Creator

Date Original

1861 September 26

Description

In this letter to his father, Elliot H. Fletcher, Jr., writes that his regiment is finally on the move and he writes of a deep desire among the men to see the Mississippi River again. He also expresses relief in marching further away from Missouri, where he believes the Confederacy has little support. As he is nearing Arkansas, he feels that he has re-entered civilization.

Biographical/Historical Note

Elliot H. Fletcher, Sr., was born in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 1805, the son of Thomas Clark and Susan Jouette Fletcher. He received training as a merchant and lawyer in Tennessee and went to Arkansas about 1836 to take a position with the new Real Estate Bank. In 1840, he moved to Mississippi County and settled on Mill Bayou where he built a large and prosperous plantation. In 1848 he was elected to the state House of Representatives from his county. He served in that position until 1852. At the beginning of the Civil War he raised and equipped the Fletcher Rifles. The unit was commanded by his elder son, Elliot H. Fletcher, Jr., and his other son, Thomas Fletcher, became a sergeant in the company. The Fletcher Rifles became a part of the 2nd Regiment of Arkansas Volunteers, and later Company C of the 18th Regiment of Arkansas Volunteers. Both of Fletcher's sons were killed at the Battle of Shiloh in April of 1862.

Transcription

[Page 1] In Camp on the Western crest of
Crowley's Reidge Arkansas 26th Sept
1861
My Dear Father
"Hindman's Legion" is at last on the
march to civilization, and, I hope, certain action -
We left "Camp Hardee" on last Monday morning,
following Cleburne, who left on the Wednesday
preceding. Our command is in fine health and
buoyant spirits - the Legion left in Hospital
at Camp Hardee about 100 men - We left 9 men -
making my company 50 strong, of fighting
men - McCroskey, Hearn, Luten, Tom Smith, and
Breedlove have been discharged since you
left - the company now seems as a new com-
mand entirely - the men seem contented,
seem to have a perfect confidence that their
"rights" are in safe hands and will be protec -
ted - then they want to see the Mississippi
River once more - it seems it inspire them
with renewed life - I confess that the idea
of seeing that dear old stream again gives
me renewed strength - and inspires me with
the hope and confidence that under that old
veteran, Genl Johnson we will have no more
retrograde movements to apologize for - and that
we may at the very least have quarters among
civilized people of some stripe or other -
By this time you have reached home - and I
hope after a safe, and as far as possible under the
existing circumstance, pleasant trip. I wrote you
by Mr Rye on the day before our departure from
Camp Hardee, and I told you then that we [Page 2] expected this command to move daily -
We started on Monday morning - it took us until
12 o clock to move the wagons and men across
the river - we then moved as far as Little Black
Next day we marched 15 miles, and within
4 miles of Black River. Next day we consumed
in the Tedious Task of crossing the river and made
on that account only 6 miles, encamping two miles
this side of the river on a cypress slough which
probably you will remember - Every man in
the Legion breathes freer and deeper tonight, now
that we haved crossed that much dreaded, and terrible
"leache bottom" - It is without doubt the worst road,
if the track which we traveled could be called a
road, that my eyes ever beheld - We marched 12 miles
Today - after a hard rain last light [sic] and following almost
immediately on the heels of Cleburne
Camp Corley - near
Clarkston Mo - 28th Sept.
My dear father -
I began the above expecting to send
it by Squire Thompson, who met us at the other side
of Crowley's Ridge, and as we have reached the point
where he leaves us I will finish this tonight to send
by him tomorrow - He promises to send it directly
to Mill Bayou upon arriving at home.
We reached here about 2 o clock this afternoon, a
distance of at least 18 miles being our days march -
we encamped last night a Chalk Bluffs - and expect
to be in Pt Pleasant by 10 a.m. Monday - My company
has the honor of leading the van on that day -
How long we will remain at Pt. Pleasant, or what our
our destination will be upon arriving there, no one [Page 3] can say - we hope to have time to recuperate our wearied
muscles and have the necessary inspections of accoutrements
etc before any decided move - We will have made this
entire march in 8 days - Cleburne doing the same in 10,
as we understand today, that he will reach the river
Tonight - Cols Lyon and Cross are but a few miles in
our rear - and Genl Hardee himself is but a short
distance behind us - By the way I have heard a
vague rumor through Adjt. Williams that the probabilities
are that Genl H will be ordered to the Potomac, there to
take charge of the Confederate Cavalry - I doubt it, but
such a thing is possible - you know what they have
done with Bragg - and why not apply the same rule to
others -
Col Bocage is in command of the "Legion" - Lt. Col. Mar-
maduke preceded us by one day with 3 companies, in
order to repair the roads as much as possible - leaving
us 13 companies -
How I rejoice at getting away from Pitman's Ferry!
The honest truth is, I want to live in a country, if I
must be mewed up in a camp of instruction, where one
can at least see at wooly head once in a while besides
officers servants - and Pitman's ferry is too close to
Missouri to be a permanent station - To make you
better understand one I don't relish a campaign
in that state - The masses are in a great measure
against us, and the ambitious young men seek our
camps in search of office - the "raid" up to Greenville
gave to the "Legion" a Lt. Col. of the Battalion, a Missourian,
a wagon-master for the Legion, do. and a second Lieut. for
Crumps company, all Missourians - they all seem
admirably qualified to fill their respective offices - but
I don't like to see men from a slave state put in
command over the gallant volunteers of a neighboring state [Page 4] when they themselves have utterly failed to arouse the patriot -
ism of their own people, and Arkansans have been at
the expense and trouble of collecting these volunteers -
You understood from Dick Johnson, that his brother
was appointed Major of the Battalion - he was wrong
in that - which you already know - But I'll give you
Capt. Johnson's account of the matter - Marmaduke
you are aware was appointed temporary Lt. Col. of Batt
at Greenville - and acted in that capacity when he
came to Pitman's Ferry - When Johnson came to Camp
Hardee he was was bearer of a letter to Genl Hardee
saying expressly, place Capt.
Johnson in command of the Battalion as Lt. Col.
and Lieut. Robt C. Newton as Major - and Genl.
H refused positively and point blank to do it -
Then Johnson made the speech which you have
heard of declining the office, but insisting that
Newton should be Major, which the Genl sternly
refused to accede to. Newton is a young man of
talent, for I have heard him give in his evidence
before a Court Martial on which I sat, and has
a military education to boot -
I object to these appointments of Missourians and
other foreigners because it establishes a bad precedent
but so far as I am personally concerned you know
well how I would be please by certain changes
in the company officers of company "O" -
I will write immediately after getting to the river by
water - My love to all - Thompson brought me a
recruit - named Kelly - a good soldier - 22 years old
and tough - Good night -
Very Sincerely
Elliot H. Fletcher Jr

Physical Description

2 pages handwritten, front and back, 12.25" x 7.75"; envelope, 3.25" x 6"

Subjects

Civil War; Arkansas; Confederate States of America

Contributor

Fletcher, Elliot H. Jr.

Geographical Area

Crowley's Ridge, Craighead County (Ark.); Clarkston, Dunklin County (Mo.)

Language

English

Identifier

Elliot H. Fletcher papers

Collection

Elliot H. Fletcher family papers, MS.000063

Publisher

Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Arkansas State Archives

Recommended Citation

Letter, Eliot H. Fletcher, Jr. to Elliot H. Fletcher, Sr., September 26, 1861, Elliot H. Fletcher family papers, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.

Rights

Use and reproduction of images held by the Arkansas State Archives without prior written permission is prohibited. For information on reproducing images held by the Arkansas State Archives, please call 501-682-6900 or email at state.archives@arkansas.gov.

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Letter, Eliot H. Fletcher, Jr. to Elliot H. Fletcher, Sr., September 26, 1861

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