The Horton Letters

Company G and H
Second South Carolina Rifles
Moore's Rifles

Richmond Va
July 1st, 1862

Dear Sister,
The stern monitor death has again invaded our ranks and smitten T.C. Dean to the ground, he fell yesterday evening about six oclock whilst gallantly charging a battery, from a wound inflicted by a "minnie ball" penetrating the skull, just above the left eye, and killing him instantly. He is yet on the battle field wrapped up in his blankets and just as soon as it is perfectly safe to do so will proceed to bury him (in a coffin if we can get one, without on if we cannot). I think it is almost impossible to get a coffin from Richmond, as we are 14 miles below on the James River. We will however get it if we can. We gained a decided victory taking all the artilery the enemy had on the field several generals, a number of commissioned officers, a great number of prisoners, small arms etc. Thaddeus was found, lying on his back with his head to the flying columns. I have his knives, watch & chain and will attend to marking his grave, so that he can be carried home. Elijah was not touched.

Will write in a few days. I received two shots- one inflicting a slight flesh wound, the other only stunning me. Lt. J.M. Cox, William Johnson, C.B. Cox, (Abner's son), James Telford (sp?) (William's son) all killed (underlined), dead on the field. Cox shot through the neck, Johnson just below the right eye, Telford through the nose, C.C. Cox, piece of bomb in back of head. Elijah wanting to write I will close. I will have the graves all marked, so that they can be sent home if desired.

Kindest regards to Pa and all affectionately your Brother, O.R. Horton.

Dear M,

God in his providence has protected me through another battle
I was not hurt by a ball, but was so completly worn out with fatigue
that I could not sleep. I got back to the camp about dark and picked up a blanket and dropped down on the ground and tryed to sleep. The fight will be renewed this evening but our regiment will not be engaged. We went into the battle with 38 men, and we came out with about 12 or 15.

It is considered the hardest fought battle in all history. I went back
to the battle field this morning and carried our dead men - place and
wrapt them up in a blanket I want you to send this immediately to J.M.
Cox and let all the families know about it. I am well. You must excuse this letter. I will write when the battles are over.

Your affectionate husband W. E. Horton

Acknowledgments - Scott Shindell and family

The Authors:

Horton, Oze Robert - Lieutenant, Company E, Fourth Infantry

Horton, W.E. - Service Uncertain at this time.

The Fourth South Carolina, like all the units of the Army of Northern Virginia, had just been reorganized as the Fourth S.C. Battalion or Mattison's Battalion. They were destined to join Micah Jenkins' Brigade, which at the time of these letters was R.H. Anderson's Brigade of Longstreet's Division.

The Men Mentioned:

Thaddeus C. Dean - Company F and H, Second South Carolina Rifles, Killed in Action Fraysers Farm. Deans death is recorded in Broken Fortunes by Kirkland and he is mentioned in the Roll of Honor. Broadfoot cites his service as with Company H of the Second South Carolina Volunteer Rifles.

Elijah - In Company G of the Second South Carolina Volunteer Rifles is Lieutenant Charles E. Horton.

Cox, C.B. - Listed in Broken Fortunes in Company G of the Second South Carolina Volunteer Rifles. He is listed as Killed in Action at Savage Station on 6/29/62. His name is listed in the Roll of Honor.

Cox, John M.- In Broken Fortunes we find John Milton Cox listed as a lieutenant serving with Company G. He is shown as killed at Savage Station, 6/29/62. .

There are two other men by the name of Cox listed in Broken Fortunes; one is listed as dying at about this time. The other has no additional information. Cox, N., is killed at Gaines Mill and is serving in Company B of the Second South Carolina Rifles. Cox, A.M. shows no additional information about his death. His unit is noted as the Second South Carolina Rifles.

Johnson, William - Johnson is listed as William P. in Broadfoot in Company H of the Second South Carolina Volunteer Rifles. He is shown in Broken Fortunes as having been killed at Savage Station. He is also listed in the Roll of Honor.

Telford, James - Telford is listed in Company G of the Second South Carolina Volunteer Rifles. Broken Fortunes lists him as killed at Fraysers Farm. The Editor of the book notes with a question mark Savage Station.

The Military Units:

Following the reorganization of the Army of Northern Virginia in the spring of 1862, the Fifth S.C.V, the Sixth S.C.V, the Palmetto Sharpshooters, and the Fourth Battalion were placed in Anderson's Brigade. The Second South Carolina Rifles joined these units in very late June.

As Lee forced the invading army away from Richmond, he struck at Gaines Mill on June 27th, Savage Station on June 29th, and at Frayser's Farm on June 30th. Although Confederate records are not always clear about the date and time of deaths, the Horton letter certainly is. These men are all killed at Frayser's Farm It is a graphic account of the sacrifice of the men in Anderson's Brigade. Micah Jenkins is the commanding officer of the Palmetto Sharpshooters, a unit formed from veteran troops during the reorganization. For more information about some of the units and men in this brigade see The Struck Eagle by James Baldwin, an excellent book on the Palmetto Sharpshooters and Micah Jenkins.

This is early in the war when a great deal of care was given by the Confederates toward burial of the dead. As we can see, there is some hope of a coffin and a promise to mark the grave. Soon there will be too many dead for coffins and careful marking of the graves.


The letter is in pencil, on tablet paper. It is three sheets and has two authors. This method is common to the time, as paper was a luxury, even this early in the war.

Links to More Information: