March 18, 1862. pp. Old mailing folds, minor foxing. Very good. Item #2349
An information-packed letter from Eluctius William Treadwell Sr. (circa 1836-1865), who served in the 19th Alabama Infantry, writing from the Army of Mississippi's large encampment at Corinth, describing the results of three nearby battles, including a notable skirmish in Arkansas, and with his reflections on the future struggles for a Confederate victory in the war.
In Treadwell’s first passage, he describes an unnamed skirmish: "We have had some fighting not far from this place and killed from what they say some 40 Yankees and captured 6. Our loss none. Our men attacked them with 225 Cavalry and they had 400 Cavalry and two thousand infantry. Our men drove them into their boats, though they tried to stop our men by retreating and drawing them in until they could with their infantry cut our men off.... The Yankees landed at a place called Eastport and have quite a number of men and gunboats. It is said they are 50,000 strong and are building a road to bring their artillery to this point. I understand we have sent our artillery out to tear up the road and to fight them if they will present it... Beauregard is cutting off the gunboats that are up this river, I mean Tennessee River. If we can do that I will be pretty well satisfied." Two weeks later, the Confederate Army of Mississippi would launch a surprise attack from its Corinth base in what became the Battle of Shiloh.
Treadwell also offers what he has heard about the recent Battle of Pea Ridge: "We had a battle in Arkansas the other day. We got the best of it. Price was not wounded as we heard, but McColough [sic, McCulloch] was killed. At last acct Price had cut off the enemy's baggage and was on one side with his army, and Pike on the other with 6,000 Indians and surrounded on another side by an impenetrable wilderness so that they could hardly help being taken prisoners." The Battle of Pea Ridge, also known as the Battle of Elkhorn Tavern, was fought near Fayetteville, Arkansas from March 7-8, 1862. Though it was a rare instance in which Confederate forces outnumbered the Union, and Treadwell seems to think the Confederates won the day, the battle ended as a Union victory. In fact, Pea Ridge helped to solidify Union presence in northern Arkansas and most of Missouri. Most impactful were the deaths of Texas Brigadier General McCulloch (mentioned here) as well as Confederate Brigadier General James McIntosh and Missouri State Guard General William Y. Slack.
Treadwell then describes the Battle of Fort Donelson: "Johnson and Pillow have been suspended for their actions at the fall of Fort Donaldson [sic]. I have seen men that was in that fight, and they say we was not whipt at all, but was surrendered without our consent or knowledge of it until it was done. Some cried like children, while others would tear down the white flag every time they put it up for 3 successive times - one man swore it was not done fair and had his 24 hours after the surrender and dared any man to take them from him."
Finally, Treadwell makes predictions about the future course of the war: "I am sorry to know that some of our people are becoming faint at our recent reverses. As for my part, I expected such things and we will suffer more than this before our independence is won.... I expect this war will last for years. After some few months from this time, Lincoln will offer us some kind of wrights, which I hope we will not except unless it be to let us alone to enjoy our freedom just as we see fit. After he finds we will except nothing, he will then in my opinion rally all the force he has and come against us, and there will be the greatest battles of the world." He concludes his letter with some personal content regarding his "indebted mess" and pining for home and his wife and children.
The letter is unsigned, but probably because Treadwell ran out of space on the verso of the third sheet - he concludes with a hasty line of cross-writing on the first page, suggesting an imminent attack: "We are throwing up breastworks." Another signed letter by Treadwell written a week later was consulted online for comparison. The letter is accompanied by a complete typed transcription.
An interesting and informative Confederate letter from a young Alabama boy serving in Mississippi, with much more than the usual camp life content.