The following letter is from Thomas H. Montgomery (1822-1891) to his family in Hermitage. He was with Co. H, 20th AR Inf. His wife was Ellen Jones (1831-1875) and his children were Alexander (1860- ?) and Martha Jane (Langston) (1854-1925). They lived in Lanark District, Bradley Co.
The letter appears courtesy of Don Thompson.
April 25,1864 Camp at Ten Springs 12 miles Southwest of Camden
Dear Wife and children,
It is with greate pleasure that I embrace the present opertunity to write you a few lines to let you know that am well at present and hope that these lines may reach you enjoying the same blessing. I received the letter you sent by Mr. Childs in due time. I was glad to here that you were all well. I had started one to you the day after we got to Camden. I don't know whether you got it or not and I may tell some things that I said in that it won't hurt to tell it over. We left Parole camps March the 24th and got to Camden on the 27 and on the 5 of April we left for Lewisville in Lafeyette Co 7 miles from the Red River and on the 19 we left for the place and camped one night and next day we marched north west on to the wood lawns road. We camped there one night and prices and Logans commands found us making the 4 or 5 thousand the next day we marched down the to the as nearly to the bridge that crossed the two Bayou 2 miles from Camden when got about a mile from there one of our batries open on the Fedrel pickets. I was sertain we would get in to a fight but we stoped & there we met Parsons Brigade coming from the bridge The cannon firing & presently General Kirby Smith (and Price) & there staffs(s) pased us. I saw them both not more than three steps from me then we all turned back and came to this place after marching 3 hours in the knight The next morning there was firing here in the direction of the bridge and our detachment was sent out to scurmish but it turned out to be nothing but the indians* shooting hogs and we went back everything seems to be quiet at present but I don't know how long the object it to starve Steel out wich I think will be done We captured 208 wagons and over 100 prisoners I saw 101 on their way to (tiles?) We had a greate victory at Shreveport you have herd the particulars by this time. If we take Steel things will be easy in Ark. The ballence of the yeare there is and will be 25 of 30 thousand men around Camden all communication of every kind will bee cout off and and we will have to fight out or starve out. The Martindale Boys left us the night we left for Lewisville and we have not heard from them since they took their guns with them and ammunition all men that are absent are reported deserters and it will go prettyhard with them now from what I can learn now is the time for every friend to her country to be at his post the fate of Ark will be decided in a short time The tide of war has changed in our favor we have success at every point the whole Federal Program has been a failier since the Spring Campaigm has opened. Grant is making a desperat effort on Richmond he wants three hundred thousand men Lee sayes he has enough when that battle comes off the thing will be decided there is 23 battles charged against them there now and that will make 24 I forgot to say that I did not get scared at the roare of the canon I was anxious to get there but I did not I think of you continously ( Curt) Hill says if we take Steel he will furlough his men home we are under him now I would love to see you all my clothes are nearly worn out when this thing is settled here I am coming home a few days some how but I would not leave in view of this thing for Arkansaw we have enough to eate yet I want Buddy and Sis to be good to their mother and wait on her I will see how mutch they have learned and how smart they are when I come home I have 2 more books to send them that I bought I have 5 dollars yet if there is any danger of the feds coming there doo what you think best I can't advise the fed were (rolled) into Camden they made a cleane sweep of everything where they went I will tell you all when I come home if I live and keep well I send this letter by Mr. Mosely Smith and (Prices) hedquarters is about 2 miles from here we have three or four bands of music here I wish Buddy could be here to see & here a day or two we will stay about here sometime we have preaching here and I write this in the church at the table I could write more but excuse when I come I will tell you at no more at present but remain your affectionate Husband