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Martin Letter Collection

This collection contains ten letters written by Lt. James "Newt" Martin, a Newberry native who enlisted as a private in Co. E, 3rd SC Volunteer Infantry at age 29. He was elected Lieutenant on December 31, 1863, and served throughout the entire war. The letters span over two and a half years of the Civil War, from January 1862 to August 1864.  Not only do these letters provide insight into the conditions that Martin and his fellow troops faced during battle, but they also show how he occupied his camp time, his thoughts on the war, and how he stayed connected to his family. The letters are all written to his father, sister, or brother and he describes everything from a snow storm near Fredericksburg and camp minstrel shows to Union spy balloons and religious services. Following the war, Martin returned to Newberry where he married, ran a mercantile business, and became the president of the National Bank of Newberry. He died on May 31, 1899, and is buried in Newberry's Rosemont Cemetery. Below is a sampling of the letters, with full transcriptions (PDFs).

Letter: August 10, 1863

Camp in the woods,VA
Aug 10 th 1863
Dear Sister
Your esteemed favor come to hand yesterday. I am glad to know that all are well and doing well. I cannot account for my letters not reaching home as I wrote frequently althoug not as often as befor we reached M.D. Our trip to PA was as it turnes out rather and unfortunate one but if Gen’l Lee had hav accomplished the object intended it would hav been a grand thing but perhaps it is the best as it is. At least we should be satisfied if Charleston falls. It is my opinion the war will close soon from the fact neither England nor France wishes the union as it was. I mearley give it as and opinion although it would be Very humiliating to South Carolinians and not only to them but the whole Confederacy
We can not put any dependency in our own strength. It is from a higher power and a stronger one we must look to for help. You all must make the best of the preasant you can as we cannot tell what the futures will bring forth. I am glad to know that you hav and abundance of fruit I hope you will be able to enjoy it.
I wrote to John to pay all the debts that he could you will please notify him of it if my letter does not get my letter.
I suppose you hav heard of my promotion. I was not informed of it but as I was verry well where I was but perhaps it will turn out for the best as there has been and Order to Send all able bodied men back to the ranks and if so I am all right I can get plenty to eat as I hav and opportunity of drawing 2 Rations.
You asked me about clothing. I am not in need of anything a preasant excep a pr of Shoes I wish them sent by the first opportunity 7 ½ is the Size wide bottom you can if you hav and opportunity Send me a linen towel, a piece of and old linen coat will answer also a knife and fork, small, give to Dr. William and get me a good tooth Bursh and save it until I order you to Send it to me—our army is increasing Rapidly. A great many returning from Hospitals & Willie High [Sligh?] came back on the 8 th . I hav nothing more at preasant more than I wish to here from you often and you must never dispond Give my love to all the family and remember me to all Friends.
I Remain your affectionate Brother
Howdy to the Darkeys
Direct your letters
J. N. Martin
Kershaw Brigade
McLaws Division