Civil War Letter of 2nd Lieut. John. D. Damron

2nd Lieut.John D. Damron, of the 49th NCT, Co. K was born in Smith County, Virginia and resided in Clevelans County where he was by occupation a farmer prior to enlisting in Lincoln County at age 30, March 15, 1862. Appointed 2nd Lt. on July 10th, 1862. resigned on December 22, 1862, because "another man has been made 1st Lt. over me and I have had not had the chance to be promoted by seniority and have not been examined to test my competency". Resignation accepted on Jan 6 1863. [other records on file indicate that he was a "good officer in every respect except that he will whenever he can get it liquor to excess". May have served later as a private in company C, 59th NCT(4th Reg't. Cavlry).]

Fredericksburg, Va.
Dec. 17th, 1862

Dear Father,

    I had concluded that I could not write to you any more until I had received a letter from home. But, I came to the conclusion that this course of procedure bid fair to cut off all communication whatever. As I have given up all idea of receiving a scaratch from your very reserved pen. You certainly should be appointed Superintendent over some asylum of mutes, as I verily believe your experience in such matters would be highly beneficial to such an intitution.
    We have had another great Battle at this place resulting in a decisive victory for the Confederate Army. Fredericksburg was shelled on Thursday 11th Dec. On Friday there was little done, except a continual fire of artillery. On Saturday the battle oppined (sic) early in the morning on the right of our lines. Where Old Stone-fence commanded, 15 min. before 11 A.M. the Battle commenced near and around the city. The small arms made one continual roar without a moment's cessarion from 15 before 11 until dark. Our position was splendid.
    It is said we were attacked by 40,000 Federals at this point. Whilst our force which opposed them did not amount to one 4th of that number. there were about 30 acres covered with ------(illegable line due to fold in letter) ------- very small. tis said that we repulsed them 17 different times, each charge being made with overwhelming numbers. Their loss is estimated at 20,000 in killed & wounded, whilst ours will not exceed 2500. 500 of which was killed. Most of our killed was on the right where Stone- fence fought them. The slaughter on the right is said to exceed anything of the war. If it was greater than around the city, it must have been awful. Near the city we lost Generals Cobb of GA & Maxwell Gregg of ALA. The Federals loss in killed may be fairly estimated at 6000. 14,000 wounded & about 3000 prisoners. I understand Burnside has reopened the river to its northern bank, removing their pontoon bridges 5 in number & withdrawing their troops from view. Only a few remaining in sight. What will be Burnsides next move is not known. But, supposed that he will try Port Royal on the Rappahonock some 50 miles from this place down the river. There are various conjectures. He will be closely watched by Gen. Lee, who has the entire confidence of the Southern Army. Our army is in fine condition & went into the fight on Saturday with perfect cheerfulness. This was the best (strgling???) ever known. every man stood to his post & fought bravely. I narrowly escaped being killed by the explosion of a shell.
    I have not anything more that would interest you. Col McAffee is well, & etc. Ellison. Black was wounded in the head by a ball or piece of shell & is now on his way to Richmond. His wound is not serious. He may be home before long. I have not received the clothing mother sent me. The boxes were sent here from Richmond the day we were ordered to the battlefield & we could not get them. Some were sent back & some are scattered every where. We will probably never see them. Tell sister Ann I got that letter she wrote me last week, but my eyes were so bad that I could not make out anything that was not in it. Tell Sallie to write. She owes me one. All of you write, or you may consider this my last. I never expect to get home again at all. Furloughs are out of date. They would sell for 500. Money is worth nothing & nothing is worth everything. My love to all & little Gill especially.

Your son, affectionally,
Jno D. Dameron

This Page last updated 02/28/02

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