In Search of Lawtons & Basingers: A Letter From William Starr Basinger To His Mother, April 14, 1865



Letter (in ink, manuscript) from Wm S Basinger to his mother, Mrs J S

Basinger, in Savannah, GA

                                                Petersburg, Apl 14, 1865.

My dear Mother,

                On our way, a sad train of captives from the unfortunate

field of Sailor’s Creek of Apl 6th, to I know not whither.  I seize an

opportunity to let you know what has befallen me.  I lost everything,

the most common necessities.  As soon as I am sure of a permanent place

of confinement, I will draw on you for a little money.  I know how em-

barassed you all are in that way.  But I will make the draft as small as possible.

                I cannot think of the splendid conduct & of the losses of

my noble little command without mingled emotions of admiration & grief.

Of 85 engaged, I lost 24 killed, 26 (28?) wounded, & the rest prisoners.  Rice,

Turner & King were killed.  Tupper mortally wounded.  Smith, Dillon &  Blois

severely wounded.  Starr painfully, but doing well.  I escaped with a

slight wound, but was grazed many times.  My coat was pierced; my sword

belt struck, my pistol shattered in one hand, my sword in another.  We

drove a regiment with the bayonet, & took their colors.  But I cannot

give you particulars now.  For the conduct of the command, let it suffice

to say, that every one I meet, from Ewell down to the privates, congrat-

ulates me upon it.  Tell the Stiles that their cousin, Maj. Robt. Stiles,

was under my immediate command, behaved himself more like a hero than

any man I ever saw, & is with me, a prisoner.

                I have prepared a list of casualties for the N Y Herald,

& will write fully as soon as I get a chance.

                Thank God for his wonderful preservation of my life, &

believe me ever your affte son, & my sister’s affte brother.

                                                                Wm S Basinger.

Mrs J S Basinger,




“Rice, Turner, & King” are Capt. Gilbert C. Rice or Corp’l W. H. Rice, Lieut. George M. Turner, and Lieut. William H. King.

“Tupper mortally wounded” is Lieut. Fred A. Tupper, and indeed he did die from his wounds.

“Smith, Dillon, & Blois” are either Private J. T. Smith or Lieut. George D Smith (who later died of his wounds), Lieut. John E. Dillon, and  Eugene T. Blois.

You can refer back to this previous post with the names of the men.



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