Henry H. Dedrick Civil War Papers
52nd Virginia Infantry
VMI Archives Manuscript #0332

Civil War Manuscripts Top Level 

Correspondence (32 items, 1861-1865)of Henry H. Dedrick. Bulk consists of letters to and from his wife, Mary E.A. Dedrick ("Lizza"; "Lissa"), written while he was serving as a Private in the Confederate Army. Subjects include camp life, regimental activities and personal news, hardships endured by civilians.

Biographical Note
Henry H. Dedrick, was born in Rockingham Co., Virginia, 1836 May 17, and was a farmer in that county until the beginning of the war. He enlisted in the 52nd Virginia Infantry at Waynesboro, Virginia, July 15, 1861. The following is a summary of his service record: Present 11/1861-4/1862; reenlisted 5/1/1862; wounded in action at Cross Keys, 6/8/1862 and Gaines Mill, 6/27/1862; AWOL 7/18/1862-4/19/1863; fined all pay 7/18/1862-8/1/1863; present 7/3-27/1863; AWOL 7/27-10/1863; deserted to the enemy at Clarksburg, WVA on 10/24/1863, took oath and was sent north; physicial description- 5' 8", dark complexion, blue eyes, dark hair. After the war, Dedrick returned to Virginia and was a farmer in Augusta County until his death there on November 10, 1921. He is buried in Sherando Methodist Church Cemetery. 

Full text letters from the VMI Archives collection 

Letters from Henry to his wife, Mary E. A. Dedrick ("Lizza"; "Lissa") 

  • 1861 Sept 29-30.   Highland Co., Va. Topics: devastating rain storm; plenty to eat--beef, bacon, flour, sugar, coffee, rice; marching to "top of Alleghany mountain".
  • 1861 Oct 4. Pocahontas, Co., Va. Topics: talks of nearby action at Greenbrier River & Cheat Mountain; mentions health of several friends in Company; no money to send--wife should sell barley or calf.
  • 1861 Oct 20. Badly damaged & difficult to read; appears to contain only personal/family references. On reverse is a letter from Hiram Coyner to his brother and sister, sent via Mrs. Dedrick.
  • 1861 Nov 23. Pocahontas County, Va. Topics: winter quarters (cabin); cold weather; hard to get provisions; sending money. On reverse is a short note from Mary about sending food to Henry via the Grass family.
  • 1861 Dec 9. Alleghany Mountain, Camp TipTop, Pocahontas Co. Va. Topics: has had mumps; scouting party finds Union soldiers; Mentions men going AWOL.
  • 1862 Jan 9 & 12. Camp Alleghany TipTop. Topics: illness in camp; AWOL friends out of guard house; Dedrick is on a work detail making clapboards (for building stable; see letter of Jan 22); received food sent by wife.
  • 1862 Jan 22. Camp Alleghany. Topics: Complains about men back home who are taking advantage of those in army; concerned about crops (rye & corn) at home; building stables and cabins in camp; Dr. John S. Meyers elected 2nd Lieut.; sends info about many fellow soldiers; health of regiment is good; chance of furloughs.
  • 1862 Feb 2. Camp Alleghany. Topics: making clapboards for stables; glad not to have picket or guard duty; personal/family topics.
  • 1862 March 8. Camp Alleghany. Topics: family news; complains about high prices that he must pay for clothing.
  • 1862 April 7. Camp Shenandoah, August Co., Va. Topics: Regiment has been marching, now within 24 1/2 miles of Staunton; complains about cold & snow; family business--rent on land.
  • 1862 June 8. "Camp two miles below Port Republic." Topics: action in Valley on the days prior to Battle of Port Republic.
  • 1862 July 5. Camp near James River 27 miles below Richmond. Bulk of letter is illegible.
  • 1863 May 10 & 11. To wife and father-in-law. "Spottsylvania Co., Va. Camp near Hamilton's Crossing." Topics: wounding and death of Gen. Stonewall Jackson; needs food; has toothache; William Offlighter and Hiram Coyner AWOL--went to Richmond.
  • 1863 May 25. Camp near Hamilton's Crossing. Topics: has been sick; Hiram Coyner and William Offlighter returned from Richmond prison & are now in guard house; rations increased; wants father-in-law to visit camp & bring tobacco.
  • 1863 June 9. "Camp near Culpepper Courthouse on the Springville Road." Topics: "marching verry hard," feet & legs sore; can hear cannon in distance; has been courtmartialed & is waiting for sentence. Last part of letter is illegible.
  • 1863 June 14. "Camp near Winchester five miles below." Topics: describes action near Winchester; many Union prisoners taken.
  • ca. 1863 June (not dated by Dedrick). Fragment. Topics: Action near Winchester.
  • 1863 July 11 (fragment). Topics: Joseph Grass killed at Gettysburg.
  • undated fragment. Personal news.

Letters from Mary to Henry 

  • 1861 July 26, "My very dear husband." Family news; religion, worries about Henry's lack of faith.
  • 1861 Oct 28. "Dear husband." Family news; will send gloves she has knitted; worried about his lack of faith, hopes he will never "swere," sends satchel with apples, tobacco, ink, other items.
  • 1861 Dec 17. "Dear Henry." worried about Henry, wants to know if he is wounded; has Henry received items she sent?; several neighbor children have "died with the sore throat"; wants Henry to have faith in God;
  • 1861 Dec 24. "Dear husband." Christmas will be lonely; family news- son Willie is fine and "fat as a little pig" religion--"we are going to hold a sacrimental meeting at the church next Sunday week."
  • 1862 Feb 1. "Dear Henry." Family news; discusses disposition of their rye crop; discusses difficulty in getting food, high prices; hard times getting wood; son Willie is fine, will be one year old in 9 days.
  • 1862 April 15. Willie has been sick but is better; misses Henry very much and worries about soldiers suffering in cold; hopes that he "may never volunteer again...I want you to be in peace at home again"; family news; received money Henry sent.
  • 1862 July 11. "My verry Dear husband." Very glad to get a letter from him; Willie has been sick, but is better; mentions soldiers home sick--Bill Glass is at home "very sick with the typhoid pneumonia"; sends blessing.
  • 1863 June [26?]. "Dear husband." family news; bulk illegible.
  • undated fragment. " Dear husband"

Other Correspondence 

  • 1863 July 23. Hester Hyden to her cousin Henry Dedrick. Henry's wife Mary safely through childbirth; has 10 lb son; did not require doctor; mother & baby doing well; talks about naming child after his two grandfathers unless Henry objects.
  • 1865 April 29, to "My dear absent husband." Author unknown; does not appear to match Mary's handwriting or style.
  • undated fragment. author unknown.
  • no year, June 12. Jacob Dedrick to brother & sister. General news.

For more information about the 52nd Virginia, see the following book: 

Driver, Robert J.
52nd Virginia Infantry 
Lynchburg, Va. : H.E. Howard, c1986