1862: Lewis C. Peacock to E. W. Robertson


How Lewis might have looked

This letter was written by 16 year-old Lewis C. Peacock (1845-1922) of Co. A (“Acworth Infantry”), 18th Georgia Infantry. We learn from the letter that Lewis and his buddy, Elijah (“Lige”) N. Robertson, were new recruits to the 18th Georgia and joined up with the regiment in their camp near Fredericksburg in March 1862. Lige did not last long in the service. He was discharged for disability at Richmond on 27 May 1862 — less than three months from the time he enlisted. Lewis served with the 18th Georgia until he was captured at Burkeville, Virginia, on 6 April 1865. He was released at Newport News, Virginia, on 25 June 1865.

Lewis was the son of Samuel E. Peacock (b. 1813) and his first wife, Elizabeth McKenzie. After the war, Lewis married Parazaid (“Parrie”) Raney (Humphries) (1842-1921). In 1870, the Peacock family resided in Bartow county, Georgia. By 1880, the family had relocated to Grimes county, Texas, where the old Rebel died in 1922.

In the letter, Lewis complained about being ordered to clean his gun for an hour a day. When you read Lewis’ death notice, you will find a certain irony….

Navasota, Texas, Jan. 12 — The body of Lewis C. Peacock, 77 years old, was found at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Martin Allen, late yesterday with a shotgun lying nearby. It is supposed that Mr. Peacock started to clean the gun when it accidentally discharged, the load striking his stomach. Mr. Peacock was a citizen of this county for many years and had been a resident of Navasota for about ten years. Funeral services were held this afternoon. [Published in the Bryan Weekly Eagle, Thursday, 19 January 1922)


Addressed to Mr. E. W. Robertson, Acworth, Ga.

Camp near Fredericksburg, Va.
April 2, 1862

Dear Friends,

It is with the greatest of pleasure that I seat myself to write you both these few lines which leaves us well & enjoying good health, hoping when these fe lines come to hand they may find you all well & enjoying the choicest of blessing. Miss Harriet & Sis, I wish I was with you all tonight but I reckon I can’t leave home to come to see you. It’s not in my power to see you all but I am in hopes I will see you all again.

I thought I knew something when I left home but I soon found out I did not know nothing. When it came to crossing rivers where the bridge was 5 miles long & towns from ten to twenty miles wide, I keep my eyes open. When I got to Richmond, we stayed there two days & nights & I walked all the time & i could not find any end to the town until we started to the boys & the train had to find the way out. I never could of got out — I was lost all the time. And the worst of it was we had to tote a pass everywhere we went. I [we] did not, they would take us up. It goes pretty hard with me & Lige but I think we will get over it.

Harriet & Sis, we are going to leave here but we do not know where we will go to. Some think we will go to North Carolina & some think we will go to Tennessee but I think we will go to Richmond, but I don’t know where we’ll go. Miss Harriet, I & Lige like camp life the best kind. We will stand it, I think — at least I am in hopes we will. Harriet & Sis, I am now lying in a tent by myself writing to you. I have just come off of drill. I am listening for the drum every minute for us to drill again. A fellow has no time to play here — only on your guns. And I don’t call it playing for you have to rub it about an hour every [day] until you get it plum bright.

John Shinn ¹, Wesley Jackson ², William Morris ³, & Tom Jenkins † has gone to Richmond to the hospital. I hated to give up these boys. I was sick for three days after I got here but I am well as ever now. Me & Lige is saucy as ever but I reckon we have to mind when we are spoken to — just as if we were niggers — but before I will be equal with niggers I will fight until I die. Uncle George Shurburne ‡ has got a discharge & I send this letter by him. You must excuse bad writing & spelling. Tell Mrs. Robertson & Mr. Robertson & John to write to me & you & Sis to write too. So no more. Write soon. Yours truly until death. — Lewis Peacock

You need not write until I write again. Give my best respects to Mary Jones & all of the other girls. — Lewis

When I wrote this letter, it was thought that Mr. Shurburne would get a discharge on account of old age but it was knocked up so I will send it by mail. So no more — only let Brother George know how I am getting on. I remain your true friend, — Lewis

¹ Shinn, John H. — Private – February 15, 1862. Wounded in 1863. Absent without leave August 31, 1864. No later record.

² Jackson, Wesley Harris — Private – February 18, 1862. Wounded in right foot, necessitating amputation below knee, at 2nd Manassas, Virginia August 30, 1862. Discharged, disability, September 19, 1862.

³ Morris, William W. — Private – February 21, 1862. Died of disease July 11, 1862.

† Jenkins, J. Thomas — Private – April 1, 1861. Appointed Musician. Surrendered, Appomattox, Virginia April 9, 1865.

‡ Lewis mentions that his uncle, George Shurburne, Jr. was serving in the regiment when he arrived in camp but that he expected him to receive a disability discharge soon. George had served since the formation of the regiment in April 1861. He was discharged for disability on 21 July 1862.


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