Archive for May, 2013

In Search Of Lawtons & Basingers: William Starr Basinger Writes To His Mother, July 16, 1865

May 31, 2013




                                Johnson’s Island

July 16, 1865

Dear Mother – Yours of the 7th reached me yesterday.

That of my sister, with the $5, has not come to hand.  Mine

of the 10th, mailed at Augusta, was probably the one sent by

Blois.  I’m glad that, on the commendations with Fleming, made

clear to you the aspect of affairs & my own views.  I’m glad

it was convenient for you to show him attention.  I don’t know

what I should have done on my arrival here but for

him.  For (?) I had many acquaintances, but they were not

the sort of men, (?) in a situation, to help me; not

for want of will or good nature, but for want of savoir faire.

But Fleming has a faculty & a fondness for helping people in

trouble.  I suppose you have seen some of my returned men,

& have learned some of the scores of that “last ditch”.  Do

give my kindest regards to any of them you see.  I shall ne-

ver forget them.  You’ve not told me what became of Geo. Stiles

or whether Pvt Fontenau has returned.  Remember me to both

of them.  We have prepared statements that the order for our re-

lease has been issued, but it does not arrive, & I grown very

weary of this confinement.  Thanks to the consideration of our

new Commandant it is now much less irksome than lately,

but the (?) of (?) or (?) could not (?)

for the loss of liberty.  I do not now think of making the

visit to Canada.  I have learned, in general, from a friend of

Maj. Stiles there, what we wished to know.  And to go there at

present without some such strong motive would probably

cause one to be misunderstood.  But the rest of my plan

I hold to.  The time necessary to carry it out will

depend somewhat on circumstances; for the first

thing in order is to get clothes in N. York.  I have contin-

ued to get on as I am, but have lately sent to Mrs. Hayes

for some little articles.  Should I want more I will write

to Mrs. Smith, who is still very kind.  I shall certainly

go to see her.  Mrs. McCalla has failed.  I did not write

to Dr. Caylor because I can be on no terms with men

like him.  I have other views at work; & hope to succeed in

some way before long.  But I’ve been writing some mothers

long letters lately, & must not push it too far.  My love to

all.  Have 2 letters from Pearson, the last written on the 4th.

I don’t know whether I can write or not to him & Dillon.

Yours Affly,

Wm. S. Basinger


In Search of Lawtons & Basingers: William Starr Basinger Writes To His Mother, July 2, 1865

May 31, 2013




Have written to & heard from the Joneses & Miss Read, Mrs. Hays (Sarah

(?)) has written to us.

Johnson’s Island, July 2, 1865

My dear Mother, Your letter of 25th & (?) of 15th came this

morning.  I am glad to hear Uncle C & E are both at home.  Do all

you can to induce the latter to find employment as soon as possible.

He must give up, I fear, all his former purposes on that subject.  Yet

it is a great pity, for he is well-adapted, I think, to that profess-

ion.  Something is needed too to lift up the former from the de-

pression you speak of, otherwise you find it.  I presume you have

(?) this seen Powell, Fleming, & Blois.  The latter was the bearer of

letters, which will inform you of my views & purposes.  I can’t

enlarge on them here.  But let me say that you do (?) to what

me to any line of conduct, in which principle is involved, with

arguments of (?) alone.  I’ve quite made up my mind what

to do in that regard, & hope to see you all soon.  All the company of-

ficers have gone from here, & we await now the promised regula-

tions concerning ourselves.  If the promise was (?), it’s per-

formance cannot be much longer delayed.  (?)

stayed with (?) to use his office.  If I can’t get that, I’ll be glad

to have my old one.  Tell J. Screven not to let anything hasty be done

about the (?), as I’ve some (?) on that subject, founded on

the supposition that their continuance as of old is impossible

for the present.  I’d answer D’s letter but for the fear that he could

not receive it.  My love to both of them.  Does Pearson say that the

(?) of Geo. & Tupper (?) & if not, I wish to see about that.

I intend if I can to visit the field where the others (?)

Can you tell me what became of Stiles?  His nephew, the (?), is my room-

mate still, & a most admirable person he is.  I (?) Fleming told

you about my way of life.  Love to all.  Affly yrs, Wm. S. Basinger


(Y’all, this letter is so hard to read and transcribe.  This image, like all the others, are photos made by digital camera of the actual letters, and we are nearing the end of the collection, and my skills are clearly fading.)