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May 15, 2014 / Joanne Yeck

1861: A Letter Home to Buckingham County

Slate River Ramblings_Field Hospital_City Point_VA_near Petersburg

Civil War Field Hospital

In 1937, Louise Harrison McCraw participated in the Virginia Historical Inventory, serving as an “informant” for her sister-in-law, Elizabeth B. (Watts) McCraw, and helped preserve a Civil War-era letter written from Valley Mountain on August 28, 1861 by her cousin, Frank O. McCraw. He was one of seven sons of Thomas McCraw, survived the war, and lived to be an old man.

It read in part:

I am unfit for any service and have been for the last three weeks. I never suffered so much in my life with the bowel complaint as I have done in that length of time, but I have enough strength to walk and write. A soldier has not as much attention here as a sick cow would have in Buckingham. Dr. Swoope has been here and he says he had not the least idea how we were treated, and the people who were in Buckingham know nothing of the sufferings of soldiers. I weigh about one hundred and twenty-five pounds. A volunteer has all the hardships to undergo that any other class of soldier does and is thought as little of; the treatment is equally as rough, and it is a standing rule here for the volunteers to relieve the Regulars (the lowest Irish) in all their labor. As for the men being drafted in Buckingham I know that will not take place this year, and if I had the money I would bet ten to one it will not be. If one company were in Buckingham I do not believe five out of Eighty would ever join, but wait for a draft. John D. Saunders leaves here with his brother for Buckingham, he has been very sick for the last five weeks with measles, and the Drs. have given him a discharge, which I think very proper.

                We have no fighting and I do not expect we will in several weeks. Genls. Lee and Loving are here….


Leave a Comment
  1. Jeremy Winfrey / May 15 2014 9:55 pm

    Very powerful stuff!

    • Joanne Yeck / May 16 2014 6:59 am

      More coming soon about Dr. Swoope.


  1. Buckingham Notables: Dr. Wm. M. Swoope | slate river ramblings . . . .

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