1863: Robert James Wear to John A. Wear

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A painting by Mark Maritato of a 14th North Carolina Infantryman

This letter was written by Cpl. Robert J. Ware (1842-1863) of Co. D (the “Cleveland Blues”), 14th North Carolina (Confederate) Infantry. Robert volunteered as a private in the summer of 1861 at the age of 19. He was promoted to a corporal in December 1862. He was sick and absent from the regiment from late February until mid-April 1863 when he wrote this letter. His military record states that he died on 17 May 1863 of wounds received in the Battle of Chancellorsville. [Note: military rosters have his surname spelled “Ware” at times but from this letter you can see that he wrote it “Wear.”]

At the time of his enlistment in 1861, Robert was identified as standing 5 feet, 10 inches tall, with gray eyes and dark hair. His occupation was that of a Cleveland county farmer. He is buried in Section D, Row 30, Grave 22 in Oakwood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia.


Addressed to Mr. John A. Wear, Shelby, N. C.
with the politeness of [Sgt. John] Calvin Randall

Camp near Bolden Green [Bowling Green], Va.
April 19th 1863

Dear father and mother,

I seat myself this Sabbath day to inform you that I am well at this time and I hope these few lines will find you all in the same blessing. I came to my regiment on Monday last safe and sound and it was alright with the Captain and Colonel. I have sent my uniform pants and coat and a pair of fine jean pants I took for what David [H.] Bookout owed me and five or six shirt collars in the pocket and some buttons and I could send you more but Calvin said he couldn’t bring no more. I got my shirts and pants all and I have more than I can carry.

I wrote you a letter the day after I came and one to Jim Grimes Wear too. We have got marching orders now but I think we are just a going back up to the brigade about 20 miles. Everything is quiet still here now. I don’t believe that there will be much more fighting done. There is more prospect of peace now than there has been. I want you to write me. Tell me what you got as I have got nothing more to write so I [will] bring my few lines to a close by saying write [as] soon as you read [this] and give me all the news. Turn over.

Caroline, I sent you a song ballad in the other letter I wrote. I would send you all some now but I hadn’t got none. It was Sunday when I came through Richmond and the stores was shut up. I want you and Carlinda or Margaret to write me all about the times and how Martha gets along. Tell Miss Elisabeth Oates that I put postage stamps on her letter and sent it on.

— R. J. Wear



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