Your Legs Are on Crutches

Letter by Christian Snidow Prillaman to his brother. Where they are dots ..... in the document the writing was unreadable. Words in italics have been deciphered to the best of my ability.
Surname References found in the letter
  • Davis
  • Edwards
  • Fontaine
  • Greer
  • Hairston
  • Hodges
  • Magruder
  • Owens
  • Prillaman
  • Ross
  • Smith
  • Stovall
  • Ward
Greenville NC Dec 28th 1863

Dear Brother

The reciept of yours of the 13th inst is acknowledged, and though I deeply regret to learn that your legs are on croutches, it affords me great__ yes unspeakalbe pleasure to know that you are alive and at home, for I entertained for several weeks after the Battle of Gettysburg very serious fears that you was dead, “You say your Furlough expires the 29th inst, and to know what I think you had better do. I presume you are on your parole of honor, and not exchanged, if that is the case, make yourself easy, for we have nothing at all to do with you. You are under the control of the officer who has charge of the paroled prisoners but if you were not to report back but all until you are exchanged you cannot be hurt but still it is your duty to go to some practiceing Physian & it is not necessary that he should be an army surgeon, Dr. Stovall, Hairston, or Green will do, and get a certificate and send a duplicate of it ....not to the Commander of this Co, but to the man or surgeon who, furloughed you. The Law provides that once a man subject to duty has gone home on furlough, and is not able to go to an army surgeon that he shall get a certificate from some practicing physian and send this certificate to an army surgeon who signs it, an he then sends it to the commander of his Co, but in your case a certificate from a physian alone will do In all cases you get Two certificates, keep one and forward The other, I recieved a letter from you some Two weeks ago which I answered from Kinston please let me know whether you recieved it or not. Our Regt has been temporialy detached from the Brigad and sent his place, for reasons which has been stated in the letter to Sallie. This Section of country affords the most extensive Farms I ever Saw, immense quanties of corn, potatoes, peas and cotton, considerable quanties of rice is also raise. But wheat is not raised at all and I see no orchards. Though we are living better and are better clad than we have ever been, I and Lt Ward are as comfortably situated as soldiers can expect to be. I am still in command of this Co. and have been for nearly Four months. I am getting tired of it, and hope I will be relieved soon. Lieunt Ward says he would be glad to see you, but advises you to stay where you are until you are well..... Many changes have taken place in the officers of this Brigade since Gettysburg. You have no doubt heard that Col. Hodges of the 14th, Col Edwards of the 38th and Col Owens of the 9th and Magruder of the 57th were all killed at Gettysburg. C. R. Fontaine is now Col of this Regt, he does not possess Magruders great intellectual endowments for the Trees of the Forrest do not all attain the Same height, but the sweetest Fruit sometimes grow on Trees of the most dimintive size, hardly a letter reaches camp but brings us Tidings of some new contact the government has made with some Body for carrying on the Tanning Business an all its Various “Ramifications” and it would be a very natural conclusion to suppose that Jeff Davis intends for all his Rebel Family, Soldiers, men, women, and children another year to be clad from head to foot in Leather Vestments, as I belong to the fighting department I do not Bother myself much with the Legislative, but I would not be surprised if Some of Jeff’s Taners would do more good making corn that they would pulling hair. I am glad to hear that A. B. Ross [Abraham Burnett Ross?] is going into Business at your Tanyard for I think it will be a benefit to Sallie, I shall always hold myself under Very many obligations to you for your kind and generous treatment to Sallie and if I survive the awful conflict in which I am engaged I hope to be able to make you a suitable return for it. I do not wish for her to be any expense to you whatever for unreasonable are the prices of every thing ... my wages will enable me to support her. If I ever get home again I shall be out of debt and with gods blessing I think I could take Sallie and my mischieveous Brat back to the Knob, and spend the residue of my life hapily, if I perish in this conflict it will only be one more humble soldier sacrificed in a cause which he honestly believed to be just, and in that .... I leave but one request with you and that is, to help Sallie to Educate Julia, for without that advantage men and women have but a poor chance. On the evening after the Battle of Gettysburg I sufferd not only from my wounds but my fears of your fall (which circumstances seemed to justify) made any conditions still worse. I heard nothing from you until next morning when I was informed by Mr. Davis tha Mr. Teague saw you fall dead on the field, I met with Mr. Teague in Winchester and he Told me that he had no recollection of seeing you on the field at all. this gave me Some relief. The first reliable information I had from you was your letter to your Farther of the 19th of July I answered it from the White Sulphur, I think you have said you recieved it, please let me know when, I would also be glad to know where you last saw me on the field, for I know we was only a few steps apart when I recieved my first wound (that was the last time I ... you) I would also like to know where you last saw ... Capt Smith. It would afford me some pleasure to know whether you was kept at Gettysburg during your captivity and by what route you came to Richmond. As to political affairs I am entirely ignorant ............ hear nothing that has place out side of camp I still have the most undiminishable confidence in both the justice of our cause and its final triumph, indeed I am satisfied if the ..... people remain more to themselves the time of Their deliverance is near at hand I will just merely say that there has been a great deal more said about the disloyality of North Carolina than is True. Tell Sally that I started her .......... not recieve another from me for some time and to be ... as I am ordered to leave tomorrow to take command of our advanced Pickett line 15 miles below here near the enemies garrison at Washington. I shall have no chance to write until I get back which will be about 10 days.

C S Prillaman