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Fayette County, Alabama
~ Civil War Letter ~
(Henry W. Brasher to wife, 1864)

Generously contributed by
Frances Lowrey Brasher

Old Letter Stirs Many Civil War Memories
By Lorene Frederick
Staff Writer

Sam F. BRASHER, 206 North Broad Street, Tuscumbia [Colbert Co., AL], is in possession of an old letter written by his grandfather, Henry BRASHER, a Confederate soldier.

The letter was dug out of an old trunk by David S. BRASCHER [sic], son of the latter, and was first published in the Carbon Hill Index [Walker Co., AL].

The grandson has only a faint remembrance of his grandfather, recalling only that he was a fiddler, school teacher and a Mason.

The letter was dated March 7, 1864 and was written to BRASHER's wife while he was guarding war prisoners at ["Camp Sumpter," a.k.a. Andersonville Prison] Sumpter County, Ga.  He was a member of the 26th Alabama Regiment, Company A.

The letter states:

Dear wife:

I take my pen in hand to write to you again.  I must say that I have not received a letter from you since I left Virginia.

I would be very proud to hear from you again.  I wrote to you while in Montgomery, Ala.  I don't know whether you received it or not.

*   *   *
We left Virginia for good, was to report to Meridian, Miss., and when the regiment reached Augusta, Ga., telegraph orders were there from the Secretary of War for us, for the regiment to report to this place and guard prisoners.  We did so and are here guarding them.

There are 22 hundred here now to guard.  We have a place prepared to keep them in built of logs, hewed 20 feet long, stood on end five feet in the ground.  I suppose there is some 10 acres fenced in this way.  We look to them to bring 18 thousand [prisoners] to this place.

Myself with seven others were left back in Virginia as details and have just got to the regiment.

I was just on guard around the prisoners last night for the first time.  Lusia [sic] I like the position we have now very well if we can only get to stay here.  I think it is a very healthy place, have good water to drink, tho its [sic] a very sandy country; plenty of longleaf pines and salamander hills but clear away from here.  Think we shall stay during this summer and perhaps next winter.

*   *   *
Lusia, I may some way or other come to Alabama, though it might have turned out the worst for me.  We thought we were coming to Tuscaloosa and perhaps could have done so.  Then I would have felt like I was at home, but as it is we can't come home on furlough in three or four days.  Lusia, I can't say when I will come home.  If I could, I would be glad to do so, that you might be expecting me.  If only I could say to you in my letter Lusia that I was going to start home in the morning.  I would be so proud that I could not rest until I got started.

I got the socks that you sent me by Jefferson, he came to us at Montgomery and came with us to the regiment.  I think a heap of the socks because I was needing them and more so because you sent them to me.  He also brought me a hat that your pap and Billy sent me, that I would not take $75 for, its [sic] as good [a] wool hat as I ever saw.  Not only as good, but a heap better.  Everyone's wanting it.

*   *   *
Hutto is pleased with it so that he wrote the day that Jeff came for me to make him one like it.  Tell Billy I want him to write to me.  I wrote him but got no answer.  Tell your pap too, I want them both to write for I [would] love to read a letter from there.

Jefferson told me a great deal about home and how you were all doing.  He said he ate dinner with you and as he went home and stayed all night with you and that you gave him something good to eat.  I know if I were there I would get something good to eat, and I hope it will be so before long.  He says that you have more hogs than anybody in the neighborhood.  I am so proud to hear it.

*   *   *
Write Lusia, and let me hear all about home.  Give my love to all the children.  I want to see them very badly, especially my baby.  He [Jefferson] tells me John is still living with mammy.  I want mammy to write to me.  I want to know how she is doing.  Tell her and the rest I send "howdy" to them.

Tell Henderson if he won't write himself to write for mammy.  It is curious to me though when I think back at the condition my mammy was left in when my father had to leave this world, this troublesome world, especially in a time like this.  Though I am proud to think he has gone to another one where troubles like these can never reach him.  I hope this may reach your hand safe and soon and find you enjoying the best of health.  Lusia, I looked for Jeff to bring me your likeness, but in vain.  He also told me of the wedding that had taken place.  I asked no questions.

*   *   *
Let me know how many men are going to be conscripted this year.  As we came through Newman [sic], John G. got a paper and stopped at H.K. ALLEN's a day or two.  He says they are all well and Henry is getting rich as fast as he can: got some 10 negroes.  Henry told them that Jehiel had left for Alabama with four or five Negroes and a good deal of money.

Tell him to write me all the news and how the property was divided.  I had liked to stop when John did, them being there then to see them.  Give him my respects and tell him to write.  I will say nothing about the war, as I have nothing much lately.  So I will close, your affectionate husband til death.

Direct your letters Lusia to Andersonville.  To Sumpter County, Ga., 26 Alabama Regiment, Co. A.  This is my love and respects to you, farewell.

Loose newspaper clipping (perhaps from the Florence Times Daily, Lauderdale Co., AL)
dated Wednesday afternoon, 22 Oct 1958.

Photo Photo


Henry W. BRASHER (1831-1903) enlisted as a private in the 26th Alabama Infantry, Co. A, CSA, 30 Apr 1862 at Fayette, AL.  In February 1864, his regiment was ordered to convey prisoners to the newly constructed military prison near Andersonville, GA.  Lt. Col. John S. GARVIN, noting that the 26th had been "decimated by the casualties of battle," requested that the regiment be "permanently located here for awhile" until "its ranks are filled" with new recruits and conscripts.  Enlistments would increase, he suggested, because of the relatively easy duty, and more time was needed to "catch those chaps at home who wish to avoid this war."  His plea fell on deaf ears, as the regiment was ordered back into active service in May 1864.  Henry and Louisa BRASHER were buried at Cedar Grove Church Cemetery, Fayette Co., AL.

The BRASHER family had moved to Alabama from Coweta Co., GA, in the late 1850s.  They soon established themselves near Bankston in Fayette County.  Most of the people whom Henry mentioned in his letter lived in this area.  They included:

Lusia - Martha Louisa GARRISON (1830-1902), 2nd wife of Henry BRASHER
Jefferson/Jeff - Thomas Jefferson GARRISON (1839-1925), brother-in-law to Henry BRASHER
pap - Thomas Galespa GARRISON, father-in-law to Henry BRASHER
Billy - William Harrison BRASHER (1821-1891), brother to Henry BRASHER 
mammy - Frances HENDERSON (1801-1878), mother to Henry BRASHER 
Henderson - John Henderson BRASHER (1829-1914), brother to Henry BRASHER
father - Aquilla BRASHER (1801-1862)
H.K. ALLEN - Henry K. ALLEN (c1819-1868) of Newnan, Coweta Co., GA; husband of Lucinda GARRISON, who likely was related to Henry BRASHER's wife 

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31 Jul 2006   |   31 Jul 2006