John C. Birdwell Letters, 1862 | East Texas Research Center

By Pam Palmer, 1985

Collection Overview

Title: John C. Birdwell Letters, 1862Add to your cart.

ID: A/116

Primary Creator: Birdwell, John Calhoun (1829-1869)

Extent: 0.5 Linear Feet

Date Acquired: 00/00/1960

Subjects: Birdwell, John Calhoun, 1829-1869 -- Correspondence, Genealogy, United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The letters are typescript and typescript carbon. Biographical and genealogical materials have been added to the collection.

Collection Historical Note

John Calhoun Birdwell, son of Allen and Luinda Ross Birdwell, was born in Lawrence County, Alabama on April 7, 1829. By 1845 the family had moved to Rusk County, Texas, where Allen Birdwell served as a State Representative to the Texas Legislature from 1853 to 1854 and from 1863 to 1864. In 1849 John C. Birdwell married Adaline Burney Cunningham, and they resided a number of years at Mount Enterprise, Rusk County before moving to Flatswood, Nacogdoches County shortly before the Civil War. John served in Company H of the 17th Dismounted Cavalry and was captured at Arkansas Post on the Arkansas River. He died on January 6, 1869.

A farmer, John Birdwell included instructions for running the farm in his absence in his letters written to his wife during the Civil War. Her letters report the progress of crops and livestock. The letters of both recount their hardships during the war as well as news of family and friends. Birdwell describes Confederate camp conditions depicting disease epidemics, food, music, gambling, funerals, weather, and ragged condition of the troops. He was not a slave holder and waxes bitter about the slave owners causing the war then paying substitutes to fight for them. Most of his letters were written from Camp Nelson and Camp Hope, Arkansas and contain an underlying refrain about the unreliability of mail service during the war.

(Mitchell, Gwenneth."John and Adeline Birdwell." Rusk County History. Dallas, Texas; Taylor Publishing Company, 1982. p. 112.)

Subject/Index Terms

Birdwell, John Calhoun, 1829-1869 -- Correspondence
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives

Administrative Information

Repository: East Texas Research Center

Access Restrictions: Open for research.

Acquisition Method: Gift

Related Materials: Birdwell Family Papers. ETRC Personal & Family Collection. A-221

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Box:

[Box 1],

Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Correspondence between John C. and Adaline Birdwell, from Louisiana, Arkansas, and Nacogdoches Co., re: farming, Civil War, conscription, fall of New Orleans, camp life, family matters, health, Apr-May 1862, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Correspondence between John C. and Adaline Birdwell and Mrs. N.O. Brewer, Nacogdoches County and Arkansas, re: war deprivations and depredations, farming, health, family matters, June 1862Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Correspondence of John C. to Adaline and Allen Birdwell [father of John], mostly from Camp Hope, Arkansas, re: farm, war, camp life, need for clothes and shoes, military funerals, July-Sept. 1862Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Correspondence of John C. to Adaline Birdwell, mostly from Camp Hope and Camp Nelson, Arkansas, re: camp life, marching, mail service problems, war, Southern politics, Oct. 1862Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Correspondence of John C. to Adaline Birdwell, mostly from Camp Nelson, Arkansas, re: war, mail, migration to Texas, camp life, weather, Nov. 1862Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Correspondence of John C. to Adaline Birdwell, from Arkansas Post, re: war, slave holders and slaves, camp life, weather, Dec. 1862Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Physical description of John C. Birdwell by Capt. Joseph H. Bruton, Aug. 4, 1863Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Biographical and genealogical materials, [1850-1980]Add to your cart.


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