Letters To Mollie
The letters of Edward Thomas
to Mary Elizabeth Douglas Broughton (1861-1864)
Compiled by Mary Lee
Anderson Barnes, Great Granddaughter, 1989
Van Zandt County1
September 17, 1861
you a few lines by Mr. Reasy to inform how I am getting along. I am well;
have been every since I left home. The men have been generally well. We have
now fifty men in camp and my friends say I will have no difficulty in
filling my company in Smith County. We are now camped one mile from Colonel
Hambric's and will start to Tyler in the morning. We have to be in Marshall
the 1st day of October and will go from there to Monroe, Louisiana. My dear
wife; I hope you and my dear children are well. Do take care of yourself and
them. Don't grieve on account of my absence, but remember I shall be home by
E. T. Broughton
Write to me at Tyler.
1. Written at a
Confederate Camp in Van Zandt County, Texas.
September 26, 1861
My Dear Wife,
I again have an
opportunity of writing you a brief epistle and most gladly embraced it. I
have been getting along very well since I left home. My health seems to
improve in camp. The company is getting along very well. It is not very
full. I have now no doubt I will be able to fill it by the time I get to
Marshall. We have been in camp at the spring four miles this side of Tyler
since last Thursday. I have been to see all the relatives and found them
well except Mother and Grandmother3
who both have a fever. Gabe and Mitt4
are very anxious for you to come and live with them till I come home, and if
you find any difficulty getting along at home you had better do so as they
are well prepared to take care of you and have plenty of houseroom. You can,
however, arrange the matter to suit yourself. Mitt said she would write you
and perhaps come to see you about it. Gabe says he cannot spare the boy; so
I will write to Dempsey5 to get you
one provided you stay at home. I am very uneasy about my little ones as I
have not heard from them since I received your letter written Wednesday
after I left home.
I trust in God
they are well, and that no harm has befallen them. I must confess to that I
never did know how dear to me were my wife and children, and essential they
were to my happiness till I left home on this trip. Take good care of them
and yourself. Remember me always; let my image be in your heart; cherish my
memory always and pray God to hasten the period when we shall be again
united. Do not let the children forget me. Write often; write to me at
E. T. Broughton
was a small community east of Tyler, where there was a Confederate Camp.
3. His mother was Rachel Winborne Broughton. His grandmother was Priscilla
Owen Winborne, who was about 82 at the time of this letter. They lived at
Canton (later Old Omen) southeast of Tyler, near Troup.
4. "Gabe" was Joseph G. James, husband of his sister, Sarah
Priscilla Broughton. They also lived at Omen.
5. Dempsey Winborne (D. W.) Broughton was his oldest brother.
October 21, 1861
I am glad that I
again have the opportunity of dropping you a brief epistle and informing you
how I am getting along. I am well. I have been since I wrote you last. I
have not written you regularly because I have been laboring every since I
reached Marshall, recruiting for my company. The company has been mustered
into service, and we are this far on our way to war. We have been ordered to
Memphis, Tennessee. You will direct your letters to me to that place till I
write you to change.
My dear wife,
how do you and the little ones get along; Are you all well; I confess I
cannot help being uneasy about you, though I know that you have the spirit
and resolution to care for yourself and the children. I dream of you and
them almost nightly. Night before last, I dreamed that Prentiss6 sat on my knee and prattled about the
soldiers. I dreamed I returned from the war and you met me at the gate and
pressed your angel lips against mine. I entered the house and took our Babe7 in my arms, and as I did so, she looked me in
the face with a cherubic smile and call me Pa. But when I awoke I was in a
soldier's tent and miles away from all my heart holds dear. Mollie, you
don't know what a place that baby occupies in my heart.
care of her, Prentiss, and yourself. Talk to Prentiss about me so that he
will not forget me. ! trust you will show yourself a brave woman worthy of
being a soldier's wife. May God help you all. Pray often for your absent
husband and write to me about twice a week.
E. T. Broughton
6. Prentiss was
his oldest child, about 4 years old.
7.'Our Babe" was Margaret Tomie, only 4 months old.
November 6th, 1861
My dear wife,
I again avail
myself of an opportunity of writing you a short epistle. I have read nothing
from you since I left Marshall, and am exceedingly anxious to hear from you.
I have a conflict with my promise to write you weekly though. I have had
many hardships and privations to undergo since I saw you.
We are now at
Clarksville, Tennessee on the Cumberland River, sixty-five miles below
Nashville, and fourteen miles from the Kentucky line. We leave here tomorrow
morning for Hopkinsville, Kentucky, when we will be in the very midst of the
enemy, being about twenty miles distant. We will support Gen'l Tilghman's
command, and, ere you hear from me again, I shall have met the enemy in
mortal combat. Do not shudder at the consequence but pray God to protect me
in that hour.
E. T. Broughton
8. Copy in his own
handwriting in Texas A.G.O., Winter, 1987 (Volume VII, Number 3), The
Athens Genealogical Organization, 121 South Prairieville St., Athens, Texas
75751, page 74.
My Dear Wife,
have well nigh abandoned all hopes of hearing from you while I remain in the
service, yet I continue to write you a line whenever an opportunity presents
itself. I have nothing new to write to you. The most welcome intelligence
which I suppose I can communicate is that I am well. I am almost frantic to
hear from you and my little children. These questions are constantly
presenting themselves. How are my wife and little ones getting along. Are
they well? Are they happy? If these interrogations could be affirmatively
and satisfactorily answered, I could almost say I am satisfied to the life I
am living. Without this information. I am almost miserable. I have heard
nothing definite from you since I left Marshall. I do trust I shall begin to
receive letters from home.
I am now at
Princeton. Kentucky. which is About fifty miles from Paducah. About 2500 of
Gregg's Regiment are here, the balance of the regiment is at Hopkinsville in
this state about 30 miles southeast of here. Examine the map and you will
see the locality of the places. I have been here two days. I remained six
days at Hopkinsville. I have 77 men now in my command. My company is the
color company of the regiment. The ladies of Hopkinsville are going to
present us with a fine flag and I am to make the reception speech.
Douglas9 is adjutant of the regiment and Bush is the
So, you see, I
have a pretty lucky company at last. The General Tilghman has promised to
furnish me a fine uniform, and I mean to take good care of it so that I can
wear it home when I come to see you. We are situated in one of the most
delightful counties. It is in a high state of improvement, and the scenery
is delightful. But I have not much opportunity to enjoy it. My quarters are
in the second story of the New Cumberland College building which is one of
the finest buildings I have seen in some time. The troops are not permitted
to pay the guards at all and the officers only on special business. I
managed to get to the hotel every morning to get a hot cup of coffee. We are
constantly looking for an attack and consequently orders are strict.
There are about 700
troops here and General Tilghman has five thousand at Hopkinsville to
support us. Our pickets come in contact with the enemy everyday. They
brought in several loads of provisions today. Sugar, coffee, etc. We will
have to fight or retreat before long. But you need not be uneasy about me.
You shan't be ashamed of me. Pray the God of battles to shield me from harm.
Now my dear wife, I have written out my time and must conclude.
Tell Prentiss, his Pa wants to see him
mighty bad, that he must be a good boy and mind his Ma, and he must learn to
read by the time I come home. Kiss the sweet Babe for me. May Heaven bless
and protect you and my children.
E. T. Broughton
9. Douglas is probably James P. Douglas, Mollie's brother.
January 4, 1862
doubtless getting somewhat impatient to receive a letter from me by this
time, as I have not written to you for a month. The reason why I have not
written is for the fact that I have not been able to write; I have been puny
for the last month.
attacked with billious remittant fever and was confined to my bed for twenty
days, never getting up without help. I have missed the fever for about 10
days, and I have been sitting up for that length of time, but I am almost
reduced to a skeleton, 110 pounds. I am as weak as a child.
I walked out a
little yesterday and today, but it fatigued me very much. I think, however,
I am improving very rapidly. I had the good fortune to fall in with a very
clever family during my sickness who did everything in their power for me. I
shall never forget the kindness of Colonel Henry and lady and Mrs. Davis,
her mother. They seemed to take much interest in me as if I was one of their
family. Col. Henry is a brother of Judge Henry of Tennessee, now Confederate
state senator from that state.
The health of my
company has been very bad since I have been sick. Fifteen have died; none,
however, that you know. They were all relapsed cases of measles, and the
relapse was brought by imprudence. All the other companies have lost men in
the same way. About ninety in our regiment have died, all for the want of
proper care. Men will not take care of themselves.
We are in a
constant state of apprehension here. Something of great importance is
expected to turn up any day. Gen. Johnston10
and army of which are brigade compose a part is now nearly concentrated at
Bowling Green and numbers one hundred ten and thousand men. It is expected
he will move forward in a few days, and offer General Buell battle, who is
about thirty five miles from him on the opposite side of Green River with
75,000 men. When such happens, you will hear of a great battle. Constant
skirmishes are taking place between our scouts and those of the enemy. One
took place last week between about 300 of the enemies cavalry. Col. Forest
gained a complete victory--put the enemy to flight, killed forty, took 13
prisoners and wounded many more. His loss was one captain and one private
wounded. The fight took place at Sacramento thirty miles from here. Gen. Tom
Critenden is at Calhoun 40 miles from here with 10,000 men, and we are
expecting him to move on this place shortly. We are prepared to give him a
I have no news
to write. I received your letter of the 28th of November while I was sick,
and was very glad to hear you are all well, and that Father11 was visiting you. You ought to write me
twice a week whether you receive mine or not. You know nothing pleases me so
much as to hear from you and my little ones, and when you write you ought to
take time and give me some news about affairs in Kaufman.12 Tell me who is dead, married, gone to war,
or come back.
I shall try to
get a leave of absence to come home in a few days. I fear I shall not
succeed. There is nothing like trying, however, and I will do my best. If I
don't come I can send you some money to buy something to eat. Douglas is
coming home shortly to see Mitt. I want you to have yours and Prentiss and
the babies' likeness made and put in a fine double frame.
E. T. Broughton
10. General Joe Johnson.
11. His father was E. T. Broughton, Sr.
12. Mollie was living in Kaufman, Texas.
January 22, 1862
My Dear Wife,
Yours of the
29th came to hand last night and I hasten to answer it. It afforded me no
small pleasure to hear from you and my little ones, and to know that you are
well, even 20 days ago. But it would afford me to bear our separation as
best we can. My physician said my disease from which I am recovering was
produced by homesickness. I am near about well though and I am still staying
in my room but I will go back to my camp next week. The health of my company
has gradually improved since I wrote you last. I have not lost a man in two
weeks. We have no fights in this section though we are daily expecting one.
We have no doubt about the results when it does come.
Humphrey Marshall at the head of 2500 men (Kentuckians) met the Yankee Gen.
Garfield with 8,000 Feds in the Eastern part of the state last week and
gained a victory over him making the Yankees run. The battle was fought near
Prestonburg. It is said the Federals are fitting out an expedition from
Cairo -to come up the Tenn. and Cumberland River and if they do we will have
some fighting to do. Ft. Henry13 is
on the Tennessee about 40 miles from this place. It is well fortified and
garrisoned by Confederate forces. Ft. Donelson14
and Clarksville are on the Cumberland River about 25 miles distant. These
places are fortified and garrisoned by Confederates, and if the Yankees do
come up these rivers, we, the brigade stationed at Hopkinsville, will be
sent to one of these places. It is my prediction if they do come up Gen.
Tilghman has such implements of destruction at those Forts as will frighten
the Yankees out of their wits and make them fly back faster than they came.
starts for Texas in a few days and I will write you again by him. You must
be sure and send me my watch and those likeness if you can get them. In
conclusion, think of me often as I know you would do without me asking.
Don't let the children forget me. Tell Prentiss his pa wants to see him very
much. Kiss little Tomie for me and accept for yourself the sincere love of
your ever affectionate husband.
E. Tom Broughton
13. Ft. Henry - in
February (1862), Halleck, the Union Commander of the Western armies was to
penetrate the Confederate line of defense. This was to be done by breaking
the center or to turn a flank. Grant and Commodore Foote, head of the naval
forces, thought the former more feasible. Seven of the gun boat flotilla
with Grant's seventeen thousand men in reserve, moved up the Tennessee River
to attack Fort Henry and to test the value of the gun boats in amphibious
warfare. Grant landed below the Fort, and Foote then opened fire. Tilghman
in command of Ft. Henry sent the bulk of his men to ft. Donelson with only a
handful of men in defense of Ft. Henry. He surrendered the fort after the
garrison of men were on their way. Theodore Ayrault Dodge, A Bird's Eye
View of Our Civil War, p. 26.
14. Confederate General Joe Johnston made every effort to hold the place.
Ft. Donelson was strongly fortified and garrisoned and this was a fight for
the possession of Nashville. Ibid, p. 27.
Grant moved against it from Ft. Henry with fifteen
thousand men, five thousand less than the enemy. With green troops and a
difficult ground, Grant was assisted by the fleet. The Confederate forces
were weakened because of divided responsibilities among the officers. A
general assault was ordered, and the fort surrendered. The Confederates
captured were over fifteen thousand men. Ibid, p. 27.
This action broke the center of the Confederate
line and Johnston was forced to retreat and leave the Yankees in possession
of Nashville and practically all of Kentucky. The Confederates also forced
to withdraw from Columbus on the Mississippi to Cairo, forty miles below. It
was quite a gain for the Union. Ibid, p. 28.
15. Tom Broughton was captured at Ft. Donelson. Among the men captured at
Ft. Donelson was Captain Hiram Bronson Granbury, born 1 March 1831 in
Mississippi. He moved to Waco, Texas in the early l850's. He recruited the
Waco Guards in 1861, was elected Captain, went with Command 9 on November,
1861 to Hopkinsville, Kentucky, where fie was elected Major. His entire
regiment was captured at Ft. Donelson, where he was sent first to Camp Chase
and then Ft. Warren, Massachusetts. Normal D. Brown, Editor, One of
After his release and exchange he was promoted
to Lt. Colonel of the Seventh Texas Infantry 9 August 1862, to Colonel
August 29, and distinguished himself in the battles of Raymond, Chickamauga
and Missionary. (Raymond was the place where Tom Broughton was captured the
Granbury took command
of the Texas Brigade when General James A. Smith was wounded November 25. On
March 5, 1864 he was promoted to Brigadier General to rank from February 29.
May 23, 1862
My Dear Wife,
Though I avail
myself of every favorable opportunity of writing you, yet I have but little
hope that any of my letters have reached you, and I fear that you have
despaired of ever hearing from me again. Hoping, however, that a favorable
breeze may waft this to your hands, I write it. Having written to you
already about my capture at Fort Donelson and subsequent treatment by the
Federals. I am well and have been since I have been a prisoner with one or
two slight exceptions. In fact, I may say my health is exceptionally good.
The prison here is situated on an island in Lake Erie three miles from the
main shore.16 The island contains
several hundred acres and I think is a very healthy locality. There is
generally a pleasant breeze ,from the lake which reminds me very much of our
prairie country--I have a good supply of books and spend my time reading and
taking exercise in the open air. There are many clever gentlemen here in
prison whose special qualities are a great treat to me here. I am trying to
take my imprisonment as philosophically as possible, never suffering my
feeling depressed when I can avoid it. I cannot however relieve myself of
anxiety on account of yourself and the children. If I could know and be
assured that you were well and not vexing yourself too much about me it
would do a great deal toward mitigating the severity of mental suffering. I
have not much hope of hearing from you during my imprisonment however long
it may be. I do hope and trust that the God whom you place your faith will
take care of you and my little ones and shield you and them from all danger.
Though I am hundreds of miles from you in enemies country, shut up in
prison, yet I have an abiding hope that I shall live to see you again and
that we will be the more happy in contrasting future felicity with present
sorrow. Do not despond, there is a bright future before me. Don't let
Prentiss forget me. Talk to him often about me and tell him his pa wants to
see him very much and will come home to see him again. When Tomie can
comprehend it teach her she has a father who loves her and will some day be
home to see her.
to me that if my friends would use their exertion in my behalf they could
effect my exchange. If Dempsey would correspond with Hogg and Good and Major
Chilton or some other of my friends in ,the army they could effect my
exchange. It is worth the trial and I hope no time will be lost. I don't
know how you are getting along about money and in order that you may not be
inconvenienced I send a power of attorney to draw my wages which is not
authenticated by a notary. I hope it will be available in case of need. Have
no news to send you. I shall bring my rambling epistle to a close.
Your affectionate husband,
E. T. Broughton
16. Sandusky, Ohio. The
location of Johnson Island where he was imprisoned for seven months. It was
located in Lake Erie about two and a half miles north of Sandusky in
Sandusky Bay at the Western end. The island is very small, only three miles
long and one-half mile wide.
During the period from 10 April 1863 to 18 January
1864, the aggregate number of Confederate prisoners reached 6,414. Over 200
men of the Confederacy died on the island and were buried on a plot .on the
evert end of the island.
Charles A. Nicholson, Captain Junius B.
Browne's Autograph Book of Confederate Prisoners on Johnson's Island,
Virginia Tidewater Genealogy, Vol. 17, No.2, June 1986, p.
September 18, 1862
My Dear Wife,
you yesterday and sent my letter by mail, but I have an opportunity of
writing a letter this morning by Col. Stone and avail myself of it. I
arrived here yesterday and was exchanged after an imprisonment of seven
months. My imprisonment has been a long and miserable one, but my health has
remained good all the while. I have not heard one word from you and my
little ones since the 18th of January last, and I am almost mad to see you,
but the authorities will not permit it, and I must content myself for the
present by writing you. But it wrings my heart to think that you may be in
want of the necessaries of life. God forbid that such may be the case. I
would send you money by Col. Stone, but I cannot draw money til I get to
Clinton, Miss., where I will go this afternoon. As soon as I get there, I
will make arrangements to send you money. I could have sent you money last
winter, but I had every arrangement to start home in a few days, had I not
been taken prisoner. My dear you must be contented as possible and devote
your attention to the care of our sweet children. Kiss them for me and don't
let them forget me. Give my love to all the relatives and tell them they are
kindly remembered by me, that I would like very much to see them. Tell them
to write me. I don't know where Jim 17
is, but I understand he is with Smith's Army in Kentucky. I will find out
about him ~nd will write him as soon as possible. Pray God to hasten the
time of our reunion. I have no news to write you. You must write to me
frequently, and I will try to keep you informed of my whereabouts. You can
address your letters, for the present, to Clinton, Hinds County,
Mississippi. Tell Mitt my address. I am sure she will write me. The cars
will soon start and I must close. Your faithful and devoted husband,
E. T. Broughton
17. Jim was James P. Douglas,
October 7, 1862
My Dear Wife,
my life have I undertaken to write to you under more distressing and gloomy
circumstances. I am too much troubled to write you an intelligent letter.
Today lots were cast as to who should come to Texas to recruit, and
unfortunately for me and you, I drew a ticket to stay, and to my great
disappointment, I was one of the unfortunate. I know my dear wife, that this
will almost break your heart, but you must be hopeful. Surely after so much
sorrow and disappointment as we have suffered there will come a day of
fruition. Through all the days of danger and toil and hardship I have passed
I have always had a strong presentiment that we should be reunited and live
a life of felicity together. Pray God my dear, this may the case.
orders to go from this p1ace to Jackson, Mississippi, and I expect we will
go tomorrow. Our forces had an engagement with the enemy near Corinth three
days ago and were badly whipped, and General Price has fallen back to
Ripley. All the returned prisoners in the vicinity, including our regiment
have been ordered up to reinforce him. Before you hear from me again I shall
in all probability be engaged in deadly conflict with our foes. You must
pray for my safety and protection from harm. Captain Brown is coming home
and has promised me he would come to see you and hand you this and bring you
some money. When you get it I wish you to spend it freely for your own and
the little children.
Brown will tell you all about my imprisonment, he having been with me all
the time. I send you by him a lot of things made on Johnson's Island by the
prisoners.18 They will give you some
idea of the manner in which we occupied our time while in prison. You must
keep them until I come home. I have some more for you. You can't imagine my
deep anxiety to hear from you. I have not heard anything from any of you
either directly or indirectly since the 18th of last January. Some time I
almost despair of ever seeing you again put something whispers to me you
shall see Mollie again and my hopes revive. If I could only hear from you
all regularly and know you are well I could my duty cheerfully. But as it
is, my lot is a sad one indeed. My prospects of promotion in service are now
very flattering. The major's position in our regiment is now vacant and most
of the regiment think me entitled to the position. There are two other
captains in the regiment who claim it. The colonel thinks I am entitled to
it and has gone to see the commanding General about it. The case will be
decided tomorrow, if it is decided against me I will appeal to the War
Department. If I am declared Major, I will in a few weeks be Lieutenant
Colonel as our Colonel has been made a Brigadier General. This will be
pleasing to my vanity if you could be here to share the honor with me. The
position will, however, enhance my chances of coming to see you and
therefore I crave it the more. Perhaps I may eat Christmas dinner with you
yet. Every energy that I possess shall be brought to bear to accomplish the
one great object of my existence which is to visit you and my precious
little children. Let me impress on you to take care of Prentiss and try to
keep him from acquiring bad habits. Keep him from learning to tell stories,
never make him a promise you cannot comply with. Don't let either of the
children forget me. Give my love to all the relatives and tell all to write
me. I have written to Father and Mitt and would write to Dempsey if I knew
whether or not he is at home. I am so busy it is hard to find time to write,
but I will write as often as possible, write me about all the kinfolks so
that I may know who to write. Direct your letters to Holly Springs,
Mississippi and they will be forwarded. Kiss Prentiss and Tomie for me and
believe me to be as ever your faithful and devoted husband.
E. T. Broughton
Please send my watch by Captain Brown* if you
have not disposed of it.
18. He sent among other
things a ~old ring and two onyx like rings.
*Captain Brown was probably
Captain John William Brown (later Colonel) from Rusk, Texas, his
commanding officer, and, who was wounded at the Battle of Franklin,
Tennessee. He is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Longview, Texas. CSA marker
January 16, 1863
My Dear Wife,
I arrived here
on the evening of the 14th and found Col. Granbury and the members of the
Regiment waiting for me. The orders of Col. Granbury has required us to go
to Port Hudson immediately. Therefore, I will not have the pleasure of
coming back to see you again. I am very sorry for this and I regret it the
more because you thought that I intended to deceive you and did not mean to
come back. But I fully intended to come back when I left Tyler and take
another fond adieu.19 I must however
take this method of bidding you farewell. I shall write you regularly and
keep you posted as to my movements. When I can spare time from my duties I
shall occupy it by writing you if my letters do not reach you regularly you
may be sure it is the fault of the mail and not mine and you must not forget
your promise to write to me often. Take good care of our little children and
of yourself and don't grieve about my absence anymore than you can help. I
have always felt, when leaving you, that I would come back again and I still
feel the inspiration of that thought. I feel I will return and spend a happy
and prosperous life with you and our sweet children. Let the same thought
occupy your mind. I have no news to write. News has reached here that Gen.
Bragg was in possession of Nashville, but I do not put much reliance in the
report. The enemy has evacuated Vicksburg. We will leave here in the
morning. Tell all the friends goodbye. Write to me often; direct your
letters to Port Hudson. Kiss the children for me and believe me to be yours
E. T. Broughton
I am sending you fifty dollars by Dr.
Yarborough. I will send you money regularly, and you must buy what you want
for the comfort of yourself and children.
19. He had been home on
January 31, 1863
Again I avail
myself of an opportunity of writing you a short epistle. I have nothing,
however, of special interest to write you. We get but little news here and
what we get seems to be of very unreliable character.
We had news of
another fight at Vicksburg between Yankee gunboats and the batteries; but
the news has not been confirmed today. As I have already written you, a
fight has been expected at this place for several days, but the prospect has
about vanished the Yankees having gone down the river from Baton Rouge. The
gunboat Essex, is still in the river, however, just below here five or six
miles. As I write I can hear her canons booming. She is shelling our pickets
down the river. If the news be true, as I believe it is, that the Federals
have gone back to New Orleans, we will have no fighting at this place. We
are constantly engaged in strengthening our works here, which are now of a
very formidable character and should the Yankees be foolhardy enough to come
up and attack us, we will give them such a reception as will forever make
their knees shake (when they hear Port Hudson named). My situation is
anything but a pleasant one just now. I have not been able to get any
cooking utensils yet, and if I had them, I cannot get much to cook in them.
has gone to Natchez after an outfit, and when he gets back I hope to fare
better. He and I have hired us a negro boy and have made arrangements to eat
together. I think we will be able to get along tolerable well, once we get
started. The provisions are scarce and very high. When I get accustomed to
camp and somewhat forget the comforts of home, I suppose I will be all
right, tho I miss you and the children very much. Yet I keep myself buoyed
up with the hope that I shall be with you ere many months pass. I hope, my
dear, that you know and appreciate my emotions toward you. If I were
separated from the rest of the world and could have you for my companion, I
could be happy and contented. When night comes and I am relieved of my
duties, I lie down in my tent and muse on the felicity that lies in store
for me when this infernal war shall end. God grant that these visions of
happening shall be realized, that we may soon meet and embrace each other
again. I know that this is your constant prayer. I can assure you that it is
mine also. I stated that it would not be many months. I base this on the
present prospects for a speedy termination of the war. The great and growing
discontent against the war, and Lincoln's administration in the northwestern
states will certainly paralyze the Yankee Government. The opponents of the
war, in that section, are growing more bold, and they are backed up by a
powerful organized party, pledged to conciliation. Allover the Northwest,
the Democrats are denouncing Lincoln, and his proclamations and the- war,
and every where their sentiments are received with delight. This state of
affairs must soon bring peace. One of the Generals commanding here, in my
presence, offered to bet ten thousand dollars that we would have peace in
three months. No one took the bet. This seems to be the universal opinion
among the knowing. President Davis in his recent speeches to the people in
this section assured them that this was the last year of the war.
I have not
received a letter from you and I am growing anxious to get one. I shall soon
begin to look for William20 and I
know I will get one or more. You must keep your promise about writing.
Address your letter to Captain E. T. Broughton, Gregg Brigade.
Port Hudson, La.
Yours as ever,
E. T. Broughton
20. William was Nathaniel
William Broughton, his second older brother who was with him most of the
February 2, 1863
My dear Wife,
you a long letter the day before yesterday and sent it by mail but as a
gentleman starts to Texas in the morning I write you again. Nothing new has
transpired since I have been here. There seems to be a little prospect for a
fight soon. We are, however, doing all we can to improve our fortifications
and preparing to give the Feds a warm reception when they come, if they ever
do. The gunboat Essex comes in sight occasionally, but takes care to keep
out of range of our batteries. My health has been tolerably good since I
have been here though I have had very bad fare. Captain Brown has not yet
returned from Natchez, but I am looking for him every day, and when he gets
back I hope to fare better. The health of our regiment is very good, though
we have had some cases of diarrhea in camp. I am growing more tired of the
Army every day and I do hope that ere long I will be released from it. The
prospects for peace are growing daily more bright and it cannot come too
soon for me. It seems times I shall be satisfied to remain with you and the
children always now and never be disposed to leave you again.
My only ambition is to
make you and them happy and I shall anxiously look forward to the time when
I can return to the loved ones at home where we can be once more united and
happy. I want you to write to me more often and freely and let me know about
how you are getting along. I don't want you to grieve about my absence but
try and make yourself cheerful and contented. Take care of the children and
try and improve Prentiss all you can. You may rest assured that I will take
best of care of myself that I possibly can and I will hasten home as soon as
I wrote you a
letter from Marshall and enclosed a fifty dollar bill and a note for two
hundred and fifty dollars, and I am anxious to know whether you received it
or not. Please write me about it. I also subscribed for a paper for you.
Write to me whether you received it or not regularly.
There is a
little matter I would like to ask you about yourself that I would like to
ask you. Can't you let me know'? I know that you know what I mean. Don't be
offended, dear, because I asked about it, for it is my solicitude that
prompts me to make the inquiry. If it is as I suspect, I hope you will not
become despondent or low-spirited.21
Be as cheerful as you can and rest assured that you have all my sympathy and
nothing but an imperative sense of duty keeps me absent from you. I shall
write you often, but I fear the mails are so irregular that you will not get
my letters until they are old. I will avail myself of every opportunity of
sending you letters by hand, as I think this the best and quickest way to
Kiss Tomie and
Prentiss for me and believe me to be your faithful and affectionate husband.
E. T. Broughton
Address: Capt. E. T. Broughton 7th Texas
Regiment Gregg Brigade
Port Hudson, La.
21. She was expecting another
March 18, 1863
with Texas has been so effectually cut off the last ten days, that I have
not thought it worth while to write you, but Capt. Davis will start to Texas
in a day or two and I know I will have some hopes of getting a letter to
you. I have but little idea that any of my letters written in the last month
have reached you for I think the mails are very uncertain. Indeed, I have
not received anything from you since your letter by William. But I know that
you write to me and that is not your fault, but the fault of the mail. I was
taken sick about the 10th of last month and have been unfit for duty ever
since. I had, at first, an attack of typhoid fever which lasted about ten
days, then I took diarrhea and am very much emaciated, but I think I have
been slowly recovering from that attack. I begin to feel and am able to take
I have been
staying in the country for the last month and shall continue to do so until
I get better and fit for duty. If I do not get well in two or three weeks, I
shall resign and come home. I should have resigned before now, but for the
fact that William came here to be with me and in my company, I shall regret
very much to leave him, but if I do not get well, I cannot be with him and
therefore shall resign. He got a pass and came out to see me and I have been
to see him twice. I left camp yesterday morning.
Robert,22 in fact, all my company
are well. I went down to camp last Saturday evening to keep out of the hands
of the Yankees who had gotten in four miles of this place without our
knowledge. This place is about twelve miles from Fort Hudson. I went down
six miles on a handcar in company with Captain Davis and Lieutenant
Henderson (Saturday night) and stopped until daylight Sunday morning about
eleven o'clock. Saturday night the Yankees opened on Port Hudson with their
mortar fleet and gunboats and for two hours kept up one of the most terrific
bombardments of the war. We were six miles off and could see the flashes of
the guns. The huge shells flying through the air, and the roar of the
cannons was deafing and jarred the house in which we were staying until some
of the glass was broken in the windows. I went into Port Hudson Sunday
morning with my mind in great anxiety and apprehension of the results. As
soon as I entered the works, I began to look about me to see the effects of
such dreadful bombardment, but there were no effects visible. I began
anxiously to inquire of the men as I passed them what damage had been done
us, and they answered none that they knew of but two gunboats had been sunk.
with a lighter heart I advanced toward our encampment which is on the river
and near the batteries where, if anywhere the shelling must have damaged us.
As I approached the river, I could see here .and there where the huge shells
had torn up the ground, and even the trees and as I passed one of the
batteries, I saw where one poor man had had his leg amputated. Breathless
with anxiety I reached our camp and inquired the damage done us. No one in
our regiment had been hurt, but one man in our brigade was killed. Being
relieved by this information, I began to inquire for the particulars. It
seems that the Yankees wanted to pass their gunboats up the river, and
after they commenced shelling from their motor boats, they ran their
gunboats up opposite our batteries and engaged them. The enemy had one
vessel burnt by hot shots from our batteries and one sunk.* None of our guns were dismounted or
silenced. Our lot was three killed and ten wounded; that of the enemy was
about three hundred. So you see, they caught a tarter at Port Hudson; their
land forces never got nearer than 7 miles of our works and commenced
retreating on Sunday evening in the greatest disorder. They seemed to have
been seized with panic and threw away every thing in their flight. Tents,
blankets, knapsacks, overcoats, provisions, and cooking utensils were strewn
in the fight. We captured a considerable quantity of army store and a number
of beef and sheep. I neglected to say that one vessel passed our batteries,
and it was in the river above us. She had the commodore on board, and two
couriers have been caught carrying dispatches from him to his fleet below. I
think we have successfully prevented him from communications with his fleet.
Our tents were cut up by the shelling, but fortunately our men were not in
them. They being sent to the breastwork. Some few blankets were cut to
pieces. My tent had a large rent in it by a large piece of shell, but
William had moved my baggage and no harm was done. This is all the new I
have to write you. It is reported that the Yankees are advancing again and
if they are I shall have to run again. I can manage however to get news of
their army in time to stay out of harms way. I will write again when I have
a favorable opportunity. If you do not hear from me again, you can rest
assured, of the fact, it is not my fault. Now that I am unfit for duty, I
think about you, my dear, and our dear little children. Write to me often. I
am very anxious to know how you are getting along. Give my love to all the
relatives and believe me to be as ever
Your affectionate husband,
E. T. Broughton
General Banks started with 12,000 men for Port Hudson to create a diversion
while Farragut ran the Port Hudson Batteries, so as to be able to patrol the
river above and intercept supplies. On March 14, Farragut made the attempt
with 10 vessels. Only two were able to pass above, while the rest were
disabled. However, with these two, Farragut was able to blockade the Red
River. Port Hudson finally is surrendered in July after assaults from May 24
to July 9, and when the news of Vicksburg's surrender came. Dodge, A
Birdseye View of Our Civil War, p. 164-166.
22. Robert was her other brother. The four Douglas brothers were James P.,
John B., Eli and Robert. Robert was injured and never fully recovered. He
died soon after the war ended (Douglas Family Records).
April 15, 1863
My dear Wife,
Yours of the
17th last month came to hand several days ago, and I should have answered it
much sooner but I have been waiting on some men who were getting ready to
come to Texas so that I could send my letter by hand. Lieutenant Moore
starts tomorrow morning, and I gladly avail myself of the opportunity of
sending you a short letter. I am very glad you have been getting along so
well, hope you will continue to do so. My health continues to improve, but
very slowly. I have not been able to do any duty yet, but hope to be able to
do my share in a few days.
We have no news
here that would be likely to interest you. We have been looking for several
days for the Federal fleet above here to try to pass down by our batteries,
but they have not attempted it yet. The news is that they are about the
mouth of the Red River cashing logs on their side for the purpose of running
by here. But I cannot say whether this be true or not. I am satisfied,
however, that they would like to get down and if they don't do so pretty
soon they will be bagged. I long to see the Red River open again so I can
hear from home regularly. I still have strong hopes of the war ending by
summer and think I shall be able by mid summer to be with you and the little
You wrote to me
that you were preparing me some summer clothes and desire to know how you
could send them. One of the young Woods will be leaving here for home soon.
He is coming after meat, flour and clothing for the regiment, and you can
have mine boxed up with William's, directed to me in the same manner as you
direct your letters and send them by him. I shall write to Gabe to attend to
sending them as I want him to send some meat and flour also. If you have not
already had my coat cut, I want you to be sure and have it cut up in the
breast. Tell Mrs. Hepperson not to allow any for the lining as she did the
other one. You need not put any buttons on the coat as I can get staff
buttons and have them put on here. I believe I would prefer a nice piece of
black cloth on the collar and sleeves if it can be had. You needn't put
yourself to any unnecessary trouble about the coat as I only make these
suggestions to satisfy you, knowing you would like to be informed of my
preferences. Lieutenant Moore has just notified me that he will start in a
few minutes and I must hasten to close.
above have come in sight since I commenced to write. They are signaling the
fleet below. I expect they will try to pass down tonight. If they do we will
do our best to sink some of them. William and Robert are well. Give my
regards to my friends. Kiss Prentiss and Tomie for me, and believe me to be
as ever your affectionately.
E. T. Broughton
April 27, 1863
several days without hearing form you, I have grown quiet impatient. I write
you another epistle. I wrote you a long letter by Frank Moore which I hoped
reached you. The last letter I have received from you dated March 17th --
considerably a month and may judge how anxious I am to hear from you. But I
hope you will not be discouraged. Your letters will reach me sometime.
Though they can be a long time coming, they are a source of satisfaction to
me above everything else.
is now permanently blockaded and our letters reaching their destination will
be uncertain. If therefore we desire to be in constant communication, we
must be very vigilant in seeking opportunities of sending letters. Nothing
of particular has transpired since I wrote you last. The gunboats from above
and below come in sight almost daily, but have yet made no effort to pass or
engage our batteries. The landforces under General Banks at Baton Rouge,
Louisiana have as I wrote you in my last letter left that point. They have
been operating on the Teche Bayou in the Opelousas country, West Louisiana
and have succeeded in defeating our forces there under General Taylor and
captured a considerable number of prisoners. Affairs on our side there have
been doubtless badly managed, and I fear from the Yankees account that some
of our troops have disgraced themselves. I have not seen the account of the
affair, but hope it will not be as bad as the Yankee's version.
General Smith is
now at Alexander, Louisiana near the scene of the action and hope he will be
able to chastise the enemy and repair whatever damage may have resulted to
our cause. I send you a paper containing the Yankee version; it is as
embellished as Yankee accounts generally are and doubtless contains the
usual amount of truth. I have not heard from Jim since I wrote you, nor have
I heard anything of the operation of our army in Tennessee. I expect to hear
shortly of a sanguinary struggle in Middle Tennessee which if it results in
our favor, as I believe it will, I confidently hope will close the war. I am
still sanguine about the war closing by mid-summer, for God knows if there
is any event feverently and anxiously wished for by me, it is the close of
the war. How sick, tired and disgusted I am words will not express.
How I long to return to my happy home and give my time and talents to the
promotion and welfare and happiness of my wife and little ones.
My health is now
pretty well restored and the old hope of a happy future in store for us are
as feverent as ever, although dimmed and clouded by disease, has been
restored also. Let us hope and be patient, my dear, happiness in reunion
will be ours. The day is not far distant when the Yankees overwhelmed by
defeat and disgraced will be glad to acknowledge the independence of our
country, and when our fair and youthful Republic recuperates from the
disasters of this sad and desolating war, she shall stand forth in her
beautiful proportions, robed in the garment of peace and stretching the
adgis of protection to the remotest limits of her territory when you and I,
my dear, shall be free to persue our own true and substantial happiness.
I wrote to you
to send my clothes by young Wood, but owing to the Red River blockade, he
will not be able to come. You will have to look out for the first
opportunity and avail yourself of it. Perhaps Frank Moore will come back. If
he does, you can send them by him. William is well and sits by me writing
Douglas. He stands soldiering pretty well. Bob is sick and has been for some
time though not dangerously. Give my best regard to all my friends and
believe me to be as ever.
Your affectionate husband,
E. T. Broughton
Note: He is captured at
Raymond after this letter. See Granbury's letter from the Official
May 23, 1864
My dear Wife,
For the first
time in a long time I have an opportunity to write you with any hope of my
letters reaching you. I have been in Dixie two weeks and have been looking
all the while for a chance to send you a letter, but none has been presented
previous to this.
After my capture
at Raymond, I was taken to Johnson's Island, the place of my former
imprisonment. I was kept there until the 22nd of April at which I was
carried to Point Lookout, Maryland. I was kept there ten days and then
brought over to Richmond. During my imprisonment I had a hard time of it. I
suffered a great deal mentally and physically. I was sick continually from
the 1st of October to the period I left the island having had small pox,
flux and two attacks of erysipelas. My face is pretty badly marked with pox.
I am in pretty feeble health, but have been improving since I got back into
the South. I think I will continue to do so. I shall leave this place today
or tomorrow, go into the country and remain there until I get well. I am on
parole and do not know when I will be exchanged, but I am resolved not to go
into service until I get entirely well. I tried, while in Richmond, to get
permission to come home, but could not succeed. I shall, however, keep a
sharp lookout and if by any hook or crook I can get off I will come to you.
I heard from you once during my captivity and that was through a letter
written by Jim in December last.
It informed me
of the death of your mother,23 and
that you had given birth to another daughter.24
How I wish I could see the wee thing. You must take good care of her until I
come home. I know you must have suffered an immense deal of anxiety on my
account. I hope this letter and the news I am once more in the South will
allieve it. Would to God I could come home immediately and receive the
loving embraces of yourself and the dear little ones.
Be of good
cheer; do for yourself and the children the best you can; and by all means
do not suffer and distress on my account. I feel assured I will come home by
and by. All of the suffering, anxiety, and distress we have suffered will
lend to enhance our bliss when we meet again. Jim Douglas has been back some
time, but I haven't had the opportunity to see him or communicate on account
of the fact that General Johnson's army has been making retrograde movements
ever since I have been here. This place is about 40 miles from Atlanta and
80 miles from the army which is now about 40 miles above Atlanta. A big
fight is looked for there and may be transpiring even now. The enemy is
pressing down on our army with the hope of capturing Atlanta. I hear from
the army every day our troops are in excellent spirit, eager for the fight
and are receiving daily reinforcements. I think when the fight does come
off, we will achieve a glorious victory. I have the most unbounded
confidence in the skill and sagacity of General Johnson. We have been
successful in engagement in Virginia. Our success in the Spring campaign,
thus far, has been incomparable. From every point of the company comes the
most cheering news of Confederate soldiers. This is soul-cheering indeed to
one who has been immured in Yankee battles as I have been.
William is here
in the hospital. He has been a little sick, but is now about well and
notwithstanding his sickness, he has more flesh than he ever carried home. I
saw his letters brought through by Jim and received from them the gratifying
intelligence that you and the children were well. We got five letters. My
name was mentioned in only one. Mitt was the only one who seems not to have
forgotten me. Be sure to give her my most sincere love and tell her she is
not and cannot be forgotten by her brother Tom. Give my love to all the
relatives. Kiss the children, and tell Prentiss to be good until his Pa
comes home and he will get him something fine. Tell him and Tomie that their
Pa wants to see them very much, and will be home to see them sometime. Don't
let them forget me. Try and keep yourself in good spirit; don't be
uneasy about me and believe me to be,
Your ever affectionate husband,
E. T. Broughton
Tirzah Cowsar Douglas died 27 September 1863 in Tyler, Texas.
24. Mollie had given birth to her third child, Salina Ema.
June 3, 1864
My dear Wife,
I wrote you day before yesterday and have written three times in the past
week, yet knowing the uncertainty of my letters reaching you, I avail myself
of the present opportunity of again writing. I am staying in the country ten
miles from this place with a Methodist preacher by the name of Smith, a very
clever gentleman. He and his family treat me very kindly. My health
continues to improve and I begin to feel like I am getting well once more.
The regiment was well unto an engagement on the 28th and lost several,
killed and wounded. My company lost, but one man, A. J. Davidson of Van
Zandt, was killed. I had a letter from Jim Douglas day before yesterday and
it was the first I received from him since I returned to the South. He and
his company all well and getting along well though somewhat tired by the
recent long marches they have taken. Jim enclosed to me your letter to John
and Eli (Douglas) dated May 1st and brought over by Mr. Weeks. It was a
source of greatest satisfaction to me to know and be informed that you and
the children are well and that no misfortune had befallen you. You seem to
write in a cheerful and hopeful spirit. This delights me much for all the
trouble and suffering I had during my long imprisonment there was none of a
mental character which grieved me more than the thought that you would
grieve yourself too much on my account. Of course I do not expect or wish
you to forget my existence. This I know you will not do, but I have always
had a presentiment since I have been in the army. When this war was over and
peace restored to our unhappy country, I should be permitted to return home
and find you and the children waiting to welcome me and that we would lead a
peaceful and happy life once more. Through all my vicissitudes of fate, and
they have been many, this thought has bouyed me up with hope and confidence.
Prison walls, disease in their most malignant character, smallpox,25 flux, ericipelas all combined could never
for a single moment deprive me of this hope. Although I am so near the front
I can get no reliable news from there.
Our army is
confronting the enemy on a line from Dallas to Marietta about 40 miles above
Atlanta and a general engagement has been looked for for ten days. None has
yet taken place, but I think the conflict cannot be postponed much longer.
When it does come it will be of a bloody and decisive character. From all I
can learn our army seems to have the best morale possible. The soldiers are
in high spirit , buoyant and confident of success in all the partial
engagements we have been successful and the enemy have been beaten and
discomforted. This must to some extent demoralize them. In addition to this
General Johnston has decoyed them away from their base of supplies and
thereby exposed their rear to our cavalry raids. Taking into consideration
the additional fact that General Johnston will fight the enemy on his chosen
ground I cannot think the issue doubtful. We must certainly be victorious
and if we are I predict it will be the most decisive and complete one of the
war, one in all probability will give us peace and bring about a speedy
recognition of our independence. I have no late news from the army in
Virginia. At last account things were meaning the most favorable aspects for
us. Having given you full particulars in my relation to my imprisonment in
all my former letters, I shall not renew the subject. I wish to forget those
unpleasant reminiscences as soon as possible. I wish you to write me every
opportunity you have and let me know everything of interest in the country
and all about how you and the children are getting along. Tell Mitt to be
sure and write me. Give my love to Grandmother, Father and Mother and all
the relatives and tell them they are all kindly remembered by me. Kiss
Prentiss, Tomie and the stranger for me and believe me to be your ever
affectionate and devoted husband.
E. T. Broughton
25. Smallpox affected his
July 3, 1864
My dear Wife,
leaves of Texas tonight and I avail myself of the opportunity of writing you
a short letter. I have kept a constant lookout and availed myself o every
good chance of sending you a letter since my return, and I trust that out of
the number, some few of them have reached you. I have for some time,
anxiously been expecting a letter from you but have received none yet. I
suppose your opportunities for sending letters by hand are very bad, and
know the mails are very uncertain but nevertheless I shall continue to hope
that ere many days I shall receive one from you.
continues to improve, and I think in a few weeks I will be well and fit for
service. There is no prospect for getting home until the present campaign is
ended. I may safely say I will be home to take my next Christmas dinner with
you, provided nothing is wanting to bring about an event so wished for save
the consent of military authorities. This will seem like an age for you, but
you must be patient and hopeful and the time will soon come around and then
how consoling the hope and bliss in the realization, with Mollie by my side,
the children around my knee. I have no news to send you.
The armies above
here have the same position they were three weeks ago. A fight seems eminent
and certainly will transpire before many days, and then goodbye Yankees. I
have not the least doubt of our success. General Johnston has the best army
I ever saw or ever expect to see. Our men are in the finest spirits and
pretty confident of our Success. I came down from the front yesterday.
William, John, Jim and Eli are all well and in good spirits. I have been
promoted to Major and expect to be promoted to Colonel by the time I am fit
for duty. I am going down to LaGrange to hunt up my father's kin26 and stay with them until I get well,
provided I like them and they like me.
children for me and believe me to be yours ever.
E. T. Broughton
26. Edward Broughton of
LaGrange, Georgia was the son of John H. Broughton, his grandfather's
August 15, 1864
My dear Wife,
Johnson leaves in the morning for Texas, and I drop you a short letter by
him to let you know how I am getting along. I have written you two letters
in the last few days, but knowing the uncertainty of my letters reaching
you, I never let an opportunity slip of sending you one. My health is
improving and I think I shall soon be well fit for service. I have been with
the regiment the past week. But I do not think it too prudent to stay here
permanently yet and shall therefore go to the rear again. I have been
promoted to Lt. Colonel of the regiment.27
There is nothing new here. Things are tolerably quiet and have been since
the fight of the 28th of last month. The armies are in close approximation
to each other, and a fight may take place any day, and it may be postponed
indefinitely. But I think a general engagement will take place before long
and when it does come that it will be the most bloody and decisive of the
war.28 William is well and doing
finely. I have received no letter from you yet; altho I have been looking
for one for some time. It discourages me so much to be so long delayed in
hearing from you. But I feel confident it is no fault of yours, that you
have written and will continue to do so when opportunities are offered.
Sometime when I feel depressed about not getting a letter from you, I sit
myself down and read over your old letters. I hope you and the children are
well. I hope you will make it your chief business to make yourself
comfortable and happy. I sincerely hope in the course of four or five months
I shall be with you once more and find you all well and waiting to give me
an affectionate welcome. Remember me kindly to relatives and friends and
believe me to be your ever affectionate husband.
E. T. Broughton
27. His promotion to Lt.
Colonel evidently was never officially recorded.
28. The Battle of Atlanta -The Confederate Army fell back from Dalton,
Georgia to the outskirts of Atlanta in May and June 1864. General Joe
Johnston was replaced by John Bell Hood because President Davis was afraid
that Johnston would give up Atlanta without a fight. Johnston was reluctant
to battle, and Hood was always ready for a fight. Davis promoted Hood to a
four star command of the army of Tennessee.
Within a few days after taking over, Hood struck at
Sherman. There were three battles in quick succession on the 20th,
22nd and 28th of July.* Hood was repulsed in all three battles and withdrew
his shattered army into the inner works of Atlanta where they held out until
September 1, l864 when he abandoned the city. (Col. Harold B. Simpson, Hood's
Texas Brigade in Poetry and Song, The Texan Press, Waco, Texas,
1968, p. 252-253.)
*James P. Douglas wrote his wife a letter
dated August 17, 1864 near Atlanta. "Tom Broughton is here. He will
leave in a day or two on account of his health. A recommendation has been
forwarded for his promotion to Lieut. Colonel. I don't think he will remain
in the service long as his health is generally feeble. I think he will make
application to be placed on the retired list which will enable him to go
home and stay until he recovers his health." (Lucia Douglas, Douglas'
Texas Battery C.S.A., p. 1231.
August 27 James P. wrote, "Tom B. has
left on a 30 day leave of absence" (Ibid, p. 126).
August 31 James P. wrote, "Had to give
up Atlanta" (Ibid, p. 127).
September 26 he wrote, "Tom Broughton
paid me a visit. He returned to command yesterday, looking improved in
health" (Ibid, p. 136).
It appears then that Tom was not in the Battle
of Atlanta, but on leave and returned in time to join his command and make
the long march through Georgia and Alabama as he describes in the next
letter written from Tuscumbia, Alabama.
In 1862 General Grant had established a strong
hold in Kentucky and Tennessee. The Confederates hoped to regain those
areas. According to plans made by General P. T. C. Beau
regard, General Joseph Wheeler was to slow down Sherman, and General Hood
was to retake first Tennessee and then Kentucky. They also hoped to draw
Sherman out of Atlanta to face battle again, but Sherman ignored them.
Instead he went on to devastate Georgia (Hodges, A Bird's Eye View of Our
Civil War, p. 280.}
November 2, 1864
My dear Wife,
Once more after
a long silence I avail myself of an opportunity of writing you a short
letter. I should have written oftener, but we have been making a long and
rapid march for the last month and the chances of writing have been very bad
indeed. This army left Palmetto Station on the West Point and Atlanta
railroad on the 29th of September and arrived here day before yesterday. We
went first to Altoona thence Dalton, Georgia, tearing up the railroad at
intervals on our way. From there we moved through Lafayette to Gadsen,
Alabama, thence across Sand Mountain to Decatur, thence to this point. We
are now three miles from the Tennessee river. Across we have a pontoon
bridge over which one corps of our army has already passed. The
campaign this far has been the most brilliant and successful of the war. We
have already gained more than we lost in the fall of Atlanta and the good
part of the affair is that we had but little fighting to do, although we die
hard marching over the two hundred miles. All the points designated are
Altoona, Rome, Dalton, Lafayette, Georgia, and Gadsen, Decatur, Courtland,
Tuscumbia, Alabama29 and Florence
(where we have our pontoon bridges). You may find them on the map and thus
gain some notion of our line of march to this place and soon will be moving
the cars to within fifteen miles of this place and we will move to this
place. I do not know but think this will be our future base of operation,
and that we will make our winter quarters not far from here.
Your kind and
very affectionate letter of the 18th September came to hand today yesterday;
and I was highly gratified by the personal after such a long and tiresome
march to receive such undoubted assurance of sympathy and affectionate
counseling indeed. You ask me when I think of coming home and when the war
ends, and I wrote you sometime since that I thought I would be home by
Christmas, but the present campaign had not begun, and I had no idea about
it. And I cannot now tell when it will end. But as soon as the army goes
into winter quarters, I shall begin to move on the matter. I am determined
to come home this winter, and when I get west of the Mississippi, I intend
to stay there. I intend to do all I can to get William off too. I feel
almost as much as interested in his coming home as I do in coming myself as
to the termination of the war. I have no settled opinion. I have so often
formed conclusions and been disappointed that I have ceased to speculate on
the matter. I think its termination depends on accidental circumstances.
As to Prentiss
going to school, you, my dear, must be the judge in my absence. If you can
get along without him at home, send him to school, provided you can send him
to a competent teacher, but do not send him to one who is harsh and unkind.
Be firm with him yourself. Make him know he must obey you, and never make
him a promise unless you intend to fulfill it, and by all means avoid
scolding him or complaining at him constantly. When he does a praise worth
act tell him of it and encourage him to do so again, and never whip him for
fighting unless you know him to be in the wrong. I fully appreciate your
responsibilities, my dear, and make these hoping they may be of some slight
advantage to you in the discharge of them. It is great satisfaction to me to
know that there are those who, though far away from me, make my welfare
their chief concern and who constantly pray for me and my speedy return to
them. I have no dreams of ambition to be fulfilled and expect happiness in
the future in the bosom of my family only. I, therefore, hope you will
preserve a sweet temper yourself and cultivate the same in our dear
children, so that I may not be disappointed in the only hope of happiness I
have on earth.
is improving slowly all the time excepting my eyes which give me some
trouble yet. The pox marks (small) are going away gradually and I think I
shall be slightly disfigured after all. William's health is fine, and he
keeps in pretty good spirits. He received Father's letter of the same date
as yours. Father seems to complain that I do not write to him well. Tell him
he recollect that my eyes are bad, and the chances of writing around
campfires are bad, especially when the army is in motion besides I know he
receives your letters and gets all the news worth writing. I stayed with Jim
Douglas last night. He, John and Eli are well.
Give my love to all the relatives and kiss the
children for me, and believe me as ever,
Your affectionate husband,
E. T. Broughton
29. Tuscumbia. The soldiers
rested in Tuscumbia while Hood fumed because the railroad from
Corinth, Mississippi had not been repaired. He had been planning to
re-supply the army here and go north into Tennessee, but the army lay idle
for three weeks. Hood and Beauregard consulted while President Davis was
having second thoughts about leaving Sherman to do what he wanted in
Georgia. (McGaffrey, This Band of Heroes, p. 131.)
On November 13 General Hood crossed the Tennessee River
to establish headquarters at Florence. On November 15, shoes, clothes, and
other supplies arrived. On November 21 they started on the next leg of their
journey. The weather was cold and snowing. (Ibid, p. 132.)
On November 27, James P. Douglas wrote "Tom
Broughton is with his command .." "The Yankees burned up
their stores and evacuated Columbia last night." (They had camped
about 3 miles from Columbia.) (Douglas CSA, p. 149.)
On the morning of the 29th of November lighting
began. Stewart and Cheatham had been sent across the Duck River with orders
to go around and strike the Pike at Spring Hill. Hood hoped to cut Schofield
off here from the road to Franklin and Nashville. Cleburne's division
arrived at Spring Hill about mid-afternoon at the head of Cheatham's Corps.
The Federals held at Spring Hill, however, and during the night slipped over
the Pike into Franklin. (Brown, One of Cleburne' s Command, p. 133)
The Texas Brigade had slept within about a hundred yards of the Franklin
Pike. Captain Richard H. English of General Granbury's staff, went to
investigate noise heard and was captured by the Twenty-third Michigan.
Comment is made by McCaffrey in This Band of Heroes that it seemed
incredible that some of his friends did not sound an alarm when he did not
come back. (R. H. English was Tom Broughton's law partner in Kaufman,
Hood was very upset over this turn of events and
blamed Cheatham, but Cheatham claimed he did not have specific orders.
Another version (One of Cleburne's Command) states Hood's assistant, Major
Mason, confessed he had never delivered the order. The mystery is why
someone did not post troops to block the Pike. (McCaffrey, This Band of
The next morning, Hood moved quickly across the Pike
to Franklin. Schofield had formed a line of defense south of town and the
Harpeth River. Driven by his anger and fury over the failure at Spring Hill,
Hood came up fast.
About 4:00 p.m.. Stewart and Cheatham's Corps made a
massive frontal attack on the Federals. Bates' division was on the extreme
left, Brown to the right of Bates with his right resting on the Columbia
Pike, and Cleburne's on the right. with his left brigade, Granbury, formed
with its left on the Pike. Stewart's Corps formed to Cleburne's right.
(Brown, One of Cleburne's Command, p. 147-148.)
The long lines of men moved forward to the strains
of Dixie and the Bonnie Blue Flay. (McCaffrey, This Band of Heroes,
p. 138.) The advancing Confederates were held by two brigades of
General Wagner's division, and after a near break in the center of the main
lines on the Columbia Pike. there was hand- to-hand fighting. Cleburne,
delayed by Wagner. came up just in time to receive heavy crossfire from the
men who had forced Stewart to retreat. Cleburne was killed forty or fifty
yards in front of the breastworks, struck in the heart by a mine ball.
Granbury, charging with his men, was shot in the face under the right eye.
Throwing his hands to his face he, "sank down in death."
One source quotes a federal veteran of the battle as saying. "he had
never seen men in such a hellish position as Cleburne's division for a few
minutes at Franklin. The wonder is that any of them escaped death or
Although the battle lasted only a few hours, the
human destruction was terrible. The Army of Tennessee had lost almost six
thousand men--killed. wounded and captured-- for which there was no
replacement. (Brown, One of Cleburne's Command, p. 148.) In a letter
dated December 3, 1864. James P. Douglas wrote: "Our men fought with
more desperate courage than I have known before. Granbury's brigade suffered
heavily. Generals Cleburne, Granbury, Gist, Strohl. Adams and Carter were
killed. Captain Tom Broughton is the Senior Officer with the Brigade. He was
slightly wounded which will prevent him from duty for a few days. His
brother, William, was also slightly wounded. .." (Douglas, CSA.
p. 149.) He said further, that he had seen many battles, but this was the
bloodiest that he had ever seen. The men conversed as they fought in
hand-to-hand combat. (Ibid, p. 150).
Even with the great losses and demoralization of the
troops, Hood was ready to go on to Nashville. They began, after burying the
dead, reorganizing the command structure. Brigadier General James A. Smith,
once commander of the Texas Brigade, replaced Cleburne as division
commander. Captain Edward T. Broughton of the Seventh Texas assumed command
of the brigade. As McCaffrey wrote in This Band of Heroes, this illustrates
the condition of the Confederate Army. (However, Tom Broughton believed he
had been promoted to Lt. Colonel.) Other captains were in charge of other
regiments. Some of the men had very strong feelings of hatred against Hood
and cursed him for being a murderer.
The Federals were firmly entrenched at Nashville,
and Hood was badly outnumbered. He was again defeated and the Texas Brigade
was on the way to Franklin with the entire Army of Tennessee streaming to
the rear. On Christmas morning they were at the head of the Tennessee River
near Bainkeridge, Alabama and the men began to cross the pontoon bridge
thrown across the next morning. As they did they began to sing to the tune
of the Yellow Rose of Texas:
So now we're, going to leave you,
Our hearts are full of ease.
We're going back to Georgia to see
our Uncle Joe.
You may talk about your Beauregard,
and sing of General Lee
But the gallant Hood of Texas, played
'hell in Tennessee.
(McCaffrey, This Band of Heroes, p. 147)
Broughton tendered his resignation as Captain of Company C, 7th Texas
Infantry Regiment on January 16, 1865. He suffered from "obstinate
chronic conjunctivitis and general debility." (Letter from James M.
McCaffrey to Mary L. Barnes, 1989).