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Date Original

1862 January 07


Fletcher, Sr., discusses how the U.S. Government is wrong about the South's rebellion being temporary. He insists it is the United States who are in trouble with their capitol becoming barricaded. He believes very soon Great Britain or France will force open the naval blockades so as to continue their commerce with the South.

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.


[Page 1] Mill bayou Jany 17th 1862.
My dear Son.
Tommy went up to day to your grand
mother's to bring Fanny down This is our first real
winters day - dry piercing cold We are fortunate in that
we will finish cotton picking to morrow. I have just
received from Mr. Morriss the trasfer of Mr McCaskill's
claim which I send you for collection. I am glad to find
that the poor fellow is alive. I go to Oceola in
the morning in the hope of hearing from you. Our
last date is of the 23d. Decr. last. If I get letters I
will acknowledge briefly while at the Post office if
not I will infer your sickness. I read yesterday for
the first time Genl Hindman's official dispatch about
the Woodsonville Skirmish it is obscure and also
wanting in detail. What were the 3 companies
from the 1st Arkansas Battalion that were detatched
to operate at the left, and who led them? These things
ought to be [ ] detail. Genl Hindman is
a man of decided talent and withal a favorable
and elegant writer and ought to do these things
in better style. The Cotton Plant issued cards of
invitation for a pleasure trip to Memphis last
week. The upper ten received invitations but
did not go. The tiers did without invitations
considering it a free fight turned out in force.
at Oceola and enjoyed a pleasure trip to Memphis
and back by paying the usual rate of passage
and a tavern bill besides ; much to their indig -
I think the world's history can Scarce
find a match for the degradation that Sewards
government has brought on itself. I am even
angry that the people that lay claim to the
old flag and the old national name have
disgraced it and humbled it so. as to make it
the scorn and derision of the universe.
When either a nation or an indivual [sic]
permits another to bully it, there is no limit
to be placed on the degredation that is sure [Page 2] to follow. Cowardice writes aggression and
the first humiliation encourages new encroachments
and installs. I believe the United States will
yet have to fight England or permit the
blockade to be annulled and that speedily.
[ ] + [ ] go out to Europe with
peculiar eclat and will no doubt be received
and recognized both by England and France.
I think it likely that our government
had received distinct assurances to that effect
before they were sent and hence the remarkable
care of our administration in avoiding the hazards
of a great battle. They think no doubt that
a rebellion is a success when it cannot be
crushed and that to hold the defensive is
to win a great political step and so perhaps
it is but for me I say with montrose:
"He either fears his fate too much,
or his deserts are small:
Who darest not put it to the touch
to gain or lose it all"
What a spectacle the American people exhibit.
A million of men are in arms and each
army is diligently employed in throwing up
fortifications for defense. The nation that
regards us as rebels and calls our revolution
as a mere temporary aberation of the publick [sic]
mind or else calls it an inserrection that
will be soon crushed out, has actually
fortified its own capital city by earth work]
more extensive than Wellingtons calebrated
lines of the Torres Vedras in Portugal, and
Genl Barnard the chief engineer actually
asks of the present congress an appropriation
of $150,000 to complete them. [Page 3] I am still without an overseer.
I have had eleven applications for the
place So you see an overseer office is in
demand in Mississippi county And well it
may be for of all the follies that we commit
there is none greater than the high rates of
wages allowed to these gentry and than there
is the stealage besides.
Doubtless paper letts of the arrest
of some hundred Union men in the Northern
part of the State that were brought to Little -
Rock as prisoners, and were permitted to
take the oath of allegiance and enlist for
the war choosing their captors for their officers
and that they were organized into a company
under Capt Dawson and were to be sent
to Genl Hardee's division. Has such a company
formed the division; if so to what corps is it
attached: Perhaps to the 1st Arkansas battallion
I cant say that I would like that over
much but if it is ordered so you ought
like a good soldier to obey readily without
demur. Since the first settlement of the
Mississippi valley there was never such an
abundance of molasses in their region
Jan 8th Every log cabin in Plum Point Road
has at least a half barrel and good [ ]
have a whole barrel or so. Planters that have
a scant supply of pork have a large supply
We have 4 - 40 gallon barrels and our fires
are so liberal that much is probably consumed
in candy. I had intended to take this
down in person but the day is a rainy one
and I send Jim. This is the morning of
Genl Jacksons victory over. better men than those
that comfront you. Better and braver soldiers
than any Lincoln's horde contains. One visable [Page 4] effect that follows the [ ] of our commissions
is the clear and unmistakable manifestation of sympathy
for our cause current among all classes in England
and France. For a while this active sympathy was
limited to the aristocratic element of society. it now
pervades all classes and conditons and its fruits
will ripen in a demand by the two leading powers
for the opening of the blockaded ports, as a right
due to the commerce of the world. In less than 60
days our ports will be forced if need be.
I hope by this time you have mastered the
school of the battalion completely. I regret very
much that I did not send you by Dr Felts Hoyts
military Dictionary for a recent examination makes
me know it is an excellent manual of the art
of war. full of instruction to the young officer [and] especially
useful to light troops. I consider Hindmans Brigade
as the light brigade of Genl Johnsons army. holding
the same relation to the whole army that Crawfords
celebrated light brigade hold to Washingtons in the
Penninsular war . Like Hindmans it consisted of three
infantry regiments. "Seven minutes sufficed for the
division to get under arms in the middle of the night,
and a quarter of an hour night or day, to bring
it in order of battle to the alarm posts, with the
baggage loaded and assenbled at convenient distance
in the rear. And this not upon a concerted signal at
as a trial but at all times and certain." Napers
Peninsular War page 292. Can you do this yet in
your Brigade? I think with this winter will end the
active prosecution of the war. After a rousing
southern victory near Bowling Green and another
on the Carolina or Georgia coasts the contest will
be over. though it may be a long while ere
peace be promulgated. It is likely that the weak
northern government may pretermit the war without
making peace, doing past like the Mexican government
in the case of Texas - practically yielding the
Contest, but with Castillian pride, claiming the right
without the power to subdue us and like MCauber
waiting for something to turn up.
I have just got your letter of the 31st decr and another
dated as far back as the 18th Decr that gives an account
of the Woodsonville Skirmish, also a Kind letter from R W.

Physical Description

Document, 8.5" x 13.5"


Civil War; Confederate States of America; Arkansas; Blockades; Cotton Industry


Fletcher, Elliot H., 1805-1867

Geographical Area

Mill Bayou, Mississippi County (Ark.)






Elliot H. Fletcher family papers, MS.000063


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Arkansas State Archives

Recommended Citation

Elliot H. Fletcher, Sr., Mill Bayou, Arkansas, to Captain Elliot H. Fletcher, Jr., First Arkansas Battalion, Bowling Green, Kentucky, Elliot H. Fletcher family papers, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.


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Elliot H. Fletcher, Sr., Mill Bayou, Arkansas, to Captain Elliot H. Fletcher, Jr., First Arkansas Battalion, Bowling Green, Kentucky