Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Bates letters, March 1861

Fort Smith, Ark. March 8, 1861

Dear Parents,

When I wrote my last letter to you I did not think that it was to be my fate to become what I now am, a General prisoner, but here I am in a cell 10 feet long by 4 wide, and my feet connected with a chain eighteen inches long and about as many pounds in weight.

And what, you say, have I done!! I will tell you. I have acted like a man, and an action which no honest one would blame me for has made me what I am, a prisoner.

The night before last some of the secessionists in town hoisted a flag opposite of the gate of the fort bearing for a device 8 stars and a pistol and bowie knife crossed. This appeared to be an insult to the soldiers and union so I went out and pulled it down and on being ordered by my captain to put it up again I tore it into ribbands the dirty flag that’s what I am in for chained like a murderer.

But I can’t write any more now so goodbye
My love to all

Pray for your most unfortunate

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