Sunday, September 18, 2011

Civil War Letters of David A. Whitehorn

This is one of two letters written by David A. Whitehorn dated February 17, 1863. The copies of these letters were donated several years ago to our local Brown County Historical Society. I ran across these letters last year and as far as I know they have never been published. The originals at the time were in the possession of John Whitehorn. They were written by David A. Whitehorn Jr. and sent to his parents, David Allen and Amy Whitehorn, and to his brother, Elijah Douston Whitehorn. They were badly worn and some of the writing is illegible, but here is the transcription of the first letter.

Camp near Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Feb. 17th A.D. 1863

Dear Father and Mother,
I now take my pen in hand to let you know that I am well and hearty and to sincerely hope and trust that those few lines may find you and family all well and doing well. I received your kind and welcome letter on the 14th of this month bearing date February 7th. I was glad to hear from you and to hear that you was all well except Caroline. I was heavy heart to read your letter when I came to the part that told me of the death of my beloved little sister. But there is one thing that consoles me and this is this I know she is gone to rest for God has said in his holy word to Suffer the little children to come unto me for of such is the kingdom of God. She was called in her infancy, I hope I may be as well prepared as she. I intend to try to meet her where parting will be no more and war will never come. I want you to write and tell me what ailed her and how long she was sick. But little did I think when I left home the last time that I would never be permitted to see her on earth. It surprised me to hear of her death, but we all have to go. She has paid the debt that we all have to pay sooner or later.

I will now tell you that I have just returned off of a scout, we were gone from camp for 14 days. We had a hard time and last night we were on picket and it rained all night and such a muddy night you never saw as we were. I have no strange war news to write to you. We were in camp and I don’t see any sign of moving soon. I hope that peace will soon be made so I can return and see all of you that were still on the land and among the living. I still hope that they will be waiting for me when our Congress takes their seat. I will hope for the better if I never see it. I will write a few lines to Lige. He told me in your letter that he was not very well but I hope that those few lines may find him enjoying the best of health. He wanted me to let him know how the President’s Proclamation set well. He will have to guess at that for I am bound head and foot and cannot leap an inch. You all know what is the matter for it is death to speak disrespectful of the President or any of his cabinet. You know what I think of it.

I must soon close. I want you to send me some more postage stamps and I will pay you well for them. I will say in conclusion that I expect to draw my pay in a few days. I think I will get 4 months pay and if I do I will send 60 or 65 dollars home this time. I want you to write soon and give me all the news that is going at present. Still I remain your dear brother until death. So fare you well.

David A. Whitehorn to Allen Whitehorn and E. D. Whitehorn

P. S. I understand that since I parted with you last Fall that a dear daughter from you and a dear sister from me Christ dost call. Father and Mother do not mourn her troubles are over, her crown are won, and you by faith must soon follow on. When I last left home her eyes were sparkling with her cheeks like the rose were in full bloom and they now lay moulding in the silent tomb. I hope that I may be justifiable before Christ to stand that I may ___ .


Lisa Swanson Ellam said...

Rhonda: What a beautiful letter! Thank you for sharing. Did David survive the war?

Rhonda said...

Unfortunately David didn't survive the war which makes his letters so much more worth saving and sharing.