William McFall letters, 1862-1865

Emory University

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322


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Descriptive Summary

Creator: McFall, William Cadow, 1839-1884.
Title: William McFall letters, 1862-1865
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 423
Extent: .25 linear ft. (1 box)
Abstract:Letters of Confederate soldiers, William McFall and his brother James M. McFall, who served in South Carolina regiment the Palmetto Sharp Shooters during the Civil War.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.


Purchase, 1963.


[after identification of item(s)], William Cadow McFall letters, Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library, Emory University.


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Collection Description

Biographical Note

During the Civil War, William Cadow McFall and his brother James Madison McFall were members of a South Carolina regiment, known as the Palmetto Sharp Shooters. Two other brothers Waddy McFall and Colonel John McFall, were also in Confederate service but their units are not known. The Palmetto Sharp Shooters served in the Army of Northern Virginia under Longstreet (Jenkins's, later Bratton's Brigade). They were in the Seven Days Battle, Fredericksburg, the Suffolk, Virginia campaign of April 1863 (they missed Gettysburg), the Knoxville campaign of November-December 1863, and the Wilderness-Spottsylvania campaign. They spent the last winter of the war near Petersburg., Virginia. Also a member of the Palmetto Sharp Shooters (formerly of the 4th South Carolina Regiment) was Major William Anderson, husband of Lucretia ("Creek") McFall Anderson, the sister to whom most of the letters were written. Major Anderson was killed in the Seven Days Battle. The McFalls lived in or near Anderson, South Carolina., where they owned a flour mill and a corn mill. They also owned land and slaves in Georgia. They seem to have belonged to the small planter class and apparently had a sufficiency of food and clothing all during the war.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists the papers of William Cadow McFall and his brothers from 1862-1865. The papers include 30 letters and one fragment by William McFall, July 22, 1862-March 25, 1865; 19 letters by James Madison McFall, 1 fragment by Waddy McFall, 1864; and 7 envelopes. The letters are above average in the quality and amount of information they contain. They throw light on various aspects of army life, such as food, clothing, health, morale and attitude toward officers. They tell little of combat. They are more important for what they reveal of life behind the lines. In William McFall's letter of December 19, 1864, he gives a detailed account of a trip through the Richmond Market, telling what he saw for sale and something of the quality of the merchandise. This description clearly shows that people with money could buy an abundance and a variety of necessities and luxuries in the Confederate capital late in the war. The letters also tell of various activities on the home front, such as diversions (quiltings, weddings, parties, tanning of leather, making of clothing, and relations with African Americans. In a letter of May 17, 1864 to his sister, James McFall tells of fighting African Americans in a recent battle.

Arrangement Note

Arranged by author and then chronologically.

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Container List

Box Folder Content
1 1 James McFall: Letters, November 9, 1862 - November 28, 1863
1 2 James McFall: Letters, May 25, 1864 - January 23, 1865
1 3 William McFall: Letters, July 22, 1862 - December 25, 1863
1 4 William McFall: Letters, August 1 - November 14, 1864
1 5 William McFall: Letters, December 6, 1864 - March 25, 1865 and undated
1 6 Waddy McFall: Letter fragment, undated
1 7 Envelopes addressed to Mrs. William Anderson (7 envelopes)