6 August 1863: “I want some peaches very much but cannot get them. W.G. Parker is dead. He was shot in the head and died at Winchester.”

Item description: Letter, dated 6 August 1863, from Francis W. Bird to his sister, discussing casualties, recent campaigns, and the accuracy of newspaper accounts.

Bird enlisted in the Confederate Army on 1 May 1861 in Bertie County, N.C., as a Second Lieutenant. He was commissioned into the 1st Infantry Regiment (North Carolina). This regiment, also known as the “Bethel Regiment,” was organized in Raleigh in May 1861. They fought at the Battle of Big Bethel, then served in the Army of the Peninsula near Yorktown. On 12 November 1861, the unit disbanded and returned to North Carolina. Many of the men transferred to the 11th North Carolina Regiment. Francis Bird was commissioned into the the C Company of the 11th Infantry on 22 February 1862, and by April 1864 had been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. He was wounded on 25 August 1864 at Reams Station, Va., and died of his wounds on 26 August.

[Transcription available below images.]

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Item Citation: From folder 2 of the Robert Winston papers (#2369), Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Orange Court house Va.
Aug. 6th 1863

Dear Sister

Since I last wrote we have moved about sixteen miles toward Richmond and at present are at the above named place. When I saw the article in the Richmond paper to which you allude I feared it might be taken for Pettigrews Brigade. The article said Pettigrews Command — meaning Heths Division. Heth was wounded and Pettigrew in charge of the whole division. We went into our fight of the 3rd in the following division arrangement. Our division is composed of Archers, a Tennessee Brigade Davis’s a mississippi Brokenborrughs’ (formerly Heths’ own) but now Walkers a Virginia and Pettigrews, Archer was on the right Pettigrew next to Davis’s next and Walkers last. The left of our line is the part charged with backing and they did break before the right. So says Genl. Pettigrew I heard him say so several times. The papers you see are mostly filled with articles written by men entirely ignorant of even the position of Brigades much less Regts. I thought at one time I would write an article telling the exact truth as things occurred but I care nothing about it, and want no newspaper fame. I received a letter from Dr. David T. Tayloe yesterday congratulating me on my “safety and gallant conduct which offorded the much pleasure to my many friends in the Old North State.” Now I am entirely in the dark as to the meaning of it. I have seen no paper in which I have been spoken of. I have heard nothing of my praise, or to my credit nor have I heard my name spoken of at all. If anything flattering to me has been said I would like to hear of it, and if written read it. I do not see a State paper any more than if in China! I would also like to see the article written by Mr. Winston. I have a pretty painful bile on my face just under my right eye.

Write soon.

Your brother


Love to all — I want some peaches very much but cannot get them. W.G. Parker is dead. He was shot in the head and died at Winchester. I will have published in the Standard in a few days the list of Casualties.


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