Jeff Harvey

Continuing with William Sanders II’s “A New River Heritage, Volume IV, McClain Publishing, 1994, we pick up with a series of letters between Confederate soldier Jamison Bailey and his wife, Polly McComas Bailey. These letters will be done with the original spelling and grammar intact.

The references to God in the letters from Jamison Bailey are an example of Union President Abraham Lincoln’s comments in his Second Inaugural Address that both sides believed in the same God and prayed to Him for success.

The next letter in the series is from Jamison Bailey to Polly Bailey on Jan. 1, 1865 from Fisherville, Va. “Dear wife I take the opportunity of writing you a few lines to let you no that I am well at this time thankes be to God fer his mercis to wardes me I hope when you get this letter it may find you and the children all well and doing well I want to see you all you don’t no how bad I want to see you all I would give all I persess to be at home wonst more to mingle my voice with you all I have no noose to rite of any importence we at putting up winter quarters now and when we git into them I think we will get furlows to come home and if I don’t get a furlow this winter I think I will have to take won this spring any how fer I am gitting very tiered of the war and I think the Confedercy is about gon up it is no use fer me to stay when moste every boddy ses they at going thar will be but a few left I still want you to rember me in all your prares that I may hold out faithful and at last git home to the injoyments of you all wonst more I still pray fer you all I never you all neither by day nor night I want you to write as soon as you git this letter so nothing more at presant only yore affectionate husband until death.”

The hectic activity which surrounded the war at this stage made it hard for letters to go back and forth between people, particularly those in war zones.

An editorial note: These letters are from Vol. I of Richard Bailey written and compiled by Mary Ellen Howe of Petersburg, Va.

I’ll finish the letters next time.

Contact Jeff Harvey at delimartman@yahoo.com.