1864 Letter - Private Richard T. Hunter, 9th Virginia Cavalry - "Petitioned President Davis to Send our Company Down to Assist"

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1864 Letter - Private Richard T. Hunter, 9th Virginia Cavalry - "Petitioned President Davis to Send our Company Down to Assist"

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Item No. 4811338

A very interesting Confederate letter written by Private Richard T. Hunter of the 9th Virginia Cavalry just three weeks before he would be mortally wounded in the leg at Malvern Hill, Virginia. Writing to his wife, Eliza, Hunter discussed the prospects of others joining the regiment, including John William Burke who joined Company C. Expressing a desire to defend his home, he also mentioned that the “citizens of Westmoreland have petitioned to President Davis to send our Company down to assist them in protecting that section of Country.” He closed the letter by discussing the war news around Petersburg, where he reported that the Yankees had “thrown some shells inside the city and killed some of the citizens.” It reads in full:

Camp 6 Miles South Petersburg
July 8th 1864

My Dear Eliza
As this is a leisure day with me I will drop you a few lines by mail not knowing whether the way is open, but I hope it may reach you. I rec’d your letter through Capt. [Robert Henry] Pratt on 3rd inst. Heard from you again this morning through Peter Montgomery. Rec’d a letter this morning from O.S.G. also one from Sister Mary. Peter tells me he took one to you so it is useless for me to give you the purpose of their letters. I certainly think Ma has great Cause to be thankful as well as ourselves. Oh Eliza how shall we sufficiently thank our Heavenly Master for that protecting Care that has been extended to us amid so much danger. I have been exposed to the dangers of the Battle field. The Balls have fallen around and thick and fast. But worse than that you have been exposed to an insulting merciless Coward for, yet we have been thus far protected not a hair of our head has been hurt. My Dear let us determine from this day to pray more to be more humble and in short to live exclusively for Heaven. You say Will talks of joining this Reg. I would not advise him either way but if he should conclude to do so tell him I would like to get a furlough on him, that is if he wished to come in company C. Willie Burke & Baynham Tyrell has joined company B. The citizens of Westmorland have petitioned to President Davis to send our Company down to assist them in protecting that section of Country & Col. Beale I understand is anxious to get our Reg. down on the Rapk so as to protect the Country on Both sides of the river. But we need not feed ourselves with any such fancy while the enemy are in such Crowd around us. It would be nice for us to return home and fight on and around our own firesides, but if our Country’s good demands that we leave them I for one can subsist and will try to discharge my duty as best I can. I do not know that I have killed a Yankee but I have done the best shooting I could. I am not surprised to learn that Mrs. P. has undergone such a change. I think it is time for every one to undergo a change and I for one will never insist on one of them surrendering to any. I know of no news that is reliable. Our camp is full of rumors but we can trace none of them to a reliable source. Grant has sent some of his men to parts as yet unknown and part of them have recrossed to the north side of James River. Grant’s Head Qrs is still in the vicinity of Petersburg. They have thrown some shells inside the city and killed some of the citizens. I must now bring my disconnected letter to a close. I am quite well except Headache. I over fed Bob a few days since after starving for days and him sick but he is much better today. I never saw a horse so much reduced in such short time. Give my best love to all the family and reserve a full share for yourself & dear little Eddie. Give him a kiss for his Pa. I am sorry to hear he has so much reduced I hope he and yourself has both recovered from this and may enjoy good health for the balance of the sickly season. Goodbye My Dear Wife. Write back soon to your devoted
Husband
R.F.H.

The letter was written on a sheet of blue stationery measuring about 5” x 8”. It is in good condition with minor toning. The paper is of typical thin Confederate quality and thus has some slight separation at the folds, but still holding together well without any conservation tape.

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