John F. Davies, one of 'The Immortal 600'
My great-grandfather, John F. Davies, was a Confederate officer imprisoned on Morris Island in 1864. He was a member of the group known as "The Immortal 600."
(The "600" were Confederate officers taken to Morris Island and used as human shields against the Confederates firing from Fort Sumter.)
While serving in the Confederate Army, Davies wrote three letters to his father, Dr. Henry Landon Davies. The letters were saved in a Bible he wrote in while a prisoner of war at Fort Delaware in May 1864. He wrote the first two letters before he was captured at the Battle of the Wilderness in Virginia on May 6, and the third was written from Fort Pulaski, Ga., on Nov. 12.
Here are some excerpts:
-- Camp near Winchester, Oct. 15, 1862: "Dear Pa, Lt. D. W. Pattison of my company desires me to write this in order that I may have him a pair of boots made in Amherst. If I hear favorably from you in reply to mine written some 2 weeks ago, I shall send Ned up to Amherst last next month. He can then bring back articles needed for our comfort this winter. I am afraid we will be required to pass the Winter in the valley, as all the army excepting Gen'l Jackson's corps has been ordered away. We are 10 miles below Winchester, making it about 102 miles to Staunton. I hope we will get nearer to the R.R., if we do not, we will suffer for food & raiment.
-- Staunton, July 14, 1863: "Dear Pa, I rec'd a wound in the thigh at Gettisburg, Pa on the third days fighting. The wound was slight & is nearly well now. If I can get a transfer to Lynchburg I will be in Amherst soon."
-- Fort Pulaski, Ga., Nov. 12, 1864: "Dear Pa, Yours and Sallie Bev's letter of the last Oct. was recv'd today & altho I wrote Dick by last "Truce boat" still I'll write again to let yous know that your kind letters have been recv'd. They were the only letters I've gotten from home since my imprisonment. I thank you all for your kind recollections & sympathy in my misfortune. I hope that I have learned to trust in my "Saviour" & that He has aided me in that "spiritual preparation," which will comfort me in my emergency. You need not Pa give yourself any uneasiness about my clothing or other necessities. I am as well off as the balance of the Pris., and none of them are sufring much."
The entire letters that Davies wrote home during the war are posted on the family web site at daviesofpebbleton.org/archives/JFD_letters.html.