[Ed. -- A letter to Hugh McLaurin from Sallie Fairly (unknown to me)…dated Sunday, February 8, 1863…she appears to be a close friend, if not a girl friend…Hugh, 24 years old at the time, was a Confederate soldier and was away at war… -- Tom Gardner]
[Ed. -- The Fairly family and the McLaurin family appear to have a long history together going back to North and South Carolina and Scotland. There are several instances of intermarriage between the two families and it is as likely as not that Sallie was a cousin of Hugh's. At the time of this writing, Hugh was in Company B, "Covington Rebels," 46th Mississippi Infantry. On Feb. 8th, 1863, Hugh and the rest of the 46th Miss. were still defending Vicksburg from General Grant's attacks. They would begin in earnest in April 1863. -- Mike McLaurin]
After my return from Church, I all alone have come to reply to yours of the 20th which was read with pleasure and delight. I was glad to hear that the health of the soldiers there was so good, they suffered a great deal from sickness, I hope their health may continue to improve.
There was a good many out at Church today, ladies and school children mostly, some few young men. There was but few of the Bowie [Bowie Creek runs behind the John C. McLaurin home; the area was often referred to as “Bowie”] girls out, Miss Christian Milloy and your Aunt Sarah was all, I believe. Miss Christian is as pretty as ever I believe.
There is considerable excitement through here with the conscripts and militia. I believe the last one will have to go. If they are discharged at Brookhaven, they will have to go with the militia. I don’t see that there is much use to get a discharge. Archy is not gone yet, he is not certain yet that he is exempt. I expect he will have to go yet. [Archy is probably Archibald Fairley 1832-1929, Sallie's brother, who married Hugh's sister Cornelia. Archy apparently does go and with Hugh are both 2nd Lieutenants in Co. B, 46th Miss. Inf.]
I am looking for John home now. I heard that the Rangers and another Company was put together and that they kept the Lieutenants of the Rangers and the Capt of the other Company, for the new Company formed. If that be so, I expect John will come home. John was wounded in both arms at Murfreesborough [Murfreesboro, TN]. Peter and Alex come out safe; there was eleven of his men wounded. [These are all Sallie's brothers. John is John Thompson Fairley (1828-1885), Peter is Peter Fairley (1841-1921), Alex is Alexander Fairley (1842-1894)]
Well, Hugh, another year has past away and no year has borne a more solemn record. Its trials and scenes will be remembered by agitated nations, afflicted communities, and many a bereaved heart. Thousand and thousands have bid adieu to the scenes of time; the joys, sorrows, smiles, and tears of earth.
We have had some very cold weather this winter. I thought a many a time of you poor soldiers suffering with the cold. I hope the time is not far distant when you all may return to your once happy and peaceful homes and that you may never pass another winter in camps – no telling how long this Civil War may last [though].
Gibert has a fine school at Olivet High School. He has about twenty-five students. Miss Bettie is going. Mildred has a school in Laurence Co.; she has not commenced teaching yet. I believe she is going to School two or three weeks to brighten her ideas before commencing.
Well, Hugh, as it is a getting near sundown, I will bring this dry and uninteresting letter to a close. Hoping to hear from you soon, I will finish.
No more as ever your friend,
/s/ Sallie Fairly [?]
Please excuse all errors and mistakes you may detect – for I generally write too fast and careless.