LETTERS FROM CORPORAL WILLIAM CALVIN TRIPP
Events: Tullahoma Campaign 1/1863 – 7/1863
Category: Confederate Letters
Origin: Coporal William Calvin Tripp
Location: Southern Middle Tennessee
Description: Letters from Corporal William Calvin Tripp, who is buried in Arlington National Cemetary
William Calvin Tripp was a Corporal in Company B, 44th Tennessee Infantry. His home was in present day Moore County, so he was writing home from a distance of less than thirty miles away, sometimes less. His wife was Martha Ann Elizabeth Shelton and the couple were married on December 21, 1858.
The 44th was a veteran unit, and had served since before the Battle of Shiloh. In 1864 the regiment was sent to the Virginia front. At some point Tripp was captured and imprisoned at Point Lookout. Released from there when the war ended, he became ill and died before reaching his home where his wife and children were waiting for him. W. C. Tripp is buried in Arlington National Cemetery because the U.S. Government has the responsibility of burying all P.O.W.s who die while in custody. At the time, Arlington was not a National Cemetery but was simply a government-seized burying ground.
Martha Ann Tripp married a second husband in 1901. Both are buried at Waller Cemetery near Liberty Hill in Moore County, Tennessee.
These letters are made available by Mr. Joel Fanning of Lynchburg, Tennessee. The orginal spelling and punctuation has been retained.
[W.C. Tripp to Martha Ann Tripp, his wife]
Tullahoma Coffee County March 29th 1863
Dear Wife I Seat my self to drop you a few lines to let you know that I received your very kind letter which gave me much satisfaction to hear from you all although I learn that Some of you were not well though I hope you are not serious but for fear of accident take good care of your selves this leaves me well and all the boys only Tom Tripp is ver unwell and has been for some few days though I think he is better. R. H. Mclure is not very well at present though nothing serious.
There is no talk of us leaving here yet that I know of I have nothing of much importance to rite to you at present more than we have cold weather here at this time not very favorable for your planting your corn without you aim to plant winter corn Save your seed beans yet awhile shure.
I am happy to learn that you were lucky in the way of keeping your black boy If I had been at home I suppose we would not meet with such good luck there is one advantage you have of me & I had heard of Aarons bad luck before you wrote to me and I was very sorry to hear it I state to you as you did to me I hope that you will take good care of your self and as to your wanting to see me there is no use in talking you cannot want to see me as bad as I want to see you and the children and pap and mother & I can say to you that my arm is very sore from vaccination & I told Polk Smith what you stated in your letter and also I told Thomas Tripp howdy for you and he sends howdy to you all. I want you if we stay here and the weather gets mild to come up and see me the first good chance you have. I will get you that copperas the first chance I have to do so. S.M. Walker and Robert Crutchfiled send their best love and compliments to you all and says they want to see you all.
I can say to you Co (B) is drilling with the artilery once every day so as they may know how to use it when they take a battery they then can turn it upon the Enemyh ans shoot at them to effect and some two or three companies are drilling in skirmishing drill on the filed so that we may be prepared to meet the foe at any point or place in the conflict.
Tell Mr. John Smith that I would like to see him but as I cannot I want you to rite to me and also I want you to come up and see me as soon as you can as it is some consolation to see any one from home or the settlement let them be whom they may. so nothing more at present only rite soon and fail not I remain your affectionate husband until Death.
William C. Tripp to Martha Ann Tripp
Dear Friends I send you my best love and compliments to you all wishing you to drop me a line when you see proper G.W.L.H. to all friends.
[This postscript is in a different hand writing and the writer is not further identified.
Tullahoma Coffee County April the 11 1863
Dear Wife I seat my self todrop you a few lines to let you know that I am well and doing as well as could be Expected in these war times & I also rite this in answer to your very kind letter which came to hand the 10th of this inst which gave me much satisfaction to hear from you all which is a great satisfaction to here from you at any time although I am sorry to learn that one of the children is sick I can say to you that I have nothing very strange or of much importnce to rite to you at present more that we had a review of our troops to day we learn that you had been informed that we had marching orders and was to leave here last Thursday but I can say to you that is all a mistake we are here yet and have no marching orders as yet neither any such talk it there had been any such thing you know that we would hae heard it so turn over
I received them things you sent me by GK. Smith I want you to rite to me whether you have received that Satchel letters and Envelopes that I sent you by the hand of Milton Smith I was very glad to receive the Provisions you sent me yesterday you rote to me to know whether I wanted any clothes or not I do not need any at the present and therefore I will rite to you when I kneed them the boys is all as well as common I can say to you that I suppose there is going to be another review thursday or Friday If I knew exactly what day it would be I would tell you in my letter as I desire very much for you to be here as you would see more than you would in all your life and stay at home. If I can get you correct word I will do so as I wish you to see the review. Tell Father and mother I wish to see them as well as my wife and children I want you both to rite to me every chance.
W.C. Tripp to Marth Ann Tripp
April the 30 1863
Camp near Wartrace Bedford Co Tenn
Dear Wife I Seat my Self to drop you A few lines to let you no that I am well at this time I hope these few lines will find you all well and doing well I have nothing of importance to rite to you the boys is all well as common there is talk of us a staying here a good while I have heard no news from the Yankees since you left here Martha I want to come home worse than I ever did cints you left here I suppose that Col Frelton ses all that wants to come home they can come before Christmas god grant how soon that hit may bee the boys is still a quarling yet but hit aint me turn over
The boys all sends thear love and respects to you and ses rite to them and tell J.D. Smith to rite to them the helth of the regiment is very good at this time we had our shooting match a tuesday we shot wild we shot 160 yards heap of the boys mist the target the target was 6 feet hie 10 feet long I must bring my few lines to a close I remain youe effectionte husband untill death
From W.C. Tripp to M.A. Tripp and Children
Wartrace May the 10 1863
I drop a few lines to let you no that were all well and fat I hope these few lines will find you all well and and doing well I hve nothing to rite ownly rite we aprove of those hats bands thank you for them Mat you must simple be a good widow to us to make the goodies foar us Mat come up and see us and we will tell you all about hit give hour love to brice and Jane and tell them to rite to us as soon as you can mat that girl hant rote tome it tell her to rite to me I must bring my few lines to a close by saying good by for this time rite Mat to us. T. H. Tripp and Sid and Charley letters.
To Miss M.A. Tripp
rote by W.C. Tripp
Martha find me four or five bees wax candles and send your receipe for them.
A few lines to J. D. Smith these few lines will show you that I am well I hope theas line may find you all well and doing well J.D. you ought to bin hear Sadrurday we had the bigest day you ever seen rite to me soon as you can Xcuse me if you please the boys ses rite to them as soon as you can the boys is all well as common I must bring my few remarks to a close sow good by for A whicle.
W.C. Tripp to J.D. Smith
When this you see remember me
[This postscript is on a page of the four-fold note paper used to write to Martha Ann Tripp. The envelope is addressed “Martha A. Trip by George Walker]
[W.C. Tripp to Martha Tripp, his wife. Enclosed in the same envelope is a poem, “The Soldiers Farewell”]
May the 20 1863 Camp near Wartrace
Dear Wife I seat my self on a rock to drop you a few lines to let you no that I am well at this time I hope these few lines will find you all well and doing well I have nothing to rite to you we had orders to bee ready to march at a moments warning but hit was then contered Martha I received your kind letter dated the 15th of May which gave me great satisfaction to hear that you was all well the Boys is all well as common We are all working very hard now we drill two hours in the four part of the day and too in the late part of the day and rest ten minutes between the two hours tho i doo fiteing on hit everh day but you dont deserve hit come and see. Martha you rote that you Seen a heap of friends a robbing bees i wish I could come home to help you But there is no chance for me to come home now they want a man spank in rank now and you no they will not let them come home Martha come up a Satrurday if you can if John Smith come up with the waggon fetch the children if you can for I want to see them tell Martha Smit to come with you and all the rest that can come fetch me onr pair of sock I believe that is all I want if you come in a waggon you will have to start very soon as you want make hit in a day
Aaron Tripp sends his love to you and remembers you I must bring my few lines to a close by saying good by
W.C. Tripp to Martha Tripp.
The Soldiers Farewell”
1. Oh fare you well my darling
So fare you well my dear
Dont grieve for my long absence
whilst I am a Volunteer
2. It has been my misfortune
A Volunteer to be
So stay at home my darling
And dont you grieve for me
3. I will stay at home contented
But live a lonesome life
For I long to see the time come
To be a soldiers wife
4. I am a going to Pencecola
To tarry for a while
To leave my true love far away
For about five hundred miles
5. See how she rings her lily white hands
How mournful she does cry
You will go and join the army
And in the war you will die
6. You will be place in the center
And there you will be slain
My heart will burst asunder
If I never you see you again
7. To see poor soldiers bleeding
Is a dredful site to see
So fare you well my darling
And dont you grirve for me
8. Cannon roar like thunder
The bullets swiftly fly
The drums and fifes are beating
To drown the death like cry
9. We will charge upon those batteries
We will turn their wheels around
Shout shout your Victory
All over the Southern ground
10. We will rout them
We will scout them
We will scout them from our shore
Our captain is as brave a man as ever commission bore
[W, C. Tripp to Martha Tripp, his wife]
June the 7 1863
Fairfield Bedford Co Tenn
Dear Wife I seat my self to drop you a few lines to let you no that I am well as common I hope these few lines you find you alkl well and doing well I ahve no news of importaance to rite to you only to let you no that I am in the land of the living we are working up rashins to go out on picket to morror that is thirty has to out of Co (B) I am one of the thirty has to go I think I will git more sweet milk We have to go about four miles in the country we have to stay two days and nits without further orders and will nothing to do but the tour over the country. A cunningham is with us at the present time.
Martha you ought to bin here to go to church with me today I heard a good Sermon hit has been a month since I heared from you I want to hear from you and the children and the rest of the folks in the worst way tell all of them to rite to me if you come up this way and I will give you some money we are agoing to depart to morrow I must come to a close R. H. Griffin send his love and respect to you and Sis rite to hime So I will quit by saying good by for a while tell the Stevens and Francis howdy for me.
Wm C. Tripp to Miss Martha A.E. Tripp
When this you See remember me
[Address on the envelope]
Martha Ann Tripp
[W.C. Tripp to Martha Tripp, his wife, with a pstscript to J.D. Smith]
Bedford Co Tenn June the 14 1863
Camp near Fairfield
Dear Wife I take my pen in hand to inform you that I am well at this time hopin that these few lines will find you all well and dling well I have nothing of importance to rite to you every thing is still in ferment there is no talk as yet a leaving here as I no of I dont kno what to rite for I hant heard from you Since you got home from up here I request to here from you all one time more is you please this is the porest letter I have rote to you I looked for some of you up hear last night but I missed seeing any one of you I request you to come up as soon as you get your wheat cut.
I want to tell you about our milk scare when we was on picket they was seventeen of us drink 96 canteens full of milk in too days and sum of the boys wish they had some more milk but I gest hit done mee more harm than good at the present time they was six of our mess our expense was twelve dollars in too days but I tell you we didnt have much meat with us to eat but we have seen little meat to eat since we came back Martha com up next Saturday we are going to have a big meeting hear I would bee glad to go with you to meeting one time more in this life tell Harris and Francis they come up and see me.
Martha you must have my shoes made as soon as you can will need them in a short time have them made number 8 and dont have them made too heavy. The boys is all well as common the helth of the regiment is as good as common Thar was a order red out at dress parade last night to discharge any wounded men from the heavy artillery I was glad of that Ask Jones to send me my knife by the first that come up if Carnes has got hit yet I must bring my few lines to a close excuse my bad riting and spelling I want you to rite every chance you have so I must quit for a while I remain your husband until death.
W.C. Tripp to Martha A. Tripp
A few lines to J.D. Smith these few lines will show you that I am well I hope these few lines will find you all well and doing well John I hant got no more to rite to you only to let you no that I am a trying it and I hope to remain so until peace made every thing is still in ferment as far as I no John you must go in and cut our wheat the best you can I wish I was there to help you all cut wheat but I cant tell Mat howdy for me and tell her to rite to us soon as she can you must rite every chance you have and come up when you can I must quit for this time so good by
W.C. Tripp to J.D. Smtih
[The postscript to Smith is on the same sheet of paper use to write to Martha Tripp. Double spaces indicate the end of each sheet in the fout-fold note paper used in this letter.
[W.C. Tripp to his wife Martha Tripp.]
Bedford Co Tenn June 16 1863
Camp near Fairfield
Dear wife I set myself down this morning to let you know that I am well and hardy I hope when these few lines come to hand they will find you are doing the same like wise. I welcome your kind letter there is nothing which give me more pleasure than to hear from you and to know that all is well and harty the last new I had was that mother was not well For the first time since you got home from up here there is talk of us getting to come home to cut our wheat but I dont know whether we will get to come or not I hope we will if I dont get to come you must do the best you can to get the wheat and the rye cut the best you can. I was glad to learn that you had plenty corn growing you rote to me you had got me too pair of shoose made take care of them for I will have much need of them in a short time I dont need nothing warm but you might send food to me by the first that come up. Martha, I dont want you to think I am going starving for aint as long as I get as much rations but it is hard living. Of course Martha you must come up as soon as you can for I want to see you and the children the boys is all against the busting up of the regiment as worse as ever. You wrote that hit had been several weeks since you heard fro me I wrote you a letter the fourteenth of June you will get hit I haint got time to write this time Capt Sipes is agoing to inspect us I will write more next time I msut bring my business to a close rite soon as you get the chance I must guit for this time so remain your husband until death. If I get to come home will come in a few days.
Wm C. Tripp to Mrs. Martha Tripp
[Address on envelope]
Miss Martha Ann Tripp
By Floy Tripp
[W.C. Tripp to Martha Ann Tripp, his wife]
June the 22 1863
Fairfield Bedford County
Dear Wife I take my pin in hand to drop you a few lines to let you now that I am well as common I hope when these few lines come to hand they will find you all well and harty I heard from you last night heard you was well I was very glad to here that you were well I sed I was well I have got the headache this morning for the first time since you was up hear Mrs Crutchfield come up last night I like to killed myself a eating I have gone Sum ses they have agon to Iron Hill in east Tennessee there is no talk of us a leaving here as I no of turn over
Martha I want you to come to see mee the first chance you have for I want to see you and the children and talk with you come up to the meeting A preacher from nashville is a going to preach his name is Wilson A Caldis I heard a good sermon yesterday I wish I could come home to stay and live in peace and dy in peace tell the children howdy for me and tell them I want to see them tell your pap and mother I send my love and respects to them and tell them to rite to me the seasons changed today I must come to a close for this time by saying good by for this time
W.C. Tripp to Martha Tripp
I would rite mere but I have not got the chance this time I will doo better if I get time to rite more.
Envelope is addressed
To Miss Martha A.E. Tripp
By the politeness of Chaney Smith
THE UNITED STATES SANATARY COMMISSION
374 NORTH CAPITOL STREET
WASHINGTON, D.C. June 24, 1865
Mrs. Martha A. Tripp
It is my painful duty to inform you of the the death of your husband late a member of Co B, 44 Regt Tenn (Confederate Army) which took place at this hospital last night.
Mr. Tripp was brought here yesterday on his way home from Point Look Out having reen released from that prison.
He was quite low from Congestive Fever and lived but a short time after his asrrival.
I sympathize deeply with you in your berevement.
J.B. Clark Supt.
TRIPP, W C
- B 44TH TENN INF
- DATE OF DEATH: 06/25/1885
- BURIED AT: SECTION CONFE SITE 50
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard