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W. S. Hoole Special Collections Library Manuscript Collections

Guide to the Benjamin J. Gaston Letters MSS.3915

ASSET VIEWER
Publication:

University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 35487-0266
205.348.0500
archives@ua.edu

October 2012

Creation:

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2012-10-10T13:19-0500

Language Usage:

English

Description Rules:

Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Collection Title:

Benjamin Gaston Letters

Unit ID:

MSS.3915

Repository:

University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

Quantity:

0.4 Linear feet

Dates:

1859-1865

General Physical Description note

Most are in good condition. Each letter is in its own plastic sleeve.

Abstract:

Letters written by Benjamin J. Gaston, who served as a first lieutenant with the Independent 2nd Battalion Alabama Volunteers and as a private in the 10th Alabama Cavalry.

creator

Gaston, Benjamin J.

Biographical/Historical note

Benjamin J. Gaston was born on 29 December 1841 in Alabama, to T.C. and Catherine Gaston. Although he was a resident of Tennessee at the outbreak of the Civil War, Gaston joined the Second Alabama Volunteers as a lieutenant because Tennessee had not yet seceded. His regiment was part of the Army of the Tennessee and when the Confederates were able to install a governor in Kentucky who was loyal to the South, the Army of Tennessee, under General Braxton Bragg, invaded Kentucky (August 1862). Lt. Gaston was part of this invasion - which failed.

During the Confederate withdrawal, Lt. Gaston was put in charge of a Union prisoner of war. The prisoner escaped from the rail car in which he was being held, and Lieutenant Gaston, who left the car and his prisoner to buy bread, was court martialed. He lost his commission and returned home, then enlisted as a private in the 10th Alabama Cavalry. In the summer of 1863, he was captured near Murfreesboro, and spent the remainder of the war as a prisoner of war in Rock Island, Illinois. At the war's end, when Gaston returned to Tennessee, he became a Methodist minister and farmer near Shelbyville, Tennessee.

He married around 1873 and had three children and 3 stepchildren. Gaston died on 24 March 1910.

Scope and Contents note

This collection contains letters written by Benjamin J. Gaston, who served as a first lieutenant with the Independent 2nd Battalion Alabama Volunteers and as a private in the 10th Alabama Cavalry. A few letters were written in 1859 to his parents while he was in school in Pulaski, Tennessee. Gaston may have been born in Alabama or Tennessee.

The bulk of the letters were written during his service with the Confederate States Army and are to his mother, father, and siblings, from the middle of 1861 until the Battle of Shiloh on April 6, 1862. They give a detailed account of life in camp near Mobile, Alabama. Rations were short, and weapons and ammunition for his company were not issued until just before the unit went to Corinth, Mississippi. Lack of weapons was a great concern, since according to Gaston, his men were training by learning movements without firearms. When later that year when the Confederates was able to place a governor loyal to the South in office in Kentucky, the Army of Tennessee, under General Braxton Bragg, invaded Kentucky (August 1862) and Lt. Gaston was part of this invasion which failed.

During the Confederate withdrawal, Lt. Gaston was put in charge of a Union prisoner of war. The prisoner escaped from the rail car in which he was being held, and Lieutenant Gaston, who left the car and his prisoner to buy bread, was court martialed. He lost his commission and returned home, then enlisted as a private in the 10th Alabama Cavalry. In the summer of 1863, he was captured near Murfreesboro, and spent the remainder of the war as a prisoner of war in Rock Island, Illinois.

The letters are written from places like Corinth, Mississippi; Mobile, Alabama; Bethel Spring, Tennessee; Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and Rock Island, Illinois. Sixteen (16) letters are written from Rock Island.

Access Restrictions:

None

Usage Restrictions:

None

Acquisition Information:

Purchased form Beltrone and Company, 2012

Preferred Citation:

Benjamin J. Gaston Letters, W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library, University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

Processing Information:

Processed by

Martha Bace, 2012

Source(s)

Beltrone and Company (local)

Correspondence (aat)

War and Military (localbroad)

Photography and Biographical Caption Box 3915.001 Folder 1

Photograph and biographical caption of Benjamin J. Gaston, circa 2000 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82466

Portrait of Lieutenant Benjamin J. Gaston, 1861 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82467

Letters, 1859-1860 (5 letters) Box 3915.001 Folder 2

Letter from B. J. Gaston, Pulaski, Tennessee, to Father, Brother, and Mother, August 27, 1859 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82468

Letter from B. J. Gaston, Pulaski, Tennessee, to P. C. Gaston and Ann Mariah Gaston, September 12, 1859 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82469

Letter from B. J. Gaston, Pulaski, Tennessee, to Father and Brother, September 24, 1859 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82470

Letter from B. J. Gaston, Pulaski, Tennessee, to Father, Mother, Sister, and Brother, February 12, 1860 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82471

Letters, 1861 (8 letters) Box 3915.001 Folder 3

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Camp Jordan, Alabama, to Father and Mother, October 6, 1861 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82457

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Camp Jordan, near Huntsville, Alabama, to Father and Mother, October 16, 1861 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82458

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Courtland, Alabama, to Parents, Brothers, and Sisters, December 4, 1861 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82459

Letter from B. J. Gaston, Corinth, Mississippi, to Home, December 8, 1861 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82460

Letter from B. J. Gaston, Corinth, Mississippi, to Parents, December 15, 1861 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82461

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Headquarters near Mobile, Alabama, to Parents, Brothers, and Sisters, December 19, 1861 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82462

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Camp Gov. Moore, Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, to Parents, Brothers, and Sisters, December 22, 1861 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82463

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Camp Gov. Moore, Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, to Parents, Brothers, and Sisters, December 23, 1861 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82464

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Camp Gov. Moore, Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, to Parents, Brothers, and Sisters, December 27, 1861 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82465

Letters, January 1862 (12 letters) Box 3915.001 Folder 4

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Camp Gov. Moore, Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, to Parents, Brothers, and Sisters, January 1, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82444

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Camp Gov. Moore, Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, to Parents, Brothers, and Sisters, January 3, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82445

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Camp Gov. Moore, Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, to Parents, Brothers, and Sisters, January 5, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82446

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Camp Gov. Moore, Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, to Parents, Brothers, and Sisters, January 7, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82447

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Camp Gov. Moore, Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, to Parents, Brothers, and Sisters, January 10, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82448

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Camp Gov. Moore, Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, to Parents, Brothers, and Sisters, January 14, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82449

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Camp Gov. Moore, Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, to Parents, Brothers, and Sisters, January 18, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82450

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston to Parents, January 19, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82451

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Camp Memminger near Mobile, Alabama, to A. M. Gaston and Sarah Gaston, January 20, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82452

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Camp Memminger near Mobile, Alabama, to Parents, January 21, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82453

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Camp Memminger near Mobile, Alabama, to P. C. Gaston, January 21, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82454

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Camp Memminger near Mobile, Alabama, to Parents, January 28, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82455

Letters, February - March 1862 (11 letters) Box 3915.001 Folder 5

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Camp Memminger near Mobile, Alabama, to Parents, Brothers, and Sisters, February 1, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82485

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Camp Memminger near Mobile, Alabama, to Parents, Brothers, and Sisters, February 6, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82486

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Camp Memminger near Mobile, Alabama, to Parents, Brothers, and Sisters, February 11, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82487

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Camp Memminger near Mobile, Alabama, to Parents, Brothers, and Sisters, February 20, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82488

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Corinth, Mississippi, to Parents, Brothers, and Sisters, March 6, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82489

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Bethel Springs, Tennessee, to Parents, Brothers, and Sisters, March 11, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82490

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Bethel Springs, Tennessee, to Parents, Brothers, and Sisters, March 16, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82491

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Tennessee and Mississippi, to Parents, Brothers, and Sisters, March 18, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82492

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Corinth, Mississippi, to Parents, Brothers, and Sisters, March 24, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82493

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Corinth, Mississippi, to Parents, Brothers, and Sisters, March 27, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82494

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Corinth, Mississippi, to Parents, Brothers, and Sisters, March 30, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82495

Letters, April - December 1862 (13 letters) Box 3915.001 Folder 6

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Corinth, Mississippi, to Parents, Brothers, and Sisters, April 3, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82472

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston to Parents, Brothers, and Sisters, July 2, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82473

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Saltillo, Mississippi, to Parents, Brothers, and Sisters, July 9, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82474

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Bardstown, Kentucky, to Parents, Brothers, and Sisters, October 2, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82475

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, camp near Tullahoma, Tennessee, to Parents, Brothers, and Sisters, October 11, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82476

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, camp near Tullahoma, Tennessee, to Parents, Brothers, and Sisters, November 16, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82477

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, camp near Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to P. C. Gaston, November 25, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82478

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, camp near Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to Parents, December 2, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82479

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to S. A. K. Gaston, December 6, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82480

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, camp near Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to Parents, Brothers, and Sisters, December 6, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82481

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, camp near Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to Parents, Brothers, and Sisters, December 10, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82482

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, camp near Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to Parents, Brothers, and Sisters, December 19, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82483

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, camp near Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to Parents, Brothers, and Sisters, December 21, 1862 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82484

Letters, 1864 (10 letters) Box 3915.001 Folder 7

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Rock Island, Illinois, to Parents, January 20, 1864 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82434

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Rock Island, Illinois, to Father and Mother, February 18, 1864 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82435

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Rock Island, Illinois, to Father and Mother, March 6, 1864 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82436

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Rock Island, Illinois, to Father and Mother, March 25, 1864 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82437

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Rock Island, Illinois, to Parents, June 11, 1864 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82438

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Rock Island, Illinois, to Parents, July 21, 1864 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82439

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Rock Island, Illinois, to T. C. and K. Gaston, Pulaski, Tennessee, September 3, 1864 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82440

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Rock Island, Illinois, to T. C. and K. Gaston, Pulaski, Tennessee, September 19, 1864 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82441

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Rock Island, Illinois, to T. C. and K. Gaston, Gilbertsboro, Alabama, October 24, 1864 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82442

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston to Sister and Mother, circa 1860 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82443

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Rock Island, Illinois, to Father and Mother, Gilbertsboro, Alabama, September 27, 1864 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82746

Letters, 1865 (5 letters) Box 3915.001 Folder 8

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Rock Island, Illinois, to Father and Mother, Pulaski, Tennessee, February 19, 1865 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82430

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Rock Island, Illinois, to Father and Mother, Pulaski, Tennessee, March 6, 1865 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82431

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Rock Island, Illinois, to Father and Mother, Pulaski, Tennessee, March 17, 1865 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82432

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Rock Island, Illinois, to Father and Mother, Pulaski, Tennessee, March 30, 1865 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82433

Letters, Undated (2 letters) Box 3915.001 Folder 9

Letter from Lieutenant B. J. Gaston, Rock Island, Illinois, to Father and Mother, April 14, 1865 http://purl.lib.ua.edu/82456

Muster Rolls, Registers, Etc. (photocopies) Box 3915.001 Folder 10

Prisoner of War documents (photocopies) Box 3915.001 Folder 11

Loyalty Oath (photocopy) Box 3915.001 Folder 12