Of Cumberland, Moore and Robeson County, NC
LETTERS WRITTEN HOME
(near Chattanooga, Tenn.)
I embrace the present moment to write you a few lines. I have not received a letter from home since I left there the time seems very long although I hear from home almost every week but simply hearing from home is not like receiving a letter. As for news I have plenty of it but it is very bad our fate as a nation looks very gloomy at this time. The papers report Fort Hudson captured by the enemy with great loss on our side also an attack on Charleston S.C. which is likely to end in its overthrow, but when I remember that we have old Beauregard at that front it is very hard for me to believe that Charleston can ever be taken by fair means, it is also reported that Lee is cut off in Maryland, but he is apt to do some very hard fighting before he gives it up. General Bragg is again sensured by those great street corner generals with which many of those characters are now ready to kill Bragg if they had him in their power, but thank God I believe Bragg has more sence that one have of those that are so ready to sensure him. We had a speech from J.L.M. Curry a few days ago, it was the best thing I have ever heard, he made a great many of his enemys open their eyes but for all that I am afraid he will get beat. Terry I will close for now give my love to all the family and all inquiring friends.
Good Bye your Brother
P.S. Tell Francis not to try to dodge Brown for if he does Brown will have him arrested, he had better come along peaceably it will be the best for him. Terry, write to me and give me all the news, let me know how they are progressing with their militia and how Pa is getting along with his farm. I am well as usual. Calvin
(Calivn's brother, Francis Marion Munroe, took the advice -- or was caught -- as he eventually reported to the Camp of Instruction at Talladega, Ala.)
(The following letter, written by Calvin Jones Cochran Munroe, age 22, to his sister Margaret during the Civil War, was printed in Western Enterprise of Anson, Jones County, Texas, on September 12, 1913.)
In camp near Nashville, Tenn.
December 6th, 1864
Miss M. C. Munroe
We received your very kind letter yesterday. I was glad to hear that you were all in tolerable health, but I was sorry to hear that our neighbor's boys were doing so bad.
Margaret, in this letter I have to communicate the very sad and heart rending intelligence of William's death. He was killed on the night of the 30th November while nobly battling for his country's rights. In the sorrow and distress that will prevade his as well as our home, let me console you by saying that he died at his post. We had charged and taken one line of the enemy's breastworks, when they fell back to another line about 40 yds in the rear, The order was given to charge, when William, Bud, and myself and Robert Street was all of our company that crossed the breastworks. We crossed over into the ditch, and seeing that no person else was coming, we was oblidged to sit down in the ditch to protect ourselves, but the ditch was not deep enough to shelter us. He was struck just under the right eye, the ball ranging down and coming out between his shoulders. He did not speak when he was shot. I did not know that he was killed for some timeafter it was done. Our color bearer was the only man between me and him, but it was very dark and I could not see. After it was done, I sat in the ditch and shot for some time. I then crawled back across the breastworks, when I met up with Bud, and he told me of it. As soon as I could, I crawled back to where he was and straightened him out. I got all of his things that I could carry. This was done about midnight, and we buried him the next day about 10:00 o'clock. We did the best for him that we could.
I will now attemp to give you a description of our travel since we left Florence, Ala. Nothing worth noting occured until we got to Columbia, Tenn, 25 miles from this place. There we encountered the Yanks about 20 thousand strong, but made a flank movement, thereby causing them to retreat without a fight. From there they fell back to Franklin, where they made another stand. We came up about 2 hours by the sun on the evening of the 30th November. The line was formed in a few minutes. Bates' division, French's division, second line, but his ammunition being exhausted, I was ordered up to take his place. We rushed upon them and drove them from their position. It was then that William was killed, We lay there and fought them about two hours, when they took advantage of the darkness and withdrew their forces in the direction of Nashville. We lost a good many men, but not so many as the enemy. We also captured a great amount of prisoners. We lay there until the 2nd day of Dec. when we moved up and formed around Nashville. We have very good works here. I think if we fight here, we will do it in our own way. The Yanks are shelling us all the time, but are doing no damage. We are living very well at the present time, getting plenty of pork and bread, turnips and cabbage. This is undoubtedly the best country I ever saw. The people live better here than they ever did in our community. I forgot to say that William Harrell was slightly wounded in the hand. Powel Smith was wounded in the hip, but not severe. William Lowery in the hand. Our regiment lost only one killed and thirteen wounded.
Margaret, I want you all to pray for us. I now feel the need of your prayers more than ever before. Pray that we may be spared to return home in peace and enjoy the sweet society of our father and sisters, You was warning us against conduct as our neighbor boys was carrying on. The warning is well enough, but I hope and pray that you will never be so grieved as to hear of such conduct from one of your brothers. We are bad boys, but I do not think we will ever be guilty of stealing.
I have stood our march very well; a great deal better than I expected to. Bud stands it extremely well.
If you see any of Hutchinson's people, you can tell them that Press is well; he is with us now.
Margaret, I will close. Write often, for it gives us great pleasure to hear from you. Kiss the children for me. I remain, your loving brother
C. J. Munroe
P.S. Bud sends you some Yankee needles, which was captured at Franklin.
Two similar letters, written years later.
I fear I will not be able to give you clear answers to all your questions but will do the best I can; Brother William was killed in the Battle of Franklin, Tenn. on the night of Nov. 1864; history will tell you the day of the month, I have forgotten. We had captured the first line of breastworks after a hand to hand fight in the ditch; he was sitting just to my left but I did not know that he was there for some hours afterward. The next morning when preparations were being made to bury the dead I went to my captain and got permission to bury him in a separate grave. I got Wm. Little to help Bud and myself dig the grave off fifty or more yards from the ditch they were digging for the other dead; we wrapped the body in his blanket and layed him away. I got a piece of pine plank and cut his name, company and regiment on it; also the name and number of the Masonic Lodge towhich he belonged and planted it at the head of the grave. On our retreat from Nashville in December I went out to the grave and there was a nice rail pen built around it. This was the only battle of any note that he fought in. He belonged to Company "G", 25th Alabama Regiment of Infantry.
Our father was of pure Scotch descent; mother was of Scotch-Irish descent.
I hold for my grandson, Arch Munroe, a history of the Scottish Revolution that
gives a very brief mention of Sir Robert Munroe, Baron of Fowlis, who with Sir Robert
Bruce espoused Prince Charles Edward cause when he rebelled again the King but when Prince
Charles Edward was overthrown Sir Robert Munroe fled to America and we are descendent from
him. That is all that I know of our ancestry. I do not know where your Uncle
Neith McAllister was killed, I think he was in the Virginia Army. Was your Mother's
name Fannie? Brother William was only a Third Degree Mason. I will now tell
you someting of myself and family. I am 82 1/2 years old. My health is
fairly good, am able to work at my books all time; we have had a very cold winter but I
haven't lost a day from the office although I live five blocks away. Your Aunt
Lizzie is 70 and 10 months old and is as pert as a 16 year old. We have four
children nad 17 grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren. Our oldest lives in
Corpus Christa, Tex. My next lives in this county, the next in New mexico and the other in
Abline, Texas. There is two of Jerome's sons here; both going well. I guess I
had better ring off for this time as you will be worn out when you get this now. I
have to write with my left hand and a pencil. I am glad you wrote, Come again.
I am now 83 1/2 years old. My children 4 in number who did not die in infancy are
all living. Pardon me for not writing more about the civil war but it is not a
pleasant subject. With many wishes for your health