17, Confederate A. J. Rice, in Wartrace, to his cousin, Mary L. Paine
May 17, 1863
My Dear Cousin,
I received your very kind letter day before yesterday and as we had to move our encampment I had to postpone writing until today. We have left our Brigade for a while and moved nearer town and our Regiment does all the guarding about town. I have not heard anything from the Yankees for some time except that they have sent all their tents and heavy baggage to the rear and I expect there will be something done down here before long. We are sending all our sick off to Chattanooga. Our men are laying the track from here to Bellbuckle a distance of five miles and I expect we will advance soon. The track has been torn up ever since our retreat from Murfreesboro. There is a Yankee deserter comes [sic] in nearly every day [sic], but we don't get to talk with them unless we are guarding them. Some thinks that we will fight down here soon and some thinks that we won't fight down here for some time to come.
Hab is camped out near Fairfield but I have not seen him since we left Tullahoma. I have not heard from home for nearly a week. I am looking for a letter this evening. Cousin Mollie I wish I was with you all today. We would certainly enjoy ourselves, but I assure you that there is very little enjoyment in camp but I hope that this cruel war will soon end that we may be turned loose and permitted to return tour friends and relatives who are waiting so anxiously for our return. It may be soon or it may be a long time. But I hope that the time will come when we can all meet and spend a happy time together as we have done in days that are past. and gone and I am fearful never to return. I have not been at home since I wrote to you nor do I expect to get home soon. Today is very dull in camp for since we have moved off from our Brigade we have had no preaching in the Regiment. There is a big protracted meeting going on in our Brigade and has been for over two months. There has been a good may conversions. I don't know how long it will go on, but I am in hopes that it will be a general thing throughout the army, for there is a great deal of wickedness going on in the army. There has been some depredations done down here by our men down here [sic]. Some four Artillery men went to a man's house down here the other day and knocked him down and took all his money and some eggs and butter and milk and they have all been arrested and chained down awaiting their trial. I expect they will go up for ninety days. There is also two or three men in the guard house for murder and I expect that they will be hung is a short time. God speed the time when all such men will be hung as high as the hayman. I am glad to hear that Jo got off as easy as he did. I never want the cut throats to get a hold of me.
I want you to write to me as soon as you may bet this for I am always glad to hear from you.
Give my love to all. I remain
Your True Cousin, Andrew
Write soon and address:
A. J. Rice
PS Please excuse confed [erate] paper [money] for it is the best that I can do at present.
TSL&A Civil War Collection*
* TSL&A, Confederate Collection, mfm 824-3, Accesson no. 1576, Box 11, folder 11.
May, Tuesday 17, 1864
Oh! most miserable day - Mrs. Perkins almost made me mad at her deep distress - Poor, poor Nannie, my heart aches for her, would to God I might be the medium through which all could be made happy - Miss Em is so widely different in her political feeling, there will never be any happiness, I fear, with poor Nannie. May God guide the dear child, keep her firm to the cause she has espoused, may she never have her pure, noble Southern feelings polluted with Yankee treachery or tyrany - keep her firm and true to her noble Brother Dashiell and his Country rights - she dreams not, but oh! my heart trembles and bleeds for her in this great trial and affliction. I received a letter from Dr. Moses - Tate did also - Oh! why am I tempted - guide, oh! comfort me, my Savior - poor Father is quite sick - Joanna went to Hernando this morning -
January - November, 1864