1862 Letter written on December 19th from camp between Fredericksburg and Port Royal Virginia. The letter describes the role of Carpenter's Battery in the Battle of Fredericksburg as well as a list of casualties.
For the author's friend " Hop ". Hop is short for Hopkins B. Foster a member of Carpenter's Battery who is apparently recovering from a wound or illness. This letter was written by Clarence Fonerden, author of the book it was found in.1863 Letter written by Captain John C. Carpenter to parents of Hopkins B.
Foster about his role at Malvern Hill and apparently. Stating that Hop may have more time as needed before returning to the battery. (Also found inside the book). You can start to see how these 3 items are tied together. It would seem that Clarence Fonerden's Aunt was the mother of Hopkins B.
So Hop was Clarence Fonerden's cousin and both letters were mailed to the same house. The name of Hopkins B. Foster is underlined in the book as well.
Clarence Fonerden survived an amazing amount of battles to live many years and write this book in 1911. The Civil War Museum has his ammo pouch from First Manassas where Clarence donated it pointing to a hole that he said.
His book was reprinted over a dozen times but the first edition is very scarce. Carpenter also survived what seems the impossible. Please see below for some information. And transcriptions of the letters.Any words I could not read I left a blank line or may have left out if they seemed minor. 20 Miles below Orange C.
1 at the piece, and the detachment now being so small he could not be relieved, but was required to fill that (the hardest) post himself, for about three (3) hours which was the cause of his complete exhaustion and his present disposition, I hadn't a more gallant or worthy man. He was not only a good soldier on battlefield but in camp and on the march, under any circumstances he was always present and willing to do anything for the good of his country. I never had to complain of or speak a single harsh word to him, he was in short what you may call a good Soldier. Would that all the soldiers in the Confederacy was as good as he, we would soon drive the invader from our soil everywhere. We are expecting a big fight in this neighborhood very soon.Every preparation is being made for an attack. There was heavy cannonading heard in the direction of and supposed to be in Madison Court House, supposed to be cavalry, irregular cannonading is heard in same direction today, we are expecting marching orders every moment. I hope Hops is better of that severe attack he had, and will soon will be able to resume. Through the fatigue of a series of seven marches and another fierce conflict the kind providence of a propitious heaven has permitted me to stay unharmed in limb and health for which token of Divine mercy. I try to return the adoration of my heart.
O, how good has the almighty been to me who deserves so little of such favoring love. Mothering care and ceaseless watching. About the 21st of last month Jackson's Corps took up the line of march from the lower valley; crossed the formidable Blue Ridge & reinforced the Army here.
Upon reaching a point near Guinea's Station we went into camp, where we remained a few days resting quietly. But soon that rest was broken by the horrid death knell of the Cannon. To-day one week ago we were ordered to prepare 2 days rations which we immediately did, and on the following morning set out for the scene of action.
That day however, our services were not called into requisition, and we were allowed to remain silent until dawn of the following day, when we took position in connection with several other batteries in close proximity to the Yankee lines. Began to advance supported by columns of their infantry where upon our line of skirmishers advanced backwards leaving the artillery to commence its death dealing blows. We opened upon their Infantry.With such precision as to cause them to waver and finally break in disorder; only to resume the attack with more inflexible determination than before. Scarcely had our fire commenced before opposing shell and shot began to be pound into our ranks, and their Infantry continuing the charge, we were ordered off the field after enduring the dangers of attending battle for , say, 2 mortal hours. My piece was the last to leave the field and we were so closely pushed. That I had to leave my caisson, having 4 horses disabled.
For particulars of the engagement generally see newspaper reports. I mainly mention the affairs of our Battery. Barton was killed, and Lt. Lambie dangerously wounded in the eye.
The total number of killed and wounded is 26- A terrible loss for one company. Several other batteries suffered proportionally, and all lost heavily.
Lee, I believe, roughly estimates our loss at 1700. The Yankees lost perhaps 5000. The fact that the enemy has recouped the River is sufficient attestation of them having been badly beaten.
I hear no news from them now. The fight may not be over yet & I hope not. If we must fight, let it come now and be over with. Pa was with me just before the fight--two days before--& only left me to attend important business in R.
I hope to be favored with a short " leave of absence " before many days, though to be disappointed would not disappoint me as our generals oppose the furlough system. You have no Idea how much I miss him.Wish he could be with us. I will enclose a list of our casualties for him. McK: is well-looks well and seems to be doing well. Tom Roper has not been with us since we left Richmond; nor do I ever expect him with us again, as in all probability he will try until success crowns his efforts to obtain a detail transfer or something else to keep him away from the company. Times in the mountains are dull and monotonous no they're not! I so much wish to be with you all once more and re-enjoy the happy seasons of gone. This is not what I consider a reply to your letter, but still I must make it answer for one & proceed to write Fannie a line or so, and also copy the list of the killed & wounded for Hops ; so you will please excuse me if I conclude, Much love to all. God bless you, my Dear Aunt and ____! The following is a list of our killed and wounded in the late action near Hamiltons Crossing of Dec 13th 1862. You are unacquainted with some of the names as you do not know Cutshaw's men who have been put into our battery. Barton- Killed Pretty severe loss isn't it? Lambie- wounded a number of these were only slightly hurt. Thos: Hastings, Killed x I have not time to write you a letter now. Fudge , wounded x and indeed you have no claims upon me. Staff , for you are indebted to me one letter. Brannon, I wrote last so please answer soon and.
George Wigins x give me all the news. Wm Baggage 2 x Give my love to Everybody. William 3 The White Sulphers is a img. Piper 4 place now ain't it? Sawyer Write soon and I beleive me even.
About John Carpenter and the Battery. A BRIEF HISTORY OF CARPENTER'S BATTERY, C.
AS THE POSSIBILITY OF WAR BETWEEN THE STATES BECAME A VIRTUAL CERTAINTY, YOUNG MEN IN THE SOUTH BEGAN ORGANIZING INTO VOLUNTEER MILITARY COMPANIES, AS PROVIDED FOR UNDER STATE MILITIA LAWS. ONE SUCH UNIT WAS THE "ALLEGHANY ROUGHS", AN INFANTRY UNIT ORGANIZED IN COVINGTON, ALLEGHANY COUNTY, VIRGINIA, ON THE 20. A FEW WEEKS LATER THE UNIT WAS MUSTERED INTO SERVICE AT HARPERS FERRY, VIRGINIA AND OFFICIALLY BECAME COMPANY A OF THE 27. REGIMENT OF THE 1ST VIRGINIA BRIGADE OF INFANTRY.THE UNIT FOUGHT WITH DISTINCTION AT THE WAR'S FIRST MAJOR BATTLE AT MANASSAS JUNCTION. IT WAS AT THIS BATTLE THAT THE 1. VIRGINIA REGIMENTS ADOPTED THE NICKNAME GIVEN THAT DAY TO THEIR COMMANDER, THOMAS J. THEY WERE, FROM THAT DAY ON, "THE STONEWALL BRIGADE".
THE "ALLEGHANY ROUGHS" FIRST COMMANDER WAS CAPTAIN THOMAS M. DUE TO ILLNESS, HE WAS FORCED TO RELINQUISH COMMAND TO HIS 1. LIEUTENANT, ONE JOSEPH HANNA CARPENTER. WHEN REVIEWING THIS CHANGE OF COMMAND, GENERAL JACKSON RECOGNIZED CARPENTER'S NAME AS THAT OF ONE OF HIS FORMER ARTILLERY STUDENTS AT VIRGINIA MILITARY INSTITUTE V. ON ORDERS FROM JACKSON, THE UNIT WAS CONVERTED FROM INFANTRY TO ARTILLERY.
THE NEW UNIT WAS CALLED THE "ALLEGHANY ARTILLERY" BUT WAS KNOWN THEREAFTER AS CARPENTER'S BATTERY. THE UNIT NUMBERED APPROXIMATELY 80 MEN AT THE TIME OF CONVERSION TO AN ARTILLERY BATTERY, FIELDING FOUR IRON 6-POUNDER GUNS FROM THE FOUNDRY AT TREDEGAR WORKS IN RICHMOND, VIRGINIA. BY GETTYSBURG THE UNIT HAD ACQUIRED TWO 12-POUNDER NAPOLEONS AND TWO 3-INCH ORDNANCE RIFLES (WHICH WERE PROBABLY CAPTURED).
THE BATTERY REMAINED AT FIGHTING STRENGTH THROUGH MOST OF THE WAR BY THE ADDITION OF NEW RECRUITS AND BY GAINING THE REMNANTS OF DISBANDED ARTILLERY UNITS. IN THE NEARLY TWENTY FIVE BATTLES AND COUNTLESS SKIRMISHES THAT CARPENTER'S BATTERY FOUND ITSELF ENGAGED , 46 MEN WERE KILLED AND 124 BADLY WOUNDED. ON APRIL 1, 1865, AT THE BATTLE OF FIVE FORKS NEAR DINWIDDIE COURTHOUSE, COMMAND OF CARPENTER'S BATTERY WENT TO CORPORAL JOHN WILLEY, AS ALL COMMISSIONED OFFICERS HAD BEEN KILLED OR WOUNDED.IN THAT BATTLE THE BATTERY'S GUNS AND MANY OF ITS CANNONEERS WERE CAPTURED, WITH THOSE FEW ABLE TO FLEE JOINING THE SCATTERED FRAGMENTS OF GENERAL LEE'S ARMY IN THEIR RETREAT FROM PETERSBURG TO APPOMATTOX. AT THE FORMAL SURRENDER ON THE NINTH DAY OF APRIL, 1865, THE ONCE PROUD BATTERY HAD BUT TWO MEN IN ATTENDANCE. Carpenter's Battery, Alleghany Virginia Light Artillery, Braxton's Battalion, Artillery Division, 2nd Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, C. Residence Hematile VA; a 22 year-old farmer; VMI grad.
Enlisted for 12 months' service on 4/22/1861 in Covington, VA. He traveled 72 miles to Staunton, VA. Where on 5/14/1861 he was mustered into Captain Thompson McAllister's Company "Alleghany Roughs" Light Infantry, 27th Virginia Infantry, as a Private. This company subsequently became Company A, 27th Virginia Infantry.
Promoted to 1st Sergeant on 5/30/1861 upon company organization. On 10/31/1861 the company was merged into (his brother) Captain Joseph Carpenter's Battery, Alleghany Virginia Light Artillery. Re-enlisted and re-elected as 1st Lieutenant on 4/22/1862. Present on all Rolls until Wounded In Action (leg) 9/17/1862 in Battle of Sharpsburg, MD. Wounded In Action 8/9/1862 in Battle at Cedar Mountain, VA.Present on Nov & Dec 1862 Roll. Promoted 2/5/1863 to Captain, Commanding company. Wounded In Action (gunshot, severe wound of leg) 5/3/1863 in 2nd Battle of Fredericksburg, VA. Hospitalized 5/14-27/1863 in General Hospital #4, Richmond; transferred 5/27/1863 to C. Present on all Rolls until severely Wounded In Action at 10/9/1864 Tom's Brook, VA.
Left arm amputated; 30-day Medical Furlough given 1/19/1865 at Lexington, VA. The Alleghany Light Artillery was organized at Covington, Virginia, in April, 1861, with 83 officers and men. It was also called Alleghany Roughs, and later Carpenter's Battery.
The unit fought at First Manassas, was part of Jackson's Valley operations, then joined the Army of Northern Virginia. Here it served in R. Braxton's Battalion of Artillery.
It participated in many conflicts from the Seven Days' Battles to Cold Harbor, moved with Early to the Shenandoah Valley, and was active around Appomattox. This battery had 2 killed and 7 wounded at Malvern Hill, lost twenty-six percent of the 91 engaged at Gettysburg, and reported 10 casualties at Spotsylvania.
Many were captured at Five Forks, and only 1 man surrendered on April 9, 1865. I think it is fair to say this group is a wonderful find for the collector or historian and I feel has more significance all together. The letters have creases exactly as they were folded in the book, which is also the folds from mailing.
Please look at the pictures as you can see wear in those areas, and a few areas worn through. Overall and compared to others I have seen I believe these letters to be in very good condition.The Carpenter letter has a bold and beautiful cursive look. The Fonerden letter is harder to read but it is long and detailed with a poetic start and a sense of importance to update the folks back home of the latest battle casualties. They are in acid proof document sleeves and the pictures are taken while in the sleeves. The First edition book is in very good condition, has some pages starting to seperate from age but no tears or bent corners. Cover has some very old marks and some wear.
As stated earlier the name of Hopkins B. I could only find one other first edition anywhere. The item "Civil War Letters Captain John Carpenter of Carpenter's Battery & More Must See" is in sale since Sunday, November 15, 2020. This item is in the category "Collectibles\Militaria\Civil War (1861-65)\Original Period Items\Correspondence, Mail".The seller is "braggingrightsfangear-2" and is located in Mechanicsville, Virginia. This item can be shipped to United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Denmark, Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Czech republic, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Estonia, Australia, Greece, Portugal, Cyprus, Slovenia, Japan, China, Sweden, South Korea, Indonesia, Taiwan, South africa, Thailand, Belgium, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Bahamas, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, Norway, Saudi arabia, United arab emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Croatia, Malaysia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa rica, Panama, Trinidad and tobago, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Barbados, Bangladesh, Bermuda, Brunei darussalam, Bolivia, Ecuador, Egypt, French guiana, Guernsey, Gibraltar, Guadeloupe, Iceland, Jersey, Jordan, Cambodia, Liechtenstein, Sri lanka, Luxembourg, Monaco, Macao, Martinique, Maldives, Nicaragua, Oman, Peru, Pakistan, Paraguay, Reunion, Viet nam, Uruguay.