Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day: Jacob Jackson Brown and past posts on American soldiers

For Memorial Day (Decoration Day) here is a photo of a Confederate soldier's grave. I took this snapshot at Old City Cemetery in Lynchburg, Virginia, in January 2010. (See more of my photos of the cemetery here.)

The grave belongs to Jacob Jackson Brown (simply "JJB" on the marker), who was a soldier in Company G of North Carolina’s 57th Regiment during the Civil War. He was born in 1832 and died on February 17, 1863. Here is more about him, according to the NCGenWeb Project:
"Resided in Lincoln County and was by occupation a shoemaker prior to enlisting in Lincoln County at age 30, July 4, 1862, for the war. Sent to hospital at Richmond, Virginia, January 28, 1863. Died in hospital at Lynchburg, Virginia, February 17, 1863, of 'pneumonia.'"
But we can also get a sense of Brown's wartime life in his own thoughts and words, thanks to an extraordinary series of letters that were preserved and published by the Lincoln (N.C.) Times-News. The letters were written by Brown and sent to his wife, Christina Plonk Brown.

Here are verbatim excerpts from one of those letters, dated January 13, 1863, (about one month before his death):
Dear Wife,
I now seat myself to drop you a few lines to let you know that I am not so very well at this time. I have got a sympton of the chills but I am now a getting better than I have been and I hope that these lines may reach you and find you all well. ... I want you to send me some dried peaches if you have got them and if you have got them send some dried apples and send some butter if you have got hit and a few onions too with Henry Mullens if he is not gone. ... I do hope that the war will not last long anymore so that I can come home and stay there for I am getting very of lying out in camp. Just to think how comfort I could be at home in my shop by the stove and good warm fire and then to see how we have to lye out and suffer the weather as hit comes theres a day coming that will end all these sorrows and I don’t think hit well be long I have not wrought you no letter since Christmas. I had said in my other letter that I would write on New Years day but I did not have no ink and I could not write so this is all that I have to say at this present time so I will remain you affectionate husband until death so fair you well My dear loving wife I hope we will meet again.
Read the full January 13 letter here. And here are links to some of the other Brown letters published by the Times-News:
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Finally, here are some links to previous Papergreat posts that fit in with the general theme of America's soldiers:

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