Letter written on Oct 25, 1861 by W.E.A. Simmons to his mother, Margaret McLean

Privacy Level: Public (Green)
Date: 1861 [unknown]
Location: Washington Parish, Louisianamap
Surnames/tags: Simmons Wood
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Letter written on Oct 25, 1861 by W.E.A. (Abertus) Simmons to his mother, Margaret McLean

By B. B. Wood

On October 25, 1861, William E. Abertus Simmons wrote a letter from Camp Reserve, located 4 miles east of Richmond to his mother, Margaret McLean, in Franklinton, Washington Parish, Louisiana. He thanked her for sending him some warm clothes since winter was coming. He mentions that a man named Dave and his uncle Nicolas are with him in Richmond.

Abertus, as he was known to his family, enlisted as a private in Company I, Washington Rifles, of the 9th Regiment Infantry. Also listed as privates were Morgan Edwards Wood, his brother-in-law, and Thomas Jefferson Wood, Morgan’s younger brother. Company I had organized at Camp Moore on Jun 15, 1861 with 889 men.

Six companies of that regiment were ordered to Manassas Virginia on July 17, and held the position at Michell’s Ford during the engagements of the 18th and 21st of July 1861. Four days later, the regiment was in reserve guarding supplies and was not engaged in the battle. The regiment next arrived at Camp Pickens on the 23rd of July, then left Camp Pickens and moved to Camp Bienville near Centerville, July 8th.

Along with the 6th and 7th Louisiana Regiments, the 9th Regiment wintered in northern Virginia at a Confederate encampment near the Manassas battlefield. Camp Carondelet, also known as the Louisiana Brigade Winter Camp, was an 8 acre Civil War encampment that was used around the time of the first battle of Manassas. At this site, soldiers built a series of log cabins to make it through the harsh winter. In spring, the troops burned all of the cabins, but the foundations remain. The Louisiana Brigades had a reputation of being fierce warriors and Camp Carondelet is one of only two sites remaining of its kind, the other being located near Williamsburg, Virginia. Camp Carondelet is listed in the National Register as an historical landmark. Located near Alexandria, VA; Richmond, VA; Petersburg, VA. Coordinates: 38°45'44"N 77°25'27"W. On February 11, 1862, W. E. A. Simmons died at Camp Carondelet. He was not yet 20 years old.

William E. A. Simmons, Pvt. Co I, 9th La. Inf En. July 8, 1861, Camp Bienville, Va. Present on all Rolls to Jan., 1862. Report for Feb., 1862, Camp Carondelet, Va. Died Feb. 11, 1862.

The 9th Infantry Regiment was organized at Camp Moore, Louisiana, in May, 1861 and soon moved to Virginia. Its companies were recruited in the following parishes: Rapides, Bossier, Bienville, De Soto, Livingston, Jackson, Washington, Claiborne, East Carroll, and Madison. The unit served in General R. Taylor's Brigade during Jackson's Valley Campaign and the Seven Days' Battles, then was assigned to Starke's, Hays', and York's command. It fought in many conflicts from Cedar Mountain to Cold Harbor, was involved in Early's operations in the Shenandoah Valley, and later shared in the Appomattox Campaign. Only 4 officers and 64 men surrendered with the Army of Northern Virginia.

[page 1 of 2]

[-----] Camp Reserve
[-----] [C]amp Reserve. Oct 25, 1861
Dear Mother,
I sat my self this morning
to drop you a few lines to let you know
that I am well at present and hoping these
few lines may find you enjoying the same
blessing and also to let you know that I received
my [clothes] yesterday and was glad to get them
for it is now cold here now. There was a
large frost and plenty of [clothes] now to do me
all winter. I think and I want you to rest
assured that I am comfortable and do not
[--] worry about me for I am in good
health and have a plenty of every thing.
I wrote a few days ago to you but I thought
I would write again to let you know I got my
[clothes]. David and uncle Nicholas is gone to
Richmond. I have not heard from uncle
Nic since he left. I heard from Dave yester
day. He was moving very fast. I have
nothing more I don't believe. Give my
love to all and tell Morgan to write
to me and you write soon. Let me hear from home.
Tell Press to be a good boy and
take care of things. Tell Jacob I will come soon.
W. Simmons.

[page 2 of 2]

Mary A. T. Simmons was born on [-----]
W. E. A. Simmons
Mary A. T. Simmons was born June the 12, 1838.
W. E. A. Simmons [born] June the 13 1842.
R. P. Simmons was born Nov the 10, 1847.
W. E. A. Simmons departed this life
February the 9 1863.
Mary A. T. Wood departed this life June the
21 1862.
J. E. Wood was [born] July the 12 1855
J. W. E. Wood was born Nov 25 1859.
A. T. Wood was born the March the 23 1861.


mentioned in this letter

W. E. A. Simmons = William E. Abertus Simmons, born Jun 13, 1842, Franklinton, Washington Parish, LA, and died Feb 11, 1862, at Camp Carondelet, Manassas, Fairfax Co, VA. The letter writer. Son of William Winter Simmons & Margaret McLean. Brother of Mary A. T. Simmons, wife of Morgan Edwards Wood. The maternal uncle of Jacob Wood. The verso of the letter lists W. E. A. Simmons death date as Feb 9, 1863.

Mother = Margaret McLean Simmons, born about 1816 in Louisiana, and died sometime between 1880 and 1900. Mother of three children: W. E. A. Simmons, the letter writer, Mary A. T. Simmons, and (Robert) Preston Simmons. Wife of William Winter Simmons. Daughter of Edward McLean. Writing on the back of this letter written by William E. Abertus Simmons to his mother, Margaret McLean Simmons, was probably added by Margaret McLean at a later date, probably in the late 1860s, because while the list includes the birth and death dates for her children and the grandchildren of her daughter Mary A. T. Simmons who was born and died before the late 1860s, it does not include the marriage and grandchildren for her son Preston Simmons or his death date 1909. The list also does not include the death date of her grandson Jacob Wood who died in 1939.

Uncle Nicolas / Nic = unknown

David / Dave = unknown

Morgan = Morgan Edwards Wood, born Feb 11, 1835, Franklinton, Washington Parish, LA. Brother-in-law of the letter writer, W. E. A. Simmons. Husband of Mary A. T. Simmons, sister of the letter writer. Son of Jacob Wood & Jemima Morris.

Press / R. P. Simmons = (Robert) Preston Simmons, born Nov 10, 1847, Franklinton, Washington Parish, LA. Younger brother of the letter writer. Son of William Winter Simmons & Margaret McLean. Younger brother of W. E. A. Simmons, the letter writer, and Mary A. T. Simmons. Son of William Winter Simmons & Margaret McLean. He would have been about 14 years old at the time the letter was written.

Jacob / J. E. Woods = Jacob Eleazer Wood, born Jul 12, 1858, Franklinton, Washington Parish, LA. Nephew of the letter writer. Only surviving child of Morgan Edwards Wood & Mary A. T. Simmons, sister of the letter writer. Jacob would have been about 3 years old when the letter was written. His mother, Mary A. T. Simmons died 4 months before the letter was written, and perhaps at the time the letter was written Jacob was in the care of his maternal grandmother, Margaret McLean, the person to whom the letter was written. I have photographs of Jacob Eleazer Wood taken in the 1920s.

Mary A. T. Simmons = Mary A. T. Simmons Wood born June 12, 1838, Franklinton, Washington Parish, LA. She died Jun 21, 1861. Sister of the letter writer. Wife of Morgan Edwards Wood. Mother of Jacob Eleazer Wood, John W. Edwards Wood and Mary A. T. Wood. Simmons was 23 years old when she died. Her only surviving child, Jacob, had the following inscription carved on her tombstone: Mary Simmons Wood / mother of J. E. Wood / June 12, 1838 / June 21, 1861 / Oh not cruelty, not in wrath / The reaper came one day. It was / An angel / Visited the earth and took / My mother away.

J. W. E. Woods = John W. Edwards Wood, born Nov 25, 1859 and died Dec 23, 1860. Son of Morgan Edwards Wood & Mary A. T. Simmons. His mother died 6 months later.

A. T. Woods = Mary A. T. Wood / Emily D. Edwards Wood, born Mar 23, 1861, Franklinton, Washington Parish LA, and died June 21 1862. Daughter of Morgan Edwards Wood & Mary A. T. Simmons. She was barely one year old. Her mother had died soon after she was born.

For Further Research:

Registration Report NRHP Camp Carondelet

Louisiana Brigade Winter Camp



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