1863: William Jahaney Lowry to Ann (Walker) Lowry

These two letters were written by William Jahaney Lowry (1841-1863)—a private in Co. B, 45th North Carolina Infantry. William enlisted on 3 March 1862 and was with his regiment until killed in action at Gettysburg where the 45th North Carolina fought in Daniel’s Brigade, Rodes’ Division, Ewell’s 2nd Corp.

William was the son of Hugh Addison Lowry [or Lowrey] (1803-1861) and Ann Elizabeth Walker (1818-1893) of Oak Ridge, Guilford county, North Carolina.

There are ten of Lowry’s letters transcribed and posted on Civil War Voices, Soldier Studies.

William J .Lowry’s 1863 letter with “ghost” image of unidentified North Carolina soldier


Camp near Goldsborough, North Carolina
January the 4th, 1863

Dear Brother [Rob],

I seat myself to write you a few lines in answer to your kind letter which came to hand yesterday. I was glad to learn that you were all in tolerably good health. Your letter found me as well as common. Anyhow, I am well enough to eat all I get. I was sorry to learn that Add was wounded but I am glad he come off as well as he did. I am in hopes Bowman will get him home safe.

I have nothing of important to write. We are all getting along tolerably well and if I could get plenty of potatoes, I would be pretty well satisfied. I do not think we will go back to Virginia soon. Our sick folks and baggage and the balance of our brigade landed at Goldsborough this morning but we have not got our things in this camp yet. It has been some time since I have had on my clean clothes. We left camp the 15th of December and I left all but what I had on and one blanket. John Myers was left behind and he has taken care of our things. [pencil smudged by crease in paper] …hospital but he did not stay long. He went one day and come back the next. I will close my letter hoping it may find you all well.

From your affectionate brother, — W. J. Lowry

Tell Mother I will write a letter to her tomorrow. I received one from her last night. I received yours first and I thought I would write according to turn.


Camp 15 miles below Kinston, North Carolina
March the 4th 1863

Dear Mother,

I take the pleasure of seating myself this morning to drop you a few lines in answer to your very kind letter which I received a few days since. I was much pleased to hear from you all and to hear that you were all well. I am in moderate health at this time.

I have to go on picket every other night and it is tolerably hard. I was on last night and I have the headache this morning, There is not but two companies here and it is too hard on us. I think we ought to be relieved. We have been here two weeks last Monday.

If Thomson had of brought that box, we would not of got it for we left Kinston before he got there, without we could of got someone to of hauled it down here. There is a wagon passes every two or three days.

The camp has been alarmed twice since we have been here but it all turned out nothing. We picket about two miles below camp.

I was glad to hear that Add’s wound was mending. ¹ Add wrote that he received a letter from [Robert] H. Crews. ² I did not know but what he was dead. I have not heard from him in some 8 or 9 months. I heard [   ] was dead and then I heard he was not. I received a letter from Bob stating that he was well and hearty.

We drawed two months wages this morning which was $22 and it takes all of the mess wagon to keep them in something to eat with what rations they draw. I will bring my letter to a close hoping it may find you all well. Direct your letter to Kinston.

— W. J. Lowry

¹ James Addison (“Add”) Lowry (1843-1873) was William’s brother. Addison served as a private in the 53rd North Carolina Infantry. In December 1862, he was wounded in the right foot near Fredericksburg. His wound did not heal in time for him to join the regiment on the Gettysburg Campaign. He was wounded a second time on 22 September 1864 in the fight at Fisher Hill, Virginia, which caused him the loss of a leg. He died prematurely eight years after the war ended. Three of Add’s letters are housed in The Southern Historical Collection at the Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library.

² Robert H. Crews was William’s cousin. Robert was a sergeant in Co. K, 21st North Carolina Infantry. He was also killed on 2 July 1863 at Gettysburg. Robert was the son of Fuel Crews (1803-1846) and Alice Marey Aley Lowrey (1801-1886) of Forsyth county, North Carolina.


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