I purchased this grouping from a picker who obtained a portion of a family estate. The first listing is a letter written by A D Norris describing how he was mustered into the 7th Infantry Regiment. He later gained fame for saving the company's flag at Gettysburg. The second letter is from a friend of the family who gives the latest news of the battles. An image of Norris can be found in my Sold category.
Here is the transcript of the Norris letter, presumably the first written as a new recruit.
Richland Station, Sumner Co July 22nd
We arrived here last night about two o’clock and having nothing particular to do today I avail myself of this opportunity to write you a few lines to give you my idea of the times and circumstances by which we are surrounded. An immense concourse of people were assembled in Lebanon on Monday morning to witness the departure of the troops. A great deal of feeling was manifested by the citizens, there being but few dry eyes in the place. We left about eight o’clock. Took dinner at the sister’s at green hill and arrived in Nashville about three. The buggies carriages and wagons conveying the troops and their friends numbered one hundred and fifty eight. The Handkerchiefs and waving hats with which we were greeted all along the route had a tendency to dispel the gloomy depression relating to the parting of friends and relatives. The procession proceeded around the square and through the principal streets of Nashville and then repaired to the fair grounds where we were mustered into service by taking an oath to offer our services in defense for twelve months.
I then went to see Grandma Leyons (?)stayed a short time, slept at the Commercial Hotel with Wilson Phillips who went down with the procession. I was quite unwell during the night in consequence of having eaten too heartedly of preserved soft peaches at dinner and adding these onto a hearty dinner. Was all right yesterday morning. We were drilled a little yesterday morning after which I called on Mrs Rosser’s friends to whom I had letters of introduction. Had a very pleasant visit and received a letter of introduction to Captain Creghead of Company B of the Rock City Guards which I will soon present to him.
Yesterday evening we marched from the fairgrounds to the depot a distance away we went up about three miles. We got on the cars before seven but it was after ten before we left edgefield.
We had a short of "rough and tumble” side to this place, one or two of the cars became detached and causing delay. We pitched our tents and sometime after three o’clock lay down and slept till about five.
I do not feel near the fatigue that I expected to from exposure and loss of sleep. Last night was my first in the "tented fields”. I like it very well just from the novelty.At present my health is good and spirits hopeful.
We will probably remain here a day or two and then go to the general encampment a few miles from this place, beyond this nothing certain, just conjecture. I must close, I will write again when I get to a place where I think where we will remain long enough to get an answer. Your affectionate son, Archie
Archibald Debow Norris and the men of the 7th Tennessee Infantry Regiment
Follow in the footsteps of Archibald Debow Norris and the 7th Tennessee Infantry Regiment. This regiment was formed in late May of 1861 near Gallatin, Tennessee. Among its companies were those boasting names such as "The Hurricane Rifles” and "The Statesville Tigers.” Norris graduated first in the class of 1860 from Allegheny College in Pennsylvania. He returned home after college to find his home state embroiled in discussions of secession. He himself supported the preservation of the Union and was not afraid to share his sentiments in public. However, once the state seceded he joined the 7th Tennessee in 1861 at the age of twenty-one. At Gettysburg he fought with the regiment on July 1st and 3rd where he displayed conspicuous bravery despite the chaos of combat. Another soldier would later remember…
"I can recall Capt. A. Norris… when the right was being enveloped and hope gone, tearing the flag from the staff, and retreating with a fragment of his company under a fire so destructive that his escape seemed miraculous. There was no better officer in the Seventh or in any other regiment”
Here is the second letter from Doug Yoke, a long time resident of Wilson County
Feb 7th 1862 A D Norris Your letter from camp near Romney came to hand the this inst I assure you it was received with much pleasure not only by me but by the whole of our small family. I landed home from Russleville the 1st inst (instant?) have been on a visit there to see the boys, friends, and acquaintances. I found Jno & Alek with bad colds but mending met Tobe coming home for the first time since he left he is well and weigns 167 pounds he starts back to camps this morning. I found ?Rasser very low with fever he says he is some better Mrs. Rasser is there with him. Russelville was a very handsome place before the soldiers were posted there now it is the muddiest place I ever saw the forces there is estimated at 20,000 & more coming the prospect of a fight of a fight at Bowling Green I think is ? for the present tho Russelville is threatened about 8,000 Lincolnites came across green river at Carrolton & was fortifying for 15 or 20 days but Jno writes me since I got home that they are gone from there but does not know where. The news papers say they are coming up Cumberland of Tnnessee rivers as far as fort Donelson on the cumberland and fort Henry on the Tenn rumor has it that they were fighting at the latter place day before yesterday, I think we will hear tonight the danger lies in that direction now I think They are aiming for our Railroads if they destroy the bridges they cut off our supplies from Bowling green to Russelville. I suppose you have heard of our defeat at fishing creek under general Crittenden. it was not near us as bad as it was at first reported but was bad enough the best information is we lost about 200 killed & 300 prisoners among the killed general (Felix) (Zollicoffer) Zolicoffer, Col (George) raines and the Col Baley (Bailey) Peyton
The Lincolnites call it bull run for Crittenden is called everything but a patriot by some I suppose our generals were deceived as to the strength of the enemy they were in 2 divisions on either side of fishing creek the creek very much swollen supposed to be impossible. our generals continued to attack the division in between the river and creek made a force march of 20 miles in the night and joined the other division in the fork which made their forces double as strong as was expected Zolicoffer was decoy ? up to a Indiana Regiment by a Confederate flag hoisted by them and was shot in the early part of the engagement (Tenn is in mourning his loss) The remains of Zolicoffer & Rains was interred at Nashville last Saturday that of Peyton at galiton (Gallatin) the same day with military honor all the good waggons & teams have been pressed to supply the loss at fishing Creek yankees state their loss as great as our own men.
While at Russelville I came across a young man a native of Kentucky who went to VA last spring was in the hospital when the battle was fought at Manassas has never been well since they went to Russsleville. they have been scouring the green & mud river country ever since they went up there Jno A Basses hand has cured up but can not use it yet Captain Phillips is well and is very popular in his company he lost a fine horse while I was up there worth $200 Understand that general Anderson is at Nashville trying to get his brigade orders to Tenn or Ky if you come let us hear from you as you pass. When your letters come to pass there is a scramble between Polly & Jake who will read it first pardon my scribling and I will not intrude on you patience longer, write soon and often and remember your friends, Doke Young. closing personal remarks signed D Y. Note: Doke Young was a long time resident of Wilson County