Monday, May 26, 2014

Amanuensis Monday : The Camp Family Papers: Soldier, Husband, Father, Friend

Camp Letter 29, Thomas Camp to Mary Camp (1)

Soldier, husband, father, friend.  On 10 March 1864, a Confederate soldier wrote this short letter to his wife Mary.  In it his words showed many facets of the man who was my second GreatGrandfather, Thomas Lumpkin Camp.

Thomas Camp the Soldier

Camp 40th Georgia
March 10, 1864
Hoods Corps, Stuarts Division, Stovall Brigade

My Dearest Mary,

…...  We are having fine weather now for our military duty.  I have not been on any guard duty since I have got back.  We have got 30 men in our company.  Capt. Mc has not got back yet; he is at Kingston Hospital.  Lt. Murphy left the day before I got here.  He left here sick.  He is at Matterson, Georgia so John and myself is running the concern. ….. I have one consolation and that is this war can not last always.  There is an end to it though I may never live to see it.  Let me live long or die soon.  I am going to try to do my duty the best I can.

[As in so many of his letters, Thomas was apparently free to write about the location of the troops, the battles, and various military personalities.  No redaction here.]

Thomas Camp the Husband

….. Did you get my letter of the 5th?  I sent you $50.  If you have not sent the things I wrote for and Anderson thinks there is danger in sending them, you can pay the money to your father.  I will pay Dave this $20 but if you have sent them, it is alright.  I received your letter of 7th; ….. [the mail] is coming right through.  As I said, if your father should need his money, you can let me know, and I will send it to you at once. ….. .  I will send you $20 in this letter.  I know it is a bad way to send money.  You can pay it to your father, don’t keep it on hand.

….. You must take good care of yourself if you should take the measles.  This is a very good time of the year to have them.  You must recollect that when you think you are well, then the danger comes.  I hope you will not take them until I can be at home, but when will that be?  I have no hopes of getting home not before next winter.  If I should come, I will.  That seems like a long time to have to stay away from those that are so dear to me.

Thomas Camp the Father

….. I am glad you have the chance to send Lou to school.  I hope you will be able to send her all the year.  Try to encourage her all you can.  Try to get her to love to go. ….. May God be with us in all our trials and troubles and keep us from evil.  Write soon and give my love to all.
[Lou was Louise, the oldest of Thomas and Mary’s children.  At six, she was able to start attending school.  These few sentences are especially dear for me for I know the tradition of teachers among Thomas’ descendants.  Some of these teachers include six of Thomas’ granddaughters, at least two of his great granddaughters, and one greatgreat granddaughter.  I think Thomas would have been pleased to know of the family through the years who apparently loved to go to school.]

Thomas Camp the Friend

….. Dave is not very well, nothing serious, he was cold.  Lt. John says he is after the gal that bakes the cakes.
[Were this sentence written today, it would definitely end with a smiley face emoticon!]

Lesson Learned:  Once again I am grateful that Mary Ragsdale Camp kept these letters and that a great granddaughter later donated them to Emory University.  Each letter I read provides a little more information about these relatives as well as insight into their lives.  There are several additional Camp family letters among my family archives.  I need to look seriously at them and see if there might be a better place for them to reside than in my file box.

(1) This letter is a part of the "Camp Family Papers, 1858-1877" which are housed in the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL) of Emory University in Decatur, Georgia.  The letters was transcribed using Transcript freeware.  Some of the spelling, punctuation, and syntax were corrected in this post for ease in reading.  ... is used to indicate portions of the letter which were omitted in the post.  [ ] indicates a word or information I have inserted for clarity.

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