Letter from Atlanta Trenches
Matthew A. Dunn, 33rd Miss, Company K, Amite Defenders
I avail myself of the present opportunity to write you a few lines - knowing that you are uneasy about me. I think I will have an opportunity of Sending this a portion of the way by hand. I am happy to Say to you that my life is yet Spared and my health is good. I Sent word to you in Clems letter a few days ago that Tad was wounded on the 22nd, but it was a mistake. But since then on the 27th [ Battle of Ezra Church ] he was in another battle and was Shot through the Leg below the knee which caused his leg to be amputated .. the knee. His Brigade went in the fight before ours, and as we went in I met him lying on the Road Side. I Stopped with him a few minutes and he told me that he did not think the bone was broken, But I supose [ sic ] after the Doctors examined it they thought it best to take it off. I know it will nearly kill Ma to hear of it but it is a portion of the horrors of this Cruel war. The fight he was in on the 22nd [ Battle of Atlanta ] was a very hard one but a complete thing on our part. He captured three horses & Jimmy Perkins one. Their Brigade captured 14 pieces of artillery and many Prisoners. They charged the Yankee works and the Yankees being very Stubborn they remained behind their Breastworks until our men Scaled them. they then had a hand to hand fight. Our Boys Shot until they got in close quarters then not having Bayonets they clubbed them with their guns. They broke a great many of their guns but they captured others in their place. Our force engaged took 1900 prisoners & 27 pieces of artillery. Our division met with a Serious misfortune on the 20th of July [ Battle of Peach Tree Creek ] - we charged the Yankees and our Brigade being on the extreme right of the Division we were badly cut to pieces by a Brigade on our right not coming up to Support our flank - over half of our Regt that was engaged was killed and wounded. Our Co was not into it as we were on other duty. Our Reg Suffered worse than any other, being on the flank and was exposed to an enfillading [ sic ] fire. We lost our Col. He charged waving his Sword until he fell. Capt. Jackson commanded during the balance of the engagement. Our colorbearer was killed. Others attempted to get the colors and were wounded. So we lost our colors. The 22nd Reg had three color bearers Shot down, one was Claudy Davis, he was waving the colors when he fell. Amite County will never raise a more gallant Son than he was. 7 men were killed and wounded Saving their flag. It was a very bloody affair. Peter was Shot through the knee joint in the fight with Tad. But I never saw him. I am afraid it will cause him to lose his leg also. I have not heard where they were sent. Jimmy came out all right. John H. Turnipseed was killed a few days ago while on Picket. We are losing Some of our near and dear friends but I hope God will Soon stop it. We are enduring many hardships but I try and Submit to it cheerfully, feeling assured that we will come out all right. I suppose Porter & Betty are married at last. It must have been a Sudden thing as you never Spoke of it in you letter on the 24th. that is the last letter I have had from you. I am very anxious to hear from home. Oh my love if I could only See you and our dear little ones again what a pleasure it would be. But God only knows if I will have that privilege or not. I want you to try to raise them up right. Train them while they are young - And if I am not Spared to See you I hope we will meet in a happier world. I want you to be fully reconciled for it if I am wounded I will be at home as Soon as I can and if I am killed I hope that I am prepared to go - But my daily Prayers are that we may meet on earth again in peace and health - I want to hear from your crop and how you are getting along generally and how the children are getting on at School. Try and send me a letter by hand every chance you have as the Yankees cut our Rail Roads occasionally which Stops communications. Tell Julia that Clem will not write as paper is scarce but he is all right and Hemp & Prior also, and Jimmy. Tell Ma that Tad will be Sent home as Soon as he is able. He will be apt to have her a letter written to let her know of his location. He is done with this war but poor fellow his life will be but little Satisfaction. Our Company has not been in any hard fighting yet. we have about 60 men in the Co. Andrew is well - ...Tell Cousin Lewis that Jimmy is all right, and give him my respects. I can't write all the news for want of paper, and this is badly done as I am writing on a plate. Tell Levi to write to me. Tell Uncle Billy Johns that Frank is Safe yet, and tell him to remember us in his prayers - Stumpy I hope you are doing well, let me hear from you. My respects to your Pa's family. I hope we may Soon have better times. Kiss the children and tell them to be good children. I hope God will bless us, good bye my dear.
M. A. Dunn
Note: Matthew Andrew Dunn was killed approximately three months later at the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee.
The Mathew Andrew Dunn Letters, Journal of Mississippi History, Vol. 1 (1939), p. 110-127.