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USGenWeb Archives for Alabama


David Ballenger Letters

The following collection of amazing letters written by David Ballenger during the Civil War are being posted on this site with the kind permission of his great-grandson, Mr. Doug Hargett.  They may not be reproduced, copied or published without his permission. 

Jump to the David Ballenger Collection

Background on David Ballenger (about 1831 SC - 1909 SC)

I am in the process of doing some research on David Ballenger and his family for Doug Hargett and will post additional information as I learn it.

According to Doug, David was the son of Joshua and Mary Davis Ballenger from Greenville County, South Carolina.  Joshua was the son of John and Alsie Leachman Ballenger and they were from Spartanburg County, South Carolina.  There are a number of families found living in and around Lamar County, Alabama that were also from these areas in South Carolina.

Through census records thus far, I have been able to determine that Joshua and Mary Davis Ballenger were the parents of 8 children:  Elizabeth, Tinsley b. 1817 SC, Elijah, Margaret b. 1824-25 SC, James, Alberry, David abt. 1831 - 1909, and John 1832 - 1833.  David married Nancy Foster and they lived in Greenville County, South Carolina, but he had cousins living in this area.

Doug has related that before the Civil War David, who was a school teacher, went to Texas to earn money.  After the War broke out, on his way back home to South Carolina, he stopped off in Fayette County, Alabama, where Isaac Henry Sanders, Captain 26th Ala Inf. CSA Co. D, signed him up for service.

David served with Isaac Henry Sanders in this unit until he resigned his commission and returned home to South Carolina, where he joined up with a unit there.  There is also a letter in the David Ballenger collection from Isaac Henry Sanders (webmaster's great-great-great grandfather) to David Ballenger, which is how I learned of the existence of the collection to begin with.

I feel that the inclusion of these letters on this website is one of the most exciting pieces of history that we have to offer not only because of the incredible detail that David Ballenger uses to describe what is happening during the battles of the Civil War, but also because he mentions fellow soldiers that are from this area.  Thank you once again to Mr. Doug Hargett for kindly granting permission for these letters to be shared on this site!  Allison Saxman, Webmaster

The David Ballenger Collection (transcription in process, started 2/25/2004)

"Just before the outbreak of the Civil War, my father, Capt. David Ballenger, rode a horse-back from South Carolina to Texas, being on the road 60 days.  Some days he would ride all day without seeing a man.  When he arrived in Texas, he visited some relatives, taught school a while, and then saddled his horse and started back to South Carolina.  When he arrived in Alabama, he stopped to visit some kins people, and while there he volunteer [sic] in the 26th Alabama Reginmet [sic].  From this time on you find him at various places, staying in the War untill [sic] the surrender.  He had been home on furlough, and was some where in N. C. when the end came.

J. P. Ballenger"

  • December 5, 1858, Kingston, Ga. to Miss M. Ballenger (Dear Sister).

  • December 19, 1861, Head Quarters, Camp of Instruction, Tuscumbia, Alabama from David Ballenger to his mother, Mrs. Mary Ballenger.  Names mentioned:  Colonel William R. Smith, Cousins John Ballenger, Jasper Ballenger and R. C. Rector. posted 2/25/2004

  • December, 1861, Camp of Instruction, to Colonel William R. Smith, Commanding Post, from Captain Isaac H. Sanders.  Names mentioned:  L. S. Bobo. posted 2/26/2004

  • April 26, 1862, Yorktown, Virginia letter to David Ballenger from Captain Isaac Sanders.  posted 2/25/2004

  • August 23, 1862, Camp near Hanover Station, Va., from David Ballenger to his wife, Nancy Foster Ballenger.  Names mentioned:  Colonel William R. Smith, Colonel Oneill, Captain I. H. Sanders, Brother Alberry Ballenger, Lt. R. C. Rector, Lieutenant Taylor.  posted 2/28/2004

  • September 7, 1862, Camp near Frederick, Md., to My Dear Mother (Mary Ballenger.

  • October 4, 1862, Camp Bunker Hill, Va., to his wife, Nancy Foster Ballenger.  Names mentioned:  brother Alberry, brother Tinsley, R. C. Rector.

  • October 24, 1862, Confederate States of America, Camps near Bunker Hill, Va.  from David Ballenger to his wife, Nancy Foster Ballenger.  Names mentioned:  Brigadier General Rhode, Major D. H. Hill, General T. J. Jackson, Alberry Ballenger.

  • November 4, 1862, Middletown, Virginia, to My dear Mother, Sisters and Brothers.  Names mentioned:  brother Alberry, R. C. Rector, D. Hook, W. McDaniel, R. J. Stewart, Esq., Sister Peggy, John Tinsley and Elijah (his brothers).

  • November 10, 1862, Middletown, Virginia, to his wife, Nancy Foster Ballenger.  Names mentioned:  Nancy's brother, Perry Foster, R. C. Rector.

  • December 20, 1862, Camps near Fredericksburg, Va., to "My Dear Sister" (not sure which one). 

  • December 23, 1862, Camps near Fredericksburg, Va., from David Ballenger to his wife, Nancy Foster Ballenger.  Names mentioned:  Perry Foster (Nancy's brother), Peggie Ballenger (David's sister, Margaret "Peggie").

  • January 3, 1863, Camp near Grace Church, Caroline County, Va., to "My dear Brother" (not sure which one).  Names mentioned:  Brother Tinsley Ballenger, D. H. Hill, Sallie, N. G. Rector, Mrs. Rector.

  • January 5, 1863, Camp near Grace Church, Va., to "My Dear Brother" (don't know which one).  Names Mentioned:  General R. E. Lee, brother Alberry Ballenger, Dr. W. H. Foster, son of Garland Foster, brothers Tinsley and Elijah Ballenger.

  • January 10, 1863, Camps near Grace Church, Carolina County, Virginia, to his wife, Nancy Ballenger.  Names mentioned:  Dave, L. McMakin and J. Thompson, Ann, Mother, Elizabeth, Peggie (his siblings?).

  • January 24, 1863, Camps near Grace Church, Carolina County, Va., to his wife, Nancy Ballenger.  Names mentioned:  Nancy's brother Perry Foster, William Ballenger, Lieutenant Treadway.

  • February 8, 1863, Camp Ante, Carolina Co., Va., to his wife, Nancy Ballenger.  Names mentioned:  Alberry Ballenger,

  • March 1, 1863, Camp Santee, Carolina Co., Va., to his mother, Mary Ballenger. 

  • March 7, 1863, Camp Santee, Carolina Co., Va., from David Ballenger to his wife, Nancy Foster Ballenger.  Places mentioned:  Battles of Chancellorsville, Rappahanock River.

  • March 22, 1863, Camp Santee, Carolina Co., Va., to his wife, Nancy Foster Ballenger.  Names mentioned:  brother Tinsley and Elizabeth, Nancy's brother Perry Foster, Penningtons, Mr. Columbus Cunningham, J. Bruce, D. Crain, Mr. Ponder and his son George.

  • March 30, 1863, Camp Santee, Carolina Co., Va., Second Army Corps, D. H. Hill's Div., Rhode's Brigade, 26th Ala. Regt., to his mother, Mary Ballenger.  Names mentioned:  Gen. T. J. Jackson, Gen. R. E. Lee, Jeff Davis, James Sedgely, Uncle Billy Ballenger, Sister Elizabeth, brother John, tyke Dave Ballenger (maybe a son of John & Elizabeth?).

  • April 14, 1863, Camp Santee, Carolina Co., Va., Army of Northern Virginia, to "My Dear Brother (not sure which one).  Names mentioned:  wife Nancy, Brothers Tinsley and John, Caroline, little Sallie Ballenger.

  • April 17, 1863, Camp Santee, Carolina Co., Va, Army of Northern Virginia, to "My Dear Sister" from David Ballenger.  Names mentioned:  Billy Ballenger, brothers John, Alberry, Tinsley and Elijah Ballenger, Lieutenant Gen. Jackson.

  • May 8, 1863, Camp Santee, Carolina Co., Va., 2nd Army Corp., Army of Northern Va., from David Ballenger to his mother, Mary Davis Ballenger.  Names mentioned:  General Hooker (Commander of the Northern Army),

  • May 13, 1863, Camp Santee, Carolina Co., Va., Army of Northern Virginia, to "My Dear Brother" from David Ballenger.  Names mentioned:  General Lee, General Hooker, Chancellorsville, Lieutenant General T. J. Jackson, Brother John Ballenger, Brother Tinsley Ballenger (this must be written to one of his two other brothers, Elijah or Alberry).

  • May 13, 1863, Camp Santee, Carolina Co., Va., Army of Northern Virginia, from David Ballenger to his wife, Nancy Foster Ballenger.  Names/places mentioned:  Rappahannock River, General T. J. Jackson, 38th North Carolina Regiment, Tinsley Ballenger.

  • July 18, 1863, Camps near Martinsburg, Va., from David Ballenger to his mother, Mary Davis Ballenger.  Names/places mentioned:  Gettysburg, Pa., Lt. Gen. R. L. Ewell, Lt. Gen. A. P. Hill, Gen. Lee, brother Alberry Ballenger, R. C. Rector, Fayette Co., AL, Spartanburg County, SC.

  • not dated but written after 3 July 1863 (he mentions battles on that day), to "My Dear Brother" from David Ballenger.  Names/places mentioned:  Potomac River, Alabama and Spartanburg County, SC.

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