Soldier's Letters to Charming Nellie cover

Soldier's Letters to Charming Nellie

Joseph Benjamin Polley (1840-1918)

1. Introduction
2. Early Experiences in Camp
3. Humorous Incidents
4. Around Yorktown
5. Battle of Seven Pines
6. Gaines' Mill
7. Battle of Second Manassas
8. Second Manassas, Continued
9. Crossing Over Into Maryland
10. Incidents at Fredericksburg
11. In and Around Richmond
12. After Chancellorsville
13. Hood's Texans in Pennsylvania
14. Gettysburg
15. Reminiscences of Chickamauga
16. Forage for Hog Meat
17. A Battle 'Above the Clouds'
18. Strenuous Times in Tennessee
19. The Power of the Fiddle and the Bow
20. Some 'Escape' Stories
21. A Flight to Arms
22. A Thirty Day Furlough
23. Texas in the Battle of the Wilderness
24. Fun in the Trenches
25. Texans in Virginia
26. Hot Skirmishing - Wounded
27. Luxuriating in Feasts and Feather Beds
28. Adventures En Route to Texas
29. Fourth Texas at Gaines' Mill

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Whether written in camp, in hospital, or in hospitable home, the letters tell a plain, unvarnished, and true story of the observations and experiences, the impressions and feelings, of a soldier whose only personal regret is that he could not be one of those whose paroles at Appomattox are patents incontestable that they fought for the right as they saw it, as long as there was a hope to encourage them. Though not intended as history, they are historical in the respect that they narrate actual occurrences in camp, on the march, and in the battle. The lady to whom all but the last were addressed was no more a myth from 1861 to 1865 than now, when, a gray-haired wife, mother, and grandmother, she presides with the grace and dignity of the truest womanhood over the home made for her by the gallant officer of the Tennessee Army, her first and only beloved, whom she wedded shortly after the close of the war. To her soldier correspondent she was the friend of one more than a friend. It was not until March of 1865 that they ever met. Her letters kept him so well-advised of all that was transpiring in Texas, and were so friendly, entertaining, and altogether "charming," that, without leave or license, he substituted that adjective for the conventional "Miss" to which she was entitled.