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Letter of Joseph J. Hoyle to Sarah Hoyle May 17, 1862


Letter of Joseph J. Hoyle to Sarah Hoyle May 17, 1862


This letter, written by Lieutenant Hoyle in May of 1862, was one of the first letters Hoyle composed to his wife following his enlistment. Formerly, Hoyle had farmed and taught school. Now he spent nearly four hours a day drilling with his unit at a camp in Raleigh preparing to fight in the Civil War. One of Hoyle’s messmates, William Self, was his wife’s brothers. This relationship was one of many in camp since many of the men in his regiment were friends or family members from Cleveland County. On their way to camp a lady gave Lieutenant Hoyle a Bible. Little did she know that Hoyle would keep the Bible in his pouch and read it daily throughout his three-year stint as a soldier.


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), 53-54






Wake County, North Carolina


Camp Mangum, Wake Co., N.C.
May 17th, 1862
My Dear Wife:
I again embrace an opportunity of writin you a few lines. I am not very well. I have a very bad cold, though I am still able for duty. I feel that it is very hard to be parted from you through since it is the decree of fate, I will endeavor to bear it. I trust that the good Lord will take care of you; and soften all your sorrows. Into his hands I resign you. To day is the first day that we have drilled since we have been here. We are getting our tents and affairs fixed up pretty well. The following are our messmates J.R. Willis John Cline, Isaac and Rooker, Robert & Solomon Willis, Julius Kennedy, Jesse Cook and Wm. Self. We have hired Robert Willis and Isaac to cook for us. Our camp is very lively. The boys sing a great deal. We have taken up prayer every night. Some few are complaining. We have tolerably good water. The war is very little talked of here in camp; so little so that we forget for what purpose we came here. Reports say that the Yankee gunboats are in 9 miles of Richmond. A terrible battle will no doubt be fought there soon. I neglected to tell you of my good fortune as I came through Lincolnton. A very generous lady made me a present of a bible. She is unknown to me. God bless her. Pray that the good Lord will soon deliver us from this cruel war; and permit us to return home again. Though we are absent in body, yet we are joined in heart. Pray for me. Yours in hope,
J.J Hoyle
Give my love to your father and mother, and brother. I have not an opportunity now to write them separate letters. Direct your letters to Raleigh,
Camp Mangum, N.C.
Care Capt Mull

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Joseph J. Hoyle, Letter of Joseph J. Hoyle to Sarah Hoyle May 17, 1862, Civil War Era NC, accessed April 17, 2024,