[Various locations in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Georgia. August 11, 1862 - September 13, 1864]. Thirteen autograph letters, signed, totaling forty-eight pages, plus approximately thirty- five pages of additional assorted manuscript documents. Minor chipping or loss to a few letters, costing a small amount of text, one separated along horizontal folds, moderate toning, old folds. More significant wear and old repairs to some later documents and family papers. Overall about very good. Housed in plastic sleeves in a modern black plastic report notebook. Item #WRCAM55745
A collection of autograph war-dated letters and other documents and family papers related to the Confederate Civil War service of William Valient Alldredge and his brother, Andrew Perry Alldredge. The Alldredge brothers were third-generation Alabamans who both fought in the 35th Alabama Infantry during the Civil War, as did their brother Warren. William Valient Alldredge was the only one of the three brothers to survive the war. Warren Alldredge was killed in Atlanta on August 22, 1864; Andrew Perry Alldredge was captured at Oxford, Mississippi, and died in a military prison in Alton, Illinois. The most notable portion of the archive is a collection of thirteen war-date autograph letters, signed, from William Valient Alldrege, all signed "W. V. Alldredge" and/or "Billy" or "Billie" and two war-date letters from Andrew Perry Alldredge, signed "Andy Aldridge" or "Andy Perry Alldredge." Both of Andrew Perry Alldredge's early war-dated letters are written on the same sheets of paper as William's first two letters. The majority of the archive relates to Sergeant William Valient Alldredge (later normalized to Aldridge, including on his tombstone). William Alldredge served his regiment from its April 1862 inception (when he was just twenty-two years old) until the end of the Civil War. During the course of these three tumultuous years, the 35th Alabama earned an impressive array of battle honors. After participating in the assault on Corinth, actions around Vicksburg, and the defense of Port Hudson in Louisiana, the regiment joined the Army of Tennessee opposing Sherman during the summer-long siege of Atlanta. In total, Alldredge saw battle action at Coffeeville, Baton Rouge, Baker's Creek, Big Black River, Jackson, Enterprise, Corinth, New Hope Church, Kennesaw Mountain, Peach Tree Creek, Atlanta, Jonesboro, Big Shanty, Decatur, Franklin, and Nashville. The Confederacy's subsequent disaster at Nashville was followed by the Carolinas Campaign and, ultimately, surrender. Alldredge surrendered at Wheeler Station in Lawrence County, Alabama on May 17, 1865. After the war, Sergeant Alldredge returned home, married three times, raised a family, and died a venerable patriarch at the highly respectable age of ninety-eight in the summer of 1937. The Alldredge brothers' Civil War letters begin on August 11, 1862 and run through September 13, 1864, accounting for over two years during the heart of the war in the Trans-Mississippi West and Georgia during Sherman's Atlanta Campaign. The young Alabamans write to their parents, siblings (sometimes in the same letter), and unnamed aunt about military life, clothing received, money sent, the places they and their third brother visit, and more; William or Andrew occasionally mention their third brother Warren who was also serving with them in the 35th Alabama. In the first letter, dated August 11, 1862, while camped "10 miles from Baton Rouge at a creek," William writes to his parents a week after the Battle of Baton Rouge (misspellings unchanged throughout): "Some think we will go back to Baton Rouge but I don't think we will at least I hope not though if we have to try the yankees again I am ready and willing as any body to pitch in tho my opinion is that we will go back towards home as I understand that Gen Brecnkenridge says he is going to take his troop back through North Ala Tenn and in to Ky that will suit us all and if there is any yanks in Ala you augt to see the little 35th make them get out." In the same letter, Andrew also writes to his parents and then separately to his brother and sisters. He reports that he has recently been in "a wright tight battle last Thursday" (the Battle of Baton Rouge) and that he prefers Louisiana to Mississippi. He writes to his brother Clem and his sisters, Betty and Frany that he misses them and remarks that "God has been so merciful as to spare me through sickness, travails, & battle he surely spare me to go home once more...." The next four-page letter actually contains correspondence from the brothers from two separate days and locations. This was likely an effort to maximize the paper available to the Confederate brothers, as they fill up the bifiolium. The first letter is dated September 18, 1862 from "Marcial" [Marshall] County, Mississippi. Here, Andrew writes to his mother about sending home money, and for the regret he feels for "the trouble you and the children had to save your things from the hands of the yankees though I don't think you will have any more trouble with them....I think they are about playd out." William writes to his parents two days later from Gray's Creek, Mississippi, where he reports that he is well and that Warren has been sent home, at least temporarily. On the same day, William writes to his siblings, calling his sister Betty, "the prettyes girl in the Confederate States of A." He also says that "the news is that the yanks are in five miles of us and we expect to fight tomorrow." Another short letter on this bifolium was written by Andrew to "My Dear Sister" Betty, and dated September 20 in "Camp near Grand Junction Tenn." Andrew thanks God for bringing him thus far through the war, as he has "been saved through many dangers by the prayers of my dearest friends." The last short letter here is written to Andrew's other siblings, his brother Clem and sister "Phrany." He sends them money and expresses his continued desire to be home. From this point forward, the letters are written exclusively by William Alldredge. The next comes from William on October 15 from Holly Springs after the Battle of Corinth, which took place about ten days earlier in Mississippi. William writes, in part: "Andy and myself are in tolerable health....I have been in another hard fight harder than the Baton Rouge fight & came out safe again....The march we were on when you left us father lasted 16 days including the three days we were fighting. There was no person killed or wounded in our company though we lost eight on the retreat from Corinth....I do not know what our loss is but estimate it in killed wounded and missing at about eight thousand...." After two more pages of detail on the Battle of Corinth, William signs the letter, "Your affectionate son until Death...." William reports next from Holly Springs, Mississippi on November 2, 1862, writing separate notes to his parents and siblings. His brother Andrew is with him, but does not write, as he in unwell. An excerpt reads: "There seems again to be a hope of peace the latest papers state England and France are about to recognise us as independent and the men in camps seem to be in high spirits though I have heard so much favorable news that it has but little impression on me. He writes to his siblings about the general review he participated in recently: "there was about 30 regts of us infantry and cavalry and Artillery to any amount all in one field besides there was Gen Price, Vandorn, Lovel [sic] and Rust with all their aids there must have been in all 40,000 men...." On January 11, 1863, William is near Grenada, Mississippi, where he sends home not a letter at all, but rather writes out the lyrics to a song called, "Weeping Willow (I'll Hang My Harp on the Willow Tree)." The song was apparently a standard known at the time, and echoes William's experiences going off to war. He next writes from Port Hudson, Louisiana on March 17, 1863 and then again two days later. His March 17 letter to his mother reports on an interesting incident: "Mother we have been expecting a fight here ever since we came here but they have not made the attack as yet. Well I say they have not made the attack yet they did attack our batterys last Saturday Knight and got whiped badly. We set one of their gun boats on fire and burnt it up. It floated down the river and made a pretty light as it went down and the bombs bursting till it floated down about 20 miles and then the magazine took fire and it exploded the noise was the loudest I ever heard. The ship sank and the lights was seen no more this all night...the name of the one that was burnt was the Mississippi Ship." The ship in question here was the USS Mississippi, which previously served as Commodore Matthew Perry's flagship during the Mexican-American War and on his expedition to Japan in 1853. An excerpt from William's March 19 letter to his aunt reads: "I have no hopes of getting home till this unholy war ceases....I saw two yankees yesterday. I asked them if they had seceded. They said yes and commence laughing. When they went to leave us they told us goodby and said they were now off for Jackson and seemed very much pleased. They belong to the 174th N.Y. Regt...." After serving in Louisiana, the 35th Alabama was ordered back to Mississippi, where they eventually headed south to participate in the Vicksburg campaign. William writes separately (but on the same sheet of paper) to his parents and sisters on April 12, 1863. Here, William mentions that he "can't wash without raking all the skin off my fingers but I have got a negro employed to do all my washing on a credit....Gen Buford's brigade is ordered here the 27th Ala is in that brigade...." He mentions later in this same letter that he is uneasy because has not heard anything about his brother Andy; unbeknownst to William, Andrew had died two months earlier at a Union prison in Alton, Illinois, where he is buried in a Confederate Cemetery. On the same sheet, William writes to his sisters, reporting that "the girls in Louisiana are the prettyest and most kind hearted girls you ever saw they treat a soldier like a white man...." Still in Jackson on May 25, William writes a long letter to his family. Here, William recounts in detail the movements made by his unit during the Battle of Champion Hill (also known as the Battle of Baker's Creek), a decisive Union victory that all but sealed the Siege of Vickburg. William's letter reads, in part: "When we came back from Chattanooga we went down the west side of Big Black River in the neighborhood of Vicksburg on Friday the 15th of May. We marched upon the road leading from Edwards depot to Raymond. We camped and our regt was sent out on picket we lay near the yankee lines all Knight. The next morning we sent out skirmishers and opened the fight they shelled us pretty tight our skirmishers fought them as we all fell back gradually to our lines where we joined the Brigade. This was all on the east side of Big Black and on the E side of Bakers Creek also about 20 miles from Vicksburg. The fight did not begin as a regular fight till about 2 o'clock but they kept skirmishing all day at about 2 o'clock Gen Stephenson on the left and Gen Bowin in the center began the most furious firing I ever heard. Gen Loring's division was on the right this is the division that we are in. We double quicked down to where they was fighting and our regt was sent to support the St. Louis Battery. We lay behind it for some length of time under a heavy fire. We had but one man killed and but few wounded. George Hubard was killed none of your acquaintance hurt. While we were in there between the enemys lines and Bakers Creek they having about 75,000 men surrounded us....Stephenson's division cut their way out and fell back to Big Black and they fought there on Sunday a hard fight and they have fought and fell back till they are at Vicksburg. They have been fighting ever day since it is reported that we are getting best of it at Vicksburg though they whipped us on the first day...night came in and we slipped out south of the battlefield we marched within 200 yds of the yankee line of battle. Nobody said a word and we got out after double quicking all day...." At this point, William's letters jump over a year, to July 30, 1864, where he is stationed in the "Line of battle near Atlanta, Ga." William's letter reads, in part: "Warren is well or was a few days ago. I have not seen him in two or three days....We have written I dont know how many letters to you since we left home. Some we sent by mail and some by hand but we have never heard a word from home yet. I long to see a letter from you but it does seem that we can't get a letter at all. We have been in line of battle ever since the 25th of May...we had a fight on the 20 inst in which John Stewart was wounded shot through the left hand but not badly....Hardee fought them on our right on the 22nd, whipt them and drove them out of their breatsworks....I was slightly wounded in the left ankle....James Williams and Bill Stewart were slightly wounded but we are all on duty now. I am picket or skirmish today but as the enemy has not advanced we are not skirmishing any today. Our skirmishing here is generally harder fighting than the cavalry ever has in North Ala[bama]. This has been the most serious campaign I ever experienced and it is not near over yet and I have no idea when it will be over....Gen Joe E Johnston is releaved from his command here and Gen Hood is in command of this army...." William writes again to his parents from Atlanta in August 13, 1864. He is still with his brother, Warren who would die in Atlanta a couple of weeks later. His letter reads, in part: "It is not necessary for me to try to tell you what is going on in Georgia in regard to war matters but we have had no general engagement since the 28th....We are about 6 or 7 miles from the city South West it is reported that the enemy is moving now this way but we are fixing for them. The boys are all buisy diging and throwghing up breastworks which the yankees know won't do to charge...we are now in line of battle again but ever thing is going on quietly today...." William's penultimate correspondence is a sad entry in his series of letters. Here, writing from Lovejoy Station, Georgia on September 11, William reports to his parents on the death of their son and his brother, Warren: "It is with the greatest imaginable grief that I inform you of the death of my last and dear brother your devoted Son. He died at Pim Hospital Griffin Ga...was buried very nice at the soldiers grave yard....What a glorious thing it is to be prepared to die he had been making preparations long before he was wounded and when he died there was not a frown on his face and he died perfectly easy just like going to sleep with his hands across his breast he breathed his last and his wearied soul took its flight to that happy land where wars and pestilence is not known...." William also updates his parents on his experiences in and around Atlanta: "Well I will write you the condition of things here. Atlanta is gave up and we are 35 or 40 miles South of Atlanta on the Atlanta and Macon RR gave into camps after lying in the ditches nearly four months. While we were in Atlanta the yankees sent a raid around in our rear and burned our wagon train with our bagage burnt all of mine and Warrens clothes only what we had on and we wore them out. I dont need any thing only socks having drawn some clothes. I have got Warrens coat pocket book and other things he had in his pockets...." Williams's last letter also comes from Lovejoy Station, two days after his previous correspondence. Here, William bemoans his lack of pay, and expresses an interest to transfer to another unit. He is anxious to receive a letter from home, since "the yankees have all left Decatur I am glad to hear it. I hope they will not pester you any more. I will close my letter hoping that God may bless you all and save you all from dangers and difficulties in this world and the world to come." The archive also includes a manuscript recipe for "Confederate Dye Blue" likely written by William; five manuscript army documents, including Alldredge's post- surrender parole; two partial 20th-century rosters of part of Co. "C" of the 35th Alabama; an undated, two-page letter from a Tennessee soldier named Francis V. Simril; ten pages of antebellum song lyrics and verse; nine postwar letters and receipts totaling sixteen pages; an 1898 letter outlining Alldredge genealogy; and a 1957 letter soliciting donations for publishing a family history. Sergeant Alldredge's manuscript parole reads as follows: "William V. Alldredge was mustered in to the Confederate military Servis as Sergent in Co C 35th Alabama Vols at Courtland Lawrence County Alabama on the 25th day of February 1862 by Maj. Jones; and Surrendered to Col Fairbanks of U. S. Army at Wheeler Sta. Lawrence Co Ala on the 17th day of May 1865. Signed W. V. Alldredge May 17th 1865." An important manuscript archive of Confederate servicemen during the Civil War, with valuable content on notable battles, camp life, troop movements, and the like, but also familial relationships back home and with, in a literal sense, brothers lost in battle.