Cyrus Byington Letter December 14, 1863 Transcript

Rev Cyrus Byington
Via Washington Eagle Town CN West Ark

Camden Dec 14 of 1863

My Dear Parents

You will doubtless be surprised to hear of my being in this place but such is the fact nor can I remain here long.  I left Royston a week ago last Wed.  Eliza with her mother and children have been here a month.  We have rented a house, it is next door to Dr Magile’s.  Mr Memle lives in the same street we do but further down towards town.  We live on the out skirts.  The Gov’t has taken the cotton machinery and are moving it to Waco Texas on the Roras river, about three hundred fifty miles from this place.  Roy on order from Gen Smith all tho hands employed in the factory are ordered to go with it of course I am one of the number.  It was first proposed to move it to Marshall Texas – much nearer home – but that order was changed and we have to go to Waco.  I was much in hopes that I could have gone and seen you before leaving the state.  I went to Major Penneys after our things.  I left a comfort there for you.  The Major will see that you get it.  My son had no shoes on him, besides he got hurt with a rope the night before I started so it was with great difficulty that I was able to reach this place last week –

Mr Bill will remain here and take care of the family.  It will be impossible for me to take Eliza with me as the distance is so great besides the season of the year is very unfavorable for such a trip through such a state as Texas is now.   I decided to go myself- but have it to do as I am subject to military duty.  We shall go through by Shreveport.  Col Parsons told Mr Memle that that was the best and nearest route for us to go –

The Feds are reported at Princeton about 35 miles from here – Sen Holmes has his headquarters in this place.  We are surrounded by camps.  Some three or four thousand are here.  They will probably go into Winter quarters here.  We have no news from the other side of the river –

Since my arrival here I have received a letter from mother which was sent to Washington in the care of Mr Laurence.  I shall remain here probably some two weeks before I start.  My horse is still lame and I cannot use him.  There will be two others in company with me besides some forty negroes belonging to Mr Mattock who is sending them out there to work in the factory.  I shall have to assist about getting them out there.  I dislike very much about leaving my wife.  She cannot bear to let me go with out her.  If the country is pleasant and we can live out there I will take her out in the spring.  Since buying that last tract of land my funds have been rather low but still I think I will have enough to go through – There is a stage running from Sturgent to Waco but I intend to keep my horse and ride behind out there and back again.  I am told Waco is a fine town and very healthy, I hope it is so.  I have provided for Eliza all that is necessary for the present.  She can be comfortable and when sick she can have Dr Magile to attend to her.  It is very cold this morning but we live near timber so that we have no trouble about getting wood and having good fires.

I shall be absent about four months and it may be I may get leave to come home much sooner than that.  If the factory had been moved to Marshall I could have taken Eliza with me but as it is I cannot do so now.  We dread parting from each other for we know not whether we shall ever meet again in this world.  Mrs Menle has a fine house to live in and seems to be very well satisfied.  My own health is good.  I would like to hear from you before leaving.  Mr Bell will be here to take care of the family and provide for them.  I must close with much love.  I remain as ever your affectionate and only son   Cyrus –