The Letters

From Blog, Edge of Obscurity: Tracking The Ailing Confederate

First page of letter William Lane
Welborn wrote to his father, Joseph,
in December 1864. William wrote
from Winder Hospital in Richmond,
Va., home to 50 military hospitals. Winder
later housed ill Union soldiers, then served as
shelter for Richmond residents impoverished
 or displaced by the war. Several fires ravaged
the hospital complex during its existence.
Back page of Private Welborn's letter.
  William was an "advanced" 34 years old when
he wrote to his father in Randolph County,
N.C. Records show William was a wagon
maker by trade. Born on Oct. 8, 1829, he was
married twice and lived to age 91.  He spent
much of his adult life near Asheboro, N.C.

Here is what William wrote.  Words in parentheses are mine.  William's brother, David, who served in the Confederate navy and also was stationed near Richmond.  David was sickened during his tour of duty and apparently was hospitalized in another Richmond hospital when William recuperated at Winder Hospital.

December 14th 64
Ritchmond VA

Dear Father    I write you a few lines to let you no how I am     I think I am a giting wel
I hope these few lines may find you al well    I received your letter to day and was glad to hear from  you    I am triing to git in the navy awhylt   I do not no whether I will git in or not

The doctor said he would secont me before the board    I want you to send me a letter just as soon as you git this letter with out delay and tell me how to direct a letter to David Welborn    I do not how to direct a letter to him      if I did I would start one to him today

give me the directions and give to him mine so he can rite to me   tell him to rite to me as soon as he can for if I am sent to new command the timing is not with me   so I will haf to writ first if I get transferred    I have moved from where I was

Direct your leters to the 17th ward,  secont division winder hospital Richmond V.A.    I have nothin of interest to rite to you     more than they are a fiting (fighting) all around here and it is harde times here, a worse acoming      I fear we git a little bred and a little beef twice a day  we are a bout half starved here    I do not think there is any chance to git home a tal but think that if I wil be quick that I can git in the navy to work 

my pen is so bad I can not writ with it so I must quit. 

Wm. L. Welborn 

This official military record shows William L. Welborn
enlisted (was drafted) in the Confederate army on
Aug. 14, 1864, only a few months before he landed in
Winder Hospital with some illness. I found this entry in
a roster I unearthed in a library in Warrenton, N.C.
William's younger brother, Lyndon, trained in Warrenton before
being sent to defend Richmond in 1861. For more on Lyndon,
who was killed in battle, see blog Archives.

From Blog: Lonesome And Bereft

Col. Robert Welborn Pickens' handwritten poem, dedicated to the memory of his wife, Kate. My ancestral cousin wrote the poem at age 99, circa 1945.  The poem, along with letters from Pickens to a relative, are part of my family (Welborn) historical papers. Pickens claimed that at age 18, he guarded the legendary Confederate Gold near the end of the Civil War in Anderson, in Upstate South Carolina. 

These letters shall not be reproduced or published in any manner without the express written consent of B.J. Welborn.

Letter from Private Robert M. Welborn, August 1864

Posted February 2012:  My Confederate ancestor, Robert McFarland Welborn, wrote this letter in pencil on a folded sheet of paper to his father Joseph Welborn of Randolph County, N.C.  Robert had mustered at Camp Holmes in Raleigh, N.C., on May 30, 1864, and left the camp on August 10, 1864 for Camp Weldon in Halifax County in eastern North Carolina.  

This letter, full of misspellings and local expressions and without capitalization and punctuation, survives as Robert's only missive during the Civil War. Robert, drafted into the North Carolina Junior Rangers at age 17, survived the war.  He applied for a soldier's pension in 1907 at age 70.  I continue to unravel Robert's story and will post more information about Robert and the Junior Rangers soon.

Side 1:

Side 2:

Examining The Handwriting of My Civil War Ancestor

Posted July 2011:  Letters from David Lindsay Welborn, written while on assignment to the CSS Fredericksburg.  The ironclad gunboat was patrolling the James River in defense of Richmond, Virginia, the Confederate capital. A family member long ago punched holes in the letters in order to place them in a notebook.  

Letter #1, Front Page
Letter #1, Back Page

Letter #2, Front Page
Letter #2, Back Page

Letter #1

This is from Your son D.L. Welborn

Please right as soon as you get this letter from me     tell me all the news that is goin on       so no more at this time

Direct to D.L.. Welborn
CS Stemer Fredericksburg
James River

Id direct to the same place    I want you to right soon and the rest to rite     I canot rite mutch for I have not got no paper nor no money    I lost all the money I had as I came heare      so I will Step   I haft to go and draft my soap and my tobaecer and my hamuk to sleep on

Letter #2

Oct 30, 1864
Richmond, VA

Dear Father
I will try to write you a few lines to let you no whare I am      I am eight miles below Richmond on the Fredricksburg Steamer      That is an iron clad gun boat     We  have six long guns on this boat

I have a hard time      I got here yesterday mronin and hav been sick ever sins, night and day      I am not well but I am told that cannons are moving hear every day    

I would give the world to be home but can’t be thair    I thought that I would work in the navy yarde but they put me on the boat ...and my… the lice

I get plonty to eate sutch as it is       they have coald me on deck now so no more

From you son D.L. Welborn

Posted January 2011: Letter from Elijah Mendenhall Welborn

Not long ago, I found a treasure trove of war-era letters written by my ancestors. They were mainly from four North Carolina brothers, all Confederate soldiers, to each other and to their father, who opposed secession. The Civil War bug bit me. The letters launched my Civil War Odyssey, which I invite you to join. I am visiting the places where my ancestors wrote their letters – including a training camp, an ironclad, and a hospital – and other Civil War sites that will help document their experiences.

Elijah Mendenhall Welborn wrote this letter to his father, Joseph Welborn, of Randolph County, N.C., concerning his younger brother, Lyndon.  Lyndon had recently volunteered to serve in the Confederate army against his father’s will.  The letter was addressed to Joseph Welborn, New Market, NC

Wilkesboro NC June 4th 1861

Dear Father
            I received your letter and in reply say to you that Lyndon left yesterday was a week ago     I have heard from him all most evry day sience he left            
            heard from him at Raleigh     he is in fine spirets     a young man that was their at coledg (college) got home      (he) stayed with him 2 days in Raleigh      he is a Mr Curtice…lives in sight of us      he says the compney that Lyndon is in is given up dto be the finest looking & best compney evry way that has passed through the State at any point
            General Stokes is the captiane     that was the Excuse for volunteering in stead of standing the draft      they say that drafted men always are first in the hard places of the battle & that they are subject to be badly used by their affilly (affiliates)
            Mr Curtice says that Stokes Compney has been taken by the Govaner of the State that they can have any (provisions) they want
if it was nessessary that Lyndon should go at all .....perhaps he has done the best for him self that he could have done
            So it is not worth your while to fret yourself about it atall for your children will do as they pleas any how
            I broke up his cortship      perhaps had I not done that he would not have vollenteered
            So the matter is the world if filed with evry thing when there is no war      when there is some somewhore else
            If we have to sacrafise every thing to gratify the ambitio(us) lying poltician the time has com to perform that act        if prosperity health sole & body must be sacrifised this is the time to pitch in
            We are sell and have got oute our corn all most twice         our wheat is good
so far          their has ben bontiful chance of rain           fell yesterday last night & today heare        we have had a coldt spring up to last few days (which) has brought out things very mutch

no more but I remain you son
E.M Welborn (Elijah)

……I will write to you on any intelojenes (intelligence) from Lyndon   
I said in the out set of my leter that I heard from Lyndon evry day        I would say it was not direct from him just from the compney hat he was one of the members

I have not heard any thing diret from him

Seince writeing I let a jonny man write out to (the) compney        he says Lyndon has gone to it doing his will he cant be conroled by his friends        (he is doing what) most (parents’) children do         you must make the most of it


The first letter my Confederate cousin, Lyndon McGee Welborn,
wrote during the war (dated July 5, 1861).
Click on image to enlarge.

Page 2 of the first letter my Confederate cousin,
Lyndon McGee Welborn, wrote during the war (dated July 5, 1861). 
Click on image to enlarge.

July 5,   61

Dear brother, (Robert)

i received your kind letter yesterday with much gladness         i was going to write to you today if i had not got your leter     this makes two i have gotten      one a good while ago but i have not forgoten it

you want me to tell you if we had any fighting to do yet        we have not and i hop(e) we wil not have any to do       i would like to see you all

we have got four Company in this Redgiment       we all marched up in town

yasterday and they give us a fine dinner        we had beans and rosten ears (roasted corn) and everything that was good

Pa asked me one question i don’t think that i answered      that was about our Company and oficers      Stokes is Promoted to Colonelship and has escepted (accepted)     J.B. Gordon is our capton      they have trated me very kindly so far

we have met with clever folks every whare we have went yet and have seen the most prety girls      yasterday the Court house was cramdfull of ladies       our Colonel and all of our captons made speaches and the ladies on hering this they wept biterly

we promisted them that they nead not fear the enamy for we would stop them if they don’t stop        we don’t want to fight if we can shun it but if we have it to (do) we will do what we can for them       none of you need not fear the enamy becaus we wil drive them back

we have ninety eight privates in our company       it is the best company i hav seen      I hav many friends in this company and would hate to leave them      if i left them they would hav thought hard of me

i did not like to join they regulars without leting you Pa know it but all of them beged me to stay and I did not want to leave them after i had started         if I had not joined i think that Frederick would have joined and i could not stay at home by my self

I would be very well Satisfied if Pa was but I don't feel that i am doing wright whe(n) i am doing any(thing) against his will

Robert read the 20th Chapter of Deuteronomy

I received a letter from Elisha (Elijah) last saturday      he said they ware well but i have had later news than that Mr. Spainhour one of our company went home some days ago and returned day before yasterday       Elisha said that they had dry weather       wheat was good and he was halling his bacon to Statesville

I must bring my few lines to a close    I am wel and harty and wish you all the same     if any of you have any news let me no       tel David that i will write to him next     tell hary that i wil remember him and hope that (i) will see him again   tel him again look for me between now and chritmas     no more

From your brother respectively

Lyndon M. Welborn