Letter from Pvt. James Jordan
February 21, 1864

The following letter is from James Matt Jordan of Company A, Twenty-seventh Georgia Volunteers. It is in Volume 2 of the Letters from Confederate Soldiers, United Daughters of the Confederacy Collection, Georgia State Archives. Jordan would not survive the war. He was captured at Petersburg, Virginia on June 16, 1864, and died of chronic diarrhoea at the Union prisoner-of-war camp at Elmira, New York on January 26, 1865.

My Dear Louisa:

It is again through the hand of a kind Providence that I am spared to address you a few lines, which will inform you that I am well but almost broke down as we have all been in another fight. The Feds. advanced on our pickets yesterday and drove them back until about five o'clock P.M. at which time our brigade and 32 Ga. Regt.. and 6th Ga. Regt. and some Florida troops was sent to reinforce the picket line, and from then until night some desperate slaughtering by both Rebel and-Fed.

The Rebels drove them back and now hold the battle ground and 2 or 3 miles below. We met with a more stubborn negro Regts. They were from Delaware and Massachusetts. The white troops were New Yorkers. We captured several prisoners and 6 pieces of artillery. Our casualties is very heavy. Of our Regt some 5 or 6 killed dead on the ground and several badly wounded but I don't know how many, but Co. A had remarkably good luck. We only had one man hurt and it was Capt. R Patton. He was shot slight in the cheek of his stem. The Talbot County Company lost 2 killed dead. It was the two Carlisle boys.

The Yankee prisoners say they had no idea of meeting with such a force here. They said they did not expect to meet nothing but cavalry here. The negroes were badly cut up and killed Our men killed some of them after they had fell in our hands wounded.

My dear dear Lou, I can not tell you all the particulars unless I could see you. I do not know when the Feds will advance on us again, perhaps tomorrow, no telling when they will come. Lieut. Stuart has just come from headquarters. He has got all the numbers of the killed and wounded of our Regt. There was 3 killed dead and 59 wounded,

I now close hoping you write every opportunity. This is my second letter to you since I have been here. Direct your letters to Lake City, East Florida. Farewell, dear Louisa, I am

Geroge Levy (george.levy@gte.net) writes:

"James is in my upcoming book on the Elmira, NY depot. He had a brother in another regiment who also died at Elmira. James originally arrived at Camp Lee Richmond in February, 1862 as a conscript, but enlisted in the 27th Georgia to be with friends and neighbors. He had nothing to gain from the war as he was a small non-slave owning farmer, and he knew it. The Georgia State Archives contain about 7 more Jordan letters, and they express much hatred for the Confederacy.

"I use James as an example of conscripts on both sides of the war who became victims of the politicians and the officer corps, North and South. Anyway, the 27th (Georgia) received special mention for its actions at Fair Oaks during the Seven Days where it drove across the front of the 85th New York Infantry, out of Elmira, forcing it to retreat. There is the Elmira connection again. Many of the 85th died at Andersonville while the Jordan brothers died at Elmira, another connection."

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