William George Cabanis, Comapny K, 38th VA Infantry

Bivouc, near Suffolk Virginia

April 26th, 1863


As I am somewhat at leisure this morning I will write you all a few lines to let you know that I am well, & brother Jim [see note below] is also well. We are now in the woods on picket Our Brigade is on the extreme right of our battle line. Our Regt. is detached some mile and a half from the main part of the brigade guarding a point in a swamp through which the enemy attempted to pass (on the evening of the 23rd ) with a few skirmishers while a company of the 57th was on picket at this point, but they did not succeed in getting through. Our men killed one of the Yankees & I understand wounded several, I saw the dead one. There was heavy skirmishing on the whole line on the even of the 23rd. Our Regt was not engaged in it but were under the fire of Artillery which was quite heavy. The 14th Va. Regt. which is in our Brigade was in the skirmishing and had two Captains mortally wounded. We did not move to this point until that night when we were sent here to reinforce the 57th which had been detached from the other part of the brigade to guard the right together with several other Regiments. The enemy seemed to make a general move that evening for the purpose of finding out our strength & the position of our batteries and fortifications which we have been constructing since we came down here. I think our men drove them back at every point though it was more a fight between the skirmishers or pickets and an artillery fight. The enemy did not make anything by the move. Last week the Yankees captured five pieces of artillery & about 150 men on the left of the line which is occupied by Genl Hoods division. I think the artillery belonged to our division. I do not believe that it is the intention of Gen. Longstreet to attack Suffolk and I don’t think the Yankees are bold enough to attack us in position, consequently there will be no general engagement here for some time to come. Martin is back in the rear with the wagons he has been unwell but is getting about well?

W. G. Cabaniss

WILLIAM GEORGE CABANISS (1843?1926) Enlisted on 6/2/1861 at Cascade as a Lieutenant. On 6/2/1861 he was commissioned into “K” Co. VA 38th Infantry. He was listed as: * Wounded in action at Seven Pines, VA (In arm) * Admitted 6/3/1862 Chimborazo Hospl, Richmond, VA * Returned 7/5/1862 * Wounded 8/25/1864 Bermuda Hundred, VA (In jaw) * Admitted 9/9/1864 Richmond, VA Hospl. Promotions: * Capt 8/3/1864]

JIM is listed as:
* Furlough 7/9/1861 (place not stated) (Home, sick with fever)
* Returned 8/15/1861 (place not stated) (Estimated day)
* Wounded 7/3/1863 Gettysburg, PA
* Admitted 7/20/1863 Danville, VA Hospl (Wounds)
* Returned 10/8/1863 (place not stated)
* Admitted 3/22/1865 Stuart Hospl, Richmond, VA (With acute bronchitis)


  1. William George Cabaniss was my great-grandfather. To whom was this letter addressed? The photo copy only shows the word Mrs. on the visible part of the envelope. Capt. Cabaniss’s wife was named Mary but he did not marry until 1869. His mother was named Mary, but it is unlikely that he would have been calling his mother “Mary.” Brother Jim’s wife was not named Mary.

    Edith C. Poindexter

    1. I have a copy of a couple of letters written by your great grandfather that were transcribed. My neighbor got a manilla envelope with his letters as well as some from Wm. C. Ivery, James W. Moore, and Fletcher Moore. Do those names mean anything to you? I have no idea why my neighbor has them.

      1. Hello, I just happened across your reply. I am a distant cousin of the writer, Edith Cabaniss Poindexter and I am a Cabaniss also. Would you be able to email me a copy of the letters that you are talking about? I do a lot of research on Ancestry.com and also came across this article. Captain Cabaniss was my great grandfather. Any help you may give me on this would be greatly appreciated.
        Aggie C. Reynolds – Danville, VA

      2. I have copies of the letters, not the originals. My neighbor Adrian Strickland still has them. You might be able to talk him out of the originals, unless he’s already found a place for them.

        My husband died last year, and my house is a mess of paperwork, but I know I’ve seen them somewhere lately. I will look for them again, and if I find them I’ll send them to you. Danville? Is that any where near Boone, NC (where I am)? I’m not familiar with VA, but the state line isn’t far and Danville sounds familiar.

        Send me your address and I will mail them to you. I will be glad to see them go to someone with a connection to them.


      3. Thanks so very much. I would love to have them. My address is: Aggie Rey olds, 1173 Deercrest Lane, Danville, Va 24541. Again, many thanks!!

      4. I am still going thru all the papers and I will send them to you when I find them.

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