Letter Written by J.T. Deen - 1861 - Madison Co, GA

Camp Near Columbus Ky., Oct. 19th 1861

Dear Cousin,

I seat myself this evening to try to address you. This leaves me well. I hope it may find you the same. I suppose you have heard ere this that I have volunteered and am in the dented field. I volunteered in Holly Springs some two or three weeks ago and left there Thursday the 10th of this month and arrived here the next night. We met with a dreadful accident on the train near Union City, Tenn. We were stopped to let off some soldiers and there was another train running close along behind us and when we stopped they came right on and run into us and of all the smashing of cars that came my way was just about there and then. Two men were instantly killed another mortally wounded and some forty others crippled more or less. I received a considerable wound On my head (hand?) but it is nearly well now. We all jumped from the cars and formed company in the ditch for we did not know but we were surrounded by the enemy. We lay on our arms all night and when daylight came a scene was presented such as I never saw before and never wish to see again. The track for about a quarter of a mile was strewn the wreck of cars and the dead and wounded made it a scene of horror which you can not imagine neither can I describe. Seaborn Bond was asleep at the time and the seat he was lying on was torn into fragments but he escaped unhurt. One of the men killed belonged to our company named Allen Moody a fine young man about 30 years of age. We had to stay at the place all day and while there I went up into the 675 Miss. Regiment who were encamped there and met up with two of my cousins Willis Dean and William Beard. I stayed most of the day and eat dinner with them and learned from them that cousin Thomas H. Deen had passed up the road a few weeks ago as Capt. of a company. I must begin to tell you something of what is going on here. When we got here there were about 65,000 troops here. There is now somewhere about 40,000. We have a brush with the yankees almost every day. We had one yesterday evening. It commenced about 3 o'clock and lasted about an hour. They came down in their gunboats but when we turned loose our Baby Makers on them we sent then back towards Cairo in double quick time. You just ought to have been here Lumpkin yesterday evening to have heard our 128 pounders talk and hear bomb shells whistle. You may bet your bottom dollar we give them glory. You must excuse this spotted letter as I have just come in from drill and the cannon is shaking the earth. It is the Artilerists out practicing and just at this moment there is passing the road several thousand troop going out on dress parade accompanied by a band of Martial Music and my thoughts are so . . . . . . away I can hardly write

How long it will be before a general battle will Lake place I do not know but certainly not long. We are fortifying place as fast as possible and it is already the best fortified place in the southern states. If not attacked in twenty days from now 100 pieces of artillery planted and such a net work of Batteries and Entrenchments that an army of fifty thousand. I went down this morning in company with S. E. Bond to take a stroll over the city and up and down the bank of the mighty Mississippi and went on a steamboat, took a look at the Batteries, City Hall, Hospital, Churches and a thousand other curiosities and finally returned to camp tired and hungry and immediately set about getting a good dinner of beef and biscuit and then out on the field to drill four hours and from these figures you may guess whether I am tired or not. Lumpkin I can't think of much more to write but if I could see you I could tell you more in an hour than I could write in a month. I must close shortly. Seaborn send his best respects to you and all inquirers say you must enclose something in your answer to him. We are well provided for considering the . . . . Plenty to eat and plenty of clothes and plenty of measles. There is 6000 sick in this army . . . . . I have not taken the measles yet myself.

Now Lumkin, just as soon as you get this I want you to answer it before you let your eye wink. When you do write give me a good one and I will do better next time. Tell me if our folks have moved or not as I have not heard from them in a month or more. Give me all the news concerning all the c. . . . . and neighbors and about all the boys who have volunteered to defend their country. As far as you know tell me how you came on with your school and what your are going to do next year and what Crawford is going to do if you know as I haven'd heard from him since they moved. I must close. Direct your letter as follows.

J. T. Deen Columbus KY
Care of Capt. B. G. Brown
Col. Blythe's Battalion Miss. Vol

I remain your cousin
J. T. Deen, Private

Don't let anybody see this. I want you to see Miss E. L. Thompson and give her my best love and tell her to send me her ambrotype if she pleases and I will return her mine. Tell her not to forget me and while life remains I will never forget her. Tell her she must write to me in answer to a letter I have just written to her.

Additional information provided by transcriber:

A. J.T. Deen was the son of Jacob Deen and Cynthia Mercer and was 23 years old in the 1860 Census.

B. Crawford Deen was J. T. Deen's brother and was 21 in the 1860 Census.

C. Elizabeth L. Thompson was the daughter of Ansel and Mary Thomspon and was 17 years old in 1860.

D. J. T. Deen was killed at Chickamauga, Tennessee.