Civil War Soldier’s Letter to Mother A Cherished Relic

Edna Liggin
The Gazette
October 5, 1939

Among the many old old heirlooms of Mr. and Mrs. Starling Tabor of Shiloh was found this portion of a letter written in 1863 by Capt. R. J. Tabor, father of Starling Tabor, who was engaged in fighting in the Civil War at the time.

*** “Crops are as good here as I ever saw anywhere. There ** plenty of rain all the time. If we can hold the territory we now have, the Yankees can never starve us out. July 26 1863  Gen. Johnson has issued an order to furlough one man of every 25 and an officer from a company. Two men from our company and an officer, George Harper and Obed Lovelady and Capt Graham. It is to continue whenever those men return others will go home. My time will come about Christmas if I live. There is no conveyance now only private and in the stage on the other side of the river. The only thing I fear the Yankees may capture them. My health is very good and I am only anxious to hear again from you all. Tell brother John I want to see him worse than I ever did. Tell him not to try to bring too much when he comes for it is a long road. My love to Tommie and Nathan and all. Your son, R. J. Tabor”

There is no clue as to where the letter was mailed. R. J. Tabor returned from the war with one eye shot out and he saved the bullet that hit him for a long time.

There are many other interesting letters in the possession of Mr. Starling Tabor, written about 1859 and 1860. Some are from Homer and inquire about the enlightened inhabitant of Shiloh. Others are from Marshall College, Griffin, Ga. from one Lewis Hopkins who wrote of the difficulty women out there were having with hoop skirts and blustery winds. One from a W. L. Hopkins tells of the trip out there in 12 days going by New Orleans and visiting the dressing room and a small room where the bones were thrown after the previous days work. This same writer wanted to know how Shiloh felt about his not marrying. Hardly any of these letters of long ago written by the young men of Shiloh going out into the world for an education fail to mention the fairer sex.

They took great pains with the corrections of their grammar, but to save three cents postage. W. L. Hopkins wrote both vertical and horizontal on his paper, making it very hard to read now. Ironically at the end of Hopkins’ letter he added “please don’t let anyone see this letter lest they should criticize” And almost one hundred years later his letter is still being read by people he never dreamed of.




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