The Civil War Letters of John E. Richardson


July - December 1862

Memphis

 


The 48th OVVI spent a long period on garrison duty at Camp Pickering, Memphis, Tennessee during the entire latter half of 1862.

"they are building a brestwork her about eight feet high and the ditch is five feet deep. that makes 13 feet for the rebels to clime almost strat up while we stand on the other side and tel them to go back but i dont think they wil ever try to clime it. thar is about 80 acors[acres] insid of the brest works and we have some cannons here that i can almost cral into."

John E. Richardson

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


LETTER 13


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Memphis tenesee July 24 1862

Mi Dear wife i received your letter of the 18th last night and hason to answer it. i am sorry you did not get the letters that i sent to you. i sent one the 27 of June i think and one about 2 weaks ago. i sopoes that thay have miscared or got lost somewhare. i hope you wil get them. if you dont i will hafto tel you what thar is in them when i get home. we have had a pretty hard time since i got back. it has ben so confounded hot that i giv out thre times a marching around the cuntry but after a days rest i am rite agane. but they dont get me to march anymore this hot wether for i cant standit nor i wont nethar. but i think that we will stay here this summer to gard this plase. i hope so anyhow. our camp is on the bank of the missisippy river in a peach orchard about one mil from the sitty. a very plesent plas for a camp. the peaches is gest geting ripe. thar is about 1 hundred trees and they al hang full so we wil not starve for frute as long as thay last. we got here last monday and i have not ben to sitty yet and i dont wanto until we get some new close. i had to put a big patch on the back part of mi pants to ceep from showing mi bare skin drawers. the capt could not find a patch so he had to let them go as they was. i wish that i had let mine go so to for it makes a good ventillaton. it gives the are[air] a better chance to get in and out you now. we wil get some new clos to day or tomorrow and then i wantto as go up and see the town and then i wil write and tel you about it. i can see acrost the river in to arcansaw a rebel state yet whar al the sitesons[citizens] that will not take the oath of allegents to the united states hafto go dubel quick. we have plenty to eat here whitch we did not have al the time before. one day we would have plenty and the next nothing. some times we could by corn bread of the nigers and that had no salt or anything else out mark[?] in it. but i am alive and well yet exsept the diare once in a while. fred is not very well now or has not ben since i got here. he is geting better now. the rest of the boys are al runing around. James miers has not got here yet nor any of the other boys that went home sick but mi self. but we are exspecting them every day. we thot that we would find them here when we got here but they are not here yet. we have not ben paid yet but the pay master has commenst paing of our brigade to day and i think that we wil get paid the forpart of next week and then i wil send it to you by exspress. you wil find it at the exspress agents in defiance. we was cold[called] out last knight in a hurry i tel you we got in to line and was started of on dubel quick time. we did not no whar we was agointo until we got thar whith was down the road apeace to whare the artilery men war incampt. alot of them had got drunk and got into a fight. we tock six of them to the gard house and let the rest of them go. it has ben very quiet thar ever since.
i did not exspect to get a letter from you until i got here for i had told you in mi first letter that i roat after i got to the regement to send your letters to this place. i will forgive you for al you have sead and more to. i do not car mutch what you say if you and the baby ar wel and have plenty to eat and drink so rite just what you think and then i wil now how you feal. the letters wil go more regalar now from this plase. i ges that as sone as you can you ma get yours and the babes likness taking and send it to me in a letter so that i can hav somthink to loock at. wal i hafto stop and get dinner for the captin so good by. give mi respects to al the folks and freinds. write al the news. direct your letter as you did the last one. keep up your corrage and you wil oblig your affectionate and ever true husband
John E. Richardson
ps the next time you go to town go to John Wilson and ask him if thar is som money thar for solgers famales. if thar is get al you can. good by. remember J.E.R.

 


LETTER 14


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Memphis July 30 1862

Dear wife
i received your letter of the 20 last monday and wood ov answard it yesterday but i had to help the cap make out the pay rools. i was very glad to here from you. i got your letter of the 16 and answard it the next day. i sopoes you have got it by this time. i gess that our letters will go and cum now al rite from this plase. we have got our new close but i have not ben up town yet. i am agointo wate until we are paid whitch will be tomorrow or the next day for sertin and if i get paid for 4 months i will send you 40 dollars by exspress so that you will get it next weack. i want you should pay that not[note] of Abner moons and dick mansfield and pay sam ice some. the rest you ma use as you think best but dont get anything that you can do without for i want to save anuf to take us to yorke state as sone as the war is over. but i do not exspect that you will be able to save mutch this time. it has ben so long since i have sent you any. i sopoes that you will want some new close and the rest of the folks to but i dont beleave in dressing as well as the nabors who are worth one hundred dollars to our one and pay for what you get as long as the monney lasts but i will not say anything mor about it for i think you wil do as ner rite as you can aneway. i have had to borrow some monney whitch i wil haf to pay and i want to get some check shirts. the shirts that i hav are to warm for this part of creation. so i wl ceep 12 dollars and that wil be little anuf to last until next pay day. but never mind. i will get along some how. i always have sofar. i am sorry to her that you have the head ache somutch. thar is a kind of medison her that stops the head ache cald the king of pane. if you can find any of it thar you had better try a bottle of it. it cost one dollar a bottle her. i find from annas letter that thar is some prosspect of getting some monney from thar bi goin after it. i do not no whether it wil pay or not. we wil have to find out before we start but i gess we will not go before we get started. when you rite to anna tel her to rite somthing about the children humphery mother and hiram seth and jameses adress. i want to write to them and if they have herd any more from that land warent and how mutch she thinks i can get for mi shar of the old farm and mi respects and luv to al. i beleave thar is 7 dollars due on that watch and if he can sel it for 20 dollars or traid i am wilin. what was that about fred and wheler bein dady?
i am well and harty and hope this will find you the same. exscuse al misstakes and oblige your affectionate
John E Richardson
Rosetty Richardson
(write sone)

ps kiss the baby and do the best you can and think that it is al for the best. it is raning here today. rite al the news. good by for a few days. J.E.R.

 


LETTER 15


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Madride August 12 1862

Mi Dear Wife
it is with pleasure that i seat myself to inform you that i am alive and well and hope this will find you the same. i got her last Saturday morning about sunrise[?]. thay ware al abed exsept umph[?]. he had started for the coust. wal thay was al very glad to see me. mother is her and is al well as can be exspected and i dont know but she wil cum hom with me. brother seth came the sam day about noon and i went home with him and Jake[?] and his wife. Hiram and his wife have gon to vernion[?] but look for him back every day. yesterday me and seth went out to canton and made a few short visits and i got back her today safe and sound and would be well satesfied if you and fuf[?] was her. than al want to see you. umph[?] says that thay got some of the most blesed leters from you that thay ever got from anney bodey. i shal start home about the 25 if the boys get redy to go with me and if they dont i shal cum anneyhow. wal rosey dear paper is very scarse and charley is wating to take this to town so good by for the present. thay al send thar luve to you. so good by
John E. Richardson

 


LETTER 16


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August 17th 1862

My Dear Husband

I received your’s of the 30th last thursday and Father went down last fryday. they told him the money came in the 11th and he was down the same day & it had not come there but he got it a fryday. he seen Cal in town and he asked if you had sent any money and Father told him no. I expect he wanted some but there is other places needs to be paid worse than Cal. Father has gone to hen Flar’s today to pay off that note of Ab Moons and we are going to town this week. Then I will get our Likeness’s taken if our baby will sit still. that is the reason I did not write sooner. I wanted to wait until I could send our Likeness to you. Father seen Luke Meyers. he said that you owed him a little over 15 Dollars [inserted by JER: i owed luke meyers seven dollars and interest. i dont think that it wod make 15 dollars.] and he had just sold the watch a few days before for 15 dollars. he said we could get it again for the same but I guess we dont want it do we. we are all well but Our Baby is most awful cross this week. She creeps backward. the Baby & I went over to Ann Flary’s last Sunday in the afternoon and stayed all night. The next day Ann and I went to Skiver’s. then she came home with us and stayed all night. Bill Wheeler came home from Toledo last Fryday but they sent for him yesterday so I expect they had to go some other place. they are getting up a Dutch company in Defiance. John Dow has enlisted in it. Cal has not enlisted but he says he expects he will be Drafted and if he is he wants us to move there. then wont we have a great time. we will be thick as six in a bed. I seen in the Democrat that they was going to give Capt. Moats the office of Major for the 111th reg – then I wonder if my man wont get to be Capt or Colonel or something else. Mrs Lee’s sister is out here. you better think her and Zell Howard and I have a great time sending to the office for letters but her man is not in the army. she was married last Spring. Her name is Marguerette Housman. her hoops are kind ov large. now about Bill Wheeler & Fred. Johnnie said they was talking over Skive’s about it. Gus Skiver & Gus Warren & some others & they said that some folks said Bill Wheeler was Dady to Josephine’s Baby & some said that Fred was. we have had green corn today. we had watermelon. it wasent very ripe. I eat one peice for you but I dont know how you will go to work to get it. down to town we have to take postage stamps for change. some ten cent stamps & some 20 & so on. Write soone & tell me how many clothese you got & what kind they are. granny says she would like to see you. so we all would. Our baby can holler like an indian. from your ever true wife
Rosetta R.
J.E.R.
Mother put the Babies finger in ink and put i on here so you could see it. [inserted by JER: i wood rather see the finger than the mark.]

I send this half sheet to you

[reply written on the same letter]

Fort pickern Agust 26 1862

Mi Deare wife i receieved your letter yesterday and was very glad to here from you. i should off answard it lastnight but thar was about 15 boys came to the 48 and 7 for our company and i forgot it. well i was glad to get your likenesses. thay look rathar white and i gess that ophelia did not set very stil from the looke of her feet and your hand. it was bent dubble but i strten it out and it wil do as well as any here for i have no plase to keep it only in mi coat pocket unles i get a case for it. i ges that i wil wate and get a better one when i get home whitch i think will be this fall or winter for the rebels cannot stand it mutch longer. it is imposable for if it was not so hot we could whip them now and they know it to and in one months time we will have six hundred thousand fresh tropes and then we can drive into the gulf with out stoping. you roat about the capt being magar of the 111 reg. we had heard of it before. we told him he mite go if he wood take the copeney for body gard and if he went without he had better make his will. he is not sertin that he is appointted yet but we dont think thate he wil go if he gets the appontment for he can get that office here in a few weaks. for mi part i do not exspect to get hier than a sergent. perhaps ordley. mi helth is pretty good. it wod be better if it was not for the diare. i got some brandy and som black bery roots cinamon and cloves and since i commenst drinking that i have felt better. we get up at five oclock in the morning and dril about one hour. then we have nothing to do but take our turns standing gard until five or six oclock. then we drill a little while and have dress perraid. our peaches are al gon. a large watter melion sels here for one dollar. you last letter is the best yet. mebey i would like to her a little more news and have them a little longer and have them cum a little oftener. i will send it home for a sampel. wal i ges that wil do for this time. well good by. mi luv to al. this is from your affectinate husban
John E Richardson Rosetty Richardson
i hope that cal wont hafto go to ware for i dont want you to leave where you are unless henry wants you to but do what you think best but i dont think it wil pay to move to cals. J.E.R.
i wil send you mi commishin for safe keeping J.E.R

 


LETTER 17


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Camp pickern August 18 1862

Deare wife i received your letter to day and was very glad to here from you and that you and the baby was well. i am well and harty exsept i had the fefor one day and the disentary too or there times in the last three weaks. thar has onley one man died in our reg since we left mosco and thar is none very sick exsept the lieutenant cornel. that mans name was John M Sewell in stead of John Wilson. he is the sheriff and has monney thar for solgers wives and you have a rite to a share of it. some of them got as high 10 dollars last fal and i onley got one sack of flower. i roat you a letter i think on the 30th of July and on the 3 of augest. i sent 40 dollars by exspres whitch i sopos you have got by this time. if not you wil find the monney at John Arrowsmiths offis. i am glad that i enlisted when i did for if i had not i should have don it now before i was drafted and i am ust to it now and the probability is that we will stay here as long as the ware last. they are building a brestwork her about eight feet high and the ditch is five feet deep. that makes 13 feet for the rebels to clime almost strat up while we stand on the other side and tel them to go back but i dont think they wil ever try to clime it. thar is about 80 acors[acres] insid of the brest works and we have some cannons here that i can almost cral into. there is about four thousand nigers her at work on the brest works and working for us. we are to have 65 negros to every regement to cook and driv team so al we have to do is to gard them and eat our grub and dril about two ours a day. i am one of the collor[color] gards at present. A Conroad [Lt. Aquilla Conrad] has rezind and gon home and when virg apoints aseckont lieutenant i wil be a sergent. mi wagges wil be 17 dollars per month whitch wil be a little beter than at present. i was up in town the other day but it was so hot and i did not feal very well and so i bought som shirts and came back as sone as i could. i never did car anything about sutch a large plase whare i was not a quated[acquainted]. it is a very larg plase bilt of brick and ston and hot enuf on the side walk to bake potatoes the day i was thar. James Miers got here about one weak ago. he was stoped at St Lewis aspel and then came on her. you no that i have a very poor way of shoing mi felings when i feal bad. it is cosed[caused] bi beleaving that what is to be wil be. sometimes i feal wors than others but i dont no as i shoit any mor. so when i heard that James was sick with the fefor i exspected that the next news would be that he was ded. wel he has gon. I would like to have sean him once more. i beleave that he is better of than thoes that are left behind and i beleave that we shal meat agane. wel tatto is beat and i shal haf to put out mi light. i have borded with the capt sins i got back this time. i wil rite to Seth to morrow. give mi luve to al. the baby in pirtickler. O but i should like to se you both and i think i wil before winter. rite al the news and write as sone as you get this and you wil oblige your affectionate husban
John E Richardson
to Rosety Richardson

 


LETTER 18


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Foart Pickerin Sept 6 1862

Mi Dear wife
with pleasure i take pen in hand to inform you that i am wel as common but i do not no what to think about you. i have not had a letter or heard from you for a long time. some times i think your letters dont cum but the rest of the boys get letters the same as before. then i think perhaps you are sick or the baby or something. i do not no what to think. if you new how mutch good it dos me to get a letter from you you woould write a letter or get somboddy else to write once a weake at least. if the folks at home could see the boys collect around when the male cums in and see thare faces when they get no letters thay would write immediatley. if i can her that you and the baby ar wel i can standit. if you ar sick i wantto no it but now i do not no whether you are sick or well. the male cums every day. i was agoing to get a letter to day sertin but i did not. i begin think that you are getting carless or have forgotten me. pleas write one more letter and let me know what the matter is. if it is not your falt forgive what i have said and i wil not do so anymor. the regement went to the sitty last thursday as provost gard. they wil stay one weak. i am left her in charg of the camp. each camp left three men. i see by the papors that they are having som hard fighting in virginna and ky but i do not think thar is mutch danger of our forces getting beat. i think that battel at washington wil deside the ware. i hope so anhow. have you heard anything mor from anna or the rest of them in the army. i wish i could get a letter every day from sombody but i cant. if i can get one from you once a weake i wil be satisfide. the boys are al able for duty. i wil send you some seeds that i got her. they are cald[called] mountin sprouts. ceep them for me. good by. write and you wil oblige your affectionate but lonsom husband
John E Richardson
Rosetty Richardson

 


LETTER 19


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Foart Picern wensday Sept 10 1862

Dear wife
I received your letter day befor yesterday and was very glad to here that you was al well. i was getting to be very uneasy about you as i had not heard from you for sometime so last saterday i roat you a letter in whitch i sead some things that i wish i had not but it cannot be helpt now. forgive me this time and i wil do so no more if i can help it. i am wel as usal. i have the diare every few days but not very bad. not ner as bad as i had it at home. i think it is leaving me by degrees. i hope so anyhow. the boys are al well but bil edwards he is groning and grunting around her as tho he was the worst geust[?] man in the compney. wal i sopoes he ant very well but he makes so mutch fus about it that i cannot bar[bare] him. he wont go to the doctter and i wont exscuse him from duty for you no that i am boss here while the capt is in town. thay are cuming back tomorrow and i am glad of it for it wil take some trubel of from mi hands. that letter that you sent me of annas i let virg [Virgil Moats] send it to his wife and told him to tel her to put it in an envellop and send it to you. i thot perhaps she would be glad to here from the folke in york state and would writ a few lines to you but it appers she is to lasy or else she dont wanto. i think that she mite have written a word or to to let you know whare it cum from and i shal tel her so the next time i see her which i hope wont be long. we al think down her that this ware wil be over this faul if not souner. amen. I roat a letter to brother Jeulieus[Julius] some time ago but have received no answar yet. have you heard anything from anna lately? if you hav let me no it. the news this morning is the rebels have got baltmore and are within six miles of washington. wal if that is tru the rebels are not as ner whipt as i thot thay was but it wil be thar deth blow. if thay get a crost the line whitch i see by the paors they have crost the ohio in thre or 4 plases. i hope the next news that we get we be that thay ar al kild or driven into the ohio river. i sopoes the pepol in ohio are getting exscited by this time. wal thay ought to be. if they had cum out two months ago it mite hav ben al over by this time. wal they have not got this plase yet. we heard that they was agoingto take it five or six times but they have not got men anuf to take it. the wether is collar[cooler] than it was when we cum her but it is getting pretty warm to day. i cannot think of anything mor to writ at present. i am wel and hope this wil find you al wel. the baby i wod like to sepank her. wod you let me if i was thar? i exspect not. wal rite as sone as you get this. rite al the news. what have you don with al that monney? i ges i wil send you som mor next weak. send me a defiance papor once in a while. i wil send you two memphis papors to day. wal good by for the present. rite son and you wil oblige your affectionate husban
John E Richardson to
Rosetty Richardson

 


LETTER 20


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Fort Pickern Sept 29th 1862

I received your letter of the 19th inst yesterday and was glad to here that you was al well. i am sorry to here that you have the headache so mutch. i have had it som this summer so i know how it feals and can feal for you. i think perhaps it is cosed[caused] by ophelias nursing. i beleav i would lern her to eat mor and nurs les and i would not carrey her mutch if i could help it. she must be getting pretty hevey by this time. almost big anuf to run alon. i wish that i was thar to help you take car of her. i am getting very tird of staing her and doing nothing. the prospect was a few days ago that the war would sone be over but it looks diferant now. but stil i dont disspar of getting home this faull or winter and mabby within two or thre weaks. ther was a sad surcumstance haptend her this morning. thar is two brothers in our comney by the name of doud [Edward and William Doud] and one of them has ben geting crasy for a few days past and last knight he got so bad he puld his shirt and pants of and we had to put them on by main forse and wach him al knight. this morning he appeard to be better and they got kind a carles. his brother was laing on the bead and before thay could stop him he grabed a gun and run the bayonet thru his brothers arm and in to his side. i first thot it wod kill him but the docter thinks he wil get well. they think of sending the crasy man to washington and if they do i wil go with him and then i wil have a chance to cum and take supper with you. perhaps stay al knight. but i dont mutch exspect that they wil send him. i wish they wud dont you? if they dont send us of thar is a plase vacant in the quartermaster department that i can get. i think if i get that plase i wil have $20.50 a month and wont haf to stand gard. al i would hafe to do would be to give the men thare rasons[rations] once in ten days and thar beaf and ise every day. James miers is wel and so is fred and al the rest of the boys exsepting a little fevor and agu and thoes two boys i spoke of. we have not ben paid yet but ar exspectting it every day. i cant send you so much monney this time as i did before becos i want to get me a par of boots whitch wil cost six dollars here and fred wants i should pay him som this time. but i wil send you some the same way i did before and it wil not be long until next pay day. Thar was so menney new regiments to pay of is the reson he is behind now. i got a letter from James the other day. i wil send it to you. i roat a letter to cirrintha and the capt wife the other day and gave them fits. i told them if they had forgoten you they must forget me also. i dont now wether they wil answer it or not. i dont much car nether. i think that mis hal had aut to be asshamed of herself dont you? but dont tel her that i sead so. when you rite rite alabout the crops and catel. how much wheat are you soing this fall. how meney black salts have you maid and every thing you can think of. i wil send you a papar the last of this weak. send me the defiance republican papar if you ples and ceep up your corage and take good car of your self and baby. wel good by from your affectionate husband
John E Richardson
Rosetty Richardson

 


LETTER 21


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Forte Pickirn oct 4 1862

My Dear wife i received your kind and patriottic letter last knight and was very glad to here from you. i am sorry you are unwel and hope when you get this that you will be well and harty as i am at present. i am glad to see that you ceep up your corrage like a brave woman as i beleave you ar a little braver than some of the men thar at home that have to be drafted. i find that thar is but one man to be drafted in our township. i am glad of that and i hope that somboddy wil enlist from thar before thay cummons which i sopoes thay did last wensday. thar has ben some exsitement here for a few days past about the southern contheveracy proposing terms of pees. wal al i have got to say is i wish that they would for i have had al the fighting that i want for a few years annehow. it seams to me thay cant standit much longer. i have ben down the river 22 miles since we have ben here after a boat load of cane to put on the in side of the brestworks. it rand part of the time. other ways we had a very pleasent trip. i hav just ben to dinner. i wil tel what we had if i can. let me see. thar was coffee and cold watter ham and beef bread and butter potatoes and sweat potatoes onions peeas strawbers oysters sardens and tomato kechup. pretty nise dinner i think dont you? it did not cost me any thing. i send you two kindes of watter melions seads and the other was persimons seads. wal rosy somehow i dont feal like riting today. i cant think of any thing to rite. i wil tri and do better next time. kiss the baby for me and take car of your self. mi luv to al the friends. good by from your affectionate husband
John E Richardson
Rosetty Richardson

 


LETTER 22


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Fort Pickern Octtober 14th 1862

Mi Dear wife it is with pleasure i take mi pen in hand to answer thoes few lines that you sent in the papor which i got to day. i was very glad to here from you. glad to here that you and the rest of the folks are al well and i was glad to get the papor and if it had of ben a weak lator i would of ben glader yet. but i sopoes the next one was not printed when you got it. pleas dont send anymore letters in papors for if the postmaster had opend that paor which he had a rite to do he could of fined me fifty dollars and put me whare the dog could not bite me for one year. now i dont think you would like to have me go thar. it was a narrow isscape for me but i sopoes you did not know the law. wal you ma scold me as much as you hav a mind to as long as i can here that you and the baby and the rest ar well and have a plenty to eat. i am satesfied but i ges you did not scold much did you? if you i did not her you. i hav ritten once a weak for the last month i think and sent three papors but the mal is not as reglar now as it was at first. your letter was ten days coming and thay ust to cum in five days and i sopoes that mine are as long agoing if not longer. wal we wil try and ceep oneanother posted as often as we can. wal about that letter i roat to cerintha. verg had ben at me a long time to rite to them and so i roat and cinth answard it and i read the letter al through and found that she did not rite anything about you and it maid me alitle mad so i roat back that if she had forgoton you she must forget me also. i gess she has for i hav not heard from them since. if you had sean the last letter i roat to her i dont think you would of ben Seasons[?] and i dont beleav you was. wal i did not get to go to washington with henry doud for he is here yet. the doctter wans to ceep him here to practtis on and he is geting nobetter very fast and his brother is not any better. i think that thay wil stand por chance of getting wel her. the fact is we have got one of the meenist doctters that i no of. he is the one that got tacen prisner at shilo. he got back hear about to months ago and has ben actting as mean as he can ever sence. this morning the capt went up thar to rite a letter for edwin doud and the doctter ordrd him not to speek to him and thay had a high old time for a spel. you had better beleve i have not ben thar for medison since he got back or ant agointo if i can help it. mi helth is better now than it was when i was at home and i mean to be carful and ceep so. i went up in town last weak and got shaved and mi har cut for the first time. the boys did not no me when i got back to camp. we have not ben paid yet and i am afraid we wont be befor the middle of next month. i am sory for i sopose you nead some monney pretty bad by this time. you must get along the best you can and i wil send you some as son as i get it. the boys in our compney ar al able to beararms exsept the two douds. i was promoted to a sergents posishon last weak but dont tel anybody for i hardly belev it miself it has ben so long acuming. wal rosy i cant think of anything mor to rite so good by until the next letter. give mi luve to al. rite al the news and rite as often as you can and kiss the baby and you will oblige your affectionate husband
John E Richardson
Rosetty Richardson
rite what you ar a mind to to anna
ps. i wil send you some mor seeds. the name of them is vera. thay ar for greans and to be planted the first of april. good by. J.E.R.

 


LETTER 23


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Fort pickern Nov 1 1862

Mi Dear wife
once more i take mi pen in hand to scribel a few lines to you to let you know that i am not dead yet but am able to be around and eat a little. i hav not heard from you since the 4th of last month. it seams as long agane i am afraid that some of you ar sick but then som of the rest mite rite or if you ar al sick get some of the nabors to rite. i hav ritten twise sence i got your last and it seams a long time but perhaps i wil get a letter from you the next male. i hope so any how and i hope to her that you are al wel. i hav ben having the fefor and ague for a few days past. i exspect you wil think that i was foolish but i could not help it. i wil tel you how it was. a weak ago last wensday about 200 of us went up the river 60 miles on a scouting expedision. we got on the boat here about 4 oclock in the afternoon and got to the plase about eight the next morning. we formed in line and marchet up the bank which is about three hundred feet high at that plase exspecting to here the bullets flying about our heads every minit. wal we got to the top of the bank at last and found a man on horseback with a dubel barel shot gun and a woman on behind him and they was al the rebels that we could find within thre miles of that plase that had arms in their posesion. we hunted around until after noon when the boys commenst kiling hoags and sheep. some of the boys got some chicken and thar was thre or four beaf catel kild and brot on the boat. wal we started back that after noon about five oclock and got to memfis about 9 oclock. it had commenst geting cold before dark and it cept geting colder al the time. thar was something brok about the ingine so the boat could not go down to our camp which is a mile and a half below memfis. so we had our chois to sta on the boat and frees or cum to camp in the dark. wal thar was about half of us concluded to cum to camp and the rest staid with the pork and mutten. O but the wind blowd cold that night. it is al sand her and the way the sand flew that night. well i got mi eyes noes and ears ful. i got to camp at last but was not much better off for it. was cold her to. i went in to the tent and found it was not so cold. also i found that the capt had got mi blanquet. i got that and then i asked him if he had any whiskey. he said he had a little so he drank and handed it to me and said i should drink and giv it to Jack tod. wal Jack did not get mor than a smell out of that flask. i went to bead at last and coverd up mi head and went to sleap exspecting every minit that the wind wood blow the tent over. but in the morning it was al saf but every thing was al sand and the wind cept blowing and in the after noon it commenst snowing and cept at it until after dark and sunday i tock the ague but i have got it brok now but the docter salemated[?] me and mi mouth is so soar that i can hardly eat anything or speak the truth. but it dont hender me from riting the truth. i have got mi boots. old man doud cam down after his boys and brot them. he started back last weak with both of them and we hav not heard whether he got hom with them both alive or not. but i hope so. i got a letter from cerintha and i wil send it to you. when i was riting to her the first time virg had a likenes of his cosin in sinsinnatti and he was shoing it to capt ros and se it was his lades. i told cinth to tel eliza [Moats' wife] and tel her to send me hers so i could cum up with him. she sad that she gest she wood but it has not cum yet and i dont think it ever will. i wil stop now for i think i wil get a letter from you in the morning.
Nov 2nd wal the mail has cum but thar was no letter for me. meby i wil get one next time but i begin to feal a goodeal unesy about you. i feal better to day and if i had a letter i woold be al rite. our regement is on provo gard agane in town and i am left in camp agan but i think that i wil go up thar tomorrow. they wil cum back next thursday. we hav got a fiarplase in our tent now so we can ceep warm this winter if we hafto stay her as long as that. virge got a letter from whitney but i have not sean it yet. he has got it up town with him. the 68 have ben in a big fight ner bolaver but i have not heard as anyone got hurt or not. thar is a larg force of rebels collecting at holley springs. som 70 thousand. i beleve thar will be a big battle thar now in a few days and if they get whipt thar they wil have to cum this way and then we wil have to take them for they cant take this plase nohow they can fixit. we have got to menney big guns. they ma take the sitty but we can and wil burn it first so it wil not do them much good. wal i sopoes you would like to have some monney by this time. i whish i had som to send to you but i havent a red cent to mi name. i dont no what has becum of our paymaster. we cant her anything from him. i have four months pay due me now and if you had it now you mite save something by it for i here that sutch things as you wil hav to buy ar getting pretty high. i se that salt is three dollars a barrel and i sopose that other things ar in proportion. well you must get along the best you can and i will send you sum as sone as i get it. mi wages ar seventeen dollars a month now in sted of thirteen and i dont hav as much work to do which makes a diferance both ways. you ar a sargents wife now but dont let it make you feal proud be cos i mit be reduced to the ranks as george laser was but i dont think thar is much danger as long as i behav mi self and you know that i always do that. thar is agointo be a good deal of promoting don before long and i think our capt wil be major. if he dos i wil stand a pretty good chance to be ordley sergent. then mi wages wil be twenty one dollars and fifty cents a month which wil make another diferance. but thar wood be a good deal mor work to do. wel rosy i cant think of anything mor to rite but i want you to rite me a good long letter. rite al the news. what is that about old bets stup. i heard that she had seven babes and that they al had four legs and a long tale apeas. how many acors of wheat hav you put in and how dos it look? how is the corn and potatoes and whar do you think of moving to? how is uncle Jes and aunt Sarah? have they got any babes yet and if so how meney? hav you found them hogs of yours yet? how ar them hefers geting along? and i belev that is al. stop, thar is the baby. i came very ner forgetting her. i sopoes that she is getting larg anuf to be a good deal of help or bother. which is it? well giv mi luv to al. rite son as you get this and you wil oblige your affectionate husban
John E Richardson
Rosetty Richardson

 


LETTER 24


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Fort Pickern Nov 10th 1862

Mi Dear wife
agane i grab mi pen to scribel a few lines to inform you that i am alive and well and hope that theas few lines wil find you the same. i got the paper you sent last friday and your letter yesterday. i was somewhat surprised when i got the letter in the paper but your letter exspland it satesfacterley. wal thar is no harm don but thar is no teling what mit of happend if the postmaster had of opend it. i new that if you had of known thar was any harm in doing it you woodent of don it. i am sorey to her that father is sick and hope that he is well by this time. we ar al liable to be taken sick at aney time and i think that you and the rest hav esscaped wonderfuley this year. i am sorey that you ar out of money. i sopoes you thot that you get some mor from me and i sertenley exspected to be able to send you some long before this time but i hav about given up loocking for the paymaster for he has not ben here yet and that is not the worst of it. we cant her whether he is cuming. i dont beleve that thar is ten dollars in the regiment. we have 4 months pay due us now and ten days over. if i could borrow som i woould but i cant. thar is non to be had. i dont know how you wil get along but if father gets wel agane you wil get along som how i ges. thar is a rumer that the paymaster wil be her on the 15th of this month but i shant beleav it until i see him but i hope that he wil cum sone for i need som money pretty bad and you need som worse than i do i spoes. i want you to get your self a dubel shall when you do get som monney for i know that you need one. get a good one and get a good par of shoes so you can keep your feat warm and dry this winter. if i had of thot of that overcoat a month ago i would of had you sent it to me but by the time it could get her we wil hav new ones and then it mite get lost cuming and i hav som ten dollars cuming to me from last years clothing acount. but i wil tel you ma send if youv mind to. som of the boys frends in muderick and brunersburg ar agoin to send som things down her about newyears and if you hav any butter to spar or eggs i wood be very thankful for them. butter is worth 40 cents a pound her but it is good strong butter. perhaps cal has mor peach butter than he can use. fred speaker got a can of apel butter and one of peach butter. the capt got a lot of butter and a lot of huney. the capt bords with me and Jack too so we liv pretty high som times. i maid a bedstead last weak for me and verg. we put our blanquets together and slep as warm as pigs in the straw. we ar having very pleasant wether now sence that snow storm the particulars of which i roat to you in mi last letter i sopoes you have got by this time. thar is agoin to som fun at or neer holley spring this weak. thar is five or six regiments leves her in the morning but the 48 has to sta here and stand gard. it is a wonder for we always had to go ahead if thar was any thing to do. wal i beleave i had about aslive[as leave] stay her as to tramp away out thar. i hav ben thar once. we had our forth of July dinner at that plase last summer and sutch a dinner. i think i roat you an acont of it at the time. the cornel comes in to our tent most every night. he is her now teling his long stoes. he is a joley old fellow.
Nov 11th i did not get mi letter finished last knight but wil tri and do so now. i burnt mi thum last weak so i cant rite very fast. i shod of ritten last weak if it not ben for that. the cornel sad last night that he beleaved this war wil be over by the first of next march if not sonner. i hope that he wil prov a true profit for i am getting very tiard of this way of doing buisenes. it takes so long to do so little i beleve that i could of drove the rebels into the last ditch long before this time if i had a chance. wal i sopes that if it is not al rite it wil al be maid rite in the spring when the cows cum in. by the way how do our hefers look this fall and hov you got fead anuf for them this winter? whar is that plase that you have rented? i have forgotten whar dan howard lived. how much land is thar cleard and how much is thar altogether? if it is good land i beleve that i would rent it for five years and then buy it if it is to be sold then.
so ophelia cant walk yet. i exspect that she was runing al around the hous by this time. she can talk cant she and sing? i hav got a new song her i wil send it to you. i think that i shal like it. the capt has ben singing it for the last weak day and night. tel juliet that i had red that peas that she sent but i thank her al the same and i wil one back to her. i hav not got any mor seads now but meby i wil get som the next time we goout on picket.
wal i cant think of any thing mor to rite so good by. giv mi luv to al. rite as often as you can and you wil oblige your
affectionate husband
John E Richardson
Rosetta Richardson

 


LETTER 25


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Fort Pickern Nov 16th 1862

Mi Dear Wife
With pleasure i take mi pen in hand to rite you a few lines to let you know that i am well and harty and hope that when you get this letter you wil be the same. it has ben mor than a weak sence i received a letter from you but i exspect one to day or to morrow so i thot i wood commense a letter to day. we hav ben drawing som new cloes for winter. i got a new overcoat but i dont think that it is as good as mi old one. however it wil do for this winter. i am pretty wal of [well off] now for winter cloas. i hav got an overcoat blous two par of pants two par of drawers 4 shirts two par of socks one par of boats and 2 caps and if i had a par of gluves i would be al rite side up with car[care] but i dont think it is agoing to be very cold her this winter exsept bi spels and we may not stay her this winter. we ar under orders to hold ourselves in redines[readiness] to move and hav ben for a long time so i am not much concernd about leving her this winter unles it is to cum home which i should not wonder if we did before spring. the rebels ar al leving this state and we ma havto follow them but i think that they wil send the new regements if anney and let the old ones stay her. James miers is not verry well. he has ben having the fefor and ague for two or thre days. i think he wil get over it in a few days. we hav had very pleasant wether ever since that snowstorm that roat to you about some time ago. i tel you what. that was a snorter. it maid a fellow think of plesant fiersids and pleasant fases at home in the chimney corner.
Nov 17th
the male has cum but i did not get a letter. i exsict it wil cum to morrow. if it dosnot i wil send this and wate until it dos cum. thar was a boat sunk last weak that had a mail on board and i begin to think perhaps that mi letter was on that boat and got lost. wal i wil probley get one somtime this weak and then i know al about it but in the men time i cant help feling somwhat ancious about you and the rest. if father should continue to be sick i dont know how you will get along for i cant help you anney until we ar paid off and i dont know when that wil be. thar is one thing sertin. they cant keep us her much longer without paying us for we will al leav together. but i think the paymaster wil sertinley be her befor long for i shoud hate to have the name of leving the army becos i was not paid. som folks would say that i enlisted for monney and they would not be far from the truth for i sertinley did exspect mi wages to be paid every 2 months as they promest. if i had known that we would not of ben paid for six months at a time i dont think that i should enlisted but it is now use crying for spilt milk. we wil do the best we can for the present and hope for better times in the futur. thatis live in hope if we dy in dispar. if i ceep mi helth i wil get along well anuf altho i confes i had rather be at home with you and ophelia. the capt thinks that i loock at your liknes most to often but i tel him that he is gelious[jealous] becos he has got non to loock at. wal one year has gon out of the three that i enlisted for and if the ware is not over befor that time thay cant keep me any longer. the time roles around pretty fast and wil son be gon altho i exspect the last six months wil be longer than the first but i dont think it last longer than next spring at the fatherst. it is not posable.
Nov 20th well rosa i hav not sent mi letter yet nether hav i received one from you. the reson i did not send it was this. i was on gard day before yesterday and yesterday i was so sleppy that i could not rite very wel. besides i thot i should get a letter to day sertin but i was disapointed. wal the capt has not had a letter from home senc. i had one from you that is some consolation anyhow but stil i am a fraid that you ar sick or somthing is the matter. i shal be unesey about you until i get a letter from you. i had the diaree yesterday but it dont trubble me any today. James miers is better. the worst diseas we have her is soar eyes. some of the boys hav them pretty bad. i ges that i will not hav them for i think i had mi turn last winter at camp deneson. thar has ben sum changes maid her in this division of the army. we ar the first regiment first brigade and first division so you see that we ar at the top of the heap and i exspect that we wil get to stay her. wal rosa i cant think of anything mor to rite to you this time and wil try and do better next time. rite al the news. i her that potatoes ar 15 cents per bushel. how meney did you hav? i hope that you wont have to buy any. how much corn did you hav and how menney hoggs have you got and what prosspect is thar for living this winter? have you feead plenty for the catel and how do they loock now? i want to know albout every think that is agoing on. perhaps you wil think that i am selfish. perhaps i am but it seams to me that i would be better satesfide if i knew that you was. wal good by. rite son. direct as befor. your affectionate husband
John E Richardson Rosetty Richardson
ps. i gest heard that general sherman wont let aney mor boats go up the river for the present so i dont know when you wil get this letter. you wil find thre stamps and a i dontknowwhatyoucolit inside. good by kiss the baby for me
J.E.R. to R. 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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6/11/2004