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Collection Title: Dickson (Hugh Carroll) Civil War Letters

Collection Number: M 256

Dates: 1861-1864

Volume: 1 folder

Provenance: Donated by Mrs. Glenn (Karen) Taylor.

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

Hugh Carroll Dickson was born January 29, 1842 to Colonel Joseph J. Dickson and Rachell Liddell Dickson. Colonel Joseph Dickson was commander of the "Abbeville Dragoons," a pre-Civil War state militia in Abbeville, South Carolina. Col. Dickson retired from the militia and moved his family near Utica, Mississippi in 1859.

Hugh Dickson enlisted in the "Crystal Springs Southern Rights" Company C of the 16th Mississippi Infantry that was formed in Crystal Springs, Mississippi at the beginning of the Civil War. A Baptist Minister, James C. Davis, organized the company in early April of 1861, and it was composed primarily of Copiah and Hinds County men. The 16th regiment was sent to Corinth, Mississippi on May 25, 1861 for muster roll, and arrived at Manassas Junction, Virginia on August 10, 1861, where it was enrolled into the Army of Northern Virginia. The regiment, along with Dickson, spent most of the war in and around Manassas and Centreville, Virginia.

After the war, Dickson returned to his father's place in Dry Grove, Mississippi. Dickson died of an old war wound on August 30, 1866.

Scope and Content:

The Hugh Carroll Dickson Collection consists of eight photocopied and typescript letters by Hugh Dickson to his family in Dry Grove, Mississippi. Four of the eight letters span the period from his arrival in Manassas on August 10 to December 11, 1861 and the latter of the four date from January 19, 1862 to May 4, 1864. Most of the letters are addressed to his father and mother, Colonel Joseph and Rachell Dickson, but there is one to his brother James L. Dickson. Judging from the tone of the letters, Dickson wrote almost everyday, but most of those letters apparently did not survive.

Dickson is always positive in his letters, not letting the weather and sickness get him down. His biggest complaint is that no one will respond to his letters. The first part of the collection is filled with observation of camp life, descriptions of the Virginia countryside, the civilians, and the enemy. The latter part of the collection is filled with battle scenes and first hand accounts of the fighting in northern Virginia.

Apparently, Dickson was accompanied by a servant to whom he refers as "William." Until the January 19, 1862 letter, William is mentioned in every letter, but after that time he is never mentioned again. Dickson also describes the Christian revival that took place in his camp, which was not unlike the revivals that took place in other Confederate camps toward the end of the war.

The contrast of the beginning and the end of the Civil War for the Army of Northern Virginia is very clear in Dickson's collection. The overabundance of food and supplies in the first year compared to deprivation of the army towards the end is a prime example. In all the hardships, Dickson does not lose faith in the Confederate army and believes that it will be victorious.

Accession Number: AM03-17

Provenance: Karen B. Taylor

Volume: 4 items

Dates: 1964; undated

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Form of Material:

Photocopies of:

  1. A letter to Col. John Dickson informing him that his son, Hugh C. Dickson, has been wounded in battle near Petersburg, Virginia. (Aug. 25, 1864)
  2. The address portion of the Aug. 25, 1864 letter to Col. Dickson.
  3. An envelope addressed to Hugh C. Dickson, care of Capt. Slay, Mississippi Volunteers, 16th Reg., Gardensville, Virginia. (undated)
  4. A note from Hugh Dickson discussing a battle at Leesburg. (undated)


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