Walter Franklin Jones papers ca. 1860-1862
Collection Scope and Content Note
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Six of Jones' letters were written home from Camp California, near Fairfax Court House, Va., in the first months of 1862, when the 61st Regiment was attached to the slow moving Army of the Potomac. Jones' letters are well written, but not particularly eventful. These letters do more to illustrate the slow pace of the Army of the Potomac than to provide details of camp life or battle. He remained optimistic that the war would end soon, "but if not," he wrote, "I would rather that we were well whipped, than that foreign nations would speak of us, as more frightened than hurt." He hoped particularly that he would have the chance to fight in a battle before it all ended.
Some of the letters in the collection include a description of a New Years' celebration among officers at which "an examination of the darkies [for allegedly stealing a bottle of brandy] was the most amusing part;" an account of Beauregard using "Quaker guns" at Munson's Hill to buy him time to reinforce positions at Centreville; and a mention of guard duty, during which Jones had to hand cuff and gag one man, and during which he encountered an Orderly Sergeant who had been imprisoned for five months for shooting a man for disobedience of orders. The collection also includes two souvenirs collected by Jones at Bull Run: a blade of grass from the battlefield and a piece of a Confederate flag.