Transcription of Civil War Letter from Josiah W. Ware to his son, Capt. James Alexander Ware serving in Corpus Christi, Texas
© Judy C. Ware 2012
** Although there is no date affixed to this letter, it is relatively easy to narrow the time frame down due to the written contents. With that said, this letter was written before March 1864.
My Dear Son,
In writing the within sheet of incidents in this country, I thought it might interest you - when Stahel made his raid here, he reported it was all done with the sabre – no firearms used. It was all done with firearms, no sabre used - several of his men killed, none of ours . . . strange how they lie.
When Stewart made his raid into Pennsylvania, the governor of Pennsylvania wrote to Lincoln complaining of his permitting the rebels to pollute the soil of Pennsylvania. Lincoln had forbidden his army to talk about the negro question and the Herald (N.Y.) said, he could forbid his own soldiers the freedom of speech but let Stewart do as he pleased.
I have given you all the war incidents to this day and will now answer your letter. I am sorry you had not a better officer at your head. Had you no friend among the citizens to report to the Secretary of War the facts for you - your success in capturing the captain, men, boat and arms? You could have reported the facts yourself to the Secretary of War. I have an acquaintance with Stuart and Jackson, none with the Secretary of War, Hood or Wigfall. Stuart has acted so rascally towards me in preventing the Cavalry Regiment from re-enlisting under my command which they agreed to do, violating the law to force them to serve under a favorite of his -thereby almost breaking up the Regiment; that I determined to have nothing to do with him and managed to get that to his knowledge. Your letter dated October 9th says, “Captain Duff is raising a Battalion to include your Company.” I do not know what may now be their wishes, but if they wish to come here, they have a right under the law to elect their officers. If they still wish to come here and are willing to be under my command, there are two Battalions here now. I will see if I cannot get one of them to unite with you in forming a Regiment if they wish me to command it and will use my influence the President, Generals Lee and Jackson to accomplish it. Or if you raise a Regiment in Texas and elect me by their officers, I will come to command it and then try to get it here. I would prefer the latter course to have all Texians – 7 or 8 companies can accomplish it.
I am extremely anxious for Kee to be home as soon as possible – send her by the 1st safe and proper escort to Alfred Weeks’ in Louisiana, who has offered to resupply her with means and forward her. It is no inconvenience to him. I am extremely sorry she has entered into any engagement during this war. I do not know the gentleman and it is not on his account, but war is full of disaster and I would greatly prefer her having no engagement during it.
I am not a fugitive. I am staying at home watching things and farming, but not advantageously; force of Negroes and horses weak and much interruption. Sister has had great luck. Jerry and young George went away with the Yankees, but she has not lost a horse, cow, hog, sheep, corn, wheat, or fence rail. The only sheep she lost was one I loaned her and yet she thinks she has had bad luck – and each member of the McCormick family has had luck like hers – not one has lost anything.
The Yankees now hold Harper’s Ferry, Martinsburg, and Winchester; the latter place about 4,000 men. [They are] constantly alarmed for fear General Jones’ command may be in on them – and Jones is at Newmarket - 50 miles up the valley. If Jones was to hang around them down here, I feel assured they would move off and vacate this County. They occasionally make a cavalry dash into Berryville in great haste and fear – stay but a few minutes, and dash out again to Winchester or Harper’s Ferry. None have gone off the pike yet or been there before 12 or after 3 o’clock. None of this set have been down on the Snickersferry Pike or Millwood. I hope they may continue not to roam out as we escape them in that way. Jones’ command is considered here of no account. I understand they are behaving badly in Winchester – stuck up placards informing the Negroes they are now free but advising them to stay with their masters and require wages and to arm themselves and defend themselves if their masters attempt to force them – and that their masters, if they do so, will be considered Rebels in arms. When they came into Berryville, they sent word to the Negroes and their masters that they are now free. I believe those not willing to go, put no faith in them. [meaning the Yankees] The novelty has worn off. If Davis would issue a proclamation threatening punishment to all their officers taken wherever these placards are stuck up, they would hardly be stuck up in Winchester. They have a mortal fear and expectation to be taken, and would be taken, by an efficient officer. I think they would surrender without a fight.
Charley is in Richmond attending medical lectures – hopes to graduate in the spring and be commissioned surgeon.
All are well, best love to all,
Capt. James A. Ware
Corpus Christi, Texas
James Alexander Ware
Photo owned by James and Judy Ware
Researched information to augment the above letter
“when Stahel made his raid here, he reported it was all done with the sabre – no firearms used. It was all done with firearms, no
sabre used - several of his men killed, none of ours . . . strange how
This comment was made in reference to General Julius Stahel. According to author, Steve Beszedits: “A few days after John Singleton Mosby's daring raid behind the Federal lines at Fairfax Court House during the night of March 8, Lincoln summoned Stahel to the White House and ordered him personally to take charge of the cavalry at Fairfax. He told Stahel in no uncertain terms that the raids upon the lines around Washington must stop. The three brigades of cavalry in the Department of Washington were organized as a division, which together with the outposts were placed under Stahel's command. On March 14, he was raised to the rank of major-general.” He further stated, “Stahel spent the ensuing months chasing Mosby through the woods, rolling hills, mountain spurs, and winding and unfrequented roads of Loudoun, Fauquier and Fairfax counties. Although he managed to check Mosby, he was no more successful than his predecessors, or his successors, in defeating or capturing the elusive "Gray Ghost."
“Captain Duff is raising a Battalion to include your Company.”
This refers to Captain James Duff who eventually became a colonel. He was active in the 33rd TX Cavalry. The Partisan Rangers, 14th TX Cavalry was organized by increasing the 14th TX Cavalry to a regiment early in 1863.
“I am extremely anxious for Kee to be home”
“Kee” was one of the nicknames for the daughter of Josiah Ware – sister to James Alexander Ware. Her full name was Elizabeth Alexander Ware and the engagement she was entering into was with Edward Wharton Britton, a doctor in Corpus Christi. They subsequently did marry on March 10, 1864. (Thus, this letter was obviously written before that date.) Unfortunately, Josiah’s admonition of war being “full of disaster” proved all too true. After their marriage, Elizabeth delivered a baby son who lived almost a year. Sadly, however, she lost both her husband and child in November of 1865. An excerpt from an old family letter explains further:
Dr. Britton “put them on a boat at Corpus Christi and they ran the blockade. She showed me, probably 65 years later, a little purse which he had handed her when he told her goodbye. In it was 200 dollars in gold. He told her not to use it except in case of emergency. She never used it. I remember figuring what she had lost in interest by keeping it for sentimental reasons. She arrived home to Springfield and shortly thereafter her baby died, and on that same day she received the news of the death of her husband of yellow fever.” (Ref. 2)
Elizabeth Alexander Ware (Kee)
Grave of baby Josiah Ware - the son of Elizabeth and Edward Britton – both photos property of James & Judy Ware
“send her by the 1st safe and proper escort to Alfred Weeks’ in Louisiana”
Alfred Weeks was the great-grandson of Charles Mynn Thurston, a minister in Clarke County in the late 1700’s. Josiah’s grandmother, Sarah Taliaferro Snickers first married Morgan Alexander in 1773. When Morgan passed away in 1783, she remarried and her second husband was Rev. Charles Mynn Thurston who had also been previously married. Consequently, there were family ties between the Ware family in Berryville and the Weeks family that had settled in Louisiana.
Proceedings of the Clarke County Historical Association, Volume XXIII 1983-1984 copyright 1985 by the CCHA, Commercial Press, Stephens City, Virginia
“Sister has had great luck”
Josiah’s sister was Sarah Elizabeth Taliaferro Stribling, the wife of Dr. Sigismund Stribling. Their home, Morgan Springs, was located just across the road from Springfield.
“Charley is in Richmond attending medical lectures – hopes to graduate in the spring and be commissioned surgeon.”
“Charley” refers to Charles Alexander Ware. He was the younger brother of James and another one of Josiah’s sons. Charles, indeed, finished up his training in medicine and joined the Confederate army. He first served under Jeb Stuart. After the Second Battle of Manassas in 1862, however, he transferred over to the medical corps when General Lee put out a specific request for medically trained people.
Charles Alexander Ware – both document and photo owned by James and Judy Ware
His biography can be found at www.waregenealogy.com
Original letter owned by James and Judy Ware
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