A Guide to the John M. Holcomb Papers, 1862-1863
John M. Holcomb [also Holcombe] (1821-1863) was born in South Carolina. He married Caroline Amanda Blanton and lived with her in Texas, possibly in Llano County. On March 31, 1862 he enlisted in Allen’s Regiment of the 17th Texas Volunteer Infantry at Camp Terry, Texas. In September of that year he was stationed at a camp near Tyler, Texas. From there he moved east into Arkansas, writing from Camp Nelson, Brownsville (Arkansas), Austin (Arkansas), Little Rock and Camp Pine Bluff, where he was taken ill with progressive pulmonary tuberculosis in January, 1863. He was unable to perform his duties from that time until his discharge from the army on April 25, 1863. In June he wrote to his wife, complaining of continued ill health and asking her to send someone with “a hack long enough for me to lye down in ... I pant to git home [sic].” John Holcomb died in Arkansas in 1863 and was buried in an unknown place.
Fourteen letters from John Holcomb to his wife Amanda recount his experiences in the army at various camps and towns in east Texas and Arkansas, and the progress of his illness. Eleven letters from William S. Fowler and Charles Keton to Amanda Holcomb concern John’s health, events in Arkansas, as well as family and business affairs in Texas. The collection includes documents relating to John Holcomb’s military career, a forensic analysis of the medical statement on his discharge certificate, and an 1861 manuscript draft of six verses to “Dixie Land.”
The John M. Holcomb Papers, the Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin
Detailed Description of the Papers