November 28, 1862
I received your letter of the 5th Nov. – I am surprised at you not receiving my letters written from the Sharpsburg fight. I gave you all the information about Robert. I have been hunting for him ever since he was lost. I feel that he was slain although I cannot give him up yet. I hope he may turn up someday. We are now in sight of the Yankee tents. Only the Rappahannock River between us. I do not think they will attempt to cross this winter. Have plenty of clothes. Some shoes wanting. I may have to resign to come home this winter but I do not want to. If Robert can be found, I will find him before I come. If killed, we will have to give up for a time. Excuse my writing with pencil as ink is scarce in camp. I close,
This from your Son,
This letter is one of many written by neighborhood pioneer W.H. Gaston during his service in the First Regiment of Hood’s Brigade during the Civil War. About 50 of these letters were found in the attic of an old home near Tyler and later edited into a booklet by Robert W. Glover titled “Tyler to Sharpsburg.” The booklet also contains letters written by Gaston’s brother, Robert, who was killed during the war.
Gaston had a distinguished military career, being elected captain of his company in the winter of 1861, thus earning the title of “Boy Captain of Hood’s Brigade.” He saw action in every battle the regiment fought while it was with the Army of Northern Virginia. These included: West Point, Gaines’ Mill, Second Manasas, Sharpsburg and Fredricksburg.
Six years after the above letter was written, Gaston rode into Dallas with $20,000 in gold pieces in his saddlebags. And the rest is history.
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