The Civil War Letters of John E. Richardson


April 6-7, 1862

Shiloh

 


"On the 17th day of February, 1862 the Regiment broke camp and over the Little Miami Railroad reached Cincinnati the same afternoon, embarking on the steamer Hastings and going out for Paducah, Ky., at which place it arrived on the 20th. A few days after its arrival the regiment was outfitted with old Austrian muskets, which had been changed from flint to percussion lock. While standing in line, on the wharf at Cincinnati, awaiting orders to embark, newsboys came rushing along, crying "Extra' "Extra" Ft. Donelson Surrenders". The general opinion of the rank and file seemed to be "The war will be over before we can get into it." Alas! How little any of us dreamed of what was to come."

Capt. F. M. Posegate, 48th OVI

" i tel you the bullets whiseld over our heads swet musick but rather dangrous."

John E. Richardson

Read more about the events mentioned in this section's letters in the Regimental History


LETTER 8


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pitsburg landding March 24 62

My Dear wife
it is with pleasure i take mi pen in hand to inform you thate i am well and harty. i recieved your letter of the 2 of this month and was very glad to hear that you was al wel exsept granny. i sopose from whate you say she wil never get wel again. i roate you a part of a letter and sent it the day before i got your letter but i dont know wether you will get it or not and i thot i would send you a nother. we went from camp deneson to sincinnatti. from thair to paduch ky[Paducah, KY] on the ohio river and stade their 2 weakes. we then got on another steamboat and went up the tenesee river. we was on that boat 14 days. i tel you i was glad when we got of. we was up to the line betwen tennesee and allabama. there was about 75 thoussand men altogether. some of them landded went back into the woods but could not find anybody so they came back. we then came down the river to pitsburg landing and there we got of the boat and camp about a mild from the river. we got our tents up about dark. we eat our supper and went to bead. the stares was shining. moon also. i thot of you and drempt you fel in the river and i jumpt in and got hold of you and holard for help. i waked up then and found i had hold of homer mots[Homer Moats] and the watter about thre inches deap in our tent. we had to get up and make a ditch around it. in the morning we went and got some bords and laid down. that cept[kept] us out of the mud. the next day we moved 4 miles furthur south whare we remane at present. thare is about 130 thousand men here at present. i do not no whare we wil go next. thare ar enlistid men for the reglar army taking men out of our regamants. al that want to go. you need not be affraid that i wil enlist agane. before i cum home and think as sone as they get anuf men in the reglar armey they wil discharge the volintears and they ar getting 2 and 3 hundred evry day. i saw the 68 at fort henry or what was left of them there war sick at fort donalson. whitney was left thare to take care of them. i saw boyd and peter gils but loock homesick. i heard they was in camp about 7 miles from here. i have just had mi supper. it consisted hard bred pork and coffee. good. if you se freds folks tel them he is well and harty and would like to here from them. we ar exspecting to be paid evry day. i wil send you mi money the first opertuny. get along as wel as you can and dont be discourage. i wil cum home al safe and sound and be happy with you yet.
write as sone as you get this.
direct as before
kis the baby. i exspect she has got teeth by this time.
from youer affectionate husband
John E Richardson
Rosetty Richardson

 


LETTER 9


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April 3th 1862

My Dear Husband
I received your letter this morning and was glad to hear from you and your good health. it is the 4th letter I have got since you left home. we are all well except granny but she is a great deal better. she can sit up most of the time but she cant walk yet but we think she can before long. you was right about the baby having theeth. it has got one and she is as mad to night as a rail. her hair is growing very fast on the top of her head where the wool ought to grow. The Brethern preacher is holding a distracted meeting in the old school house and if it dont rain or get to cold the baby and me will go next Sundy. it was very warm and pleasand to day but yesterday the wind blew like sixty and the trees fell dis-a-way-and-dat-a-way. Father is putting in a garden. he got enough pickets from Hall for three sides. I guess sugger making is about over. Father made about 45 lbs. he let boyd have the Big Kettle and he got gils’s kettle. he has given him 4 ½ lbs of sugar. I guess he wont have to give him any more. Holtzel’s folks are well. Hannah has been sick. (Apr 4) But I am [...] well. we heard that Josephine was going to go to Defiance to live to Charley Morfeliour’s sisters to live this summer. I suppose you can guess the reason she goes. I received a letter from Hannah Drake last Saturday. She says that Uncle Hugh Drake’s son is in the 49th Ohio Regiment. his name is John and Uncle Uriah Drake’s sone Jeremiah is in the army but I do not know what Regiment. they have not heard from Uncle Hugh since last spring. Then he was in Louisiana. Uncle John Bowdle’s Anna is married to Milo Kalkins. Uncle laughed at me for geting married so young and Anna is younger yet. Dont you think that Mrs. Hall has got a new boat. it cost $100 dollars. Father is holding the baby while I write and she aint dressed but I thought I would finish writing this letter so father can take it to Uncle Jess’s. he is going to town. Oh John you ought to see our baby. when we look at it and Chaw then it will do the same. no more at present. I remain your affectionate wife. with love
Rosetta Richardson
John E. Richardson
P. S. my Dear you do not know all I have to put up with. I will endure it for your sake. remember me and dont speak of this in your next letter for it will only make it worse
do not Enlist again
good bye

 


LETTER 10


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Shilo ner pitsburg lagdon Tenesee April 18 1862

Dere wife i received youre letter yesterday and was very glad to here thate you was al well or getting so. i sopose you have herd before this time of the grate battle we have had here and i exspect you think i am kild sertin but i am alive and kicking yet. you now i tould you i did not think we would ever get in to abattle. wel i never thought we would until they fierd at us one morning about sunrise. i did not think then thare would be mutch of afite but we got in to it and i dident think of geting out agane until the first fight was over and then the safest plase was with the regiment. you have got al the news of the battal i exspect before this time. i roat you asmal acount of the battle last weake but i was in sutch a hury i did not rite mutch. i tel you the bullets whiseld over our heads swet musick but rather dangrous. i hope i shal never here it agane never. it was the hardist battle that was ever fought in amarica. that is whate the generil says. anyhow i exspect that we wil be discharged in les than a month fore there is no more fighting of any acount to do. thare is a rumer in camp to day that we wil be sent to som whare to gard the prisners but whether it is true or not i dont know. we wil find out in a day or to and let you know in mi next leter if i can get any more paper for this is the last i have got. the rebels tock al mi paper letters blanket overcoat drescoat and canteen and drove us to the river but the next day dident we make them run. our wonded ar al doing as wel as can be exspected. fred is here doing duty. James Miers is at Savanna doing wel. now i must bring this to a close. keep up your spirets and dont be discoredgd as you roat in one of your letters. the darkest our is just before day. i think the day is braking for our cuntry. remember me to al the frends.
from your affectionate husband John E. Richardson to Rosetty Richardson
i wish i could see you and baby for one hour. it wold do mi good. good by. remember mi. rite sone. kiss the baby. J.E.R.

 

 


John E. Richardson's letters are published here with the generous permission
of Ralph Baughn, Rochester Hills, MI. Ralph owns the original letters and retains
the exclusive copyright to them. They may not be reproduced in any form
without his explicit permission.

Many thanks to Sue Boggs for providing the background
information on the Richardson family.

 

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6/10/2004