Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Alexander Francis McGahey

All wars begin as a grand thing. They are full of hope and adventure, at least, until the fighting starts. It is then that the ordinary soldier experiences the misery of the march, sickness, hunger, loneliness, and the fear of the battle. His family, waiting at home, never knows whether their husband, father, brother, or son will return. Alexander Francis McGahey was a private from Pickens County Alabama. He was with the 42nd Alabama Regiment. He was 43 years old when the Civil War began, and 44 when he died a year later, following the Battle of Vicksburg. He left behind a wife and 5 children.

Like many ordinary soldiers, Alexander wrote home to his wife and children expressing his feelings. This letter was written after his first taste of battle, the Battle of Corinth. Mississippi.

Alexander Francis "Frank" McGahey Letters, Submitted by Paul Young, from Ancestry.

[Note. Lest anyone think Alexander uneducated based upon his spelling, remember that Alexander was most likely a farmer in a rural Alabama county. And, anyone who has read Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, will recall that standardized English is spelled phonetically by those who are not trained in school. Alexander's sentence structure and thought demonstrates a thoughtful man. ]
Marshel C.O. Miss           Oct the 11th 1862 

Dear Margaret and Children 

I again take the opertunity of writing you a few loins to let you know how I am agetting along in this unfrinly world.  I am not well.  I have the diorer and the mumps.  I have had the mumps about ten days and thought was well of them when on last Sunday I commenced marching and had  bin at it ever since.  They have fell on me and I am afrade I will have a bad spell of them. 

I must say something to you about hour travels for the last 15 days.  Wee started from Baldwin on the 25th of Sept and thare to Ripley and from thare to Corinth and thare was a grate battle fought. 

The Yankeys ganed a grate victory. [Battle of Corinth, Mississippi]  It is suposed that their brigade lost 12 hundred men.  It is not known what hour loss is.  Hour company had fifty six men in the fight and brought out 15.  Daniel Coleman was lost and it is thought Bill Price taken prisoner.  J. T. Huff came through safe.  Josiah Eddins is wounded in the left arm above the elbow but the bone is not broke.  He is in Holly Springs in the horsepitle [Holly Springs, Mississippi, to the west of Corinth].  Hour captain is lost.  Robert Brown is wounded in two places, one in the coller bone and the other in the foot.  James Gibson was killed on the brest work with many others. I must say something about hour fare during this march.  Wee drawn 10 days rashins at Baldwin on the 25 of Sept and wee drawn again last night.  I have not eat anuff in 3 days to doo a man one good meal but I hope that times will git better now wee have stoped retreting. 

It is thought by some that wee will gow back to Columbus [Columbus, Georgia, just west of Pickens County] to recrute up and if wee doo I think thare is a chance for mee to git to come home again.  The magor has recamended Columbus as a suitable place.  I espect to go into the horsepitle today. 

There was the soriest generalship displade in this fite that was ever known.  It is thought by some that Vandorns command bee taken from him for his management.  Thare was but two brigades ingaged in the fight.  They was to make the attact on one side and  Vandorn was to attact the other and he failed to do it.   General Price would have nothing too doo with it after he found out how the thing was going.  Theer not more men in our regiment now then thare was in hour company before it went into the fight.  I am afrade Brother Tom is lost.  Cant hear of him since the first charge. 

I must close my letter.  You must write to mee.  I havent had any word from you since I left Columbus.  I doo hope that these loins may find you all engoying the blessings of God and the best of helth.  Give love to all of the children and kiss them for me.  I remain your affectionate husban until deth. 

Good by.
A. F. McGahey

The Battle of Corinth was indeed a great victory for the North over the South. The Confederates lost almost twice as many soldiers to the enemy. As Alexander's company brought out only 15 men of 56, it is apparent that they were in the thick of the fighting. [Van Dorn's losses were 4,233, 473 killed, 1,997 wounded, and 1,763 captured or missing.]

Alexander Francis died on July 15, 1863, shortly after the Battle of Vicksburg, another Union victory.

1 comment:

  1. I love to write letters and I love to read them, especially historical ones. Thank you for sharing this letter in such a nice way. Keep Writing... The Angel Josie Wales