These letters were printed in the 100 year history of Taylor County published by The Butler Herald in 1977. Harris Hill did a fine job of studying the letters and discovering who they referred to. You'll note his additions in ( ).
Oct 28, 1862 | March 14, 1863 |June 1, 1863 - Jonathan Purvis
June 5, 1865 - F.M. Purvis F.M. Purvis family photo
The following letters which were written during this War Between the States are now the property of Walter Purvis, a returned Taylor County Navy veteran, who makes his home in Aurora, Colorado.  They were obtained for this special edition by his sister, Mrs. F. E. Posey of Butler.
The letters have been microfilmed and are on record in the Department of Archives and History in Atlanta. Several letters to Mr. Purvis from Mary Givens Bryan, Director of the Department of Archives and History, concerning the old documents, contained other information about the people in the old letters.
F(rancis) Marion Purvis, the grandfather of Mrs. Posey and Walter Purvis,
was shown on the ''Muster Roll of Company B, 46th Regiment Georgia
Volunteer Infantry, Army of Tennessee, CSA, Schley County, Georgia, 'Schley Rifles'," as a 'Private' on September 18, 1862. Pension records show he was
in Macon, Georgia Hospital, December, 1864. Paroled in Macon, Georgia,
April 1865. (Born in Georgia in 1841. Died in Taylor County, Georgia, May
11, 1914.) (He is buried at Mt. Nebo. The dates on his stone are 13 May
1841, died 11 May 1915.)
Other family members are discussed in another letter to Walter Purvis from
B. C. Yates, Superintendent of Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park
in Marietta. They include :
"Purvis, Andrew J. - Private, March 4, 1862. Died of chronic diarrhoea in Hinds County, Miss., August 10, 1863."
"Purvis, George W. - Private, March 4, 1862. Died of chronic diarrhoea July 3, 1864."
"Purvis, Jonathan H. - Private, March 4, 1862. Died of exhaustion on battlefield at Chickamauga, Ga., September 20, 1863."
"Andrew J. Purvis - may be buried in a Confederate Cemetery in or near Vicksburg, Mississippi."
"Jonathan H. Purvis served in Gist's Brigade, Walker's Reserve Corps at the Battle of Chickamauga in the Confederate Right Wing, under General Leonidas Polk. After the battle many of the Georgia dead were removed to Marietta and buried in the Confederate Cemetery here. It may be that your relative's grave is marked 'unknown' which is the case of many interments."
The Jonathan H. Purvis mentioned is the uncle of Mrs. Posey and Mr. Purvis. According to Mrs. Posey, he served as Tax Commissioner of Marion County for several years. Also in her possession is an old diary he kept for a year while living in the southwestern part of Taylor County.
March 14, 1863
Confederate letter from J. H.
Purvis of Marion County, Georgia,
dted March 14, 1863. Company
enlisted from Schley.
Charleston, S.C. Saturday
Dear Mother, Father, Brothers and Sisters
I again write you a few lines to let you know that I am yet alive and am
enjoying very good health. Jack and Wash (brothers Andrew J. and Geo. W.)
is both well and hearty and thankful I am for the blessing that is bestowed
upon us. We are all THREE have been highly favored but I dont know what is
the cause. It is not for any ot good deeds. I know I do hope and trust it
may continue so with us during the war. I hope these few lines may find you
all well and hearty. I received your kind letters last
Thursday morning and was truly glad to hear that you all was well and
getting along as well as you all are. I am glad to hear that Pap and Marion
is getting on as well as they are in getting ready to make a crop. I hope
you may have good luck in making a
crop. I have nothing of any importance to write. We have very pretty
weather and has had for several days. You state that you had ice last week.
That is what we hardly ever have here. We dont have as cold weather as you
have. You wrote something about what I thought about your expressing a box
of provisions. I will say to you to do just as you please about it. If you
was to express one the best plan will be not to send much cooked victuals.
Bacon is what we need more than any thing else and as for suffering we have
not suffered any yet and dont you uneasy yourself nor trouble yourself
about us if you can help it. I wish you could not trouble so yourself about
us. You have nothing to trouble you to what some mothers has. It could be a
good deal worse than it is with you so you ought to be thankful that it is
no worse with you than it is. Mother dont believe that is is any worse than
I write. I try to write the truth as near as I know how as I have said when
we have no meat from home we don't get as much as we ought to have though
we make out tolerable well. Levi Bridges is in our mess. He got some meat
from home a day or two ago so we are not suffering. If you was to express
anything be sure to mark it a little plainer than the other box was. Mark
it like you would a letter to us. Fielding (Benton, suspected younger bro.
of mother, Lucy Benton Purvis) is well and hearty. He is our guard today.
Henry Ray (this would be William H. Ray who lived 3 doors away on the 1860
Schley census. He also was in Co. B, 46th Ga.) is well also. I will quit
and write more next time. I am yours as ever &c
Company B 46th Reg Georgia Infantry (Enlisted from schley County, Georgia)
From Marion County Georgia
(Note: The previous letter speaks of the writer's concern for the family at
home getting enough salt. "I want to know
whether you have made any arrangements about salt yet. I am uneasy about
salt. I know you cant live without it." Around the time of the Civil War,
salt was a necessity for curing meat (since there was no refrigeration)
This was important not only for individual families, but for their
abilities to sell their meat. Their farm animals (as well as the CSA ones)
needed salt to survive. It was used as well in setting dyes and in curing
leather for shoes. Most of the salt had previously come from Europe and
with the war blockade, salt had to be found in: 1) salt springs 2) mines of
rock salt. Gov. Brown offered $5,000 reward for the discovery of salt
springs that could produce 300 bushels daily. To assure a just distribution
of the valuable salt, Gov. Brown instructed the Justices of the Inferior
Courts of each county to create lists of those eligible (these men also had
to advance the $ to pay for it!)
Distribution was by 1/2 bushel to:
a.. Widows of soldiers (free)
b.. Families of serving soldiers & widowed mother of soldier ($1)
c.. Heads of families ($4.50)
An examination of the Schley County salt lists reveals no Purvis names on
the list of thos eligible for salt. The categories on the actual lists seem
to be for wives of soldiers or widows with sons serving in the army. Under
those qualifications, the Purvis family would not qualify. The wives of
most of the other men mentioned in the letters thus far are on those lists.)
June 1, 1863
Monday June 1st 1863
Camp near Yazoo City, Yazoo County, Mississippi
Dear Father, Mother, Brothers and
I am again through the blessings of an allwise providence permitted to write
you all a few lines to let you know that we are all three yet alive but not
very well. I am enjoying tolerable good health. Jack is enjoying common
health. He is rather on the puny list and Brother Wash has been a little
sick for several days but has kept up all the time. His bowels has been
running off for several days. (Andrew J. Purvis died of chronic diarrhea,
Aug. 10, 1863) Fielding (Benton) is well as could be expected, also Henry
(Ray) is well all to his legs and knees. The Rheumatism I expect that is
working on him. I hope and trust if you ever get these few lines they may
find you all to do well whether we do or not. I can say to you that we are not
doing well now though we are faring no worse than thousand of others is and
has been faring. We can just keep well enough to travel. I dont mind it so
We left camp near Canton last Saturday morning and landed here last night
about 11 o'clock as near tired down and give up as you ever saw. There was
a good many of our Regiment that give out yesterday on the march. Several of
our company dropped out but come up this morning with us. Wash stopped a
time or two but would get up with us again. The dirtiest roads that I ever saw
we have them now - the roads is just like a dry ash bank. It is just like
on a bank of flour and hardly any water on the road. That is the great
here in this country in marching. We are now on the Yazoo River but how long
we will stay here I cant say or where we will go to or started to cant tell.
I find there is no Yankees at this place. They have been here or coming, up
here in their boats but I suppose they did not stay long. I always thought
that Yazoo City was a right smart city but it is not much of a place. It is
the brokenest country I ever saw in some parts that we travelled over
yesterday and very hilly where we are now. I have seen none of Mississippi
yet that I am willing to live in. There is good land and a plenty of it but
is not here. It is a great country to make corn and cotton but I dont want to
live here. I believe Georgia is about as good a place as any taking every
thing into consideration. Mother I will say to you that we are getting along
first rate considering every thing for I cant see how we have stood it as
well as we have. I tell you marching a foot is not like travelling on cars.
I hope and trust we will get to some settled place alter a while for I am
tired of travelling.
Mother don't uneasy yourself about us no more than you can help. We are in
the hands of God and if it is his will for us all o come through safe we
will do it. I know all my or our help must come from Him. Mother you have no
idea how glad I would be if we could [get] letters from you like we use to
and if I knew you got our letters. I would like it better but I am fearful
you have not go any of our letters since we got to Mississippi. This is the
sixth or seventh letter that we have wrote since we was in that little
fight. I can't tell you anything about the enemy. I don't know where they
are. We are in a country where they have been and I don't reckon they are
far off now. I hope we will never come up with them again or them with us.
As for the news I have none. We have got where we hear no news. We have very
warm weather. Today is very warm and so was yesterday. It is very dry and
dusty. Biley is well and heaty. All the boys from our settlement I believe
is well. We would get along a great deal better if we had any thing to cook
in, what little we get to cook. We get enough to keep from suffering.
Marion you done well in not coming with Wash for I tell you knew nothing
about hard times. You stay home as long as you can. I want you all to do the
best you can. Jimmy you and Sallie be good children. Mary I think of you
many a time. I never shall forget you all. Mother I think of you often and
never shall forget you. I am so glad you come to see us. I know it is some
consolation to you that you saw us once more. I want you to write once a
week any how. So farewell to you all. I remain your loving son. This is
intended for Emiline too. Yours as ever.
J. H. Purvis
(Notes: Mary, Sallie (Sarah), Jimmy and Marion are all sibings of Jonathan
Purvis. I'd love to know who Biley and Emeline might be. Emeline is most
Emeline Benton, Jonathan's cousin, age 22, who lived next door on the 1860
This letter was written 3 days before the seige of Jackson, Ms. would
begin. The 46th
Georgia would be a part of this effort as Union forces fresh from their
victory at Vicksburg
would try to reoccupy Jackson. They eventually would succeed, but it took a
seige and when they finally did retake Jackson all the bridges had been
much of the town booby-trapped. Jackson fell on July 16, 1863. The 46th Ga.
part of the Army of Tennesee and moved on to Chickamauga.)
(Notes: Jonathan H. Purvis was the son of Hammond Purvis and Lucy Benton.
He enlisted with 3 of his 4 brother in Co. B, 46th Ga. Inf., the "Schley
see Census for Purvis family
F.M. Purvis family photo
A Confederate letter from F(rancis) M(arion)
Purvis, of Marion County, Georgia,
dated June 5, 1865. Company enlisted
from Schley County.
June the 5, 1865
Forsyth, Georgia hospital
Mr. R. H. Pervis
Dear Farther and Mother
I again seat myself this blessed
sabbath morning in order to drop you
all a few lines to let you no how I am.
I am getting so I feel some littal
better thane I have but I am very
weeke yet. The dirar (diarrhea) is
stopped in me or, that is, it ant (aint)
half as bad as it was. I have weaken
down so very much but I clap (?) able
to make about a littal but very littal.
The wether is very bad and rainy and
has bin for several days. Hoping that
theas few lines will reach your care
saft and find you all in the injoyment
of good health and a doing well in
evry respect. I dont have any nuse to
write that is worthy of your attention.
I wud be very glad to hear from you
all. I rite you all a letter about a
weeke ago but I have not heard a
word from you all. I want to hear very
bad. I want you all to be shure and to
rite as soon as you get this and rite all
the nuse. I have not heard a word
from the boys since I came to this
place. I don't now what they are a
doing. I hear they are a skirmish
along our lines tho I recan you are
better posted than I am. I dont (want)
you to be uneasy about me. I will try
to take good care of my self that I
can. I have got a good bed to ly on of
the sorte. I am doin tolerable well tho
if I was at home I think I cud be a
heap better of(f) and treated a heap
better in evry respect. I have got very
nurses to wate on me. The Doctor ses
that he will send me home jest as soon
as I get able to come. Tell you all to
write to me. I wod be glad to hear
from anybody and you all aspesuy
(especially). Pleas rite soon. So I will
come to a close by saying give my
love and respects to all the family and
relation and frinds and reserve a due
potion to yourself so I remain your
true son, F. M. Pervis
(note scribbled in top margin upside
hear is the way for you all to direct
your letters to me
Forsythe GA chaton hospital Company B 46th Regt
Georgia Infantry ["Schley Rifles"] Schley County, Georgia
(Notes: The writer in this letter is different the preceeding letters.
Francis Marion Purvis was a younger brother of Jonathan the writer of the
other letters. The date on this letter is puzzeling to me as the war would
have been over by June 5, 1865 and I would think there would have been no
skirmishing taking place at this time so one must ask if it is incorrectly
dated. 1864, perhaps? If it were 1864, the 46th Ga. would have been in the
vacinity of Kennesaw Mountain and his other three brothers from Co. B, 46th
Ga. would have already died. Francis Marion Purvis survived the war and
settled in Taylor Co. where he lived until his death in 1915.)
Contributed by Elaine (Posey) Cochran for Nov 2004 Issue of The Taylor Tracer
1)Francis Marion Purvis born May 12, 1841 married Marzilla Garrett Jan 14, 1869 in Taylor Co, Ga died May 11, 1915
2)Walter Perry Purvis born Aug 8, 1891 died Jul 23, 1964
3) Marzilla Garrett Purvis born April 11, 1853 died Dec 6, 1940
1)Paris W. Purvis born Mar 18, 1883 died Oct 31, 1921
2)Leonard Lee Purvis born Feb 2, 1882
3)Feston R. Purvis born April 6, 1876 died Oct 23, 1928
Elaine is a great-granddaughter of Francis Marion Purvis.