A long while back I posted a letter written by Absolom Langston to his wife regarding the new flag that was issued the 27th at Little Rock which was a Missouri style flag. The letter discussed their dislike of their colonel, Shaler, and the flag which they felt stood for the Catholic religion based on the flag staff ornament. However, what many may not remember is that the letter was found in a leather wallet in 1942 stuffed into a stump hole in Baxter Co. Ark. Imagine the chances of that surviving....now there are two more that were with it, folded so small and tight. I am posting the transcription of both. The unique thing is they are both from Camden in December 1864 and it does not show a Confederate soldier who is melancholy and feeling the war is lost...just the opposite. Remember, this is a man who owned no slaves and was from an area where slaves were about as rare as hen's teeth!!! But you will at once tell he is committed to the cause. Imagine, Dec 1864 and Ark soldiers, cut off from home in north Arkansas, are still committed to independence!! The letters are to his wife Mary "Huldy" and another relative. Enjoy ...
Camden Ark. December the 18 1864
Dear friend it is with great pleasure that I this morning embrace the opportunity of writing you a few lines to let you know that I am well at present. Hoping these few lines will come to hand and find you enjoying the same like blessings of God’s mercy. I have nothing of importance to write more than I am doing very well, better I expect than you are. I have plenty to live on. I have a soldier’s duty to do, it is true, but that is nothing where independence is at stake.
Boys I hope you will be good soldiers and discharge your duty. I have been trying it two years, and the longer I stay out, the worse I want to gain our independence, and hope it is the case with every Confederate soldier. Let us stand fast with the weapon in our hand and defend our colors at all hazards. Let us show Abraham Lincoln that we are the boys that don’t get scared at every little noise . Good discipline, and obeyance to orders will accomplish our defense, and will raise up a proud nation among the nations of the earth.
We had a successful campaign last spring after marching six-hundred miles in six weeks, and fighting two battles (Pleasant Hill La. and Jenkin’s Ferry Ark.) of which we was victory (victorious). Be of good cheer my brave boys, and ere long we will gain our independence, and then we can return to our loved ones at home, and tell over our scrapes (?), and the best of all (illegible) will be steeped on our Confederate Cavalry.
And here is three cheers for Southern rights, and for the Southern boys. I am in hopes they will be received with cheers . If I knowed it would, I would be cheered three times three.
Over to the other side
I have wrote enough about the life here in camp. I will write something about home, and home affairs. I haven’t heard from home in twelve months. I want to hear from home very bad. I want you to write to me if you have the chance, and let me know how Huldy is getting along, for I fear they are having hard times up there. But I hope they will have enough to live on. B.D. Bryson an(d) Jefferson Yancy is a detail in the shoemaker shop. He is married and living in that city.
Smith P. (I)am writing this letter to you, and I want you to convey it to Huldy without fail. I send this letter for you by a gentleman going from near there. I send my best respects to all the boys. Tell them to write to me. Smith P.(I) hope you will try to live (as)a Christian. I want to see you very bad. I haven’t forgot the times that we have met and enjoyed _?_ their company. Tell Josier (?) and Columbus that I want to see them . I expect They will grow out of my knowledge (They will forget me) before I see them.
Smith, I want you to tell mother I haven’t forgotten her. I often think of her and will remember her in my prayers .
I will come to a close . May the blessings of god be with you, and may we so live that if we never see each other in this world that we may meet in heaven where parting will be no more . So nothing more at present, but remaining your friend, and relative ‘til death
Absolom Langston to (bro.-in-law) formerly also a soldier of Co. H 27th. Arkansas Infantry, Smith Pearson in Union Twp. Izard co. Arkansas
Letter # 2 Camden Ark. December the 18, 1864
Dear companion, it is with the greatest pleasure that I, this Sabbath morning, embrace the opportunity of writing you a few lines to let you know that I am well (and) hoping these few lines will come to hand , finds you enjoying the blessings of god’s mercy. I have nothing of importance to write, more than I am doing very well, I have plenty to live on.
We are at Camden on post (?) guard. Our regiment has been here six months, and I don’t know when we will leave here. We are in winter quarters here.
Huldy, I reckon that you think I have forgotten you, but I haven’t. I haven’t had the chance to write to you. I don’t know whether you will get this or not, but I hope you will, and I know it will give you great satisfaction to hear from me and know that I was still living, and in good health. Mary Muhuldy, I want to see you very bad, but it is out of my power to come to see you unless the way gets open between here and there. And if it does, I think General Magruder would furlough all the north Arkansas troops.
I can’t go home without deserting, and I declare Mary, that you are too high-minded a woman to want me to disgrace myself, and you, and my old father and mother. I know you want me to come honorably as the veteran of a good army, and has proved to the world that he is a man who loved his country, and who was willing to offer himself a sacrifice for its rights.
Tell all my friends I want to see them , and that when I see them that they can see me with(?) it pictured on my continence that I am a true patriot. I want you to tell father and mother that Caleb is well, hearty, and that he went through the fights safe and sound, and fought like a man . (over to the other side )
I want you to write to me if you have a chance. Give my best respects to Jane and John. Tell them I wish them much joy, and would like to see them. Give my respects to all the connection(s). Tell them to remember me in their prayers. Tell sister Patty I want to see her and (her) little boys. I (want) you to do the best you can ‘til I get home. Tell A. A. Robbins that William is well and hearty, tell (all) Charlie Estes, and (Andrew) Jackson Estes, they are both well, and hearty. Tell mother that I want to see her, and to not think hard of me for not writing to her. Tell Polly to not marry ‘til I come home, and I will fetch her a veteran soldier who has heard the murdering thunder of the cannon, and who don’t get scared at the little noises.
Mary, be of good cheer and by and by this war will end, when the old soldier will be permitted to return to his home. Tell father and mother that I want to see them very bad. Tell them Caleb (his brother) is well, and hearty. Mary, William wants you to tell his father to write to him. It has been a long time since he has heard from them.
I will come to a close. May the blessings of heaven rest upon you, and may we so live that (if) we never meet on earth, that we may meet in heaven where parting is no more. So…
Farewell for this time,
Cpl. Absalom Langston Co. H 27th. Arkansas Infantry to his wife Mary Mahulda Pearson Langston, in Union Twp. Izard co. Arkansas