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Letter from Edward Burleson Estes, Pvt., Co. A, 7th Texas Infantry
to his brother Aaron R. Estes, Sgt., Co. B, 10th Texas Infantry
[both are my 2nd great granduncle]
Hopkinsville, KY
January 13, 1862

Dear Brother,

Your most welcome favor bearing date Decr. 21st is just to hand and I will [begin at once to answer it]. Dear Brother you have no idea the gratification it gave me when I rec’d your cordial letter. And before writing any more I will make a bargain with you. That if you will answer all of my letters that I will do the same to you. I will write immediately upon the receipt of yours. I was glad to learn that you was enjoying good health. And also that your regiment was all improving in their health.

I wish I could write at present time same about the health of our regiment. However at the present time I think there has been a change for the better. As we are now losing on an average only 4 men a day. But my God, until only a few days ago we have buried as many as 15 in one day, and for about two weeks not less then 10 a day out of 739 men that we had belonging to our Regiment when we got to this place. We are now unable to muster on Battalion Drill of an evening only 125 men. The rest all being on special duty [waiting on the sick] we have at the Hospital. And about four fifths of them are sick. There is not a Company in the Regiment but what has lost from 14 to 25 men out of each of them. Our Company has lost less men than any of the other Companies. And we have lost 14 of our men. And the Mexican which makes 15. Captain Moody’s Company [note01] has buried 21 of their men. His Company came from Fairfield.

Among those that have died belonging to our Company are as follows: The most of them I suppose you know. Our 1st Lieut. Mr. Houston who died at Marshall, Texas. W.T. {William F.} Arnold, our 1st Corporal whom we left sick at Clarksville, Tenn., while on our way here. He died the next day after we left him. And the balance have all died since we arrived here. M.M. Webster, 2d Sergeant; John W. McCary, 3d Sergeant; R.W. Sparks, 4th Sergeant; Privates D.B. Webster who is a Brother to M. M. Webster. J.D. Price {Trice}, P.L. Holloway, W{esley} W. Rozell, J.D. Hardin, W{allace} W. Evans, H.W. Speagles, T. Pilkintin {P. Pilkington}, and A.L. Goff. And the Mexican which makes 14 of our men not counting the Mexican as he was the Majors [servant].

The disease most prevalent is that of measles and while down with them, they by carelessness of some kind or another catch cold which gives them the pneumonia, and when they once get that they are past curing as I have never yet heard of a single case cured. At the present time of writing we have belonging to our Company, sick at the Hospital 10 of our men. And among them is L.S. Williams and Uncle John Holloway and C.W. Trice and W.A. Raybe {Ruyle} and Terrie [Terry W.] Willie. I believe they are all that you know.

I am glad to write you that they are all doing well, and I think that in the course of a few more days that they all will be able to take their places in ranks once more, though none of them will be placed on duty until Spring. I have just come into camp two days ago, having had a severe spell of sickness and was at the Hospital some four weeks. My disease was the measles first and after having got well of them I took the mumps. But thank God, I have got well of both.

Jack Middleton who belongs to Captain Davis Company is now at the Hospital sick with the pneumonia, and is lying at the point of death. He has been out of his head for the last 4 days and the Doctor says there is no hope for his recovery. I would not be surprised if he was not dead now. You wanted to know how I liked the life of a soldier by now. I can tell you if we could only have good health and not have so many of our boys to die, I would like it much better as it is a life that I delight to live. And as far as my duty as a soldier is concerned I can assure you that I will perform it no matter how hard it may be. George [note02] and Len Williams [note03] sends their best respects to you. And George desires me to tell you that he is as stout as a bull and would like very much to see you.

You must be sure Brother and answer this as soon as you get it and direct your letter to Hopkinsville, KY in care of Capt. Alexander, Col. Gregg’s Regiment, Texas Volunteers.

From your ever affectionate Brother,

I remain yours truly.

E.B. Estes

P.S. Our Regiment has lost 140 men since we have been up here to the present time.

Notes
Notes received.
[ . . . ] indicates notes included in transcription received.

note01. Moody lived through the war, formed the American National Insurance Company at Galveston. His descendants were in the news stealing millions from each other.

note02. George W. Williams was the son of Col. Leonard H. Williams. He was killed in the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee, and is buried at the McGavock Cemetery at Franklin, Tennessee.

note03. Len S. Williams was the son of Thomas Williams and Mary Elizabeth Davis of Gholson in McLennan County, Texas. He ran off at 14 [or 16] to join the Confederate Army and died of the measles at Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

Compiler Notes
{ . . . } indicates notes/clarification added to transcription by the compiler.

Of the five members of Co. A, 7th Texas Infantry, noted to be 'sick at hospital' on 13 Jan 1862:
  • L.S. Williams, died of disease, 07 Feb 1862, Clarksville, Tennessee. Age 16 at enlistment.
  • John Holloway; survived illness. Age 45 at enlistment; 5' 10" tall, light complexion, blue eyes, light hair; born in Montgomery County, Tennessee; left sick at Clarksville, Tennessee, 08 Feb 1862; avoided capture at Fort Donelson; rejoined company 10 Nov 62; discharged 15 Jan 1863.
  • C.W. Trice; survived illness. Age 18 at enlistment; WIA 27 June 64, Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia, lost hand; discharged disabled shortly afterwards.
  • W.A. Ruyle; survived illness. Age 17 at enlistment; POW 16 Feb 62, Fort Donelson, exchanged; KIA 12 May 63, Raymond, Mississippi. Buried in Confederate Cemetery, Raymond, Mississippi.
  • Terry W. Willie; survived illness. Age 14 at enlistment; escaped from Fort Donelson with 8th Texas Cavalry; transferred to service in Co. G, 8th Texas Cavalry.

  • Sources
    Ref_01: The manuscript above was transcribed and provided to me by Lisa Kight, a competent family researcher. The original is in The Texas Collection at the Carroll Library at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. The original letters were contributed by Dan Williams.
    Ref_02: 7th Texas Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Muster Roll found on Lars Gjertveit's website.