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Letter to Emmet Brooks

Charles Brooks updates his brother on his regiment's movements in Virginia and expresses his desire to leave the Valley and go to Richmond.

ALS .pp June 22, 1862 Charles Brooks to Emmet Brooks, June 22, 1862 Notes

June 22nd, 1862


Dear Emmet,

We continued our march on yester-
day and reached this place about 3 o'clock. The march
was very disagreeable on account of the heat and
dust. Today we are resting in camp. It may be
we will go on tomorrow, if so I hope they will
find us on the cars. It is said that the troops have been
getting off at Louisa Court House; that is near
enough Richmond for me [added: in] this warm weather.[1] I reckon
they were a little disappointed at home that I did
not return with you. I hope Dryden will be more suc
cessful next time.[2] I suppose Gen. Jackson is still in
Richmond. No answer yet to Capt. White's request to return
to Staunton.[3] Write soon and often as I feel anxious
to hear from Moffet [4]. Love to all.

Your Brother,


P.S. We have orders to march tomorrow at 5 o'clock
and will probably reach Louisa C.H. and it is repor
ted that the front troops have gone on to Hanover
Junction. Gen Jackson's Staff are quartered at
Rev Mr Elwing's.


[1] In this letter, written just after Jackson's Valley Campaign of 1862 and immediately before the Seven Days' Campaign, Charles Booker describes the punishing marches that the troops endured as they rushed eastward towards Richmond, where they were to reinforce Lee's army. Given the broiling sun, lengthy marches, and dusty or muddy trails that the troops faced, Charles' desire to take a train from Gordonsville, which is on the Virginia Central Railroad line, to the Richmond area is understandable (Robertson, The Stonewall Brigade, 113-115; Robertson, 4th Virginia Infantry, 15). But, as Charles remarks in his penciled postscript, his wish for a train ride did not come true and his company indeed had to march toward Richmond; by June 25, they made it as far as Ashland, which is approximately twelve miles from Richmond (Bean, 123).

[2] In acknowledging his family's disappointment that he had not come to Waynesboro with his brother Emmett, perhaps Charles is referring to their hopes that he would be able to find a substitute and return home. See also Schyler Trible's letter of July 2, 1862. Perhaps in referring to "Dryden," Charles Booker meant Captain T. A. Dryden, who is listed as a nominee for magistrate in The Staunton Spectator, May 22, 1860. Alternatively, he could be referring to Thomas H. Dryden of Augusta County, a farmer who joined the 5th Virginia in March of 1862 at age 41. Thomas Dryden was listed as absent due to illness on May 14, 1862 and never returned to service (Wallace, 113).

[3] While the troops were moving toward Richmond, Captain Hugh White fell ill at Charlottesville (which is southwest of Gordonsville), so he went home to Lexington on sick leave (Bean, 124). Perhaps here Charles is referring to Captain White's attempt to take sick leave.

[4] In late June of 1862, Moffett Brooks was in all likelihood at home sick with typhoid fever. He died of typhoid fever in Waynesboro on June 29, 1862, a week after Charles wrote this letter (Robertson, 4th Virginia Infantry, 40).

Works Cited

Bean, W. G. The Liberty Hall Volunteers: Stonewall's College Boys. Charlottesville: The University of Virginia Press, 1964.

"The Civil War Artillery Page" Chuck Ten Brink. Visited April, 1998

Crenshaw, Ollinger. General Lee's College: The Rise and Growth of Washington and Lee University. NY: Random House, 1969.

Denney, Robert E. The Civil War Years: A Day-by-Day Chronicle of the Life of a Nation. NY: Sterling Publishing Co, Inc., 1992.

Driver, Robert. J. 52nd Virginia Infantry. Lynchburg, Va: H. E. Howard, 1986.

Lankford, Nelson D. "Alexander Robinson Boteler." Encylopedia of the Confederacy. Ed. Richard N. Current. NY: Simon & Schuster, 1993. I: 197-8.

McMurry, Richard. M. "Joseph E. Johnston." Encylopedia of the Confederacy. Ed. Richard N. Current. NY: Simon & Schuster, 1993. II: 859-61.

McPherson, James M. The Atlas of the Civil War. New York: Macmillan, 1994.

Robertson, James. 4th Virginia Infantry. Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1982.

—. The Stonewall Brigade. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1963.

Sublett, Charles W. 57th Virginia Infantry. Lynchburg, Va.: H. E. Howard, 1985.

Turner, Charles W. Old Zeus: Life and Letters (1860-'62) of James J. White (Professor of Greek at Washington College 1852-1893, Captain of the Liberty Hall Volunteers 1861-'62). Verona, VA: McClure Printing Company, Inc., 1983.

Wallace, Lee A. 5th Virginia Infantry. Lynchburg, Va.: H. E. Howard, 1988.

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