31 March 1863: “A man in the 23rd NC deserted to the Yankees on picket…”

Item Description: Letter, of 31 March 1863, from F.J. Haywood Jr.  The letter is addressed to “My Dear Captain” and relates bits of camp gossip and chatter about the sighting of a “Yankee Balloon,” a desertion across enemy lines, and the weakness of a certain general officer.

  [Transcription available below images.]


Item Citation: From Folder 14 in the John McRae Papers #477, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Item Transcription:

Camp 5th N. C. I. near Guineas
Station Va. March 31st 1863
My Dear Captain
            I received your letter two days
ago, but have had no opportunity to re-
ply sooner.  When Col Garrett received
your letter enclosed to me he wrote
to Brookfield immediately, but has re-
ceived no reply yet; he received a let-
ter from Brookfield, however stating
that he had had some conversation
with you relative to an exchange and
wishing to know if it would be agrea-
ble to him.  Col Garrett has not yet re-
plied but will do so immediately and
when Brookfield sends his application
will forward both together and affirm
and recommend the exchange.  West
saw Brookfield in Richmond and  says that
he seemed quite anxious for the exchange.
Your application was not endorsed and fold-
ed, as they are required to be in this army, but
I suppose it will be forwarded without dif-
     Fred Fetter passed here yesterday with a
number of conscripts for Penders Brigade
and seemed very much delighted with his
trip to the A.N.V. because he saw a
yankee balloon about a mile off he says
he never saw anything of the kind before.
he halted his detachment near Col Garretts
quarters in order to get a fair view of it.
The old men of the Regt collected around
his detachment making all kinds of rem-
arks about the conscripts and when they
found out what Fred had halted for
they thought him the most verdant
man they had seen in many days-
I think the campaign will open
in a few days.  We have had orders to
send all heavy baggage to the rear, and to
prepare for the Spring campaign, and to
have everything in readiness to move by the
firstof April.  I was on picket yesterday
on the Rappahannock, but did not notice
anything unusual among the yankee pickets;
their pickets and areas are only separated
by the river.  Theirs on one bank and ours
on the other, all conversation and exchange
of papers between  the pickets has been
prohibited by Genl Lee.  A man in the
23rd NC deserted to the Yankees on picket
Two or three days [ago], and the Yankees raised a
great howl of Triumph over him.
There is no news of any kind, except
Preparations for a vigorous campaign,
an offensive one probably.  I forgot to
mention that Genl Edward Johnston
of Western Va notoriety will probably be
our Major General.  I think our Brigadier
a very slow coach (entre nous).  If you wish
to write to Brookfield his address is Genl
Hospital No. 10, Richmond Va.  If you know
any one that is coming to this Brigade or Div
sion, I wish you would let my mother
know, so that she can send me some
things that she has for me.  If you
have any time to share, I will be very glad
to hear from you at anytime.
Very truly your friend,
F.J. Haywood Jr.
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