In 1989, my father asked me if I wanted my great-great grandfather's pockets. In the 1800s pockets were worn inside trousers, rather like a modern money belt. The pockets contained about 75 old letters and, as I began reading them, I found that they were mostly Civil War letters.
I began typing these letters up, thinking that others in the family might want to read them someday. As I began digging into the letters, I learned that Barham Bobo Foster was a signer of the South Carolina Ordinance of Secession for the Spartanburg District and learned of the terrible cost of the war to his family. So the structure of a book began to form. As I continued my research, I found another 275 letters in the Caroliniana Library at the University of S.C.
Lt. Col. Barham Bobo Foster was second in command of the 3rd South Carolina Volunteer Infantry from its initial organization in 1861 until he left the army in 1862 in failed health. His two sons, Perrin and Tony, served in this unit until their deaths in combat.
In the final edited form, these letters reveal the lives of the Barham Bobo Foster, his two sons, his wife, and daughters during the period from late 1860 to early 1863. The Fosters were engaged at Bull Run, the Peninsula Campaign, the S.C. coastal defenses, Harper's Ferry, and Fredericksburg. In addition to battle descriptions, the letters offer insights into the thinking of an upcountry planter family on the war, politics, and home life as the war continued to grind away.
I have enjoyed getting to know this family. I hope that you will also enjoy getting to know them.
Lt. Col Barham Bobo Foster