A Gunner in Lee's Army
The Civil War Letters of Thomas Henry Carter
Publication Year: 2014
Published by: The University of North Carolina Press
Series: Civil War America
Title page, Series page, Copyright, Dedication
Peter S. Carmichael
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Artillery officer Colonel Thomas Henry Carter witnessed the rise and fall of Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, but he did not describe his escapades as a crusade of heroism or as an epic adventure. Carter simply refused to write theatrical war stories, the kind of sensational copy that...
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After the Civil War, Thomas Henry Carter’s letters passed to his youngest daughter, Anne Willing Carter Dulany. They then went to her son, Henry Rozier Dulany Jr., and then to his widow, Kate Weems Dulany, known to the family as “Tolly.” At some point, Tolly gave the box of letters to her...
Editorial Methods and Notes
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This book brings together 103 letters written by Thomas Henry Carter between 22 June 1861 and 7 March 1865. He wrote 101 of them to his wife, Susan. He sent the remaining two to his stepmother, Ann Willing Page Carter, and to his wife’s brother-in-law, John Coles Rutherfood. All but...
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Major Thomas Henry Carter sat in his tent on the night of 15 March 1863 and pondered his situation in the Army of Northern Virginia as he scratched out a letter in the dim light to his wife, Susan. He had been in Confederate service since the late spring of 1861 and had risen from command...
1. Life before the War
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Thomas Henry Carter was born in 1831 at Pampatike, the King William County, Virginia, plantation of his parents, Thomas Nelson Carter and Juliet Muse Gaines Carter. Tom, as the family knew him, was named after his father and his maternal grandfather and was the second son and the...
2. 1861: 15 September–29 December 1861
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On 25 June 1861, Captain Tom Carter wrote the commandant of the Virginia Military Institute that he had “a company of untrained men, about seventy in number. . . . My men are uniformed & thoroughly equipped.” One week later, the King William Artillery arrived in Richmond, where...
3. From Northern Virginia to the Peninsula: 8 January–1 May 1862
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The new year found Captain Carter and the men of the King William Artillery encamped in winter quarters at Davis’s Ford in Prince William County. Dull daily routines filled their days and nights, and false reports of enemy movements were all too frequent. Carter informed Susan in....
4. To Maryland and Back: 13 July–17 December 1862
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Three days after writing to his wife on 1 May, Tom Carter and his battery evacuated their position near Yorktown and marched west along muddy roads toward Richmond. After arriving near the capital city a few days later, the King William Artillery settled into camp until the last day of...
5. Winter Quarters: 20 January–25 June 1863
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Following the Battle of Fredericksburg, the opposing armies settled into winter camps on opposite sides of the Rappahannock River. On 24 December General Lee tried to remedy the lack of forage for his army by dispersing more than half of the artillery into counties south of Fredericksburg...
6. Guarding the Rapidan: 18 September–27 December 1863
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Early on 26 June, Lieutenant Colonel Tom Carter and his battalion left Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, with orders to march up the lush Cumberland Valley toward the town of Carlisle. From there, Major General Robert Rodes’s division intended to make its way to Harrisburg. Once the Confederates...
7. From the Wilderness to the Valley: 17 March–31 December 1864
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As the year 1864 began, Lieutenant Colonel Tom Carter set himself to work on the business of running a camp in winter quarters. To those men who lived within a reasonable distance of the Frederick’s Hall camp in Louisa County, he granted two- week furloughs on a rotating basis...
8. War’s End: 1 January–7 March 1865
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Colonel Carter began the year 1865 at Fishersville still in command of the artillery of Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s Army of the Valley because Brigadier General Long had not yet returned from sick leave. Carter spent most of January trying to secure a thirty- day furlough for himself. He also...
9. Life after the War
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Tom Carter’s journey home from Appomattox Court House took several days, as it did for the majority of Lee’s army. In many cases, weeks passed before those soldiers from states farther south reached their final destination. Colonel Carter and his traveling companion, a Mr. Drane, reached...
APPENDIX: Selected Genealogy of the Thomas Henry Carter Family
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Page Count: 392
Illustrations: 11 halftones, 1 figure
Publication Year: 2014
Series Title: Civil War America
The Civil War America series interprets the field broadly to include biography, military and nonmilitary history, works that explore the immediate background of the conflict, and studies of postbellum topics related to the war. A few diaries, sets of letters, and memoirs that make exceptional contributions to our understanding of the era also will appear as volumes in the series.