The following letter is a copy of the original one written from Camp Winchester by Charley W. Owen, a Confederate Soldier, to a friend Mr. Gardner. This letter is at the present time owned by Mrs. Walter Love, Gallatin, Tennessee, Sumner County, a granddaughter of Mr. Gardner. Mrs. Love's mother, Mrs. Mollie Herring was a daughter of Mr. Gardner, and her great grandmother was a very near relative of Robert E. Lee.
Aug. the 13th, 1861
As this is the first opportunity that I ever had to write to you, I thought I would try to write to you a line or two to let you know how we are all getting along. We are all doing very well under the surrounding circumstances. We are in Camp about two miles from Potomac River, and about twenty five miles from Fredericksburg, and about forty miles from Washington City.
Well I have nothing to write to you of interest only we are all in tolerable good health, there are several of our Company sick, the desease are generally chills and fever and some few cases of billious fever, though none very serious. I have been sick myself, but I have got well again. William T. HOUSE has been quite sick, but I heard yesterday he was better. He is in Fredicksburg at a private house, so he is treated with great kindness and attention that could be paid him. The people of that City are very kind and hospital indeed.
I reckon you have heard of the battle of Manasas Gap, that was one of three greatest battles that was recorded on any History whatever there is. I saw many dead and wounded men, there were legs and arms, and I saw one poor fellow with his head blown off down to his neck and only left a part of his whiskers on the skin. He was a Yankee, but he is a Yankee no more, and I saw another Yankee, his mouth and teeth were all blown out and ___ you ___ to eat the Southern bread no more.
Well, the crops look very well here, though nothing to compare with the Tennessee crops. They made very good wheat on crops for the soil it had to grow on here, very thin, somewhat like that over the ridge.
Mr. Gardner you just ought to be here to go with the ladies to church. When they get ready to go to church, they order their ox and hitch him to a cart and generally four women and two old men get in and go in double quick time three or four miles. The carts are made on the plans of a drag. They can take out the pen that holds the bed together and then the driver will raise up the far end of the bed and they will slip out and after preaching they will hitch up and go like the ___ down grade, that is most of that.
Captain TYREE is well and fat, and he is a good captain to the men.
Well I will tell you something about the cannon balls and boomshells, they fell like hail for some two hours. We were ordered on the battleground, but when the Yankees saw us coming they retreated in double quick time, they could not stand the sight of the Walkers session. You know they would have fought like Turks. I will now tell you something about how we cook. We have got to be excellent cooks. We get up in the morning and make our fires and bring up our water and the way we make up our bread, we have a pan and put the meal in it and stir it up and put it on the fire and when it is done the cook hallows out "come to cooley" and we all gather around and eat very hearty. We have plenty to eat, such as strong vitals. We have flour, meal, beef and pickled pork. We can get vegetables. What have you all done with them Yankees that was in Macon County.
I will tell you that we are the best drilled company in the regiment, we drill 5 hours every day but Sunday. We have battilion drill in the evening.
Charlton, Shell & Stuart all send their respects.
Give my respects to Miss Mollie, also Mr. & Mrs. Walker.
Your friend untill death,
Charley W. Owen
Direact your letter in care of Tenn. Vol. 2nd Regiment, Capt. Tyree.
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