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Addition to William Banks Papers

Five letters, 1863-1864 and undated, added to the South Caroliniana Library's holdings of the papers of Presbyterian minister and Confederate chaplain William Banks (1814-1875) provide further glimpses of his role as chaplain to the Fourth South Carolina Cavalry. In the earliest of his letters, 23 July [18]63, Banks, writing to his wife at their home at Hazelwood, Chester District, tells of having arrived in camp at McPhersonville only to find two-thirds of the troops absent on account of the Yankee shelling of Charleston. Two days later, 25 July 1863, wife Mary penned a letter discussing agricultural prospects and expressing a sense of foreboding with regard to the outcome of the war--"I feel very much depressed about the war. I fear the yankees will overrun our whole country--God in his mercy preserve us!"

A detailed letter, written 24 August 1863 from McPhersonville, discusses Banks's ministerial duties, preaching, administering Holy Communion, and examining candidates for admission to the church, and notes--"I have received a commission from Dr. J.L. Wilson to act as a missionary for the Assembly's Committee. And since that a few days ago came my commission as Chaplain. I have not yet accepted it nor taken the oath." The same letter expresses concern over how his children's educational expenses were to be met and intimates--"If I stay here...I will be obliged to buy a horse of some sort and that will take nearly all the money I will earn in six months." "I do not often need a horse to ride," the letter continues. "But some times I need one very much....And here in the cavalry it is rather out of order as well as uncomfortable for the chaplain to be trudging on foot, all over these camps...while the humblest soldier is dashing by on his horse."

The last dated letter, 30 July [1864], written by Banks while a patient at Huguenot Springs Hospital, Va., seeks his wife's advice as to whether or not he should resign his commission as chaplain once he returned home.

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