Civil War Letters

The Marchbanks family were long-time Ellis County residents  After the war, and his second marriage, B. F. Marchbanks lived for many years in Ennis and was an active member of the Winnie Davis Camp of Confederate Veterans.   He was one of the last three remaining members of Parson's Brigade when the Brigade stopped having its annual reunions.  He first married Mollie Hodge of Navarro County, whom he met while home on furlough when she was visiting school friends in Ellis County. 

Waxahachie, July 13, 1864
Mr. B. F. Marchbanks
Esteemed friend and cousin
I received your letter by Dr. Sweatt near three weeks ago and I assure you it was greeted with joy....I would have written before now but the mails are not very regular and as there is several gentlemen going to start this week I waited to send letters by them. I fear I shall not be able to interest you as Waxi is rather dull at present. Its almost deserted by the ladies as well as gentlemen. Nearly everybody has gone out on Red Oak to attend a meeting which has been going on nearly three weeks. I have not been out there but once. Pa is not home and I do not like to leave Ma. He started to Mexico a week ago with some government cotton and as our boarders have all left we are quite lonely we do not mourn the loss as they were not the most pleasant people in the world.... I am happy to know that you never forget me and wil try to make muyself more worthy of your kind remembrance. Josie S [Sanders] requested me to say Goodbye for her and tell you she had gone to Lancaster. She says tell you time proves all things. I do not know what you mean by saying she was not the only one in whom you have confidence. "Mag do you know anything about me?" What did you mean by that question I have come to the conclusion that you are almost desperate. Am I right? I wish I knew what to say to console you....Cousin I wish you would write me a long letter and explain the one I am now answering....I have received another letter which I do not understand but I cannot tell you about it now perhaps I will tell you some day but I must hurry and finish and do some work Ma left me. She is spending the day with Mary. Bettie is practising. Arthur is driving oxen. Mr. Overstreet started with Pa he and Uncle Shepherd were going as far as Austin but Lum was taken sick at Waco and Uncle S brought him home Irene Sullivan came home with them She went home with your pa yesterday. She is a nice young lady. Cousin Bett and I are going home with her and stay unt8ill Uncle S returns from Austin. I have been to Chatfield and spent several days with Mollie Hodge had such a nice visit. Mollie requested me to remember her to each of her Ellis Co friends. I suppose you are one of them. I will now close as you never write a long letter to me. My compliments to all inquiring friends. Write soon and as often as you can. With much love I remain your true friend and Cousin Maggie

San Augustine August 16, 1864
Miss Mollie
After the absence of near two months our little party of 40 men are again upon the march to rejoin our commander now in the field, La. Near over four months have past since I have heard from you but I hope you have been since that time born softly and sweetly unpon the wings of time, that each passing moment has brought to you increased happiness

During my absence from the Command especially while near Moscow, I as well as the most of our boys enjoyed myself finely. I formed the acquaintance of several very nice and interesting young ladies, also that of a very dashing young widow - I have a young lady friend at Moscow with whom I became acquainted while at school I was received by her and her family with more than expected kindness....[she] has one of the most beautiful and accomplished ladies I ever met for a sister....I saw John Landingham on his way to Texas he gave us the latest reliable news from La he reports our Brigade on the march to Black river to join the greater part of Genl wharton's Corps occasional skirmishing with the enemy talk in camp of crossing ten thousand Infantry to the East - no ordered to that effect, boys in good health and in fine spirits. I hope when I reach Camp I shall find a letter from you in reply to mine wrote in L.

I am most respectfully your friend,

Boling Marchbanks

Mollie Hodge to B. F. Marchbanks [undated]

I shall not visit the command with Mrs. Hervey. She will start today and remain five or six days. I shall be anxiously expecting a letter by her and you will please not disappoint me. Dosh Wheeler got home last night. He came late and Mrs. Wheeler had gone with me to a party. I attended a large fish fry yesterday and had quite a pleasant time. We were going to have a rabbit chase today but it is raining and has been all of last night. I forgot to tell you I caught seven fish yesterday and also I had the finest looking beau in the crowd. You have the right and also my consent to wait on the young ladies as much as you may please but remember it is not right or just to break hearts and this I think is practiced a good deal in these war times. I expected to sent this by Mrs. Wheeler but she left before I expected she would so I shall sent it by Lt. Wheeler. I expect to go to Independence the last week of this month and shall be gone some three weeks. Mollie

Sep 18th 1864
Mr Boling Marchbanks
My Friend, I received your last letter soon after I answered your second letter. I was very glad to hear that you had spent a portion of your time so pleasantly. I hope you will continue to be so fortunate. When I wrote you last my Mother and Father [Robert and Elizabeth Hodge] were both ill. I am very sorry to say that is the case yet. My Father is quite sick this evening. I am almost worn out waiting on the sick if I was not so uneasy I should get sick my self I steal a few moments from the sick room to write....Mrs. Neel is hear Miss Mattie was married on last friday I have just heard from Mrs. Neel that Mr. Hesser is at home and it is reported that he is to be married also that your brother Nute is very ill. Your Sister Anna has been sick also but is better. There is to be a weding in Waxahachie on monday night I have forgoten the ladys name. some old maid I believe. I have not received a letter from Mag since I wrote you last I do not know what to think of her. My brother [James Hodge] is at home still but will leave next week. I am somewhat surprised that Mr. Hesser did not call to see us. he passed within three miles of us but I suppose he is excusable as he was anxious to see his Lady Love and had no moments to wait on friends. I suppose you have received my letter sent my Mr. Robert Cooksey. I was very much surprised to receive your last letter but was glad to find you so cleaver a correspondent it is the kind I like. I saw Robert Baird last evening. I hope you will read this with patience. I remain as ever Your Friend Mollie

January 27th 1865
Mr Boling Marchbanks
My Friend I received your last letter sometime ago and have also answered it by mail but fearint that you will never receive it I will write again, my last letter was written at Waxahachie. I spent several days there and one at your father's house. I had quite a pleasant visit. I received a letter from Mag day before yesterday, she and Bettie were both sick she wrote in her letter that the news they had from you was that you were at Viana? with your relatives. I hope you have had a pleasant visit, my brother is now with us he is looking badly. My mothers health is improving. I have just returned from a visit to Corsicana. I had a lively time while there formed the acquaintance of half a dozen young men but did not fall in love. I also attended a consert while there every thing went off very nicely. I enjoyed it finely.
I have visited a good deal lately as my mother is now able for me to leave her and I have been confined at home very close for several months I have passed my time more pleasantly than I anticipated we have not had a single young man home for several months not since Robert Baird left we have been hourly expecting some but as yet have been disappointed. mr. Jo Cooksey I understand got home a few days ago. he has been very fortunate Mag had the blues when she wrote because Mr. H. is not coming home this winter. I am very sorry for it on Mag's account. Your father was looking for you home when I last saw him. I made the acquaintance of your brother while in town. I like him very much and think he is very good looking he is quite bashfull. I must tell you I heard that you and Miss Lizzie McDaniel (I believe that is her name) were engaged and would marry the first time you came home. As I am a good friend of yours I am anxious to see what kind of a young lady you intend marrying I had never heard you speak of Miss Lizzie I had a very nice sweetheart given me not long ago from Ellis County perhaps you have seen him. I never have myself it is Mr Davis he has been badly wounded and cant return [to the army]. I am expecting to see him soon. I can't imagine how it is that soldiers from every Reg are at home and none from Parsons' or at least from Brown's company....near two thirds of Hervey's company are at home but most are married men and of course they have more to bring them home. There is an old gentleman living at Fairfield that says this war will end in six months. he gets all his proof from the bible. I hope he may be correct although I have no confidence in what he says. It has been near a year since I made your acquaintance and a year the 29th day of next March since I saw you. I fear it will be a long while before I have the pleasure of seeing as many of my friends together as I did last spring. they were pleasant times for me. What has become of Mr. R. Cooksey and T. F. Litton? I was very sorry to hear of the death of Mr. Bonner. There has been no wedings lately that I know of nor any deaths. I hope I shall hear from you very soon, give my respects to Mr. Hesser I remain as ever your friend Mollie

Thursday April 27, 1865
At Mrs. Hervey's Home
Mr. Boling Marchbanks
Kind Friend
As I have such an excellent opportunity of sending a letter to you....I hope you will not think it forward in me to address you with out first receiving a letter, but knowing how few chances I shall have I will trust to your approving of this step...if it does not meet with your approval that you will not hesitate in telling me has been three weeks ago yesterday since I saw you and time seems to almost stand still although I have been in a round of gayety most of the time since George Hogan and Mr. Graham has been at home we have had one concert they were both engaged in it. You will no doubt hear a discreption from them of the affare when you see them. I received a letter from Maggie a few days ago in which she said that you had told her to be careful how she allowed Mr. Jake Hesser to come to see me, as she must know that I thought almost as much of him as she did. I wrote to her that I should be compeled to teach you better than to tell tales out of school and you must here take your first lesson. Mr. George Hogan informed me a few days ago that there was quite a dispute in John Brown's company a few days before he left about my age, so you see that I hear all the news. My little bird is now idle at the moment. We have just heard the distressing news that General Lee and 43,000 men had surrendered. I am not atall disposed to believe it. You know I am always looking on the bright side of everything. I have heard it said that the darkest hour is just before day. I hope we have our darkest hour now. We are to have a fishing party tomorrow how much I should like to have some of my absent friends in attendance, but no doubt you are all enjoying yourselves much better than you could do here. did you go to see all of your sweethearts on your return to camp. I received a letter from Mrs. Neal writen the day you nest her house. she had a good deal to say about you. I have received one or two letters from Jim Stokes since your departure but have answered none. I have much to say to you about him, when I write again, that is if you feel any interest in my affairs. I shall take a pleasure in explaning everything to you my friend. I dislike him more and more every day. I hope you called on my dear little Sister. I have written her of your intentions to do so. Mrs. Hervey is a great friend of yours. I never saw her like a person better on so short an acquaintance. I suppose one reason of it is because you are so much like her favorite cousin that died two years ago. she sends her respects to you I shall send this letter enclosed in hers to Capt Hervey I do sincerely hope you will forgive my forwardness but as I am anxious to hear from you you will please excuse me. May says that you played off on her about coming to see me, and that she will yet get her revenge give my respects to Mr Heper you will think that my short letter has grown to be quite a lengthy one. I hope I shall very soon hear from you. I remain Yours truly

At Home [Waxahachie, Ellis County]
Aug 6th 1865
My dear Mollie
After a solitary and unpleasant ride through the prairie that separates us I reached home just after dark and found all well and anxiously awaitring my return. I am happy that I can say to you and Mag's other friends that she was not [at] all hurt by her leap from our flying buggy - we Presbyterians are now having a protracted meeting - I hope some good may be accomplished for surely God's cause is languishing in our County - upon the way home I stopped at Cooke's - saw Mrs. William Stokes and Miss Mattie and also had the pleasure of a tete a tete with Mrs. Emma Cooke. I shall close lest by my long letters in addition to my long visit I should weary you
Forever yours

Mary Henry "Mollie" Hodge, daughter of Robert Hodge and Elizabeth Persons Hodge, and Bolyn F. Marchbanks were married at Hodge Oaks, Chatfield, Navarro County. October 18, 1865.

Albert Gallatin Hervey enlisted in 1862 in Capt. McKie's Company, Navarro County, Texas, which later became a part of Parsons Cavalry Brigade. These letters are from Capt. Hervey to his wife, Matt, and her cousin, Mollie Hodge.
Doniphan Missouri
Dec 24th 1862
Miss Mollie:
After a long time and much hard travel we are at this point about 200 miles N East of L. has rained nearly one week of the time you know that is hard but it is for our countrys cause & we bear it without a murmur, the Ladies bake our bread for us and it is no small work for them to bake for 200 men.
We have been within 12 miles of the Feds but they have all skedaddled....we will move after them at daylight tomorrow morning that will be our way of spending this Christmas and if we over take them somebody will dance to music but not of the violin but the roar of D. Barrell shot guns & rifles and the shrill blast of Charlie Cheeseman's Bugle which by the way is the music that suits us best....Lt Stewart is sick at Hickory plains Ark which throws me frequently in command of the company....I would give anything on earth to spend this Christmas at home I fear from what we hear that Texas is about to become a scene of war and blood shed. God grant that it may be spared.... give my love to all the young ladies your pa & family & all my friends Kiss Matt and the children for me. Write soon. A. G. Hervey

Camp Cypress Bayou Nov 16th 1862
Dearest Wife
You must excuse me for not writing from L Rock - remained there but a short time and was then very busy....I found the Texas Army under command of Gen H E McCulloch I reported to him at his head quarters found him as plain and affable as usual he wears no uniform at all he informed me that our Company had gone to Pocahontas on a Scout ordered me to our camp where I found Lt Stewart & 8 or 10 men 7 miles N.W. of Hickory Plains about 30 miles from the main Division of the army.... the health of our army is deplorably bad at any hour in the day I pass the grave yard I saw them filling up several graves at the same time opening several new ones they say that they lose about 300 men per day there is about 20,000 men in the Division under Gen McCulloch I think [they] are all Texans I thank Heaven that we have the privilege of camping off to our selves they died mostly with pneumonia caused from a disintegrated condition of the blood produced from low diet such as poor beef....
It commenced raining here last night and is still showering....they had about 3 inches of snow here on the day we had the blue norther there. The Ark beef is very good up here Gen McCulloch has about 20 men from the three companies here at his headquarters and one Lieut. for the purpose of carrying orders to the Brigade under him and others.
Parsons sent up some more Negroes and prisoners yesterday I did not see them - 10 or 12 of each I want to see a few live Yankees ..... this part of the army will not make a forward move until the Yanks make a move on Hindman or Parsons. Say to Mrs. Kenner that Mr. Kenner went to Parsons Regt and will not write until he returns he & Henry are well
My health was never love to all our friends....kiss all the children for me and ....tell them to be good and mind Ma
Yours affectionately A. G. Hervey

Arkadelphia Sept 14th 1863
Dear Matt
....had a chill and light fever last night. Gen. Price and Staff just arrived....think we will fall back to Red River....David Persons is in the rear he was well when I left him you need look for me home soon not until things assume a different shape it is my duty now and that of every Texian to be at his post to defend his home and property it will be too late when they secure a safe footing in our State....I wonder now if the cowardly spectators of Tex will lend a hand to protect their ill gotten gains I think it doubtful....I guess they are preparing to get off to Mexico or Yankeedom....Gen Marmaduke killed General Marsh Walker (an Ark Brigidier) a few days ago in a duel he was under arrest but I suppose was released for the emergency. I am certain that Peter Siler is dead....I don't know what to advise you no use to sell as the money wont do to keep nor will any property but land....write to Spring Hill Ark....tell the children not to forget me....Yours ever A. G. Hervey

Cloutierville [La} April 24, 1864
Dear Wife
I write a few lines to let you know I am safe...we are skirmishing with the enemy every day they [are]in full retreat down the river. Heavy skirmish yesterday & day before. Our loss from Parson's Brigade up to this time is about thirty wounded only about five killed. One of my men had his horse wounded it was Mr. Hoover from Ellis [County] Mr. O'Neal is in the rear with our hack.....many kisses to yourself and the children Yours ever A G Hervey

Eldorado Union County Ark
Oct 10, 1864
....Now I am not in a humor for writing the cause is this. Only this morning we passed through Eldorado on our way under orders to Washington, Ark having traveled over 150 miles in fine spirits at the chance of getting out of that muddy and scant country to the beautiful country around Washington, we heard the shrill tone of the bugle calling a halt, a courier dashed down the column to the rear said to half and turn our train back it threw a damper over us in a few monents. The column opened right and left and Col. Parsons and Staff came dashing along looking as sour as looks could depict....and in a few moments we were wending our way back over the same road to relieve a Brig. of Lazy Louisianans more familiarly known to us as the life insurance cavalry the name given them because they always keep out of danger..

Camp near Waverly La March 15th 1865
....We have no news since the evacuation of Charleston and Wilmington. There is much privation and hard fighting for the troops east of the river [Mississippi] and I think we will have much fighting to do on this side this year although it is very quiet up to this time in consequence of the wet season.
There is now a rumour in camp that Gen. Bragg is at Alexandria and Gen. Smith has gone to meet him....if such is the fact....we will in all probability be ordered in that direction very would be very hard to leave all that is dear to me far away to the mercies and it is with a heavy heart that I think of leaving you with no prospect perhaps of seeing you again while this unnatural war must nerve yourself to meet with any difficulties that should arise in the future. I belong now to my country and for its good must battle wherever our assistance is called....the peace prospects that I have anticipated have faded in the distance until every vestige is lost to view. The Southern people are too easily gotten by such things. The reaction is so great that it cools to some extent their patriotism, every body should now (after the manner in which our commissioners were received & the degrading conditions of Mr. Lincoln made known) nerve themselves for the struggle let their motto be independence or death or free home or a bloody grave, the soldiers expect to fight another four years perhaps longer. May the God of Battles attend us.... A. G. Hervey

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