Letter from Ellison Capers to his wife Lottie, November 1 and 2, 1864


Letter from Ellison Capers to his wife Lottie, November 1 and 2, 1864


In his letter on the 1st, Capers describes to Lottie what he has seen on the march towards Tennessee including ruined plantations and overgrown fields and how it makes him miss her and their home. He then gives her a list of every place they have marched so far. In his letter on the 2nd, Capers writes about the mail and how it will be hard for him to send letters. He also asks her about money and that he has had to buy a new horse named Woodfire. He also asks her to stop the Bishop from sending him books since he will not have time to read them. In the fragment, he talks about his nomination to the Legislature.


A1961.1, Box 3, Folder 42


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Ellison Capers Collection









Date Valid


[Page 1]
Tuesday Evening
Tuscumbia Ala. Nov. 1st 1864

My own dear wife

The army reached this point on yesterday. We have rested today & will probably rest here tomorrow. Our men need shoes & clothing which I hope will be issued here. We cross the Tenn. River opposite to this town, at Florence, & take up the march for Tenn. What our programme will be, our leaders alone know. We were promised a mail here today, but none has so far arrived. Our march from Decatur to this place was along the Memphis & C.L. R.R. & through the ample & beautiful valley of the Tenn. But the broad, noble fields are overgrown with dog fennel & broom grass, and the tall isolated chimneys of these once teeming plantations, standing amid the blackened ruins of homes once beautiful, speak to my heart a sad, sad comment on this great struggle. The fields are level, & the settlements (the few remaining) located off the road & in groves of oak & Osage orange, remind me of St John’s. I need not add, my dear one, that with every view which brings your old home to my mind, you, dearest Lottie, are always on my heart. It is a great trial to me not to be able to write you every day. But we have no mail, & have been, until reaching this point, clear away from Rail Roads. Now the cars run from Corinth to within 16 or 18 miles of this place. I send this by an officer who goes to Richmond. Get an atlas & look [illegible] the long, round about way from this army to [illegible]. I will [illegible] down for you: From

[Page 2]
Tuscumbia Ala. to Corinth Miss. Corinth to Meridian Miss. From Meridian to Demopolis, Selma & Montgomery Ala. Then on to Opelika Ala. & Columbus Ga. Macon & Augusta! It would take six days to go from Tuscumbia to S.C. I send you a little note by which you may see how many miles we have marched, & how constantly we have been on the go since we left Palmetto. I have not had the opportunity to study a line. I barely have time to read my prayer book. Our starting hour is daylight, & we get into camp from 4 to dark, every day, tired and dirty.

Wednesday November 2nd 1864

My darling Lottie

This is a damp, gloomy day. Just such a day, dear Lottie, as makes a fireside cosy. How dear & precious our fireside would be if we were permitted to enjoy it. But all such pleasures are adjudged secondary to the great first duty which the people of the South are paying the more; all covered with blood & tears as he is. I have not received the package you sent me by [illegible] yet. Willie has it, & he has not yet joined the army. It is a great disappointment to me, [illegible] of Genl. Beauregard’s staff, promised to get it for me but he has not so far. My bundle is with the S.C. Relief Society at Macon. What was in it? It will be a long time before I get your answer to this question. Well, my darling Lottie, it will be some time before I get a chance to write again.

[Page 3]
We cross the Tenn. Tomorrow or the day after, & I think we will march on Nashville. If Sherman follows us we may have to give him battle, in which event our Generals confidently expect to beat him. If he evacuates Atlanta & Rome & Georgia, we will have gained the object of our campaign. May God grant it.

My health continues very good. I send you in this $20 which is a small sum to send you, my darling wife, but I send all I have. I have been obliged to buy a horse. Hardtimes & my brown horse have both failed. I have walked a good deal on our march. Tell Frank Pa names his new horse Woodfire, after Grandpa’s fine [illegible] horse he used to ride & drive in Anderson. I gave $19[00] for Woodfire. I hope he may take me safely into Tenn. Let one know, my darling Lot, how you are off for money. I want you to write a note to Mr. [illegible], at my request, to say that he need not send me the books named by the Bishop, as I can’t possibly study on this campaign. When I wrote for them at Jonesboro, I had no idea of this active campaign. I hope, my precious one, that you will receive this letter in good time, & that those sent you from [illegible words], Cedar Town, Gadsden & Decatur (six, including this) have arrived safely. If I get a chance while in Tenn. I will not omit to write to you, my dearest. If I get a letter from you before I leave Tuscumbia I will acknowledge it by telegram. I will write to Dr. Maxwell at Macon

[Page 4]
and get him to take care of my bundle for me. Maxwell is now a surgeon in one of the hospitals at Macon – Fair Grounds Hospital No. 2. I send you a note from him to read, which I rec’d by hand today.

I must say farewell my dear Lottie. This absence is painful to me, my precious wife, but my hope is in God. He doeth all things well. Kiss my little ones for me my Lottie, & give much love to the family. May God keep & bless you.

With all my heart, my own dear wife,

Your devoted

[Fragment from another undated letter]

[Page 1]

3rd Page

lose their votes (which are the principal votes) & yet have the appearance of being defeated, for I have no idea that I was elected by the vote of the people at home, though Bowie showed me my name on eight tickets in the Courier of the 8th inst. I desire it to be understood that the nomination was made without my knowledge, & came too late to be either withdrawn by me, or to meet the vote of my friends in the army. Besides, it is a line of duty inconsistent with my purpose for the future. If I should have been elected though, I will endeavor to be serviceable in that capacity. [Illegible], who has been to hospital, has just come in, & reports [illegible] on the way with a bundle & letter for me. I will write you again when he delivers them, my darling,

[Page 2]
and make two letters for you, by different hands, so that if you miss one, you may get the other.

Goodbye, my dear Lottie. My health is excellent. I have no time for study, & barely time to read my prayer book night & morning. Kiss my dear little ones for me. Much love to the family.

May God keep & bless you, my precious wife, & hasten the time of our reunion.

Your devoted


Capers, Ellison, 1837-1908, “Letter from Ellison Capers to his wife Lottie, November 1 and 2, 1864,” The Citadel Archives Digital Collections, accessed June 21, 2024, https://citadeldigitalarchives.omeka.net/items/show/512.