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1863 November 12: “It was a more bloody fight than supposed”

November 12, 2013

Edwin Levings writes his own letter on the pages following his brother, Homer’s letter.  The original letter is in the Edwin D. Levings Papers (River Falls Mss BO), in the University Archives and Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

     Natchez Miss, Nov 12th, 1863.

Dear Parents,

                           I perceive Homer has written you, but I will drop a few words.  We are highly pleased with the things you sent us and thank you much.  The shirts are good enough, made right, as they can be worn both as over & undershirts.  The 9th, the day the box came, was a busy day,—we drew clothes, were paid off, and received orders to be ready to go up to Vicksburg.  [paragraph break added]

The 2nd Brigade has gone, having started for the Big Black River this morning.  When the boats return, I suppose the 3rd will follow, or the first 1st possibly.  One brigade will remain here, with the negro troops.  If we go out to Black River, we shall be in a good place, with probably something more to do than we find here.  [paragraph break added]

I wish I had time to write a long letter.  I could tell you considerable.  Homer has told you of the fight that occurred yesterday.¹  It was a more bloody fight than supposed.  The Capt. has just returned from the negro Regt. & gives this account.  The rebels were Logan’s men (mounted) numbering 65.²  The negros numbered 36 & the fight was on the Washington road, 4 or 5 miles out.  The officers of the negros (3 of them) were reconnoitering while the negros were picking corn.  One of them galloped back to get the men in line, when the rebels were coming, & the other two seeing the strength of the rebels, followed, but were nearly captured.  The negro loss was 4 killed & 6 wounded; the rebel loss was 7 killed, 3 mortally wounded & 1 prisoner, the latter a Major.  1 rebel Capt. was killed outright.  1 negro was captured & murdered in sight of his comrades.  Why they did not kill the Major & thus enforce the President’s order, I can not tell.  Afraid, I suppose.  The negros never flinched & came in with their wagons loaded. What will Copperheads say of the “nagur” now. Can’t fight, eh!

But I will close, & write again soon.

Yours affectionately,
E D Levings.

1.  This incident is not mentioned in the official history of the 12th Wisconsin Infantry.
2.  Probably Colonel John Leroy Logan (1831 or 1833-1871), not to be confused with Union General John A. Logan. This Logan was commander of the 11th/17th Arkansas Mounted Infantry/Cavalry. The Arkansas unit was skirmishing in this area at this time.

Edwin Levings letter of November 12, 1863, from the Edwin D. Levings Papers (River Falls Mss BO) in the University Archives & Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Edwin Levings letter of November 12, 1863, from the Edwin D. Levings Papers (River Falls Mss BO) in the University Archives & Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls
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