Somewhere in Ark
Sept 3rd 1862
Having a little leisure just now I seat myself on a log and take my pen in hand to let you know that I am enjoying good health. I received your letter of the 7th (I believe) and was thinking everyday to answer it, but on the 1st inst. about 2 o’clock A. M. we were aroused by an order to march immediately, to what point we knew not. We don’t know anything about matters outside of camps and a sudden order to march - not knowing how close we were to an enemy and the general excitement and bustle incident to breaking up of camps in the night can be appreciated only by an eye witness. Officers running to and fro issuing orders, men packing knapsacks, striking tents. Men in camps in a perfect work so to speak, the lumbering noise of hundreds of wagons, braying of mules, neighing of horses, which seemed to be aware that something was on hand, all mixed up with strains of music from Drums fifes Horns and bands of music was indeed something new to me. It was amusing too to see men hale and hearty before get suddenly sick too sick to march and some really had to be left; of Company B we left Wm. Hart who had been very low of the flux and was not able to be up though better, he shed tears because he could not go with us. E Boyett shot in the hand by some one a few nights before, also very anxious to go, & Capt M. G. Thomas laboring under a severe cold and chills & fever. The balance of the Company I am glad to say, were off to meet the Yankees in high glee. Company B has not shown her heel in this emergency. We made a hard days march towards Des Arc on White River and encamped at Hickory plains. In the night
Robert Donnell Bone (1832-1892) was born in Wilson County, Tennessee, and came to Nacogdoches County in 1841 with his mother and stepfather. He and his brothers and sister moved in with his older sister when she married John Winstead Paine in 1846. After a serious illness of pneumonia, R. D. Bone rode horseback to Tennessee and entered the University at Nashville Medical School (which later became Vanderbilt University) in 1854 and returned to Douglass, Texas, to practice medicine after graduating in 1858. That same year he married Griselda Minerva Burk (1841-1912) who was also from Tennessee and had moved to Nacogdoches County, Texas, with her family in 1848. On November 25, 1861, Dr. Bone was appointed to serve as Assistant Surgeon of the 12th Texas Volunteer Infantry, Col. Overton Young's Regiment at Camp Hebert, Hempstead, Austin County, Texas. He felt it was his duty to serve the cause of the Confederacy and eagerly attended his post. As revealed in the following letters exchanged with his wife while on active duty in the Civil War, it soon became clear that he would have to contend with inadequate provisions, boring camp routine and confusing orders. "The Fever", dysentery, measles and exposure were Dr. Bone's patients' main medical problems; his regiment was not involved in any serious fighting. When he resigned his commission on March 7, 1863, in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, he went back to Douglass, Texas, to practice medicine. Dr. Bone also bought cotton and cattle and took them to New Orleans each fall to be sold. Minerva was Post Mistress in Douglass from 1866-1867. Only six of the Bone's 12 children reached adulthood, and two of their sons graduated from the University at Nashville Medical School exactly 50 years after Dr. Bone did. At least eight of his descendants have followed him in serving the medical profession. (Aiken, Roy L. (Pete). "Bone Family." In Nacogdoches County Families, 172. Dallas, Tx.: Curtis Media Corporation, 1985.)
Scope and Content Note
Included in the collection of letters between Dr. Bone and Minerva are letters to the Bones from family and friends, report forms from the post office at Douglass, and two poems (probably written by Dr. Bone). Typescripts for most of the papers in the collection are in a booklet in Box 2. Several 19th century newspapers belonging to Dr. Bone are cataloged and shelved with the newspaper bundles.
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