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William T. Presley Correspondence

 Collection
Identifier: MS-2783

William T. Presley of Company A of the 1st Alabama Cavalry wrote these two letters to his wife, Henrietta (Ward) Presley, in Prattville, Alabama. In the first letter, dated September 30, 1862 from camp direction Chattanooga, Presley mentions his wish for a new horse, saying, "oh how I do want a horse to ride and go straight to the regt. I think if I was at home that Brother Evan would let me have that Sorril Poney [sic] of his. She would make a far superior cavalry horse to what some of them are now in service. I think all men that are worthy property ought to help us poor creatures that have left our families to fight to protect them as well as our own families."

In the second letter, dated April 7, 1863 from camp near Middleton, Bedford County, Tenn., Presley mentions that "the Boys are in high spirits about Colonel Clantons getting our Regt to go back to Ala. The great talk of peace has again died away and you can never hear of such a thing only hear men wishing the war was ended. Working as a courier and stationed with five others about four miles from Middleton and about half way between General Martins Head Qtrs and General Whartons, Presley says that he is "living better than I have since I left home. We dont have a great deal of riding to do and have the privilege of eating at houses in the settlement and can get chickens and eggs and now and then a Baked Turkey or Goose." He adds that "the thoughts of dear ones at home and no chance to see them tries the strength of a mans heart and at times is more than I can bear until I get off by myself and shed a few tears which seems to be some relief."

Dates

  • 1862 September 30, 1863 April 7

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.

Extent

0.1 Linear Feet

Abstract

William T. Presley of Company A of the 1st Alabama Cavalry wrote these two letters to his wife, Henrietta (Ward) Presley, in Prattville, Alabama. In the first letter, dated September 30, 1862 from camp direction Chattanooga, Presley mentions his need for a new horse, arguing that "all men that are worthy property ought to help us poor creatures that have left our families to fight to protect them as well as our own families." In the second letter, dated April 7, 1863 from camp near Middleton, Bedford County, Tenn., Presley discusses the difficulty of being away from his family. He writes that "the thoughts of dear ones at home and no chance to see them tries the strength of a mans heart and at times is more than I can bear until I get off by myself and shed a few tears which seems to be some relief."

Biographical/Historical Note

William Taylor Presley was born to John and Margaret Jane (Daniel) Presley in South Carolina in 1830. He was one of twelve children, including Calvin (1806-1892), Evan (1809-1875), Vincent (1812-1872), Emily Tazzi (Presley) Marable (1814-1894), John (1813-), Sarah (Presley) Adams (1816-), Augustus (1820-), Juliette (1827-), George Whitt (1836-1900), Charlotte R. (Presley) Wilkinson (1839-1916), and Newton A. (1842-1862). William Presley married Henrietta A. Ward (1831-1891) in Montgomery County, Alabama on December 19, 1852 and the couple had eight children: Augustus Gus (about 1853-), George Lafayette Fate (about 1855-), Columbus Lum (1857-), Antoinette Nettie (about 1859-), Maggie (1864-1891), Newton Walter (1869-1948), William Robert Bob (1871-1943), and Randolph. One of Henrietta's sisters, Narcissa Ward, also lived with the family for some time. William Presley enlisted in Company D of the 1st Alabama Cavalry on June 30, 1863 and was later promoted to Lieutenant in Company A of the same unit. He was paroled on May 17, 1865 and returned to his family. They later moved to Titus County, Texas, where William Presley died in 1896.

Arrangement

This collection consists of a single folder.

Acquisition Note

Special Collections purchased this correspondence on February 2, 2006.

Related Archival Materials

Interested researchers may also wish to consult:

Missing Title

  1. MS.2135: W. T. Presley Letter, 1863 July 14
  2. MS.3353: William T. Presley Correspondence, 1862 October 22-1863 June 4
  3. MS.3399: William T. Presley Letter, 1862 September 27

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

Contact:
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA
865-974-4480