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Published Civil War archive of seven (7) letters from Confederate States of America (CSA) Colonel John Amenas Fite (1832-1925), 7th Tennessee Infantry, Company B, captured at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863, while he was a prisoner of war at Johnson's Island, Ohio, dated May 20, 1864, to January 29, 1865. The autographed letters signed (ALS) are all one page and written to various family members, including his brother Judge Samuel McClary Fite (1816-1875). 1st item: ALS from John A. Fite, Johnson's Island, OH, to his sister Kate, dated September 8, 1864. He writes of significant changes that have occurred in the prison, stating "…formerly we could write each day now we write our letter on only Monday and Thursday…we have not been restricted in the number we receive. Our living is also materially changed. We are not prohibbited[sic] from receiving provisions from [anyone] living within the U.S. Military lines and cannot purchase from sutler's store. In short we are [dependent] upon Government rations…". 2nd-3rd items: Two (2) ALS, one-page handwritten letter from John A. Fite, Johnson's Island, OH, to his brother Samuel McClary Fite, dated October 16 and December 21, 1864. His October 16 letter addresses his disappointment in the lack of letters from family members and "…[dispairs] of getting out [of prison] during the war…". He requests for books and socks to be sent to him and provides specific instructions on how they should be packaged. He also remarks upon how much weight he has lost since first coming to Johnson's Island. John's December 21 letter again references his desire for receiving books stating that any are fine to send, as long as they "…do not in any way refer to the military or Naval service [etc.]…". He also mentions that "…I am now convinced I am here for good, only knows how long, perhaps till Gabriel shall blow may be only for life…". 3rd-7th items: Four (4) ALS from John A. Fite, Johnson's Island, OH, including two (2) to his sister(s), dated May 20, and August 27, 1864, and two (2) to his brother(s), dated October 27, 1864, and January 29, 1865. The letters primarily address correspondence that he has received from family members, or lack thereof, and his health. His letter dated May 20 does state that "…Capt Allen…[has] gone to Richmond on exchange…". Note: This archival material has been documented by the Department of State of Tennessee Library and Archives. (see: https://sos-tn-gov-files.tnsosfiles.com/forms/FITE-JAMES_FAMILY_PAPERS_1811st-1879.pdf). Note: His letters were also published in "Colonel John A. Fite's Letters From Prison" by Raymond D. White, Tennessee Historical Quarterly, Vol. 32, No. 2, Summer 1973, pp. 140-147 (8 pages). Biography: Col. John A. Fite, Judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit, Tennessee, was born in 1832, in De Kalb County, a son of Jacob and Matilda (Baird) Fite. The father, of German origin, was born in North Carolina, and with his father came to Davidson County, then Smith County, and finally settled in De Kalb County, where he passed his days. Jacob married there and was a merchant at Alexandria as well as a farmer. In 1846 he moved to near Lebanon and died at the age of eighty-three. The mother, born in Hickman County, Tenn., died in 1876. Four of their eleven children were Dorcas R., widow of Leonard Scott; John A.; Dr. J. G. of Lebanon, and Edwin C. John went to Wilson County when he was fourteen years old and was educated in the university at Lebanon, and at Irving College. He began studying law at twenty-two, and in 1855 graduated from the law department of Cumberland University, and immediately began practice with his brother, Samuel, at Carthage. His brother was elected circuit judge in 1858, and he formed a partnership with Hon. W. D. De Witt, now at Chattanooga. In 1861 John enlisted in Company A, Seventh Tennessee Regiment, Moore's Guards, and was elected captain and fought in Seven Pines; promoted major in 1862; he was in Mechanicsville (where he had two ribs broken), Chancellorsville, Cedar Run (where he received a wound in the leg), Fredericksburg and Gettysburg (where he was captured and taken to Fort McHenry), thence to Fort Delaware, thence to Johnson's Island, where he was retained for nineteen months, and paroled in February 1865, but remained in North Carolina. After the war, he resumed practice with his brother, and in 1871 was appointed clerk and master of chancery court holding it for over six years. In 1878 he and H. M. Hale became partners, and in 1882 he was elected to the State Legislature to fill an unexpired term and elected to his present position in 1886. December 29, 1866, he married Mary M., daughter of Leroy H. and Eliza Mitchell, and was born in Smith County in 1841. Their two children are Bettie and Mattie. He was a Master Mason and he and Mrs. Fite were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. For years he was one of the leading lawyers of Smith County bar.
PROVENANCE: The Estate of Raymond White, Nashville, Tennessee.
CONDITION: All items in overall good, legible condition with light toning, few areas of dampstaining, minor tears and areas of loss to edges of letters.