PATTON, JAMES A., D. 1864.
James A. Patton letters, 1862-1864

Emory University

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

Atlanta, GA 30322


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Descriptive Summary

Creator: Patton, James A., d. 1864.
Title: James A. Patton letters, 1862-1864
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 76
Extent: 0.25 linear foot (1 box)
Abstract:Letters of farmer and Confederate soldier James A. Patton who served in the 47th North Carolina Infantry Regiment 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.


Gift, prior to 1955.


[after identification of item(s)], James A. Patton letters, Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library, Emory University.


Processed by JVC, 1977.

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Collection Description

Biographical Note

James A. Patton, a farmer from Granville County, North Carolina, was twenty-four when he enlisted as a volunteer on February 22, 1862. He was mustered into Company G, 47th North Carolina Regiment, on April 11, 1862. His wife, Belle H. Patton, continued to manage the family farm in Pattonsville (about three miles west of Tabbs Creek, now in South Vance County; the settlement no longer exists). Along with Patton's younger brother, Buck Patton, she managed routine affairs as well as the rearing of her infant son Josephus ("Seaf"). Sharing the house or living nearby were Patton's father, and his sisters Ann and Jane. Another brother, Nicole B. Patton, lived in Milton, North Carolina. Patton and Belle named their second child [b. early 1863] after Nicole. Patton served as a private in North Carolina and Virginia. He spent much time in and out of the "Wayside Hospitals," however. At one point, he was a cook at the Second North Carolina Hospital in Petersburg, Virginia. He was in the hospital when his company was sent to Gettysburg, and fortunately so, since nearly all of the officers and a great many of the enlisted men were killed. Patton was court-martialed on November 4, 1863 (proceedings available on National Archives Microfilm, G.O. No. 97-7), but he evidently never told his family about it. His letter written the same date as the court-martial, reports, "I have no news of importance to write at present." Patton was in the hospital January and February, 1864; he died March 3, 1864 at Gordonsville, Virginia, of dysentery. The information in this survey was compiled from the letters themselves, from Walter Clark's Histories of the Several Regiments and Battalions of North Carolina, Powell's North Carolina Gazeteer, and from information supplied by the State Archives of North Carolina.

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of forty-eight letters, most of which were written by James A. Patton to his wife. There is one letter written by Ann to her brother, one to Patton from his brother Nicole, and one letter from P. P. Peace, lieutenant in Patton's company, to Ann, explaining why furlough cannot be granted her husband. Family concerns and camp life preoccupy the letters of Patton; there are, however, several letters dealing mainly with the war. Of particular interest are five letters which Patton wrote between February 18, 1863 and March 16, 1863 while he was engaged in the defense of Goldsboro, North Carolina. His letter of May 16, 1863 deals with the death of Stonewall Jackson, while his letters of July 15, 18, and 23, 1863, written from the hospital in Petersburg, describe rumors of the slaughter at Gettysburg. In later letters, Patton advises Belle about selling the family farm which has come down through his mother's estate.

Arrangement Note

Arranged in chronological order.

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Container List

Box Folder Content
1 1 1862 April 6 - April 6, 1863
1 2 1863 April 30 - January 24, 1864