Letter from William Carden to William Beasley
from the Carden Collection of Hunter Library, Western Carolina University.
Note: William Carden (married to Mary Alice Childers) was brother-in-law to Elijah and Nimrod Childers). William Beasley
was brother-in-law to Elijah's wife Lucinda (married to her sister, Rhoda Guilliams).
Text (edited, with punctuation, for clarity and ease of reading while retaining most of the original spelling and expression):
Pocahantus County V.A. Camp Lee oct 6th 1861 (Now WV, near Warm Springs)
I seat my self this morning to let you know that I am sharing a reasonable portion of health at this time. I hope these few
lines may come to hand and find you the same. We are wating [here] for a movement of some sort or nother. Our genrel
has gone with the most of our army to assist Wise. They have had sevrel fights sence our Army has gained the victory.
Evry time, they have killed and taken prisners - large [numbers]. Jackson has [wiped] them out on Cheat Mountain.
We are kep hear on the acount of [sickness]. We are lisning for a call every day. There was only 30 men in our company
this morning able for service. Our redgment has done most all the service thats ben done in this army. It has went before,
all the time. We was at Valley Mountain one month before we had any help. When we had our little fight we was in front and
center. [Two companies] flanked on the left while our company and the Buncom company flanked on the rite.
We was kept there 5 days. The fire was kept up nearly all the time. They fired on us with there cannons. Throwed a few
burns. They done no good. We fought their picets
11 miles. Run them in to their trenches. Taken [some] provisins, some of arms.
While we was engaged our officers was looking round and saw their condition. Genrel Lee said he could take them with the
loss of 1000 men but he said he would not give 500 men for Northwestern Va; so he called off his men and quit the drive.
This country is well situated for wood and water though very coald. We have plenty to eat such as flour bacon pork and
beef sugar & coffee rice. We have plenty of clothing; we have had 2 suits of uniform & a good overcoat and can get more if
we want them. Shoes is hard to get.
I will tell you a little joke about 2 Irish. We had some Irish out on picet. One of them went into a potato patch to get some
potatos. When he got there there was another. They did not know but what they boath belonged to the same army. After
they got ready to start our Irish said to the other - what redgment do you belong too. He said the 7th Indiannah. Faith and
be Jasus and you are my prisner. So they went at it. After A long fist and skull fight, he fetch him in and he is now at
Richmond where we send all our prisners.
We Are now blockading the road. Tom is overseeing a company of Irish. He gits extry pay.
Crops is good in this country. All the way we came though they rais but very little.
About [here], we had A good sermond today, delivered by the Rev Wm Hicks, for the first I have heard since I left home.
The text was this: therfore be sober and watch unto prayer, for the end of All things is at hand. The congragation give good
attention. We will have preaching from this time on.
We have lost all hopes of peace. We dont expect [peace] untill we get it by the mouth of the cannon. The malitia has all ben
called out here long ago. We expect some hard fighting to do and if we do I hope we will whip the yankees every time. That
is what we came hear to do and if we dont do it we will be disappointed. There is no doubt but this will [be] a protracted
war. If it is, them that comes first will fare the best. We can be at home when others will have to take our place. It is true it is
harde that wives and husbands should be separated but it cannot be [holp]. I often think of the time when I could be at
home with my dear wife and sweet little baby. It was more pleasure to me than every thing besides, but I am deprived of that
enjoyment now though I hope it will not be long tell I shall see them [again].
Whille I was writing it begane to rain and wet the paper. I fear you cant read it.
I cannot tell where we will take up winter quarters yet. If we get neer the railroad I will come home. If not, I will as soon as my
time is out.
Larks boys is well as comman. Nem is in the hospittle though he is on the mend. Lige is not able for duty.
Jackson and the yankees had another fight yesterday. I have not heard how they made it. We heard the fight they was
[fighting]. While I was writing this letter we have heard Wise and them fight sevral times.
I could tell you many things about the war if I had time, but as I have not I must shortly come to a close. I want you to write to
me. Fail not give me all the news of the country.Then I will write to you.Give my best respects to Will. Tell him I would be
glad to see him but dont know when that time will come. I send howdy to Aunt Nance and you allso. So I will close my
scattered remarks. Nothing More At present.
Remains yours &c Wm Beezley
Wm B. Carden october 7th 1861
This version edited by Dwight Childers, 28 September 2012
Source of the original documents: