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Guide to the Barrier Family Letters

MSN/CW 5057

 

Collection Summary

Title: Barrier family letters
Dates: 1861-1868(bulk 1861-1865)
Collection No.: MSN/CW 5057
Creator: Barrier, William L. (William Lafayette), 1834-1864
Creator: Barrier, Rufus A. (Rufus Alexander), 1836-1876
Extent: 123 items; 2 containers; 1 linear foot
Language: Collection material in English
Repository: University of Notre Dame. Hesburgh Libraries, Department of Special Collections. 102 Hesburgh Library, Notre Dame, IN 46556
Abstract: More than one hundred letters written during the Civil War by two brothers serving in the Confederate army, Sgt. William Lafayette Barrier (1st North Carolina Cavalry) and Col. Rufus Barrier (8th North Carolina Infantry). The letters are mostly directed to the brothers' father, Mathias Barrier, in Mt. Pleasant, Cabarrus County, North Carolina.

Selected Search Terms

United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives, Confederate
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Correspondence
Confederate States of America. Army. North Carolina Infantry Regiment, 8th
Confederate States of America. Army. North Carolina Cavalry Regiment, 1st
North Carolina -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865
Cabarrus County (N.C.) -- History

Administrative Information

Restrictions: Persons interested in consulting this collection should contact the curator for Americana in Rare Books and Special Collections.

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], Barrier Family Letters, [Collection and folder no.], Rare Books and Special Collections, Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame.

Acquisition and Processing Note: The Barrier letters were preserved as a group by Rufus Barrier's children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, before being gifted to Notre Dame in 2007 by Beverly Troxler O'Grady and Robert O'Grady. Arranged and described 2008, by George Rugg. Finding aid 2016, by Thomson Guster and George Rugg.

Biographical Note

The primary authors of this correspondence, William Lafayette Barrier (29 April 1834-17 May 1864) and his brother Rufus Alexander Barrier (28 June 1836-8 April 1876), were born in Cabarrus County in the North Carolina Piedmont, the sons of Mathias Barrier and Margaret Mitchel (m. 1828). Mathias Barrier (1803-1873) was a prominent local planter and civic leader, whose two-story Greek Revival residence in Mt. Pleasant (1853) still stands. He was a deacon at St. Stephen's Evangelical Lutheran Church and a trustee of North Carolina College, built in Mt Pleasant in the 1850s on land deeded by Barrier to the North Carolina Evangelical Lutheran Synod. The 1860 Federal Census values his real estate at $2640 and his personal estate at $7500. He held 11 slaves. The older of Matthias Barrier's two sons, William Lafayette, is identified in the 1860 Census as a dentist, living unmarried in Mt. Pleasant. In June 1861 he enlisted in the army, and was mustered in to Confederate service as a sergeant in Co. F, 1st North Carolina Cavalry. This was one of the storied Confederate cavalry regiments of the war, veterans of some 160 engagements, attached mainly to the Cavalry Division (later Cavalry Corps) of the Army of Northern Virginia. Barrier received a saber wound to the head on the third day of the battle of Gettysburg (3 July 1863), and was reduced in rank to private shortly thereafter, for reasons that are not clear. He was shot in the arm at the Wilderness (6 June 1864), and died following surgery at Seabrook's Hospital in Richmond, 17 May 1864. The younger of Mathias's sons, Rufus Alexander Barrier, is identifed in the 1860 Census as a farmer, with real estate valued at $1400 and a personal estate of $774. With the advent of war he raised a company of men from Cabarrus and was mustered in to Confederate service on 13 September 1861, as captain of Co. H, 8th North Carolina Infantry. (Many students from North Carolina College were members of Barrier's company). On 8 February 1862 the entire regiment was captured at the battle of Roanoke Island; Barrier was paroled on 21 February and exchanged in August 1862. Until the spring of 1864 the 8th North Carolina, attached to Clingman's Brigade, served mainly in the Carolinas, and avoided large-scale engagements. But it was decimated in a sequence of battles spanning little more than a month, at Plymouth (17-20 April 1864), Drewry's Bluff (16 May), and Cold Harbor (1-3 June). Barrier had been transferred to regimental Field & Staff and promoted to major on 1 February 1864; after Cold Harbor he was given command of the regiment, as lieutenant colonel. He remained in command until the close of the war, though he suffered a gunshot wound to the left eye on 22 Aug 1864, and was away from the regiment until October. After the war Barrier returned to his farm at Mt.Pleasant, and married Roxanna Anthony (1845-1905). He died on 8 April 1876.

Scope and Content Note

The Barrier Family correspondence includes 123 letters. Thirty-four of these were written by William Lafayette Barrier during the Civil War (9 July 1861 to 8 May 1864), 33 to his father Mathias in Mt. Pleasant. Eighty-two were written by Rufus Alexander Barrier to Mathias during the war (20 December 1861 to 17 March 1865). Each brother's letters cover close to the full period of his military service, and so provide a relatively seamless account of his years in the field. The seven remaining letters were written by as many different correspondents, and are addressed to either Rufus or Mathias. Most notable is a letter to Mathias from Mrs. S. I. Epps of Richmond, informing him of the death of William Lafayette. About half the letters retain their original covers.

Arrangement Note

Letters written by or relating to William Lafayette Barrier are in folders 1 to 34, ordered chronologically, one to a folder. Letters written by or relating to Rufus Alexander Barrier are in folders 35 to 123, ordered chronologically, one to a folder.

Related Material

These letters were published by Beverly Barrier Troxler and Billy Dawn Barrier Auciello as Dear Father: Confederate Letters Never Before Published, North Billerica MA: Autumn Printing Corp., 1989.

Container List

  • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, Asheville, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina, 1861 July 9. (MSN/CW 5057-1).
    ALS, 3 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope.
    Barrier describes his arrival at and early days in camp; most everyone is in good health and good spirits. He comments on the "two sermons preached us on Sunday," one in camp, one in the town of Ashville itself, saying "our camp appears more like a religious than a military camp." He describes the organization of his company, which has been divided into six squads; he has been elected drillmaster of the first squad.
    • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, Camp Beauregard, near Ridgeway, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina, 1861 September 29. (MSN/CW 5057-2).
      ALS, 4 pages on 1 folded sheet.
      Barrier writes first of the general health of his camp, noting that there is only some sickness and that one man is expected to die. He then refers to his father's (apparently recent) visit to the camp, noting that "since you were here we have been getting along as well if not better than before," and urging him not to believe any news to the contrary. He notes too that his Uncle David is visiting and promises to send back with his uncle his measurements for a new pair of boots and a new overcoat. He asks also that his mother send him two pairs of socks, some mending yarn, and a few goose quills. The last page details the author's measurements.
      • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, Camp Beauregard, near Ridgeway, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina, 1861 October 4. (MSN/CW 5057-3).
        ALS, 3 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope.
        Barrier writes that his regiment is soon to depart the camp for Virginia: "Three cheers went up for our Colonel, three for the Major, & three for our departure for Virginia." He requests that he be sent "two checked marsails shirts," saying that the shirts available in camp are badly made. He writes "for the first time, our regiment will be thrown together in one body (that is on horse). I think it will make quite a grand appearance." He refers to news of his brother's relapse into illness as conveyed "through a letter from Augustus to Wiley," noting that he hasn't heard from Rufus himself. He hopes that he can see his father and mother in the camp before their departure. He details various promotions and reorganizations in the regiment.
        • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, Chesterfield Depot, Hanover County, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina, 1861 October 26. (MSN/CW 5057-4).
          ALS, 4 pages on 1 folded sheet.
          Barrier describes his regiment's departure from Camp Beauregard. The regiment traveled through the Virginia cities of Petersburg and Richmond on the way to Centreville. They were warmly received in Petersburg: "Petersburg is a fine place and the people look well to the interest of soldiers." In Richmond, after camping for five days, the regiment was reviewed before "the great Hero of the South," Jefferson Davis. Barrier was on guard duty, however, and missed his opportunity to see Davis. Barrier reports that Richmond's fortifications are yet incomplete. Leaving Richmond, the regiment discovered that two men had fallen ill with measles; Barrier was subsequently tasked with taking them to Fredericksburg, where they might recuperate. On the way, however, Barrier encountered "a good N.C. lady who insisted on [his] leaving them in her care," and he allowed himself to be diverted to her home, where he stayed the night and wrote this letter. He then writes about other sights in Richmond: the Capital Square, where he saw statues of Washington and Henry Clay, among others, and the residence of Jefferson Davis. In Richmond too they were treated to a set of new tents. Barrier is anxious to hear news of his brother, Rufus, who, he understands, has fallen quite ill and returned home. He reports receiving the boots requested in his letter of 29 September. Finally, he reports that the health of his regiment is "generally good," though a few men have deserted, and that, in a few days, they will be at "the scene of action."
          • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, Camp near Centreville, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina, 1861 December 4. (MSN/CW 5057-5).
            ALS, 4 pages on 1 folded sheet.
            Barrier reports that his health, and the health of his regiment, is good; there are few serious cases among the other men, and all the "Mt. Pleasant boys" are in good condition. Notes that reported deaths in the company are false. "We have plenty to eat," he writes, adding that "I state this as a fact because I have understood that it is reported at home that we do not get enough." He provides details of a fight on the 26th of November in which members of Co. F, including himself, were involved. Col. Ransom, commanding the 1st North Carolina Cavalry, rode from camp with 200 men in search of the enemy. Near the village of Vienna they skirmished with Union forces. When the latter took flight, Ransom and his men pursued: "The chase was something like a fox chase." Barrier reports that the Confederates captured 28 men, killed one, and wounded several others. They also captured 17 horses, 16 rifles, about the same number of swords and pistols, and other items worth about $1200. Barrier kept one of the captured guns, which were divided among the companies. The letter closes with the promise of future conflict: "the great fight so long expected [is] at hand." Barrier expects further fighting within the week.
            • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, Camp W.S. Ash near Centreville, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina, 1861 December 25. (MSN/CW 5057-6).
              ALS, 4 pages on 1 folded sheet.
              Barrier wonders why he hasn't received a letter from his father. He reports good health for himself and, on the whole, for the regiment; while a number of men have died from sickness, none of the men in Barrier's company have succumbed: "Truly it may be said that Providence has very much favored our company." There is little war news of interest: "The grand battle that was expected is no longer looked for," and the regiment is about to remove itself to the vicinity of Manassas for the winter. Barrier then recounts the Battle of Dranesville, "a hard little fight, near our picket line" on 20 December. A mixed force of infantry, cavalry, and artillery led by General Stuart went out to protect a group of foraging wagons and encountered the enemy, "a large drove of yankey, about fifteen thousand." A firefight ensued and ended when the wagons were able to withdraw to safety as the sun set. 41 Confederate soldiers were killed, with over a hundred missing and wounded. The Union suffered "two hundred and eighty killed besides wounded and missing." Barrier heard the battle from his position on the picket line a few miles away. In closing, Barrier asks if Cabarrus County has paid for the overcoat he'd requested his father have made for him and assures him that, if he hasn't yet been compensated for it, he will be. He mentions that he wrote Rufus about the "grand Yankey chase" at Vienna on 26 November and that their next camp will be near the location of the Battle of Manassas. He regrets not hearing from his sister or Daniel Moose, his brother-in-law, wondering if they are in good health.
              • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, Camp W.N. Edwards, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina, 1862 February 10. (MSN/CW 5057-7).
                ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet.
                Barrier assures his father that he is in good health, and that he actually weighs five pounds more than he has ever weighed before. He is busy these days; he's been filling in for his orderly sergeant, who is sick. Many men have the mumps, Barrier says, though none are critically ill. Enclosed with the letter were a pen knife and some candy for Luther Moose, his nephew. He reports receiving a letter from Rufus, his brother, dated 23 January 1862, stating that he and his regiment were well, though they were expecting an attack.
                • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, Pine Woods, Lenoir County, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina, 1862 March-April. (MSN/CW 5057-8).
                  ALS, 4 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope. Envelope is postmarked Goldsborough, 3 (or 5?) April, and is franked with CS 1.
                  Barrier recounts his brigade's withdrawal from winter camp near Manassas to Lenoir County, North Carolina, writing from the new encampment near Kinston. Ransom has been promoted to brigadier general, with command of a brigade attached to the Department of North Carolina. Barrier reports that, in comparison with the 2nd North Carolina Cavalry, he is "almost discouraged about our horses," and he requests that his father send him a new mount, "regardless of the cost," for "the State will pay a fair price for a good horse and what it lacks [he] will pay from [his] own pocket." He requests a few other items from home and reports receiving, at last, a box that had been sent to him. He has heard from Sgt. William R. Scott, a man in his company, that his family is well.
                  • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, Camp Mars near Kinston, Lenoir County, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina, 1862 May 28. (MSN/CW 5057-9).
                    ALS, 2 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope. The envelope is an unfranked patriotic cover.
                    Barrier has enclosed $180 as partial payment for his new horse, which is working out well. He has little news of interest to report. He and his cousins are well and the regiment is to move to Petersburg within the next few days.
                    • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, Petersburg, Virginia, to Rufus Barrier, n.p.,  1862 June 29. (MSN/CW 5057-10).
                      ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet.
                      Barrier writes his brother, Rufus, to let him know of his health and general whereabouts. The regiment has just arrived in Petersburg and will set out soon for Richmond: "[F]ighting has been going at Richmond for several days, and is supposed to be still going on. Old Stonewall is just raking in the Yankeys." He closes by urging Rufus to write him at Richmond.
                      • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, Hanover Court House, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1862 August 13. (MSN/CW 5057-11).
                        ALS, 8 pages on 2 folded sheets. Envelope is franked with a pair of CS 6.
                        Barrier confirms his receipt of his father's letter only the day before, "the first time that I have heard from home since I left there," and reports that he has not received Rufus's recent letter. Though Barrier was unwell when he last wrote his father, his condition has improved and he is, along with most of his regiment, in good health. He notes the death of Edward Hill, a member of his company; Hill passed away in hospital in Kinston. While his regiment has been out on picket duty for the past two weeks, Barrier's recent illness prevented him from joining them. They have been involved in skirmishes with the enemy around Malvern Hill, and several of the regiment have been wounded or taken prisoner. The prisoners taken from the regiment during "that grand charge upon the Yankey Army" have been returned; one was taken from Barrier's company, and one killed. "The one who was killed," Barrier says, "was a noble young man. He was a son of Colonel David White." (The reference is to Pvt. Marshall White, killed when the 1st North Carolina Cavalry was ambushed at Willis Church, Virginia during the Seven Days Battles, 29 June 1862). The returned prisoners say that they were badly treated. The letter turns then to the topic of "Jackson's late victory," at which several Union officers were captured: "[They] had the pleasure of wearing some of the handcuffs which they brought to Manassas, a little over twelve months ago, to put upon the hands of the Rebels." Barrier expects that soon Stonewall will have a great and definitive triumph. Barrier speaks of his brother, Rufus, who, he understands, will soon be exchanged, along with his company. Barrier welcomes the news that they will return to the field of battle; he believes that the glory of the Confederacy depends on immediate action. He wishes to go home, but not before the work of the war is done: "A long pull, a strong pull and a pull all together and we will doubtless soon see the independence of the Confederacy acknowledged." He regrets that, in the fighting before Richmond, "North Carolina lost many noble sons." Finally, he remarks on the news that Colonel Zebulon Vance has been elected governor of North Carolina. "I think that he will make a good governor," says Barrier.
                        • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, Near Frederick, Maryland, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1862 September 8. (MSN/CW 5057-12).
                          ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet, w/envelope. Envelope is franked with two CS 6.
                          Barrier writes that all are cheerful and all is well as they make their way through Maryland. He reports that the Second Battle of Bull Run (29-30 August 1862) was a great victory, and that the Confederate army also enjoyed a recent victory in Kentucky (at Richmond, 29-30 August). He reports good health for himself and his regiment and that a man named John Pharr (Cpl. John M. Pharr, Co. F) was killed.
                          • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, Martinsburg, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1862 October 7. (MSN/CW 5057-13).
                            ALS, 4 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope.
                            Barrier writes that he and the regiment fought at the Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam) in Maryland (17 September 1862), but provides few details. "It's considered one of the big fights of the War. Our loss was pretty great but the enemie's was doubtless much greater." The regiment has lost several men, wounded or missing. There is a scarcity of food, but the regiment and Barrier himself are in generally good health. However, Barrier says "I am sorry to say that our Regiment is going to sticks very fast." There is a shortage of horses; over half the men in the regiment don't have horses fit for duty. Additionally, Col. Baker has begun to drink and the quartermaster and commissary are "both considered swindling scoundrels," Barrier himself now serves as quartermaster seargeant, and he and Capt. Barringer are getting along well. He reports also on the health of his company: "Our Company reports eighty men for duty, this is more than any company in the regiment, and there are several companies who number at least twenty men more than ours." There seems to be discord in the officers' ranks, and Barrier thinks that the regiment is going to be reorganized in some way, though he doesn't know how. Lastly, he has learned that his relation Daniel Moose (Co. G, 5th North Carolina Infantry) has arrived in Virginia, and is apparently doing well: "I guess that he has seen a part of the monkey by this time."
                            • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, Martinsburg, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1862 October 30. (MSN/CW 5057-14).
                              ALS, 4 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope. Envelope is franked with a pair of CS 7.
                              Barrier has little to report. He asks for a coat, a pair of pants, a captain's hat, a pair of boots, 2 flannel shirts, 2 pairs of woolen slips, 2 blankets, and 2 pairs of socks from home.
                              • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, Near the Rapidan River, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1862 December 22. (MSN/CW 5057-15).
                                ALS, 4 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope.
                                At the time of writing, Barrier's brigade was guarding Kelly's Ford on the Rapidan River. Barrier acknowledges the receipt of the clothing he'd requested in his previous letter. He wishes his family could visit him at camp for Christmas. He likewise wishes he could report that all the soldiers were as comfortably clothed as he, but acknowledges that many of his fellows are barefoot and without good clothes. With respect to the war, he says that, a few weeks ago, General Hampton went out with about 300 men, 50 from the 1st North Carolina Cavalry, to scout: "They were gone three days and returned with about 90 prisoners and 100 horses." This was but the first of a series of similarly successful raids, which supplied the Confederate Army with badly need horses, supplies, and food, as well as capturing 200 to 300 prisoners. "All of this was done without the loss of a single man," says Barrier. Men from his company participated in some of these raids, too. Barrier assumes his father has heard news of the recent victory at Fredericksburg. He says he hasn't heard anything from his brother Rufus since Rufus "went to Wilmington." Barrier reports receiving a vaccination: "I was a little unwell from its effects for several days." In a postscript he says he has finally received the backpay owed him since October.
                                • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, Camp 1st North Carolina Cavalry, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 January 9. (MSN/CW 5057-16).
                                  ALS, 4 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope.
                                  Barrier acknowledges receipt of news from home; he wishes, as they do, that he could be at home with them. He says, though, that there is one way he could "enjoy a few days" with his family: "An order was read this morning on paraid that every soldier who would furnish a recruit for the army should have a furlough of thirty days? Can you find anyone who would like to join the cavalry? If so send me his name immediately." He urges his family to conduct a thorough survey of the available men: "The time has come when it is necessary for every man to put his shoulder to the wheel." He says that he dreads the prospect of his third winter on the battlefield, especially when confronting "an Enemy whose deeds of horror are unparellelled in the history of any civil war." He writes that he hopes that there are "a few patriots at home who have been enjoying the comforts of home, who will send us their names so that we may get a furlough." He reports receiving a letter from Rufus a few days previous; Rufus says he and his company are in good health.
                                  • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, Culpeper County, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 January 12. (MSN/CW 5057-17).
                                    ALS, 8 pages on 2 folded sheets.
                                    Barrier writes that he has not heard from his family in some time, and hopes that they will write soon. He reassures his father that all is well and that his health is good, along with the health of his company and, indeed, the regiment. He describes their current whereabouts—six miles south by east of Culpeper Court House—and the various forms of tent or habitation in camp. He himself is in a mess of 20, whose living situation and routines he describes in some detail. Barrier has sent $80 and a "Harper's Ferry testament" along with his letter; $5 and the testament are to go to his nephew, Luther, and the remaining $75 is for his father to use "to the best advantage." He closes by asking his father to visit, for he imagines he is settled for the winter.
                                    • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, Culpeper County, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 January 17. (MSN/CW 5057-18).
                                      ALS, 4 pages on 1 folded sheet.
                                      Responding to his father's account of the "Extortioners of Mt. Pleasant," Barrier writes: "The man who shelters himself behind a tanyard or elsewhere when his country needs his service is most assuredly unworthy of the name of a Confederate citizen and is devoid of patriotism. And whoever extorts upon a poor soldier or a soldier's family when he is exposed to the dangers of a cruel war in the defense of Liberty, and in the protection of his home, should be branded as an enemy to his country and the poor." For such as these, he says, the day of retubution is coming. He has heard nothing from Rufus.
                                      • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, Camp 1st North Carolina Cavalry, Milford Station, Fredericksburg Road, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  [1863 January-March]. (MSN/CW 5057-19).
                                        ALS, 3 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope.
                                        Barrier begins by assuring his father that all is well and that he and his regiment are comfortably situated near the abandoned Milford Station. He bids his father to come visit and asks him to bring something good to eat. He also asks for a water bucket and other things. He asks if his father has "found him a recruit yet," another man for the company, which would earn Barrier a furlough.
                                        • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, Hanover Junction, Virginia to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 April 2. (MSN/CW 5057-20).
                                          ALS, 4 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope.
                                          Barrier is back with the regiment after a visit home to Cabarrus County. He reports good health for himself and his company; they have enough to eat, "but rather a scant allowance for [the] horses." He says he sold the "little sorrell pony" he brought from home for $200, $150 of which he will send to Mathias soon. He has refused an offer of $400 for "my Filly," also brought from home. In a postscript he reports that he heard from Daniel Moose just a few days prior and that he is in good health.
                                          • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, Camp 1st N.C. Cavalry, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 April 21. (MSN/CW 5057-21).
                                            ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet.
                                            Barrier has been away from the regiment on horse detail, and is now returned. He can get a "very good government horse" to ride, "so [he has] concluded to make [himself] easy on the horse question for this season." He continues: "There is no chance to get my filly and it is probably best to leave her where she is and let the government feed her." His health, and the health of the regiment, is good. They expect to move on soon, perhaps across the Potomac.
                                            • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, Hanover Junction, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 April 21. (MSN/CW 5057-22).
                                              ALS, 4 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope.
                                              Barrier has received his father's letter, courtesy of Mr. Scott, and is particularly glad to hear that Rufus is doing well, as he hasn't written to William since he left Wilmington. Barrier reports that, reports and rumors to the contrary, Rufus's regiment likely gets just as much to eat as William's. He is saddened to hear that Rufus has lost six men since he went to Charleston: "Such is the fate of many poor soldiers." War news from all over seems to be favorable, and "a fight is daily expected at or near Fredericksburg." There was cannon fire heard from that direction, and skirmishes with Union cavalry on the Rappahannock River north of Fredericksburg, but large-scale fighting has not yet begun. He asks after Jake Fisher, who has returned home from Barrier's company: "We are getting along very well without him and most of us would be glad if he never would return to the company. He is liked about as well as a dog likes hickory." He now owns the pony that Barrier sold, and it appears that she is with foal. Barrier sends a comb each for his mother and his sister along with the letter: "They seemed to want one when I was at home." In closing he reports that they have been baking fine, raised bread, "as [his father] would wish to see."
                                              • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, Hanover Junction, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 May 24. (MSN/CW 5057-23).
                                                ALS, 3 pages on 1 folded sheet.
                                                Barrier confirms receipt of his father's "kind favor of the 17th." He is glad to learn that Rufus's company is in such good health, though he is saddened to hear of some losses among the men: "Such is the fate of camp life." He writes that, while there have been rumors of action to the west, he hopes that they are unfounded, because the last Fredericksburg fight (the battle of Chancellorsville, 2 May 1863) was "very hard," and "many a brave boy fell there," even if the Confederates were victorious. He writes of the death of Stonewall Jackson, saying, "The fall of General Jackson is much lamented. He fell at the hands of his own men & by his own order. It seems to have been a Providential affair and I trust that his death will result in good to our cause." The 59th Regiment of North Carolina Troops (cavalry) passed through Barrier's camp just a week ago, and he saw many acquaintances, all of whom seemed to be in good health. George Barringer was also with them, though now he is on his way home "for the purpose of purchasing horses." He closes with information about various regimental reorganizations and best wishes to his family. The bifolium also includes a single page letter written to "Dear Pap and Mam" by L. Rowan Rose, who had been mustered in to Co. F on 15 May as a substitute.
                                                • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, Culpeper County, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 June 10. (MSN/CW 5057-24).
                                                  ALS, 4 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope.
                                                  Barrier's regiment left Hanover Junction on 29 May for Culpeper County (to prepare for the march northward into Pennsylvania). On 9 June he and the regiment were involved in a large-scale cavalry engagment at Brandy Station, when Union troopers crossed the Rappahannock and attacked. Fighting continued throughout the day; Barrier reports that his regiment acquitted itself well, though they did suffer some casualties, including the captain of Co. F, who was shot in the mouth. "Our company wound up the scene of action on the right about sundown by chasing a squad of yankeys at full speed for about two miles, we run them to the river where there was considerable force." Barrier passes on news for W. D. Anthony, who wants to let his father's family know that he is alright.
                                                  • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, Culpeper County, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 July 14. (MSN/CW 5057-25).
                                                    ALS, 10 pages on 3 folded sheets, w/envelope. Envelope is a Confederate patriotic cover franked with a pair of CS 6.
                                                    Barrier recounts "the grandest raid of the war," the Gettysburg campaign. Though suffering from "a pretty sore head from a sabre cut," he is still "in the land of the living" and doing well. Within a few days of the battle of Brandy Station the regiment had decamped, crossed the Rappahannock River, and marched toward Warrenton, where they remained for two days. While there they had a brief encounter with enemy scouts. They marched to New Baltimore, Virginia and then to Upperville, where, on 21 June, they had a "severe contest with the Enemy:" Co. F suffered two dead and four wounded. They then rode toward Fairfax Courthouse, Virginia and, on 25 June, encountered a "heavy wagon train" near Thoroughfare Gap in Bull Run Mountain: "We gave it a few shell and grape and passed on." At Fairfax Station they again encountered the enemy. Barrier's regiment led the charge: "After a sharp skirmish, we routed them killing several and capturing about forty." The 1st North Carolina lost several men, including Maj. John Whitaker, and Lt. Ford had "another horse killed under him." They crossed the Potomac into Maryland on 27 June; at the river they "captured and destroyed about thirty canal boats loaded with forage and provisions for the army." On the 28th they began riding in the direction of Washington, D.C. Along the way they captured "about (150) one hundred and fifty waggons, fifteen hundred mules and horses, and over one thousand prisoners." Jeb Stuart "went down the road to within three miles of Washington City. He saw the flag floating over the capital." On 30 June they were at Hanover, Pennsylvania, and on 2 July at Hunterstown, "within five miles of Gettisburg where the great Battle was then going on." On the evening of that day they skirmished with the enemy. The next day, after reconnoitering along the enemy's left flank for five miles, they met the enemy cavalry. After fighting dismounted for several hours "our regiment and another one was called upon to support a third one in a charge." The fighting went back and forth. "About this time one of the bluecoats and myself came in contact with each other and each striking the other over the head we parted." Barrier left the field for the hospital to have his wound dressed; on the way his mare was shot in the head. Barrier reached the wagons evacuating the wounded on the evening of 4 July. He describes the two-day journey back to Williamsport on the Potomac, and the Federal attacks on the column. He was ferried over the river with other wounded that were able to walk, and on 8 July reached Winchester, Virginia. On the 9th he started for Stanton, but stopped at the house of a Robert Massee. "I found this a very pleasant resting place and consequently I am here yet." Barrier plans to travel to Stanton and then return to camp. He then relays various rumors: that Vicksburg has fallen, that Lee is once more advancing into Pennsylvania, that Lee has retreated back across the Potomac.
                                                    • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, Camp four miles north of Culpeper Court House, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 November 5. (MSN/CW 5057-26).
                                                      ALS, 3 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope.
                                                      Writing nearly four months after the previous letter, Barrier notes that he is just arrived back at camp. His neck is sore but improving, and his head is nearly healed; "I think that I will be all right in a few days more." Most of Co. F is currently out hunting down deserters. Barrier reports that Brig. Gen. James B. Gordon is now in command of the brigade, and Maj. Rufus Barringer is in command of the regiment. Most of Lee's army, says Barrier, is camped around Brandy Station, where "they are getting plenty to eat and but little to do." Barrier writes that Meade's headquarters is about twenty miles away, at Warrenton Junction, and that he has been "ordered to pursue Lee and attack him wherever he finds him." However, says Barrier, "His pursuit is very slow and I think the attack is far distant." Barrier concludes with a report on probable promotions within the regiment.
                                                      • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, 12 miles southeast of Orange Court House, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 November 14. (MSN/CW 5057-27).
                                                        ALS, 2 pages on 1 folded sheet.
                                                        Since Barrier's last letter he and the regiment have been on the move, as the army has fallen back across the Rapidan River. Sgt. William Fitzgerald of Co. F has been elected 2nd lieutenant. There are about fifty men fit for duty in the company. Barrier's head is healing nicely; his neck is still a little sore. Maj. Gen. Wade Hampton has returned to his division. Barrier expects that any day the army will recross the Rapidan.
                                                        • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, Camp 1st North Carolina Cavalry, Spotsylvania, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 December 20. (MSN/CW 5057-28).
                                                          ALS, 4 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope.
                                                          Part of the regiment, including Co. F, is currently on picket duty along the Rapidan, some 30 miles from camp. Barrier and Sgt. William D. Anthony have built a cabin with a tent ply roof and a chimney: "I should like to remain here awhile to enjoy the good of our labor." The regiment has seen some significant action over the previous month (in the Mine Run campaign), and suffered several casualties. Barrier himself was nearly captured. He concludes the letter with talk of his speculation in horses.
                                                          • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, Camp 1st North Carolina Cavalry, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 January 1. (MSN/CW 5057-29).
                                                            ALS, 2 pages on 1 folded sheet.
                                                            Barrier reports that his health is good and that his head is entirely well once more. Along with his letter Barrier includes a pair of shoes, a pair of socks, and two powder flasks, all gifts for people back home; the socks and shoes he does not need. He writes, "If you have not disposed of Hector, I want you to hold onto him for a while. My filly is still back on the dead line and I understand she is not doing very well." In closing, he wishes his family a happy new year.
                                                            • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, Camp 1st North Carolina Cavalry, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 January 15. (MSN/CW 5057-30).
                                                              ALS, 3 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope.
                                                              Barrier sends along with his letter a pair of shoes: "I guess I will not need them as I prefer boots for this service." He also sends his mother a pipe of his own crafting. He requests that his family send him some of his dental equipment, forceps for the pulling of various kinds of teeth and other implements, and that they have a leather case made for their transport.
                                                              • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, Detachment 1st North Carolina Cavalry, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 February 11. (MSN/CW 5057-31).
                                                                ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet, w/envelope.
                                                                Barrier writes that he is now on detached duty in Amherst County, Virginia, "recruiting" horses for the army. His own horse looks to be in poor health, but Barrier has been assured that she is mending. In the meantime, he's gotten a new horse. He thinks that soon he will probably send both home and retrieve his horse Hector from North Carolina. He includes $75 with his letter, $35 of which is for his mother (the amount received for his sack coat, which he has sold). The rest is to be used against his debts.
                                                                • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, Greensboro, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 March 24. (MSN/CW 5057-32).
                                                                  ALS, 2 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with CS 11 or 12.
                                                                  Barrier is in Greensboro on his way to Richmond County, North Carolina. He reports that he left the regiment some time ago and "joined the dead line" in Amherst County, Virginia. His detachment has accumulated 500 horses. Soon they will begin traveling to Richmond County; Barrier promises to write when he reaches his destination. He says he will send, by express, a pair of chickens to his mother as a gift.
                                                                  • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, Bostick's Store, Richmond County, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 March 31. (MSN/CW 5057-33).
                                                                    ALS, 2 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with CS 11 or 12.
                                                                    Barrier writes that the detachment arrived in Richmond County a few days ago, "with [their] dead lines." He hopes to see his father in camp, because he does not think that he'll have the time to get home before he returns to Virginia. He gives directions to his current location for his father's benefit and estimates that it is about a 50-mile journey.
                                                                    • Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, On the Rapidan River, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 May 8. (MSN/CW 5057-34).
                                                                      ALS, 3 pages on 1 folded sheet.
                                                                      Barrier begins with news of "the great battle" (the battle of the Wilderness, 4-6 May), reporting great successes for the Confederacy: "We are driving them before us, with great slaughter. The like has never been seen since the war commenced. General Ewell says he never saw the like." It seems improbable, reports Barrier, that Grant will be able to move onward against Richmond. He asks his father to relay news of this success to John Moose and boasts of the prowess of Lee's army. "We have captured between ten and fifteen thousand prisoners and the work is not yet done. I guess they will be willing to make an exchange," says Barrier. "I wonder what Abraham thinks!" Finally, he discloses that he has only been involved in small skirmishes since the fight began: "I have not fired my gun and have not been shot at." He closes as he reports for picket duty and asks in a postscript whether his father has received the coat Barrier had sent him.
                                                                      • Letter. Mrs. S.I. Epps, Richmond, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 May 17. (MSN/CW 5057-35).
                                                                        ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet.
                                                                        Mrs. Epps, a Richmond resident and nurse at Seabrook Hospital, writes to Mathias Barrier of the death of his son, William Lafayette Barrier, at "ten minutes to eleven o'clock" on the night of 17 May 1864. He died lucid and wishing to see his parents. He'd been wounded in the fighting near Brook Church, three miles outside Richmond, on 12 May. Epps provides Mathias with her address, should he wish to learn more, and says his son will be buried at Oak Wood Cemetery.
                                                                        • Letter. H.C. McAlister, Camp Macon, North Carolina, to Rufus A. Barrier, n.p.,  1861 September 13. (MSN/CW 5057-36).
                                                                          ALS, 1 page on 1 sheet.
                                                                          Lt. Harvey McAlister, Co. H, 8th North Carolina Infantry, writes Capt. Rufus Barrier from Camp Macon in Warren County, North Carolina, where the regiment was organized. He requests that Barrier bring a plate, knife, and fork for each man in the company, and informs him that the regiment will leave for Roanoke Island the following week. Barrier was commanding officer of Co. H., having received his commission on 16 May. Co. H and six other companies would be mustered in to state service the following day, and mustered in to Confederate service on 20 September.
                                                                          • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Portsmouth, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1861 December 20. (MSN/CW 5057-37).
                                                                            ALS, 2 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope.
                                                                            Having recently visited his family in Cabarrus County, Barrier is returning to the regiment on Roanoke Island by way of Raleigh and Portsmouth, Virginia. He writes of his journey and of visiting friends and acquaintances in Raleigh. He closes by promising to write again before he leaves Portsmouth.
                                                                            • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Roanoke Island, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1862 January 15. (MSN/CW 5057-38).
                                                                              ALS, 4 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope. Envelope is an illustrated cover bearing the cachet of North Carolina College in Mt. Pleasant.
                                                                              Barrier reports receiving both of his father's recent letters, one by courier and one by mail. Things have been "lively," he says, sharing that there were two false alarms recently: "We had to go back to bed without a fight. I tell you there is no fun in being routed out of a warm bed to fight the yankes and then be disappointed." He stands confident in the island's fortifications against any force. He is in good health, and so is his company. He passes along Lieutenant McAlister's regards.
                                                                              • Letter. Amos J. Hines, Marlboro, North Carolina, to Rufus A. Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1862 April 29. (MSN/CW 5057-39).
                                                                                ALS, 3 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope.
                                                                                Barrier and the 8th North Carolina were among the 2580 Confederate troops captured during the successful Federal assault on Roanoke Island, 8 February 1862. He was paroled on 21 February, but spent many months at home awaiting exchange. The author of this letter, Lt. Amos J. Hines, was a member of the 8th North Carolina's Co. G. Hines writes that Barrier has not written as expected: "What have you done with yourself?" Hines expresses concern for Confederate prisoners of war: "I often think of our trip to Portsmouth, and as often wonder if we shall ever be exchanged. I have been hoping for several weeks that an exchange might be effected, but it looks like hoping against hope." Hines voices opposition to the current Confederate army's "defensive policy" and suggests that a more aggressive strategy would be better: "I often wonder why in God's name our army does not advance and attack the enemy!" Hines goes on at length about the ways Union forces have despoiled the South: "I am in favor of civilized warfare if we are to have wars, but when the enemy deviate from the rules I am for prompt retaliatory measures." The letter closes with Hines's concern about the closeness of the war and inquiries about the Barrier family's crops.
                                                                                • Letter. Richard R. Barr, Camp near Richmond, Virginia to Rufus A. Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1862 June 22. (MSN/CW 5057-40).
                                                                                  ALS, 4 pages on 1 folded sheet.
                                                                                  At the time of writing, Richard Barr was a surgeon attached to the 34th North Carolina Infanty. He writes to Barrier, still awaiting exchange, informing him that he has received his recent letter and expressing the desire to meet at Richmond on Barrier's return to the army. He informs Barrier that, while the Union army is close, there is little prospect of a fight. Barr recounts an appearance by Confederate Maj. Gen. Sterling Price, who was in Richmond the previous day. Camp life is satisfactory, though there are "a good many privations to endure." He closes by giving the organizational details of his current regiment and asks to be remembered to Barrier's family and friends.
                                                                                  • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Near Raleigh, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1862 September 15. (MSN/CW 5057-41).
                                                                                    ALS, 3 pages on 1 folded sheet. Envelope franked with a pair of CS 6.
                                                                                    Barrier was exchanged on 15 August 1861. During the first two weeks of September the 8th North Carolina reassembled at Camp Mangum, a few miles west of Raleigh on the North Carolina Railroad. Barrier writes that he and the regiment are in good spirits and good health, though they want for something to do. Not every company has reported in, nor has Colonel Ransom yet made his appearance. Barrier tells his father that, if any men at home wish to join Co. H they had better report for duty soon, since the company is only 16 men short of its quota of 100. Finally, he requests that his mother send him candles, for they aren't readily available at a reasonable price in camp.
                                                                                    • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp Campbell near Kinston, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1862 October 12. (MSN/CW 5057-42).
                                                                                      ALS, 1 page on 1 sheet.
                                                                                      In early October the regiment was ordered to Camp Campbell near Kinston. In a brief letter Barrier reports that his company will be gone from camp on picket duty, some 20 miles below Kinston. He doesn't think that they will see any fighting, "but that is uncertain." He mentions that he is in fair health.
                                                                                      • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Kinston, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1862 October [properly November] 2. (MSN/CW 5057-43).
                                                                                        ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet.
                                                                                        Though dated 2 October 1862, this letter was certainly written some three weeks after the previous one, probably on 2 November. Barrier hasn't heard from his father since last he wrote him in September. As he writes, he's just returned from twenty days on a picket post on Core Creek Bridge, 18 miles from New Bern. He saw no action. He asks after his brother and brother-in-law, and requests that his father obtain him "a negro boy" as a servant. He and his company are in good health.
                                                                                        • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp Washington near Kinston, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1862 November 11. (MSN/CW 5057-44).
                                                                                          ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet.
                                                                                          Barrier writes in response to a letter from his father, which he has just received after returning to camp the day previous from a "long and tedious march" toward New Bern: "I have marched about 200 miles within the last ten days." He saw some light combat with enemy forces. He believes that soon they will be ordered to march to Wilmington, North Carolina. Many among his regiment, says Barrier, are without shoes or proper clothing, but they are all committed to the war effort and complain not at all: "They say they will fight the yankeys till they conquer a peace. Then they swear by their souls they intend to fight the speculators and extortioners until the last one of them is driven out of the land." Barrier continues: "My God how mortifying tis to me to hear the cry for bread and shoes coming up from the lips of the poor soldiers wives and babes while he is defending his country and getting the poor pittance of eleven dollars a month protecting the infernal speculator who is keeping the bread out of his children's mouth." Barrier expresses his great concern and anguish at the poor state of his men and asks his father's advice on how best to get a hundred pairs of shoes made quickly and inexpensively and asks as well that his father have a pair of shoes made and sent to him. In a postscript he also asks that "some responsible man" be sent to him bearing his watch.
                                                                                          • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp Whiting near Wilmington, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1862 December 3. (MSN/CW 5057-45).
                                                                                            ALS, 4 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with a pair of CS 7.
                                                                                            In late November the regiment moved to the proximity of Wilmington. Barrier writes in response to a letter received recently from his father. He confirms receipt of "all the things" his father sent him. He asks that his mother save some fabric to make his a suit, which he may need come winter, as he "cannot afford the prices they are asking for clothing in this place." He says that he is very comfortable in his tent, despite the cold and rain: "I have a nice chimney to my tent and good fire in it just as independent as if I were at home." His company is the only company in the regiment to have chimneys. Though there are 5000 Confederate troops around Wilmington, Barrier worries about its security should the enemy arrive in force. He closes by assuring his family that he and his company are generally in good health.
                                                                                            • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp Whiting, Wilmington, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1862 December 5. (MSN/CW 5057-46).
                                                                                              ALS, 2 pages on 1 folded sheet.
                                                                                              Barrier writes to inform his family that they will have an opportunity to send him "a box of something to eat" soon: "Lieutenant McAllister started home yesterday on sick furlough for fourteen days [and] he told me that he would bring me a small box of tricks if you would take it to Concord." Barrier adds that there is another lieutenant in the regiment, a very nice man, who would like a pair of shoes made along the lines of Barrier's own: "If you get the shoes made charge them to me and let me know what they are worth."
                                                                                              • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Wilmington, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1862 December 21. (MSN/CW 5057-47).
                                                                                                ALS, 1 page on 1 sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with a pair of CS 7.
                                                                                                Barrier writes a brief note to request a pair of boots from home and to report that all is well in the regiment, save a few minor injuries.
                                                                                                • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Bivouac near Goldsboro, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1862 December 24. (MSN/CW 5057-48).
                                                                                                  ALS, 4 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with a pair of CS 7.
                                                                                                  The regiment remains in line of battle along the south side of the Neuse, having engaged the enemy at Goldsboro Bridge (17 December 1862). Barrier writes to let his father know that everyone is generally well, though he does wish that they would move back to their tents: "We have been lying here in the woods about long enough." He reports that five more men have enlisted in his company. "I think the sky begins to brighten toward peace," he says, "And I have a hope soon to return home and enjoy the fruits of our toils in a land free from the bondage of a tyrant." The enemy accomplished little on their raid up the Neuse, writes Barrier: "We slaughtered a great many of the vandals but at the same time we lost some good men." He promises to write to his sister, mother, and others when he gets back to camp.
                                                                                                  • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp Whiting, Wilmington, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 January 13. (MSN/CW 5057-49).
                                                                                                    ALS, 4 pages on 1 folded sheet.
                                                                                                    The regiment is now in winter quarters at Camp Whiting. Barrier writes that he never did receive the box his father packed for him, but he did receive his boots. He confirms for his father the death of Sergeant W. M. Brown, a member of Barrier's company: "He fell a martyr to freedom battling for his country's rights." The rest of Co. H is in "tolerable" health: "My men have all been vaccinated; some of them have pretty sore arms." He reports that there is "great military movement on hand in North Carolina," that the "next great battle" will be fought in the state. He details the fortifications of their current position.
                                                                                                    • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp near Charleston, South Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 February 26. (MSN/CW 5057-50).
                                                                                                      ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with a pair of CSA 7.
                                                                                                      Barrier tells his father that their brigade left Wilmington for Charleston on 16 February: "We are stationed near James Island in the woods without any tents or baggage of any kind. I have found S.C. a hard place just as I expected to find it before I arrived here." He asks that his mother send "two colored shirts" with one of the men currently back at home at the earliest opportunity and closes by giving his love to friends and family.
                                                                                                      • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp near Charleston, South Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 March 1. (MSN/CW 5057-51).
                                                                                                        ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with a pair of CSA 7.
                                                                                                        Barrier requests that his father send him his brother's valise, as his own chest is too large to be easily handled when he is on the move. He reports that he'll be sending his own chest back via express with "a number of things belonging to different persons," all marked for their intended recipients, and requests once more the two shirts he mentioned in his previous letter.
                                                                                                        • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp 8th North Carolina Infantry, South Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 March 16. (MSN/CW 5057-52).
                                                                                                          ALS, 4 pages on 1 folded sheet.
                                                                                                          Barrier thanks his mother and father profusely for the boxes of provisions they sent along, saying that they were quickly devoured, and much appreciated, by himself and his company. "I suppose you have heared," he writes, "All the particularrs of the fight at Fort Sumter and I think it useless for me to attempt to give you a description of the battle." Barrier asks his father what he thinks the prospects for peace are, and announces that he still believes the war will be over and he'll be home by 4 July. Barrier has "some fears" that his brigade will be ordered to Chattanooga, Tennessee, hopes that he'll instead be sent marching back toward North Carolina, but would rather be anywhere than where he is at present.
                                                                                                          • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp near Charleston, South Carolina on James Island, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 March 24. (MSN/CW 5057-53).
                                                                                                            ALS, 4 pages on 1 folded sheet.
                                                                                                            Barrier continues to have bad things to say about the conditions in South Carolina: "We get nothing to eat but beef and corn bread. The beef is so poor that they have to kill it to save its life. Some of it actually stinks before it gets dry from the slaughter pen. We have to drink most miserable water full of myriad insects and vermin. When we boil it to make coffee we have to skim it or strain it before it is fit for use. The whole air is thickened with myraids of sand flies, mosquitoes, gnats, and various other insects that are entire strangers to anything I have ever seen. If ever you imagined yourself in the land of Egypt in the days of Pharo when the locusts were turned loose upon him then you can form a faint idea of what we have to suffer here on James Island in the mighty kingdom of South Carolina. If I were able I should cut a canal around the whole state and float it off to some unknown southern ocean." Disease is rampant throughout the brigade, particularly typhoid fever: "The hospitals of Charleston are perfect graveyards. The men of our Brigade are dying at a rapid rate." He expresses his wish to leave Charleston, but believes that, since the city is likely to be attacked on or around 1 April, they are likely to remain. Barrier has faith in the fortificatons and defenses of any approach by land, but is not so sure about approaches by sea: "I am fearful the water defenses are not sufficient if the enemy makes the attack with eight or ten Monitors, which they certainly will." He waxes poetic about the day that peace shall again reign over the land. He mentions that he's heard news of food riots among the poor of the South and wonders what will happen in the months to come if the war continues. He compares his lot to that of the bondsman: "We are certainly living worse by a long ways than any Negroes in the country." He closes by wishing his family well and is sad to add that, though he himself is fine, his command is in "very bad health": "I only report 52 for duty out of 88."
                                                                                                            • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp, James Island, near Charleston, South Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 March 24. (MSN/CW 5057-54).
                                                                                                              ALS, 3 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with a pair of CSA 7.
                                                                                                              Barrier has learned that his father has apparently not received the last several letters Barrier sent him; he writes that, contrary to the rumors his father has heard, his health is fine. He is, however, in want of some good food, and requests that his family make arrangements to send flour his way so that he might make biscuits: "I have not tasted a biscuit in six weeks and have been living on the roughest corn meal you ever saw. I never had such meal for my horses to eat as we have to live on since we came to this miserable hole you call South Carolina. If there is a spot in creation unfinished, South Carolina is that place." He reports receiving a letter from his brother, William Lafayette. He shares his thoughts on those who have had others sent to war in their place: "I think if some of those men who are paying such fabulous prices for substitutes would give their money to feed the wives and children of the soldiers who are in the field and then shoulder their muskets and fight their own battles they would be showing the true patriot more than they do." Barrier states that while there is relative calm at present, he expects to hear news of action soon.
                                                                                                              • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp near Charleston, South Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 April 2. (MSN/CW 5057-55).
                                                                                                                ALS, 1 page on 1 sheet.
                                                                                                                Barrier begins by sharing that his health is very good. He sends along with his letter a carpet bag of "old shirts and things" and asks that his mother take good care of his coat, for he expects that he'll need it again next winter.
                                                                                                                • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp 8th North Carolina Infantry, James Island, Charleston, South Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 April 11. (MSN/CW 5057-56).
                                                                                                                  ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet.
                                                                                                                  Barrier says he hasn't received a response to his most recent letters and then describes an "attack that was made on [his] batteries last Wednesday." Though the enemy's bombardment was fierce, it was also brief, and at the end of the battle, the Confederate forces had managed to sink the Union ironclad Keokuk. (This was the First Battle of Charleston Harbor, 7 April 1863). Barrier concludes by asking after his livestock, assuring his father of his and his company's good health, and wishing the best for his friends and family.
                                                                                                                  • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp 8th North Carolina Infantry, James Island, Charleston, South Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 April 20. (MSN/CW 5057-57).
                                                                                                                    ALS, 7 pages on 2 folded sheets.
                                                                                                                    Barrier writes that they are due that day for a grand review of the troops stationed on James Island. The review is to be conducted by Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard (than commanding the Confederacy's coastal defenses). Barrier himself is bedridden with the flux and won't be able to attend. The weather, he reports, is oppressively hot. He's heard of "excitement" in the directions of Washington, North Carolina, and Suffolk, Virginia and also in Tennessee: "Troops are leaving here every day to reinforce General Johnston in Tennessee." He expects that the regiment will move out in a few days, either for North Carolina or for Tennessee. He'd of course prefer North Carolina, but he'll take anywhere over his present circumstances: "I tell you the people of this place are the most ungenerous set I have ever met with. Their chief aim seems to be to fleece the poor soldier of everything that he has in the world. When you go to the city they do not regard a private soldier as much as they do a negro. I think that such a people ought to be left undefended to the mercy of a ruthless foe until they would learn to respect the strong men who have come here in their defense." Barrier has noticed that Charleston is "swarming with young men who are subject to the conscription but they shirk out by some means that is not explained." He contrasts the impunity with which they flout the draft in South Carolina to the way that draft evaders are hunted down "like savages" in his own state: "I reckon Mr. Davis is afraid to enforce the conscript act in this mighty state for fear she will secede from the confederacy and give him some trouble." He believes that "one half of the almighty secessionists of South Carolina" would rather rejoin the Union than continue to fight: "The first man that ever sprung secession in the city of of Charleston in 1860 is walking about the streets looking like a whipped cur." Barrier reports that the health of his company is good, with no cases of fever, but that Major McRae has fallen ill with typhoid. It seems to Barrier that only the worst men remain healthy while the best sicken and die. He asks his father to survey Cabarrus County for eight to ten able-bodied men to join his company, men who have not yet been conscripted. He asks also after his own debt to his father and Henry Barrier: "I want to pay off those notes as soon as possible so that I can be relieved of my debts." He is very concerned about his debts and says that, when they're paid off, he intends to spend his money relieving the pressures of life in camp. Barrier singles out for scorn the wealthy of the South who neither serve in the army nor support its troops: "There is a day of retribution coming when those wealthy lords of the land will have to give an account of their stewardship, if not in this life they will in the life to come. I am fearful that some of them will have to render their account to the careworn and weatherbeaten soldier when he reaches home and hears the sad and mournful tale of his beloved but mistreated family. How they have gone to the men of wealth asking for food to keep soul and body together and have been refused unless they would pay the prices demanded by the damnable speculators and extortioners. Then the tale of sorrow and woe arises that we were sent away to help ourselves or perish. It is against human nature for man to stand idle and listen to such tales of sorrow and misery." He goes on at length about "extortioners" getting rich off the war while their countrymen die for it and fears that the war may be in vain.
                                                                                                                    • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp 8th North Carolina Infantry, James Island, Charleston, South Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 April 24. (MSN/CW 5057-58).
                                                                                                                      ALS, 1 page on 1 sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with CS 11AD.
                                                                                                                      Barrier sends a photograph of his Lt. Colonel, "a most worthy gentleman and a magnificent officer." His unit is in good health.
                                                                                                                      • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp 8th North Carolina Infantry, James Island, Charleston, South Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 April 30. (MSN/CW 5057-59).
                                                                                                                        ALS, 3 pages on 1 folded sheet.
                                                                                                                        Barrier reports the "glorious intelligence" that the regiment is to move to Wilmington, North Carolina the following morning. He is likewise pleased at his father's report that the crops are coming in well, and that "my boys are getting along so well with my farm." He also goes on at some length about "the affair with Heilig and Lentz," who appear to hold him responsible for an article (of uncertain content) that appeared in the Raleigh newspaper Spirit of the Age.
                                                                                                                        • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp Ashe, fifteen miles from Wilmington, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 May 29. (MSN/CW 5057-60).
                                                                                                                          ALS, 3 pages on 1 folded sheet.
                                                                                                                          Barrier and his regiment are only recently arrived in Wilmington. He received his boxes in camp the previous evening. All are in good health. The camp is in an oak grove about four miles from the ocean: "I think it is more pleasant here than it is at home." Since the regiment's colonel is away, detailed for a court martial, the lieutenant colonel is in command. Barrier believes they will remain in camp for the rest of the summer. They can see the Union blockades off the coast.
                                                                                                                          • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp Ashe, near Wilmington, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 June 19. (MSN/CW 5057-61).
                                                                                                                            ALS, 4 pages on 1 folded sheet.
                                                                                                                            Barrier writes that he is doing well and in good health. He is pleased to hear that the wheat crop has come in nicely and is being saved; he had been concerned that there would not be enough laborers to harvest it properly, and even "made an efort to send some of [his] men to the assistance of the people," but was denied permission. He writes of the "great victory" at Winchester, Virginia (15 June 1863) which has made him optimistic about the South's "struggle for freedom and self-government" and eager to invade the North, to "make its citizens feel the effects of an invading army." "We must invade the enemy's country and lay it waste," writes Barrier, "or we may expect to be involved in war for ten years or more."
                                                                                                                            • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp 8th North Carolina Troops, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 July 31. (MSN/CW 5057-62).
                                                                                                                              ALS, 3 pages on 1 folded sheet.
                                                                                                                              Barrier writes his father after spending eight days on Morris Island in Charleston Harbor, where the regiment was sent to assist in the defense of the city: "Since I last wrote you we have been through peril and hardships such as can scarcely be found on record." He describes Morris Island, and the men's constant exposure to the fire of the Union Navy. "I can't describe the bombardment to you only in this way just imagine your self in a piece of woods in a thunder storm and the lightning striking every tree around you. Such thundering and crashing and flying of sand you cannot imagine, but with all the terror and fury our regiment lost but two killed and 12 wounded. We have been very fortunate."
                                                                                                                              • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, 1st North Carolina Hospital, Charleston, South Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 August 24. (MSN/CW 5057-63).
                                                                                                                                ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with CS 11 or 12.
                                                                                                                                Barrier writes from the hospital to inform his father that he is "very sick but not dangerous." He was "taken about ten days ago with dysentery and fever." He reports good treatment and satisfaction with his doctor. His men are in good health; only three are also in the hospital. He hopes for a transfer to Columbia, South Carolina in a few days. The enemy is shelling Charleston: "We still hold batteries Gregg and Wagner on Morris Island. Fort Sumter is almost demolished but we still hold it. I don't think the yankees will ever take Charleston but they certainly will burn it." Barrier finishes by admitting that he is too weak to write anything more.
                                                                                                                                • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp 8th North Carolina Troops, Sullivan's Island, South Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 September 9. (MSN/CW 5057-64).
                                                                                                                                  ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet.
                                                                                                                                  Barrier writes that he's received a box his mother recently sent, though he hasn't been able to transport it from the city to the camp yet. He hopes that his mother will continue to send him all the butter she can spare. He discusses his father's plan to sell his horse: "You spoke of selling my horse for $600.00 hundred dollars. I think the horse is too cheap at that price the way horses are selling. But if the trade is made before you receive this letter it is all right because I shall not complain at anything you may do for me. The probability is that I shall have to have a horse before long and if you have not sold my horse hold on to him till you hear from me again. If I have to buy a horse will have to pay $1000.00 thousan dollars for him. . . ." Barrier adds that they are expecting a fight within a week. Barrier writes too of an auspicious visit: "We had the honor of a visit from his Excellency President Davis last Tuesday. He was received by our brigade in silent grandeur. He has the appearance of a statesman and a soldier. He looks like the right man in the right place."
                                                                                                                                  • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp 8th North Carolina Troops, Sullivan's Island, South Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 September 28. (MSN/CW 5057-65).
                                                                                                                                    ALS, 3 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with CS 11 or 12.
                                                                                                                                    Barrier writes to let his father know that he's arrived safely in Charleston and back on Sullivan's Island with his company. The enemy is fortifying Morris Island, but Barrier is confident that they will not take the city of Charleston: "General Beauregard is making James Island and Sullivan's Island a perfect Gibraltar. I feel perfectly satisfied as to the result of this siege." The enemy has been quiet since they were pushed back after the attack on Fort Sumter. Barrier intends to send a chest home containing packages from some of the other men in his company, all clearly marked, and requests that his mother save all the onions grown at Barrier's plantation for him: "We eat [onions] three times a day in camp."
                                                                                                                                    • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp 8th North Carolina Troops, Sullivan's Island, South Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 November 1. (MSN/CW 5057-66).
                                                                                                                                      ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet.
                                                                                                                                      Barrier's letter seems to concern a labor dispute on his plantation with someone named Wiley Blackwelder. He assures his father that he and his company are in good health.
                                                                                                                                      • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp 8th North Carolina Troops, Sullivan's Island, South Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 November 1. (MSN/CW 5057-67).
                                                                                                                                        ALS, 2 pages on 1 folded sheet.
                                                                                                                                        Barrier received a letter from his father moments after he'd written the above; his father's letter also concerned Wiley Blackwelder.
                                                                                                                                        • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp 8th North Carolina Infantry, Sullivan's Island, South Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 November 21. (MSN/CW 5057-68).
                                                                                                                                          ALS, 3 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with CS 11 or 12.
                                                                                                                                          Barrier reports receiving his father's letter and is glad to hear that all is well back home. The horse trading has gone to his satisfaction. He is dismayed to hear of strife at home on the plantation. He requests food from home and commiserates with his father about the payment of the tithe tax, which is very high.
                                                                                                                                          • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp near Kinston, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 December 3. (MSN/CW 5057-69).
                                                                                                                                            ALS, 2 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with CS 11 or 12.
                                                                                                                                            Barrier has left Charleston and returned to Kinston after traveling through terrible weather for five days. Barrier thanks his mother and father for their kindness in sending him boxes and food and things. He thinks that the regiment is likely to stay in the woods near Kinston and camp for the winter. He hopes that his parents will be able to come and visit. Three regiments of Barrier's brigade will move on to Weldon, North Carolina. Otherwise all is quiet.
                                                                                                                                            • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp 8th North Carolina Troops, Kinston, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 December 11. (MSN/CW 5057-70).
                                                                                                                                              ALS, 3 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with CS 11 or 12.
                                                                                                                                              Barrier reports receiving his father's recent letter, conveyed to him by H. H. Moose. He says that they are still at Kinston and, though there are whispers of a move to Weldon, North Carolina, Barrier thinks that they are just rumors. Other rumors have it that Union General Benjamin Butler is advancing on their position, but Barrier doesn't believe this, either. Then he announces his intention to quit the regiment: "There was a vacancy in the office of major in this regiment to which place I was entiteled by rank and seniority in commission," he says, but "the place has been filled by an officer who is ten months my junior who has not as much claim to place as I have." Barrier thinks that "to do justice to [him]self," he ought to leave the regiment. He asks his father's advice and asks him to keep the matter in confidence.
                                                                                                                                              • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp 8th North Carolina Troops, near Petersburg, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 December 22. (MSN/CW 5057-71).
                                                                                                                                                ALS, 4 pages on 1 folded sheet.
                                                                                                                                                The regiment has moved north and is now camped on the outskirts of Petersburg, Virginia, "near the old race track on the eastern side of the city." Barrier writes that his regiment is in good health and that all is quiet. The country reminds him of home. He has news about a recent proclamation made by Abraham Lincoln: "Old Abe seems to be a little more lenient to the rebels than he was a year ago. He proposed to pardon all the rebels under the rank of Colonel and proposes to receive the state back into the union provided one tenth will repent and take his accursed oath. He is just adding insult to injury and we should know nothing but the sword until he agrees to let us alone." Barrier estimates that there will be only about a year more of war. Then the letter turns toward the subject of the home front: "What are the sentiments of the people on the subject of the war? What are those mighty war men doing about Mt. Pleasant? Are they still drinking brandy and cutting up generally? We have the news in camp that they have been insulting respectable married ladies. Is it so or not?" Barrier tells his father that he himself has quit drinking. He decries the effect of alcohol on the behavior of his fellow soldiers and officers. He closes with a request for socks and some money to help him cover the cost of getting a suit made and altered in camp.
                                                                                                                                                • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp 8th North Carolina Troops, near Petersburg, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 December 27. (MSN/CW 5057-72).
                                                                                                                                                  ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet, w/envelope.
                                                                                                                                                  After receiving Mr. Cook's delivery of his father's letter, Barrier writes back: "There is no way for me to get redress by military law for the reason that they have brought no charges against me. But I am satisfied since receiving the correspondence it shows how deceptive and mean men can be when they have the power." Barrier has borrowed the money he requested from his father from another man, Wily Bangle; Barrier asks his father to repay Bangle's wife. He asks for leather to sole his boots and reminds his father that he still wants the socks he wrote about previously.
                                                                                                                                                  • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp 8th North Carolina Troops, near Petersburg, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 January 20. (MSN/CW 5057-73).
                                                                                                                                                    ALS, 4 pages on 1 folded sheet.
                                                                                                                                                    Barrier expresses his concern about news of pro-Union sentiment in North Carolina: "I understand from letters written home that there is a great union feeling exisiting in our noble county. That feeling is becoming so great that men even dare to advocate reconstruction boldly." He writes angrily and at length about William Woods Holden, owner and editor of the "damnable traitorous" North Carolina Standard, and reviews Holden's changing opinions about the war. "In 1860 and '61," writes Barrier, "[Holden] was in favor of secession and supported the administration. In 1862 and '63 he is opposed to secession and is cursing the President and cabinet, Congress, and all good men that raise their voices in favor of liberty. Where do you find him in 1864? Advocating secession and using all his hellish artillery to drag North Carolina out of the confederacy." He concludes, "Woe to the man or set of men that attempt to carry North Carolina out of the confederacy." Barrier hopes that his father can visit soon. He says he's glad to hear about the good conditions at the farm.
                                                                                                                                                    • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp 8th North Carolina Troops, near Petersburg, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 January 24. (MSN/CW 5057-74).
                                                                                                                                                      ALS, 7 pages on 2 folded sheets.
                                                                                                                                                      In response to his father's announcement that he would be sending men to join Co. H, Barrier writes that he has "as many men as [he wants], but if they make [his] company their choice, of course [he] cannot think of turning them off." He replies to his father's news about prices for goods: "Prices are awful as you state them in your letter. I tell you there will be a terrible crash in prices as soon as the confederate tax bill is published. I think it will certainly bring the currency to a healthy state." Barrier hopes that his father will be able to visit soon. He also brings up William Woods Holden again, hoping that there aren't many who are listening to his talk of North Carolina seceding from the Confederacy: "I must think that a man is blind to his own interest or a traitor to his country if he thinks of giving up this struggle." Much of the letter affirms his continued belief in the Southern cause and decries those who would betray that cause. He concludes by saying that he and his regiment are quite comfortable and that they will likely remain in place for the winter, barring any surprising enemy movements.
                                                                                                                                                      • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp 8th North Carolina Troops, near Petersburg, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 January 26. (MSN/CW 5057-75).
                                                                                                                                                        ALS, 1 page on 1 sheet.
                                                                                                                                                        Barrier writes to inform his father that he and his regiment are about to start an expedition toward Nansemond, Virginia and the James River in order to intercept enemy raiders in the area.
                                                                                                                                                        • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp 8th North Carolina Troops, near Kinston, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 January 30. (MSN/CW 5057-76).
                                                                                                                                                          ALS, 1 page on 1 sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with CS 11 or 12.
                                                                                                                                                          Barrier writes to inform his father that he and his regiment are about to go on an expedition toward Newbern, North Carolina. He adds that it would be against orders to disclose information about their numbers.
                                                                                                                                                          • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Bivouac 2 miles from Newbern, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 February 2. (MSN/CW 5057-77).
                                                                                                                                                            ALS, 2 page on 1 sheet, w/envelope.
                                                                                                                                                            Barrier writes that his company are all well, despite a recent engagement (at Batchelder's Creek, 1 Febuary 1864). Col. Henry M. Shaw, who had commanded the 8th North Carolina since May 1861, died of a gunshot to the head. Another man was also killed. (One of the consequences of Shaw's death, not specifically mentioned in this or subsequent letters, was the promotion of Barrier to major, attached to regimental staff. Lt. Col. J. M. Whitson assumed command).
                                                                                                                                                            • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp Sugar Loaf, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 February 6. (MSN/CW 5057-78).
                                                                                                                                                              ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet.
                                                                                                                                                              "I dread to speak," says Barrier, "of the present condition of our country. It does seem to me that our people are mad with despondency and are determined to rush headlong to their own destruction. I am proud, dear Father, to be able to say that I have never desponded yet as to the final issues. I am determined by the help of God to fight to the last." He continues in this patriotic vein, exhorting the brave soldiers who fight for a noble cause while denouncing those who would sue for peace or surrender the fight. Barrier is happy to hear that his brother-in-law has returned home safely. He expresses his longing for biscuits, which he hasn't tasted in two months, and asks that he be sent some flour. He says he would like to get home in the spring, but doesn't think it likely.
                                                                                                                                                              • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp 8th North Carolina Troops, near Petersburg, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 March 18. (MSN/CW 5057-79).
                                                                                                                                                                ALS, 4 pages on 1 folded sheet.
                                                                                                                                                                Barrier begins his letter by discussing a disputed work contract; it seems he wanted a chest made for him in a certain way and its maker failed to follow instructions. He urges his father not to pay the craftsman until the chest is fixed right. Barrier and his regiment are back in their old camp. The rest of the letter concerns items he'd like made and money he'd liked loaned to him: "Send me one $150 if you can." Barrier wrote in his previous letter his reasons for wanting the money and urges his father not to put himself out to provide it. He's found a slave to care for his horse, but that will be expensive, so Barrier requests food with which to feed his slave. Rumor has it that the regiment is going back to Wilmington, North Carolina soon. Barrier reports that the exchange of prisoners is going "briskly."
                                                                                                                                                                • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp 8th North Carolina Troops, Petersburg, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 April 4. (MSN/CW 5057-80).
                                                                                                                                                                  ALS, 4 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with CS 11 or 12.
                                                                                                                                                                  Barrier thanks his parents for their kindness and generosity, sending him so many good things and keeping him supplied over the course of the war. He writes that he has recently received his trunk, which his mother filled with cakes and biscuits, and that he'll be sending it back, empty, to his family so that his mother might fill it with potatoes or other vegetables; Barrier says he cannot get them where he's currently stationed. He is a little self-conscious: "But you will think I am always begging for something." The weather is so severe (rain, snow, sleet) that military movements for the time are impossible. That said, the regiment's soldiers are in apparently good spirits and health. He inquires about William Woods Holden, who is, at this time, campaigning for governor of North Carolina, a prospect that disgusts Barrier, who believes Holden a traitor for maintaining that North Carolina should secede from the Confederacy. Barrier and the soldiers are for the incumbent governor, Zebulon B. Vance: "We had quite an enthusiastic Vance meeting in our reigment last week. We adopted some strong resolutions."
                                                                                                                                                                  • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp 8th North Carolina Troops, Petersburg, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 April 9. (MSN/CW 5057-81).
                                                                                                                                                                    ALS, 4 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope.
                                                                                                                                                                    Barrier requests that his family return the military coat he'd sent home some time ago; the coat he has is too small and he traded it for some cloth to make a new coat. All is quiet at camp, but preparations are being made for the resumption of campaigning once the weather clears and maneuvers are again possible. Barrier believes that the next great battle will take place before Richmond. General Beauregard is to resume command of Barrier's regiment and the rest of the "department of N. Carolina which includes the portions of Virginia south of the James River." Barrier recounts his attendance at an inspiring sermon in the city: "I never saw an audience so perfectly carried away with a sermon all my life. Such perfect attentions that not an individual stirred from his or her seat for the three hours. At times during the sermon you could have heard a pin drop." He includes with his letter a present for his mother.
                                                                                                                                                                    • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp 8th North Carolina Troops, Tarboro, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 April 14. (MSN/CW 5057-82).
                                                                                                                                                                      ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet. w/envelope. Envelope franked with CS 11 or 12.
                                                                                                                                                                      Barrier left Petersburg the previous day and arrived in Tarboro the day of his writing: "I do not know our destination but there is rumor that we are to march against Washington and Plymouth and perhaps Newbern. You may expect to hear of some lively times from this quarter very soon." He urges his father not to worry, as they are "expecting to move with a pretty large expedition."
                                                                                                                                                                      • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp 8th North Carolina Troops, near Plymouth, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 April 21. (MSN/CW 5057-83).
                                                                                                                                                                        ALS, 4 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with CS 11 or 12.
                                                                                                                                                                        Barrier writes that the previous day, at about ten o'clock, enemy forces at Plymouth surrendered. "We captured (2,300) twenty three humdred prisoners with several hundred horses and about twenty pieces of artillery." Barrier knows only the losses in his own regiment: 100 wounded, 20 killed. He lists the killed and wounded in his old company (Co. H) by name on the second and third pages of the letter. "Plymouth was strongly fortified," he writes, "and required a desperate assault to carry the works. General Robert Hoke, who organized the attack on Plymouth, said, according to Barrier, that "the Eighth Regiment made the grandest charge that he ever witnessed."
                                                                                                                                                                        • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp 8th North Carolina Troops, near Greenville, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 April 29. (MSN/CW 5057-84).
                                                                                                                                                                          ALS, 1 page on 1 sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with CS 11 or 12.
                                                                                                                                                                          Barrier writes at a moment of respite. His regiment has left Plymouth and marched to Washington, North Carolina and then to Greenville. "I do not know when we will move from this point," he says, because the gunboat they are traveling with has run aground in the Neuse River: "If we can get her off we will move on Newbern; if we cannot get the boat off the expedition will not be made." Barrier finds himself in need of a slave: "I cannot get one that will do to depend on. I have tried a couple of free boys but find they will not do to trust." He wants his father to send him Elias, one of the family's slaves; he says he will pay "almost any price" for him, and that he will buy him outright if he cannot hire him temporarily.
                                                                                                                                                                          • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp 8th North Carolina Troops, near Greenville, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 April 30. (MSN/CW 5057-85).
                                                                                                                                                                            ALS, 1 page on 1 sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with CS 11 or 12.
                                                                                                                                                                            Barrier writes to inform his father that the regiment will be receiving their mail from Tarboro, North Carolina. He reiterates his request for a slave.
                                                                                                                                                                            • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Kinston, North Carolina, aboard the train for Petersburg, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 May 8. (MSN/CW 5057-86).
                                                                                                                                                                              ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet.
                                                                                                                                                                              Barrier is bound for Petersburg. He is greatly fatigued and has been "in the saddle" for 21 days. He reports that Washington, North Carolina has been evacuated by the enemy. The regiment had been about to march on Newbern, North Carolina when they received new orders to proceed to Virginia.
                                                                                                                                                                              • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, in line of battle between Petersburg and Drewry's Bluff, Virginia to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 May 19. (MSN/CW 5057-87).
                                                                                                                                                                                ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet.
                                                                                                                                                                                Barrier recounts the Battle of Drewry's Bluff (16 May 1864): "By the blessing of God we have gained another victory." The previous Saturday, there was "very severe skirmishing" by the Bluff in which Barrier's brigade lost "pretty heavily." Barrier was in command of the skirmishers through the whole day and night. He was "struck twice" by enemy forces but was not harmed. Sunday was quiet. Monday morning the brigade attacked the enemy position and "put him to flight, capturing about three thousand prisoners, one Brigadier Gen. and staff." He writes: "We have driven old Butler to his gun boats at Bermuda Hundreds. We are pressing him very closely and I think we will be able to drive him off." Barrier has received official news the morning of his writing that Grant has crossed the Rappahannock and is "changing his base." There was also an unconfirmed report that Confederate Lt. Gen. Richard Taylor has accepted the surrender of Union Maj. Gen. Nathaniel Banks in Lousiana. Barrier believes the end of the war is near and has the utmost confidence in the army's leadership.
                                                                                                                                                                                • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, in line of battle near Bermuda Hundred, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 May 21. (MSN/CW 5057-88).
                                                                                                                                                                                  ALS, 1 page on 1 sheet.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Barrier begins: "Since writing my last letter we have driven the enemy about two miles in the direction of Bermuda Hundred which is at the confluence of the James and Appomattox." He lists some of the casualties and reports that Maj. Gen. Hoke complimented the regiment on its bravery. Barrier says he has been "very unwell" for several days, but has remained in the field despite his illness. "The prospect of our cause," he writes, "is brightening every day, although we are called upon to mourn the loss of many good men." He asks his father to write him immediately, direct to Petersburg, Virginia.
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp 8th North Carolina Infantry, Ware Bottom Church near Petersburg, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 May 27. (MSN/CW 5057-89).
                                                                                                                                                                                    ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet.
                                                                                                                                                                                    Barrier writes during a period of relative quiet: "We still have old Butler cooped up under his gun boats at Bermuda Hundred. We have had no fighting in this quarter since the 19th." He reports that all are well, cheerful, and hopeful that soon the war will be at an end. "We are so near the enemy," he says, "that our pickets talk to each other." Barrier says that, since they started the Plymouth campaign, his regiment has suffered 200 killed and wounded. As he is out of shirts, he asks his father to send him two, as well as two pairs of socks, for which he offers his thanks.
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, on the lines in front of the enemy near Bermuda Hundred, Petersburg, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 May 29. (MSN/CW 5057-90).
                                                                                                                                                                                      ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with CS 11 or 12.
                                                                                                                                                                                      "It is with profound sorrow and bereavement that I attempt to write you this letter," begins Barrier. "I received the sad intelligence yesterday that dear Brother William has fallen a martyr to the cause of freedom." Barrier supposes that his parents have already received the news; his own news comes from a man in the hospital in Richmond, who says that William died there, at Seabrooks Hospital. "I have written to the surgeon in charge of the hospital," he says, "to give me all the particulars concerning his wounds and death and whether his grave has been marked so that it can be identified." Barrier consoles himself with the knowledge that his brother died at his post, doing his duty: "'Tis sad to part from our nearest kinsman but tis glorious to die in defense of liberty and the family altars of our aged parents."
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp 8th North Carolina Infantry, 5 miles from Petersburg, Virginia, to Mathias and Margaret Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 May 30. (MSN/CW 5057-91).
                                                                                                                                                                                        ALS, 4 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with CS 11 or 12.
                                                                                                                                                                                        Barrier addresses his father and mother both in this letter. He begins by assuring them that all is quiet on the lines, despite their close proximity to the enemy: "Butler seems to be satisfied to lie quietly in his den near Bermuda Hundred." They've also received news that Johnston defeated Sherman's army in northern Georgia. The spirits and health of the regiment are generally good. Barrier himself writes that he has been in "delicate health" for two weeks, and in the field since early April, but his condition is improving. Unfortunately, his horse has died; he seeks his father's advice about buying another, and asks if he might borrow his father's sorrel horse in the interim. He requests that he be sent three or four gallons of molasses. "We are getting nothing to eat," he says, "but corn bread and bacon, and I cannot live on it if there is any other chance." He discusses his pay: "If I spend all I make I cannot help it. I have concluded that there is no use for a man to want in this short life." He continues: "We are having a pretty tough time of it. We cannot draw any money. I have three emonths wages due me and can't get it without taking the old currency and I concluded to do without it till I can get new issue. If you can send me the molasses and peas I can do without the money." He concludes his letter by asking if his father and mother have received any news regarding his deceased brother, William.
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Chester Station, on Richmond and Petersburg Railroad, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 May 31. (MSN/CW 5057-92).
                                                                                                                                                                                          ALS, 1 page on 1 sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with CS 11 or 12.
                                                                                                                                                                                          "We are on our way to Richmond," writes Barrier, "and I expect to Lee's army." He says that it appears that Butler has left Bermuda Hundred, and that the enemy will "hazard all with Grant." He gives his address in Richmond.
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Gaines' Mill, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 June 2. (MSN/CW 5057-93).
                                                                                                                                                                                            ALS, 1 page on 1 sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with CS 11 or 12.
                                                                                                                                                                                            Barrier writes a brief note from a field hospital on the regiment's involvement at the battle of Cold Harbor. They are stationed near Gaines' Mill, Virginia, he says, and have been fighting for two days. Lt. Col. John Murchison is dead. (Murchison was commanding the regiment in the absence of Col. Whitson, who was captured while on leave and did not return during the war). "The regiment is badly cut up. I will not attempt to give you an account of the killed, wounded, and missing." Barrier "was compelled to leave the field yesterday 12 o'clock on account of being sick." He is "too nervous" to continue writing.
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Gaines' Mill, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 June 3. (MSN/CW 5057-94).
                                                                                                                                                                                              ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with CS 11 or 12.
                                                                                                                                                                                              Barrier writes from the field hospital, where his health is "slowly improving." It has been, he reports, a day of hard fighting, with the Confederate forces repeatedly repulsing Union assaults with "great slaughter." On the day he writes the whole brigade is being held in reserve. Reports of the missing from his regiment are slow to trickle in; Barrier will pass along a list of the casualties when it is complete. "Since the 20th of April," says Barrier, "We have lost 21 officers, killed, wounded, and missing. We have lost men in proportion." He mentions that he has "just parted" with his cousin, Caleb Barrier, who seems to be doing well. Caleb is trying to send William's things along to Rufus, who says that he is making a special effort to get his brother's horse and pistol.
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp 8th North Carolina Regiment, near Gaines' Mills, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 June 7. (MSN/CW 5057-95).
                                                                                                                                                                                                ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with CS 11 or 12.
                                                                                                                                                                                                Barrier reports that there is little fighting, but a great deal of sharpshooting, going on at the time of his writing. "Our regiment is very small since the fight," he says. "We number 180 men at this time. Including the Plymouth fight we have lost 420 men killed, wounded, and missing. We have been in seven fights since the 18th of April. Our flank has been turned by the enemy six times out of seven, which is the great cause of our heavy losses. Our regiment has been surrounded twice so that we had to cut our way out." The regiment has received news that, contrary to earlier beliefs, their Col. Murchison is still alive and may yet recover from his wounds. Barrier believes that Grant's forces have stopped fighting and are redirecting their efforts, "digging [their] way to Richmond." The enemy has suffered massive casualties; Barrier estimates that the recent slaughter at Cold Harbor far exceeds that of Spotsylvania: "If Grant will attack us a few more times he will be able to destroy his whole army." Barrier figures that he can get by without a horse for several more months and has resolved to wait until prices drop. He has also sent a man to Richmond to see if Mrs. Epps, the woman who originally wrote his parents about his brother William's death, has any things of William's.
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp 8th North Carolina Regiment, near Gaines' Mills, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 June 12. (MSN/CW 5057-96).
                                                                                                                                                                                                  ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with CS 11 or 12.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Barrier mentions in passing that he is "in charge of the regiment" (when Lt. Col. Murchison was shot on 1 June field command of the regiment passed to the senior caption, P. A. Kennerly of Co. K, since Maj. Barrier was in hospital. Barrier assumed command on his return, and retained it for the duration of the war. His commission as lieutenant colonel dates to 7 June 1864, the actual day of Murchison's death). The regiment numbers 200 men at the time of writing. Barrier notes that he has received his father's letter of 7 June. The trunk of provisions he'd requested previously finally arrived, but, by the time Barrier was able to retrieve it, its contents had spoiled. He would still like his parents to send him some socks and shirts. He and the regiment are eating well. Barrier has decided not to buy a horse at the present time since he is broke and is not sure how he could get any money: "I will not draw my wages until I can get the new currency." The front has gone quiet, though there is occasional sharpshooting and shelling. Barrier is still "troubled with dysentery" but remains in the field.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp 8th North Carolina Troops, near Petersburg, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 June 21. (MSN/CW 5057-97).
                                                                                                                                                                                                    ALS, 4 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with CS 11 or 12.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Barrier writes from the trenches near Petersburg while awaiting an attack from "the indomitable Ulysses S. Grant." He describes an action of the previous Friday (17 June) in which elements of Clingman's Brigade recovered a stretch of the Petersburg defensive trenches from occupying Yankees. "Our Brigade has the satisfaction of being complimented by General Lee that we saved Petersburg and half of our Corps from the hands of the enemy. But the gallant deeds of our Brigade fell seriously upon us in the way of numbers we have lost in this campaign in killed, wounded, and missing, about 1200 hundred men, but I hope most of these are prisoners." Barrier is getting along well and has recovered from his illness. He is confident that the upcoming battle will see Grant defeated: "I think you will soon hear that Grant is the worst beaten yankee that ever fought Lee. Our army is perfectly confident of success." He is still deliberating over whether or not to buy a horse, considering the prices.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Headquarters 8th North Carolina Regiment, near Petersburg, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 July 6. (MSN/CW 5057-98).
                                                                                                                                                                                                      ALS, 4 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with CS 11 or 12.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Barrier writes that he is in good health and still in the trenches before Petersburg. Grant appears reluctant to attack: "I have seen northern papers up to the first of July in which they admit a loss of (180,000) one hundred and eighty thousand men since the first of April. If they have lost such an army as that they never can create another." Barrier's regiment has lost few men since last he wrote. He reports that Grant's forces have withdrawn from the vicinity of the Weldon Railroad and that it will be repaired in a few days. Other railroads, the Baltimore and Ohio lines, he reports destroyed. He asks about news from home.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Headquarters 8th North Carolina Regiment, near Petersburg, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 July 26. (MSN/CW 5057-99).
                                                                                                                                                                                                        ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with CS 11 or 12.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Barrier writes in reply to his father's letter of 21 July. He confirms his receipt of the shirt and socks he'd been requesting and hopes too that his father will be able to send along a new horse, as Barrier believes the regiment will soon be on the move again. He writes that he's thinking of sending his slave home to procure vegetables and "other good things to eat" in about two weeks, which he hopes to later sell in the camps: "A good box of good things will be worth five hundred dollars in this market." He then turns to a discussion of North Carolina politics, saying that he hopes that the people of his home county will help elect Zebulon Vance governor, though he is "at a loss" as to who he'd prefer in the race for state senate: "I think the candidates are poor chances and I think the people ought to make better selections." He is still in Petersburg, doing "comparatively nothing." "We are daily strengthening our lines," he writes, "and so are the enemy. They seem to be acting on the defensive as well as we are." Just the previous day Barrier finally received his commission as major (dated 1 February 1864): "It was a long time coming but it is all right now." Because the regiment's colonel (Whitson) is "permanently disabled" and the lieutenant colonel (Murchison) is feared dead, Barrier expects to remain in command of the 8th for the foreseeable future. He adds, "I never want to be a Colonel of a regiment. I am as high in the line of promotion as I ever wish to go." His health is not as good as he would like, given the high cost of vegetables in camp. He provides instructions to his father in case his father is able to procure a serviceable horse.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Headquarters 8th North Carolina Regiment, Petersburg, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 August 6. (MSN/CW 5057-100).
                                                                                                                                                                                                          ALS, 5 pages on 1 folded sheet and 1 sheet.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Barrier writes in reply to his father's letter of 1 August, glad that his family is in good health and happy to report the same for himself. Everything has been quiet, he says, since last Saturday, when Grant "blew up a portion" of their line (the battle of the Crater, 30 July 1864). "The explosion as represented to me was one of the grandest sights ever witnessed. The earth trembled as if a mighty earthquake had belched forth from the fiery depths of the infernal regions, then came a mighty crash tossing into the air from four pieces of cannon and a number of our poor soldiers who went up with the huge masses of earth to the distance of a hundred feet and falling precipitately in the yawning chasm beneath to rise no more. It was then that the yankees rushed in their hosts of whites and negroes feeling confident that they would march in to the coveted city." Barrier writes that the charge was halted by the Confederates, and comments at length on the number of U. S. Colored Troops killed in the attack ("the blood ran in streams from their worthless carcasses"). The Confederates lost 1200 killed, wounded, and missing, the Union 5000 killed. "We hold the same ground we held before the fight," he writes. Barrier has resolved to send his slave back to Mt. Pleasant for a horse, if one should prove available, and for things to eat and resell in camp. He provides instructions and specifications for what he wants and how best to package it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Headquarters 8th North Carolina Regiment, Petersburg, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 August 9. (MSN/CW 5057-101).
                                                                                                                                                                                                            ALS, 4 pages on 1 folded sheet.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Barrier opens by reiterating part of his last letter: he has sent his slave home to Mt. Pleasant to procure either a horse, if one is available, or quantities of vegetables, chickens, and flour, as well as other items for use by Barrier or for reselling in camp. He sends along money as well, to repay some debts he has incurred. He is glad to have heard that Mt. Pleasant went for Zebulon Vance in the North Carolina gubernatorial election. He asks as well for some of his sister's berries, which she "bragged about" in her last letter to him.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Headquarters 8th North Carolina Regiment, Petersburg, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 August 11. (MSN/CW 5057-102).
                                                                                                                                                                                                              ALS, 2 pages on 1 folded sheet.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Barrier writes in good health and with little to report. "The intentions of the two armies," he says, "seem to be very much mistified at this time. My opinion is that the two armies will be in Northern Virginia in less than two weeks." He thinks that something important is about to happen, but that his division will likely be left to defend Petersburg should the fight move elsewhere. He is glad of Zebulon Vance's success in the recent elections: "I look upon the election of Vance as the greatest victory of the war."
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Headquarters 8th North Carolina Regiment, Petersburg, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 August 14. (MSN/CW 5057-103).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                ALS, 5 pages on 1 folded sheet and 1 sheet.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Barrier finds himself once again stricken with dysentery, but he remains in the trenches, discharging his duties: "I have been suffering with diarrhea and dysentery for three months and a half [and] I have not missed but four days duty in the present campaign, which commenced the twelfth of last April." He writes about the results of the recent political races in North Carolina, sad that his preferred candidates didn't win other offices but still pleased that Zebulon Vance defeated William Woods Holden in the governor's race: "I am glad that Holden is politically dead and it would be better for the country if he were really dead in body." Barrier believs that "the grand army of the Potomac" has withdrawn from their front, as all has been quiet for the last several days: "I think Butler's army is all we have to contend with for the present." "The larger portion of our army has gone," he writes, "to Northern Virginia. We will have some stirring news from that quarter in a few days." He visited the 1st North Carolina Cavalry and saw that many of his friends and acquaintances in the regiment were doing well, though the horses are suffering from lack of adequate forage. In his own regiment, he reports, they are likely to run into problems regarding field promotions again: "There is no longer any doubt about the death of Colonel Murchison. I do not wish any furher promotion but the General says I must go up to the Lt. Colonelcy so that will create a new Major in the regiment. Our two senior Captains are expecting to be laid on the shelf again and I suppose they will be, but it is sure to create a squall. But I am glad I am out of the scrape this time. I will let you know when it is over." He closes with a reminder that his slave is likely to reach Mt. Pleasant soon and reiterates instructions from previous letters concerning his requests for a horse and resupply.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Hoke's Division Infirmary, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 November 4. (MSN/CW 5057-104).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with CS 11 or 12.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "I have no doubt," begins Barrier, "but you have been expecting to hear from me before now, but I have put it off from day to day hoping that I might improve in health before writing." He says he is a little better than he was before he left home, but is still in the division field hospital. The previous Thursday, he says, there was a general engagement along the Petersburg-Richmond line, and the enemy fared poorly: "A yankey Colonel under flag of truce acknowledged their losses from all causes to be five thousand men. That was the grand move to take Richmond before the presidential election in yankeydom. They have lost five thousand votes and gained nothing." Barrier's brigade is doing well and is well-positioned along the line. He says that the men all have tents or shanties in which to live and that Gen. Longstreet has suggested that they will be wintering there.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Hoke's Division Infirmary, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 November 6. (MSN/CW 5057-105).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Barrier writes to assure his parents that he is still alive and recovering. He hopes to be cured soon. Everything is quiet except for occasional shelling: "Were it not for that you should hardly know that you were in the presence of two large contending armies." The rain is turning the roads to mud and that might mean that the armies will have to dig in for the winter. His brigade is recruiting: "We are stronger now than we were before the Fort Harrison fight. The whole army is filling at a rapid rate." He thinks the enemy's effort to capture Richmond will cease for the winter. He asks his father to ready his heavier coat and pants and send them to him, and provides his address.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Headquarters 8th North Carolina Regiment, near Richmond, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 November 18. (MSN/CW 5057-106).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Barrier has not heard from his father in some time. He writes that his health is improving rapidly. There has been no fighting lately. His brigade is "snugly fixed for the winter." He had his horse valued a few days before; it is worth $3083.33 1/3. He hopes to hear soon from home.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Headquarters 8th North Carolina Regiment, Richmond, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 November 18. (MSN/CW 5057-107).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with CS 11 or 12.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "I have concluded to send my boy home about the 17th December so that he may bring me something for a Christmas dinner," begins Barrier. "Please save me all the butter and eggs you can." He details the feast he envisions. All is quiet where he is. His health continues to improve.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp 8th North Carolina Regiment, Darbytown Road near Richmond, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 November 21. (MSN/CW 5057-108).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ALS, 3 pages on 1 folded sheet.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Barrier reports that he is well and that his horse is well. He reiterates his Christmas dinner requests from the previous letter. He reports that there is widespread happiness about the re-election of Abraham Lincoln in the north: "Every soldier seems to be more determined to fight to the death since the election than they were before." All is quiet where he is, and their position is well-fortified and well-provisioned for the time. He asks for money from home, as he has over $500 due him that he is unable to collect until after the 1st of January.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, [illeg.], to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 December 8. (MSN/CW 5057-109).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with CS 11 or 12.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Barrier writes his father to let him know that all is well since his father's visit. Last week, he says, the regiment received orders to be ready to march on Saturday, destination unknown. On Saturday they discovered they'd be marching to the front up the Darbytown Road. Their reconnaissance met with some resistance and a skirmish ensued.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Headquarters 8th North Carolina Regiment, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 December 18. (MSN/CW 5057-110).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ALS, 1 page on 1 sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with a pair of CS 7.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Barrier writes a short letter instructing his family to send him clothes, boots, and other things.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Headquarters 8th North Carolina Regiment, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 December 21. (MSN/CW 5057-111).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ALS, 1 page on 1 sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with CS 11 or 12.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Barrier writes that they are under marching orders again, most likely to Wilmington, North Carolina.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Headquarters 8th North Carolina Regiment, Ruffins Station, Piedmont Railroad, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 December 26. (MSN/CW 5057-112).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ALS, 1 page on 1 sheet.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Barrier writes en route to Wilmington, North Carolina, via Goldsboro, unsure when he will arrive. He describes the previous night's events, when a special train passed bearing Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, Sen. Douglas Henry of Tennessee, Sen. James McNair Baker of Florida, Sen. William A, Graham of North Carolina, and Representatives Thomas Fuller and John Gilmer of North Carolina. "We had a small talk from each of those worthies. All are fine looking gentlemen and gave us very encouraging speeches."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp Whiting, Wilmington, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1865 January 6. (MSN/CW 5057-113).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with a pair of CS 7, including a "white necktie" variety.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Barrier writes in response to his father's recent letter, glad to hear of his family's good health and his father's safe return to Mt. Pleasant from Richmond. He mentions briefly the suffering he and his fellow soldiers endured traveling to Wilmington. Several came down with pneumonia. He received his coat and boots; they fit well, and he is grateful. He is currently quartered in a cabin and getting along well, though he does not know how long he will be there. There is nothing for the men to do but drill. Wilmington, he says, is the worst place he has seen in the Confederacy: "You can scarcely buy anything with Confederate money." He complains that "the place is literally filled up with Jews and everything else that means." He is confident that Wilmington cannot be taken by sea, and thinks that the enemy will eventually come by land. Barrier feels confident that the South will win the war yet.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Sugar Loaf, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1865 January 19. (MSN/CW 5057-114).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ALS, 3 pages on 1 sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with CS 11 or 12.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Barrier writes from line of battle near Wilmington, expecting an attack at any moment. The regiment is on duty at "Confederate Point" (Fedral Point) five miles from Fort Fisher, and Barrier doesn't comprehend why: "I cannot understand what we are to accomplish by remaining at this point. General Bragg may intend to hold Wilmington at all hasards." Fort Fisher, he writes, was "surrendered most disgracefully" the previous Sunday. He suspects that those manning it at the time of the assault were "all drunk, some of them beastly so." This is, he reports, the darkest hour that he has beheld since the beginning of the war. He ends with an exhortation, that his fellows in the Confederacy might redouble their efforts in the fight to be free, even if that means they must fight forever.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp near Sugar Loaf, North Carolina to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1865 January 31. (MSN/CW 5057-115).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with CS 11 or 12.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Barrier is still stationed on Confederate Point near Fort Fisher, where all is generally quiet save for occasional shelling and a few inconsequential skirmishes. Barrier is now in command of Clingman's Brigade, and he doesn't like it: "I am placed in a very unfortunate position just at this time . . . have been in command for several days and likely to remain so for several weeks." There is a rumor around camp that there will soon be peace and that, as Barrier says, "We shall be recognized as one of the great nations of the Earth." He is afraid of the effect it might have on morale should this rumor prove to be false. He is interrupted while writing by the news that he will have to appear in Wilmington to serve as a witness in a court martial and cuts his letter short.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Sugar Loaf, North Carolina to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1865 February 16. (MSN/CW 5057-116).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ALS, 4 pages on 1 folded sheet, w/envelope.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Barrier writes that he is presently experiencing the "coldest winter within the knowledge of the oldest inhabitants of this section." All is quiet, though Saturday last the enemy shelled their position all day and advanced upon them, with little result. He acknowledges the recent news that peace talks have failed, decries those who still hope for reconstruction with the union, and celebrates Jefferson Davis for honorably attempting to pursue peace: "The time has at last arrived when there is no middle ground. Every man is compelled to say whom he will serve. We are compelled to fight to the bitter end or acknowledge ourselves the abject slaves of yankey taskmasters." He wishes that every man between 18 and 45 would take up arms and join the war effort and finds fault with those who do not, no matter who they may be. He offers his low opinion of his cousin's intended husband and advises his father against traveling to see him this winter, as it is miserable out on the road. He asks for more gloves and socks, as his current gear is "played out."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp 8th North Carolina Regiment, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1865 February 25. (MSN/CW 5057-117).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "I have no doubt," begins Barrier, "but there is a great deal of anxiety upon the minds of the friends of my regiment since the fall of Wilmington. I am happy to inform you that we are all safe so far." He writes on the go, sixteen miles south of Magnolia on the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad. Arrangements have been made, he says, to exchange ten thousand prisoners on the banks of the Northeast River. He reports that Wilmington was evacuated on 23 February and that neither men nor munitions were lost. He says there is no cause for despondency and takes the enemy's willingness to exchange prisoners as a sign of their demoralization. Barrier's own enthusiasm for the war remains undimmed. His slave Henderson was captured in Wilmington, and he lost some clothing with him. He supposes that the people of Wilmington are "frightened on account of Sherman," though he himself thinks that Sherman is nothing to be scared of. He says that they are in good health despite the severe weather and the hardships attendant to their retreat.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Camp, Hoke's Division, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1865 March 4. (MSN/CW 5057-118).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Barrier is now 11 miles south of Magnolia Station, about 40 miles from Wilmington. He writes as the war has taken a turn for the worse: "If our section of the country is to be the scene of war let us not murmur but bear it like the Spartan heroes . . . if we are to be subjugated, let it be done with sword in hand battling for liberty." He declares that the Union forces will pay for their transgressions against the Confederacy. Barrier believes that Gen. Sherman is making his way toward Fayetteville. Barrier and his fellow soldiers are resting; he does not know how long they will remain where they are. He requests various items of clothing from home and inquires about the possibility of obtaining another slave.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Headquarters 8th North Carolina Regiment near Smithfield, Johnston County, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1865 March 17. (MSN/CW 5057-119).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet, w/envelope. Envelope franked with CS 11 or 12.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                As Barrier writes, he and his forces are on the move to meet Sherman's army: "I trust we shall be able to hurl him back to the coast of North Carolina in a very short time." He received official news the previous day that Sherman had been given a "pretty good whipping" by Hardee's army, and that Grant's forces had withdrawn from Richmond and Petersburg. Barrier feels that the last grand struggle will take place in North Carolina, and remains confident in the cause.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Mifflintown, Juniata Country, Pennsylvania, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1868 December 28. (MSN/CW 5057-120).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ALS, 1 page on 1 sheet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Barrier writes to his mother and father that he is well and in good health. He is on the way home from Mifflintown, Pennsylvania. He says he will save his description of his travels and the land until he is able to deliver them in person.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Letter. Rufus A. Barrier, Mifflintown, Juniata Country, Pennsylvania, to Mathias and Margaret Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1868 December 28. (MSN/CW 5057-120).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ALS, 1 page on 1 sheet.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In a letter written from Mifflintown, Pennsylvania three years after the war, Barrier tells his mother and father that all are in good health. He says he will describe his travels fully on his return to North Carolina..
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Letter. Jeremiah Barringer, Salisbury, North Carolina, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 April 8. (MSN/CW 5057-121).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ALS, 1 page on 1 sheet, w/envelope. On CSA Subsistence Dept. letterhead.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Jeremiah Barringer of the Commissary Department at Salisbury writes Mathias Barrier about providing the army with bacon.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Letter. Daniel M. Moose, Camp near Orange Court House, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1863 September 12. (MSN/CW 5057-122).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Moose writes his father-in-law to let him know he is doing well. The regiment (5th North Carolina Infantry) is recruiting, he says, and will soon have about half as many men as it did going into the battle of Gettysburg. "There is a great deal of talking," he says, "amongst the soldiers about going back into the union and most everthing else excepting fighting, they do not believe in fighting anymore. I did not believe in fighting in the beginning but now I am in strong for I expect that we are a ruined people anyway so I want to be conquered or gain some kind of a government." Moose mentions that he hasn't received a letter in three months, and wishes that someone would write him. Moose was married to Anna Barrier, sister of William Lafayette and Rufus.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Letter. Julia B. Craven, n.p., to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina,  1864 January 10. (MSN/CW 5057-123).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ALS, 2 pages on 1 sheet, w/envelope.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Discusses terms for accepting a teaching job at the "School at Mt. Pleasant."