Bridgeport, Alabama – July 2, 1863

Bridgeport, Ala.  July 2nd, 1863. 

My dear Wife

In my last letter I was telling you how comfortably I was fixed up at the sulphur Springs.  Well we were just begining to enjoy ourselves when orders came to hurry back to Bridgeport as it was threatened by the rascally yanks.  I had a rough trip of it over the mountains.  I got back safe but tired + foot sore day before yesterday.  I am perfectly satisfied with the mountains, too lazy to climb + the rascally roads dont suit me.  We caught about 20 deserters + it was said the boys shot + hung several more but I was not present + suspect they were just joking.  I found your letter of May 28. + was rejoiced to hear that you were all well + at work.  That is right, just keep that way + I will be easy about you all.  If I could just get a letter once a week I could get along.  

As soon as this frolick is over here I am coming home if I have to resign.  I could make myself useful in the state service.  Every thing here is in confusion.  We heard yesterday that 10,000 Yanks were on the way to burn the R.R. Bridge here + we are looking for them every minute.  Bragg has fallen back from Tullahoma with his whole Army.  Rosecrans Army out numbers his 3 to one + he flanked him on both sides + Bragg had to fall back or be surrounded.  Bragg is reported to have said he would not cross the Tenn river without a fight.  We are completely in the dark.  Bragg wont tell any of his plans.  + no body seems to know where the dutch man is or what he is after, or where he is.  We will find out I reckon before long.  I saw a man yesterday just from the great center of interest Vicksburg. + I wish I could feel as easy about the place as he says he is.  He says there is not the least danger of the yank ever taking the place.  If we can hold that place + Port Hudson permanently it will render the Mississippi River entirely useless to the Yanks.1 But I reckon you are better posted about matters there than I am.  I have some hope of European recognition now.  More than I have had for some time past.  I got a letter from Joe to day acknowledging the receipt of the $50.00 I sent him some time ago. He is in Johnstons Army not far from Jackson. in fine health + spirits.  We are all wondering why Johnston dont attack Grant.  I reckon he is the best judge of that matter.  Johnston has the reputation of being a very able + brave  man but very cautious.  The news from Va is very encouraging.  Lee is reported advancing through Pa.  Ewell with Jacksons old Corps was in Harrisburg the Capitol of the State at last accounts2 A great many are in favour of changing our policy + making it an aggressive instead of a defensive war from this out. I like the idea if we had the men, but the enemy out number us too much I fear.

I get your letters so irregularly that I dont keep the connection.  You hint at matters in one that you have written fully about in another that has not come to hand + I have to guess how they are.  

If I should never return + you marry some fine rich old fellow, as you should do, make that one of the conditions that my children be thorroughly educated.  Will you?

A portion of Wheelers Cavalry was badly cut up a few days ago in a fight in Shelbyville but I have not seen a list of the killed + wounded.3  Enoch belongs to his division.  Old Jo is with me still + in fine health but is getting very tired of the war.  he thinks we ought both to have a furlough to go + see our wives, what do you think of it?  Dont let Pet forget me. tell her I will come home one of these days to stay.  Keep the dear bratts at their books as much as you can without tiring them out.  remember they must be educated some how or other.  If I should never return + you marry some fine rich old fellow, as you should do, make that one of the conditions that my children be thorroughly educated.  Will you?  In the mean time take the best care you 
(Inverted at top of  letter pages) can of your dear self for I have no idea of having you a widow if I can help it.  I am hopeful enough to look forward to many years yet of happiness with you, + the children. the bratts as a matter of course, will leave us after a while, but we must live on together. I think this separation will be of great benefit to us.  we will know how to appreciate one another better.

Tell Ma I am glad she loves me for I have loved her almost as well as my own [meaning?] Tell Bristow + the boys I want to come home before long + I want to see a fine crop + every thing in good order.  Are you giving Timmy any medicine now?  You ought to have cured or killed him by this time.  How are you off for medicine?  Some articles are very scarce in the army.  I hope you wont have much use for it at home 
Remember me kindly to all the kin + friends + believe me till we meet your own Alex


The Letter:

  1. Port Hudson, Louisiana was the site of the longest siege in American history.  Here 7,500 Confederates resisted some 40,000 Union soldiers for 48 days. Control of the Mississippi River was a key military objective for both the Union and the Confederacy.
  2. The Battle of Gettysburg was fought July 1-3, 1863, as this letter was written. Between 46,000 and 51,000 soldiers from both armies were casualties in the three-day battle.
  3. On June 27, 1863 the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry attacked Gen. Wheeler’s troops at Shelbyville, capturing four pieces of artillery and driving Wheeler’s Cavalry into the Duck River. This battle was part of the larger Tullahoma Campaign.