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Letter of Joseph J. Hoyle to Sarah Hoyle, October 8, 1862


Letter of Joseph J. Hoyle to Sarah Hoyle, October 8, 1862


After training the 55th regiment marched to Virginia where they engaged in their first battle. The regiment joined the army of Northern Virginia at Camp French to prepare to fight. Upon arriving in Virginia Hoyle ran into a childhood friend whose regiment was also stationed at their camp. It was here that Hoyle also learned of the death of his good friend R. M. Sherill, a man whom Hoyle loved as a brother. It was for comrades and friends like these whom Hoyle and others continued fighting in order to honor the fallen men. It was also noted that in his early letters Hoyle signs J.J whereas later in the war he signs as Joe.


Joseph J. Hoyle


Jeffrey M. Girvan, ed., Deliver Us from this Cruel War: The Civil War Letters of Lieutenant Joseph J. Hoyle, 55th North Carolina Infantry (Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Company, 2010), 77-78






Wake County, North Carolina

Original Format



Camp French, near Petersburg, Va,

Oct 8th 1862


My Dear wife:

            I take the pleasure of dropping you a few lines, informing you that I am well at present. We landed at Petersburg last Saturday, but I was detailed to stay with the baggage and did not get out to the regiment till Sunday. Our present camp is about 4 miles from Petersburg. There is no likelihood of an attack here, but we may be marched off to meet the enemy at any time. The Yankees are said to have a large force at Suffolk about 60 miles from here, and an idea prevails that our forces will attack them. We heard firing all morning this morning in the direction of the city Point. It was, probably, the enemy’s gunboats in James River. They come up the James River every now and then and throw a few shells at our batteries. I visited Petersburg yesterday. It is fare ahead of all places I have seen. I cannot give you any account of it here. General Petigrew’s brigade (5 regiments) is at this place. I wet over to the 26 regiment to-day, and found A. B. Hays, my od schoolmate. Of course we were very glad to see each other.

            Sarah, I have to mourn the loss of my dearest friend. R. M. Sherrill died at Richmond on the 8th of Sept. You know he was my dearest friend, and well he deserved my most worth affections; for he was among the chosen noble young men. I feel that his place cannot easily be filled. Sarah, I loved him as a brother, and I hope to meet him on the shores of eternal bliss. I trust his soul is gone to rest. Sarah, I know you will not think that I mean he was nearer to me than you are. I count you nearer to me than a friend. You are my loving wife, the nearest earthly object to my heart. Hence you are not included under the name of friend. You are more than a friend. I hope the Lord will take care of you, an fill your dear little heart with his holy love. I pray continually that he will permit us to meet and spend the remainder of our days together, this is my only earthly desire. But dear Sarah, if we are denied this privilege, I trust we are certain of a better one, and that is of meeting in heaven. Let us love the lord with our whole heart and He will do all that is good for us. I would like to come home and see you but there is no chance to get a furlough now.  Do not want you to send me any clothes yet, for I cannot carry them if we have to march. If you have me a pair of boots or shoes made, you may send them by Dr. Osborne. We drew $ 10 a piece of our money the other day, and will draw about as much more in a short time. If you need any money I want you to let me know it. Write how you are getting along for money and salt. I hope you will not neglect to write. Direct your letters to Petersubrg, Va.&c., I rec. a letter from L.S. Self a few days ago, he was well. The following is his address. I have lost his letter in coming here. As ever your loving husban,


S.A. Hoyle

                                                                        J. J . Hoyle


Though many miles apart, yet we are joined in the heart. My wife to me so dear, is far from my sight yet I feel her love so near, and can say all is right. Dear Sarah Remember me Till we meet again. (Page 78)


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Item 207: Letter of Joseph J. Hoyle to Sarah Hoyle October 8, 1862


Joseph J. Hoyle , Letter of Joseph J. Hoyle to Sarah Hoyle, October 8, 1862, Civil War Era NC, accessed July 14, 2024,