Letter – William Wall, 11 July 1864


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Letter written by Surgeon William B. Wall of the 33rd MS Infantry, to his wife, from Atlanta, GA. Wall begins by reporting the deaths of several of his comrades followed by the well-being of several of their acquaintances and family members. He remarks on the high price of goods in the area, and hopes that his family is getting enough to eat, though if they aren’t he is unsure of where they could get more money. Despite the low pay and rations, Wall remarks that the army is still in good spirits. They believe Confederate General Joe Johnston will whip Union General William T. Sherman. He writes that all the men are “getting miserably tired of the long siege.” Wall remarks that he loves his country, but he loves his wife and children more. He is afraid if the Union wins, their lands and homes will be taken away and given to strangers.

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Atlanta Ga July 11th 1864

My Dear Wife

I have not written You now for several days. There has not been any news to write. Thos M Murphy and A J Turpin each members of Comp “I” 33rd Miss were killed on the 4th July A G Beal & M M Gist Comp “I” have died at Hospt: from wounds recvd May 31st. I was at the Regt this morning, every thing perfectly quiet I dont know precisely where the enemy is or where or when he will make his next demonstration. Lt Brown is well & was well pleased as he had just gotten a long letter from his wife Our command is in much better health than it was a few weeks ago All of your acquaintance are well I will inform you of every one who may be so unfortunate as to be killed or wounded. I have not seen Pryor yet & will probably not until this campaign is over. I wrote you that I had gotten a note from him in reply to mine that he was well. I shall inquire after him & if he is hurt let you know. You cant tell how anxious I get to hear from you, but I am not disposed to complain, for I fell certain it is the fault of the mails & not yours – the last letter I had from

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you was written the 13th & 15th June nearly a month ago at that time the most of you were more or less sick, Mary had just been taken down worse – I would like to know how she had gotten. I advise you to take her to Grenada if she didnt improve as you proposed to do. If she is not well or nearly so, by the time you get this you had better take her to Hughs – I am always anxious for your health could I feel satisfied that you were well many an unhappy moment would be escaped. My health is most excellent. Visit Aunt Nan & Give her my kindest regards – write me how her health is getting – Henry Johnson has heard from Cousin Addie through a Mr Allen just from there, he will write to her or rather has written. I could not see the gentleman, he is a disabled soldier. the family were all well, heard nothing from Sallie – Had a letter from Col Johnson a few days ago, his family were all well. Said Aunt Laura was always uneasy about Henry, her health better than it used to be every thing is high here we pay $2.50 pound for bacon at the commissaries – for Mutton in the country from $2.00 to 2.50 pound – Irish potatoes $20.00 to $25.00 bushel other articles in the same ratio – I hope you will make enough to eat & wear at home; if you don’t I can’t see where

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you will get money to buy with – The government pays eighty cents pound for beef – Officers are issued one ration you know for which they are not charged but that is not enough for him & a negro & then we are compelled to have some vegetables occasionally & they are so miserably high it takes a large portion of our pay to keep up. The army is still in good spirits, the men think that Gen Johnston will fight Sherman after a while & that he will whip him whenever he does, & so do I – we are all getting miserably tired of the long siege (as it may be called) though entirely willing to let Gen Johnston say when I expect to see you sometime during the Summer the time looks long, but we must be patient. Give my love to Mrs Oliver. Is Miss Bettie in good health now? Kind regards to all acquaintances. Much love to Laura & Mamie kiss them for me. did they get the little letters I sent them? Howdy & Respects to the Servants, tell them I wish them all well. Tell Same & Henry they must let me hear from their crop & stock – I think this will be the last year of the war & I know you hope it may be – Our Separation seems to me almost like a little life time. I sigh & long for the times to come when we may again be permited to live together again. I feel bound to do my country service as long as it is invaded by a relentless foe & your health & condition will permit. I love my country

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though I love you & my children more. You must try & be reconciled at our separation. Our enemys -at least some of them- are even now proposing to dispossess us of all we have & give our homes & lands to strangers – This of course can never be done. Well I have just finished my supper. it was first rate. I had corn bread, bacon, irish potatoes, ocre [okra] & irish potato soup& genuine coffee I think I hear you laugh at the idea of soup for supper – you may laugh if you like, it was good any how – we have a way of our own in the army so far as cooking wha tlittle we have – the army is getting plenty of meat & bread We had a nice rain yesterday. the weather is pretty warm – We have just gotten this news from Va, which we regard as pretty good – Love & a thousand kisses to the children – I will stop for the present Remember me in all your prayers – Your ever devoted husband.

W B Wall

Letter – John Daniels, 13 August 1863


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Letter written by Private John S. Daniels of Company B, 2nd NH Volunteer Infantry, to his siblings, from the camp at Point Lookout, MD. Daniels tells his siblings that he has time to write due to the current foul weather. A terrible thunderstorm came up the night before and blew over several tents. Daniels asks how the draft is faring in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and wonders if any of his family members have joined. He says that he has plenty of rations, and describes the food he has been eating recently. He also describes shooting “Grays” at Gettysburg, comparing it to shooting ducks. Daniels mentions that he will receive his monthly wages soon.

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Camp of 2nd N.H. St. Mary’s Co.

Point Lookout Md. Aug 13th 63

Dear Brother and Sister

As it is rainy, and I havent much to do I thought I would write you a few lines and let you know I am alive and about as cross as they make them.

Here I am in the land of milk and Honey, without a cent of money, every think a plenty, and pockets all empty only one old handkerchief an old jack knife and an old wallet with Mt in all the partings. but never mind. if I dont have it I wont spend it. for they wont trust the and with a Pint of Whiskey out of their sight. but I can fool them once in

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a while. make them believe I am a big mans son, or some big Generals waiter and then they will trust me, and I guess they will mistrust me one of these days if I milk their cows as much as I have since I came here but they are most all Secesh here and I dont know as there is any hurt getting their milk is there?

We had one of the awfulest thunder showers I ever dreamed of last night it Hailed and the wind blew and such thunder and lightning I never saw or heard. down came tents and away went things that were in them. the old Drs. tent blew over and he got as wet as a drowned rat. wernt I glad? some lay and hung onto their tents to hold them up, and some let them go and lay and took it. but mine is lik the wise mans house the wind and storm dont affect it.

Well Frank how is the draft going on in Mass and N.H. have they drafted in N.H. yet and who are the lucky ones I know that are coming? dont I hope it will be some of my

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Cousins! I wish I could pick the men from Hopkinton wouldnt I make some of the secesh start?

Well! I dont know as I have much news to write now. for it is only a few days since I wrote to you. My health is better than it was a week ago. I have got so I can eat a good share of my rations. if I can have plenty of [???] and milk to go with them. I went the other day and got about 4 Qts of damsons, and I go round and beg sugar to sweeten them, and it make very good eating. or would if I had some of Marms Butter, and some Pumpkin Pie to top off with—————— I heard from George a few days ago. he wrote me Father had a sore hand and couldnt work. have you heard any thing of it? I hope it wont be sore for long for it is a bad time to have sore hands now.

How is Tyler getting along now? did he go Trouting while he was in N.H. and did he shoot any Stripers while he was there. he aught to have been out at Gettysburg, and he could have had some Grays to shoot at. I had a

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good chance to try my skill there. got so I could fetch one nearly every time. I dont think I wasted as many shots as I have before now on a gray [duck] at Home.

I want you or Tyler to send me a box of Maple Sugar any where from 25 to 50 lbs I would send home but you can get it cheaper and better in Boston Market than they can there, and they have it all packed ready to send you might mail it over a little and mark on it Keep dry. and send it by express send a bill of it and what you pay per pound Express &c and I will send you the pay for it as soon as we are paid off. they say we are going to be paid next week. if we aint we will the first of Sept and then we will get four months pay.

Direct to John S. Daniels

Co. B 2nd N.H. Vols

Martins Brigade Washington D.C.

Point Lookout, MD

Love to all, write soon and remember your Brother, (write when you send the Box


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I will send you a shell or two that I picked up when I were out on picket would send you more if they were [dentures?]

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When you write home tell them I am well and shall write before long if I can get any paper and stamps. I sent the last stamp I had today but guess I can get one to send this, and I dont want to write any more till I get some answers.

John S. Daniels, age 21, from Hopkinton, NH, enlisted on August 9, 1862 at Hopkinton as a private in Company B of the 2nd NH Infantry. He was wounded on June 3, 1864 at Cold Harbor, VA, and discharged at Concord, NH on May 17, 1865. Later Daniels became a member of G.A.R. Post 120, Lowell, MA. He died March 12, 1910.

Letter – W.H. Mann, 1 September 1861


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Letter written by civilian W. H. Mann of Athol, Massachusetts, to Joseph W. Luce of Charlotte Center, NY. Mann writes that farming is usually be a successful venture, but business is at a stand-still due to the war. Unemployment rates are high, and wages are low. He mentions that support for the Union is high. He has heard a rumor that the Confederates were advancing to Washington D.C., and mentions thousands of troops coming up the Potomac and from Manassas Junction. In a later section dated September 3rd, Mann writes about two Confederate forts that were captured in North Carolina. He thinks that the U.S. Government will ultimately prevail, as “the South was the first aggressor.”

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Sept 1st 1861

Friend Joseph,

I once before got pen and paper in order to answer your letter but for some reason got called away and have let it go untill now

You enquire about writing wheather it would be a successful business here now or rather the ensuing winter At any other time I think there would be a fair prospect but business at this time is very near at a a stand still The war has knocked every thing wrong end fore-most at present This vicinity is more of a manufacturing than farming country and consequently is more affected Thousands of people are out of employment and wages are less than 1/2 as high as they were 2 or 3 years ago There is very little except strong union feeling in this neighborhood over sixty able bodied men have gone from Athol to the aid of their country money is shelled out like water Here as in most places north

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all parties go in for the union News came last night that the rebels are going were advancing on Washington and that a great battle was at hand it may be so & may not 180000 were coming up the Potomac & 120000 coming by land from Manassas Junction

Sept 3d evening

you probable get the war news as soon as we so I will turn to other subjects the latest I have heard was the capture of 2 new secession forts in N Carolina by a fleet of ours

I hope this rebelion will be put down in a manner that it will stay down a spell It is going to be a hard struggle but with good management I think the right side will conquer (i.e.) the U.S. Government Evry man of reason will can see that the South were the first egressors Any government that is a government ought to try to sustain its self but enough about the war.

We have not heard from Uncle H for a long time and should really like to

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Hay came in very good this season all crops look well wheat not so good as last year We have had some warm weather but the season has been cool generaly I have built a house & barn such as they are within a little over a year

I have got a yok of stags 3 cows 2 calves 2 old hogs & 4 pigs and over 30 fowls I hardly know wheather I am doing well or not the times are so hard but I am in hopes they will soften before long

Beef is selling here for $5 per cut to average it Pork 3 cts corn southern & western 60 per bush (lowest ever known) meal has been $1.15 per cwt in Athol

Tell all to write and I will try and be more prompt in future I write so little I do not feel much like writing

Give my best respects to all and tell them a line would be very acceptable and I hope more promptly replyed to

JW Luce Yours truly W H Mann

Letter – William Morse, 18 November 1861


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Letter written by Private William H. Morse of Company C, 3rd MI Infantry, to his wife Lucy, from Fort Lyon, VA. Morse is glad to hear from his wife, and claims he will write her as often as she wishes. He says they are about to sign their pay rolls, and should get their monthly wages soon. He writes that camp is quite dull, and he has not seen much fighting in Virginia. He expects most of the winter fighting will take place in South Carolina. He asks about his son, and updates Lucy on family friends. Morse describes his dinner, remarking on the price and quality of food. He concludes by asking for photographs of his parents. A note on the side mentions that Johnson Whitney will likely be his company’s captain.

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For Lyon Virginia Nov 18th/61

Dearest Wife

I just read your kind letter and was very glad to hear from you it gives me great pleasure to have you write so often I should think you would get tired of reading my poor letters but as you dont I will write as often as you wish, your letter found me in good health as ever and I hope this will find you the same we are signing the pay rolls today I think we will get our pay within two or three days at the outside and and then I will send you some money

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I have no news to write this time times are quite dull here this fall I am afraid I shall not see much more fighting in the state of old Virginia the most of the fighting this winter will be done in South Carolina by the appearance of things at present it is quite cold here now there is a cold wind here all the time we wear our overcoats all the time we are quite comfortable you need not worry about me we have got our winter tents and got a stove in it so that things look quite like home tell father not to try to scare me about my dear baby I could

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not live without him take good care of the dear little lamb but I need not caution you for I know you will ben and george [?]arrot are well one of the boys that came from lowell is getting his papers to come home I think I will send all of my old letters home by him to you as I have no good place to keep them and I would not have one of them distroyed for anything if I send them I want you to take good care of them for we will look them over together when I come back wont we I saw Julia the other day she is well

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I will now resume writing I had to stop writing to go and eat my supper we had Bread and molasses and tea for supper I some times buy half a pound of Butter I dont buy much for it is so dear Butter is worth 25 cents a pound here and very poor at that it is firkin Butter and you could smell it forty rods milk is ten cents a quart and half water at that the folks around here try to cheat the soldiers out of all their money all they make out of me they are welcome to a good sised apple is worth five cents and every thing else in protion proportion tell father not to forget to send his and mothers likeness for I make great calculation on it I shall have to stop writing for this is all the paper I have got excuse poor writing and mistakes write soon

good by

To [???] Dear ones Forever Thine


PS Kiss Bub for me

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When you write tell me wether Joseph has left the rapids or not

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We have not got a captain for our company yet we expect Johnson Whitney will be our Captain

William H. Morse, age 24, enlisted with Company C of the 3rd MI Infantry at Grand Rapids, MI on June 10, 1861. He was wounded by a gunshot to the knee at the Battle of Fair Oaks, VA on May 31, 1862. The regiment lost 30 men killed, 124 wounded, and 1 missing. He was sent to a hospital in Philadelphia, PA, but later died there on August 8, 1862.

Letter – Zebulon Ryder, 24 December 1861

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Letter written by Private Zebulon P. Ryder of Company I, 11th PA Cavalry, to his father while in camp near Suffolk, VA. Ryder states he is having an easy time but is unsure of how long that will last. During his last scout, his regiment captured three Rebel pickets. He wishes to be home for Christmas dinner, and would like photographs of his father and his aunt. He would be willing to get his own photograph taken if his father sends him money. On the 15th of January, he is set to receive six month’s pay. Ryder is proud of his spending habits; he only buys writing paper and tobacco from the sutler. He concludes with a description of the Secesh Drill, and makes fun of the locals and how they say “we’uns.”

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Camp Suffolk Dec 24/62

Dear Farther

I reaceved your letter to night Dated the 20th and i was very glad to here from you and to here that you and all the folks at home whare well This leaves me very well at presant and I hope it may find you the same I am haveing prety easy times of it out here but i do not no how long it will last, Just Came home of a scout we captured 3 of the Rebel Picket 1 of them belonged to the 2d Georga Cavelry I supose you have herd of them before and the other 2 belong to some Infantry Regament i do not no from what state thay whare from, I thought that Arch Brower went home long ago or i would have writen to him, I went down to see Fread Driscol the day before I went out on a scout and i found him very sick but

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the Doctor said that he would soon get over it, I would like very much to be home to get my Christmas Diner for i supose you will have something good, you said that you was a going to send me your likeness I wish you would for i would like to have it very much and my aunts also if you send me on some money i will get mine takeing as the man that takes them came here last thursday, I only wished we would get paid off and then i would get 3 or 4 takeing but i would Rather wait now untill the 15th of January and then i will get 6 months pay which will be 75 Dollars, and i will have 5 of them to send home to you as i only gave 10 dollars of it to the sutler and you can see that i do not spend so much money as i use to do for that is only 2 dollars a month and i only spent that for writing paper

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and tobaco dont you

Reckon that is Right Smart for me My Mother sent for a lock of my hair i would send it to her but it is so short that it is impossible to cut it but i must stop for tonight and Bid you good Bye

from your Son

Zebulon Ryder

11 PA Cav

This is a specimen of the Secesh Drill

Gentlemen of North Carolina I came down to drill you a little Atention North Carolinians 2 strings to the Right Right Smart get halt hind Rank a little Closter get turn around get & Get meens March, Two of our Boys that was takeing prisoner got home last week

Tell Frank to write and Aunt also

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Zebulon Powell Ryder

Company I 11th Pa Cavelry

give my love to Aunt Uncle and Cousands Brothers and Sisters

Right Smart I Recon

What dose you all Come down here to weens for

Weens if what thay us

Zebulon P. Ryder was born in New York City. He enlisted in Company I of the 11th Pennsylvania Cavalry on August 3, 1862 at around 16 or 17 years of age. He was first assigned to duty in Suffolk, Va. with his company, and survived the war, being discharged May 16, 1865. At some point he moved west to Tennessee, married, and worked as a farmer. He died February 26, 1909 of pneumonia in Buena Vista, TN.

Another letter by Zebulon Ryder, dating from 3 August 1862, can be found at Spared Shared. Be sure to check them it as well!

Letter – Zebulon Ryder, 21 September 1862


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Letter written by Private Zebulon P. Ryder, Company I, 11th PA Cavalry, while he was in Suffolk, VA. The first half is addressed to Ryder’s grandmother. He tells her how happy he was to hear from her, despite her downhearted outlook on his time away at war. He is having a good time, with plenty of food, drink, and clothing. He did not receive the money she sent him and requests that she not send any more, for he is planning on sending his next paycheck home. Though the weather is cold in Brooklyn, Ryder describes how warm it is in Suffolk. He ends with a fond memory of picking blackberries with his grandmother.

The second half is addressed to his sister Zora. He tells Zora how much he likes soldiering, and how he has plenty of apples and peaches that he wishes he could send her.

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Suffolk Sept 21/62

Dear Granmother

I received your letter last night with my mothers and you dont no how glad i was to here from you as it is the first time i had a leter from you since i have bin in the servace but i was sorry to here you talk so as you did for you must be down hearted now you must not get in such low sperits as it is all foolishness for you to talk about you not seeing me again because you wont die this 20 years yet and as for me having hard times out it is not so as i have a jolly good time of it and i fare first rate plenty to eat drink and plenty of cloths to whare so what more could i want besides i have got a good soft Board to lay on in my tent, you said you sent me leters with money in them if you did i never got them and if i did i would not wan the money as i have got plenty and the next pay i am a going to send home it will be 52 dollars 4 months pay and i supose i will get it in 2 or three weeks and you can save it for me you said that if i wanted stocking or mits you would send them on to me you talk as though it was coald wether in Brooklyn but if it is it is warm enough out here as we have

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to go in our shirt sleaves every day and never use our Blankets at night, how is all the folks in farming dale a geting along i hope thare all well you must give my love to aunt Paty wen you write and also aunt Fanny and you must write to aunt Patty and ask her if Smith Bayles is in farmingdale as i want to write to him if he is thare but i must stop writing as i have got to go and water my horse so i must bid you good Bye for the presant from your Grandson



I often think of the good times i used to have picking Black Beries and the time you lived to eastmans


Suffolk Sept 21 1862

Sister Zora i thought i would write to you wile i had time and tell you how i am a geting a long and how i like soldgering i am haveing a nice time out here and i get plenty of apples and peaches and i wish i could send you some of them, i hope you are a good girl and go to school and learn your lessons and if i can get anything to send to you i will send it. you must give my love to all the little girls you no and kiss them for me

from your Brother Zebu

Zebulon P. Ryder was born in New York City. He enlisted in Company I of the 11th Pennsylvania Cavalry on August 3, 1862 at around 16 or 17 years of age. He was first assigned to duty in Suffolk, Va. with his company, and survived the war, being discharged May 16, 1865. At some point he moved west to Tennessee, married, and worked as a farmer. He died February 26, 1909 of pneumonia in Buena Vista, TN.

Another letter by Zebulon Ryder, dating from 3 August 1862, can be found at Spared Shared. Be sure to check them it as well!

Letter – Anthony Burton, 24 January 1862


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Letter written by 1st Lieut. Anthony B. Burton of the 5th Independent OH Battery (Hickenlooper’s), to his foster father Z. B. Coffin, from the headquarters in Jefferson City, MO. Burton writes Coffin that his regiment has just been paid, and includes a breakdown of his wages. Though he is happy with the pay, there are also expenses incurred being a lieutenant, and mentions several charges he needs to pay. Burton describes the paymaster, Major Will Cumback, who was a Congressman and shares stories of his time in Congress. Burton writes that everyone is in good spirits after their recent good luck streak.

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Hd. Qrs. Jefferson City Mo.

Friday afternoon Jany 24/62

Mr. Coffin

Dear Sir

That welcome gentleman, the Paymaster is now paying us off. I have just received my “pile” $285.56 for two months service up to Jany 1st. The amount is counted up as follows

Pay for two months 106.66

4 Rations (30cts) per day, for 61 days 73.20

Commutation of Forage for 2 Horses 32.00

Use & Risk of 1 Horse at 40cts per day 24.40

Pay for Servant at $13 per mo. 26.00

Allowance for Clothes for Servant 5.00

1 Ration per day for Servant, for 61 days 18.30


This looks like big pay but I find it most confoundedly expensive being a Lieut. I have my horse to pay for this time, &c. &c.

I herewith send you $100. – which

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please pass to my credit I wish you to charge me with the $25 Andy borrowed of you, and he will settle with me. Also, charge me with the whole cost of the mess-chest. Andy and I have arranged it, for him to pay for the chest, and me to pay the Express charges, and when we return home the chest will, of course, fall to him. How do our accounts stand, after charging me with the $30. – which I suppose you have sent me before this?

The same Paymaster paid us this time as before – Major Cumback. We invited him up to dinner at Bakers as before and sent and got old Secesh Dixon’s carriage to bring him up again, this time taking a team of our, own horses however. The Major is quite a wit, and tells many

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funny stories of his experiences in Congress. Strange to say though he has been a Congressman, he has never tasted a drop of liquor in his life. Good for him, say I. He says he used to get in some pretty tight places sometimes, amid the universal drinking at the Capital. He told us of a party at President Pierce’s once where everyone in the room including the ladies, got pretty tolerably “funny,” except himself. I might think he was a little boozy himself, on the occasion, and though every body else so, as tipsy persons sometimes do, but he doesn’t look like a man that was ever addicted to ardent spirits. Some people might call him large-featured, for he has a large nose, a large mouth and an “awful” large Moustache,

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but I think he is the best-looking man that I am in the habit of seeing, out here. At any rate, I am always the gladdest to see him. Long may he wave, and often may he get around where we are.

The boys received the full $26.- without deduction this time. Corporals $28.- Sergeants $34.- Artificers (6) 30.-

They are all in high spirits at our continued streak of good luck. Guns, horses, and Pay; all within a week! “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood &c &c” Maybe we are on that tide, who knows? There is a better feeling throughout the camp than I have ever seen before. The boys are all in good spirits – expect some of them will come into camp tonight with bad spirits in them. Poor joke that, Don’t laugh. Love to all. Believe me

Yours ever affectionately A.B. Burton

Anthony B. Burton was an accountant from Cincinnati, OH. He enlisted as a private in the 2nd OH Volunteer Infantry in April, 1861. During his 3 month term he fought in the Battle of 1st Bull Run. After his discharge in August, he joined the 5th OH Battery (Hickenlooper’s) as a junior 1st Lieutenant. He was presented by his friends in Cincinnati with a non-regulation Cavalry Officer’s sword (2015.001.015) just before his departure to Jefferson City, MO. He served in MO until March 7, 1862 when the battery was sent to Pittsburg Landing, TN and was present at the opening of the Battle of Shiloh. Burton’s horse was shot from under him and around 3 P.M. he was shot in the left knee and carried back to the landing. Captain Hickenlooper found him aboard a steamboat where Burton refused to have his leg amputated, saying he’d rather die with his leg than live without it. Burton recovered and rejoined his battery in November, 1862. He commanded the battery during the fighting at Vicksburg but eventually resigned in March 1864 due to his wound. Burton returned to work as an accountant. He continued to live with his foster father Z.B. Coffin at Newport, KY utnil his death January 30, 1898.

Letter – William Hooper, 24 August 1864


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Letter written by Private William E. Hooper of Battery K, 4th US Artillery, to his uncle, dated August 24th, 1864, from the Battleground of Deep Bottom. Hooper writes that he is in Battery K, though he belongs to the 10th MA Battery. He says that his battery suffered heavily at the Battle of Deep Bottom. He mentions the wages he receives, and the amount he will get when the war ends, if he doesn’t “expire on the battlefield.” Hooper’s regiment will soon begin marching to Petersburg again, and he writes that the 5th Corps has cut the railroad to Richmond. Hooper is adamant that he does not want peace if it comes at the price of southern independence, he would rather the Union remain intact at any cost. He is confident William T. Sherman will get Atlanta, and Grant will get Petersburg. He mentions seeing both Grant and General George Meade frequently.

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Battery K 4 U.S. Artillery

Aug. 24th deep bottom on the James river

Dear Uncle

Tis with much pleasure that I improve these few moments to write you. Again I am in the war. I enlisted the 2th of last January My health is good, I have been through every battle during Grants summer campaign, I am in Battery K the 4 U.S. artillery but belong to the 10th Mass. Battery, this branch of service I like much. we wer all through the wilderness

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and Spotsylvania fights also at Coal [Cold] Harbor, and so for in front of Petersburg, I am in the Old 2th Corps. the Artillery Brigade we have now jut came out of the battle at deep bottom at this place my Battery suffered heavly, but we drove the enemy, and captured 4 Cannon and 2 morters beside a lot of prisoners.

Well Uncle. the war looks somewhat dark on our side yet, but success is shure in time Petersburg must go up, and it shurely will then Richmond is ours Have patience with you and we will do the same in the field. Patience and

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perserverance only issues success in any department of study, and such we are trying to do in our wholly [holy] cause. I hear that Grant father is dead. He died at Aunt Marrys did he not. wer you down at his burial. The folks are all as well as Usual at home Emily and Charles are married. Charles is in Philadelphia a nurse in a Gen. Hospital. His wife is also there. He was married in Baltimore. Emily lives in Lynn, Mass. She is married to a shoe dealer. Lucinia is in Portsmouth at work on her sewing machine. and James and Georgia are at

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home. William is in the Army, and here expect to stay for the next two years, and 4 months. When I came out I received $25.00 with 16 dollars per month. and one hundred more bounty at the close of the war, or expiration of my time. if it dont expire on the Battlefield. Where is Albert. Give him my best respects and tell him to come out and help us take Richmond. I send my love to all of my cousins. and hope that I shall live to see them all again. Did you get much of a drought with

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you this summer. The weather has been very hot here during august but the season has been pretty cool, We are now just again to commence our march back to Petersburg. The 5th Corps has cut the Railroad running to Richmond, but I am doubtful if they can hold it. we continue shelling the Enemy in front all the time. They are pretty saucy yet and want to be let alone, and want their Independence badly but I dont see it, and hope the Nation will fight them to the last man

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and all go up together if any goes up at all. Peace we can have by withdrawing our armies from the suthern territories, but shall we do this, and give up the best part of our Union. No, but fetch every man into the field, and conquer or all perish together. Sherman is doing well at Atlanta, and will have the place as shure as US. Grant got Vicksburg – That Grant is here among us now, I see him about everyday. and where do you suppose he is seen the most. It is where the Cannon and musketry is thundering the loudest and he is always smoking

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Gen meade I see two or three times a day. His headquarters are close beside me now. The Johnnys put away at meades headquarters once and a while but dont do much damage In my last Battle at deep Bottom we My Battery fought them hand to hand fight. They came near taking my battery, but we poured the Grape, and canister among them so hot that they fell in piles before our Cannons we had many men in my battery and many horses. I cannot think of much more to write you now. But will you write as soon as you get

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this. I should like to hear from you.

Address you letters

Wm E Hooper

Battery K 4 U.S. Artillery

Artillery Brigade

2th Corps Army of the Potomac

Washington D.C.

William E. Hooper, a clerk from York, ME originally enlisted at age 21 in Company K of the 27th ME Infantry on September 30, 1862. He was discharged for disability on May 7, 1863. Then he reenlisted with the 10th MA Light Battery on January 2, 1864 but was assigned to Battery K, 4th US Artillery. He was again discharged for disability on December 30, 1864 at Fort Washington, MD.

Letter – John Beach, 27 December 1861


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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 – George Buck, 25 September 1861


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Letter written by Private George R. Buck of Company K, 17th Illinois Infantry, to his mother, from Fort Holt, KY. Buck writes that he has not seen a Confederate camp since he has been in the service. He describes the various illnesses suffered by his comrades and his own recent health problems. He has heard that they will get paid soon, although he is skeptical. Buck mentions that he has plenty to eat and access to coffee. He describes the four large post guns at the camp. Buck writes that Colonel Leonard Ross is often not in camp, and the men think they will need a new colonel if he does not appear soon. Many of the men think that General Fremont “ought to have his ass kicked for letting Mulligan be so long without reinforcing him.” Buck thinks they will get whipped if the troops continue to be so scattered.

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Fort Holt Ky

Sept 25th 1861

Dear Mother

4 months ago today we were sworn into the U.S. service & I have not seen a secesh camp yet, or had a shot at them. Esq Hole & Jud Foster came over here today. George F. & H. F Hole came over here with them. G. Foster is quite better has got the fever broken. Hole looks very bad indeed but is conciterable better. I am about the same, got medacine this morning for the Diarea it has put a stup to my running so much.

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I was very sick last night with a pain in my stomach. Do not know when I will get well, but hope it will be soon. You must not fret on my account. It will do me no good & you the harm. I have gathered a lot of dry leaves from the brush piles for a bed – it does fine. I wrote a long letter to Ann yesterday, but suppose you will get this first. Morris has come back again he is quite well. It is said we will be payed off soon, some time this week, I dont hardly believe it. We get plenty to eat, & I traded off some coffe for sweet

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potatoes, which went fine with the boys. I tasted one & it was fine. Bill Boggs is writing home. They have 4 large fort guns planted at this place which look quite savage down the river. 3, 32 pounders & 1, 24, They have a large magazine here, it is under the ground but covered over with logs & sand 5, or 6 feet. We had 1000 men when at Alton & now can make but 550 fit for duty. Col Ross has some thing he likes better than this Regt., or he would stay with us more.

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He has not been with us but very little since we left Camp Pope. & for the last month about 4 days. He is gone now, & the boys think if he does not stay with us closer we had better get a new Col., I think so to. Bruner has the Billious fever & is at Cairo hospital. I will send thsi with Jud. Lots of the boys think Gen Fremont ought to have his A– kicked for letting Mulligan be so long without reinforcing him. Our troop are scattered about so we have [???] in a place, & so long as this is the case we will get whipped. Fremont will get his eyes opened after while I hope if he dont soon & they’ll send Co. K we’ll plug him, G.R. Buck.

George R. Buck was a resident of Havana, IL. He enlisted on May 5, 1861 as a private at the age of 21. He served with Company K of the 17th Illinois Infantry. He was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on October 22, 1862. He mustered out June 15, 1864. After the war he returned to farming. He died in 1906.