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Mallory, Stephen R. to his Wife Angela - Richmond, Va. - June 4, 1862 - Transcript

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Title:
Mallory, Stephen R. to his Wife Angela - Richmond, Va. - June 4, 1862 - Transcript
Series Title:
Stephen R. Mallory Papers
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Subjects / Keywords:
Civil War
History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- United States
Spatial Coverage:
North America -- United States of America

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University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
Mallory4jc

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Richmond 4 June [18]62


My beloved wife
I received from [Mann?] a letter yesterday, & one from you today, and I designed writing to you
both today at the Department, but could not find an hour to do so. You must not think my dear,
good wife, that I am annoyed by the complaining tone of your letters. They make me sad, very
sad, but they do not "annoy" me. I am of a hopeful, you are of a desponding character, & where
your mental vision can see nothing but a cloud, I can detect that even the cloud has a silver
lining, & where reflection tells you that our skies are gloomy, I readily percieve [sic] how much
darker they might be. On your account, & not on my own, my sweet wife, am I saddened by
your desponding tone, for, having thrown away the scabbard determined never to shield the
sword but with an honorable peace, I am buoyed up not more by hope than I am by duty and by
principle, & I thank God that our enemies have not the power to lesson my exertion or to crush
my hopes for the bright future of our country. I know you do not regard me as insensible to the
sufferings of our people, when I thus write. I feel them keenly, and I trust that a just Providence
may suffer them to plead as expiations, and that even they may thus be made instrumental in
achieving for ourselves & our children that independence without which life would be unworthy
of us.

I derive a solace my dear Angela, from the manner in which you refer to Mrs. Saunders, her
family, & from their kindness to you I feel as if I already knew them, & that in fact Eugena &
Emma were familiar friends.

I feel sometimes, when self examination is indulged, that, in defense of a principle I conceived to
be right, I could resist all the temptations of life, but one-& I am forced to confess that any man
or woman can enslave my heart and control my action by kindness to you. I will never forget the
kindness of Mrs. Saunders & those charming girls to you, & you must [not] fail to let them know
that they have made a liagment [ligament?] in my heart forever.

As my occupations just now preclude me from writing many unofficial letters, you must thank
[Mann?] for his, and tell him that this is designed for you both, as it is also to my brave little
Buddy [Stephen Mallory, Jr.], my cunning fox Attie [Attila Mallory], and my dear little gem of a
Ruby.

The papers which I send you contain but meager accounts of the military movements here, but
you will infer from the long lists of killed and wounded that the recent battle was not a men
tilting match.

I was to have joined the staff of the President on the field, in the battle of Saturday [Battle of
Seven Pines, Virginia], but we reached it by different routes, and were in different parts of it. I
found him however next morning, and spent Sunday in the battlefield.

The scenes of Saturday I shall never forget. About 20,000 men of ours were engaged, embracing
a portion of the right wing of our army, and never, since the first fight between Cain & Abel, did
men behave better than ours.










They crossed the open plain, a wheat field, preserved their alignments, kept step, and steadily
moved upon the foe, while musketry and cannon tore lanes through their ranks upon all sides.
Their gallantry was splendid, and as their shouts and yells rang out, as if in the very glee of
manly courage, I found myself also screaming my very best, as exhilarated as if I had just
swallowed a bottle of Champaigne [sic]. Steadily, grandly, strongly they moved on; scarcely a
man wavered, none showing fear; & even the wounded, as they dropped upon the ground, sent
up shout upon shout after their advancing comrades to charge the enemy.

I witnessed scenes of death, suffering, & of blood such as the battlefield only can provide; while
my active sense of the ridiculous pressured me from any exhibition of unmanly weakness by
keeping my mind occupied with opposing sentiments.

I encountered Mr. Rapier in the field, & seeing him with but one shoe on, his naked foot as white
as yours, which is my standard, and without coat or hat, or arms, & his breast open & bloody, I
supposed him to be hurt. But the bright sparkle of his eye soon undeceived me. He was
returning to the fight, having just carried Bourge, his first Lieut. [Lieutenant], an old schoolmate
mortally wounded, off the field. I offered him a shoe, I being on horseback, but he declined it,
telling me he would soon find one on the field, & on he rushed to the fight.

His battalion went into the battle one hundred & ninety strong, behaved splendidly, lost about
one half its numbers, and took about two hundred prisoners. The roar of the musketry exceeded
anything I have ever read of or witnessed. Entire Regiments would fire together as a squad fires
a salute over a grave, the guns going off together. Our men charged the enemy under every
disadvantage, but drove them steadily and briskly, without halting for one mile and a half, from
point to point, from the woods where they were ambushed back through their abates abattiss, a
defense of picket stakes] in the rear, over their breastwork of earth in the rear of that, through
their tents and camps, still in the rear, and if daylight had lasted, would have rushed them into the
Chicahominy [Chickahominy] River. Many stands of colors, twenty pieces of artillery, and five
hundred prisoners, with all their tents and some fifteen hundred arms remained in our hands.

I could detail to you many interesting scenes of this fierce struggle if I could sit with you for a
while. Buddy may remember Surge who used to call with Mr. Rapier at Pensacola; he took three
prisoners.

Tim went into the battle next morning with the 3rd Ala. [Alabama], & its Col. Lomax [Tennent
Lomax] was killed. Tim came to see me as he passed through, & spent an hour with me. He
came off without a scratch, but has not been able to visit me as he cannot leave his company. I
hope he had some goods [sic] shots, for I want to hear his account of military life. Many of our
men advanced upon the enemy with the happy air of grooms to the bridal, but Tim seemed to
look upon the coming fight as something that "might play the very mischief with a fellow."

The 2nd Fla. [Florida] Regt. [Regiment] behaved splendidly & suffered greatly, out of 430 men
202 are killed or wounded. Perry [Edward A. Perry] was slightly wounded, but did not leave his
command. Lt. Col. Pyles [Lewis G. Pyles] had his right arm shattered, Major Call [George W.









Call] was killed, and two of the Captains were killed or wounded, thus but one officer of all the
three highest grades escaped.

Several of our Pensacola Corps, including Riley, Monroe (so pronounced) are wounded, & the
Capt. of the Pensacola Co. was dangerously wounded (Ballantyne [William T. Ballatine]).
Genl. Johnston [Joseph E. Johnston] was, near the front of the shoulder, the ball ranging around
over the shoulder blade & in falling from his horse he broke two ribs. He will soon be well
again. Mrs. Johnston [Lydia McLane Johnston] sends her love to you, & she charmed me by
saying that you were more beloved here by the ladies of Richmond, & had more friends than any
stranger who had come here. I wish you would write her a note poor thing, for though Johnston
is doing well she appears very sad.

I am occupied and must stop. Love to [Mann?] & the children. I have an inquiry about the box I
sent you. Shoes not yet come. Will soon send you the stuff & c [etcetera].

God bless you
Y[ou]r. Affc. [Affectionate] [?] Ever.
S. R. Mallory

4 June


Transcribed by Nicole J. Milano, University of Florida, 2009




Full Text

PAGE 1

Richmond 4 June [18]62 My beloved wife I received from [Mann?] a letter yesterday, & one from you today, and I designed writing to you both today at the Department, but could not find an hour to do so. You must not think my dear, good wife, that I am annoyed by the complaining tone of your letters. They make me sad, very sad, but they do not annoy me. I am of a hopeful, you are of a desponding character, & where your mental vision can see nothi ng but a cloud, I can detect that even the cloud has a silver lining, & where reflection tells you that our skies are gloomy, I readily percieve [ sic ] how much darker they might be. On your account, & not on my own, my sweet wife, am I saddened by your desponding tone, for, having thrown away th e scabbard determined never to shield the sword but with an honorable peace, I am buoyed up not more by hope than I am by duty and by principle, & I thank God that ou r enemies have not the power to lesson my exertion or to crush my hopes for the bright future of our country. I know you do not regard me as insensible to the sufferings of our people, when I t hus write. I feel them keenly, a nd I trust that a just Providence may suffer them to plead as expiations, and that even they may thus be made instrumental in achieving for ourselves & our children that independence without which life would be unworthy of us. I derive a solace my dear Angela, from the manner in which you refer to Mrs. Saunders, her family, & from their kindness to you I feel as if I al ready knew them, & that in fact Eugena & Emma were familiar friends. I feel sometimes, when self examination is indulge d, that, in defense of a principle I conceived to be right, I could resist all the temptations of life, but one& I am forced to confess that any man or woman can enslave my heart and control my action by kindness to you. I will never forget the kindness of Mrs. Saunders & those charming girls to you, & you must [not] fail to let them know that they have made a liagment [ligament?] in my heart forever. As my occupations just now preclude me from writing many unofficial letters, you must thank [Mann?] for his, and tell him that this is design ed for you both, as it is also to my brave little Buddy [Stephen Mallory, Jr.], my cunning fox Attie [Attila Mallory], and my dear little gem of a Ruby. The papers which I send you contain but meager accounts of the military movements here, but you will infer from the long lists of killed and wounded that the recent battle was not a men tilting match. I was to have joined the staff of the President on the field, in the battle of Saturday [Battle of Seven Pines, Virginia], but we reached it by different routes, and were in different parts of it. I found him however next morning, and spent Sunday in the battlefield. The scenes of Saturday I shall never forget. About 20,000 men of ours were engaged, embracing a portion of the right wing of our army, and never, since the first fight between Cain & Abel, did men behave better than ours.

PAGE 2

They crossed the open plain, a wheat field, preser ved their alignments, ke pt step, and steadily moved upon the foe, while musketry and cannon tore lanes through their ranks upon all sides. Their gallantry was splendid, and as their shouts and yells rang out as if in the very glee of manly courage, I found myself also screaming my very best, as exhilara ted as if I had just swallowed a bottle of Champaigne [ sic ]. Steadily, grandly, strongl y they moved on; scarcely a man wavered, none showing fear; & even the wounded, as they dropped upon the ground, sent up shout upon shout after their advancing comrades to charge the enemy. I witnessed scenes of death, suffering, & of blood such as the batt lefield only can provide; while my active sense of the ridiculous pressured me from any exhibition of unmanly weakness by keeping my mind occupied with opposing sentiments. I encountered Mr. Rapier in the field, & seeing h im with but one shoe on, his naked foot as white as yours, which is my standard, and without co at or hat, or arms, & his breast open & bloody, I supposed him to be hurt. But the bright sparkle of his eye soon undeceived me. He was returning to the fight, having just carried Bourge, his first Lieut. [Lieutenant], an old schoolmate mortally wounded, off the field. I offered him a shoe, I being on horseback, but he declined it, telling me he would soon find one on the field, & on he rushed to the fight. His battalion went into the battle one hundred & ninety strong, behave d splendidly, lost about one half its numbers, and took about two hundred prisoners. The roar of the musketry exceeded anything I have ever read of or witnessed. Entire Regiments would fire together as a squad fires a salute over a grave, the guns going off together. Our men charged the enemy under every disadvantage, but drove them steadily and briskly, without halting for one mile and a half, from point to point, from the woods where they we re ambushed back through their abates [abattis, a defense of picket stakes] in th e rear, over their breastwork of ea rth in the rear of that, through their tents and camps, still in the rear, and if dayli ght had lasted, would have rushed them into the Chicahominy [Chickahominy] River. Many stands of colors, twenty pieces of artillery, and five hundred prisoners, with all their tents and some fifteen hundred arms remained in our hands. I could detail to you many interesting scenes of th is fierce struggle if I could sit with you for a while. Buddy may remember Surg who used to call with Mr. Rapier at Pensacola; he took three prisoners. Tim went into the battle next morning with the 3rd Ala. [Alabama], & its Col. Lomax [Tennent Lomax] was killed. Tim came to see me as he passed through, & spent an hour with me. He came off without a scratch, but has not been able to visit me as he cannot leave his company. I hope he had some goods [sic] shots, for I want to hear his account of milit ary life. Many of our men advanced upon the enemy with the happy air of grooms to the bridal, but Tim seemed to look upon the coming fight as something that might play the very mischief with a fellow. The 2nd Fla. [Florida] Regt. [Regiment] behaved splendidly & suffered greatly, out of 430 men 202 are killed or wounded. Perry [Edward A. Perry ] was slightly wounded, but did not leave his command. Lt. Col. Pyles [Lewis G. Pyles] had his right arm shattered, Major Call [George W.

PAGE 3

Call] was killed, and two of the Captains were ki lled or wounded, thus but one officer of all the three highest grades escaped. Several of our Pensacola Corps, including R iley, Monroe (so pronounced) are wounded, & the Capt. of the Pensacola Co. was dangerously wounded (Ballantyne [William T. Ballatine]). Genl. Johnston [Joseph E. Johnston] was, near the front of the shoulde r, the ball ranging around over the shoulder blade & in falling from his horse he broke two ribs. He will soon be well again. Mrs. Johnston [Lydia McLane Johnston] sends her love to you, & she charmed me by saying that you were more beloved here by the la dies of Richmond, & had more friends than any stranger who had come here. I wish you would write her a note poor thing, for though Johnston is doing well she appears very sad. I am occupied and must stop. Love to [Mann?] & the children. I have an inquiry about the box I sent you. Shoes not yet come. Will soon send you the stuff & c [etcetera]. God bless you Y[ou]r. Affc. [Affectionate] [?] Ever. S. R. Mallory 4 June Transcribed by Nicole J. Mila no, University of Florida, 2009