Lt. Sidney Carter's last letter to his wife Bet

Stiles/Akin

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#1
This was Lt. Sidney Carter's last letter to his wife Bet. 10 days later, he would be mortally wounded as the 14th SC attacked the Union position near the Lutheran Seminary at Gettysburg on July 1st. The bullet entered his chest and fell down into his organs. He would pass away one week later at a hospital in nearby Cashtown, PA. His remains would later be interred in the Gettysburg National Cemetery, mistaken for a soldier from a Connecticut unit. His family never knew what became of his remains. Even the author of "Dear Bet" in 1978 (whose husband was the grandson of Lt. Carter) thought his body was in a mass grave of some 800 unknown South Carolinians at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, VA.

Bivouac, 12 miles from Winchester
June 21st 1863
Dear Bet,
I again attempt to write you a few lines. We are still on the march and in 12 miles of Winchester. I expect you have heard the news that Ewell has been...We hear this evening that...Hagerstown, Md., and Gen. J...at Harrisburg, Pa., and just behind him and we following after him. We have had quite a hot time of it, I assure you. Two men of our camp have given out on the road, P.C. Fields and A.E. Dubose, and most all have been worn out but kept up so far. For myself, I had to leave ranks Thursday for the first time since I have been in service. I got over hot and liked to have fainted. I stopped in a shade and soon recovered and got in an ambulance and rode about a mile, where the army had stopped for the night. It rained that evening, and it has been more comfortable marching since. It has been quite pleasant yesterday and today. We came a different route that that we took when here last fall, and a different way we will get to Winchester which will make seven days and the other time we were 12. We have seen many new things on the march. Among the list was while on the Blue Ridge a thundercloud passed over and we were up to the cloud and could touch it with a twenty-foot pole.
We crossed the Blue Ridge at Front Royal this time and saw the battlefield where Jackson whipped Milroy last June. We are about where Ewell found him the other day. It is generally believed we are going into the enemy's land. If so, I hope I may keep well and hearty so I won't have to leave ranks for the Yankees to get me over there.
I have heard nothing from my case since I last wrote from Stephen. Old P. seems very kind to me and some others try to...and kind such as H...but I will let them know that I am not poor for their acquaintance, let alone their kindness, for I have got friends besides and will show them that I don't regard them in any sense whatever. I hope it won't be long before I hear from my trial officially.
Bet, I do not know hardly what to write that would interest you. We get plenty to eat. This evening we got some fresh beef. Fruit is not ripe here except strawberries, cherries and such like. We could get plenty of those large red sour cherries on the road the other side of the mountain. Very little crops are planted in the valley this spring. The wheat is commencing to ripen now, and some of the most luxuriant pastures I ever saw, and clover, etc. I will write you the news as we go on and as often as possible, and I will look for letters from you as usual. I have not got one since I wrote before. We expect to meet the mailman at Winchester tomorrow. I hope I will see old Joshua Reynolds as we pass along-- an old man that I ate dinner with so often last fall.
Well, I must close for this time. Give my love to all the inquiring friends. Kiss the dear little ones for me and accept all my love for yourself and them. I remain as ever your own,
Sid
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ErnieMac

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Excerpts from the Official Report of Colonel Abner M. Perrin, commanding McGowan's Brigade (Series 1, Volume XXVII, Part 2, Page 660 ff.):
HEADQUARTERS McGOWAN'S BRIGADE,​
August 13, 1863​
SIR: This brigade-consisting of the following-named South Carolina regiments, to wit: The First [Provisional Army], Twelfth, Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and [First] Rifles, the First under the command of Major C. W. McCreary, the Twelfth under Colonel John L. Miller, the Thirteenth, Lieutenant Colonel B. T. Brockman, the Fourteenth, Lieutenant Colonel Joseph N. Brown, and the Rifles, Captain William M. Hadden - being a part of Major-General Pender's light division, formed a part of the Army of Northern Virginia in the late campaign across the Potomac, and was from June 5 until the present time under my immediate command.​
............​
We now moved forward, preserving an alignment with General Scales, and, as soon as the brigade commenced ascending the hill in front, we were met by a furious storm of musketry and shells from the enemy's batteries to the left of the road near Gettysburg; but the instructions I had given were scrupulously observed-not a gun was fired. The brigade received the enemy's fire without faltering; rushed up the hill at a charge, driving the enemy without difficulty to their last position at Gettysburg.​
We continued the charge without opposition, excepting from artillery, which maintained a constant and most galling fire upon us, until we got within 200 yards from a grove near the college, the brigade received the most destructive fire of musketry I have ever been exposed to. We continued to press forward, however, without firing, until we reached the edge of the grove. Here the Fourteenth Regiment was staggered for a moment by the severity and destructiveness of the enemy's musketry. It looked to us as though this regiment was entirely destroyed.​
I here found myself without support either on the right or left. General Scales' brigade had halted to return the enemy's fire, near the fence, about 200 yards distance from the enemy. General Lane's brigade did not move upon my right at all, and was not at this time in sight of me. This gave the enemy an enfilading fire upon the Fourteenth. This regiment, under the lead of Lieutenant-Colonel Brown and Major [E.] Croft, most gallantly stood its ground. I now directed the First Regiment, under Major McCreary, to oblique to the right, to avoid a breastwork of rails behind, where I discovered the enemy was posted, and then to change front to the left, and attack in his flank. This was done most effectually, under the lead of this gallant officer. The enemy were here completely routed. This caused the whole of their artillery on our left, at least thirty pieces, to be limbered up and moved to the rear. Much of their artillery would have been captured, but the First and Fourteenth in their pursuit again met a force of the enemy's infantry, strongly posted behind a stone wall, near and to the left of the college.​
It was the work of a few moments, however, to dislodge them. These two regiments, now reduced in numbers to less than one-half the men they carried into the battle, pursued the enemy to within the town of Gettysburg, capturing hundreds of prisoners, two field pieces, and number of caissons.​
............​
Finding the two last-named regiments now reduced to less than half the number with which they entered the battle, and the men much exhausted, I ordered them back from the town, to await the Twelfth and Thirteenth, and sent a small detachment through the town to take such prisoners as the enemy had left in the retreat. It was after the recall of these two regiments that the brigade of Brigadier-General Ramseur filed through Gettysburg from the direction of my left.​
The loss of the brigade in killed and wounded did not fall short of 500.​
Better conduct was never exhibited on any field than was shown by both officers and men in this engagement. Each one of the color-sergeants taken into the fight was killed in front of his regiment. Some regiments had a number of color-bearers shot down one after another. The officers generally were conspicuous in leading their men everywhere in the hottest of the fight.​
............​
A. PERRIN,​
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.​

Major JOSEPH A. ENGELHARD,​
Assistant Adjutant-General, Light Division.​
 
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#4
This was Lt. Sidney Carter's last letter to his wife Bet. 10 days later, he would be mortally wounded as the 14th SC attacked the Union position near the Lutheran Seminary at Gettysburg on July 1st. The bullet entered his chest and fell down into his organs. He would pass away one week later at a hospital in nearby Cashtown, PA. His remains would later be interred in the Gettysburg National Cemetery, mistaken for a soldier from a Connecticut unit. His family never knew what became of his remains. Even the author of "Dear Bet" in 1978 (whose husband was the grandson of Lt. Carter) thought his body was in a mass grave of some 800 unknown South Carolinians at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, VA.

Bivouac, 12 miles from Winchester
June 21st 1863
Dear Bet,
I again attempt to write you a few lines. We are still on the march and in 12 miles of Winchester. I expect you have heard the news that Ewell has been...We hear this evening that...Hagerstown, Md., and Gen. J...at Harrisburg, Pa., and just behind him and we following after him. We have had quite a hot time of it, I assure you. Two men of our camp have given out on the road, P.C. Fields and A.E. Dubose, and most all have been worn out but kept up so far. For myself, I had to leave ranks Thursday for the first time since I have been in service. I got over hot and liked to have fainted. I stopped in a shade and soon recovered and got in an ambulance and rode about a mile, where the army had stopped for the night. It rained that evening, and it has been more comfortable marching since. It has been quite pleasant yesterday and today. We came a different route that that we took when here last fall, and a different way we will get to Winchester which will make seven days and the other time we were 12. We have seen many new things on the march. Among the list was while on the Blue Ridge a thundercloud passed over and we were up to the cloud and could touch it with a twenty-foot pole.
We crossed the Blue Ridge at Front Royal this time and saw the battlefield where Jackson whipped Milroy last June. We are about where Ewell found him the other day. It is generally believed we are going into the enemy's land. If so, I hope I may keep well and hearty so I won't have to leave ranks for the Yankees to get me over there.
I have heard nothing from my case since I last wrote from Stephen. Old P. seems very kind to me and some others try to...and kind such as H...but I will let them know that I am not poor for their acquaintance, let alone their kindness, for I have got friends besides and will show them that I don't regard them in any sense whatever. I hope it won't be long before I hear from my trial officially.
Bet, I do not know hardly what to write that would interest you. We get plenty to eat. This evening we got some fresh beef. Fruit is not ripe here except strawberries, cherries and such like. We could get plenty of those large red sour cherries on the road the other side of the mountain. Very little crops are planted in the valley this spring. The wheat is commencing to ripen now, and some of the most luxuriant pastures I ever saw, and clover, etc. I will write you the news as we go on and as often as possible, and I will look for letters from you as usual. I have not got one since I wrote before. We expect to meet the mailman at Winchester tomorrow. I hope I will see old Joshua Reynolds as we pass along-- an old man that I ate dinner with so often last fall.
Well, I must close for this time. Give my love to all the inquiring friends. Kiss the dear little ones for me and accept all my love for yourself and them. I remain as ever your own,
Sid
Yep, a while back we learned about Carter and several Confederates buried in the Gettysburg National Cemetery. On the same day of that OP their FindaGrave pages were amended to show how many slaves their fathers owned, repeating the exact language of that post. One member actually defended it.
 
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#5
This was Lt. Sidney Carter's last letter to his wife Bet. 10 days later, he would be mortally wounded as the 14th SC attacked the Union position near the Lutheran Seminary at Gettysburg on July 1st. The bullet entered his chest and fell down into his organs. He would pass away one week later at a hospital in nearby Cashtown, PA. His remains would later be interred in the Gettysburg National Cemetery, mistaken for a soldier from a Connecticut unit. His family never knew what became of his remains. Even the author of "Dear Bet" in 1978 (whose husband was the grandson of Lt. Carter) thought his body was in a mass grave of some 800 unknown South Carolinians at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, VA.

Bivouac, 12 miles from Winchester
June 21st 1863
Dear Bet,
I again attempt to write you a few lines. We are still on the march and in 12 miles of Winchester. I expect you have heard the news that Ewell has been...We hear this evening that...Hagerstown, Md., and Gen. J...at Harrisburg, Pa., and just behind him and we following after him. We have had quite a hot time of it, I assure you. Two men of our camp have given out on the road, P.C. Fields and A.E. Dubose, and most all have been worn out but kept up so far. For myself, I had to leave ranks Thursday for the first time since I have been in service. I got over hot and liked to have fainted. I stopped in a shade and soon recovered and got in an ambulance and rode about a mile, where the army had stopped for the night. It rained that evening, and it has been more comfortable marching since. It has been quite pleasant yesterday and today. We came a different route that that we took when here last fall, and a different way we will get to Winchester which will make seven days and the other time we were 12. We have seen many new things on the march. Among the list was while on the Blue Ridge a thundercloud passed over and we were up to the cloud and could touch it with a twenty-foot pole.
We crossed the Blue Ridge at Front Royal this time and saw the battlefield where Jackson whipped Milroy last June. We are about where Ewell found him the other day. It is generally believed we are going into the enemy's land. If so, I hope I may keep well and hearty so I won't have to leave ranks for the Yankees to get me over there.
I have heard nothing from my case since I last wrote from Stephen. Old P. seems very kind to me and some others try to...and kind such as H...but I will let them know that I am not poor for their acquaintance, let alone their kindness, for I have got friends besides and will show them that I don't regard them in any sense whatever. I hope it won't be long before I hear from my trial officially.
Bet, I do not know hardly what to write that would interest you. We get plenty to eat. This evening we got some fresh beef. Fruit is not ripe here except strawberries, cherries and such like. We could get plenty of those large red sour cherries on the road the other side of the mountain. Very little crops are planted in the valley this spring. The wheat is commencing to ripen now, and some of the most luxuriant pastures I ever saw, and clover, etc. I will write you the news as we go on and as often as possible, and I will look for letters from you as usual. I have not got one since I wrote before. We expect to meet the mailman at Winchester tomorrow. I hope I will see old Joshua Reynolds as we pass along-- an old man that I ate dinner with so often last fall.
Well, I must close for this time. Give my love to all the inquiring friends. Kiss the dear little ones for me and accept all my love for yourself and them. I remain as ever your own,
Sid
Thank you so much for sharing. I really brings our history to life when were read the real words of those that lived it.
 

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