Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dateline: Little Rock, Arkansas: February 1, 1863

Vicki Betts recently sent me an email about a letter that she discovered in the Confederate Citizens collection that is available on After reading her transcription of a portion of the letter, I asked her permission to post the excerpt on my blog. Vicki graciously agreed, and what follows is an excerpt from a letter written by Philip L. Anthony to Honorable Robert W. Johnson, an Arkansas congressman. The letter was written somewhere near Little Rock on 1 February 1863; as Vicki pointed out in her email to me the letter is a good illustration of the expression “with friends like these, who needs enemies?”

“One thing more:

From all I can see & learn whenever the army is near a town, the officers, high & low desert the camps & crowd the hotels, boarding houses & even private homes, (if they can get in,) leaving the soldiers almost without restraint, who commit many depredations on private property, & live in all sorts of filth & nastiness, often easing themselves within a few feet of where they eat & sleep. One consequence is that the hospitals are crowded with sick. When on the march soldiers are permitted to straggle along the roads for miles & to turn off the highways. They generally have a story that they have been left behind sick, & are either begging their way or paying their expenses out of their pay, & if their demands are not complied with, be they ever so unreasonable, they generally do some ill-natured trick in retaliation. There are instances in my own knowledge where they have killed numbers of hogs near their camps, burned up the rails around the wheat fields of poor widows & others, & one soldier told me he had seen the last hog of a poor widow killed by the soldiers. I should think that a law of congress requiring the officers to lay in camps at all places & holding them responsible for the conduct of soldiers would be salutary.”

No comments:

Post a Comment