The Civil War Letters of John E. Richardson
December 1862 - January 1863
"now rosa dont be scart. be a brave little womman. we have got marching orders agane."
John E. Richardson
"Another expedition was now organized, under Gen. Sherman, for Vicksburg, to proceed by boats down the Mississippi river. As we were not yet assigned to any Division, we had concluded that we would spend Christmas at Memphis, and had written home to that effect. But on the 19th of December Lieut. Col. Parker made a request of Gen. Hurlbut, Commander of the Post, to have the Regiment relieved of garrison duty, so as to join the expedition. Such requests are always granted, and on the following day we were ordered on board the steamer "City of Alton." ...
During Saturday the troops embarked on the boats. That night they were paid two months' pay, and on Sunday, Dec. 21st, 1862, the Division left at 2 P. M. Memphis, where we had spent the last five months, was soon lost to view."
John A. Bering & Thomas Montgomery, 1880
CLICK ON THE PAGE IMAGES ABOVE TO VIEW THE ACTUAL LETTER
December the 19th 1862
Mi Dear wife it is with pleasure i take mi pen in hand to rite you a few lines to let you know that i am wel and in the land of the living yet. i received your letter of the 9th to day and was very glad to her that you was well. good helth is one of the grates blesings that we have. now rosa dont be scart. be a brave little womman. we have got marching orders agane. they came about 15 minits ago. we are to get redey immediatley to go down the river with the fleat bound for vicksburg but i dont beleve that we wil start before tomorrow night. thay have ben preparing al this weake to start and we thot that thay was agoing to leave the 48th her but it appears they cant get along without the 48th. i dont know wether i wil have to go or not. i should like to go very wel if it was any other time of the year but i wil know before i finish this letter. i sind the payroles last knight for 2 months pay which we wil get to morning and thay promest to pay us the balenc in two weaks. i hope they wil ceep thear promesses. anyhow i had much rather stay her on one acount and that is i am getting biger wages her but it wont make as much difernes as i thot it would at first for i have gest hear that we are to ocapi[occupy] the same posishion thar that we do here. i hope so anyhow for i can make about twenty seven or eight dollars per month besides mi board and clothing and if it was not for bein away from home i should like to work for them wages about one year. i think that i could save anuf monney to by a smal farm somewhar in the woods and live at home the ballence of mi days. i ma have to stay that long yet but i dont beleve it. as you say in your letter i think thar wil be a change for the better the first of January according to the reports from verginna. i beleave that richmond wil be ours befor that time. you nead not be afraid of mi getting hurt becos we wont have to go whar thar is any danger. i see by your letter that you had not got mi two last letters when you roat. i sopoes you have them by this time but for fear you haven’t i wil tel you that i am a sergent in the 48 and wagon master in the inginneer department. i like the plase very wel. i have a good horse to ride and a good house to live in, a good coock to coock for us if she is black as the inside of a stove pipe and a niger to take car of mi horse for me. wal about the tobacho. it is worth two dollars and fifty cents a pound. i wish i could do without it but i find that i cant. i have no drycoat but i hav a blanquet that i got at holley springs last summer. i wil send it with freds things. opelia wants a cristmas gift dos she? if i was thar i would give her one. wal if i have time to go up in town before we go i wil get her somthing. i cant think of half that i want to rite to you so i ges i stop until morning so good night and hapy dreams.
December 20 wal rosa i have not time to rite musth this morning. we got paid last night about 2 oclock and we was on the boat abed and asleap. i have sent you twenty dollars. do the best you can with it. no mor at present. rite son. direct as before and oblige your affectionate husband
John E Richardson
CLICK ON THE PAGE IMAGES ABOVE TO VIEW THE ACTUAL LETTER
January 3 1863
Mi Dear wife it is with pleasure i seat mi self to rite you a few lines to let you know that i am well and harty as ever. i have not heard from you sence i left memphis. i got a letter two or thre days before and answard it but i did not have time to finish it until after i got on the boat and then i could not get on shoar to mail it so i giv it to Jo rath. he was sick and staed in memphis. he was down to the boat on the morning and he said that he would mail it for me. if he did not do it i wil lick him when he gets well. i hope that you have got it. i sent you 20 dollars by exspress the same time. i hop you have got that to. that was on sunday. the next saterday we went up the yaso river about 12 miles and landed and coocked two days rasions and started next morning before day light for vicksburg about eight miles from thar and we have not got thar yet. about day light the cannons begon to roar and i thot that we was agointo get rite into a big fight but we dident. we was cept back for a reserve. wal they cept on fighting. on wensday thay sent the 48 out on picket so you ma ges that i did not have a very hapy new years. when the old year went out and the new one cum in i was laing by the side of an old log triing to sleap but it was so cold and the darnd rebels cept throwing shels down whar we was so i did not sleap much i tel you. wal thar was non of us got hurt but it was the hardest new years that i ever went to. wal we was relevd thursday morning and came back to camp and thot that we would have new years anyhow but we could not get any whiskey so we past it of until[?] the 4th of July. next will have it altogether at home to. wal we was to go on picket agane friday morning but misted[?] our[?] going. we was ordard back on the boats. we started back at two oclock friday morning and got on the boat before day light. i could see vicksburg from whar we was on picket and that is about as clost as i car about getting. i dont know what the reson is for faling back but we ar back on the misissippy at a plase cald milaganes bend and ar orderd of the boat to go in to camp and wate for mor men. i ges i lost mi knapsack and al mi cloes exsept what i had on mi back. i exspect that we wil be paid of now in a few days then i wil have to by me some new shirts and drawers. thar was some got hurt in our compney but fred helmick he got one of his fingers shot of but i beleve that he donit on perpus so that he would not have to go into fight. wal i cant think of any thing mor to rite. i should ov ritten before but this is the first chance that i have had and this is not mor than a half a one. it has ben raning ever sence yester noon. direct your letters to John E Richardson Co F 48 regt ovi in car of Capt V. H. Moats and they wil cum al rite. now i do want to her from you so bad and the baby to and al the rest of you. i lost your likenes. rite al the news and rite sone and oblig your affectionate husband
John E Richardson
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.
Return to the Richardson Letters Page
Return to the 48th OVVI Home Page