Camp Cumming, Mobile, Alabama – February 22, 1863

Inverted at top of page:  We have named our Camp for our General.  The 18th Regt. is camped near the residence of Miss Evans + in compliment to her call their “Camp Beulah.”1

“Camp Cumming” Mobile, Ala. Feby 22nd. 63

My Dear Wife,

Your half sheet of Jany 30. came to hand this morning, after having been sent to Ft. Gaines by mistake.2 The Col (Smith)3 + half the Regt is at the Fort. The Liut Col (Aderhold)4 + the other half are attached to Brig Genl. Cumming’s5 Brigade, which consists of the 18th, 36th, 38th Ala Regts. + our Battalion of Ga Vol. The 36th is the Regt to which our brother McLemore was attached.6  The more I hear of him the more I love his memory + regret that I was never acquainted with him. We can ill spare such men as all represent him to have been.  Poor Em! I sigh when ever I think of her. Col Smith commands the Regt. + Tom Herndon is Major.  There are several of my old friends in it.  The Col married Tom’s Sister Helen + lives in the city.  Toms wife came down from Eutaw a few days ago, to stay at her sister in laws, she says till the war is over.  She reports all well in Eutaw. Enoch is going to join Wheeler Cavalry.7 

What a whale Mollie has grown to be!

I met her + Helen yesterday evening at Review.

What a whale Mollie has grown to be! I met her + Helen yesterday evening at Review.  I wish you could be here + see the whole Brigade drill + manueuver. It is a great place to see the pretty women.  Helen looks faded + is still proud + aristocratic, very careful to observe all the minutiae of etiquette, I was amused at her marking + criticising little incongruities of dress in the other ladies.  The colour of a ribon, the trimming of a hat +c like Mrs Wigfall8 + the bride in black silk stockings, things that I never thought of for five minutes in my life, + know less of than you do of the “School of the Soldier.”  Tom has a [goodeal?] of this “propper propriety.”  If you could have heard + seen us, you would have hurt yourself laughing at me.  I looked on + laughed + agreed with her of course in every thing.  I thought of the time I went to court her + congratulated myself that I didn’t. Mollie is the same thoughtless frivolous creature, only changed in size.  She weighs about 200 lbs very tall.  They were both glad to see me, + treated me very kindly.  Mrs S sent me an invitation to dine with her to day, but I was too lazy to walk half a mile + besides I abominate these set dinners, especially on Sunday, not that I am so extremely pious but I hate the form + ceremony all empty as they are usually.  So I did not go to dine.

Mollie enquired particularly for you + the children.  They pitied you + wished you were situated as they are.  So we could be together.  You ask if I think there is a prospect of Peace?  Sometimes I do dear, but the “wish is father to the thought.” 9   I base my hopes on the extensive + growing dissatisfaction in the north west.  If the reports from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio + Kentucky are not greatly exaggerated, those states are nearly ripe for Secession.  If they should seceed + join us or Set up on their own hook + make a treaty offensive + defensive with us, it would weaken the old Concern so much that we could soon bring them to our own terms.  But as long as the present Administration has the power it will continue the war, be aprised of that.  There is some little excitiment here just now.  It is said by the knowing ones that the Yankee demonstrations in the neighbourhood of Charleston + Savanah are only a first, that Mobile is to be attacked in a very few days.  This is all surmise though.  In the mean time we are cool + calm + will give them the best we have,

You ask me about Mrs SiVert + her daughter.  My dear child I dont know any more about Mobile Society than you do. I have not even hunted up Dr Bill Taylor yet.  I was never one of Mrs SiVerts admirers.  I never fancied her sort.  I think She is pretty well played out.  Miss Evans The author of Beulah,10 from what I can hear is the great toast among the young officers.  Though I am speaking with out knowing.  I never go out among the women There are a great many very pretty ones here, but I dont want to marry or  __ any of them. + I would rather have the itch for the same length of time than to try to entertain one of your fashionable women,  I have thought several times I would call on Miss Evans But I expect she is spoiled + I would come away mad with myself + her too.  I spend most of my leisure reading, books are plenty here, + I would rather read as Uncle Peter says, after such a writer as Macaulay11 than to see all the gossips in Mobile.  There is no getting into mischief when I am reading.  If I associated with the women too much I might get in the fix that many of the boys are that do.  Sell the colt Polly or any of the rest that you think best.  Do what ever you think is best about every thing.  I have not received Timmys letter tell him to give me the date of his discharge.  I received your fifty dollars + scolded you for sending it but took care not to send it back to you for fear it would get lost.  Love to all your afft Alex

Postscript inverted top of pages 4, then 3 and 2.

I saw one of our Leiutenants yesterday + he told me Joe was well + he would Soon get a transfer in spite of Handly.  If so he will be at home soon.  Cant you fix some trick to get your friend Reuben out.  You seem anxious to get him off to the war.  Does he take on much about the baby? You did not say what they had named it

The Letter:

Click on images to enlarge

  1. August Jane Evans.
  2. Fort Gaines is located on the tip of Dauphin Island, Alabama and is best known for its role in the Battle of Mobile Bay, August 1864.
  3. Col. George A. Smith.
  4. Lt. Col. Jacob Wilson Aderhold
  5. Alfred Cumming. In October, 1862, while recovering from a wound received at Sharpsburg, then Col. Cumming was promoted to brigadier-general. On returning to duty he was assigned to command of an Alabama brigade stationed at Mobile, where he remained until ordered to join the army of Tennessee on April 15, 1863.
  6. Philip B. McLemore married to Alex Morgan’s sister, Emma.
  7. Joseph “Fightin’ Joe” Wheeler was the commander of cavalry for the Army of Tennessee.
  8. Charlotte Maria Cross Wigfall, wife of Confederate General and Senator Louis Trezevant Wigfall.
  9. Proverb based on a line from Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part II, Act IV, Scene 5
  10. Photograph of Augusta Jane Evans.
  11. Thomas Babington Macaulay, an influential English historian and essayist.