Letter – John Beach, 27 December 1861

2015.002.071

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Letter written by Private John D. Beach of Company G, 55th IL Infantry, to his mother, from the Benton Barracks in St. Louis, MO. Beach describes the regiment’s Christmas dinner and that they received 5 revolving rifles. He writes that he received a letter from a woman named Hannah, and requests a photograph of her. He expects to receive his monthly wages in the middle of January, and requests that his mother reply to him soon, before they are ordered to move again.


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Decem 27

Benton Barracks

Dear Mother I now take my pen in hand to write a few lines to you to let you know that I received your letter just a few minutes ago and had one from Hannah the same time we had an Oyster Supper Christmas the Capt treated us yesterday we went down to the arsenal and received our arms we got rifle muskets we was to have five shooters or revolving rifles the boys say we have

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revolving rifles they warrant them revolve a man every time he shoots them they are five shooters they will shoot five time if we load them that many we will have them exchange I expect when I got your letter J Bennett came and says who is your letter from I told him from Hannah I let him see it and made him believe I did not get but one and he did not know the difference I do not show him my letters that likeness

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will be safe if she will send it I shall think a great deal of it I will send mine up in this letter to you and you give it to she can keep it at our house if she does not want to take it home but I want you to send hers just as quick as you get this I must close now I expect we will get pay off about the 15 of January I hope so I must write to Hannah I guess though I will wait untill she get up to your house she said she would be there New Years at supper I would

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like to be there to tell mary Hinco to write I will make things all right I will warrent no one to see any thing she sends me and they will not know as I know any thing about her I must close it is getting dark I will write more next time write just as quick as you get this for I do not know how long we will stay here no more my love to Mary Hinco I am pretty well rather white yet from you son

J Beach

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I saw plenty of secesh down at the arsenal they are dirty looking

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I never saw a pretty girl in St Louis yet, they are scarce


John D. Beach from LaSalle, IL enlisted in Company G, of the 55th IL Infantry on the August 23, 1861 as a private. He was promoted to corporal and re-enlisted on April 1, 1864. After being temporarily transferred to Battery A of the 1st IL Light Artillery during the Atlanta Campaign, he rejoined the 55th IL and was mustered out at Little Rock, AR on June 14, 1865.

Letter – John Beach, 14 October 1863

2015.002.057

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Letter written by Corporal John D. Beach of Company G, 55th IL Volunteer Infantry, to his mother, from Lagrange, Tennessee. Beach writes that his health is improving, but several of his comrades are ill. He describes how the Confederates nearly took General William T. Sherman and his men prisoner at Collierville. The “Rebs” fired at Sherman’s rail cars. The 13th Regulars, vacated the train to fight, and suffered a few casualties. Sherman is now in Corinth, and his regiment has just received orders to march there. Beach mentions that he sent his violin home when he was in Memphis.


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Lagrange Tenn Oct 14th 1863

Dear Mother

    I now seat myself on the ground to write a few lines to you to let you know that I am getting better I have not had the ague for about two weaks. Frank Bennett is verry sick He has some kind of fever Charles West is also sick but not as sick as Frank B. Calvin Songster is sick with the ague These three are sick in the hospital. I have not heard of Charles Patterson since we left him at Vicksburg on one of the hospital boats I expect he is at Memphis or St. Louis but I do not know whare he is. Fred Smith is

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not well The regt. left Lagrange last Sunday Fred went along. They went down towards Holly Springs That is 25 miles due south of here We went from here to Holly Springs last year When we came through here the Rebs came near takeing Genl Sherman and some more generals prisoners at Collierville That is between here and Memphis The Rebs fired at them and filled the cars full of holes One car had a six pound ball put through it Genl Shermans old regt was along with him that is the 13 Regulars They got off and gave them a fight We lost 11 killed and 40 wounded and one of General Shermans staff officers General Sherman is now

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in Corinth George Hawk passed through here day before yesterday and he has my thing in Corinth with him The regt has not come in yet We have just received orders to get ready to go to Corinth We will go to day I guess The chaplain is here and he brought one car load of things with him, but not a thing from Deer Park. The things are all at Cairo They was not put on the boat and so they were left But if we stay in Corinth aney length of time we will get them because they will come to Memphis the next time thare is a Sanitary boat comes down I have written three letters since I arrived in Memphis. I sent my violin

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home while I was in Memphis I directed it to Mary S. Williams, Ottawa La Salle Co Ill. I paid for it; one dollar and a quarter I hope our things will come through You tell Franks mother that he is verry sick I suppose if he knew it he would not like to have me let her know it They are in the hospital at Lagrange. I guess I am the onley one that has written home I expect the ague a gain in a few days But I may not have it I have not done any duty in the regt for over one year I do not do any duty now I guess our regt has been in a skirmish while they are gone I must close on account of room Charles West has just come in the tent He has written home that he is well, but he will have the same [sickness] more.

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Direct to J. D. Beach Co G. 55 Regt Ill Vol Corinth Miss


John D. Beach, from Lasalle, IL, enrolled August 23, 1861 in Co. G of the 55th IL Volunteer Infantry. He was promoted to corporal, and re-enrolled April 12, 1864, soon thereafter being assigned to Battery A, 1st IL Light Artillery of the 2nd Division, 15th Army Corps. Later transferred back to the 55th Illinois. Beach was mustered out at Little Rock, AR on June 14, 1865