Letter written by Jacob Burner Golladay

A house remodeling project led to the discovery of this letter in a house that was once owned by Jacob's nephew, George R. Golladay. This letter was written to Jacob's brother David just after the Confederate route of the Union army at Chancellorsville.

May 8, 1863
Camp Near Fredericksburg

Dear Brother,

I am happy to say that I am blessed with the privilege of writing to you once more. Early on the morning of the 29th of April, we was compelled to evacuate our present Camp Winder and march in the direction of Fredericksburg. The Yankees was crossing there and also at several other fords higher up the river. Everything seems quiet. No fighting of any consequence. It seems that General Lee wanted them to cross.

On the morning of the 30th, there was some cannonading and a little skirmishing and also on the 1st of May. On the 2nd a portion of our corps was engaged but no contested fight. The enemy was driven from all their good positions without much trouble. Our loss was not heavy.

Our brigade was not engaged until the morning of the 3rd. Here comes the tug of war. Our whole army was engaged on the 3rd. We was in the heaviest fight early in the morning and also at nine o'clock. The second fight for our brigade on that day. Our loss was heavy but the best of all the Yankees had to run. We charged into their ranks as if though we was determined which we certainly was. We had no mercy on the Yankees. We run them several miles down toward the river. They had fortified the heights so that we was compelled to stop. Their fortification was such that they could be driven out. We had them cooped up. They could only go one way and that was back across the river which they did on the night of the 5th of May. By what I learned they had all gone back to their old encampment.

I have reference to them that we did kill and take prisoners. I would like to tell you the losses if I could. I can't do more than make a guess and what I have from verbal reports. We captured between 8,000 and 12,000 prisoners. We killed not less than 15,000. Amongst them was three or four brigadier generals killed. It is supposed that old Joseph Hooker was dead.

Our loss was heavy but comparatively small to the Yankees. I am sorry to tell you that our Brigadier General Paxton was killed. General Jackson had his right arm shot off. General A.P. Hill was also wounded slightly. He is still on the field in command of our corps. General Jackson don't seem to mind the loss of his arm but we all regret the loss of his arm. There was also two of his staff officers killed and several wounded. All this was done by our men. General Jackson and his staff rode out to the advance. Our men supposed them to Yankee cavalry and fired into them. It was after night that this awful disaster occurred.

The loss in our regiment 11 killed and 50 wounded. Sergeant Morgan Hottle was killed. Major Houston was slightly wounded. The officers escaped very well. My company lost five slightly wounded namely Major Painter, David Ritenour, George Martin, Silas Funk and Henry Huffman. I come nearly losing my right leg. I was shot through my coattail. One inch deeper would have taken my thigh. A miss is as good as a mile. A little deeper would have given me a furlough but I am willing to stay if they don't hurt me. This fight took place 10 or 12 miles above Fredericksburg up to the plank road at least 10 miles. The battle is called the battle of Chancellorsville that we fought.

Everything seems quiet this morning. We are encamped in the woods without shelter. We captured an immense quantity of gun shrouds which we use in the place of tents. They are a very good substitute by splicing them together. Captured from the Yankees 15,000 stands of small arms, 26 pieces of artillery. I will have to close as it is raining and has been for at least three days.

Let me hear from you soon. Direct your letter to Hamilton Crossing, Co B. 33rd Regiment, 1st Brigade, Trimbles Division, General Jackson's Corps.

I am well as can be expected. Hope these few lines may find you the same. Let me hear from you real soon. I wrote you last week and sent the letter by Calvin McInturff.

Your brother Jacob

Note: paragraph breaks and punctuation has been added to the above letter for readability. However, they were not in the original letter.

This page last updated on July 12, 2004