Thomas Jefferson Wright:
A Confederate Letter
The following letter was written to James Spence Wright from his brother Thomas Jefferson Wright on 10/28/1861. There are some words that are not able to be determined from the letter, therefore, you will see lines representing the number of words in the sentence I could not make out. You will also notice that grammar is not a strong point. The letter is typed exactly as it appears. There are brackets that indicate the true word as opposed to the word written in the letter. James was wounded at Cross Keys, Virginia on August 27, 1862. He died from those wounds on August 30, 1862 at Grotons, Virginia. Thomas Jefferson Wright died of Smallpox at General Hospital in Richmond on November 25, 1862, one year after this letter was written. While in the hospital, Thomas J. Wright purchased a Bible, which is in my family's possession today. On the inside covers and inside the Bible are a few writings from Thomas J. Wright. He writes among other things that he purchased the Bible for 75 cents at the hospital. (One other thing to note is that inside the Bible are four confederate pieces of currency assumed to belong to Thomas J. Wright)Submitted by Matthew Shaffer of Seaford, Delaware
Price George County, VA October 28, 1861
Mr. J. S. Wright
It is with pleasure that I seat myself this evening to write a letter and answer to your kind letter which came here a few days ago and was a great pleasure to me to hear from you. This leaves me in good health hoping it may find you enjoying the same blessing. I received your letter last Tuesday morning about two miles from our camp on our way to stand picket guard. George Darden brought it to me as the mail came in before he left camp. We went out on picket Tuesday and came back to camp on Saturday. We never saw nor heard tell of a yankee while we were out. Our men had a big fight last Monday at Leesburg a little town about twenty miles from here. We whipped them again and that badly the ____ of killed, wounded and taken prisoners on the Yankee side is said to be at least 1200 about 600 of the North wer [were] taken prisoners. 100 killed and 300 wounded besides several hundred drowned while crosfing [crossing][Page 2]
the Potomac River. Our loss is estimated at about 150. There was about _____ of the enemy engaged in the battle and about 3000 of our men. There was twelve thousand more of the enemy on the opposite side of the river but wer [were] beat back from crossing by the heavy fire from our men on every vesel [vessel] that attempted to come over there was I suppose 12 or 14 commissioned officers among the 600 Yankees that wer [were] captured. There has not been any fighting here about us yet and I dont know when there will be. I am getting very anxious for the Yankees to do something for it is getting very cold here and it is make a camp life and thin cover of a night rather uncomfortable we suffer with cold nights. Capt. (Bonders?) has resigned and sent his resignation to Richmond to have it accepted. I am not able to tell when he will get it fixed up as he dont know himself. Our clothes have not come yet but I suppose they are on the road. I will write to you all when they come. Ed Branch has got discharged on account of sickneffs [sickness] he has been sick some time he will start home in a few days I guefs [guess].
Well Spence I am very sorry to hear of ______ death for he was a good old dog. Well I dont know what else to write. ______ was appointed Lieutenant of our Regiment so we have got no first Lieut and will soon have no Captain so we will have to elect another Lieut and Captain. Will has had the Yellow Jaundice and now he has got the Mumps. There is several more of the company got them. I am getting along very well if I was well of the sore eyes. I have to (force?) open every new and them but you know that is a small matter. Well Spence you wrote that you was going to send us some chestnuts and a bottle of Brandy. I will me much better pleased to see the chestnuts and thing I have nearly got ____ ____ liquors any way but I will be obliged to take some of your Brandy when it comes to see if I can last anything in the ground writing this letter and it is cold so I must close. You must write to me when you get this. I remain your brother. T. J. Wright. Next time you write back to me if you can.
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