Bridgeport, Alabama – May 15, 1863

Bridgeport, Ala. May 15, 1863.

My Dear Wife

No letter from you yet, + no prospect of one.  I am getting very impatient for a few lines. We are still at this point but under orders to be ready to march at a moments warning.  Last night we got orders to cook 3 days provisions + be ready.  The day has passed quietly.  This evening we got orders to cook 4 days provisions + be ready to take the camp [?] for Tullahoma at any time.  There are a great many rumors of what is to be soon, but I dont think worth while to write any of them One would think from the constant + rapid movements of troops that there was something on hand.  We have it to day that “Rosecrans has been ordered to Va to take Hookers1 place + that Burnsides2 takes his place here, + Bragg will bring on the fight at once +c” all guess work dear. There is not a word from the front to day. 

I have not seen a statement of the Yankees, but it is said to be very heavy.  If it had been ten times as great it would not satisfy me for the loss of Jackson.

We are still getting the particulars of the late fight in Va.3  It turns out a heavier affair than I thought from Genl Lees modest dispatch.  It was one of the most desperate + bloody battles of the war.  Our killed alone were over 900, + with the wounded + prisoners our loss is near 9000.  I have not seen a statement of the Yankees, but it is said to be very heavy.  If it had been ten times as great it would not satisfy me for the loss of Jackson.4 old Stonewall was killed accidentally by his own men, I was reading to day an account of his funeral in Richmond,5 + was struck with the contrast between the life + death of him + Van Dorn6 another of our Genl killed recently.  Jackson died honoured loved + mourned by the whole nation + left a name + fame for his latest posterity to be proud of.  A Christian patriot.  How died the other?  Shot as men do a wolf or other dangerous wild beast.  the fame of his brilliant military career dimmed + clouded by the guilt of his sudden + melancholy end. Just now we not in a condition to spare Genls but I say let all such as Van Dorn go as he did + the sooner the better.  His best friends + greatest admirers are without an apology for him.

I see by the papers that we are having a lively time in our state, how I do wish I was over there in hearing distance of you.  I comfort myself with the reflection that a few more months will close the war.  I cant give you any advice about home matters.  So you must think + act as you think best about every thing.  I hope that before long matters will change so that I can get to see you all again Old Jo has been sick with Dystentery for a week yesterday I sent him out in the country for a change.  Continue to write.  I am now in Jacksons Brigade.7  Direct to Bridgeport.8 Alex

I will write regularly + keep you posted as well as I can.  Take good care of your dear self + babies + may GoD bless you your own Alex.

The Letter:

  1. Maj. Gen. Joseph “Fighting Joe” Hooker.
  2. Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside.
  3. The Battle of Chancellorsville.
  4. Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson
  5. Stonewall Jackson’s body was brought to Richmond to lie in state prior to being removed to Lexington, Virginia for burial. Articles from the Richmond newspapers at that time are here.
  6. Gen. Earl Van Dorn was killed on May 7, 1863 by Dr. James B. Peters for having an affair with Peters’ wife. Stonewall Jackson, by contrast, was a deeply religious man who loved his wife dearly.
  7. Brig. Gen. John King Jackson.
  8. See map.