This letter was written by Charles Abram Rutledge (1840-1924) to his sister Henrietta Matilda Rutledge (1842-1904). Charles and Henrietta were two of at least eleven children born to John Wheeler Rutledge (1800-1873) and Julia Ann Ward (1808-1889) of Harford, Maryland.
After his graduation from the Medical College of Virginia, Charles A. Rutledge served 7 months in the Virginia Rockbridge 1st Light Artillery, and then became an assistant surgeon in the Confederate States Army. In 1863 he was placed in charge of the Siege Train Hospital near Savannah, Georgia, reporting to Medical Director R. L. Brodie.
Charles had to communicate with his family through “flag-of-truce” mail exchanges since his relatives were residing in Union-occupied Maryland. In his military records I found a furlough request submitted by Rutledge on 8 July 1863 while Lee’s army was invading Maryland and Pennsylvania. Rutledge hoped that this would give him an opportunity to visit his family in Baltimore. He apparently had not yet heard of Lee’s setback at Gettysburg. Flag-of-truce letters were typically free of military intelligence and often kept — like prisoner’s letters — to a maximum of one page, which may explain the brevity of this missive.
March 14th 1863
I have been anxiously looking for a letter from you for some time and hope if you have not written lately, that you will write immediately. I heard from home. I am happy to inform you some time ago, through Cousin May and I assure you that I was very glad to hear all were well. it is the first time I have heard since Brother came.
I heard from Uncle John ¹ a short time since. He & family were well though he informed me of the sad news of Uncle Jerry’s death. ² I will explain in another letter the cause of his death. Aunt’s family are all well. Cousin William is reported to be engaged to Miss Brooks & it is said will be married soon. Brother is quite well.
I have been here about two weeks and have been enjoying the oysters & fish very much as it is the first opportunity I have had of getting any of late.
The weather here now is about as warm as the month of May in Harford except on occasionally cool days. Please send me some more U. S. postage stamps and write often per Flag of Truce. I am always anxious to hear from you. My best love to Ma & all. I remain your affectionate brother, — C. A. Rutledge, Asst. Surgeon
¹ “Uncle John” was John Chiles Ward (1812-1887) who lived in or near Lynchburg, Virginia. One of his sons was John Robert Ward (1840-1884) received his medical degree from the University of Virginia Medical Department in 1860 and then enlisted in the Lynchburg Home Guard, a company of the Virginia Militia, where he was appointed Assistant Surgeon on November 2, 1861. Later that same month, on November 16, Dr. Ward and the other members of the Home Guard were mustered into Company G in the 11th Virginia Infantry. On June 22, 1863, Ward was promoted to Surgeon by Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America. His appointment was later confirmed by the Confederate Senate on January 30, 1864. Other than what was mentioned above, no other information is known about his service during the Civil War.
² “Uncle Jerry” was Edwin Jeremiah Ward (1821-1863) who is believed to have died in Arkansas.