Confederate Prisoner of War Letter from Tyler, Texas – Along with a letter telling about his capture, one from his wife asking about his condition & one notifying his wife of her husband’s death
William Braznell enlisted on October 3rd, 1862 into the 2nd Duryee Zouaves, becoming Company A of the 165th New York Infantry on November 28th, 1862.

According to Braznell’s letter that we are offering, he was captured “On the second days fight at Pleasant Hill”. He states that he has been a prisoner for 3 months and hopes to soon be exchanged. The letter is written on one sheet of brown Confederate paper, front and back. It is written in pencil and headed, “Tyler, Texas July 6th, 1864”. Here is a transcript of the letter:

Texas Tyler
July 6, 1864

Dear Wife

          I write these few lines to you hoping to find you in good health as they have me at present. Dear Wife, I am a prisoner in Texas and have been for three months. I was took on the second day's fight at Pleasant Hill, but I soon will be exchanged and as soon as I get back to our lives, I will write to you and send you some money as quick as I get it. Dear Wife, I should like to be home with you again and to take my children out a walking, but I can't get there, not for a year more, perhaps two, but keep up your spirits. Dear Wife, things may turn out all right yet. Take as good care of the children as you can until I can help you. Give my lover to Mother and George Wash and my Father and all the rest of the family. Dear Wife, go up to Tom Vaughn, No. 750, 8th Ave. between 52 and 53 St. and tell his wife that he is here with me and is well. So no more at present.

From your
Ever loved Husband
William Braznell
Yours until death

Let Mr. Danvers know where I am.

M. George Thurling
No. 558 West 51 Street
Between 10 & 11 Avenue
New York City

According to the Harrison’s book on Prisoners’ Mail from the American Civil War, there are only 5 covers known. He does not state the number of known letters, but this is the only example that we have ever seen or heard of. Condition is overall good with a couple small holes. The heading is a bit light, but readable and the body of the letter nice and dark. A rare opportunity to own a letter from this Confederate prison.

The letter notifying Mrs. Braznell of her husband’s capture was written by Sergt. John Fleming of the 165th New York Volunteers and is dated “Near Harper’s Ferry, Va. August 9th, 1864”. In this letter he states, “He was taken prisoner at the battle of Sabine Crossroads April 8th and is now I believe confined at Tyler, Texas with about 30 others of the regiment.”

By February 1865 Mrs. Braznell still had not heard any further word from her husband. On February 18th she contacts the 165th New York inquiring about her husband. Here is that letter:

                                New York                  February 18th 1865

Dear Sir

                 Having wrote to you once before concerning my husband William Braznell, and I received an answer that he was taken prisoner in April last and I have not heard anything about him since and having heard that the prisoners were all released from Camp Tyler in Texas. I thought I would write to you once more to see if you would be so kind to find out whether he is dead or alive, as I am very anxious to know what has become of him, if you can find out anything about him and let me know, you will oblige his wife very much.

Pheba A. Braznell

P.S. William Braznell
Co. A. 165th Regiment
N. Y. V.

Amazingly on the back page of her letter (being a separate sheet it will be easy to display) is a short note… no nice formal letter of condolence… from the Adjt. of the regiment:

Hd'qts 165th N.Y. Vols.
Winchester V.
Fdby 21/65

Madam —

I regret to inform you - on the authority of a member of the regiment recently exchanged - that your husband William Braznell, died at Camp “Felder”, Texas — on the 17th day of October, 1864. No official information to that effect has as yet been received, however.

I am Madam
Yours very respty
A.S. Putnam
G. A. Buntis
Actg. Stg. Maj.
Ms. P. A. Braznell

We are not sure where the name “Camp Felder” came from but records show that he died at Camp Groce in Hempstead, Texas.

Again, the only letter we have ever seen from the Prisoner of War camp in Tyler, Texas.

#PO101 - Price $950