giv me grate sadisfaction to here that you was all well this leves me well an hope this will find you all the same I rote som to John an papy yesterdy I thought Mr. Williams was goin home this morning but he is goin to stay till to morrow so I thought I would write som to you I never received any paper when I go my shoes
I have nothing of importants to write to you at presant but I hope I shall when I write soon as you get this we was paid off the other day but I wont send non this time I will send a coat by G.L. Williams it is most to small for me I forgot it when I rote to John and papy Tell mother to wash it till I com or send for it you can let them here you read this.
The helth of the regiment is beter we hant got many one sick in company I when I get stationed I will send for some thangs I havent to write any more at present .
Your affectionate Brother
We skip through the winter of 1862-63 to June. G.T. has been promoted to Corporal on January 1st. The battles of Frederickburg and Chancelorsville are behind them and the Army of Northern Virginia prepares to invade the North again. Brother Isham has been drafted into the service on March 18, 1863serving in Co. G of the 16th N.C.. So G.T. is writing his sister for the first time since here husbands departure. Also we learn that his sweetheart Miss. Mildred Yates is too be married say G.T.. This is the last letter from Beavers. He will be injured on July 3rd fighting at Gettysburg. His would was so severe that he was forced into extended recooperation and reduced to private and discharged on February 10, 1865 and retired to the invalid corps.
Camp '6' N.C. Troops
June 2 1863
My dear sister,
I for the first time seat my self to drop you a few lines to let you no that I am well an hope this may find you and family in the sam state of helth I hant hird from Ishams in som time I dont no how he is in fact I hant hird from him harly since the fight I hird from him a few days after the fight he came saf which I was glad to here and I mean you was _______ _____ ______
I have nothing to write you of any importants at all only the regt is generly well there is no sickness in camp worth talking about you can say there is a _____ time a coming but I cant tell how far off neither how will live to see it but with the will of God I hope I will be sparrd to see that time Sister I wnat you to write and let me no hoo is making a c____ for you if any person aand all about it I hope you will have in faith and not give up ___ trouble of mind for there are many for I no some of them my self but I can ____ of an as ____ again for a peciful life
I wish I was there to goe to Mt. Pisgy church to see all of my friends I gather here D.W. Dowd prethan to have a discharge for I am thinking it would do me good dive the children my love also the neighbors I hird that Miss Mildred Yates was goin to get married I hope that hant so far I dont think any body aut to mary till pece is made I must close for the present pleas write soon
Both G.T. and Isham would survive the war and return to Chatham County. Isham was captured on April 2, 1865 and confined to Point Lookout, Md. and released on June 21, 1865 after taking the Oath of Allegiance. He would die in October of 1893.