Letter written by Private John A. Morris of Company B, 126th OH Infantry, to friends, from Maryland Heights near Harper’s Ferry. Morris writes how he longs for peace so that he and others may return home. The previous day, General Joseph Hooker ordered out two regiments and some artillery. General William H. French is currently in command at Harper’s Ferry. Morris heard that another division was ordered to Antietam, and he supposes there will be news of something happening in Virginia or Pennsylvania. He writes that the Confederates have been firing off their guns from a distance for fear of the Union’s heavy artillery. Morris addresses a rumor that his company was taken prisoner and killed. He thinks the war will come to a close within six months.
Meriland Hights [Maryland Heights]
near Harper’s Ferry, Va June 28/ 63
This morning while sitting here in my tent my mind runs back to some past times when peace was in our land, and we enjoying ourselves as civilized people. But now it is different. A war is waging in our land. But we must look and hope for the future. hope that peace may once more be restored to our once happy land, and that we soldiers may all be permitted to see our once happy homes and friends therein. I am longing for that time to come. Then if I should live, can sit around the old family circle and have something better to eat, and hope right smart better cooks than we have here. I, for my part, am getting
tired of cooking. Things is on the stir. On yesterday evening 2 regiments and some artillery was ordered out, we do not know where. General Jos. Hooker was here on yesterday, and gave such orders. He is not here now. French has taken command of the forces at Harper’s Ferry, and it constitutes the part of the right wing of Hooker’s army & is considered or kept as strong reinforcement.
This morning I understood that one division was ordered to go to the old Antietam ground for some purpose. I think against this week rolls round you will hear of something being done in Va. or Penn. The Rebs are supposed to be fortifying the old Antietam battleground and South Mountain. Our cavalry pitches in some Rebs every day. Yesterday they caught 50-odd, and some wagons, ammunition, whiskey, etc. I think this raid is going to put an end to this war. Those Rebs we fetched from Winchester said it had to go one way or the other inside of 2 months. I understand they are getting up into
the north a good piece. If they come into Ohio, you must kill or capture every one of them. It don’t look like as if they had as much sense as a brick, the way they are doing now. Our pickets yesterday could see some of them riding around at a distance, and last night could hear them firing off their guns. But they did not come very close upon us, for they are afraid of some things [heavy artillery] we have fixed upon Md. Heights, and other places around. I reckon you have heard of Capt. W. B. Kirk leaving his company. If he is at home I want you to tell me, tell what the people think of him around there. If I was there I could talk about something a little with you. But don’t say anything about it now. Pap, I have heard that you heard our regiment was all taken prisoners and cut to pieces. This was only a part of Co. I, and some stragglers taken. I don’t know of any one in our regiment who got killed. It will be in the Chronicle, if so. We are going to have
inspection this evening by Gen. French. He is going to review his army in marching time. The boys are all able well, with the exception of Geo. Harris. He is not very well. My health is pretty good now. Well, mother, how are you getting along? I hope pretty well, for I know when you have not got letters from me regular, and things being in such an uproar you would be uneasy, if not almost sick. Rest easy and take things that may, for I think things will come to a close in 6 months time. The Rebs is going to get one of the biggest whippings ever they got. Well, Callie, how are you getting along? Having a good time, I reckon. I would like mighty well to take drive with you today, but I can’t do it, I guess. Tell Vorhees and George I send my love to them and I want to see them the worst kind of a way. I want to see all of you. I want you to write. Tell me all the news about the talk of our new governor, and conscripts, etc., how you are getting along with your work, harvest, & etc. Give my love to all and yourselves, especially to Aunt Ann. Direct to Harpers Ferry, Va., Md. Hights., Co. B, 126th Regt. O.V.I, as ever, your son, John A. Morris.
-Page 1, Upside down at top-
I have not heard from you for a long time; never since the retreat. Write soon. I want to hear badly
John A. Morris enlisted at age 19 on August 11, 1862 in Company B of the 126th OH Volunteer Infantry. He was wounded at Spotsylvania, VA, May 12, 1864, and was mustered out of the service May 18, 1865. As a part of Major General William H. French’s 8th Army Corps, the 126th OH was ordered to Washington, D.C. on July 1, 1863, then to Frederick, MD, and it participated in the pursuit of Lee’s army July 5th -23rd.