25. The Battle of Cedar Mountain was fought on August 9, 1862.

26. The Purcell Battery of Light Artillery was organized by merchants Daniel Hagerty and John Barry Purcell of Richmond, Virginia. Originally organized to be led by Captain Ruben Lindsey Walker (1827–1890), command of the battery was later transferred to William Ransom Johnson Pegram (1841–1865) who was mortally wounded at Ford’s Depot, at the Battle of Five Forks, Virginia.

27. William Graves Crenshaw (1824–1897) resigned his commission as Captain of the Crenshaw Light Artillery to become a purchasing agent for the Confederate government in England.

The Civil War Letters of James Harvey Campbell

a collection of thirty-one civil war letters

James shares with his wife the latest camp news including that of skirmishes, a soon to be fought battle, and the resignation of Captain William Graves Crenshaw. Signs of strain begin to show on the Campbell family household with James being away at war. Concerns for his family never leave his mind.

Camp near Gordonsville-August 4, 1862

Dearest Wife,
I arrived here yesterday about noon and found the battery without any difficulty. I had a pleasant trip in the regular passenger train, and no one troubled me about transportation not even requiring me to show my pass. I got on the cars and off again when I arrived at Gordonsville without being interfered with by anyone. We have a very pleasant camp here, in full view, and in two or three miles of the Southwest range of mountains. But we expect to move some time today in the direction of the enemy, I suppose. If we do, I suppose it will not be many days before we have a brush. Our cavalry had a fight the day before yesterday at Orange Court-House with the Yankees and drove them back.25 Operations are going to be very brisk up here, from all appearances. Purcell’s battery26 left here yesterday. I don’t know where they are gone. I heard we would go to Orange Court- House, but I don’t know. That is about twelve miles from here, in the direction of Washington. The Captain called the company together this morning and announced his intention to resign his commission as Captain,27 and to put it to the vote of the company whether they were willing to continue the organization, with James Ellett as Captain, or disband the company and put them on the same footing they were when they enlisted; in other words, allow them to join any branch of the service they please; subject, of course, to the decision of the Secretary of War. If the company is disbanded, I shall join the City Battalion, if I am permitted to do so. If you can possibly make any arrangements to go to the country, I think it would be well for you to go, as I think it might improve your health and probably be a great benefit to Nannie. Let me know if you go, so that I will know where to write to you. We have been transferred to Pender’s Brigade, so that you will be sure to direct my letters to me in Crenshaw Battery, Pender’s Brigade. I cannot write any more now, love, as I expect the Battery to be ordered off any minute, as the horses are all harnessed up. Let me hear from you very soon. I found my knapsack all safe, but my canteen was gone and my haversack was torn so that it is useless. It was fortunate you made one. The puffs you made were excellent.

My love to all and believe me

Your devoted husband
J. Harvey Campbell

The Civil War Letters of James Harvey Campbell   |   Researched and presented by Mark Lamb