Friday, September 2, 2011

Civil War Letter, Henry C. Collins b.January 13, 1812 in Sevier Co., TN

 Henry C. Collins 
was born
January 13, 1812 in Sevier Co., TN, and died Bef. 1880 in TX.  He married Mary Ann Darwin March 13, 1844 in Rhea
Co., TN, daughter of James Darwin and Bethiah Clements.  She was born January 30, 1826 in Rhea Co., TN, and died
April 12, 1898 in Gainesville, TX.
Notes for Henry C. Collins:
Henry was 1st Lieutenant in Company C, 16th Battalion Tennessee Cavalry. Company C was commanded by his brotherin law, Captain William P. Darwin and was organized in the winter of 1862-1863 near Knoxville. The civil war letter that
is below is from this period. In 1862, prior to the organization of the 16th Battalion, he held the temporary rank of captain
and was appointed provost marshall at Kingston, Tennessee. He resigned in June 1863 due to bad health and was dropped
from the company rolls in October 1864. The 16th participated in General Pegram's Kentucky raid and in the early
summer of 1863 was combined with the 12th Battalion to form the 1st Tennessee Legion, known as Rucker's Legion. In
the fall it was part of General Forrest's Corps at Chickamauga. They took heavy casualties at the battle of Leet's Tanyard
and fought as dismounted cavalry at Chickamauga. The Legion participated in General Vaughn's Raid in 1864 and was
part of General Early's command in his Virginia campaign. The 16th Battalion surrendered at Washington, Georgia in
1865.28 March 31, 2003  

Civil War Letter from Henry:

January 24, 1863. Gass Campground 7 miles North of Greenville Tenn: Dear Wife, I drop you a few lines this morning to
give you a small sketch of our travels & trials since we left home. This being the first opportunity that I have had to write
anything satisfactory. We stoped on Piney the first night, had about half rations for our horses. 2nd day, reached Post Oak
had but little for our horses. 3rd day got to Kingston got some forage & drew some rations for our selves, our team being
over loaded, I was compelled to get another waggon to help us on to Knoxville. Arrived at Knoxville the 5th days travil on
Sunday. Had nothing to feed on between Kingston & Knoxville. Remained at Knoxville from Sunday until the next
Saturday. Had but verry little to feed on while there. Had a verry wet cold time while we were there. Left Knoxville on
Saturday traviled in the rain. Nearly all without tents that night. Our waggons not being able to get up with us of coarse,
we were without provisions for our selves or anything to cook in though we succeeded in geting some beef & meal about
10 Oclock in the night (I have you guess how we cooked that night). Our waggons came up next morning (Sunday). We
then struck out as merry as ever travild up Holston river to the mouth of French branch, up French branch to the mouth of
Chucky (or near the mouth), then up Chucky croping lick Creek traviling between these watercourses to this place (though
I am geting ahead of our travils). We arrived at Evans X roads 8 miles South of Greenville and Wednesday Evening
remained there until Friday morning. The rain fell in torents on Thursday evening & a part of the night. When the rain
ceased the Snow commenced falling in earnest. Friday morning our tents were loaded with Snow and frozen as stiff as a
dry hide. Maj. Rucker being at Greenville, in Comfortable quarters, and having plenty to drink did not seem to know or
care anything about the weather. We recieved orders to strike tents and march to Greenville, which orders we obeyed
though it was a bitter pill. We camped 1 mile above Greenville that night, having traviled 9 miles. Stoped in the woods,
draged our wood from under the Snow, and built our fires we then for the first time got to smell fires. We then stretched
our tents, scraped the snow out of them, cooked our morcil, ate it & laid down and faired pretty well until morning, which
was a verry cold morning, I do assure you. After ating a snack (Saturday morning), we marched to this place where we
have been to the present time. Since we arrived here we have had about half rations for our horses (our fare is beef &
bread, sometimes a little pourk). We left Addison Ferguson & William C. Collins 8 miles above Dandridge sick. J.T.
Ferguson is waiting on them. A. Swafford, Ben Vaughn, James Smith, Robert Peterson & George Smith have been sick for
several days but are mending. James Driskel shot himself through the foot day before yesterday. Accidently I suppose (this
I doubt). There has been great excitement in camp since we arrived at this place in anticipation of an organization. Two
new companies joined us at this place. We now have 6 Companies in the Battallion. We expected to organize in a few days
but the prospect looks gloomy this morning. Eblins Co. left here yesterday to escort Gen Davis to N.C. Capt Staley was
ordered to Hawkins County yesterday. Capt Rumbough is ordered to Cocke County. Capt Darwins Company is ordered to
Washington County. We are ordered to proceed to the South part of Washington Co to act in Concert with Col. Thomas'
Indian force in pressing beef cattle and arresting disloyal citizens and conscripting as far as we go. To return in 6 days. We
leave in the morning. Would have left this morning but for the lack of ammunition. We have sent to Greenville today for
amunition & accoutriments to fit out for the trip. Lt Paine arrived here a few minutes before I recieved marching orders. I
think we will have an organization when we get together again. The boys are verry anxious for Col. Gass to be present and
run for Col. Any man can (beat) Rucker if he can have a clear tract. There is but one man in the four old companies that
will vote for Rucker. I received a letter from Julia a few days since which was gladly recd. I have no doubt you are geting
impatient to hear from us. The boys are all tolerably well except those I have mentioned. Clay Byron & Hankins are well.
Young chilled a few times, but is now well. I was verry unwell through out the trip to this place (I mean from Knoxville)
though I complained as little as possible. I am now tolerably well and expect to go with the boys tomorrow. It is rumered
that there have been some proposals for an armistis. I hope it is true though I doubt the report. I sent $700.00 Dollars by
W.P. Thomason, 200 for Gillespie and 500 to you. It has come to hand before this I have no doubt. You will please have
every thing done towards making a crop that is in your power. Be saving of what you have on hand. I understand the
cavalry pressed R. Mitchells corn. I fear they have taken yours. If you write to me by mail, direct your letter to Greenville,
Tenn. 16th Battalion Tenn. Cavalry (you had better get Capt. W.P.D. to back it for you). Tell Porter his brother John is
well and enjoys himself finely. Tell W.T. Gass to come up forthwith. We can't do anything until he is present. The men
want to see him before voting for him. This seems all most like a life & death struggle with us. If Rucker is elected, I will
leave the Battalion if I can. Eblin is a candidate, but he has verry little better chance than Rucker. Eblin is willing to give
way if Gass is the strongest man. Tell him to come up and we will try and make him the strongest man. You must excuse
my bad writing as I have a verry bad chance to write. I have allready written more than you can read I Expect. And a great
portion not verry interesting at that. I do not know when I will have an opportunity to see you. I have some hopes that this
awfull war of blood & carnage will cease earlong. May the Angel of Peace hover around & watch over you and your dear
little family with all our friends & relatives is my prair. I am yours affectionately, H.C. Collins. P.S. It has this minute
commenced raining. We will have a wet time to travil, I fear. HHenry was a farmer in the southern part of Rhea County near present-day Dayton, Tennessee. He participated in a drygoods business before the war and held minor political posts, one of them being tax collector. After the war he was
appointed Overseer of Roads for Rhea County. His family were members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. In29 March 31, 2003 
1873, Henry and most of his children moved to Oak Grove, Texas (later a suburb of Ft. Worth), where he farmed land
owned by his wife Mary. He died in Texas before 1880. Mary died in 1898, near Gainesville, Texas

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