Letter – David Norton, 2 December 1861

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Letter written by Captain David W. Norton of Company E, 42nd IL Volunteer Infantry, to his mother, from a camp near Tipton, MO. Norton’s company has seen no fighting since they left Camp Hunter in Tipton. They marched to Warsaw on the Osage River hoping to fight General Sterling Price, but were disappointed. They were then forced march to Springfield, MO and joined General David Hunter’s division. He describes the rations and weather conditions. Upon arriving at Springfield and finding no Confederate troops, the hard and hurried march had been unnecessary. Some blamed General John C. Fremont, though most still have confidence in him. Norton warns that the newspapers are exaggerating the number of casualties suffered by Union troops. After staying in Springfield for a few days, they marched back to Camp Baker. Norton mentions that he had been ill, and the doctor tried to keep him from marching on to Warsaw. Initially he stayed behind as ordered, but the next day rode out to join his company when they received new orders to head to St. Louis. Since then, his health has recovered. He has been busy making muster and pay rolls for the company. He mentions an engagement with a small camp of Confederate troops, and how he took prisoners against the authorization of Major Roberts.


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Camp near Tipton Mo.

Dec. 2nd 1861

Dear Mother

As I have just learned that a mail by which I sent you a letter from Springfield Mo. has not been since heard from, I thought you must be somewhat anxious to hear from me. You have undoubtedly read of Battles fought and to be fought in this state since you last heard from me. This Regt. has been in none – excepting those to be fought! I don’t know which of my letters you may have received so I will tell you all that has occurred to me since I left Camp Hunter, Tipton 28th of Oct. We marched to Warsaw on the Osage River in 3 days. This was the first place where we were sure to have a fight with Gen. Price! When we arrived he was no nearer to us than when we started. We remained at Warsaw 3 days and crossed the river – on that bridge you may have seen illustrations of in Harper’s, – and marched 6 or 7 miles and camped at Camp Baker where we remained until the 1st of Nov. Our soldiering now begun for the first time. At nine o’clock on the evening of the 1st we received orders to march immediately to Springfield leaving our camp equipage and all men who could not march night and day behind. We started at 10 o’c. I had in my company to go with me, my 1st Lieut and 62 men out of a comp’y of 94 Rank & file. We marched all that night and joined Gen. Hunter’s division

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at their camp in the morning. We stopped here long enough to cook our breakfast and marched again. We made 30 miles that day – 42 miles our regiment marched without sleep. We laid ourselves at length on the prarie that night and did some ‘tall’ sleeping even if we did for the 1st time do with out tents and other camp conveniences such as full rations and something to cook them in. But we did not miss our rations until the next morning, for we were too tired to think of eating.

We were up next morning in time to eat such rations as we could get – being fresh beef with out salt and one pilot brisket to a man – in time and marched about an hour before day. We marched about 30 miles that day and camped in the woods, where fortunately we had plenty of fuel, for although it was not very cold, still we were so tired that we all felt as cold as if it had been winter in place of Nov. This day our men began to give out; and I marched into camp with only 40 men. We built large fires and waited for our beef and hard bread with a great deal of impatience for the butchers were slow and the teams with the bread had no kept up with us. We had just got our meat when an officer dashed into camp at full speed with an order from Gen. Hunter, – who had gone on ahead of us, -for us to march to Springfield without resting – So the long roll was sounded and we ‘fell in‘ in hot – (or rather cold) haste expecting that the enemy must be upon us, and minus our suppers we started in the dark to meet him. My boys would have left their meat on the ground had I not by

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precept and example induced them to put it in their haversacks. I put a “junk” of about four lbs in my haversack and they then followed suit. We marched that night in a cold mist – which was gotten up for our especial benefit until just at daylight when our commanding Gen. ordered a halt of about 2 hours. The way the most of the men threw themselves upon the ground at the order was a caution to young men not to go soldiering in Missouri! I stopped to build some fires to sleep by and then rolled my blanket around me and went to sleep in short order. The drums beat in two hour and up we jumped and I pulled out my beef and after dividing it with some of my boys who didn’t get any, I stuck my part on a stick and heated it through by my fire and eat it with as good relish as ever I eat roast turkey at home. We ‘fell in‘ in good spirits after our nights rest, and started again for Springfield perfectly sure we should have a fight when we got there – if not before! We arrived at Springfield that afternoon – having marched on short rations (and very short too) 100 miles in two nights and less than three days.

The Gen. said our Regt. did the best in the division and we had about 300 men when we arrived in camp – so you may judge how many men some of the other regiments had. One Regt. did not have more than half a compy! – I had 38 men – the largest number excepting one that any compy in our Regt reported. Our march was bad enough – but what was worse than that was that we were no nearer a fight than when we

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started from Camp Baker. The way our poor tired men cursed the one who ordered us on in such haste, was shocking to church members I assure you. No one but Hunters particular friends and the newspapers blame Gen. Fremont. Notwithstanding all that has been said against him, this army so far as I can learn, have more confidence to-day, in Gen. Fremont than in any other man under Gen. McClelland. About 20,000 men were hurried to Springfield without camp equipage and slept without cover, when Gen. Price was not within 56 miles of the place and showed no disposition to come nearer. Many a good man will pay for that march with his life, – which would have been all right if the march had been necessary, but as it was not it is a perfect shame. One of my own men I am expecting daily to die from the effects of the march. I for one do not believe that Gen. Fremont ever ordered us to make a forced march. I believe it was done to through [throw] a slur upon Gen. F.

Bad as our case was – those long articles in the papers, asserting that our men were dying by hundreds & thousands under the hedges and by the road sides, between Tipton & Sedalia and Springfield were nothing but outrageous lies from beginning to end. Our Regt. left only one man seriously sick on the whole trip and that was on our return. And he was left at a comfortable farm house. Those men who dropped out of the ranks from fatigue on the way all came into camp within three days. Those articles made thousands of hearts in this army boil with bitterness at those men who stay at home and write lying articles against those who are

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fighting for their country. If they confined themselves to pointing out their faults we could stand it although that is mean enough when they are where they are where they can not defend themselves – but to make such lies of ‘whole cloth‘ is contemptable.

Gen. Fremont, I believe, did everything a man surrounded by vipers as he was – could do.

We remained at Springfield 6 days and started on the back track. We reached Camp Baker on the fifth day. I did not give out once on the march until we were within about 3 miles of Camp Baker when I was taken with a kind of ‘gone-ness,’ and they put me on a horse on which I road to camp. The Dr. would not let me walk any farther as I wished to do on account of the example to my tired me. We received orders before daylight next morning to march across the Osage river at Warsaw and camp three miles beyond. As our teams were not with us we must again leave our Camp and sick behind. I was sick that night and the Doctor reported to the Major that I had the (Billious Fever?) And that I could not be moved, but as I had never yet allowed my company to march without being at their head, I told the Doctor I should go, and began to dress accordingly, when the Maj. came to my tent and ordered me to remain behind – nominally to take charge of the camp and sick, but really because he thought it dangerous to move me in a lumberwagon for he and the Doctor thought that they had a sick Capt. in your son, notwithstanding I knew better. They were rather anxious to get me on the sick list – not that they wanted me to suffer, but only because I had always made fun of them for getting tired or ‘played-out‘ as we call it. For you must know that the Major had nick-named me the ‘Stout Cap‘ as I

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had not been on the sicklist since the Regt. left Chicago. Well the Regt. marched from Camp Baker and I staid behind in obedience to Maj’s orders. In the afternoon one of the officers came back to camp and said the Regt. was to march at daylight next morning and to proceed to St Louis immediately. I thought from that that they must want to send us immediately into Kentucky and having no notion of being behind, I got up and had a horse saddled and started at sun down to ride to the other camp, about 12 miles. It was hard work to ride and took me about 5 hours to go camp. The next morning when the Major saw me he threatened to put me under arrest for not obeying his orders, but when I told him that I understood that he was to march that morning he laughed at my conceit at for thinking the Regt. could not get along without me, and called me a fool for running the chance of making myself sick. While I was talking to the Major, the Doctor came to report that he had succeeded in getting an ambulance to send for me. He was surprised and angry at seeing me, and said I had signed my death warrant that time sure! He said I was as sick as any man in the Regt. and had the Billious fever, but I knew better – so he got angry and so did I, and he insisted I was sick and I that I was not, and, so ended the affair. We did not march until the next day. I was hardly able to march, but would not ride because I would not acknowledge that the Dr. was right. I actually drove sickness “from my tent‘ and have been in first rate health ever since. That one day is the only day that I have not been in command of my company since we

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left Chicago. I am ‘fat and saucy’ – so say my “supperior officers,” for my old habit of saying what I think at all times and in all places has not left me yet. – In fact camp life just suits me – I believe I weigh more now than at any other time since I was at home.

My time is fully occupied with affairs of my company for I have the whole to do, excepting what can be trusted to my non-commissioned officers. My Lieutenants are of very little use to me, as they are either sick or lazy all the time.

We arrived at Camp Hunter, Tipton, on the 19th ultimo. Since then we have marched to Syracuse and back to our present camp. How long we shall remain here I can not guess.

Since we came here I have been very busy making muster and pay rolls for my co. and in writing up my company books, which were very much behind on a/c [account] of our long marches.

We have marched since leaving St. Louis, about 450 or 500 miles (since the 8th of Oct.)

The only thing our Regt. has done against the Rebels, has been done by my Co. We went out to take a camp of Secesh while we were at Camp Baker. We surprised them and took fiver prisoners and six horses. – One Major and four soldiers, several rifles & other traps. The next day I went out again to finish up the business and to take another squad camped two or three miles farther off. Some of Gen. Hunters Cavalry got the start of me and got to the camp before me and after a short but sharp fight took some prisoners and horses. I went to finish up the other job and took about 20 head of cattle and 14 horses

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The joke of the Affair is that Maj. Roberts sent one of his pet’s Capt. Vardon with his whole company to take this Major and his squad. Maj. Roberts would not authorize me to do the same thing that he ordered Capt. Vardon to do. I had the best guide and went straight to the camp about 12 miles, took it and returned to our camp the same night. What I did, I did on my own responsibility. The next day – after I had got the cattle & horses in a field ready to drive to camp, – who should march up but Capt. Vardon, who had marched all the day before and half of that day to get to the place I was already to leave with my booty. If ever a man was angry – Capt. V. was, to find me in full possession of the ground and ‘plunder’ and to learn that I had taken the prisoners and part of the horses in to camp the night before. I t was a good joke on him and on the Major too for selecting an old English officer to do what a young Yankee could do a great deal better.

When we found the Secesh camp the men took to the brush but our bullets call so loudly on five of them that they surrendered without being hurt. They are a cowardly sett out here. They know they are in the wrong and can’t stand fire.

I must close now as I must go up to Tipton to see my sick boys of whom I have one Lieut. (the one whose likeness I sent you) and 10 men in the Hospital there.

Write soon and often to

Your Son

(Excus Brevity) D. Woodman Nor

Capt. Co. ‘E’

42nd Regt Ills. Vols

in Missouri

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P.S. I visited the Battle field where Gen. Lyon was killed; while I was at Springfield will write about it in my next D.W.N.


Major David Woodman Norton was born 31 January 1838 in Chelsea, MA. He had two other brothers (Joshua and John) who also enlisted and served in the Union Army. He enlisted with the 1st Zouave Regiment of Chicago and was then promoted to 2nd Lieutenant of the 42nd IL Infantry then Captain on July 22, 1861. He eventually joins Major General John M. Palmer’s staff as acting Assistant Inspector General. He was killed in action near New Hope Church, GA on June 2, 1864 during the Atlanta Campaign.

Letter – David Norton, 1 November 1861

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Letter written by Captain David W. Norton of Company E, 42nd IL Volunteer Infantry, to his father from Camp Baker near Warsaw, MO. Norton writes that they have been waiting for a provision train, but have just received marching orders for that night as soon as the men can cook rations. He fired the first shot at Confederate troops by his regiment. They had surprised a small camp of Confederates and took a few prisoners. Norton expects to have a fight once they overtake General David Hunter. He asks his father to let his mother know she shouldn’t worry about the accounts of fighting she has read in the papers.


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Camp Baker in the

woods 7 miles from War-

saw. Mo. Nov. 1st 1861

Dear Father

We have been in camp nearly a week waiting for a provision train. We have just received an order to march forward tonight. It is now about 8 oclock in the evening and we are to march as soon as the men can cook rations to put in their haversacks. This is our first real experience at Soldiering. I have the honor of the first shot for the Douglas Brigade. I went out day before yesterday and surprised

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a small camp of Secesh and took five prisoners and 14 horses and mules. None of my boys were injured. It was the first expedition from our Regt. and I feel proud of my boys.

We expect to have a fight by the time we can overtake Gen. Hunter. We leave all our tents & camp equipage and sick behind us. to follow when our wagons get along.

I am feeling first rate and hope to write you a good a/c [account] of my comp’y if we get a battle.

Tell Mother not to take any notice of the

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reports of fights in this state as there has not been one for the last 6 weeks and every day we hear of fights that never took place. You must not believe that there has been a battle until you get official notive.

I can’t write any more now, but will write again the first chance I get.

Give my love to all & If I dont march off the field my trunk is in Mr. Haskells care Chicago and some of my boys will give an a/c of what I have here. Good Bye

Father

D.W. Norton

Co ‘E’ 42nd Regt

Ils. Vols


Major David Woodman Norton was born 31 January 1838 in Chelsea, MA. He had two other brothers (Joshua and John) who also enlisted and served in the Union Army. He enlisted with the 1st Zouave Regiment of Chicago and was then promoted to 2nd Lieutenant of the 42nd IL Infantry then Captain on July 22, 1861. He eventually joins Major General John M. Palmer’s staff as acting Assistant Inspector General. He was killed in action near New Hope Church, GA on June 2, 1864 during the Atlanta Campaign.

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 – Thomas Jackson, 11 October 1863

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Letter written by Major Thomas K. Jackson, C.S.A., to his fiancée Lucy Reavis of Gainesville, AL, from Enterprise, MS. Jackson jokingly refers to himself as vain for expecting another letter from Reavis so soon after her last one. He describes playing chess with friends, including the Assistant Surgeon, Dr. Huggins. He also mentions a possible visit to Reavis in the upcoming week. Jackson, who is in charge of buying meat for the army, plans to go to Gainesville to purchase supplies for General Braxton Bragg’s army, including one thousand hams. Jackson mentions a local woman that recently shot her husband, then threatened to shoot the soldier who came to investigate.


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No. 3.

Enterprise Miss. Oct. 11/63

Dearest Lucy,

I rather expected a letter from you this morning – I don’t know why – but somehow I fancied you would write to me yesterday – perhaps it was only an undefined hope – a pleasing something, which I cherished until the barren mail dispelled the illusion – I think of you so much & so fondly, I’m not at all surprised that my vanity should sometimes lead me to imagine you doing little things for my gratification – I had no reason whatever, to expect a letter – but just like us men – especially soldiers now-a-days – we are so vain – a little civility makes us insufferably arrogant – I intended to write you a little note last night to send by Mr Hart, but some

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gentlemen called to play chess with me, & I had to postpone it until today – I played four games, with different antagonists, & gained them all – quite a champion – Am I not? there is but one gentleman in town who has thus far obtained any advantage (& slight at that) over me – He is Dr Huggins – Asst. Surgeon from Alabama – His name is quite familiar to me – Who is he? – I think I’ve heard you speak of him –

No doubt Mr Hart thinks me a very disinterested clever fellow, for permitting him to go home a full week earlier than he expected, but Mr H- don’t know everything – I had resolved in my own mind, that next saturday would be a nice time for me to refresh myself from the fatigues of labor & restraint, & make a flying visit to you, my darling, & other friends in G. whom I love so much –

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So you see, there was no inconsiderable amount of latent selfishness incorporated with my exhibition of graciousness, which however, I hope, will be compensated for, in some sort, by the agreeable surprise afforded his family – I am not yet sure I can go up there – so you need not be disappointed if I do not, nor surprised if I do – I am going to make Gainesville a point d’apui [d’appui = military term referring to a point where troops are assembled] (no laughing, if you please) from which to reinforce Bragg’s Commissariat, & shall collect a thousand hours in that neighborhood soon, preparatory to sending them forward to Atlanta.

I am much obliged to yr Uncle John for his kind remembrance – but I fear his is a “sod wog”, & like his fair niece, fond of his little joke – I am not conscious of any “carryings on”, & he may divulge

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all he knows about me – I’ve not seen the widow since he was here – & I don’t “understand” – I’m in clined to believe, that he, the cunning fellow – jealous of my attractions (?) has spirited her away – A sad affair transpired here the other day – A woman shot her husband dead – his body lay near the house all night waiting for the coroner – I am unacquainted with the merits of the case – During the Inquest a soldier expressed a desire to see the woman who could do such a deed, when the amazon appeared – said she did it, & if he did not leave instantly, she would blow his brains out for him – the soldier was satisfied & retired – I have not received yr Mother’s letter, which you mentioned – I can’t imagine where on earth the silly post

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masters send them. I was mighty sorry to hear of Miss Nannie’s sickness – & hope she has gotten better – Has Reavis heard from the diplomatic letter to “that old woman”? I am anxious to learn how his affairs are likely to turn out. Give my love to all at home & believe, dear Lucy, ever

fondly yours

TKJ

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I was truly shocked to hear of Dr Anderson’s death – poor Mrs A – What a terrible blow to her!


Lucy Reavis (age 21 in 1863) was the daughter of prominent judge, Turner Reavis. She met her future husband Thomas K. Jackson while he was stationed in Gainesville AL. They married December 16, 1863. At least 30 known letters exchanged between them during the war years have survived. They had five children together. Lucy passed away in 1876 at just 33 years old. Thomas never remarried.

Thomas K. Jackson was born December 12, 1824 in SC. He entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in June 1844 and graduated with the class of 1848. He was appointed brevet 2nd lieutenant of the 4th U.S. Artillery, then transferred to the 5th U.S. Infantry, then the 8th U.S. Infantry. He was promoted to 1st lieutenant in 1849. He served about 7 years on the Texas-Mexico frontier with James Longstreet, until he was assigned as an instructor of infantry tactics at West Point in 1857. In 1858 he rejoined the 8th in Texas. In 1861 he resigned from the U.S. Army and was made a captain in the Confederate Army. On September 26, 1861 he was announced as Chief Commissary of the Western Department under General Johnston. He was appointed major on November 11, 1861. He was captured at Fort Donelson in February of 1862 and imprisoned at Fort Warren. He was exchanged c. May and returned to duty as depot commissary in Gainesville, AL, where he met Lucy Reavis. They courted and were married December 16, 1863. Jackson was stationed at various sites throughout the remainder of the war. He was paroled at Gainesville on May 13, 1865 following General Richard Taylor’s surrender. He remained in Gainesville with Lucy to raise their family and work as a merchant and farmer.

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

John

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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 – Silas Burdick, 22 November 1861

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Letter written by Corporal Silas G. Burdick of Company C, 85th NY Volunteer Infantry, to his cousin Joel A. Crandall, from Barracks No. 4 in Elmira, NY. Burdick writes of good times in the camp; he is eating plenty of rations and is “hearty as any pig.” The regiment has orders to go to Washington, D.C. Burdick describes the upcoming election for company officers. Hiram C. Miller will be captain of this regiment, and Rufus Scott will be captain of a new company. Burdick mentions that they will soon be receiving new rifles, and briefly writes of William P. Maxon of the 23rd NY Regiment. He describes how the previous night he was corporal of the pickets, and how they had fun putting drunk men in the guard house.


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Barracks No. 4 Elmire Nov 22nd, 61

Cousin Joel

I hope you will be willing to decipher my scribbling Well and hearty as any pig. I am able to eat my rations as well as any one in the regiment We are having great times here now. We have orders to go to Washington next Monday yet we do not expect to get away before a week from then, some predict not till, January. There has been a considerable excitement in relation to our election but it is all settled now We do not have our election till next week. H.C. Miller is to be Capt Yet there is to be a new company raised Which Rufus Scott

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is to be Capt; There is 14 men to leave this company to help make the new company. I hope this thing will all be settled to the satisfaction of every one Now I would like to step in and see you all an hour or so and get some more apples & kiss the Girls once more We shall get our Rifles before we leave here. There were orders this morning. Well now you see there is so likelyhood of our doing some good for our country William P Maxson belonging to the 23rd regiment was here but a short time ago, he is a noble looking fellow. I suppose you have all all your work done and have nothing ot do except going to see Jenny & take care of

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of your sisters. I wish you would my best wishes to all the girls I was Corporall of the pickets last night. That is nice business all any one has to do is to station the Gaurd and then he can go and lay down or go out and have some fun running the gaurd, They cannot put one in the gaurd house who is corporal. We have some fun putting [???] drunken men in the gaurd house They put in two last night. One of them was so dead drunk that he did not know enough to know his own name There are a good many drunken men in Capt Kings Company

I must end my scrawls for this time. So good luck to you

S.G. Burdick

JA Crandall


Silas G. Burdick enlisted as a private in Company C, 85th NY Infantry on September 2, 1861 at Geneva, NY, aged 19. He re-enlisted as a veteran on January 1, 1864, but was captured with many of his regiment at Plymouth, NC on April 20, 1864. He was confined as a prisoner at Andersonville, GA, but was among the fortunate who survived and was mustered out on June 9, 1865 at Elmira, NY.

Letter – Bryant Vincent, 22 December 1864

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Letter written by Private Bryant L. Vincent of Company K, 12th IN Cavalry, to his friends, from Murfreesboro, TN. Vincent writes that he has been in three hard battles, but has come out safely. He mentions defeating Confederate Lieutenant General Nathan Bedford Forrest, and comments on the way that Union Major General George H. Thomas “whipped” Confederate General John Bell Hood in Nashville. Vincent describes the battles he has been in since leaving Tullahoma, TN, including the Battle of Overall’s Creek. Another saw his brigade guarding a forage train under heavy fire until they received reinforcements. He writes that he has gotten used to the sounds of cannons and musketry, and they will have to wait until he returns home to fully explain what battle is like. Vincent remarks that the hardest part of being a soldier has been the rations, as food has been scarce for several weeks. The railroad to Nashville has been torn up, and several bridges have been burned.


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Murfreesboro Dec 22 64

Dear Friends

I rec[eived] 3 letters this morning I am well and doing well I have been in 3 pretty hard fought battles since I have been at murfreesboro but I have come through all staraight all though sometimes I thought I would not I have seen some awful hard marches. but it is all in a fellows life time and I guess the fighting in this part of the country is nearly done [???] for we have whipped old Forest here three times and the way Thomas has whippped Hood in front of Nashville will be a caution to him not to try it again and

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but a small part of his forces will ever get across the Tennessee for they said when they came up here that Victory or no Victory they would not go back again we started from tullahoma Nov 30 and got here Dec 2 we marched day and night, the first fight was Sunday the 4 of Dec it is called the battle of overalls creek, the next fight was the 6 of Dec we had to support a battery the revel artillery was playing on our artillery and our co lay right behind the battery and the way the shot and ball came was a caution we lost 2 men both wounded from our co I do not know how many from the regt the next fight was wednesday the 14 our Brigade went out to guard a forage train

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we fought all day and were surrounded on all sides just at night as we had got the wagon loaded with corn and got on to the pike they commenced harder than ever in front and rear we made up our minds we were gobbled and we should have every one of us been taken if it had not been for reinforcements coming out but they fought hard before they gave up. I have got so the noise of cannon and muskets dont bother me much for I have been within sound of it about all the time for 3 weeks, I wish I could give you some idea of what a battle is but I havent room to do so by letter and I will have to wait untill I get home then I can tell you something about it

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[Thad?] is well [???] is not very good but I guess he will be better before long we shall probably start for tullahoma tomorrow, and when we get settled there you can send the box. I am glad you could not send it for it would be nothing but a trouble here I wrote to you the day before we left tullahoma and told you not to send it but I guess the letter did not go through, I dont know how long before this one will but I will have it ready, the hardest has been the rations we have been obliged to live on all most nothing for the last 3 weeks we have drawn only one hard tack and one pint of meal for 5 days rations and had it not been for parched corn I believe we would have starved the railroad is badly torn up between here and Nashville and several bridges burned but there is a large force at work on it and before long we will have a plenty of rations but I have written a long letter and I must close Vincent

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Mother

you must not worry about me for I am all right and have probably seen the hardest I will have to so, you said something about homsick I aint homsick, it is pretty cold here


Bryant L. Vincent, from Pulaski County, IN, enlisted as a private in Company K of the 12th IN Cavalry on November 14, 1864. He survived the war and was mustered out on November 10, 1865. Being a new recruit, his youth and inexperience is fully evident in this letter. The war obviously remained somewhat of an adventure to him despite the hardships he was compelled to rapidly cope with.

Letter – Isaac Jones, 4 December 1862

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Letter written by Private Isaac B. Jones of Company C, 3rd Battalion, 18th U.S. Infantry, to his cousin Helen Sofield, from Belotes Ford near Cairo, TN. Jones mentions that the mail had been captured several times in the last few months and is unreliable. He describes the hard marching from Winchester, TN to Bowling Green, KY. They caught up with General Braxton Bragg but General Don Carlos Buell held back, and Bragg escaped.They pursued Bragg’s forces to Springfield. Jones writes in great detail about the Battle of Perryville, including descriptions of the heavy artillery. The following day he walked the battlefield and describes the carnage he saw, including the surgeons amputations of many arms and legs. Jones concludes by writing longingly of his family.


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Belotes ford near Cairo, Tenn.  Dec 4th, 1862

Dear Cousin:

     I received a letter from you a little more than a month ago, I think, and allow me to say that I was very glad indeed to hear from you, for I had not received any word from any of my folks for a long time. I received one letter from my wife since I last wrote to you. She and Susie [daughter] were well. I had been looking for a letter from you for quite a length of time, and had almost came to the conclusion that you had not received my letter. Our mail have been captured, here and in Ky. several times within the last three months. So there is not very much dependence to be placed in them now. Well, cousin, we have some sharp times, and awful hard marching since I last wrote to you. We have marched over 800 miles, including our flanking movements, since we left Winchester, Tenn. We marched from Decherd, Tenn. a distance of 20 miles to reinforce Gen. Shouph. He was expecting to be attacked almost every hour. We did not get the order till evening. Then we started and marched nearly all night with nothing but blankets and rations. It rained hard, and was very cold and disagreeable. We had nothing but dry crackers and a little fat meat to eat, and only half rations at that. We got here the next forenoon and laid in line of battle two days. We had no fighting except some skirmish and picket fighting. We then moved on, with our whole force, near Pelham, Tenn. We expected there for sure to

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have a general action, but the enemy evaded us. We then marched to Murphreesboro on a forced march a distance of 65 miles. We rested there 20 hours and started in the evening, marched all night, and continued on till we arrived at Nashville, Tenn., a distance of 32 miles. We done all this marching on half rations and scarcely water enough to drink. We guarded the bridge of the Cumberland River at N[ashville] 7 days. Then we received another order for another forced march to Bowling Green, Ky.’ We made that in three days, a distance of 69 miles just in time to catch Bragg and his force of about 80,000. But Gen. Buell would not leave us at them, but kept us back two days, and Bragg made his escape again, after being allowed to take 4,400 of our men prisoners, and paroling them. Co. K, 2d Batt. out of our regt. was taken there, and the duce of it was, it was just a full company. They had just came into the service – consequently green, although well drilled. (I will resume our journey) After the enemy had two days’ the start of us, Buell, the old “traitor,” concluded to leave us go on the pursuit of the Confederate forces. The men were a good deal discouraged, but marched well. The fact of the business is, the marching we made has never been equaled in the U.S. We were 8 days without running water to drink, but twice. All the rest of the time we had to drink water out of mud holes in the road, and ponds in the fields. The water in some of the ponds was all green on the top, but we got so very dry that would drink almost anything in the shape of water, and we had nothing but dry crackers and a very little meat to eat, and coffee to drink. We never get beans or rice on a march for want of time to cook them. The day after we got to Louisville, Ky. There was

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325,000 Union troops bivouacked there. We rested there a short time and started after Bragg, Buckner & Kirby Smith’s forces. We went by the way of Shepherdsville, Bardstown, Springfield, etc. We marched 9 miles before we got to Springfield without a halt. All the time as fast as we could possibly walk, and part of the time on a double quick. There the Rebels opened fire upon us with their artillery. But ours proved too much for them. They had to retreat. Our brigade was in the advance and our regt. was in the advance of the brigade, so you see we were thrown in the hottest of the fire. We fought them back from ½ past 11 till night. The next day there was some skirmish fighting, but the third day they took a stand this side of a creek, they having the choice of the ground and all the water. So you see we had to fight them back for water. The general action commenced on the morning of the 8th of October about three o’clock, and both sides fought their best till after dark. Our brigade was held back as a reserve, but were called into action a short time before sundown. So that we were under heavy fire at least an hour and a half. Our battery took its position and opened up with incredible fury. Night was growing fast upon us, and the combat grew every minute more ferocious. The flashes of the artillery was blinding, above, around, in front. Bombs, solid shot, canister and minie balls flew like hail whizzing & exploding in every direction. The shrieks and groans of the dying and wounded, added to the horror & confusion of the moment, made up altogether a scene of consternation and dismay  enough to

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appall the stoutest heart. I was over part of the battlefield the second day after the fight, & the ground was literally strewn with the dead & wounded. I seen one place where the surgeons were at work with the wounded. They then had a pile of legs and arms about four feet high. I seen one poor fellow with the whole of his underjaw shot off He was living yet, but never could [say] anything; and others equally as badly wounded. One man in our regt. had his leg taken off, another was shot through the lungs, & another had both of his arms blown off, & face & breast burned all into a crisp. The battle was fought at and near Perryville, Ky., and it is called the battle of Chaplin Hills.

I was very glad to hear that cousin Alfred was so well situated. I only hope his regt. can stay where they are. If they should be ordered out on a few such chases after the Rebels as we have, he will begin to have a poor opinion of soldiering. I think, however, that the most of these new regts. will escape these hard marches. We have actually marched as high as 32 m[iles] a day, on half rations, with rifle accouterments, and 60 rounds of cartridges. You were saying you wished me to write to cousin Alfred. I don’t feel myself at liberty to open the correspondence. It would be entirely contrary to our discipline. If the capt. would write to me, I would be most happy to answer to the best of my ability, and give him all the particulars of the movements of the Army of the Ohio. We have 20 companies now in our regt., and three new ones ready to join us. Our regt. is different from the volunteers, we are divided in three battalions. I would rather be in a volunteer regt., on account of their not being so strict as the regulars. I would like to write more, but don’t feel able. I have been sick for several days. I am afraid my constitution will not bear up much longer. I have not much to live for, but my dear little daughter. If I could but see her once more I would feel better satisfied, but it is more than I expect. Give my love to your children, and accept the same for yourself. Tell Alfred I wish to be remembered. From your affectionate cousin,             Isaac B. Jones

Direct: Co. C, 3rd Batt./18th U.S. Infty./ 1st Division 3rd

        Brigade/ Gallatin, Tenn.   

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Please answer this immediately if you deem it worthy. Direct to Gallatin, Tenn. this time, but at any other time you may direct to Louisville, Ky. It will always be forwarded. I would be very happy to receive a letter from cousin Alfred.


Isaac B. Jones was a carpenter from Williamsport, PA. He originally enlisted with Captain Joesph E. Ulman’s Battery of Light Artillery PA Volunteers at the age of 27. The company was discharged March 7th, 1862 and Jones re-enlisted with the 18th U.S. Infantry. He was killed in action on December 31, 1862 at the Battle of Murfreesboro.

Alfred J. Sofield was a clerk/justice of the peace in Wellsboro, PA when he enrolled as a Union Army Officer. He served in the Civil War as Captain and commander of Company A of the 149th PA Volunteer Infantry. During the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, he was stationed along Chambersburg Pike north of the McPherson Farm. His unit under artillery fire from the Confederate batteries on Herr Ridge, and was struck by a round, which killed him as well as Private Edwin D. Dimmick and Corporal Nathan H. Wilcox.

Letter – Cecil Fogg, 17 January 1864

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Letter written by Private Cecil Fogg of Company B, 36th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, to his father from Chattanooga, TN. Fogg begins by saying that he is out of money, and requests that his father send him some. He was previously spending a lot of money on food, but expects to spend less now that they get full rations. He mentions that the soldiers at Knoxville have had harder times with less to eat, and are re-enlisting just so they get an opportunity to go home for a few days. Fogg mentions that the 36th Ohio is building a bridge across the Tennessee River.


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Chattanooga, Tenn. Jan. 17th 1864

Father,

     I am out of money again, and expect I will need some before we are paid off again. I wish you would send me about five dollars. Perhaps it would be best to send a dollar or two at a time. I will not need it all at once, and if you send it part at a time, I will be pretty sure to get part if not all of it. If you send it all together it may get lost.

Keep an account of what you have sent me, and what you send me hereafter, and take it out of what I send to you. I have spent a good deal of money here for something to eat, but we get full rations now, and I think things will be cheaper now, for the [rail]cars came in on the 14th and they are bringing rations in fast now. The soldiers up at Knoxville have had harder times than we have [had] here, I think, and less to eat. They are nearly all re-enlisting up there to get to go home where they can get something to eat. Three regiments arrived her a few days ago from Knoxville on their way home, and a great many are going to start from here in a few days. The 36th [Ohio] has got into a job of building a bridge across the Tennessee [River] at Chattanooga. Half the regt. works 3 days at it, and then the other half works 3 days. They have put up a portable saw mill, and are at work on the abutments and getting out timber at present. I have not got my coat yet. It is comfortable weather now without an overcoat. If it don’t come, I will get paid for it by the Express Co.                                 

Cecil Fogg


Cecil Fogg enlisted in Company B of the 36th OH Volunteer Infantry on August 12, 1861 at Marietta, OH at the age of 20. He served through his three year term of service and re-enlisted for the war, but was mustered out July 27, 1865 based upon a surgeon’s certificate of disability. The 36th served in West Virginia in 1861, and participated in the battles of South Mountain and Antietam as a part of the 9th Corps before being transferred west in January 1863. As a part of the Army of the Cumberland’s 14th Army Corps (George H. Thomas), the regiment fought at Chickamauga and later in the Atlanta and Savannah, GA (March to the Sea) Campaigns.

Letter – Charles Wilkins, 25 & 27 December 1862

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Letter written by Lieutenant Charles Wilkins of the 1st U.S. Infantry to his girlfriend Sarah while in camp near Corinth, Mississippi. Wilkins seems to be suffering from depression, claiming to have the “blues.” Wilkins was officer of the day on Christmas, and therefore had to remain in camp. He describes a meager Christmas dinner, as well as a few humorous interactions with fellow officers and guards in the camp. Wilkins laments the soldiers who willingly leave their homes and families only to end up “in a lonely grave.”


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Christmas Eve Dec. 25

    I hardly know how to commence writing tonight. Wish you would give me a remedy for the blues, for believe I have them occasionally. Here I am almost out of the world, and within a few days’ ride, my friends cut of[f] from all communication with them. It has been nearly a fortnight since the enemy destroyed a portion of the railroad at Humboldt, a short distance from Jackson, [Tenn]. When the damage will be repaired I don’t know. The enemy have destroyed all our stores at Holly Springs also. There was a report that the enemy had also captured La Grange, but hope it is not so, for my brother is there. There is so many rumors afloat that [I] have made up my mind to believe nothing until I can see it with my own eyes.

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You can imagine I think how I have passed Christmas when I tell you that being officer of the day [I am] being obliged to remain in camp. We are now on half rations, so you will say we had not much of a dinner. Will give you our bill of fare for dinner – fresh beef, bread and coffee, with a little stale butter. Don’t know when I have been so much amused as I was last night. As I was returning to camp, having called on a brother officer, it was a little late. As I was walking along the sentry challenged me. Says he, say Christmas gift or halt. I could not help but laugh, and pass on. The fellow was intoxicated. But when I got to our own camp, the sentinel says, “Who comes there?” I answered, “a friend with the countersign.” “Advance friend with the countersign.” I gave him it. He says the countersign is right, advance friend. I will tell you what remedy I have when

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a little low spirited. I take out one of your letters and read it. You can hardly imagine (I think) the pleasure I experience in receiving your kind letters, nor can you tell how often I read them, and reread them. When will this rebellion be crushed, and the soldier return to his friends. It makes me feel sad to think of the poor soldier who left home and friends feeling confident the he should return untouched and immortalized by his friends at the close of the war, and who now sleeps in a lonely grave. I think that there is no danger to be apprehended from a fight here, for I think the enemy do not care to trouble us. They were a little too severely punished on the 4th of Oct.

Saturday, Dec. 27th

Hearing that there would be a mail leave in the morning, [I] will send this. We have not had any papers since the 17th

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We had a very severe thunder shower this afternoon. It has passed over, and is quite pleasant but cool. It seems strange to have a thunder shower in the winter, but it does not seem at all like winter. You will see by the first part of my letter that we have strange rumors. There was not a man killed at Jackson, Tenn., and whether the other rumors are true remains to be told, as we have no means of knowing. Think I have written as much as you will care to read, so will close by hoping to hear from you soon.

                        I remain truly yours,

                             Charles


Charles Wilkins was born in Henniker, New Hampshire to James and Sarah Wilkins. He originally enlisted in Company B of the 2nd NH Infantry on June 1, 1861 at the age of 25. He served as a private until wounded at the 1st Battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861. He remained on wounded leave at Hennikee, NH until January, 1862, when he was appointed 2nd lieutenant, 1st U.S. Infantry, to date from Feb. 19, 1862. On May 25, 1863 Lt. Wilkins was wounded at Vicksburg, MS and died of his wounds on June 20, 1863. He was brevetted captain for gallant and meritorious service in action at Vicksburg, June 20,1863.