Item #7500 [Autograph letter by a private in the 4th Texas Regiment.]. J. M. Adams.
[Autograph letter by a private in the 4th Texas Regiment.]

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[Autograph letter by a private in the 4th Texas Regiment.]

Headquarters, near Richmond, Virginia, 4 Dec. 1864. 8vo (9” x 5.75”), 4 pp., in ink, on plain paper. CONDITION: Paper browned, text faded but legible, some words barely legible but no loss of sense.

An engaging letter written by a Confederate Second Sergeant from Texas to a sweetheart on a range of subjects relating to the Civil War, both Northern and Southern.

J. M. Adams enlisted as a private in Company C of the 4th Texas Infantry Regiment in Robertson County, TX on 15 July 1861. He served as a scout in the Fall of 1861; saw action at Fox's Gap on South Mountain on 14 Sept. 1862; was promoted to Second Sergeant; undertook provost guard in April 1863; was wounded in action at the Battle of Wilderness on 6 May 1864, and was paroled at Appomattox in 1865. At some point during the war Adams committed an offense mentioned in this letter, but which he does not disclose. Adams addresses this letter to Ms. Belle Hixson, “an esteemed friend,” who appears to have lived in Aldie, Yoakum County, TX and from whom he recently received a letter. He opens by explaining that he got to camp on the Sunday after he left Aldie, TX: “Everybody was so glad that I had got back that they did not think of court martialing me and you may swear that I did not remind them of it.” He continues: “This is Sunday, and the Brigade has built them a small church, and it is to be dedicated today.” He makes mention of a fellow private Joel Forester, who opened a letter from Hixson that he thought was from his mother, “so he opened it and was very much tickled at the content of it”—an indication Hixson and Adams may have been on intimate terms. He writes that he is “very much obliged to you for your good advice and will try to profit by it. I am using your advice and writing General [Robert E.] Lee to have Fred arrested and sent to his command.”

Adams notes that “all detailed men have been ordered in,” and that he hears one Alice “would like to see her beau in ‘Limbo.’” He comments that one Dick (Richard H.) Skinner, who has been before the examining board and was ordered to report to the Quartermaster department for light duty and is now with our Brigade Quartermaster, sends his respects to all of you. He reports that “We have been expecting an attack on this side of the river for some time, but all is very quiet now and I believe if we don't have a fight this week that we won't have any this winter.” In an interesting moment, he notes that the Confederate government has “shipped a cargo of cotton from Mobile to New York for the purpose of trading it for blankets for our captive soldiers and citizens.” He comments that “the news from Georgia is very cheering”: “Sherman has been checked by [William J.] Hardee and lost two thousand prisoners. We think that Sherman’s whole command will be captured.” He turns to address Tennessee: “[John Bell] Hood is in middle Tennessee, and has no army to oppose him.”

Noting that “there is a good deal of talk about arming the Negroes and putting them into the field,” he then touches on matters back home: “There is some talk about our Brigade [going] to Texas this winter. Our Texas Congressmen are doing all they can for us but I think it will play out. We are all building winter quarters up as well as circumstances will admit.” Noting that “the boys run the blockade to Richmond every night to go to the theatre,” he asserts that he is, by contrast, on his “best behavior at this time on account of staying so long on furlough.” The Fred mentioned above also appears to have been from Aldie, TX, and appears to have been furloughed like Adams. Closing the letter, he relates that his brigade was in four battles while he was at home and “suffered severely”: “General [John] Gregg was killed on the 7th of October [1864].” Gregg (1828–1864) was a politician who served as a Deputy from Texas to the Provisional Congress of the Confederate States from 1861 to 1862. Adams closes the letter by asking Hixson to write all about the young ladies in Aldie, TX, and particularly about herself.

REFERENCES: Private J. M. Adams at

Item #7500

Price: $950.00

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