“I fear our troops are to suffer much from want of clothing, and that our supplies will prove greatly inadequate for our wants.”–Letters from Elisha Franklin Paxton.

Bunker Hill, Va., October 5, 1862.

The army was never so quiet as now, the general impression prevailing that we contemplate no advance upon the enemy and that he contemplates none upon us. We are lying quiet to gather in our absentees and recover from the losses which we have sustained in the active work of the last sixty days. When this is accomplished winter will probably have set in, and the work of this year closed. I fear our troops are to suffer much from want of clothing, and that our supplies will prove greatly inadequate for our wants.

Whilst the army has been apparently idle, I have been unusually busy during the last week. Everybody seems to be making application for something, and my office is crowded with business. I do scarcely any writing, leaving it all to my clerk, Mr. Figgat. If I undertook to do the writing, my eyes would not last long. But as it is, I think I shall be able to do my work without injury. My office is one of much importance and responsibility, and I trust I may be able to fill it without suffering injury to my sight. I think, Love, if this war lasts much longer, you will get to be a pretty good farmer. It really seems as if it would last forever. Both parties seem getting used to it, and the signs of peace and quiet are less, if anything, now than this time last year.

I heartily wish I were at home with you and our dear little boys. It is the wish of many thousands of my comrades who have left loved wives and children at home to mourn their absence and grieve over the danger and hardships to which they are exposed. God grant that we may all soon be gratified—that the fervent prayer for our return may soon be answered. When we do, I think it will be with a more grateful appreciation of the blessings which we were accustomed every day to enjoy.

Now, darling, I will bid you good-bye. Think of me often and cherish the fond love which has marked our intercourse thus far through life as our greatest source of happiness.



The office which General Paxton held at this time was that of Acting Assistant Adjutant-General on Jackson’s staff. The following letter from General Jackson shows the esteem in which he was at this time held by that officer.

Headquarters V. District

September 23, 1862.

General: I respectfully recommend that Maj. E. F. Paxton be appointed Brigadier-General and assigned to the command of the brigade lately under Brigadier-General C. L. Winder. Last year he was major of the 27th Regt. of the brigade and ranked all the officers at present in the brigade, except three. Upon the reorganization of the Volunteer Regiment, Major Paxton was not retained. As he served under me in the line, and at various times I assigned important duties to him, and as for several months he has been my A. A. A. General, my opportunities for judging of his qualifications have been remarkably good; and there is no officer under the grade proposed whom I can recommend with such confidence for promotion to a Brigadier-Generalcy.

I am, General, your obt. servant,

T. J. Jackson,


To Genl. S. Cooper,

Adjt. & Insp.-Gen’l C. S. A.

Elisha Franklin Paxton – Letters from camp and field while an officer in the Confederate Army

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