hurmond, Nicholas Damron, Letter, 1865
(C 2143) 1 folder
Dear Parents sisters and brothers,
Judging from my own feelings I know you are anxious to hear from me. A lady stopped with the family with which I am staying, tonight who is going up into Ark. within the fed. lines and offered to take some letters and mail them for me. To do otherwise would be to disregard every obligation of filial and fraternal duty. There are a great many things which you would like to know and which I could tell, but such things I cannot write. I refer to the existing state of political affairs. Therefore what I write will be solely individual.
No doubt you have heard many exagerated accounts and perhaps some in regard to myself concerning I will relate particulars.
I crossed the MO river on the 6th or 7th of Oct. got with Gen Price's army on the 10th at Booneville. Was in only one engagement on the retreat from MO, in which I was wounded. The ball entered just above my big toe opposite side just above the follow of my foot, fracturing bones somewhat though I do not think it will permanently injure me. We were fighting on horseback at the time on the open prarie no timber around for miles. It was inded a grand sight- five or six columns of men drawn up in battle array with their breasts bared to the missiles of death which were flying thick and fast. When will men learn wisdom, and consent to live in peace and friendship with each other?
As General Sherman said to the Mayor of Atlanta "War is cruelty and can't be refined"--still it has it's charms and as long as there are wicked men in the world there will be war. I have somewhat departed from my subject--Before I went into the engagement I saw several lines engaged each other from where I was drewn up in line of battle. I had always wished to see such a sight, and could I again have the opporitunity I would not turn from it-not that I delight in witnessing human suffering, but there is something so facinating in it that one cannot help but admire the grandeur while he detests and abhors the dead and the causes that lead thereto. It was on the 25th. October that I was wounded and my foot had nothing done to it but a little water poured onto it till eight or nine days afterwards when I put a little slippery elm poultice on it. I rode about sixty two miles the night and day after I was wounded--all with the exception of seven or eight miles on horseback, I was not off of my horse except when we camped for the night, two hours at a time until eight days afterwards, all which time I suffered severely. We camped at Cane Hill, Arkansas 1st November. It rained all that night and the and the two or three following days. On the 2nd I left camp with several of the boys and went out to look for a house and something to eat. After traveling six miles over the Boston Mountains we found very comportable quarters with a family who were very kind to us. We stayed there till the sixth. Hearing the night before that the army had left Cane Hill and that the federals had come in there, we came down through Arkansas. The main army going out through Indian Nations.
The boys that were with me (who were Tate, Riley, McCue, and Bailey) thinking it would be impossible, as it would have proved, for me to come through with them as our horses were broke down and our road beset with the enemy, advised me to go and give myself up to the federals at Vanburen Ark., which knowing they thought it best and only thing I could do., for their own safety I reluctantly consented to do. But providence willed it otherwise and all for my on good. On my way to Vanburen I met a man who was going south and leading an extra horse which he offered me if I would lead my own. I intended to go on to Texas but his horse giving out I was compelled to stop at Choctaw Nation, where I am at.
I have been engaged in teaching school here since Nov. 28th and will continue until April perhaps I can resume service in the army.
My foot has healed up. I can walk tolerable without my crutches which I have been using up to last week. I am staying with a Presbyterian Missionary, a very religious family. I have 25 or 26 scholars. I am getting $10 a month per scholar. Fine wages but not much pay.
I think John Black was taken prisoner the same day I was wounded. I have not seen or heard anything definite from Will Sallee. He was not with Price. Some of the boys saw him in March. He was then well and down about Camden Ark.
note by Margaret Thurmond Hartman: At the time Nicholas Thurmond wrote the above letter to his sister Mary and his father Philip Thurmond