The Letters of
Lieutenant Isaac Peterson Howard, CSA
14th Tennessee Infantry Regiment
~ 1861 ~

Letters to and from Isaac Howard’s Connection
in Montgomery County Tennessee

Copyright © 2003, Margaret R. Winders. All Rights Reserved.

Huntersville Pocahontas, Va. Aug. 3, 1861
Dear Mother,
         I thought I would write to you this morning. We are all well at present. We are stopping a day or so and we will then go up higher in the State there is some twelve thousand troups in th County now and there is some four thousand on the Federal side. they encamped on the top of the mountains. The only way we are going to fight them is to surround them and cut off their supplies. but I do not think that we will have much fighting to do. You must not believe anything that you hear for there is a great many reports going around that is not true. When we started up here from the Depot where we were stationed there was several come on to hurry us up. They said that ----were troups in this town. When---got here we found they were thirty or forty miles off. -----have been getting here------but they were not --------were the size of ---the west fork. --------some of the hardest looking country I ever saw. we are encamped in a place where are surrounded by mountains on all sides. I left George [his servant] at Knoxville. he has got the measles. he is well taken care of. When he gets well he will come on with Harry Bulloch or Furguson or some of the boyes. tell his mother that George wants to come with me and sleeps in the tent with me when he is here. I have not herd from home since I left Camp Quarles. I know that youall would write to me if you knew where to direct your letters. You can write to Huntersville Pocahontas County Va. and I can get it from there. I will close my letter. Give my love to all inquiring Friends.
Your son I. P. Howard

P.S. I think that you had better direct your letters Stan-------in care of Col. Forbes. 14th Tenn Regiment for---------- ----------------- at that place and I could -----better chance of getting it.

Note: This letter is very faded in places and some parts could not be deciphered.

Aug. 18, 1861
Camp Big Spring, Va.
Dear Mother,
         I received your letter the 18th and was really glad to here from you it Being the first letter I have received from from any of the family. We are all well at the present time. have had some sickness in camp as the measles have got all through the camp. George [his servant] got here with Captain Lockert. He is well and sends his love to his Mother and Father and Sisters and Brothers and to Luke and Sandy and Bat.
         We have very cold weather up here for this time of the year and it is like Oct in Tenn. And have plenty of Beef here to eat. the folks up here raise nothing but cattle and Hay. We expect to move from here vary soon. we will push on to wards the Ohio river. General Johnson is -------the enemy are retreating. I do not think we will have to do any fighting. We have more troups than they. Tell Blanche [his sister] that I am really sorry that Sam kicked her colts eye out. this country up here is very hard to get anything here. We have to send to Stanton for that is over one hundred miles from here. there is a man going down to Nashville to bring such clothing as the Officers in the Briggade want to send after. and those at Clarksville [who] have things to send must mark the name of the Company and the Regiment. I want you to tell Jim [his brother] to get me the following articles I want him to have me made one pr heavy boots about number tens ----Boots. Try to get Edling to make them and I want two heavy Blankets and they better be collerd, four pr Sockes, two pr drawers, one under Shirt, four Quires Paper, four packages of good Envelopes, let them be yellow. Two boxes Water Proof Caps. One pr winter pants and-----them Jeans. and for George that old Turn Coat of mine and you can mark them this way, Lut.[Lieutenant] I. P. Howard Co. G 14th Tenn Inf Reg. You must mark every Piece and that little Carpet Bag that I had at Camp Quarles. You can send them to Frank Beaumont store there in Clarksville and they will be put up in Big Boxes and they will be sent on to Nashville to Mr. Stewart. he will not stay there more than two weeks. Tell Jim [his brother] to send me a good Pipe he can get one for two or three Dollars. I want you to have those things sent to me for I don’t know when I will have a chance to get any more. be sure and have every piece marked with name and then when you write send me a bill of what you sent. You can write my name on a piece of paper and sow it on the Piece. and in one letter you will find twent Dollars to get the things. I want some good Tobaco. You must excuse this letter I will write more the next time I write. give my love to all the Family and Relations and to Mr. Greenhills family and to the two pups and Bird [?] Do tell Blanche to send me a Chronicle. I will close my letter I remain your devoted Son
I. P. Howard

         Tell Jim [his brother, James Bryant Howard] to send me a quart or so of good whiskey for Meddical purposes. We never get any here.

Camp at Big Spring, Va.
August 23, 1861
Dear Sister,
         As Mr. Barnes is going from here to Clarksville I take this opportunity of writing to you to let you know how we are getting along. The boys are all well except a few cases of mumps. They have broken out in our regiment. James Philpot of our company have got them. He is doing well. We have some cold weather here for Aug. we have had some frost here since we got here. It rains here almost every day or so. We are encamped in some of the tallest mountains I ever saw. We have plenty of good water up here all that is unpleasant is that we can’t get any of the fruit kind here now we cannot get any Tobaco or any paper or anything of that kind here. So this is the last piece of paper that I could get here so there will be no more writing untill we can get some more paper. You wrote me in your letter that Sam had kicked your colts eye out I am sorry. Sorry to hear of the loss of an eye I think Jim [his brother] had better kill that old horse of his for he has killed and crippled more than he is worth. I want you to take good care of the pups and not let them get stolen. I wrote to Mother [Minerva Peterson Howard] and Aunt Lu [Louisa Peterson] last Sunday. I would have written to you but I thought it would be better to wait until now. In my letter to Mother I wrote to James [his brother] to send me some things and sent twennt dollars in the letter. I will send tweent more and he can keep what is left if there is any. I will send him a list of things and he will have to get them and send them to Clarksville where Mr. John Barnes will bring them on to the Regiment. They must be marked this way, 1 Lut. I. P. Howard, Co. G. 14th Regiment and you can write to me and send the letter by him. George is well and sends his respects to his mother and all of his folks. You must give my respects to all the young ladyes and to H.H. Leigh and to Henry Greenhill and tell them they must write to me and give me the news and I will answer their letters. And give my respects to Buck Pollard and Mr.Cummings and tell them that I often think of the many pleasant hours that I have passed with them. And give my respects to old Uncle Austin and tell him howdy, write to me and tell all the news. I don’t have anything here [news ?] Tell what Ky. is doing and everything you can think of.

Please hand this money and list to James as soon as you can.
         2 pr drawers
         four pr socks
         two knit wolen shirtes
         one pr. buck gloves
         four quires of large letter paper, 4 packages of good envelopes
         one bottle of ink
and try and get me one camp chest some three feet long by eighteen inches deep. You can get it at Clarksville and for George two shirteens, two pr. sockes one pr. pantes, two pr. drawers, and the old over coat of mine. You can put the things in the camp chest and give the key to Mr. Barnes and put one or two quarts in of good whiskey. Try and get these things if you can. You will find fourty dollars in this letter. Give to Mr. William Young twenty of it and tell him it is to be sent to Mr. G.W. Caudle.
Your brother
I. P. Howard

The following are two letters from Isaac Peterson Howard to his brother James Bryant Howard, in Montgomery County, Tennessee. Later James joined the Confederate Army also. He was killed. See his letter later.

Big Spring,
August 10, 1861
Dear Brother, [James Bryant Howard]
         I thought I would write to you to let you know how we are getting along. We are all well at present. I wrote last at Huntsville, we are now some twenty eight miles north of that place, now we are about five miles from the enemy. Our scouts brings in news of there movements every day. They have it is supposed some six or seven thousand men. We have eight regiments here and some six hundred of Cavalry and two companies of Artilry and I think we can roust them out of this part of the country soon. The Briggade that we are in is commanded by General Anderson and he is under General Lee. It is very difficult to get anything up here. We have to hall it from Millsborrough and it is some seventy miles from here and through the mountains all of the way. They have got a good road over the mountains. We were six days and a half coming here there is some of the hardest country up here that I ever saw. You may travel here three or four days and get up on one of these mountains and see where you came from in the three days. The folks up here do not raise any corn hardly enough to bred [bread] them and what they do raise is yellow corn. It is great hay and cattle country. Any quantity of hay, it is the finest hay country I ever saw.
         Grass will grow anywhere in these mountains where it can get a foot hold. as high as a mans head. They are cutting their hay up here now. They do not raise hogs up here for the bears eat them. there is plenty of bear and deer wild cats and wolves here. You can see these old mountain red ankles with there fence rails on there shoulders walking around here. They have run all the union men off or taken them prisoners. We had some nine or ten of them at Huntsville when we were there. We gave them to the other Regiment that we left there at Huntersville. I herd from Capt. Lockert he will be here in two or three days and I think George will come with Hirth last time I heard from him he was well enough to come on with the captain. Well I will close my letter tell Mother that she must not be uneasy that I keep well. I have not been sick since I joined the Army. Eph Manson is getting along very well and all of the boyes from the neighborhood. This is very healthy country up here the folks here never die. You must give all my love to all the folks down in old Montgomery. ------- --------- --------and Fannie Britton and Mary Jane alls ---- and to Puss Greenhill and tell them I would like very much to see them and hear from them. There are some men going from here to Nashville Tenn in the morning and I will send my letter there by them. When you write, back your letter [address your letter] this way
         Lut. I. P. Howard
         14th Regiment Tenn. Vol.
         Staunton, Va
and I can get it by express from there and we do not pay anything on the --here. for if we did we could not get them to --------we have to endorse with our name and rank on the back of them we have not got any post office here. Tell old Set[?] and old Bill Leigh to write to me. And when you write tell me about Bill whether he is married or not and whether he left home or not and write generally what they are doing. I would write to all the boyes down there if I thought they would write to me. Give my love to Aunt May and old Ike and tell them I intend to write to them soon. It is a right cold place up here overcoats feel very well of mornings of July and August. If it does not rain here once a week they think it is a long dry spell. I will close.
I remain your
Respected Brother
I. P. Howard

Big Spring, Va. Aug. 28, 1861
Dear Jim. [his brother, James Bryant Howard]
         I take this opportunity to drop you a few lines to let you know how we are getting along. I am well and heavier than I have ever been this time of the year. I weigh 181 lbs. and when we left Camp Quarles I weighed 161 lbs. the boys are all well. like here very well but we see a hard time of it. A Private seays a hard time up here. A man can do very well in the Army if he can have a commission office, for then he does not have to stand gard or do anything of any kind. this Regiment sends out fifty men everyday to work on the road. here the roads is very bad from here to Huntersville and we have some twenty or thirty wagons hauling all the time. I do not know when we will have to start from here. Not before the roads get better, The Yankies is some ten or twelve miles from here now. We cannot tell about them. Our Generals know but none others, for I see General Anderson every day and go to his tent but never hear him say anything about them. Gen Loren is three miles farther up. We have some twelve or fifteen thousand troups here in five or six miles around.
         Dr. Drain [Drane] and -------Beaumont of Clarksville got here the other day and they reported that crops looked fine in Tenn. I want you to write to me and tell me how Res [?] is getting along. We herd that she was nursing some troops in Christian County [Ky] for Lincon. George is getting along finely, he does not cook for but four of us now. and he does not have to wash for anyone but me. he has a good place to stay of a night. He and Bob McClure who cooks for Young[?] Wash Lowe have got a tent to themselves to sleep in. I wrote to mother and Blanche last week and in Mother’s letter I sent twenty Dollars for you to get me some things to be brought by Mr. Stewart of Nashville who went on for the Officer’s clothing you was to carry to H. S. Beaumont Store and they were to be sent to him at Nashville and in a few days after Mr. John Barnes went for the 14th Regiment. I sent in Blanche’s letter fourty Dollars twenty of which Mr. Caudle told me to have sent to Mr. William Younge as it was money he didn’t have any use for here. And the other money was to buy the things that I sent for after I didn’t think that the other was enough.
         I sent a list of things in the letters for fear you would not get both letters for they are for things that I very much needed. I wrote to Aunt Lucy the same time. You must give my respects to all the neighbors and to the girls and to W.H. Leigh and tell him I would love the best in the world to hear from him in the shape of a letter and I would answer his letter with pleasure and tell also Sep ? the same and give my respects to Mr. Greenhill’s family also.
         I herd that Miss Dee Pollard and Mr. Spence Meacham was married. Write to me whether it is so or not. and tell me something about Mele--[Melville Cherry] and Baley Allen and Aunt Mary and Aunt Betsey and Nancy and Eller [Ella] and all of the family and the girls generally, and give my love to Uncle Henry Leigh and Aunt Betsey and the rest of the family and tell them I--- ---to them. You all must be ----and write to me. I write every time I get a chance. we have to send our letters by hand some thirty miles before we can get them mailed and one other thing there is no paper here scarcely or I would ------mine. I must close my letter for it is long after taps. Take good care of my two dogs. I remain your
Brother [Isaac Peterson Howard]

Note: The Miss Dee Pollard I. P. mentioned is Cordelia Ann Pollard, later the grandmother of the compiler who married after the war, Daniel Webster Ransdell, a former Confederate cavalryman. He was captured at Fort Donelson.

Note: The following letter from James Bryant Howard to his brother, Isaac Peterson Howard is VERY faded and much of it cannot be read. It mostly concerns family and friends.

New Providence, Tenn. September 21, 1861
Dear Brother [Isaac Peterson Howard]
         I will write you a line to let you know how we are getting along. We are all well. [mentions Paducah has been taken.] The Sessionest are raising a Regiment too. I think we can run them out. My the boys have been having a good time since they have been at home.---is crawling at the O’neals now. I saw Ella the other day. She was well and as pretty as ever and sends her love to you. Mary Tom was here yesterday and sends her love.
         You said you had herd that Miss Dee Pollard and Spence are married. They aren’t yet but I suspect they will be soon. She said she is waiting till all you boys come back. Ella says she is mad because you wrote to Poppy instead of her. We have a fine crop of corn and tobacco. The red pups will set birds. I will send you a lock of their hair. Miss Jennie [Janie?] is as pretty as ever and fat and sassy. All the neighbors send their love to you. Ike there is some-------going on with the girls. They say they are going to wait till all you boys get back. I didn’t know how much I loved you boys untill you left. Mr. Philpot says when you write say something about Jimmy. I will deliver the message. Old Jim brags on you all the time and sent you half a square of paper and his love. He says he would give a Half dollar cash to see you. It looks right odd to see the ladys [riding?] by themselves.
         Tobacco will get ripe in ---------- I got all the things you wanted. [Many large ink spots.]
Two blankets $8.50, 1 pair jeanes -------, 1 pipe $2.00, 2 boxes of caps $1.50, 1 camp shirt $3.00, 1 package envelopes 50 cents, 1 gallon whiskey $1.20, the chest------Forbes Regiment, Capt. Brunson, Co., G. Mr. Bullocks got the key. Mr. Bullock and W. O’Neal. several others have got something in the chest. I will close my letter and rite more next time. Give my love to the boys. You boys must not get drunk when I can’t.
Your Brother J.B. Howard [James Bryant Howard]
I sent George a -------pr boots.
Goodbye Ike and Gabe [possibly the pups names?]

The pups send their love to you and all inquiring friends.

Note: Captain James Bryant Howard enlisted in the 49th. Tenn. Regiment and served with his cousin, Captain (later colonel) William F. Young. Jim was killed while removing the seriously wounded Col. Young from the battlefield July 28, 1864, at Atlanta. After the war, some family members went to Atlanta to find try to locate his body to bring home for burial, but failed.

Note: The following letter is from Louisa V. Peterson who was the aunt of the Howard brothers and also had been their teacher in the log cabin school in the Howard’s back yard.

Providence, Tenn.
July 23, 1861
Well Ike-
         I thought as the boys in your Regiment are leaving here tomorrow, I would drop you a line and let you know that your folks are all well. I told Blanche [I. P.’s sister] she ought to write to you but I don’t know whether she did or not. Everybody is wild with excitement over the big fight that is expected here, the dispatch this morning said that Beauregard had driven the Yankees across the Potomac. your Aunt Kate says she hopes if you boys get into a fight you will distinguish yourselves. I would be glad to see you all back with whole scalps. I would not object to hear that you had “distinguished” yourself if you could do it with whole skin. we are all eager to hear from you boys. Everybody down here is interested in your movements. If you all had stopped at the Cumberland Gap there is a good many who intended to pay you a visit. Mrs. Manson says she is interested to go to see Eph and I had my heart set on going to see the mountains. I imagine you had a pleasant time of it. Jimmy went to the postoffice Sarurday to get a letter from you, but was disappointed. Several of the boys had written home and we thought of course you would write too.
         Ike, the girls are all wishing you all the good luck. I saw Mollie Britton a few evenings ago and I think she would like to hear from “Lieutenant Howard” and would like to see that gentlemans face again. The boys that go from here will tell you all the news. Tell George his Mama is well and all the rest of the darkies at the Howards want to see him. Luke said he would not want to be in his place for no money. They never expect to see him again. They all have possum dogs ------ ---. Since you left I expect they will get too lazy to hunt. Tell Billy Caudle I saw Mrs. Young [Catherine, the wife of Col. W. F. Young.] His folks are all well. I also saw Mr. Bullock, and they are well, but Mrs. Bullock is down in the mouth about Harry.
         Since writing this morning Will Henry Leigh went to the postoffice and got your letter. I expect they will have a Joyful time tonight at your Dad’s. Will Henry said tell you that the Home Guards will be ordered to Dover soon and you may expect to hear of some daring deeds and hair breadth escapes among the dog fennel down there. They say that weed grows in abundance down there. He swears he won’t wear those “Brown Janes Uniforms”[?]. Res[?] sends her best respects. Uncle Elsey sends his best respects and good wishes and says he looks for you to come back. Give my respects to all the boys I know and tell them to give the Yankees ------- -------------. Ike, if you will answer this I will write and give you the news generally.
         Ike, Old Whit regretted exceedingly that we didn’t get to take you all another dinner. Never mind. when you get home, the fatted calf will be killed and we will have a grand time. Tell William Thompson that Mrs. Britton has been very ill but is some better. They thought she would die last week.
         Walker Manson spent the day at the Howards last Sunday. He told us he went as far as Nashville with you all. Well I will quit. I wish you all the good luck to get home again and if you do fight I hope you will whip the Yankies. Goodbye
Write to us soon
Yours truly
L. Peterson [his aunt Louisa V. Peterson]

Oh! Ike, these Home Guards are having their Brown Jeans uniforms made. Jimmy says he won’t wear it.

Oct. 11th 1861
Dear Ike,
         I received your letter of the 28th and was very glad to hear from you.We have all been ------- ------ ------ I have either been or sent to the postoffice every time the mail has come in for the last four weeks and thought you were either sick or did not receive my letters. Your folks are all well. Your Mother says if you can get away from there, come if George gets well enough to bring him or if he dies you must come home.I wrote to you last week but perhaps you didn’t get that. i have no news that would interest you much. There is a good deal of excitement about the troops that are being sent to Ky. from Mississippi.
         The cars are running all the time, the baggage and passenger trains have all stopped [running]. Nothing but carrying soldiers. There is a big fight expected between here and Louisville. Pig Greenhill came near being killed while out on picket guard. George Trice shot and killed the the fellow that tried to kill Pig. Pig has been here since the affair. He has his head tied up where the fellow struck him. I gave you a full account of it in my other letter.
         Fannie Britton and Mollie were here last week and said they wanted to see you very much. Fannie told Mollie that you said you thought more of her than any of the other girls. Mollie says you like her best, so you will have to settle that when you get home.
         Dee Pollard [Cordelia Ann Pollard, daughter of George Milton Pollard and Martha E. Young Pollard] still has Spence Meacham, and-------, and John Mason waiting on her [courting her]. John is trying to devil Spence, I believe. Tell Tip his folks are all well. John Mason was here last week. Nat Trice has come home. He has been down on the Tennessee river, the Yankee’s having got Smithland[?] and Paducah both. Old Forbes had better bring the boys home. I expect they will be needed here before long. Bill Leigh wrote to you the other day. Tell Roberson Brown his folks are well and Mrs. Brown is uneasy about him.Tell George his folks are all well and sorry that he is sick. His mother sends her love and says she is in hopes he will get home. If George is well enough we will look for him when John O’Neal comes home.
         Blanche is still at home and Jimmy is upstairs writing to you. Your mother sends her love to you and says as Jimmy and myself are writing, thinks it unnecessary for her to write.
         Your Pap’s health is about as usual. Give my respects to all the boys I know and tell them to come home before they all die out there. I wish I could hand you all something good to eat. Jimmy Philpot came by here. We all ran out to see him and asked him about ten thousand questions, and would like to have liked to ask some more, but the fellow looked so lean and gaunt we thought we had better let him rest a little before he went home.
         Ask Henry Bullock if he has forgotten his promise to write to me. Tell him to write to his uncle John O’Neal. Give my respects to Billy Shepherd and little Jimmy McNickles. Tell them to take good care of you folks. Write soon
Your Aunt Lou P.[Peterson]

Note: This letter is abbreviated due to its length, and is mostly concerned with family.
Providence, Tenn.
Sept. 7, 1861
Dear Ike,
         I brought a nice melon to Mrs. ---- this morning and I wish I could hand you boys some melons and fruit and something good to eat. Mrs. Britton has put you up a nice can [jar] of peaches for you when you come home. Tell all the boys that came from here their folks are all well.
         Your pups are well and frisky as ever. Tell Tip his old dog has about a peck of fleas not quite a large as crickets. Give my respects to every one. Has Andrew Cherry found his dinner bag yet?
Goodbye Yours Truly
Lou Peterson

Obituary of Isaac Peterson Howard

         Following a two weeks illness incident to age, Esquire Isaac Peterson Howard, native and lifelong resident of Montgomery County, and for many years prominently identified with its government and civic affairs, died at 9 o’clock this morning at his birthplace on the Dover Road in District 8. Born in 1840, Mr. Howard has passed his eighty-third birthday on April 9, last.
         Mr. Howard represented his district in the Montgomery county quarterly court for eighteen years, and as a member, served as one of the 5 commissioners who secured the plans, let the contract and superintended the erection of the courthouse on the present location. The original building was completed and occupied in 1880, but was partially destroyed by fire in 1889 and rebuilt. Mr. Howard was the last member of the commissioners, and incidentally, his name is the the last one carved in the cornerstone at the northeast corner of the building. Mr. Howard was named on the commission to succeed Judge C. G. Smith, who resigned, and served through the official life of the commission. The four other commissioners who have preceded him to the grave were Judge Charles W. Tyler, Griffin Orgain, G.H. Slaughter, and William S. Mallory. Judge Tyler was the most recent to die, preceding Mr. Howard.
         County court minutes for the years 18--and 18--, consulted this morning, gave a full history of the appointment of the commissioners, the acceptance of the plans prepared by the architect, G.W. Bunting for a building costing $55,000, awarding the contract to McCormack and Sweeney, contractors, acceptance of the building and other features in connection with its construction. The courthouse on the present site replaced the one that had burned, which was located on Franklin Street in the vicinity of Buck’s barber shop and the Savoy restaurant. Four or five locations were considered before the present plot, then owned by Mrs. Jenny Johnson, was selected. The resolution accepting the location stated that it was thought to be the best location, so as to be away from the “noise and bustle” of the business district. At that time the plans for the new courthouse were being threshed out, the court was meeting in the First Baptist church that was located on the southeast corner of the present lot.
         In addition to serving as a courthouse commissioner, Mr. Howard was a member of many important committees in the court, and was one of the most enthusiastic members, always having his duties and interests of the county at heart. In later years, although inactive in an official capacity, Mr. Howard had kept in close touch with the county’s progress, and was always interested in its affairs and welfare.


         Mr. Howard was numbered among the fast passing Confederate veterans of the 14th Tennessee regiment, and made a valiant soldier. He was married on July 5, 1865, to Miss Martha Ann Cooley, who preceded him to the grave fifty years ago. Surviving Mr. Howard are one son, Joseph Bryant Howard, for many years county surveyor, and two daughters, Mrs. A.B. Riggins, and Mrs. E.E. Riggins. Twelve grandchildren also survive. Mr. Howard was the son of Meridith and Mrs. Minerva Peterson Howard, pioneer residents of the county.
         Mr. Howard was next to the oldest resident in District 8, in which he was born. He kept abreast of current events, and was one of the best posted men in the county. As a Christian and neighbor, Mr. Howard’s life was most worthy of emulation. He was kind, considerate and charitable and ever ready to comfort the unfortunate. His passing has caused deep sorrow throughout the county. Services for Mr. Howard will be conducted at the home by the Rev. W.A. Blades at 2 o’clock tomorrow afternoon. Pallbearers will be Jim Owen, F.M. Atkins, John Roe, Hervey Hawkins, Tom Towe, C.W. Johnson and L.L. Lisenby.
Source: Clarksville (Tennessee) Leaf-Chronicle November 26, 1923 p. 1

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