Letter from Molias Hardy to Wife - 1862
This letter was written by Molias Hardy to his wife Julia Hardy on January 11, 1862 from an army camp near Monticello in Drew County, Arkansas. His unit, Company A of the 15th Arkansas Infantry Regiment, had left their camp at Camden, Arkansas and was on the march to join other Confederate forces in Tennessee. Upon arriving there, they took part in the battles at Fort Henry and Fort Donelson.
The "Matty" Molias refers to in the letter is his young daughter Martha. Molias writes of his desire to see his wife and daughter, and to go home after his 12 month enlistment is up, but it was not to be. He was captured at Fort Donelson, Tennessee on 16 Feb 1862 and sent to a military prison at Camp Butler, Illinois. He died there on 15 Mar 1862 and is buried at Camp Butler National Cemetery, Springfield, IL, Grave 700, in the Confederate Section.
Thanks to Stephen Jones for providing to me the copy of this letter, and other materials.
The letter was transcribed line-by-line just as written, except for the periods I added at the end of the sentences to improve readability. The words in parentheses are my guesses at what the previous word was intended to be.
State of Ark Dru (Drew) County
Julia I take my pin in hand
and Dream of you when I
1. According to the letter, the unit left Camden, AR on Jan. 4, 1862 and marched east, crossing the Saline River on the 9th, and camped near Monticello, AR on the 11th. Other sources state that from there they marched on to Gaines Landing on the Mississippi River, where they took a steamboat to Memphis (given as Molias's forwarding address in the letter). After spending a few days there, they were taken by rail to Danville, then marched to Fort Heiman, which was in Kentucky on the Tennessee River, across from Fort Henry on the Tennessee side. According to records, they were at Fort Henry on February 6 when the battle was fought, and with that fort's surrender were withdrawn to Fort Donelson. After the battle at Fort Donelson they surrendered on Feb. 16.
2. "Matty" is Molias's baby daughter.
3. I believe that the "Nancy Mallone" (or Malone) referred to was Nancy (Crain) Malone, the sister of Julia (Crain) Hardy, and that the "John" referred to is John W. Malone, Nancy's husband. There is a J. W. Malone listed in the same company as Molias, Co. A of the 15th Ark..
4. Captain S. L. Proctor was the commanding officer of Company A, 15th Arkansas.
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