23 September 1864: “the officers are blamed more than the men were”

Item Description: Letter dated 23 September 1864 written by John H. Speed to his daughter Kate(?). Speed was a member of Company G, 3rd North Carolina Cavalry Regiment (also called the 41st Regiment, North Carolina Troops). During September 1864, Speed’s company was on picket duty in Virginia, guarding the Petersburg and Weldon Railroad.


Item Citation: Folder 1, in the Edmondson and Speed Civil War Papers, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Camp 3a NC Calvary

Barringn’s Brigade

Hampton Corps Calvary

Sept 23rd 1864

My dear daughter,

Yesterday was a happy one to me considering where I am. I received your dear Mothers letter of the 14th Sept. I am in hopes that your health continues good also your brothers & still enjoying the same blessing my health so far continues good. Tell your mother that nothing so far has been done in the way of punishment to the company they have retrieved the lost character– if they even lost any– the subject is a mooted question, a majority- and a very large one of the regiment consider that the few done no more than the service requires, and self preservation dictated I think that the officers are blamed more than the men were.

It is distressing news to learn that you uncle Alan is at last compelled to go in service but I hope that he will be enabled to get his detail extended for I do not know what gain mother will do for help if he is compelled to go away. I can only hope for the best, remember me kindly to your Aunts, Mr Grimes and the rest of those who think enough as to ask after me– There is to be a detail from this regiment to pick Fodder on the Roanoke River. I am trying my best to get in the ? so that I can have the pleasure of seeing you once more. Tell your mother that cannon firing of such daily occurrences in the vicinity that we hardly notice one days firing from another. Yesterday morning at sunrise the enemy charged into Petersburg but were repulsed with heavy loss. The big fight is looked for daily and when it does take place it will be a big one, also tell your Mother that they have not paid me off since my last so soon as it is done I will do as I stated that I would do for I know it will be of great help to her. Tell Johnnie that I am looking for a letter from him kiss Charlie & Kate for me– and I will pay you back I hope at some future day not far off, ask your Mother if she received a Jacket and towel by J White when ever she can get a chance she can send me the towel back for I have to use the one which I have left for a pocket half give my love to your dear mother tell her not to feel slighted– I will write to her in a few days. I would be pleased to hear from you at your earliest convenience + believe me yours

affectionate + loving father,

John H Blessed

PS Genl Rhodes is killed- in the valley- his remains have been brought to Richmond the valley army is suffering– the enemy is heading in that direction.

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