MS 001 Thomas J. Armstrong Papers


The bulk of this collection consists of letters written by Thomas J. Armstrong's son, Edward Hall Armstrong, during the Civil War. Also included are: a photograph of Edward, his officer commissions, and his book on military tactics, eulogies for Edward by various persons, a letter from Edward's body servant--a slave named Moses, and miscellaneous letters and documents from other family members, including Thomas's boyhood reminiscences, a receipt for sale of a slave, and a receipt for a $1000 Confederate bond. The letters written by Edward Hall Armstrong begin while he was a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In the initial letter, he asked his father for permission to leave school and join the Confederate forces. The young man enlisted and was assigned to Company G, Third Regiment, N.C. Troops, in 1861. He was engaged in, and his letters describe from his viewpoint, the Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam), the Seven Days' Battles, the Battle of Gettysburg, and the Battle of Spotsylvania. In the latter battle, he was mortally wounded. Edward Hall Armstrong participated in some of the decisive battles of the Civil War, saw action, and buried many comrades. His letters describe field events, such as marching for hours only to return to the original position and standing picket in the rain without cover, or in the snow without fire, shoes, or blanket. He depicts the fortunes and misfortunes of the South through battles won and conditions deteriorating. Although seeing the inevitable end, he continued to stand firm for Southern independence, even while admitting he had no desire to see anymore bloodshed.