1864: Greer Harry Baughman to Mary Jane (Greer) Baughman

This Confederate letter was written by Orderly Sergeant Greer Harry Baughman (184x-1907), Greer served early in the war as a private in Co. F, 21st Virginia Infantry. In August 1862 he enlisted in Co. C, 38th Battalion Virginia Light artillery (Read’s Battalion) and was promoted to Orderly Sergeant in 1863. After he was desperately wounded on 3 June 1864 in the fighting at Cold Harbor, he was admitted to the Receiving and Wayside Hospital (General Hospital No. 9) in Richmond for two days, was furloughed home, and then returned to Chimborazo Hospital No. 1 in Richmond, Virginia, in August and September. He was present for duty at the fall of Richmond but escaped and joined Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s army and then Gen. Kirby Smith’s Army.

Greer was the son of Pennsylvania-born George Baughman and Louisiana-born Mary Jane Greer Baughman. In the 1840s, the family lived in Baltimore. In 1847, they relocated to Salem, Virginia. By 1856, they were living in Richmond. Greer mentions two of his brothers in this letter — Charles (“Charley”) Christian Baughman (184x-1909) and Emilius (“Emil”) Allen Baughman (1844-1915) as well as his sister, Mary Amelia (“Minnie”) Baughman.

For a very good description of the Baughman family and a summary of the letters written by Charles C. Baughman while in the Confederate service now housed by the The Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, see Eyewitness to War: A Confederate Soldier’s Account of the Civil War.

Emilius Allen Baughman enlisted in Co. C, 38th Bn. Virginia Light Artillery, “Hampden Artillery,” on May 1, 1863. He first saw action on the field of Gettysburg and served throughout the whole of the long struggle actively, being also engaged at Appomattox. At the close of the war, he was serving in the Hampden Artillery, Dearing’s battalion, Pickett’s division. The rolls show him as present through January 1865. After the war, Baughman was a member of the R. E. Lee Camp, No. 1, United Confederate Veterans. His obituary appeared in June 8, 1915 “Richmond Times-Dispatch.”

Before the Civil War, Charley Baughman started a stationery company in Richmond but it was destroyed by the fire that consumed much of the business district of Richmond in 1865. In 1866, Charley reestablished the business with his father and brothers Greer and Emilius. It was called the Baughman Bros., Stationers, and Printers — later the Baughman Stationery Company.


November 10th 1864

Dear Mother,

Your welcome letter of the [   ] was received. I do not expect to receive letters from you very often as I know how constantly your time is employed. I think though if you would play lady a little while and let Aunt Maria be cook instead of yourself, you would have much less to do than you now have. While I was at home, you were constantly employed making bread or doing something else that Aunt Maria could have done — not so well as you could, but well enough — and we would all have liked it much better. I do wish I could induce you not to make a slave of yourself as you have done for a long time. Now that Minnie is going to school, I suppose you have more to do than ever. I am sorry on your account, but the benefit of a good education cannot be estimated in money and I hope that sister may remain at school as long as her teachers can teach her anything. I would give anything I now possess or ever will for a good sound education. I feel the want of it every day.

How is father’s health? I hope he does not work quite so hard as he did while I was at home. I think you said in one of your letters that Willie Baughman was with him. Is he of any service to the house? I never regarded him as a particularly bright boy but I hope I am mistaken in the estimate I have formed of him. You never mention Mr. Raborg in any of your letters and Mr. Featherman. What has become of them? Don’t they visit you now? What does father do for someone to play dominoes with? I think if I was at home tonight, we could make up a game. I would like to try at any rate.

I have just heard that Sergt. [Newton Hilton] Hazlewood of Blount’s Battery ¹ was going to Richmond in the morning. I went to him and he promised to take a letter for me and drop it in the office.

I expect to be in the trenches with Emil [Emilius] in a few days. Maj. [John P. W.] Read has established his quarters on the line and it is necessary that the orderly sergeant should be near him. If I should go down as I expect to I can take better care of Emil by being near him than I now can, and I think it will be more pleasant for him.

Charley’s Battery [Otey Battery] has moved farther up to the right and he says they are now over a mile and a half from the Yankees. The men are camped just in the rear of their guns. ² I think the change must be very pleasant for them. I received a note from Charley this evening. He was quite well. I will go up to see him in a few days.

You ask me for a list of what I want and my extreme modesty will not prevent my furnishing it as the things I want are very necessary. Most of these things — in fact all of them — I have already written for but I supposed my letters were not received.

Tobacco — chewing or smoking
Bacon — such as you sent before
Sugar — a small quantity for desert
Coffee — the last you sent was not toasted
Soap — Cake of Windsor & some country
Pants — those old homespun one of mine
Boots — not so fine as those I have at home
Paper — 2½ quires of English Notre, white or blue
Envelopes — 3 packs of buff or white. Send 2 or 3 Confed. white, also 2 quires of Confed. Note, White.

You can send some of your yeast if you think it can be used in camp. I would not ask you to send all these things but the prices are so high that it is much cheaper to buy in Richmond. I will write again when I have time and will promise you that my list of wants will not be near so long as this one.

[No signature & no envelope]

¹ Blount’s Battery was the Lynchburg Virginia Artillery. It was commanded by Major Joseph G. Blount.

² A letter written by Charley Baughman to his brother on 10 November 1864 was datelined “Camp Walker, Virginia” and stated, “Have moved here and built very comfortable quarters — hope we shall stay here — get along very well — think campaign about over for the year.”


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