This first letter of Lt. Henderson comes from Everett W. Moriarity of Shellman Bluff in McIntosh County.
The second Henderson letter (bottom) was submitted by Carole Farr Drexel (Statesboro Georgia native) currently of Fort Worth, Texas.
Cameron, Ga. May 18, 1901
Mr. W. H. Howard
Yours of the 9th desiring to know what command I belonged to
during the Civil War, and the facts that led to my promotion, has been
I was born and raised in Screven County, Georgia, I came
home from school and joined a battalion of cavalry commanded by Lieutenant
Co. Cummings at Isle of Hope below Savannah, at eighteen years of age. This
battalion with other cavalry companies was thrown together and formed the
5th Georgia cavalry, commanded by Col. Robert H. Anderson of Savannah, and
did cost duty, you might say, from Jacksonville to Charleston. We joined
Johnston's Army at Kennesaw Mountain. We were then thrown into brigade, our
Col R. H. Anderson made Brigadier General, Col Edward Bird of Effingham
County, Col of the regiment and R. J. Davant at that time from Savannah, Lt.
Col., and added to Joe Wheeler's Corps. General Anderson was wounded at
Vernon by McCook's cavalry, while our army was 'round Atlanta, Stoneman and
McCook made a dash to our rear, and McCook was annihilated and Stoneman
captured near Macon. Wheeler's Cavalry formed all the resistance, if really
you could call it resistance, that Sherman's Army had from Atlanta to
Savannah, but we did one thing at least, we made their Cavalry stick under
close cover of their Infantry. Now to the facts that led to my promotion.
About a half mile below Wainsboro our brigade was thrown into line to attack
a portion of the Yankee Cavalry; I was then acting brigade color-bearer (the
color-bearer Walthour being absent) and their Cavalry charged us, and the
Adjutant of the 9th Michigan regiment came through our lines and I
dismounted him by jabbing him from his horse with the flag staff. I made
him my prisoner, and took his horse bridle and saddle, two fine Army
revolvers, sabre and belt. The sabre belt was a very fine one much nicer
than any used in our Army, and I made it a present to Gen. R. H. Anderson.
We repulsed the charge of the Yankees, but they being supported by infantry
we had to retreat, and just as we entered the streets of Wainsboro, I
stepped up beside my Captain Geo. B. Best poor fellow, he remarked to me, "I
took two shots at that Yank before you got him." The words had bravely been
spoken when a bullet hit him on the back of the head and killed him, he
dying some time during the night. Captain Best was a Mason and wore a large
Masonic ring. He fell into the hands of some of their doctors who were
Masons, and we learned that they gave him all the care that it was possible
to give. The next morning at Roll Call I was handed a promotion for
"brilliant and conspicuous gallantry on the field of battle", from Gen. R.
H. Anderson. Up to this time I was 2nd Sergeant of Company "E".
I went through the war without being wounded, got very
hungry at times, and the toughest meal I tried to eat during the war, was a
roasted pumpkin without salt. We surrendered in N. C. came home and found
our place burned and torn to pieces by Sherman's Army, reconciled myself and
went to work.
W. M. Henderson
Below is a letter believed to be written by Henderson in 1868 after the war to his wife Cynthia Annie Brown Henderson who was visiting her family in Marion County, Georgia.
Cameron Georgia, November 3, 1868
My dear Annie,
I write you the third letter since you left me, though at the
same time I do not feel that you are deserving it. Do you think that I
won't think of you? Or that I don't want to hear from you and my dear little
boy? You have been gone two weeks since last night, and I have not rec'd
the scratch of a pen from you. I feel miserable, my feeling are perfectly
indescribable. I scarcily can contain myself. I want to hear from you and
my sweet little boy so bad; place yourself in my position and imagine how
you would like it.
I am just from the Election today at Marlands Mill. Every thing
passed off very quietly. Every vote that was polled was Democratic. John
was the only negro that left the place and I carried him to drive the wagon.
He with several other negroes voted the Democratic ticket, in fact every
negro that voted, voted Democratically and took a receipt showing how they
I shall start out to court in the morning by daylight. I hate to leave
home very much. I am very busy.
I commenced making syrup today and shall miss you very much. I have had
me a splendid mill frame built.
Mr. Wm. Cooper is still very low. Every one thinks he hardly will
Nothing new in the neighborhood, except, Opie sent a bale of cotton to
market on last Saturday. I don't want you to hurry your trip but I am crazy
to see you and the baby.
Give my love to all, accept thousands of love for yourself, and kiss my
sweet baby one hour for me, and if you have not written, please write at
once. Miss Jane says she never has wanted to see any one in her life
hardily. Pa speaks of him very often. Your very devoted husband, William