1864: Drury James Burchett to Annie Regan

Drury James Burchett

Drury James Burchett in later years

This letter was written by Capt. Drury James Burchett (1842-1929) of the 14th Kentucky Infantry. Drury was born in Floyd, Kentucky on 15 August 1842 to Armsted Burchett (1816-1894) and Rebecca Pigg (1820-1900).

A family biography for Drury J. Burchett claims that his youth “was spent much as that of any farmer’s son of his generation. The common schools gave him his educational opportunity, and on the farm he learned to make himself useful from earliest childhood. In 1849 he accompanied his father to Louisa, and there he continued attending school. When the long-brewing troubles between the two sections of the country resulted in the declaration of war he espoused the cause of the North and enlisted in Company K, Fourteenth Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, and became a private in the Union Army. In November, 1861, he was promoted to first lieutenant, and commanded his company, and in February, 1862, was made captain of his company. On August 6, 1864, he was commissioned major of his regiment, and was discharged with this rank January 31, 1865.

“Returning to Louisa, Kentucky, Major Burchett went into business, and remained there for a time, during which period he was nominated for Congress, but was defeated by only 129 votes, a remarkable showine for a republican in a strong democratic district. He was later appointed by President Harrison United States marshal for Kentucky, and served as such for four years and two months. A man of big ideas, he saw the necessity for a first-class banking institution at Louisa, Kentucky, organized it, and had served as its president for fifteen years when, in 1900, he came to Mount Sterling and was induced to interest himself in the Traders National Bank. In 1912 he was elected its president, and still holds that office.

“On March 15, 1865, Major Burchett married Adelaide Jones, and they became the parents of six children, of whom the following are living: Mary R., who is the wife of T. F. Ratcliff; Emma, who is the wife of George R. Vincent, cashier of the First National Bank of Louisa; John C., who is engaged in the lumber business at Williamson, West Virginia; Drury J., Jr., who is in the coal business in Pike County Kentucky. Mrs. Burchett died February 12, 1890.

“On April 30, 1896, Major Burchett married Miss Annie Regan, who was born in Montgomery County, Kentucky, in 1847. Major Burchett belongs to the Methodist Episcopal Church at Louisa.” This letter is addressed to “My dear Annie” — not Adelaide whom he married the following year. It isn’t clear whether this letter was addressed to Annie Regan (his second wife) who was then 17 years old.

Lost Mountain served as the southwesterly anchor of a ten-mile Confederate defensive line commanded by Gen. Joseph E. Johnston against Union troops under Gen. William T. Sherman marching toward Atlanta preceding the battle of Kennesaw Mountain which took place on 27 June 1864.

Addressed to Mr. Joseph Sanborn, Ross Corner, [York County] Maine
Postmarked Portland, Maine

Camp in front of Lost Mountain in the woods, [Cobb County] Georgia
June 14th 1864

My Dear Annie,

Altho I was in the skirmish line last night and feel very bad, I must surely acknowledge the receipt of the photograph of your noble self. Oh how glad was I when I opened the letter and found what I so anxiously looked for. I can’t tell nor express myself here. I was out quite a distance in front of our line of battle on skirmish duty. I wanted to see Col. [George W.] Gallup ¹ on some business. I went back to the regiment [and] just got there as the mail did when I was honored with a letter from my dear little Ann. I never thought that you loved me as I now think you do. I am glad to know and think that I am not forgotten by one who I love so devotedly as I do Annie. I hope you have the same opinion as me.

I will tell you we moved forward yesterday evening again. We are now in the woods, built up breastworks where we are at present, not knowing how long we will remain here. We moved the enemy from their first line of works yesterday. Oh what a roar of musketry and artillery. It was terrible all day yesterday and part of last night. Our regiment was not engaged in the last fight and I can speak for myself I would be perfectly willing not to hear another gun during my term of service. Some of our brave officers wanted to leave ____ and go to some large army where they could win for themselves lasting honor. [Take] my word for it, they are all satisfied and would give anything to be now on s____.

I have no news to tell you this morning. I [had] written yesterday and gave you all the news. I am very sorry that I have not any photographs to send you and I have no chance to get any now as we are so far from any place in the world. You must not think hard of me. I can’t help not having any now.

I do not expect you can read this poorly written letter. I am so sleepy I can scarcely  see, not having any sleep last night, of course, I can’t help it. I will close. Give my kindest regards to the family and every person. Write soon and often. I am as ever yours, — D. J. Burchett

¹ In 1864, Col. George W. Gallup was ordered to the Mississippi Department and placed in command of the 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 23rd Army Corps, at Kingston, Ga., and thereafter took part in the Atlanta Campaign until the city surrendered, being in the battles of Kennesaw Mountain, Peach Tree Creek, Jonesborough, and others. The 14th Kentucky held back and checked the enemy advance on the Marietta Road on 23 June 1864.

There terrain near Lost Mountain, Cobb County, Georgia

The Confederate Defenses near Lost Mountain, Cobb County, Georgia, in June 1864


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