Wayne County News this week came into possession of a most intimate momento of the Civil War- -a letter written by a Wayne county soldier to his family back home in July 1864.
The letter was written by Benjamin Dean to his wife Nancy Dean, and has been preserved by Mrs. A. G. Toney, of Wayne, a daughter of Benjamin Dean.
It should be explained that Benjamin Dean had one of the most unusual service records of any Wayne county man who served in the great conflict of 1861-1864. He served for the full four years of the war and engaged in thirty-seven battles, but lived to return to his family after Lee's memorable surrender.
He was born at what is now the V. H. Dean farm, about two miles South of Wayne, and he lived on Wilson's Creek. His brothers were Wm., John, Joseph, Wayne and Lindsey Dean. His sisters were Sarah Wilson, Rebecca Huff, Elizabeth Workman, Cynthia Bartram and Emily Osburn. Lindsey was killed in the Civil War on the old James River Turnpike near what is now Westmoreland in this county. Lonzo Booth, a brother of Jim Booth, of Wayne, was killed at the same time. During his four full years of service Benjamin Dean had but few furloughs home and at one time was away from home and in constant battles and raids for eleven months.
He married Nancy Booth, and they had two children: Will Dean, now deceased, and Mrs. A. G. Toney, who now lives at Wayne. The following letter is addressed to his wife. The paper on which it is written is yellowed with age, but it is still legible despite the fact that it was written sixty-two years ago.
The letter reads as follows:
In Camp Near
July the 19th, 1864
I embrace the opportunity of writing you a few lines to let you know I am alive, and I am hoping when these few lines come to hand they may find you all well.
We are under General McCaslin. We have been on a raid ever since the 11th day of May. We started at Lynchburg, from there back to the Valley of Virginia to Winchester, from there to Maryland to Frederick City. We fought 25,000 there. Lieut. T. S. Walker was wounded, his jaw was broken. Lieut. Harris was wounded and captured. Hiram Grizzle's thigh was broken. Abraham Vaughan was shot through his body.
I had two holes shot through my clothes in this battle, one through my pocket and one through my shirt sleeve.
We went near the city of Washington. We came back through East Virginia. I am near Winchester today. We marched all night. We have had a mighty hard raid this Spring and Summer.
Nancy, I am very poor and feeble. And, Nancy, I want to see you and William and Lummy once more. I now want to see you worse than I ever did in my life. Nancy, I haven't had a clean shirt for over five weeks. We manage to get enough to eat. We hook the Yanks at every point we can.
Tell my father and mother that I would like to see them again before we are all swept into Eternity. Tell Father Booth and Mother Booth that there is not a day but what I think about them and long to see them once more.
We have been commanded by Col. Graham. He does nothing but drink and curse, and if Colonel Ferguson isn't exchanged by next season, I never expect to make another raid in this war.
Nancy, tell Mate I would like to see him but not in any war. Nancy, do the best you can, for at best you now have a hard way of getting along.
Nancy, tell Charity that Enoch Bartram has fallen in love with her and says she is the prettiest girl he has ever seen. He asked me to come and see her for him. He says he is going to write her. We left Enoch Bartram at North Mountain with Hiram Grizzle, who was wounded. Enoch is a fine young man.
Nancy, when I return I want to see you fat and well, but war is very uncertain and I may never be able to see you again. I haven't drawn any money yet since I wrote last.
Tell William and Lummy to be good children until I come home, and the Lord will bless them. I have got two mighty fine horses and if Peace was only made sometime soon I would bring them back. I am worried sick to think I can't enjoy my home and the thought that I am banished from my wife and two little children grieves me daily. Tell Lummy and William to save me some apples to eat after I get back home from this war.
So no more at present. I remain your affection husband until death.
Benjamin F. Dean
NOTE: Mr. Dean lived to make it back home.
Following is a list of names of veterans of the Civil War still living in Wayne County. These have been received since the publication of the names of sixteen veterans in last week's paper.
JAMES WARD, a Union soldier, who lives on Big Branch in this county.
ALLEN CHRISTIAN, Union, of Pyles Branch.
ISOM NOBLE, of Fort Gay Route 1. Mr. Noble was a Confederate soldier in Company E, 10th Ky. Regiment, volunteer cavalry, and was born in Breathet County, Ky., in 1845, but he has lived in this county since 1866 and is 81 years old.
SAM MAYNARD, age about 88. Mr. Maynard is at present in Logan County, but he is a native Wayne Countian, having lived in the vicinity of McComas Creek. He was a Union soldier.
CALVIN MOORE, Confederate, age 87, of Whites Creek, Wayne Route 1.
GEORGE W. MOORE, Confederate, age 80, of Wilsons Creek, Wayne Route 2.
ALBERT SMITH, Confederate, age 86, of Wayne Route 2. Mr. Smith lives with his daughter, Mrs. Tom Mills.
ED FERGUSON, Confederate, age 82, of Louisa, Kentucky. Mr. Ferguson now makes his home in Louisa, but formerly lived in Wayne County.
MARION STONE, Confederate, of Louisa, Kentucky, who formerly lived in Wayne County.
ANDY PERRY, age 82, who lives in McComas Creek, Dunlow, Route 1. He was a Union soldier.
REV. JOSEPH M. MARCUM, age 78, of Dunlow, Route 1, a Confederate veteran.
BILL BRADLEY, who lives at the head of Moses Fork, on Dunlow Route 1, a Confederate veteran. Mr. Bradley participated in the famous battle of Saltville.
TOM MUNCY, of the head of Moses Fork, Dunlow Route 1, a Union veteran.
SAM SPAULDING, who lives at the head of Missouri Branch, a Union veteran.
REV. MAT SMITH, of Dunlow, a Union soldier. Mr. Smith is the father of Luke Smith, Dunlow postmaster.
JOHN "MUCK" MAYNARD, who lives with his son Charley Maynard near Stiltner. He was a Union soldier.
SAM FERGUSON, who lives on Tick Ridge, Dunlow, Route 1.
This brings the total of old soldiers in Wayne County who have been reported to this paper up to 33, including both Confederate and Union veterans.
Following is a list of the officers elected by Wayne Chapter No. 18, Royal Arch Masons, for the coming year, last Saturday night:
Clyde Scraggs, High Priest; M. N. Lester, E. K.; W. R. May, E. S.; C. E. Walker, Treasurer; P. P. Lester, Secretary; B. Mosser, C. of H.; E. F. Walker, P. S.; F. M. Curnutte, R. A. C.; G. T. Saunders, Master 3rd Vale; Isaac Ball, Master 2nd Vale; H. B. Booton, Master 1st Vale; W. J. W. Ferguson, Sentinel.
Transcription by June White
Wayne County News