1862: George Washington Brummett to Pleasant Brummett

How George might have looked

How George might have looked

This letter was written by 25 year-old Pvt. George Washington Brummett, Jr. (1836-1864) who enlisted in Co. I (the “McCulloch Guards”), 9th Arkansas Infantry (CSA) in November 1861 at Memphis, Tennessee. Due to heavy losses at the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862, Company I was disbanded and George was promoted to sergeant and transferred to Co. A. He was captured in Jefferson County, Arkansas on 1 February 1864 and sent to the military prison at Rock Island Barracks in Illinois in May 1864 where he died on 20 September 1864 from erysipelas. He is buried in the post cemetery, grave #1516.

George was the son of George Washington Brummett, Sr. (1809-18xx) and Malinda Cage (1809-1861) of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He wrote the letter to his younger brother Pleasant (“Pleasy”) Brummett (1849-1896). George’s brother, William Harrison Brummett (1845-1926) also served with George in the 9th Arkansas Infantry and he is probably the “Bill” referenced in the letter.

For a good summary of the role played by the 9th Arkansas Infantry at the Battle of Shiloh, see: Confederate Disorganization Leads to Chaos at Shiloh.

George wrote this letter from the winter encampment of the 9th Arkansas near Bowling Green, Kentucky. “We have not had the chance to fight the yankees yet,” George wrote his brother, but he adds that “if they don’t give it up before then” that they will “pitch in to the Yankees rough shod” in the spring.

TRANSCRIPTION

Bowling Green, Kentucky
January the 22nd [1862]

Dear Brother P.

I seat myself to write you a few lines to let you know how we are all doing. Well sir, we are all enjoying reasonable health and how when these lines come safely to your hands they will find you enjoying good health. I guess when you read these lines it will sorter surprise you for I know you won’t be expecting one from me. I just happened to think about writing you a letter to see how it would work, and what sort of an answer you would write me and if you don’t answer it, I won’t write you anymore — that’s so.

Well, Pless, I would like to see you very much and go a possum hunting with you for I have not been a possum hunting since I have been out. I want you to have my pup well trained by the time I get back so we can rake in a few of the fattest of them. You must write how he performs and if he don’t perform right, kill him dead for I don’t like mean dogs. There is some of the prettiest little Bull pups here I ever saw. If I could, I would send you one but I can’t do it.

Well Plesy, we have not had the chance to fight the Yankees yet, nor I don’t think we will for they are afraid of us. I hear some talk of peace before long. I guess you would not much care, would you? I don’t recon we will come home before our time is out unless peace is made, and if peace is made, then we will come raring and pitching, saying hurrah for the sunny South!

Bill, Bob, and John is all fat and saucy. We have a little hole dug out in our tent and we are all sitting around it while I am writing to you. Bill and Bob says they would give anything almost to be with you tonight so they could take a big hunt and catch a rabbit. Pleassy, I guess you would like to take a small hunt with us, wouldn’t you? But it may be that some of us has taken our last hunt with you. That is not for us to know. I hope though that we will all live to get back and see you once more.

We are still here at Bowling Green, Kentucky, and I expect we will stay here till next spring and then we will pitch in to the Yankees rough shod if they don’t give it up before then.

We are going to making chimneys to our tents and then how warm we will sleep of a night. We have had no cold weather here much yet and I hope we won’t for if we do we will suffer in the fat, but we have straw now to put in our tents for the first, only what we get ourselves.

Pleasy, I want you to write to me as soon as you get this and write everything common, what you are all working at, and what your neighbors are all doing. Tell daddy that they would not have my old shot gun in the company — we had plenty of guns. I expect I will lose her.¹

We have elected Capt. [Isaac L.] Dunlop [as] Colonel of our regiment. We all like him very well so far. So I will have to close for this time. Tell all the family howdy for me and tell yourself “howdy do” for me. And tell them all to write and don’t forget to write yourself. So farewell, dear brother, for the present. Direct to Bowling Green.

— G. W. Brummett


¹ We learn from this letter that George enlisted in the service carrying his own shotgun which was common among many of the Arkansas regiments early in the war. A regimental history tells us that the 9th Arkansas was one of the regiments eventually receiving flintlock Hall’s rifles that had been confiscated from the Federal Armory at Little Rock in February 1861.

 

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