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Letter of Joseph Hoyle to Sarah Hoyle, February 15, 1864


Letter of Joseph Hoyle to Sarah Hoyle, February 15, 1864


When Joseph Hoyle enlisted in 1862 he joined the Confederate army before conscription laws were passed. Again in February of 1864 soldiers were encouraged to re-enlist. This was the result of many wounded, disabled, and deceased soldiers, as well as those who had deserted the cause. The 55th Regiment of North Carolina would show their courage and determination by re-enlisting minus a man by the name of Jesse Tallen. Hoyle accredits this to the soldiers desire to do their duty so that the war could end. Since over 260,000 southern soldiers and civilians lost their lives re-enlisting was more than a recommendation; rather, re-enlistment was a necessary action for the Confederate soldiers. The options were to re-enlist and attempt to defend their homeland or fail to re-enlist and the Confederacy would be pillaged or surrender would be necessary. The men re-enlisted to continue doing their individual jobs and duties that they knew would be needed to aid their comrade and win the war ( McPherson p. 27).


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), 160.






Wake County, North Carolina

Original Format



Near Orange C.H. Va.,
Feb, 15th, 1864
Dear Sarah,
I must tell you about us all re-enlisting for the war last Saturday. The whole Brigade was ordered out and General Davis gave us a stirring speech upon the subject. Our Regt. Seemed somewhat backward at first, but on a second speech by Genl Davis, nearly all the Regt came out. All my company re-enlisted but one, namely, Jesse Tallen. Re-enlisting is going on very extensively in this army. And surely this will have some effect upon many of our people at home who are whipped already. This patriotic move on the part of our soldiers speaks in the soundest terms that our soldiers are not whipped, and I think that much good will result from this patriotic movement. We solders want peace as much as any body, and if any people in the world know the value of peace we do, and our friends need not think that we desire the war continue by re-enlisting, but we know that the stronger position we can show, the sooner we will have peace. We know we will have to fight any how till the war ends. Then let us all rely upon the god of hosts and strive to do our duty and deliverance will come. I can say that all is quiet here now, and the snow is falling fast. We are drawing close round our fires, and enjoying our cabins finely.
Tuesday, 16th – This morning finds me well. The ground is covered with snow. Rooker is complaining. As ever, yours in hope and love, My own dear Sarah


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Joseph J. Hoyle, Letter of Joseph Hoyle to Sarah Hoyle, February 15, 1864, Civil War Era NC, accessed May 21, 2024,