|Battle of Chickamauga|
Kurz & Allison - Library of Congress
March 2nd 1864
Dear father Kind Sir
In complyance to your req[u]est I seat myself this beautiful morning to inform you that I am q[u]ite well My weight is one hundred and sixty Eight pounds I have been blessed with Success I have been in four rouged batles chicamauga Misionary ridge chattanooga Tunnel hill and ringold its too tedious to gave a full Detail of the hole our Losses at chicamauga was estimated at 30000 thousand that was a seen that Long to be remembered I seen four achors covered with wounded federals and confederates at one hospital the dead was lying so thick you cood step from one to another the Line of Battle Extended 25 Miles the dead was all along the Lines in proportion so you no nothing about soldiering in Ky
I have been Exposed both to rain and Yankys for more than one weak without Shelter It rains alltogether here there has been no snow here this winter Sweet potatoes keeps heare through winter in sacks We are all in good Circumstances for provisions I received a leter from J Wm Furguson dated December the 10th stated that you received a leter from me wroat at Lookout Mountain Its very gratifying to receive a leter or here from any of you all the buoys ar in fine health H G Keeton was killed abingdon, va. Bye lightning
I have no nuse to wright mor than our army are in good Condition for the spring Campaign I wish you fother to collect $45 that Thomas Hay owse me Camel Hurst owse me 23 ds towards that hose he bought from mee colect the money and make use of it as you wish I wish you to wright all nuse thatt you have give me a full Detail of all the proceedences since I left home In form me what the buoys ar doing
I wroate a leter by flag of truce recently I wish to inform you that confederate money is worth nothing of any consequence give my Love to my friends if I have any there is some prospect of our brigad being transfered to western va. if so it may be that I will get privalidge to see you once more if not the Limits are gloomy General Jo Johnson is commanding the western army there has been furloughs granted to every five men where there is where there is thre Commisioned officers present for duty one are aloud a furlough I will get a furlough for twenty five days as soon as Lieut J K P South returns his time of furlough expires sixth Inst I will take my Randibuss in Western Virginia It Seems like home all the buoys are anxious to get back to virginia as they was to get home
Its twelve hundred Miles from Dalton to abingdon fifty Miles from abingdon to pound gap seventy five miles from pound gap to Salyersville 12 miles fr Salyersville to hom now make the calculation and you can asertan how far we are apart the cars runns from dalton to abingdon in five days I am one hundred miles from Missippi I wod be very happy to be with you all one time more but our Country calls me to post many more if they was not so courdly I will close by say to all my little brothers and Sisters to forget me not I wod be happy to see you. old mother also very respectfuly
Yours & Soforth
H Furguson (Lt)
The author of the above letter was Lieutenant Hayden Furguson, the son of Rev. William Ferguson & Nancy Williams. He was born on August 9, 1840 and lived with his family at Relief, Morgan Co. KY. He enlisted as a Private in Co. B, 5th KY Mtd. Infantry, on Dec. 27, 1861, at Camp Hager, Johnson Co. KY. He re-enlisted on Nov. 18, 1862, in Co. D, 5th KY Infantry, at Licking Station, Magoffin Co. KY and was elected 2nd Lieutenant. He was later promoted to 1st Lieutenant, Co. F. Eight days after he wrote the above letter, Furguson was granted leave of absence after which he returned to his command and appears on the rolls as "present" until and including October 1864. Furguson returned home to Kentucky where he was involved in the killing of Tandy Jones, a former comrade from the 5th KY Infantry. The resulting troubles that followed Jones' death may have forced Furguson to leave Kentucky. He moved to Georgia and was living in Monroe County in 1870. Ten years later he was a retail grocer in the Calhoun area, Gordon County, Georgia. He died on March 8, 1920 and was buried in the Chandler Cemetery, Calhoun, Gordon Co. Georgia. His wife Mary A. Goodwyn Furguson died on December 21, 1922 and was laid to rest next to her husband.
H. G. Keeton mentioned in the letter was Harvey G. Keeton, a private in Co. D, 5th KY Infantry. The last entry in his service records states that he was left sick in the hospital at Emory & Henry College, Aug. 22, 1863, by order of the regimental surgeon. His subsequent death by lightning at Abingdon, VA, is not noted.
Lieut. J. K. P. South was 1st Lt. James K. Polk South, Co. D, 5th Ky. Inf. Photograph
J. William Ferguson may have been Hayden's oldest brother John William Ferguson (1830-1875).
Thomas Hay was a laborer who lived in District One, Morgan County, KY, in 1860 (HH# 413/409). Camel Hurst was most likely Campbell Hurst, a fairly close neighbor to Hay (HH# 419/415).
Information of Interest
Battle of Chickamauga, Sept. 19/20, 1863
The Chickamauga Campaign - Official Records and Battle Description
The Battle of Lookout Mountain, November 24, 1863
The Battle of Missionary Ridge, November 25, 1863
The Chattanooga Campaign -Official Records and Battle Description
The Battle of Ringgold Gap, November 27, 1863
The Battle of Tunnel Hill, February 24/25, 1864
The 5th KY Infantry was part of the famed Orphan Brigade.
The Orphan Brigade Homepage
Dalton was the winter camp of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston 's Army of Tennessee in 1863, the place where the second main army of the Confederacy had its morale restored to health after the disaster at Chattanooga under Gen. Braxton Bragg. The 5th KY Infantry had 91 men disabled at Chickamauga and totalled 201 men and 165 arms in December, 1863.
Furguson's letter was in a mailbag, captured at the Battle of Half Mountain (Meadows of Licking), Magoffin County, KY, on April 14, 1864, by Captain John C. Collins, 14th KY Infantry (US), shortly before it reached its final destination - and more than a month after it was mailed!
The original spelling has been retained.
Letter transcribed and researched by Marlitta H. Perkins, July 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication without express written notice by Marlitta H. Perkins is strictly prohibited. © 2012. All Rights Reserved.