4th 1862 Dear Sallie : Your kind letter of 25th ulto was received yesterday and it
is the first one I have got from you of a later date than 25th Dec. I am truly sorry to
hear you are all sick . It does seem ... I hope by this time you have all got well of
the " chills . ... I have felt no such cold weather here yet as I expected from what
people said , think I have suffered more with cold in Arks , than I have here . The "
Publisher: University of Arkansas Press
This collection of letters bears witness to the Civil War of the common soldiers and junior officers of the Army of Tennessee. Brothers Alex and Tom Spence described to their family in detail not only the many battles in which they served, but the hardship of campaigning (they marched literally thousands of miles), the pride of serving in battle-proven units, and the pain of losing comrades to bullets and disease. The Spences were a wealthy family who owned land, slaves, and the main hotel in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. With their successful careers and extensive property, they were among Clark County's most prominent families when the shadow of secession fell across Arkansas. Four years later, Arkansas would be ravaged by war, and Tom and Alex Spence would lie in soldiers' graves, far from home. Mark Christ has assembled their powerful letters from a collection in the Old State House Museum, weaving in other letters from their extended family and friends, brief but thorough introductions to each chapter, and evocative photographs. The story moves chronologically from the outset of war to the final letter from Alex's grieving fiancée.