15 December 1862: “It is my painful duty to write you a few lines informing you of the death of your son, cousin Benjamin N. Long.”

Item description: Letter, 15 December 1862, from James W. Jones to his uncle John Long informing him of the death of his son, Benjamin N. Long.

The Long family of Alamance County, N.C., included John Long and Letitia R. Long and their sons John A. Long, Benjamin N. Long, and Jacob Long. The three sons served in the Confederate army and all were apparently killed in action by the end of 1862.


Item citation: From the Long Family Papers, #3269-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

Camp near Fredericksburg, Va.

(Monday) Decr. 15th 1862.

Dear Uncle John:

It is my painful duty to write you a few lines informing you of the death of your son, cousin Benjamin N. Long. He was killed in a charge last Saturday evening near the Rail Road. I happened to find him yesterday evening sunday, just as they were going to bury him, so I got a board & cut his name on it, at his head & feet. He was shot in the head and killed immediately, so the poor fellow died I reckon without much pain. A young man named W.J. McRay helped to bury him in a grave with 7 other poor fellows by Lt. Hall. I held prayer over them. I am acting Chaplain to my Regt. 3rd Arkansas, now & don’t have to fight, thank God. I heard the Artillery & musketry, such as I never heard before. The Enemy was driven back finally with great slaughter. They commenced crossing (Thursday morning) had a dispirate fight opposite town 3 or 4 miles above, that in the R.R. Saturday also. Gen. Cook was wounded in the head, drove the Yankees back with great slaughter & killed great many of our men too.

We are looking hourly for the fight to come off. They say the valley below town is black with the Yankees this morning. Oh! may the Lord save us, and put a stop to such cruel horrors. You may know that I was sorry for poor Ben, when I found him; but we can’t help these horrors, and must try to be resigned to the will of God. I know it will almost kill poor Aunt Letty, may God give us grace to sustain us in these troubles.

My love to all the family & to aunt Betty [M?] & family. I don’t know where [Tad?] is I heard Jim was dead.

Very truly yours,

James W. Jones
Chaplain to 3rd Ark. Regt. Vol.

P.S. – I am going to write them today, haven’t heard from home, in a good while.

J.W. Jones 


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