4 March 1864: “now and then you could see the blood in their tracks as they marched along.”

Item Description: Letter, 4 March 1864, from James Augustus Graham to his mother. Graham was a resident of Hillsborough, N.C., and an officer in Company G (Orange Guards), 27th North Carolina Infantry Regiment, Confederate States of America.

[Item transcription available below images]

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Item Citation: From folder 3 of the James Augustus Graham Papers #283Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Camp 27th NoCa Inf’y
March 4th 1864

My dear Mother

I arrived at camp Sunday evening safe and sound. I did not lose Mrs. Anderson or any of her baggage on the trip.

There is a great deal more pleasure in travelling with a lady now-a-days than I thought and I think that hereafter I shall always try to find a lady to travel with as I can then get a seat all the way.

We have had a pretty rough time since I returned but I hope that we will now rest for a while. Monday night we received orders to cook up rations and be ready to march at a moments warning. About 3 o’clock Tuesday morning we left camp and started for Liberty Mills on the Rapid Ann River. It was sleeting very fast when we left camp and seemed to be but the beginning of a regular sleet and snowstorm.

About 9 o’clock we passed Liberty Mills and continued the march on the turnpike to Madison C.H. and pretty soon we heard heavy cannonading in front and on our left. About 1 or 2 o’clock when within 4 miles of Madison CH a courier came dashing back and ordered Lt. Col Whitfield com’d’g our Brigade to face his brigade about and march it back immediately. I then expected to see the enemy coming in our rear or flanking us by a road that we had passed about a mile back. Our Brigade was in the rear of the whole column and therefore were in front when we turned back. We were marched very rapidly back to the cross roads and were then stopped to wait for orders after having put one Reg’t on picket. We did not receive any further orders and remained at this place all night. The rain and sleet had continued all day and when night came it commenced to hail and then to snow. It snowed for about and hour and then cleared of about 11 o’clock. 

It was terribly cold and you may be sure we slept very little that night. My overcoat and blanket which had got wet during the day froze hard and next morning I had to thaw out. About 8 o’clock the next morning- Wednesday- we started for camp and reached there that evening pretty well worn out, and you may be sure we took a good sleep that night. I saw men on that march barefooted without the least sign of a shoe and now and then you could see the blood in their tracks as they marched along. I don’t see how they could possibly stand it, but they kept along pretty well.

The object of our march, so far as I know, was to cut off a party of yankee cavalry that had started on a raid to Charlottesville and to drive their infantry support from Madison C.H. but they all fell back before us across Robertson river. Our Cavalry had several little fights with them but I believe that there was but little damage done to either side. I was in hope that we would rest when that tramp was over, but yesterday evening- Thursday- we received orders to report at Richmond as soon as possible. We took the train at 3 o’clock and started at full speed for Richmond, but when we reached Gordonsville we were ordered back to camp as Richmond was safe. We reached camp about 11 o’clock last night. I dont know how long it will be before they have us going somewhere else, but hope that they will let us rest now. We have any quantity and all sorts of rumors in camp concerning the fights about Richmond, but can hear nothing reliable. I expect you know more about what is being done about Richmond than we do for I have not seen a paper since Saturday and we have had no mail at all since Monday.

I wish you would send my gloves as soon as you can get them done for I have almost entirely worn out my others, also please send me 2 pr half soles for both prs of my boots need half-soleing and I can have them fixed in camp if I can get the leather. You can send these things by Tom [Whisted?] who will be coming to camp about the 10th or 12th inst. Please tell brother Joe that I got his overcoat from the Ballard House in Richmond. I believe that I have written all the news that I know. Love to all. Write soon to

Your affectionate Son

James A. Graham

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