Confederate 1st Virginia Cavalry Letter – Thomas W. Colley, Wounded 4 Times in the War
This 2 page letter on a legal size lined “ledger book” sheet is written in nice clear pencil. There is staining and slight paper loss at the top (not affecting any writing)… but the content is fantastic!

Thomas W. Colley, a resident of Washington County, Virginia, joined Co. D of the 1st Virginia Cavalry on May 14th, 1861. After the war Colley had his picture holding the flag of the 1st Virginia Cavalry published in Confederate Veteran Magazine (provided). His most severe wound occurred on March 17th, 1863 when, according to the article in the Confederate Veteran Magazine: “…a ball passed through his abdomen and he was left for dead upon the field.” Colley had the honor of fighting alongside Colonels J. E. B. Stuart, Fitzhugh Lee, and John Mosby.

The letter is dated June 18th, 1862 and is headed “Camp near Brook Church Henrico County, Va. June 18, 1862.” Colley is writing to his sister. He first mentions about a “cavalry scout” that he participated in with General Stuart:

• “We left our camp near this place on the 12th inst. And proceeded north west on the Charlottesville Turnpike. Not a man knew where he was going. Everyone thought from the direction we had taken that we was bound for the Valley to join General Jackson. I will clip the account from the Dispatch and enclose it in this letter. It does not give the 1st all the praise due them. The account is somewhat exaggerated by the Dispatch. General Stuart estimates the enemies’ loss at 15,000. We burnt 3 transports in the Pamunkey and some 60 or 75 wagons and captured 250 horses and mules of which we lost 50 on Friday night and owing to the brushy county we had to pass through and the number of prisoners is also exaggerated. We got through the 148 privates, 6 officers, and 16 contraband Negroes.”

• “We was three days and nights that we was not out off the saddle. We all stood the trip first rate. There was only two men wounded in our Company. Gilbert C. Greenway, he was wounded by one of our own men. He does not know whether it was one of our own Company or one of the Maryland Company. They belong to our squadron. He was wounded in the charge at Old Church in which our Company led the charge on the enemies’ camp. They all fled at our approach with the exception of two officers surrendered. One was their Commissary and the other was a Lieut.”

• “We pursued the enemy on beyond their camp some distance. We found a little of everything in the camp. We had not time to get anything but a few overcoats that were hanging on the bushes and fence around the camp. I got good coat for Lewis. He was afraid to take hold of anything for fear it would not be right. We had pretty hard times of it, but I would not have missed the trip for $500, as poor a man as I am.”

• “I omitted to mention the other member of our Company that was wounded. It is Theo. Clapp from the lower end of the county. He was shot by a Federal Dragon. He demanded the Federal to surrender and he supposed to do so, when Theo. Clapp raised his carbine and shot him through the heart. The Federal had his pistol docked in his hand at the time, and in his death grasp pulled the trigger whilst the ball penetrated Theo. Clapp’s right leg just below knee, inflicting a very painful wound but not dangerous.”

• “Mr. Greenway was wounded in the instep. The ball struck on the spur buckle driving it through his boot and some distance in the flesh, inflicting a very ugly wound. He starts home this morning. I must close. They are fixing to move.”

Colley was an important member of the 1st Virginia Cavalry. On several occasions he carried the flag of the 1st Virginia Cavalry. Quotes from some of his letters, INCLUDING THIS ONE, can be found in the Regimental of the 1st Virginia Cavalry. A rare opportunity to own one of his letters!

#CG503VA - Price $950

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