What would you give up for your country?
Would you sleep a thousand nights on the ground? Not in a nice tent, but on the dirt, sometimes in the mud, freezing in winter...sweat soaked in summer...always underfed. Would you give up everything you own? Your freedom? Your life?
In 1861, a dashing Fort Bend planter set his mind to raising a cavalry regiment to go fight the Yankees. He was Benjamin Franklin Terry, and the regiment he formed was the 8th Texas Cavalry, but nobody called them that. They were Terry's Texas Rangers from the start.
Those who signed on as privates were the finest young men of Texas society. Several had Ivy League diplomas. They were plantation owners, doctors, business men and lawyers...the ones with the most to lose and to fight for. And fight they did...in over two hundred engagements.
Three among them were the Hills of Hill's Prairie (near Bastrop). Brothers John and Bob (a surgeon) along with cousin Dionysius.
Would you put your fortune in the hands of your teenage sister?
That's what the Hill boys did when they rode to war.
They left behind a widowed mother too sick to run their large plantation. Those duties fell to seventeen year-old Mary Scott Hill (called "Scott" by her brothers.) By good fortune, and ample education, Mary Hill was ready. Her brothers placed their full trust in her, and took her into their confidence.
'Scott' didn't need things sugar-coated and their letters to her are filled with detail and candor. She cherished and preserved every letter until her days came to an end in 1930, nearly seventy years after the first was written.
They touch on every aspect of the War. They tell you the details of combat, the misery of camp life, being captured by the Yankees (more than once,) views on politics, how slaves were treated by the Yankees, dreams of life after the war. The Hills had opinions on everything under the sun and wrote home about them.
You don't get this stuff in the official reports...
If you want to read battle details, there's plenty here. The Hills were at Shiloh, Murfreesboro, Fort Pillow, Chattanooga, and Chickamauga. They took part in the Knoxville and Atlanta Campaigns. You get the stories straight from of these young Texans who did the fighting.
The Hill letters are being offered as a limited edition hardcover book with the jacket personalized with your name (or that of your recipient.) As has become a tradition for Copano Bay Press, the edition is 254 hand-numbered copies, one for each county in Texas. Also, as with all our limited edition books, there is a lifetime return policy. We will always buy it back at the issue price if you ever decide you don't want it anymore.
If you cherish the heritage of the American fighting man this book deserves a place in your heart as well as on your shelf. The letters inside are testament that things worth fighting for endure. When you order yours, get a copy for your son or daughter too. The next generation needs to know these things.
Some quotes from the letters:
Nothing we can say about what is in these letters can do a better job of convincing you they are worth your time than some quotes from the letters themselves. Please read the quotes below and consider adding it to your library, or making it a gift to someone who will cherish and preserve it the way Mary Scott Hill preserved the original letters.
"It would be very much [better] for Texas to fight her battles in Georgia than to have to fight them upon the soil of Texas...the farther we fight them from our homes the better."
"Old Abe is calling frantically for 100,000 more men to defend the state from invasion and becomes perfectly furious when he does not get them. May the Lord of Hosts grant Genrl Lee success, then we will carry this war which has been waged with such hatred home to those miserable deluded wretches and make them feel the hardships of modern warfare."
"Pray for us and for an early peace...give my love to all inquiring friends and tell all the negroes howdy."
"I am told that nearly half the Texas Brigade are barefooted, yet the Texas troops are the most cheerful and most hopeful of any troops in the field."
"Sherman commenced his advance through Georgia. The first place we had any fighting with him was at Macon. We took about eighty prisoners and killed twenty or thirty. I got two prisoners, a good overcoat and one hundred dollars in green-back."
"Well, sister, the war is ended and we are. The future is in the hands of God who has extended his kindness and protecting power over us during the last four years that Death has held its high carnival over our land. Let us not distrust him."
"My love to all. Kiss the children for me."
Now it is the time to order.