- Hardcover: 200 pages
- Publisher: University Alabama Press; First Edition edition (January 10, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0817311181
- ISBN-13: 978-0817311186
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,058,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Oh, What a Loansome Time I Had: The Civil War Letters of Major William Morel Moxley, Eighteenth Alabama Infantry, and Emily Beck Moxley Hardcover – January 10, 2002
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—Excerpt from a letter written by Emily Beck Moxley
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The letters between Emily and her husband, Captain William Moxley, begin on August 22, 1861 and end a brief six months later in February, 1862. Though the Confederacy was largely successful in 1861 and the area that the Moxley's lived in, southeast Alabama, was far from any action, food and money had already become scarce by September. Emily struggled to get food without money, to collect debts and to take care of their home. She finds that there are few men around to work and most weren't dependable. On September 3rd she wrote that she could not sleep because the door to the house was broken saying "I was afraid to lie down at night with the door open." She had to beg and borrow to get meat and on December 23 wrote her husband "you don't know how I feel to start out to get meat and not one cent to get it with. . ." When her oldest child, George, needed pants there was no money to buy any. Nine year old George had to become a man before his time. When school started, Emily sent her oldest daughter, but kept George at home because "I cannot do without him yet, for I want him to attend to little Davis and cut wood and make fires."
Captain Moxley's letters give interesting descriptions of the 18th Alabama Infantry's camp life in the winter of 1861-62 when sickness was epidemic. They provide valuable glimpses into discipline, training and morale in the early days of the Confederate army. During the winter of 1861-62 the 18th Alabama was stationed in Alabama.
There is a lot of tenderness in Emily and William's letters. When Emily and William parted in the summer of 1861, he wrote that "I looked after you as long as I could see the carriage." My favorite was in Emily's September 3, 1861 letter to William. She wrote, "Dear Husband, . . . You told me to comb my hair ever time I thought of you. That is out of my power, for I would do nothing but comb it, for there is not one minute in the day but what I think of you."
The editors have done a good job in providing notes and good maps to accompany these letters which also include many other letters to other family members. Other Alabama regiments are mentioned besides the 18th Alabama most prominently the 25th Alabama Infantry.
With over 200 published Civil War diaries, reminiscences, and collections of letters in my personal library, I would put this work as one of my favorites. It made me see this tragic event in our history at the most basic, personal level.