April 13th 1862
Your letter came duly to hand. Sorry to hear of yours and Watson’s ailments - hope you will be well again and enjoy life with all it pleasures. My health is good, never better. May the good Lord continue his goodness towards me and decree that yours may also be good
Our Regiment is breaking up. Men are going in for the war, going home, scattering every way, order is lost, distraction pervades the whole encampment. I opine we will abandon the place shortly, to meet again nearer the enemy.
Jim Paine is in for the war and gone home you will perhaps see him. I am at a loss to know what to do, but will do for the best and that best will be to try and go and see you shortly. I go to Houston tomorrow on business pertaining to my department, and will return to camp as soon as possible when I will perhaps know what I will do. Health in our Regiment is comparatively good now. The thought of Home has cured many a man
John Lucas is complaining a little but still up. He is troubled exceedingly about our condition. He sends his best respects to all of you. I have received no money yet, can’t tell when I will get any. Bill Wade will start home soon, several of the boys are gone home Bun Boyd promised to see you and tell you the news. May the good Lord bless you and Keep you and ours from all harm
Yours etc. R. D. Bone
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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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