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War letters of Benjamin Franklin Porter, 11th Alabama.

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  • Amos J Wright
    [I am resending this item, since it was originally sent to alabamahistory with an incorrect subject heading-- ajwright@uab.edu ] From:
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 12, 2007
      [I am resending this item, since it was originally sent to
      alabamahistory with an incorrect subject heading-- ajwright@... ]

      From: alabamahistory@yahoogroups.com
      [mailto:alabamahistory@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of DaNptAl@...
      Sent: Monday, March 12, 2007 11:56 AM
      To: alabamahistory@yahoogroups.com

      On March 1, I got back from the printers my book, Prey For us All, the
      war letters of Benjamin Franklin Porter, 11th Alabama.
      (Yancey's Rifles, 11th Alabama, Wilcox's Brigade, Longstreet's Division,
      Army of Northern Virginia, R.E. Lee, commanding)
      Ben Porter was a 17 year old farm boy of moderate means who left his
      home at St. Stephens, Alabama in June 1861. He returned a sick, wounded
      man in February 1865 much older than his 21 chronological years. He was
      going home on sick furlough, but the War ended before he was physically
      able to return. A detail of union soldiers were sent up from Mobile to
      arrest him because he had not been properly surrendered and mustered
      out. His grandson (by the same name) told me that his grandfather was
      surrendered and paroled in the parlor of his home in St. Stephens.
      He was a prolific letter writer and he asked his sister Jane, to save
      them and she did. Though these letters have borne the elements of time,
      most of them survived in relatively good condition. Porter also began a
      Journal of his war years and that is included in my book as well.
      They were sent to "someone" in Hollywood in 1934 (36?) when Gone With
      the Wind was released to see if anyone there might have an interest in
      them at a time when the WBTS was popular. Nothing happened, but the
      letters did find their way back to St. Stephens, Al.  Then in the 1950's
      a University of Alabama student thought she would do something with Ben
      Porter's letters and took them off; but nothing came of this either, but
      thank God the family got the letters back.
      Porter saw action at Seven Pines, Gaines Mill, Fredericksburg, Salem
      Church, Wilderness, Harper's Ferry, months on end around Richmond,
      Petersburg, Spotsylvania Court House, North Anna River, the Crater,
      Reams Station, Sharpsburg.
      Although the 11th was in the Battle of Gettysburg, Benjamin Franklin
      Porter was not there; he was in the hospital and missed that critical
      engagement. He tells of his company's losses and regrets having missed
      being there to help. It would have been great to have had an eyewitness
      account of that high water mark, along with the others, but then perhaps
      we'd not have very many letters of Porter's had he been in the
      Ben Porter writes of  the cold Virginia snows to a south Alabama boy;
      homesickness, being unable to stop and comfort a comrade in the thick of
      battle, losing mess mates to sickness and enemy fire, being a part of
      the great revival that swept through Lee's army, the horror of seeing
      deserters shot, living for days on parched corn, wanting news from home,
      concern for his family's welfare, seeing Robert E. Lee. Confidence in
      the Cause exudes from Porter's writing. In one letter, he writes, "We
      have never given up a position except on orders." He writes over and
      over of the rightness of Southern independence.
      These letters are as close as you and I in this century can get to the
      front lines of that War. They speak to the integrity and honor and
      admirable character of "Lee's Invincibles."  I used the originals and
      collated them at least 4 times, (some required more) to make sure my
      manuscript reflects B. F. Porters letters exactly has he wrote them:
      nothing added, deleted or altered in any way. These are his words only.
      I have read them many times and each time I see something I missed in
      previous readings. And each time I close the book, I am  just a bit
      prouder to be a descendant of Confederate veterans like Benjamin
      Franklin Porter.
      I sell Prey For Us All for $19 which includes postage and handling.
      Ellen Williams
      1730 Carson Road
      Leroy, Al  36548        jeffersondavis@...
      The front cover of the book is an actual photograph of B.F. Porter's
      Confederate headstone. The back cover is his company (not regimental)
      flag, housed in the Alabama Department of Archives and History in
      Montgomery. It was returned to Alabama from a family in Virginia in

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