ROBERT THOMAS MICHELBERRY SIMMONS LETTERS - CSA #9
In line of battle near Sandtown road
August the 2nd 1864
My Dear Wife,
As I never finished the letter I started to you yesterday I will try to write a little more and have it ready to send it off by the first opportunity that presents itself. I received your letters dated the 15th and 20th.I got them late last night but would not sleep until I had built a light and read them over twice. I was never much prouder to hear from you although your last letter had been written 12 days. We have no regular line of communication from here to Montgomery yet though I hope we can get letters through ever now and then. I am well & hope you are enjoying good health. My jaw is better than ever. We have been traveling about so much lately that I have been able to buy or get vegetables every day and my jaw always does well as long as I can get vegetables to eat. Well Mollie we had to march a portion of last night but stopped long enough to get some sleep, and got up early this morning and made another move though we did not move far. We are still in the main line of fortification about five miles from Atlanta. We did not have to charge yesterday as I expected we would do. We have done no fighting since the 28th July. (that our Regm): There was some sharp-shooting in our front today but it is not near enough to bother us behind the fortification. I think our regiment will go on picket tonight and remain out until tomorrow night. I don't like to go on picket for it is very dangerous but I never fail to go every time. Everything
appears very quiet on our line this evening but that means nothing for we are liable to be called on to fight at any hour.
Well my dear I got two other letters with yours last night. One was from Sis. She was with Ma at Mr. Williams' when she wrote. Ma, Anne and all the rest were well when Sis wrote her letter. Was written on the 18th of July. She stated that Ma would start home next day. She is coming home with Ma -?- that I can't be there too. I was very sorry to hear that all Mrs. Jones' sons had been so unfortunate. Many a poor mother has lost her son since this war began. O when will this trouble end. I wrote a few lines to Etta a few days since but I fear she never got my letter. I have tried to send a letter to you by every possible chance but would(?)be getting half that I started to you. I expect Ed and L Jones are both at home. If they are you must write to me and let me hear how their wounds are doing. I have not seen either of them since they were wounded but I hear that neither of their wounds were very serious. I expect M. Dove is at home before now, his wound is a flesh wound (so B. Stillwell told me
They were all fortunate to get slight wounds. Wounded men are all that -3- furloughs now. Well my dear everybody thought this campaign would have ended long since, but I believe now it will last through the fall season. We don't expect any rest until next winter and I hope this war will end then for both parties appear to be tired of war. If our people would do better I think the war would soon end, but
our people have not been sufficiently humbled yet. Well Mollie I will tell you something about my -?-. I -?- with that Senior Capt. In one regiment he acts as major all the time. I command his company and one other all the time. He is a very nice man. He and I very intimate and get along finely. Though I get along exceedingly well with everybody in the Regt. Though I can't help feeling lonesome sometimes when I think of my own company who are now lying/dying (?) northern prisons.
Well Mollie, W Danner has just received a letter from J. Dial stating that Uncle J. Boyd, R Boyd, J J Boyd, & E Pain had all gone home on detail to get some horses. They are lucky to get home at such a time as this. Wish I could go home while so many are going but I don't expect to go soon.
Well my dear I hear there is some trouble of getting letters off this evening so I will hurry and try to get this off though I fear I shall be too late now. I have not written as much as I want to but will try to write again soon. -?- write often your letters will get through some way after a while. So -?- is that the -?- letters any how. Our troops are not in as good spirits as when Gen Johnson was in command of this army but we all are better mined never to be subjugated by Yankees. We believe our cause a just one and before that the Lord will give us power to gain our independence yet if can live to see our country free again I think I shall feel very thankful. We have great reason to thank God for what he has already done for us. He has -?- us with good - - the means of feeding our armies and has given us many victories when the enemies force was much larger than ours. We should remember all these things and give God the praise.
Well my dear I will close my letter. Tell Etta and Grandma both write to me. Give my love to all my friends. Remember me to all your father's children. God bless them. I often think of them all. I will write as often as I can though my chances are bad. May God bless you with all your friends. Remember me your devoted and loving husband.
ROBERT THOMAS MICHELBERY SIMMONS LETTERS - CSA #10
Line of Battle near Sandtown road
August the 6th 1864
My Dear Mollie,
As I am where I can't talk with you I will try and employ a portion of the evening by writing. I have had no news from you later than the letter dated 20th July. I am well and hope you can say the same. I have just been relieved from a perilous tour of picket duty. I went scouting in the evening south & remained right at the enemy line until I was relieved, we expected to have a hard fight and then be captured for the line sent us word that we would be attacked & ordered us to hold the picket line at all hazards. I was the only company officer from our Regt and I had 30 men with me. The Yanks charged the pickets line on left & captured about 100 men from our division this came up within two or three hundred of where we were but we fired them and they never came any nearer but remained there and built breast-works. Our line of breast works are not far from the Yanks line. We sharp shot them at their breast works from our picket lines.
Our Brigade has lost about 300 men in the last ten days (as I was told by one of our field officers today). Our Regt has lost between 25 or 30 men during the last 3 days (most of them captured). I had one man severely wounded this morning. I have lost 12 men (from the 2 companies I have in charge in less time than one week). One company in our Regt has a Capt & a Sergt wounded yesterday. Our Regt is getting very small. If we get in many more fights we have no Regt. We had about 45 officers & between 6 or 7 hundred men for duty when we left Demopolis, and now we have 9 officers and about 100 men. I heard a field officer say today that our Division has lost men enough in the last 3 days to make a good Regt.
We have great reason to be thankful that we are not all captured or killed for the Lord has spared us through many dangers. The canon and minnie balls fall all around us here every day. Our lives are so near the enemy that we are in danger all the time we are never out of range of their guns day nor nights when we go on picket we have to stay in pits dug in the ground from one night until the next, can't get out to get water without being shot at. But our men just laugh and talk as though there was no danger. Our men
and Yanks hollow & dare each other out of the ditches.
Well Mollie I have no news of importance to write. Wish could get a letter from you. I have not heard from any of my relatives since I wrote you. I wrote to Uncle G.W.T. sometime since but I reckon he is not going to write to me or he would done so before now. We have pleasant weather now cloudy and just rain enough to cool the air. The Lord blesses us in many respects although He permits our enemy to press us on all sides, hope all will work out good for us yet, let us live in hope anyhow. Well Mollie I don't know whether you can read this letter or not for one of our Battries are shooting right here at me all the time & I am expecting the Yanks to shoot at the Battery all the time. I shall not write much now for I am out of paper, pens & ink.
Give my love to all my friends. Would like to see you all but don't expect to get home soon. Tell my friends to write me, tell them not forget me. I have forgot none of them. I expect a letter from you soon. Want you to write often. Let me hear from Capt. Moore's little family. God bless his children. I know they want to see their Pa. God grant that this war may soon end. Kiss my darling Willie for me when you see him. W. Banner is well. If I live to see this campaign ended I shall send for you to come to see me. My dear you must pray for me. Pray in faith, God will answer sincere and faithful prayer.
I remain your own devoted and faithful husband until death.
ROBERT THOMAS MICHELBERRY SIMMONS LETTERS - CSA #11
Line of battle near Atlanta Ga
August the 9th 1864
My dear loving and affecinate(sic) wife
I have been desirous of writing to you for two or three, but being surrounded by so many perils & dangers I have defered the task, waiting an opportunity to write under more favorable circumstances. But alast after my delay I still have to write while overshadowed by many dangers. I do hate write under such circumstances but when I left you to come to this army you requested me to write often & wanted me always to write the truth & state my true condition which I have manag (?) try today(?) which I have never written you a letter when so closely pressed as at present. I am happy to say that the whole army is not so closely confined as most of this division is) the lines of the two contending parties are much nearer than they have been during the present campaign the main lines near to each other that it is easy matter to throw shells from one to the other. And our picket lines are near enough to the enemy's breast works to sharp shoot them with some success & their sharp shooters annoy us too in the same manner. Our s.shooters have killed several yanks today from our line of breast works to theirs: their sharpshooters killed one man & wounded one from company yesterday we(?) have/can sixty(?) line at our and see hosts of yankees all the (?)and we can't step out of the ditches without being exposed to great danger. The cannon balls and bullets are passing and striking within a few feet of me constantly. It has been so far two or three days & grows worse. Our picket line is in front of our works and near the Yanks. We have to (?) our pickets in the night & are compelled to be very quiet & slow(?) about it even when(?) and then we have(?) night until the next (just have to be down behind logs or trees and do the best we can for twenty four hours. I expect I shall have to go on picket tonight and remain out until tomorrow night unless the garde(?) relieves me as they have done many of this company lately. We are generally ordered to hold our picket lines at all hazards, and whenever the enemy charges our pickets, they kill, wound and capture a great many of our men though they generally capture more than they kill and wound.
Well my dear this is my last leaf of paper so I shall make my letter brief.
ROBERT THOMAS MICHELBERRY SIMMONS LETTERS - CSA #11A(rr)
aug 18 - 1864
Line of battle Near Atlanta, Ga.
Aug the 18th
My dear loving wife I will now endeaver to write a few lines in answer to your's received yesterday. I was extremely glad to hear from you, was very sorry to know that your jaw was still giving you pain. hope it has gotten well before now. -Though if not I would advise you to have some of your teeth extraced for I am sure that decaying teeth are the cause of you suffering so much with your jaw.--
My health is very good though my jaw is paining me some to day: But I hope it will not get very bad I am glad you have been to Uncle G. W. T's! Sorry his family is not well. -H. Danner is well. very little sickness here now. the whole army is remarkably healthy. Well my Dear I have but little news of importance. the yanks have made another raid through the country cuting the west Point R.Road again but they did not set us back much for we had nearly abandoned that road any how. the raiders were met by some of our troop before they sacked the Macon R. R. & were compelled to turn their course & make their escape by flight.
Gen. Wheeler has gone to the rear of Shermans army with a large force of picked cavalry. he has been gone several days & rumer sais he has cut the R.R. between here & Dalton & I suppose it is so for one of the yanks to some of our men that their supplys were cut off. If Gen. Wheeler succeeds in his undertaking Sherman & his black hearted soldiers will be compelled to withdraw his army (from Atlanta or assault our works & in either case the result will be disastrous to his army. The present is an interesting moment: Something must be done very soon. We are all anxiously waiting to hear from Gen. W___ . If he is successful our prospects will be bright?ned _?_ if _?_ ?uccessfu? th? _?_ God grant us success I pray.
Our troops are in fine spirits generaly speaking. But there are some exceptions; And those who are despondent themselves are having a bad influence on others. If we can succeed in holding our present position the morale of our army will remain unchanged, (comparatively speaking) But if we are compelled to fall back & give up this place I fear the army will be greatly demoralised: Gen Johnson could have retreated across this state & kept the troops all in good spirits but it is not so with Gen H-
I hope our next move will be a forward moovement (that is I hope we may soon have the pleasure of following Sherman's Army in full retreat) We have had a remarkably quiet time this morning though the sharpshooters & skirmishers are firing briskly at each other now. & the batterys are begining to fire some on our right and left. There are some indications of an attack just now but the enemy has disappointed us so often that we never know when he intends making an assault. Though we are ready for him & if he does come he will meit with a warm reception. - Well Mollie I wrote to you on the 16th. I write to you twice a week sometimes oftener. I went on picket night before last & was relieved last night. I had ___?__ably fine time, th? enemy agreed to not fire at us on picket if we would not fire on them. So we agreed to their proposal and fared better than if we had not been on picket for they fired over us at our line of battle & killed one officer & wounded some more men. (Our picket line is in a ravine between the two main lines so it is an easy matter to fire over the pickets without them being in much danger.)------ Amen
wounded. One of our men was wounded about a minute ago he was here behind the breastworks the sharpshooters are throwing the minnie balls all around us. they shoot at us whenever they see our heads above the works. I think I shall stop writing in a few minutes & take a few shots at them. they make me dodge constant. well Mollie I will tell you what I did yesterday while on picket. I heard a squad of yankees diging a redoubt on a little ridge. I concluded to watch them so I sliped up within about 30 yards of them and
* (our pickets were in a few steps of the enemy all day yesterday)
watched them for aboutt two hours & then sliped off again without being discovered by them. I am geting very tired of this campaign though I hope it will end soon & if we are successful through this campaign I trust the war will be virtually ???sed. I have not heard from any of our friends since I wrote to you. I feel thankful for God's protection through past dangers. o- may I still be protected through f?t_?_ dangers. Well my Dear I must bring my letter to a close I believe the yanks are about to attack us we are geting ready for them. I believe we will be in a battle in less time than an hour judging from the present indications. May God aid us & lead us through safe is my sincere prayr. Give my love to all my friends. I must stop for the present but will write more if I get the chance. May the Lord bless you & all my friends I am your true loving & devoted husband.
R. T. M. Simmons.
Later in the evening, the Yanks did not attack us. I think their officers tryed to make them charge our works but they would not do it. I don't think they can induce their men to charge us without making them drunk. Dont be uneasy I will write to you often. do write me often. tell Ett to write
R. T. M. Simmons
* NOTE: this line was written in the top margin on page #4
? and _?_ couldn't distinguish the letter or group of letters even if the word could be guessed from the remaining letters.
ROBERT THOMAS MICHELBERRY SIMMONS LETTERS - CSA #12
Friday evening Aug 26 1864
I am a long ways from where I was when I wrote to you. We
left Atlanta early yesterday came to Macon rested there
until about dark last night, then started to this place I
(Columbus). We got here about 10 o'clock this morning and will leave here about half after two o'clock this afternoon. Think we will get to Montgomery some time tomorrow morning.
Our whole Brigade is along, think we are on our way to Mobile but don't know for certain yet. I saw Ed this morning. Met him on the train, he is on his way to Macon he intends trying to get his furlough extended he left home last Sunday. All well. Never got to talk more than one minute with him. his wound is not well but does look very bad. L. Tiner got home was taken with brain fever the first night. Sent for Gennie, she got there but her poor husband was speechless and died in a few hours. 0, I do feel so sorry for Sis. Lewis had been away from her about two years & got home and died without ever speaking to her. I know it will nearly kill her. Uncle Thomas Howle was killed in the battle on the 28th July, his body was left on the field. I think we will have hard fighting at Mobile soon. I wrote to Ma yesterday and mailed the letter at Macon, will try and finish this letter and mail it when we get to Montgomery. Must stop writing now for we will soon leave here for--(?).
Aug 27th 1864 r
Well Mollie I will close my letter and mail it. We got to Montgomery about ten minutes ago and we expect to start right off to Mobile in a few minutes. would write more but have no time.. the General is in great hast to get to Mobile, expect to fight soon after we get to Mobile, Well I must stop writing.
With love RT M Simmons
ROBERT THOMAS MICHELBERRY SIMMONS LETTERS - CSA #12A(rr)
Comp 40th Ala Vols
Friday Aug(Sep(in pencil))9th, 1864
Your's of sept the __?__ came to hand this evening I was glad indeed to receive it for I had began to get impatient waiting for a letter from: I received one Etta written two days later than your's got it before I got yours but hers came by mail & your's by hand: Sergt. Lockard brought yours I have not seen him yet he is about two miles from here (sent the letter to me) Well my dear I am glad you never had any more chills: hope you may enjoy good health this fall &winter I have recieved letters from Ma, Sis, Sallie, and Mammie, all since we came to this place I have received about 8 letters since day before yesterday morning! have answered all except your's & Etta's and they came to day. will answer your's now & will answer her's as soon as I can get some paper, this is my last peice I use a great deal of paper writing business letters for members of our old company wish I could get letters from my friends every day never get tired of reading & answering my friends letters. My dear you seem to think I will come home soon I fear you will be disappointed for I see no probability of geting a furlough soon: I have allready applied for a leave of absence & if it is granted I will go to ma's to stay one day: would like to go home but but will not have time to go home & get back before any __?__ will be out: If I get my I will be at ma's on the 12th. want you to be there: But you must not be disappointed if I don't come for I have but little hopes of coming: I would like for you to come see me if I knew we would stay here but we expect orders to move every day: this would be a fine place for you to stay at if I had money for it is a pleasant place & I could get house soon any where: most of the people have left here this is a flourishing little town there was about two hundred boarders here untill the yankees came up with their gun Boats: now the boarders have all gone; I __?__ there are fifty nice houses here unoccupied. a great many of them are well furnished with nice beds & furniture of all kinds The yanks are not far off their whole flot of gun boats lie in sight of us all the time and one Boat comes near the Beach every night and then leaves again in the morning: we could shoot but if we were to fire at her She could shell us off the Beach so we don't wish to fire at her as long as she remains peacable and does not attemp to land troops: (though we intend trying to blow her up with a torpedo to night. would not be surprised if we have an interesting time for the other boats will be very apt to shell us if we succeed in distroying this: have one exceeding fine time now: but would not be astonished if we were have bad times soon: well my dear I will be compelled to finish my letter on pieces of paper.
ROBERT THOMAS MICHELBERRY SIMMONS LETTERS - CSA #12B(rr)
"Well Mollie I shall try and go to mobile to meet you at the cars on thursday morning. (the 17th). Be Sure to come for if you dont I will be disappointed, if I do not meet you in mobile you must get some one to help you to the Boat Landing and come on over to blakely or Spanish fort: but me or Hugh one will be very apt to meet you at the cars thursday morning. I expect you had better bring me a bed quilt if you cannot get me a blanket: you must get Some one to take care of your horse and I will pay them for it. If any body kneed him let them have him for his feid! I will write another letter to you and Send it to the Springs in care of ma, though I will back it in your name and you can get it when you get to lauderdale station. Borrow as much money as you want I can get as much as I want when you get here and you can pay it back as soon as you go home: Maj- Willett says he will let me have as much money as I want: nothing more at present, Thom."
ROBERT THOMAS MICHELBERRY SIMMONS LETTERS - CSA #13
Comp 40th Ala Vols
Friday night Oct 28th 1864
Your very welcome letter of the 24th inst came to hand today and I read it with much satisfaction. I had begun to be very impatient for I had written five letters to you since I left home & had received none from you. I had begun to think you had forgotten me entirely. I think might have written sooner than you did for I left on the 17t and you never wrote until the 24th. I was glad to hear that you had gotten the bundle that I expressed to you. You seem to want to know what your cloak costd .. well it costd one hundred and twenty-five dollars (and cheap at that.) I believe I could have sold it for $175. Most of the cloaks are worth from three to six hundred dollars. Black casimere cloaks are worth six hundred dollars. I sold your geans for twenty-five dollars per yard. The black brought as much as the grey, the homspun brought six dollars per yard.
Well dear I had concluded to stop writing until I could where you were. I am sorry you have been troubled so with your cloth .. hope it got to wearing better before you get through with it. I wrote to Etta a few days ago though have not had time to get an answer to my letter, hope she will answer my letters promptly for I am anxious to hear from them all. I am very sorry I never got to be with Uncle Ron more of my time. I thought when I went home I would get to spend one night and day at Uncle Ron's and one night and day at Bet's but only staid at Uncle Ron's a few minutes at Bet's one night..feel like I hardly saw either of them. I am anxious to hear from Mr. Tirk, whether he is well or not. I suppose you will be at home in a day or two so I will send this letter to Livingston in order that you may get it soon after you get home. I want to see you all nearly as bad as ever. My visit appears to me more like a dream than realty. If I had known as much before I left home I should have staid there longer than I did for I have suffered a great deal with my jaw since I left you. But I believe it is nearly as well as again now. One Lieutenant who left here a day or two after I did has not come back yet. he just got a furlough for fifteen days & as soon as he got home he wrote back and had his furlough extended ten days longer. Wish I had done so too now.
Well Mollie I brought your picknic (sie) gloves off in my coat pocketr never knew it till I was in camp. Major Willett & Capt Latham laughed at me a great deal for bringing your gloves off with me. They told me that I brought them off as a token of remembrance--I gave them to H. Banner to carry home. I also gave him money & told him to buy a book apiece for Waldo & Willis. he carried my bucker home to bring me some more butter. I will try & go to Mobile to meet Hugh. I will go over Tuesday & stay until Wednesday (if I get my pass in time). Well Mollie it is getting late & I have company tonight so I mu st soon bring my letter to a close. But write soon and often & I will write you so many letters that you will almost get tired reading them. I have been very busy all day making out Muster Rolls & pay Rolls for our men to get their pay. have not had time to write to you today and will be very busy all day tomorrow. I think we will get some money now soon. Tell Etta I want all the news when she writes. Tell Bettie L I don't thank her for coming to Ma's to see me after I left. My love to Grandrna, Etta, Mollie, Bob and all Uncle Ron's family, also your brothers & sisters. I shall look for two letters from you every week. Write whether you have news or not. May God bless you and all my friends.
P S If this gets to you before Hugh B leaves you will please send me a nice bee's wax candle.
ROBERT MICHELBERRY SIMMONS LETTERS - CSA #14
I have seated myself once more to write a few lines to you: but am sorry that I have no letter from you to answer. I fully expected to have had the pleasure of answering one of your letters today but have been disappointed in my expectation. Though failing to get letters from you regularly does not hinder me from writing to you as often as I have the opportunity of doing so. I have no good news to write except that we have tolerably good health. Have had no news from Sherman lately but it is generly believed that he (Sherman) has made his way through to Savanah. The last account of Gen Hood he was retreating being closely pursued by a large yankee force; though before that Hood is not so badly whiped as is represented,
?NOTE: The 2nd page of this letter is missing.
ROBERT THOMAS MICHELBERRY SIMMONS LETTERS - CSA #15
NOTE: No date or location - was probably 2nd page of a letter
Well Mollie it is now getting in the evening and I will try to write more in my letter. I have just been to see George Wiggins he is quite sick. I never knew it until after I had commenced my letter. I went to see him just as soon as I heard that he was sick. He is here in camps though I think he will be sent to the hospital or some private house tomorrow where he can be better cared for. Be has had fever since yesterday but has had no chill...Well my dear it seems to me like a long time since you wrote to me.
The letter you wrote me at Ma's was written ten days ago. I think I certainly will get a letter from you in a day or two. This is the fourth letter to you since you went home.
We have had a very dull Christmas. Some of our men got drunk and behaved very badly .. and the Colonel has had thirteen of them arrested and has appointed me to take charge of the prisoners. I don't have any guard duty to do now. I will have charge of the provost guard as long as I stay here. I have sent up my certificate and made application to go on duty at Eutaw, Greene County but have not heard from my application yet.
We are having very cold weather here now. We get our mail very irregularly now .. only get it about twice a week. I shall try to write you once every week as long as I can write at all.
I fear the General will send me off somewhere. But if I go to Eutaw I will try to come by home for a day, but if I am sent off the other way I will not get home soon. If I do come home I will be there very shortly, but you must not be disappointed if I don't come at all. I will not write any more now.
I remain your devoted husband.
ROBERT THIMAS SIMMONS LETTERS - CSA #16
Feb 12th 1865
My dear wife
I write a few lines to you to let you know that I landed here safe. Got here last night but found Col Hunt and his Adjutant both absent. So I will not get to see either of them before tomorrow. I went & reported to the Commander of the Post & he told me to just wait until Monday and then report to Col Hunt. I will find out what I do tomorrow.
Uncle Berry is here. I am staying with him today. I could not afford to board at the hotel for board. To board is worth 20 dollars(?) per day (?) for I ?think? I will get duty here or be sent to the ?funrial? about fifty miles from here on the Tennessee R. Road. I will write again soon & let you know what I do. No news here.
I am well though I suffered with cold last night. I will not write much now, just enough for you to hear from me. Well I must close my letter.
I remain your devoted husband.
R T M Simmons