Guide to the Alexander Cameron Letter, RG 788
Listed by: Dieter C. Ullrich
Date: June 2003
Number of Boxes:
1 oversize file folder
Historical or Biographical Sketch:
Alexander Cameron was believed to have resided in Mobile County, Alabama prior to the American Civil War. He enlisted in the Confederate Army in April of 1862 with Company C, 32nd Alabama Volunteer Infantry Regiment. He was later promoted to Ordinance Sergeant of the regiment.
Scope and Content:
Consists of a letter from Alexander Cameron to his daughter in Mobile County, Alabama. The letter describes life at Fort Maxey, a Confederate camp on the North Alabama - East Tennessee border.
Transcript of Letter:
Fort Macsey [Maxey], East Tennessee
13th September 1862
My Dear Daughter,
I write in hopes this will find you, your mother, brother and sisters all well and enjoying good health. This leaves me here at this time as well in health, thank God, as I could desire. I am here among the mountains of east Tennessee the river of the same name running between them forms one of the most picturesque wild and beautiful scenery's you could wish to see. At sunset it is magnificent to look at there are so many tints and shades with the reflections, which they cast in the river you would so admire the works of nature at this place of an evening that you would want to make it your home. When the sun sets behind the mountains it leaves you with a feeling of regret that it could not at all times retain its evening picture.
The fort I am in here is situated on the west side of the river it is called Fort Macsey [Maxey] after our General of that name, it was the headquarters of General McCook's Army belonging to the Yankees but we took it from them since I have been here. There is a road that leads from here to a town named Stephenson where we also had a fight with the enemy and whipt them. The envelope, which is on this letter, was one of a parcel which I got in there camp after the fight was over. This country in this section is chiefly inhabited by the Union supporters who are opposed to us, there people are as much in dread of us as ours are of them. I will give you an instance of it, I was sent from the fort a few days since with a party of men over the mountains in the direction they Yankees had retreated to search houses for arms and ammunition. I was gone two days and nights. I noticed on an evening that they women and children would leave there homes and all collect together in some neighbors house and stop for the night. It was reported through this section that we were hanging all the Union men, so the women and children were left by themselves. I felt very bad and sorry for them. I told them it was not so and for them not to be anyway afraid that they would not be molested nor injured by us. My dear daughter I will be so glad when this war ends which I hope the day is not far distant. If it was a foreign war or invasion I would not have the same feelings but this being a civil war among people who are so closely connected as we are I cannot but regret and wish it was ended so that it would be satisfactory to both the south and north.
I want you my dear daughter to answer my letters you must notice your spelling more than your writing learn to spell correctly and practice your writing and you will write in a good hand in a short time. You must instruct your sisters all you can get your sister Gracy to [started so that] she can write me a letter and a tell her that I will get her a fine present when she can send me a letter of her own writing. Say to Isabele and Mary Ann that if they can spell and read for me when I come home I will give them a present also.
I sent some of my clothing home, I expect it will reach there before you receive this you must keep the box I sent them in and when I send for the socks and my flannels you must put them in it and send them back. I am under orders to leave here but I do not know when or what place yet. I will write and let you know whenever I move.
Enclosed will find a dollar for Gracy to buy candy for Budey, Dudley and his sisters tell them it won't be long before I will be home. When you write tell me if you made his, Budey's, clothes for him and I could not find a small hat in Mobile to send him and I hunted everywhere to get some Scotch plaid to make him a suit. Tell me if anything got broke or injured in the box I sent home.
I have just made a hearty breakfast of cornmeal not sifted and a tin cup of water. We made a sort of a cake out of the mel and a most anything eats well here when you cannot get any better, etc., etc., etc.
For the present I shall conclude by sending my love to you, your mother, brother and sisters. And remain your loving and affectionate father.
Direct your letter as below.
Lieut, Robert Greig, 32nd Regiment Ala. Prov. Forces For Alexander Cameron Chattanooga, East Tennessee
Notes on text:
Fort Macsey [Maxey] was named after Brigadier General Samuel B. Maxey. Prior to the withdrawal of Union forces on August 27, 1862 the fort was named Fort McCook after Union Brigadier General Edward M. McCook. The fort was situated near the Tennessee - Alabama border between Jasper, Tennessee and Stevenson, Alabama.
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