17TH-TX-CAVALRY-L Archives

Archiver > 17TH-TX-CAVALRY > 2010-02 > 1265721300

From: "Ronald Hall" <>
Subject: Re: [17TH-TX-CAVALRY] Sickness Among Company C
Date: Tue, 9 Feb 2010 07:15:00 -0600
References: <51D0009B-5D53-4FDD-A068-987CE06B6C16@comcast.net>
In-Reply-To: <51D0009B-5D53-4FDD-A068-987CE06B6C16@comcast.net>

Transcripts of the "hard to get" pieces that Toby mentioned below can be
found at the Ralph W. Steen Library at Stephen F. Austin College in
Nacogdoches. http://libweb.sfasu.edu/. Additionally, there are a number of
original letters on file there that I have not seen published transcripts
for. I will do a bit more looking and if I don't find them referenced
elsewhere I plan to post some additional transcripts here.

Ronald C. Hall

-----Original Message-----
[mailto:] On Behalf Of Toby Turner
Sent: Monday, February 08, 2010 10:47 AM
Subject: [17TH-TX-CAVALRY] Sickness Among Company C

The letters of Flavius Perry make much mention of the sickness within
Company C the first mention is Aug 2, 1862, where he reports their camp is
30 miles north of Little Rock, and mentions more sickness and death (he's
sick, too). On the 11th, he's still sick and says "all of our Mess sick."
He also mentions in this letter that 5 men deserted to the Union forces,
were recaptured and shot. On the 6th of Sep from Camp Hope, AR (later
called Camp Nelson), he reports his mess mate has died and on the 23, he
mentions a few men sick with the mumps and says the "won't discharge nobody
unless he has both legs and an arm off." Four more men deserted, were
recaptured, but returned to duty. On the 28th, he says the health of the
men is improving, but there is still some Flux (dysentery). On 5 Nov from
Camp Nelson, he says there's a good deal of sickness among the newly arrived
men, but the ones from the previous spring are okay.

On 21 Dec, he's at Fort Hindman, AR and mentions the death of one of the
best soldiers in company, Josh Scogins. He also says two men from Co. C
have died since their arrival at the Fort, naming only James R. Pike who
died 18 Dec. Says there's a good deal of sickness, primarily pneumonia and
winter fever.

On 4 Apr 1863, is a letter from an unknown person to Perry's wife who states
the officers capture are at Camp Chase (where Perry is), and mentions a list
in the paper of deaths and small pox in the prison camp, and, horribly,
holds out little hope that Perry will survive (some friend!). On 5 May,
Perry writes from Petersburg, VA that he's been paroled with other officers
(presumably including Bryan Marsh who also wrote from Petersburg). Here he
states a great many died out of the regiment while prisoners, mentioning
four of his company (John, or possibly Benjamin, Gilbert, Engledow, Creed,
Thomas Capel, Hooks or Hobbs. Unfortunately my notetaking was not the best
that day and my writing was very hard to read when I transcribed my notes.
The final letters refer to Perry's death at Atlanta, 23 Jul 1863, at the age
of 28.
["The Letters of Lt. Flavius W. Perry 17th Texas Cavalry, 1862-1863," edited
by Joe R. Wise, Military History of Texas and the Southwest, vol. XIII, no.
2, pages 11-37.

In the memoirs of Samuel Alonza Cooke, who was in Company E, he also
mentions illness at Camp Hope, specifically measles. He says 4,000 men were
captured at Arkansas Post, including him. He specifically states there were
30-40 cases of small pox among the Union soldiers and that the Confederate
prisoners were forced to share rooms with the sick men on the two boats
which took all prisoners to St. Louis. He further states that upon their
arrival at St. Louis it was terribly cold and the prisoners were forced to
spend the night upon the windy shore without blankets or the ability to have
fires. He specifically states that men froze to death.["The Civil War
Memoirs of Samuel Alonzo Cooke," edited by Bill O'Neal, Southwestern
Historical Quarterly, vol. LXXIV, no. 4 (april 1971), pages 535-548

Captain Samuel T. Foster comments that their camp at Crystal Hill was
unhealthy, so they moved to Camp Hope, on the road to Searcy, 20 miles
northeast of Little Rock. He reports when Nelson died and George Sweet took
command, he was so heartily disliked that the men shaved the mane and tail
of his horse. Finally, James Deshler assumes command. [One of Cleburne's
Command: The Civil War Reminiscences and Diary of Captain Samuel T. Foster,
Granbury's Texas Brigade, C. S. A. (Austin, 1980)]

In Zachariah Crow's letters, he mostly talks about his loneliness for his
wife (very poignant), but on 23 May 1862, he says "There is a greateal [sic]
of sickness in camps mostly the mesel [sic]. They are ding [sic] from to
two a day in the citty [sic] at the Hosptl [sic]" ["A Smith County
Confederate Writes Home: Letters of Z. H. Crow, edited by F. Lee Lawrence
and Robert W. Glover, Chronicles of Smith County, Texas, vol. 4, no. 2,
pages 11-14, (Fall, 1965)]

In the letters of Bryan Marsh (previously cited), he mentions on 1 Dec 1862,
that 10-12 men were left at Camp Nelson because they were too ill to travel.

Finally, there are two hard-to-get pieces which ran in The Redland Herald of
Nacogdoches County, c1930. A brief two page article on "Company A, 17th
Texas Cavalry" by W. P. Fears, specifically states "Typhoid, measles and
disentary [sic] caused the men to die in this camp (referring to Camp
Nelson) like sheet with the rot."

The second article, "Flat Woods," by Miss Addie Birdwell mentions the
previous Fears' piece and adds to it further information of which Miss
Birdwell was acquainted. "My father was at all the places mentioned in Mr.
Fears letter and was captured at the Arkansas Post and carried a captive to
the Federal Prison at Chicago, where his brother, Billy Birdwell, died of
small pox, he (Billy) having been exposed to small pox in the camp before
being captured by the Federals. She talks about her father's escape from
prison and his injury on the battlefield subsequently, but no other men are

I hope this has helped. This will probably be my last post as I
unsubscribed from the message board yesterday.
Toby (and, incidentally, I female, not male)

To unsubscribe from the list, please send an email to
with the word 'unsubscribe' without the
quotes in the subject and the body of the message

This thread: