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Battle Flag

In Memory
of
My Grandfather

ROBERT THOMAS "THOM" MICHELBERRY SIMMONS
September 15, 1836 ~ December 10, 1916
LIEUTENANT
FORTIETH ALABAMA INFANTRY REGIMENT
CONFEDERATE STATES ARMY

Armond C. Simmons

RTM SIMMONS FAMILY

Left to Right

1st Row

Mary Bustin - Grandmother Simmons - Estelle Simmons Bell - RTM Simmons - Marion - Sister - Ella (holding her child) - Hamp - Howell

2nd Row:

Erma - Mack - Beulah - Hennie - John Hamp (Howell?) Kelly

RTM/Mollie

                   40th Alabama Infantry Regiment

The 40th Alabama Infantry was organized in May 1862
at Mobile, with men raised in Choctaw, Colbert,
Covington, Mobile Morgan, Perry , Pickens, and Sumter
counties. It remained in Mobile until December when it
was moved to Vicksburg to take part in the operations
on Deer Creek. While there, it was brigaded with the
37th and 42nd Alabama, and 2nd Texas, under Gen'l J.
C. Moore.

Four companies were there transferred to Gen'l
Ector's Brigade, Gen'l Braxton Bragg's Army of
Tennessee and fought at Chickamauga. The other
companies of the 40th were part of the garrison of
Vicksburg, suffered severely, and were there captured.
The regiment was reunited near Mission Ridge and took
part in that battle and at Lookout Mountain, but with
light loss.

Having passed the winter at Dalton, GA, where Gen'l A.
Baker took command of the brigade, the 40th took part
in the campaign from there to Atlanta, with losses
especially heavy at New Hope. When the army marched
back to Tennessee, in company with the other regiments
of Baker's Brigade, the 40th was sent to Mobile and was
on garrison duty there for some months. In January 1865,
the regiment proceeded with the remainder of the army
to North Carolina and shared in the operations, fighting
at Bentonville with severe loss. Consolidated with the
19th and 46th, the 40th was shortly after surrendered at
Durham Station, NC, 26 April 1865.

Field and staff officers: Cols. Augustus A. Coleman
(Sumter; resigned); John H. Higley (Mobile; captured,
Vicksburg); Lt. Cols. John H. Higley (promoted); Thomas
Stone (Pickens; died in service); Ezekiel S. Gully
(Sumter); Majors Thomas Stone (promoted); Ezekiel S.
Gully (promoted); Elbert D. Willett (Pickens).; and
Adjutant Clarence H. Ellerbee (KIA, Bentonville).

Historical Resources:

Bibliography
Flag

ROBERT THOMAS MICHELBERRY SIMMONS LETTERS

The following letters (1-18) were written by Robert Thomas Michelberry Simmons to his wife, Mollie Boyd, during his service in the Army of the Confederate States of America: CSA letters:

1) 3 Nov 1863 - Atlanta, Georgia
2) 7 Nov 1863 - Lookout Mountain, Tennessee
2A) 7 Nov 1863 - Lookout Mountain, Tennessee
3) 15 Nov 1863 - Lookout Mountain, Tennessee
4) 17 May 1863 - On the Road
5) 18 May 1864 - Cassville, Georgia
6) 22 May 1864 - Etowak River
7) 10 Jul 1864 - Chattahoochee River, Georgia
8) 14 Jul 1864 - Picket line on Chattahoochee River
9) 2 Aug 1864 - In the line of battle-Sandtown road
10) 6 Aug 1864 - Line of battle near Sandtown road
11) 9 Aug 1864 - Line of battle near Atlanta, Georgia
11A(rr) 18 Aug 1864 - Line of battle Near Atlanta, Georgia
12) 26 Aug 1864 - Collmbus, Georgia
12A(rr) 9 Sep(?) 1864 - Camp 40th Ala Vols, Hollywood
12B(rr) ? Sep(?) 1864 - 13) 28 Oct 1864 - Camp 40th Ala Vols, Eastern Shore
14) 29 Dec 1864 - Spanish Fort - (to Katy)
15) No date, no location, probably a second page, but written after Christmas
16) 12 Feb 1865 - Selma, Alabama
17) 17 Mar 1865 - Livingston, Alabama
18) No location, no date, possibly a second page

Other letters:

19) 25 Nov 1897 - To Thom Simmons from son Mack
20) 17 Feb 1911 - To Thom Simnons from W C Dodson
21) 14 Nov 1911 - To Thom Simmons from W C Dodson

NOTE: Most letters/documents herein were copied from "THE ROBERT SIMMONS FAMILY",by Freddie Simmons Erickson, 1991. Freddie states, " I copied most of these letters from zerox copies of handwritten copies of the original letters. The spacing, paragraphing, etc, may be different, but letter content is same. Thom had problems getting paper to write on, light to see, and having letters mailed."

The time-worn and delicate originals of Thom's letters, copied for Freddie's book and included here, came from an old leather-strapped "chest" (of "mystique" to the ten kids).The chest occupied a "restricted" corner of the dining room in the home in which I lived; the home of Thom's son, Robert Kelly Simmons and Kelly's wife, Madoline, my parents, Complete, Mississippi;. As we kids got older, the "mystique" surrounding the old chest turned to a "reverence" of sorts for that which it held safe.

In 1999, I acquired 27(?)additional transcribed letters (RTM to Mollie)from the Alabama Department of Archives & History. Acquired recently (2003), transcribed copies of 5 additional letters in the possession of cousin Rhonda Raye.

Many of the official Confederate documents contained herein and in the book were provided as the reward of extensive research of National Archives by Andrew "Andy" Simmons, Thom's great-grandson.

The Simmons family will also appreciate the tremendous research efforts of Freddie Simmons Erickson in helping make this memorial possible. Also appreciated is the research efforts and contributions of Rhonda Raye, 2nd great-granddaughter of RTM Simmons and Buzzy Knowles, 2nd great-grandson towards construction of this memorial and the Simmons Family Tree.

ROBERT THOMAS MICHELBERRY SIMMONS LETTERS - CSA # 1

Atlanta Georgia

Nov 3rd 1863

Mrs M C Simnons

My Dear wife.

I will now endeavor to write to you again though we have not arrived at our journeys end yet. I wrote you when we were at Montgomery and directed the letter to Coatopa station. I hope you received it before you left Uncle George's. I thought when I wrote last I would not write any more until we got to Bragg's Army, but as we are detained so long on the road I have concluded to write a few lines this evening. (I wrote to Ina yesterday). We left Montgomery last Saturday night and got to West Point early Sunday morning. We stayed in West Point until last night and then started to this place (Atlanta)..we got here about two o'clock this morning and I suppose we will remain here until morning.

My dear we have been well blessed with health since we left Demopolis, though we have traveled most of the time in the night and I begin to feel much wearied from the loss of sleep. Well Mollie, I believe I shall stop writing for my pen is so bad I can't write. My dear, I will try and write some with my pencil . I had much rather talk with you, but I thank God for the privilege to write. I have no news of importance to write though it does me good to write enough to let you hear from me. We are getting along finely now, most of us eat at the Hotels whenever we stop at a place on the road, but we will soon be where we can't find anything to buy. I have heard that our Army is suffering greatly for food near Chattanooga . I expect we will have hard times after we leave Atlanta. But I do not despair yet for I know God can provide for us at all times and in all places. Well my darling you may think that times are hard there but they are worse here. Common geans is worth from fifteen to twenty five dollars per yard here. Shoes are worth from 30 to 75 dollars and boots are worth from 100 to 150 dollars per pair. Common uniform coats for Officers are worth from 3 to 5 hundred dollars. The taylors charge 200 dollars for making officers coats and the cloth found to their hands. Board is worth 10 dollars per day.

My dear I wrote to Uncle Ran to have a pair of boots made for me. I want number sixes high in the insteps. Don't sell my jacket for less than 20 dollars (that is if you have not sold it), I believe geans will be worth 50 dollars per yard in this state (if the war lasts long. My Dear I went to prayer meeting in West Point last Sabbath evening. I enjoyed meeting finely. Thank God that we can hear prayers some times, would to God I could be at home to pray with my own dear/Eatcy.(?) My dear I can't tell where I will be when you get this but I do trust that the Lord will be with me wherever I go.

Mollie when you see my precious little Willie kiss him for his poor absent father. God bless him, he is just 5 years old today I have been thinking of him all day. My dear you must remember me to our dear little motherless brothers & sisters (I mean your mother's children). Heaven knows I love them and sympathize with them. Eaty(?) remember me to Grandma & Etta. Yes give my love to all my friends.

Oh! how happy I would be to see this unholy and cruel war come to an end. God grant that the time may soon come when we all can return to our own homes and enjoy peace again (My dear if I never return home again don't grieve for me but pray to meet me in heaven. Oh! what would I give to kiss those sweet lips of yours. I am here but my heart is with you. I must bring my reckless letter to a close.

My dear Mollie you must write to me soon-direct your letters to Chattanooga and I will be apt to get them. Tell Dosh to write. My love her & Bettie L. I remain your own dear loving

Thorn (RTM Simmons)

P.S. Henry and all the boys are well. Bud was left at West Point with our baggage, he will overtake us tonight.

ROBERT THOMAS MICHELBERRY SIMMONS LETTERS - CSA #2

Lookout Mountain, Tennessee

Nov 7, 1863

Mrs Mary C Simmons

My Dear wife, we have got to Bragg's Army at last. We got to Chickamauga station about 2 o'clock on the 5th of Nov out here to take our position day before yesterday morning and got here yesterday. We are stationed at the foot of Lookout Mountain. We are held as a reserve though we have to do picket duty. We have had a hard time since got here. We have had to march through some very muddy swamps though we are doing tolerably well now. Only 3d will be accomplishing something of your acquaintances speck) Well my dear we are at the foot of the mountains but I never have been to the top (we have traveled 3 miles to get to the top of the mountain)..there is a little hill here by our camp that we go up on and see all over the town of Chattanooga. We can see more than a thousand Yankee tents at one sight. The Yankees could throw shells in our camps but they are afraid to do it for our Batterys on the Mountain turn loose on them, whenever they undertake to shell us, We have a very large Army here though I think Yankees have as many men as we have here. Some people think there will be a big Battle fought here soon (I think there will be several small Battles along the lines before we have the big fight. Our Batteries are shooting at the Y's from Lookout Mountain all the time nearly, though the Y's don't return the fire. We can see the Y's pickets down in the valley. We stand on the hill & see our pickets close to the Y's ...the pickets don't fire at each other often (sometimes they skirmish a little).

RTMS

CENTER>

ROBERT THOMAS MICHELBERRY SIMMONS LETTERS - CSA #2A

Lookout Mountain, Tennessee

Nov 7, 1863

Dear Mollie I have nothing interesting to write though I know you are allways glad to hear from me so I will write a few lines more to you I have just written a few lines with a pencil though I fear you cant read it. My dear I know you are uneasy about me. you must not be uneasy about me for we are doing as well as we could expect under the present circumstances: We have been blessed with health & I never saw the boys in finer spirits in my life (every one appears to be lively & full of fun) We came here to undergo hard ships and we expect nothing else so we all try to be content with our lot let it be good or bad. As for me I am willing to endure a great deal rather than submit to the will of our Enemy! this is the fourth letter that I have written to you since we left Demopolis. you must write to me often. Direct your letters to me at Chattanooga. My dear I will send my paroll to you in this letter, I don't want it with me. I have not heard from M. Dove yet his Regt is several miles from here. (on the right) I passed in sight of L Tiners Regt. but could not get the chance to stop and see him. my dear I must bring my letter to a close. My pen will not write at all. My precious wife you you must not forget to pray for me. May God bless you and all my friends is my sincere prayr. Give my love to all my friends dont let any person see this badly written letter. My dear dont sell your horse if you want to keep him for it will be impossible to get horses at any price in a few months. you can buy corn & feed him I am more than willing to buy corn for him. Nothing more, But remain your own dear husband --- Thom

ROBERT THOMAS MICHELBERRY SIMMONS LETTERS - CSA #3

Lookout Mountain, Tenn

Nov 15th 1863

Mrs Mary C Simmons

My dear Mollie

I have been anxious to write to you for several days but have been very busy most of the time, and when I was not too busy I felt too bad to write. More than half my mess have been sick for a week. John Dial had pneumonia and was sent to the Hospital several days ago; he was quite sick when he left. I have not heard front him since. I fear he will have a hard spell. George Clay, George Wiggins, William Davenport and Elick Mallard have all been having chills; they are all on the sick list now, but I think E. Mallard and George Wiggins will soon be able for duty again. I have been very unwell for a week myself, but I have not suffered my name to go on the sick list; though the Dr. has given me medicine. I feel somewhat better this morning than common. I hope my health is going to be better. My dear Mary, I do sincerely trust that this letter may find you enjoying good health. I have not heard from you since I left you at Demopolis. I am anxious, indeed, to hear from you. I trust I shall get a letter from you soon. Oh, what I would give to see a letter from you this day. M. Dove and me are together every day, he is here with me now. Lewis Tiner has spent two days with me. I see B. Stillwell every day. He and M. Dove mess together.

Well, Mollie, I have seen a good many of my friends since we came to this place, Our Regt is about four miles from here on the other side of the mountain; I am staying with the cooks and sick men. We can see the Yankees every days our pickets meet the Y's and talk with them every day. The pickets don't shoot at each others but the Y's shoot from their Battery and kill same of our men every now and then. There is a very large army here, and it is a difficult matter to feed them, but I think we ought to be willing to suffer same rather than be whipped by the enemy. We sometimes go four or five days without drawing any meats but we get plenty of bread and I will never grumble much as long as I can get bread enough. The Yanks are making great preparations for a battle here, and if we have to fight here any time this winter I don't care how soon, for I am anxious to leave this part of the country.

My dear, you must write soon and write often. Give my love to Grandma, Etta and all my friends. My love, you must always remember me in your prayers. I will close my letter as I have nothing more to write. Mollies be sure to have me a pair of boots made (let them cost what they may). I remain as usual, Your own affectionate husband

Thom

P.S. I don't expect to get my letter off before tomorrow. I shall try and write you once a week. Thom M. Dove sends his respects to you.

ROBERT THOMAS MICHELBERRY SIMMONS LETTERS - CSA #4

On the Road

May the 17 1864

My dear wife,

I am well but my feet are blistered and worn out from marching. We have been on the road for two days and nights. We are falling back. I don't know how far we will retreat. The Yankees are following close after us but I think we will give them a thrashing yet. The Yanks won't fight us a fair fight but they have so many men they keep flanking us without fighting much. We have been fighting for eleven days but we have to charge the Yanks to make them fight us and they fight tigers (?)

Our Regt has had several little fights within the last week, Our Regt charged the Yanks twice we run them about two miles Saturday evening and night overtook us and we had to stop. We charged them again Sunday evening run some of their pickets in, but when we got near their line of battle they killed our men so fast that we had to stop and retreat back. We had fifty two (52) men killed and wounded Sunday. I don't know how many we killed Saturday but our company lost one, our company had five wounded Sunday and nine killed. I was in the midst of the charges both days.

I never got hurt at all. Bud got here about midnight Saturday night. He was in the heat of the charge Sunday but never got hurt. John & the Capt are both in the Hospital they were not in the charges. We have several men in the hospital now. I think the Yanks must got our wounded men. I expect Capt Moore & John are in Montgomery at the hospital before this time. Well Mollie I can't write much now for I must lay dawn and sleep some. We have stopped to eat dinner and rest.

We will get to Ringston tonight or tomorrow and I reckon we will make a stand there and fight the Yanks again. Don't be uneasy about me I may get killed soon but if I do I hope my God will be with me. I saw Ed night before last he is well, he is marching on close to us.

Make Dove & Bennet Stillwell and Lewis Tiner are all along here close at us but every man has to stay with his own Regt to keep from being lost, there are about 40 or 50 thousand troops along the road and if we get out of sight we are lost.

Well my dear Mollie I will bring my letter to a close, you will have to be careful or you can not read this, Don't expose this shabby letter I have no paper. Just have to tear some leaves out of my daybook. I don't know when I can get to write again. Bud lost his nap sack and all his and my cloths(sic) and all the letters he had for the boys and so don't want any cloths now for I can't carry them with me. I have not put on clean cloths in about 12 days and I don't know when I ever will get to my cloths.

My cloths are with the wagon and it is several miles ahead of us. Give my love to every one of my friends. Tell them all to write, I will write you a long letter if I ever get the chance. My dear don't neglect to pray for me. Talk to Willie about me when you see him, try to get him to be a good boy. God bless you all is my prayer. Write every 4 or 5 days and let me hear all the news.

I remain your affectionate husband,

Thomas

ROBERT THOMAS MICHELBERRY SIMMONS LETTERS - CSA #5

My dear wife

We have stoped again and I will try and write a few lines to you. I am tolerably well but very much wearied from marching. All the boys here are well. John is in the Hospital some where and Jesse Wiggins is in the hospital also. Capt Moore has got well and came back to us again. I have no news of importence to write.

ROBERT THOMAS MICHELBERRY SIMMONS LETTERS - CSA # 6

Etowak River

May 22nd 1864

My dear Mollie-

I will make another attempt to write you. I commenced this letter on the 18th but was ordered into line of battle in a few minutes and did not get to finish it. I am well with the exception of a boil on one of my legs. I have had four very bad boils since I left home though I have never given up for one yet. I can hardly walk today but if we have to march I will try it. My dear this is a beautiful Sabbath day and I might enjoy myself if I were at hone with you.

But I must confess that I do not enjoy myself here. Oh, that this crewel & savage war would end and let all us poor wearied soldiers return home to our dear & beloved families and friends. Oh what I would give to see my lovely wife this day. May the Lord protect her is my most sincere desire, My dear I was sad to hear that your mouth and feet were no better. I do hope you are better before now. I received your letter dated on the 15th I was glad indeed to hear from you & you have no idea how so much good it does me to get a letter from you. I wish I could hear from you oftener. Well my dear I shall not say much about the war. We have fell about sixty miles from Dalton. We are on the Etawak River now. I don't know if we will fall back any farther or not. Capt Moore is well. John is in hospital. I have not heard from him in several days but he was not sick much when I did hear from him. I hope he will be back with us soon.

We have had some very hard fighting lately. I passed through it all without a scratch. I do thank God that He has blessed me so much. We have many hardships, trials and danger but if the Lord will just spare our lives I think we ought to be very thankful have seen a great many of my friends and relatives lately. L. Tiner is well Ed is well or he was day before yesterday (I saw him) the Lavender boys are well. Martan Hand got wounded in the fight last week.

My dear I would like to write to you oftener and more but we seldom stay long at the same place, we travel night and day just sleep a little now and then when ever we can. I hope I will get a chance to write you a good letter soon. I reckon you have heard about Bud loosing his napsack and all his and my cloths. I shall get some cloth from the government so you need not sew any thing for me. You must let me know if you need any money and I will try and get some and send to you. The officers can draw money if they want it but I don't want to draw mine while we are fighting. I have not seen Make Dove but I heard from him about three days ago, he well. I wrote to Dosh same time ago but I have had no letter from her. I don't get many letters now. You must tell me all the news about all the neighbors. My love to all enquiring friends tell my friends to write to me. I am always glad to get a letter from any of them.

My dear you must be sure to read and try & improve your education. When you go to read or write try and get off to yourself so you can study without being interupted. May God bless you and my little Willie-kiss him for me when you see him. Direct your letters to Lieut R.T.M. Simmons, 40th Regt,Ala Vols, Bakers Brigade, Army of Tennesee- Ga. If you direct your letter to the 40th Ala Army of Tennesee they will be sure to come. I am your own dear husband.

Thom R.T.M.Simnons

ROBERT THOMAS MICHELBERRY SIMMONS LETTERS - CSA # 7

Chattahoochee River, Ga

July 10 1864

My Dear Mollie

Yours of the 5th has reached me and found me well once. My jaw is better than it has been since I left home; all the loose pieces of bone are out and I am about ready to start to the field-was well enough to go yesterday but the Dr thought best for me not to until today. My gums are raw but don't pain me any. I have not eaten any hard food since I came to the hospital camps and I have fattened the fastest sort.

Well, Mollie, I have no news to write, I wrote you about two days ago, you want me to write long letters but I can not every time for it is difficult matter to get paper here. I write a great many letters. I received three this evening, one from Ma dated 28th June; she was not well, all the rest well. I wrote to Uncle George Torry today. I write a great many letters now. I get so many letters for the other boys, and I send them all back and write to their friends in order that they may know what has become of them. I get your letters regularly now. You complain of not having any news to write, anything that happens at home is news to me, so you have plenty of news to write to me. I have no news except war news and I am tired of it. The Yanks are shelling our troops rapidly today. Oh that I could have been at home while Uncle Lod and his wife were there. I am sorry to hear that Dosh baby was sick. Hope it will soon be well. Tell Dosh to write me, she might write me oftener. Tell Etta to write. Let me know whether your uncle Mack's things got home safe or not.

My dear, I want to know if you ever found my pocket book that had my furlough in it. If you have found it I want you send both of my furloughs to me in your next letter. I want to see them. I think I shall draw some money soon and if you need any, let me know. I have spent one hundred and twenty dollars since I came here beside what I brought with me. I can't chew anything very hard, and I spend my money for vegetables and something to eat. I have bought one pair of pants from the Government though I have not paid them yet. I am compelled to buy a hat soon if I live. It will cost me about eighty or ninety dollars; will need some shoes soon, but will try and get them from the Government. Write soon.

From your own husband

Thom

P.S. Send me a sample of your new dress. Tell Bet not to take the big head this time on acct of her new dress.

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