Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My First Hate Mail - I Guess I Should Be Proud!

Someone told me that bad publicity is as important as good publicity. 

I recently received my first bit of hate mail concerning my historical novel, The Secret of Wattensaw Bayou.  I welcome constructive criticism as it will help me become a better writer.  But this hate filled message, which came to my author's Facebook page, had little to do with my book and much to do with Southern apologetics and racial tinged hate that the Son's of Confederate Veterans (SCV) and other such Neo-Confederate organizations spew.  I recognize the talking points.

I've tried to be a member of the SCV on two different occasions.  The fist was in my home town when I was in my teens.  The second in my adopted home during the early 1990s.  I viewed it as a heritage organization to remember the four years of sacrifice our southern ancestors endured during the Civil War.  Both times I was disappointed to find the leadership was more interested in making excuses for the Southern cause and denying that slavery had anything to do with the decision to go to war.   I found few scholars, and many haters.

I don't know if Charles Wright is a member of the SCV, but his letter exemplifies the rhetoric that I heard over and over again during my time in that organization. 

I'll post his letter below and my response.  There were 35 other comments between Mr. Wright first message and the last comment.  Mr. Wright's vitriol intensified as my supporters responded.  It seems that he was bashing a book that I had not yet written.  His complaints had little if anything to do with Wattensaw Bayou.   If you would like to read the entire exchange you can find it on my author's Facebook HERE.  Look for the Charles Wright's post under "Recent Posts by Others" on the right side of the page.

Sir: The terrible bias in your book, the Secret of Wattensaw Bayou, degrades an otherwise wonderful book. The Union army invaded a sovereign nation, committed war on civilians as a matter of strategy, raped all colors, stole from all colors, burned out all colors, killed for the fun of it all colors, salted ground, poisoned wells, etc. The Confederate army, always offered Confederate Script for anything they took, plus even rounded up men that didn't abide by these rules, and court marshaled them even putting them in front of a firing squad. The war was with the Godly South, vs the godless north, your story is a travesty to the memory of Good Confederate Soldiers. I would hope that you would study history, and be ashamed of shaming the memory of such good people, while sanctifying the aggressors, who committed these atrocities against our civilian people! Please study the history of these two people, and learn the truth! The war wasn't about slavery, and slavery was on it's way out. I enjoy even fiction work about this area, but don't enjoy someone putting such bias into it, and trying to damage the names of good people, states, and nations.

Mark Hubbs

Mr. Wright, I think it is time that I chime in this discussion.  I'm gratified that you took time to read my book, "The Secret of Wattensaw Bayou."  Did you have ancestors in the DeValls Bluff area?  If so, we might be cousins.  The Jonathan Wright in the books is a real person - my G-G-G Grandfather.  He was one of the first settlers in the White River valley, there long before statehood.
If you did indeed read the book, you will know that the story is a snapshot in time for one family in Prairie County Arkansas between June 1862 and August 1863.  I'm perplexed about your concern that I portrayed the Union in such a good light and did not describe atrocities committed by Union troops.  Heck, I hardly portrayed Union troops at all!  There is a second hand account of the Union Navy raid at DeValls Bluff half way through the book and then in the last chapter the US Army marches near the family's home.  There were no Northern atrocities at those places on those days.  I would have had to fabricate any atrocities to fit them into the story.  In the interest of accurate history, I'm sure you would not have me do that.

I sense that you are actually more upset that I have portrayed the south and the CS soldiers in a negative light.  I can assure you that all of the issues that the Wright family dealt with are actual problems that many southerners caught in the War, saw firsthand.

·         Slave patrollers did search for, capture and mistreat slaves who were away from their homes without permission.  This went on before and during the War.

·         After the Conscription Act of 1862, men were indeed forced into the CS Army, sometimes at gunpoint.

·         Men did desert in large numbers, and they did have the threat of trial and execution if caught.

·         Slave owners were compelled to "lease" their slaves to the CS government for use in the War effort.  The death rate from disease in those labor camps was just as appalling as those in the soldier's camps.

·         The CS government did not protect their citizens from the lawless bands of men who terrorized the remote areas of the state.

·         Slavery did exist, 4 million people were in bondage, and their lives and labor was being stolen from them.  Many of them suffered terribly, physically and emotionally, at the hands of their masters. 

As far as "dishonoring" CS soldiers.  There was only one character in the book portrayed as a villain (Capt Campbell.)   There are others who are treated neutrally or as honorable and loyal men of the community. 
As far as your statement that the War had nothing to do with slavery, we cannot know the hearts of men who lived 150 years ago, unless they left their thoughts on paper.  As a result, we don't know the motivations of the average CS soldier.  However, we do have clear insight into the motivations of the decision makers who precipitated Secession and the War.  This is the central point of a letter from Alabama's Gov Moore when he called the Secession Convention for Alabama in 1861:

"Who is Mr. Lincoln, whose election is now beyond question? He is the head of a great sectional party calling itself Republican: a party whose leading object is the destruction of the institution of slavery as it exists in the slaveholding States. Their most distinguished leaders, in and out of Congress, have publicly and boldly proclaimed this to be their intention and unalterable determination. Their newspapers are filled with similar declarations. Are they in earnest? Let their past acts speak for them.
Nearly every one of the non-slaveholding States have been for years under the control of the Black Republicans. A large majority of these States have nullified the fugitive slave law, and have successfully resisted its execution. They have enacted penal statutes, punishing, by fine and imprisonment in the penitentiary, persons who may pursue and arrest fugitive slaves in said State. They have by law, under heavy penalties, prohibited any person from aiding the owner to arrest his fugitive slave, and have denied us the use of their prisons to secure our slaves until they can be removed from the State. They have robbed the South of slaves worth millions of dollars, and have rendered utterly ineffectual the only law passed by Congress to protect this species of property. . .
All these things have been effected, either by the unconstitutional legislation of free States, or by combinations of individuals. These facts prove that they are not only in earnest and intent upon accomplishing their wicked purposes, but have done all that local legislation and individual efforts could effect.
Knowing that their efforts could only be partially successful without the aid of the Federal Government, they for years have struggled to get control of the Legislative and Executive Departments thereof. They have now succeeded, by large majorities, in all the non-slaveholding States except New Jersey, and perhaps California and Oregon, in electing Mr. Lincoln, who is pledged to carry out the principles of the party that elected him. The course of events show clearly that this party will, in a short time have a majority in both branches of Congress. It will then be in their power to change the complexion of the Supreme Court so as to make it harmonize with Congress and the President. When that party get possession of all the Departments of Government, with the purse and the sword, he must be blind indeed who does not see that slavery will be abolished in the District of Columbia, in the dock-yards and arsenals, and wherever the Federal Government has jurisdiction.
It will be excluded from the Territories, and other free States will in hot haste be admitted into the Union, until they have a majority to alter the Constitution. Then slavery will be abolished by law in the States, and the "irrepressible conflict" will end; for we are notified that it shall never cease, until "the foot of the slave shall cease to tread the soil of the United States." The state of society that must exist in the Southern States, with four millions of free negroes and their increase, turned loose upon them, I will not discuss--it is too horrible to contemplate.
I have only noticed such of the acts of the Republican party as I deem necessary to show that they are in earnest, and determined to carry out their publicly avowed intentions--and to show that their success has been such as should not fail to create the deepest concern for the honor and safety of the Southern States.--Now, in view of the past and our prospects for the future, what ought we to do? What do wisdom and prudence dictate?--What do honor and safety require at our hands?"
Here is a link to the minutes of the Alabama Secession Convention.  It is amazing how much the preservation of slavery is discussed during this convention
Best Regards

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Medieval Cathedral - In Tennessee!

Recently, my wife Phyllis and I had the opportunity to visit the campus of The University of the South at Sewanee Tennessee.  Sewanee is located on the Cumberland Plateau between Nashville and Chattanooga.  It is a small liberal arts and theological university that has its roots in the Episcopal Church.  Much of the money to found the university came from donations from various Anglican churches in Great Britain.  That heritage is reflected in the beautiful gothic stone architecture of the campus. 

The center point of the campus is All Saint's Chapel.  The "chapel" nomenclature is misleading.  This is a very large place of worship.  Even referring to it as a "church" might be an understatement.  I was astounded to find such a wonderful piece of architecture hidden away in rural Tennessee.  The Campus at Sewanee is well worth a visit should you be traveling on I-24 between Nashville and Chattanooga.  Here is a brief history of the school and the chapel from the university web site:

All Saint's Chapel History

All Saints Chapel.  Photo from:

"To understand fully the history of All Saints' Chapel, one must first have a grasp of the history of the founding of the University of the South and the town of Sewanee.

The history of the founding of the University begins on July 1, 1856, with a letter that Bishop Leonidas Polk wrote to other bishops in the south concerning his desire to create a joint educational center which he envisioned to be "our common property, under our joint control, of a clear and distinctly recognized church character, upon a scale of such breadth and comprehensiveness, as shall be equal in the liberality of its provisions for intellectual cultivation to those of the highest class at home or abroad."

Bishops from North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas met that year for the General Convention in Philadelphia and agreed upon the idea.

A series of stained glass windows in the chapel
foryer tell the hisotry of Sewanee. 
Here the bishops meet to plan the new university.
Photo by Mark Hubbs

The following year at Polk's family home in Beersheba, Tennessee these bishops signed the constitution for the university. In January of 1858, the State of Tennessee gave the university its charter under which the institution, as a political as well as an educational entity, could shape the environment to meet its needs. The Vice-Chancellor was given the rights of "mayor" for the town of Sewanee as well as acting president of the university. The cornerstone was laid on October 10, 1860 among a gathering of some 5,000 people.

However, the university's development was brought to a sudden halt with the outbreak of the Civil War. As General Rosecrans pushed the Army of Tennessee in the direction of Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge, the Federal Army passed through Sewanee and left few remains of the university behind. It was during the re-establishment of Sewanee in 1866 that our chapel began its part in the history of the university. The original chapel for the university was built in time for the re-opening in 1868. It was named St. Augustine's after the school in Canterbury, England. The site of this building is marked by a stone marker in the south lawn of All Saints' today.

The original St. Augustine's was enlarged nine times between 1867 and 1910 to meet needs of a growing student body. Eventually it was decided to abandon St. Augustine's for a larger structure, All Saints' Chapel. The groundbreaking took place in 1904 with anticipation for its completion to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of its founding. Architectural plans were drawn up by noted architect Ralph Adams Cram of New York. Construction began in 1905 but was halted in 1907 due to the failure of the Bank of Winchester during the great financial panic of that year. In 1910, a wooden floor and ceiling were installed to make the chapel available for use.

It was not until 1957, in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the university, that Vice-Chancellor Edward McCrady initiated the completion of the chapel. Using Cram's original plans and designs created by Dr. McCrady in 1937, construction began anew and the chapel was completed by July of 1959. His designs were inspired by numerous architectural masterpieces.

The tower is primarily based upon that of the University Church at Oxford University, England known as Saint Mary the Virgin. The vaulted ceilings are designed principally from the models of the medieval French cathedrals Chartres and Amiens. The rose window is based upon that of the south transept of Notre Dame de Paris in France.

Today All Saints' Chapel continues to represent the geographical and symbolic center of campus. It stands 61 feet high and 233 feet long. Shapard Tower is 134 feet tall."

The main nave of the chapel.  Photo by Mark Hubbs

The vaulted ceiling and stained glass windows as seen from the nave.
The cathedrals at Chartes and Amiens France inspired much of this design.  Photo by Mark Hubbs

Two aisles run along each side of the nave.  This is the west aisle. Photo by Mark Hubbs

Carved stone baptismal font.  Photo by Mark Hubbs

The main altar in front of the choir.  Photo by Mark Hubbs

One of a score of magnificent stained glass windows that face the nave.  Photo by Mark Hubbs

The choir stalls, looking towards the altar.  Photo by Mark Hubbs

Choir stalls, looking towards the nave.  Photo by Mark Hubbs

The pulpit.  Photo by Mark Hubbs
Carved figure on the pulpit.  Photo by Mark Hubbs
Stairs to the pulpit as seen from the transcept.  Photo by Mark Hubbs

An English style cottage. Some of the old housing on campus.  Photo by Mark Hubbs
You can learn more about The University of the South and All Saint's Chapel at these links:


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

July 4th, 1863 - The Dark Day of the Confederacy

July 4th was the darkest day of the Confederacy.  Four simultaneous military events, scattered over 900 miles, sealed the ultimate fate of the "Lost Cause."  Even though another year and a half of bloodshed would follow, the South could not win after the events of the that Independence Day.

Most Americans have heard of the Battle of Gettysburg and the Siege of Vicksburg.  The defeat of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in Pennsylvania and the Capture of the full length of the Mighty Mississippi River at Vicksburg were irreversible catastrophes for the South.  More advanced students of the Civil War will also know of the Tullahoma Campaign in Tennessee.  There, Union General William Rosecran's Army of the Cumberland skillfully forced Confederate General Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee out of Tennessee in a brilliant campaign of flanking and maneuver.  The last of Bragg's men trudged into north Georgia on the same day that Lee's army was attacking on Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg in what would later be called Picket's Charge. (You can learn more about the Tullahoma Campaign here: )

On July 4th Lee began his retreat out of Pennsylvania back to Virginia, Vicksburg surrendered to Union forces under Ulysses Grant and Braxton Bragg stumbled out of Tennessee, never again able to hold ground in that vital state.  On one fateful day, the fortunes of war had turned against the South.  It could never regain the initiative.

But there is a fourth element to this dark day that is overlooked by all but the most devoted students of the War.  Had it occurred at a different time it might be better known, but it has been obscured by momentous events further east.

On July 4th 1863, the Confederate Army of the Trans-Mississippi commanded by Lt. General Theophilus Holmes launched its full weight against the Union garrison at the Mississippi River town of Helena, Arkansas.  The attack was intended to draw pressure off the besieged town of Vicksburg and to capture another position where the mighty river could be defended.  The attack was a failure from the start.  The Army of the Trans-Mississippi was bludgeoned into a stupor.  The Confederate Army west of the Mississippi River would never again go on an offensive footing.  Within two months, with Helena as a jumping off point, the Union Army launched a campaign that captured the state capital, at Little Rock. 

I'll not try to write a new description of the Fourth of July events at Helena.  Instead I'll offer this excellent synopsis of the battle by historian Alethea Sayers.


Helena: The Forgotten Battle

by: Alethea D. Sayers


The port city of Helena, Arkansas is seventy miles downriver from Memphis, and two-hundred and thirty miles above Vicksburg, where the base of Crowley's Ridge meets the Mississippi River. Union troops under Maj. Gen. Samuel Curtis had occupied Helena in July of 1862, allowing the Federals to control trade along the river. For the Confederacy, the Federal garrison also posed a constant threat of invasion into the rest of Arkansas. By July of 1863, there existed another important factor that led the Confederate high command to support an attack on the enemy at Helena. Secretary of War, James A. Seddon, believed an attack on the Federal base, now commanded by Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mayberry Prentiss, might draw away troops from Vicksburg, thereby alleviating pressures on Pemberton. If the attack was successful, the Confederates position on the Mississippi might compensate for a possible loss of Vicksburg.

Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mayberry Prentiss

It was to discuss the feasibility of an attack that Lt. Gen. Theophilus Holmes, commanding the District of Arkansas, met with his subordinate, General Sterling Price. General Price, affectionately known as "Old Pap," was very popular among his troops, and also very eager to show his confidence in his men's abilities. Though initially convinced such an attack might prove very costly, Holmes was persuaded that the Union garrison at Helena had been left very weak, as all available troops had been diverted to Vicksburg. Despite his reports indicating there were 4,000-5,000 troops still in possession of Helena, Price, along with the urgings of Marmaduke and Kirby Smith, were able to convince Holmes the Confederates would be victorious in an assault on the town.

Lt. Gen. Theophilus Holmes. 
Called "Granny Holmes" by his troops
 The recent departure of thousands of Union troops to Vicksburg, left Helena with only 4,000 effective men. These men were commanded by the forty-four-year-old General Prentiss, the same Prentiss who had earned his reputation at the "Hornets Nest" in the battle of Shiloh. Prentiss was promoted to major general in March of 1863 and given command of the District of Eastern Arkansas, headquartered at Helena. When word reached Prentiss of a possible attack on Helena, Prentiss made certain the town was well fortified and his men were at their posts every morning by 2:30 a.m..

To protect the garrison against Confederate attack, Prentiss placed four batteries (A,B,C & D), surrounded by breastworks and rifle pits, on four hills that formed a semi-circle around the town. Additionally, firepower was added by the U.S.S. Tyler, a steamer anchored off the river bank. Prentiss's principal defense was provided by Fort Curtis, located on the western edge of town.

War time photograph at Fort Curtis, Helena Arkansas

When Holmes arrived at the Allen Polk house, five miles from Helena, on July 3, he assumed overall command of the converging forces; Price's infantry and Marmaduke's cavalry from Jacksonport, and Brig. Gen. James Fagan's command from Little Rock. Holmes' combined strength would be 7,646. Of the aging Holmes' arrival, one soldier would note; "General Holmes and his staff are here. Poor old creature. I wish he was somewhere else, for I do not think him a fit subject to command an army." Though Holmes was undoubtedly anxious when he found Helena so strongly fortified and the terrain difficult to contend with, he was determined the trip should not be made for nothing.

The Confederate plan of attack would consist of a three-pronged effort. Marmaduke's 1,750 dismounted cavalry were to attack Rightor Hill on the northwest (where Union Battery A was located). His attack was to be supported on his left by the cavalry brigade commanded by Brig. Gen. L. M. Walker. Walker was to prevent Federal reinforcements to Rightor Hill. Fagen's 1,339 men were to move against Hindman Hill, located southwest of the town and where Union Battery D had been placed. The center thrust would be made by Price's infantry of 3,095 men against Graveyard Hill, which was also near the center of the Union defensive line and Battery C. The Confederate attack was to begin "at daylight" on July 4.
Brig. General John S. Marmaduke

The Confederate attack began with Marmaduke's dismounted cavalry attempting to advance toward Rightor Hill. His men immediately came under an infilading fire from Federal troops along a levee to his left and rear. Walker, who was to have protected Marmaduke's left flank was concerned with his own left flank and refused to come to Marmaduke's assistance. *The hostility that developed between these two men over this battle would later result in a deadly duel between them.

Farther to the right, where Fagan was to assault Hindman Hill, a miscommunication between Fagan and Price caused Fagan to come under the withering fire of Federals on Graveyard Hill. Fagan had assumed that "daylight" meant attacking at first light, while Price interpreted it at sunrise. Price's attack did not get underway until an hour after Fagan assaulted Hindman Hill. Though Fagan managed to overrun the rifle pits, he suddenly found himself pinned down by artillery fire from batteries C and D.

Finally, Price began his attack on Graveyard Hill. The Confederates were repulsed twice, with heavy casualties, before their determined assault was successful. They were the only force to reach their objective. Prentiss would comment on their determination exhibited as; "...a courage and desperation rarely equaled." Price's men attempted to turn the captured battery on the retreating Federals, but found the guns had been disabled.

Brig. Gen. James Fagan'

With the arrival of Holmes on Graveyard Hill, the situation for the Rebels was made worse by a series of confusing orders. Some of Price's men moved to attack Fort Curtis, while others attempted to go to the aid of Fagen's pinned down troops. Suffering from exhaustion and the July heat, their efforts proved futile and Fagen was forced to retreat back through the rifle pits he had captured. By 10:30 a.m., Holmes realized the situation was hopeless and ordered a full retreat, his rear guard skirmishing until 2 p.m..

The battle was a great victory for Prentiss, whose fortifications had held off a numerically superior foe. His losses were light in comparison, suffering 57 killed, 146 wounded and 36 missing for a total of 239 casualties. The U.S.S. Tyler had proved devastating to the attackers, firing 413 rounds.

War time photo of the USS Tyler. 
The aftermath of the Confederates desperate assault on Graveyard Hill was ghastly, where the bodies of the dead lay piled in heaps on the hillside, causing one Wisconsin soldier to write; " I never want to spend another such a "Fourth of July." Out of the 7,646 Confederates involved, 173 were killed, 687 wounded and 776 missing for a total of 1,636 casualties. The Battle of Helena proved costly and demoralizing for the Arkansas Confederates. Battered and defeated, the news of Gettysburg and the loss of Vicksburg was more than enough to douse the flame of hope for the Southern soldiers. The winds of war had changed, yet it would go on for another bloody year and a half.


Excerpt of a letter home, written by Henry S. Carroll, Orderly Sergeant,
Co. D, 33rd Missouri Volunteer Infantry:

"Dear Mother,

I take pen in hand this morning in haste to inform you that I am in excellent health. You will probably have heard before this reaches you that we have a fight here. And most a bloody one it was too. Yesterday morning we were attacked at half past four o'clock by the rebels under Price, Marmaduke and Holmes. We were expecting an attack and as I mentioned to Edna the other day in my letter we were ordered into line every morning before daylight. Yesterday morning I was up at two o'clock and was engaged in delivering some tools to be used in the rifle pits. I remained up the balance of the night. At half past three the Capt ordered me to get the company into line.

Everything was calm and serene and we began to think the rebs had concluded not to attack us. I divided the men into gun squads and scarcely had the men taken their posts ere an officer rode up and ordered us to fire an alarm gun which we did. In ten minutes afterward, the enemy attacked our batteries on the left, almost as the fight opened on the right and center. I think the rebels had their whole force engaged. Our center was headed by two companies of our regiment who were protected by some earthworks in which were planted two brass field pieces. A rebel brigade charged upon this work. They were composed of the 7th, 8th,and 12th Missouri rebel regiments. The ground over which they charged was very broken and the two guns and the infantry in the rifle pits made fearful havoc among them.

The fight by this time was raging fearfully all around the lines. All this time we were standing at our guns. I commanded gun No.6 in Fort Curtis. We loaded first with a shell. The fog was so thick that at the distance of six or seven hundred yards,we could not distinguish our men from the rebels. This was just at sunrise. Gradually as the sun arose, the fog lifted and cleared away and I could see them coming in to flank the battery on the hill opposite us. I asked the Capt if I could give them a fourth of July salute. He replied to give it to them and thus opened the most murderous fire from our guns that ever men withstood.

But nothing seemed to daunt the foolhardiness of the rebels; they came on yelling like indians all the time. Our men at the batteries were overpowered and compelled to retreat. They retreated to Fort Curtis. The rebs rushed to the top of the hill and formed a new line. They seemed to think they had gained the day but they were woefully mistaken. While they were forming,we were throwing shot and shell into them that told fearfully. Their colors were posted in a very conspicuous place and time after time they dropped to the ground. Men would rush up and hoist them again but only to be shot down.

As soon as they were formed, they began to advance toward us. They had to cross seven hundred yards of open ground. They seemed as they intended to take us at the bayonet point. They advanced steadily and briskly while six heavy guns from one fort and also several companies of infantry, that had been driven in from the outer works, were mowing them down under this murderous fire. They advanced four hundred yards.

They were so close,the day seemed lost in spite of all we could do. At this distance, we poured in a double charge of grape that made them reel and stagger. Their officers waved their swords and tried to urge the men forward, but it was of no use. It was not human to stand it. They broke and began to retreat and such a slaughter was never greater on any battlefield west of the Mississippi. They started up the road and I trained my gun upon it, as also did two other gunners in the fort. We all fired at once and when the the smoke cleared away not a man was to be seen within a rod of the place. Dead, dying,and wounded were strewed thickly on the ground. This charge was made down a hill and so perilous was it to retreat that they fell closer to us in a hollow, and the way we did slaughter them was something.

They soon raised a white flag and all of the eighth and tenth Mo rebels regiments surrendered but what lay on the field dead and wounded. We captured one thousand prisoners, two cols., 7 captains, 14 Lts., and guns and accouterments by the card.

I could not give you all the minute details if I were to write two days but will do so in a few days. By eleven o'clock they had retreated and the firing had ceased. And such a looking set of fellows as we were all black with powder as negroes and well we might be for we had fired 103 rounds from our gun during that time. Every one of our company behaved nobly; we are all heroes. Old Pike (County) may well be proud of her representatives here yesterday.

Our Colonel,who was at Pittsburg Landing and Corinth and many other battles of this war says the 33rd are every one heroes. General Salomon says he never saw artillery used more effectively than we did ours yesterday. Not one of us was hurt though the fort is sickening full of balls. The gun carriages (damaged?) but no one was hurt inside the fort. But the enemy were slaughtered.

It was supposed yesterday evening that there were two hundred of their dead on the field, but our men have been burying them since three o'clock yesterday. We find them behind logs and stumps and in hollows. Everyone seems to think that there are at least four hundred of their dead on the field. I have just been over the battlefield and no language can describe its horrors. It was a scene I never shall forget. Men were torn and mutilated in every possible manner. They were all Missourians. Numbers of them surrendered that could easily have escaped. There happened to be a steamboat here at the time and we put six hundred on board of her and started them to Memphis in one hour after the surrender. I suppose you will see an account of it in the papers before I write again. I must close as the mail is ready."

24 pounder gun in the reconstructed Fort Curis at Helena.