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J.K. Street letter wrote during Civil War

Below is one of over 100 letters that J.K. Street wrote during his time in the Civil War. This one just happens to be while he was in Iuka and went to visit his wife's family, the Pace Family. Julie Coley

 

Head Quarters, Camp Iuka, Tishomingo Co Miss Feb 18 1862         No 7 (seven)

 

Dear Ninnie, This leaves me in fine health – Tues Feb 11th – remaind in camp on the fairground Memphis. Wednesday Feb 12th – last night about midnight we received orders to proceed immediately to this place, news having reached us that fort Henry was taken and the yankees were ascending Tenn river. We were ordered to be ready to leave Memphis this morning by daylight. They told us that what guns we had sent to the shop to have repaired that were not finished, would have others furnished us in place of them. We got our things all on the cars by a little after sun up this morning and went to the shop to get the guns (about 200) that we had sent to have repaired, and lo and behold the Smith hadn’t mended a single gun, we were then compelled to knock a round and get guns where we could – we found one merchant that had a lot of second hand guns we picked them over and finally succeeded in getting our guns exchanged (that is the broken ones) for as good ones as ours were before they were broken. So we didn’t get off from Memphis till 8 o’clock in the evening and we had not had either breakfast, dinner or supper, except a lunch, about enough for one meal and some were not so fortunate to get that you see our things were all packed on the cars and we had no chance of cooking any. Thursday Feb 13th  - I slept finely on the cars last night – we reached Corinth this morning at breakfast time (Corrinth) is in this state 21 miles from this place) and feeling prety hungry I borrowed four bits and got my breakfast – some of the boys had no money and had then missed three meals. The people of Corrinth found out their condition and soon there was money enough made up to buy the boys breakfast - that was cleaver wasn’t it? We passed thro’ Burnsville about 8 o’clock and reached this place (Iuka) about ten, this morning and found that the yankees had been up  Tenn river, as far as Florrence 40 or 50 miles above this place, and had gone back, but said that they would be back again in about two weeks. Friday Feb 14th – I wrote to Uncle Mc to-day. I told him that we would remain here for reinforcements and would then move on the river to East Port and fortify that place. I have since learned that our present Gen Chalmers intends to make this place his headquarters. Keeping his troops stationed at the important points along on the Memphis and Charleston railroad, all in striking distance so that his scouts, which he keeps out, give him information of the enemy, he can run his forces to get here for any emergency. We have here the 9th Mips Regts, and 500 calvary and an Ark battery, about 25 hundred. I have not been able to learn the entire strength of the forces in Gen Chalmers command, but enough to withstand the yankees in Tenn river, they are I learn 4,000 strong. I learn that we have fortified below here since they went up and in all probibility their retreat is cut off. We have not heard anything of them since they went back. Sat Feb 15th – Ninnie, I can’t tell you how much surprised I was to-day. I went down to mail Uncle Mcs letter this morning and the P.M. Mr. Settle knew him and several other gentlemen in the office knew him, they remarked that every body thro’ here knew McDougal and Cion Pace. I made inquiry about where grandmother lived, and found that I was in a 11 miles of her place, I went right straight and got a furlough and went to see her. I borrowed a horse from the comissary department. Grandmother was down at Uncle Alberts and Uncle D and family had gone to Mr. Tankesely’s, so no one at home. I went back to next house and got directions to Uncle Abners about mile from Grandmothers, he lives north Uncle Whits wife, he has his 3rd wife and four children. He was very much surprised to see me, treated me just as cleverly as possible. Sunday Feb 16th – went up after breakfast to Grandmothers, Uncle D had come home – after dinner he and I went down to Uncle Alberts (8 miles). Grandmother has had a bad spell of pneumonia but is now in a manner well. O dear you never saw such a surprised set of folks in your life – all glad to see me – had a great many questions to ask which I haven’t room to write. Uncle Albert wrote to Uncle Cion this evening and I wrote some to Uncle Cion in his letter. I have some corrections to make I wrote Uncle Cion that we had shiped the yankees out at fort Donalson, since that the scale of fortune has turned against us. It is a hard matter to get reliable news – what you here to day will be contradicted to morrow. I will write you what has been confirmed here and is considered reliable. The fight commenced at fort Donalson Tuesday, we repulsed them both by land and water, they attacked us again Friday and we repulsed them again – they came again Saturday morning with heavy reinforcements and the battle lasted all day and till 8 o’clock in the evening when again they drew off having it is said sustained a heavy loss – got six boats sunk and several crippled, while we had comparitvely sustained but a small loss. They were still ___ to give it up, and Sunday morning about day light they came back reinforced with overwhelming reinforcements and we had no chance to reinforce our men from the fact that Johnson was compelled to have his force at bowling green being compelled to burn up that place on Friday from the fact that the citizens he had been guarding then as Southern men declared in favor of Lincoln, so we could stand it at fort Donalson no longer, haveing already fought 3 days and nights and all the time the odds against us. Our loss at Donalson was heavy – but our forces are now in a fair way to whip them out; our forces that retreated from Donalson are now at Clarksville 60 miles below Nashville on Cumberland river ahead of the yankee gun boats and have made their stand their and Johnson is close at hand aiming to join Gens Pillow and Buckner at Clarksville and besides our old mud turtle and six other of our gun boats have gone in to Cumberland river and the last we heard from them was that they were in pursuit of the yankee gun boats, with 9 thousand men aboard, said feel fully confident that notwithstanding our loss at forts Henry and Donalson we will yet in a few days gain another Manassas victory. Monday Feb 17th – I returned from Grand Mothers this evening. I could get a furlough only for 3 days. O dear how I wish you were here. I don’t know how long we will remain here – but in all probability we will be here some time our present posision is a very important one and we will remain here till we learn the movements of the enemy now in Tenn river.  Altho’ they said that they would be back again in two weeks when they left Savannah last week. I have no idea that they will do it from the fact that our turtle and six other gun boats that have gone up the Cumberland – will draw them out of the Tenn river provided they can pass our batteries below them. We have plenty of cannon in our Brigade – 3 in our Regt and if they do come back we’ll give a “kind” reception. Darling I wrote to Uncle Mc to address me at Memphis and that it would be forwarded to me. I didn’t know then that we would remain any length of time in Iuka or I would have directed him to address me at this place. If he doesn’t answer my letter before you get this tell him to address me “Iuka”. I here will give you the proper form –

 Maxeys Regt                                                                        Rev J.K. Street

9th Tex Infantry                                                                      Iuka                                                                                                                                        Tishomingo Co Mipp

 

Gov Harris the Gov of Tenn passed thro’ Iuka to-day all the members of the Legislature to gether with the banks and archives of the state on their way to Memphis for fear that the yankees may make their way to Nashville. Tuesday Feb 18th – Lt Latimer was left in Memphis sick he has gotten well and came in just a while ago on the evening train he says that Capt Shelton (we left him in the Hospital at Memphis sick) is getting well and that he is going back he also brings us good war news – he said that telegraph dispatch to Memphis last evening states that while the yankees were consentrating their forces at Donalson that our forces at Manassas marched on to Arlington heights and Washington and took both of the last named places. If it be so it is glorious news for us but I don’t know how to accredit the report. I hope that it is so. 

Darling this is the seventh letter I have written you but I have never had any letter from you since I left home except the one Bill Long brought me – O my dear, you don’t know how bad I want to hear from you. I feel sadisfied that you have written. Darling I lay up nights frequently when every body else is asleep and think of you. I can’t find words to tell you how well I love you – O that we could have peace and I could be with my own sweet Ninnie – but my country needs my services and I an content to undergo any kind of hardships for the good of my country and feel proud to know that I am privilaged to participate in this glorious strugle for independance. I leave you in the hand of God my dear. May he bless you, your own love and affectionate husband K

 

**Grandmother that J.K. refers to would be Melinda Elizabeth Pace Street's grandmother, Elizabeth Rose Pace wife of David Walker Pace.

 

 

J.K.Street Letters - My Family

 

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