21 May 1863: “I have seen the battle field of Chancelorsville and I am inclined to think that it has been greatly exaggerated…”

Item description: Letter, 21 May 1863, from John A. Ramsay to Julius D. Ramsay.

John A. Ramsay of Salisbury, N.C., was captain of the Rowan Artillery, later Company D, 10th North Carolina Artillery Regiment, which served with the Army of Northern Virginia throughout the Civil War.

Julius D. Ramsay of Salisbury, N.C., was a cousin of John A. Ramsay. His wife was Margaret L. Beall of Salisbury. After the death of Julius D. Ramsay in 1864, Margaret married John A. Ramsay.

Item citation: From the John A. Ramsay Papers, #3534, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

Camp near Rapidan Station Orange & Alexandria R.R. Va.

May 21st 1863

Cousin Julius,
Dear Sir,

Yours of the 14th inst. was received to day, and it afforded me great pleasure to hear from you, and from home, was, in the broadest sense of the term correct. It seems as if I had almost seen some one who told me everything about home, when I have the pleasure of a letter from home. I must confess that my leave of absence has somewhat spoiled me, and I have a much greater desire to hear from home than before. When I was at home last fall, the time was so short, that I did not have my army habits much disturbed, but, a month at home made me feel very indifferent to leave. And I don’t suppose any one has any idea how strong the disposition to play truant was; and had it not been for the sense of duty to the State, and Confederate States; I am very sure that I would not have left home untill I had been ordered to do so. But that feeling is gradually wearing away, and I am endeavoring to make amends for absence by obtaining the news from home by every opportunity. There has just arrived an order in camp which brings myself and all the artillery officers up standing, and thinking; It has be the custom both in the Old Army, and in the Confederate Army, for the officers of Artillery to use the spare horses for saddle horses, but they are ordered to provide themselves with horses before we leave this camp, as all the extra horses have to be turned into the Quarter Master. Please inform me if there is any chance to get a horse any where in your knowledge that will not require a peck of Confed. treasury notes to pay for. I am not “proud,” now, as Cousin Maggie told me when at home; but will be willing to take a good strong horse, about medium size, and rather inclined to be what is termed pony built, Tell me in your next if there is one to be had.

I have seen the battle field of Chancellorsville and I am inclined to think that it has been greatly exaggerated there are a good many graves but it don’t begin to some up to what I have seen. Give my regards to Cousin Maggie and all my friends.

Yours truly,

J.A. Ramsay

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