The Civil War Letters of John E. Richardson
On To Vicksburg
"April 15th, we received marching orders, and left with the Corps on our way through Louisiana, to the rear of Vicksburg. The troops, as usual on the first day's march in a campaign, loaded themselves down with extra clothing, blankets and surplus baggage. The day proved to be one of those hot, sultry, spring days, with not a ripple of air stirring. At the first halt, knapsacks were unloaded, which process continued all day. By night the army was in light marching order. The line of march had been strewn with abandoned clothing, &c., which the slaves gathered as we passed. We camped near Richmond, La., at sun-down; continued our march the next day and camped in the evening at Holmes' Plantation, Madison Parish."
John A. Bering & Thomas Montgomery, 1880
"i exspect that we wil go to the river some time this weak and cross over but i dont know. a poor privit ant alowed to know whare he is agoin."
John E. Richardson
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Heoms farm La April 19th 1863
i take this opertunity to write you a few lines to inform you that i am well and harty. mi helth has ben very good this winter and spring. a good deal better than i exspected it would be and i hope that this wil find you the same. in mi last letter i told you that i would write as sone as we got to richomond but we onley stad thar over night and cum on to this plase the next day. i should of written day before yesterday but i herd thar was a male cumming out her so i thot i would wate until it cum. wal it cum last knight but thar was no letter for me. i think that i wil get one next time. if not, whi, i wil wate until i do get one. but if i dont get one from you next male i shal begin to feal unesey about you agane. this is the third letter i have sent you sence i got your last but i guess that thay wil cum al in a bunch when thay do cum. wal the mor the better. we had a better time cuming out her than i thot we would. the roads was pretty good oneley in plases where the mud was about two feat deap. the land is very level through her and the futher we get from the river the loer it gets. we ar within ten miles of a plase cold carthage on the mississippy below vicksburg. our men tock carthage last wensday or thursday and the night before thar was seven of our gunn boats and four transports run past vicksburg. so you se we have got them in a pretty tight plase. i dont think thay wil hold out much longer. i exspect that we wil go to the river some time this weak and cross over but i dont know. a poor privit ant alowed to know whare he is agoin. perhaps it is the best way or thar mite be more of them runing off. i wish that thay would hurrey and do up what little fighting thay have to do down her and let us go home befor we get rosted alive. i herd to day that thar had ben a big battle up in tenessee between rosencrans and brag but i dont know how true it is but i hope that brag and al of his men ar kild or tacen prisners and then we wil take vicksburg some time this weak and the war wil cum to a close.
wal rosa dear to day is sunday and i wish that i was at home to go to meeting with you and opelia but it ma be some time before i can have that pleasure. i hope not tho. a few days mor and mi time wil be half gon but i cant think it posable that we wil have to stay our time out. i roat in mi last letter that thar was apretty good chance for me to get a commishion. wal i am pretty serten of it now for i herd last knight that bill smith our first lieutenent had gon to columbus to get his discharge. he has ben gon about three months now. thar is somthing the matter of his throt. he cant talk out loud. while i think of it how is hicksanfords throat? i could of had mi name sent on for promotion befor if i had sad so but it was not mi turn. freds turn cums before mine. i am not serten of a commishion becos i have not got it yet but i think that it wil cum after a while. pleas dont tel annebody that i am exspecting one until i get it. if i do get one i wil try and save anuf money to bie a smal farm for us somwhar. how much do thay want for that plase whar you live now and when do thay want it? perhaps we can get that if you like to live thar. i sent you thirty dollars last weak and i have about twenty more besides about ten dollars worth of tobackeo to sel yet. i got half a pound of brunsons fine cut yesterday for a dollar and sold it for two dollars. how dos them hefers get along? ar they agoing to give milk this summer? i exspect that butter wil fetch a good prise thar this summer. it is worth 50 cents a pound her but it is good strong butter and last agood while. thar is four of us that mess together and a pound wil last us a weak. i sleap with the major of the 48 regt. who do you sealp with? ophelia i exspect. wal i would like to sleap with her to. have you herd from anna latley? i think it is about time for me to get an answer to the one i roat to her and from cal and gess. tel father to plant al the tobaco that he can and if he can get som flax sead rase som of that. wal rosa i must bring this letter to a close. write as often as you can for i like to her from you if i cant see you and write al the news. tel ophelia to be a good girl and mind her mother and i wil fech her a new dres when i cum home maybe[?] in a few days. wal good by for the present. give mi luve to al the frends and tel them al to write to me. write son and you wil oblige your affectionate husband John E Richardson
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Camp Neer Holmes Miles April 25th 1863
Mi Dear wife it is with pleasure i take mi pensel in hand to inform you that i am as well as ever. i received your letter of the 8th yesterday and was very glad to her that you was al well. i got your letter about five oclock yesterday and thought i would answer it last knight but in a few minits after i was don reding it an order came to strike tents and be redey to march immediateley and of corse everything was in confusian in short order. wal we got along very well until the moon went down. after that i cant tel how we got along it was so dark. atenerate[at any rate] we got to this plase about two oclock this morning pretty neer give out but feal alrite now. i exspect we wil get on a boat her to knight or to morrow and go down the mississippy but i dont know. i wil write from the next stoping plase. i exspect the males wil be very erregular from this time on until we get poseshion of vicksburg which wont be long now i hope. our division is held in reserve but we ma get in to a fight but it wil be a chance if we do for we have a very large armmy her now. i am glad you got the monney i sent and hope you wil get the rest that i sent you. that is rite. pay up al the old debts and dont make anney mor new ones that you can help. i wil send you sommor the first good chance i get. i think we wil get paid agane weak after next. as for cal i think that he is very forgetful or else he dont car much what he says. i never got but one letter from him and dont car much whether i got anney mor or not. he was to hal[haul] wood to ashton and wate util i had the monney to spar. i dont think that i owe him 13 dollars yet you can tel by the little book of mine but i wil rite him and tel him if he wil exchang acounts with father it be al rite. if not he can wate until i cum home which i hope wont be long. we ar incampt in a cornfeld. the corn is about nee high or it was but the mules and the horses have cut it down pretty fast. if i had what has ben distroid in som plases down her in one day we would be rich anuf to live without work the ballance of our lives. i would like nothing better than to cum home and see you al but it would be very hard to cum back agane down her and thar is no chance to cum home as i see until the war is over which i confes looks rather distent att present but the old saying is it is always the darkest just before day. thar was a chance to get a furlow for three months but i did not know it in time. thay wanted to get som boats past vicksburg and oferd $200 dollars and three months furlow to anney one that would go. if i had ben thar i should of went. the boats seven in number run the blockade last tuesday night. one got sunk. the rest cum through al right and no lives lost that i have herd of. i saw an allegator the other day about five feet long. it would make a very nise pet for some folks but i dont think that i would like to have them about me.
wal rosa dear i cant think of anney thing mor to write so good by for a few days. take good car of your self and ophelia. for mi sake write al the news and as often as you can and you wil oblige your affectionate husband
John E Richardson
to Rosetta 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.
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