The Civil War Letters of John E. Richardson

September - December 1863

New Orleans & Western Louisiana



"On the 12th of August, Gen. E. O. C. Ord, who had superseded Gen. McClernand in command of the 13th Army Corps during the siege, was ordered to transfer his Corps to New Orleans, which severed our connection with the old 'Army of the Tennessee,' in which we had served since March 6th, 1862."

"Oct. 1st, we received two months' pay and were ordered on a campaign in Western Louisiana... Our principal duty while stationed here, was to furnish guards for the steamboats that took the supplies up Bayou Teche to the army, encamped at New Iberia. The duty was of a very pleasant nature, more especially as the enemy did not molest us."

John A. Bering & Thomas Montgomery, 1880

" i want to get out of this plase [New Orleans] as quick as i can. thar is so much nois her that i cant stand it long. i have sean a grate manney pretty things her that i would like to send to you if i had the monney to buy them with."

John E. Richardson

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



Carrolton la Sept 7th 1863

Mi Dear wife
It is with pleasure i seat miself to answer your kind letter of the 14th of last month and i was very glad to her from you. it had ben so long since i had herd from you that i was afraid you was al sick. i think that 2 or 3 of your letters have not got here yet for the one i got before this last one was written somtime in July. mi helth is as good as uv old[?]. mi eyes are not well yet but thay dont trubble me much. last Sunday i went out to lake Paunchertrane. it is about 8 miles north of our camp. it cost me 20 cents to go out and back on the raleroad and it was worth the monney. it was so cole and pleasant. thar was sutch i a nise breas blowing al the time and if you and ophelia had ben thar with me i would of ben as happy as a king. i saw some offel looking fish. i wil tel you about them when i cum home. last wensday i went to the sitty but i could not see it. thar was so menney houses i cept steping around al day. i saw som very larg ships and steamboats and som very smal ones. the pepal ar al french dutch irich and nigers – princible the latter – som Jues and once in awhile a yanky. me and fred was too thar and we went out to the hospatal to see James Miers. i thot he had gon north al the time but after we got her i herd that he was her and so we went to see him. he had ben almost well but had got a backset. but nothing dangerous. we mi dear i have gest returned from the lake agane. it got so offal hot in camp that i could not stand it. thar was eight of us and leiutenent Smith went with us to ceep us strat. we had a glowers time cetching hard shells crabs. we got 15 tean[?] and had them for supper and o we had sutch a nise bathe. the doctors sead it was good for our helth to bath in salt watter. the waves run about four feat high. o i tel you it was nise. i thot severl times that if you was onley with me but that cant be for the present but i hope it wont be long until we ar toget her to part nomor in this world. i found a copel of letters to day and i wil send them to you to read. thay ar sutch funney letters. i have had som hard fealings sence i read them but nothing dangerous. i dont send them for you to imatate becos nobodey but a person with a cract head would write such stuf. you can show them to your frends if you wantto and give them to cal or sombodey elce and tel them to get them published in som news paper and send me a coppy. i think it would look nise in print dont you mi dear? wal rosa dear i dont think thay ar agoing to give anney mor furloughs at least thay dont say anney thing about it. wal i can stand it eight or ten months longer i guess. i dont think thar wil be anney mor fighting. so good by. write as often to your on John E Richardson




Franklin La Oct 12/1863

Mi Dear wife it is with pleasure i take mi pen in hand to inform you that i am alive and well as usual. the last letter that i roat to you was from carrolton and i did not think that we would leve thar this fast but i was misstaken for we left thar the next day and i had no chance to send you anney monney for i was detald to go with the teams and thay started in the morning. i would ov stopt in new orleans and sent you som but i had onley 15 dollars to spar and it would cost 5 dollars to send that by exspress so i did not send you anney. i wish you had it for i know that you need it but you must get along the best way you can and i wil send you som the first chance i get. wal now for the march. we crost the river wensday and got on the cars that knight. thay put al of our wagons horses and mules on the 21 cars and then put two regements on the same cars. o what a ride that was. thay was pild on sum under the wagons. sum on top and sum hanging on the side. i was luckey and got a seat in a ambellance but i like to frose to deth befor morning. it gets very cold down her in the knight or when the wind bloes from the gulf. wal we got to brasear sitty the next morning at daylight and onloaded and crost the bay on a steamboat and campt but i had nothing to write with. i got your letter of Sept 18th thar and was very glad to her from you. i got som paper to answer it but we had to pul up stakes and start for texas or som other plase. we marched four days and come up with the ballence of the armey last friday and then our brigade was sent back to gard this plase. we got her yesterday about 10 oclock and worked hard the rest of the day if it was Sunday making sheds to sleap under. her is the plase whar thay make shoger and molasis. thar is som very larg plantasions her. som of them had six hundred nigers before the war but thay ar al gon exsept the oldests and youngest. i dont know how long we wil stay her. the capt thinks that we wil stay her this faul for this road has to be cept open. i sopoes that you have moved befor this time. wal i am glad of it for i think it is a better plase to live than whar you was. it is good land and good paster for the cows. if i remember rite the wods is al fenst in. take good car of the hefers. about that land in illinois you can write to them that thay wil have to send me a paper alredy for me to sine for i dont beleve thar is a justes in 4 hundred miles from her. tel them that i wil sine the paper but i would like to know what is to becum of mother. if i understand the matter the land belongs to her as long as she lives.
wal rosa dear we ar agoing to have dril pretty son and i must bring this letter to a close. by the way how would you like to go to illinois to live? i beleve that i would like it but i would like to see the plase first. mi eyes ar not as well as thay was. i got so much dust in them on the march. i think thay wil get better if we stay her a few weaks. wal rosa ceep up your corrag and i wil try and cum home somtime this winter. good by. John E Richardson
Ps kiss the little gal for me and give mi respects to al the frends J E R




Franklin La Sunday Oct 18th 1863

Mi Dear wife
It is with pleasure i take mi pen in hand to write you a few lines to let you know that i am alive and well and hope this letter wil find you enjoying the same. we ar stil her at this plase and for al that i know we wil stay her al winter. i hope so for i had rather stay her than go anney futher in this direction. the mane armey is about one hundred miles from her and stil going ahead without anney trubel as i can her. i wish that thay would hurrey and end this campane before the wet wether sets in for it wil be almost imposeble to get around then. but i dont think it can poseble be anney worse than what we have gon through with and are alive yet to lafe at som of our trubels. we ar pretty comfortable her at present. have plenty to eat sutch as it is. the salt meat that we get is very bad and we dont eat much of it. we get fresh beaf every other day and once in a while we find a hogg calf or som chickens that was not lost but thay ar getting verry particular about leveing sutch things out of doars after dark but the boys wil find them, let them hid them ever so well. our brigade commander says that the 48th can beat anney thing stealing that he ever saw but as a general thing thay dont take anney thing that thay cant eat drink or ware. i know that i dont. wal rosa i went to church to day the first time for a long while. it seamed a little strang to be in a meeting house once more. tthe chaplin of the 77th regement preached. his text was in the 10 chapter of St Mathews 29 and 30ith verses. i liked his serman verrey wel. the house was ful nerley al solgers. after meeting i went up in town to a dutch boarding house and got mi dinner which cost me fifty cents. it consisted of bread pork beaf sweat potatoes dumplings and the other fixings. a good dinner and i was verrey wal satesfide. wal i must tel you about our election down her in the armey. we onley had 5 voats for govaner and dont you beleve eight of them voted for that trator vallandu...[Clement L. Vallandigham] i cant spel his name. if anney bodey had told me so a weak ago i could not ov beleaved it posable but i can acount for it now. i wil tel you who thay was. Joseph rath was one. he run at the battle of Shilow and has never ben in a fight sence. fred helmick. he has never ben in a battle. he tock the tube out of his gun at Shilow. he runaway in yazo swamp and at arcansaw post he got the belliache and when we started for vicksburg he got the reumaticks in his legs so he could not walk. George laser[?] he run like a white head at Shilow before he fiard a gun and swares that he wil never fiar at a rebel and has never ben in a battle sence. three more of them ar diserters and the others ar noth much better. thar was 28 voted for val in this regement but thay war al such men as i have disscribed. i told you in mi last letter in answer to annas that i would sine thar papers and for fear you dont get it i wil mention it in this. tel them that thay wil have to send a paper alredey for me to sine. wal rosa dear you must ceep up your corrage and hope for the best. from what i can lern i dont think this unhappy rebelion wil last much longer and then wont thar be a happy time in the reunion of persons that have long ben parted. wal i must draw this to a close for we wil have dress parrade in about five minits. mi eyes ar about well and mi diaree does not trubel me hardley anney. so good by and write as often as you can to your luving husband
John E Richardson to Rosetta Richardson




Franklin Nov 5th 1863

Mi Dear wife
it is with pleasure i seat mi self to answer your kind letter of the 15th of last month. it had ben so long sence i had herd from you that i had begun to be a little homesick. the last one i got from you was received at brasher sitty[Brashear City, LA] about 4 weaks ago but i feal better now sence i have heard from you. i hope that you and ophelia wil get well and remane so and i am sorry to her that father is unwell and hope your fears wil prove groundless for i am afraid it would make hard times for the rest of you if he was tacen sick at this time of the year and i wil not be able to help you as long as we stay her for thar is no chance to send you anney monney. thar has ben rumors that we ar going back to new orleans but nothing serten. we was musterd last Saturday for 2 months mor pay but i dont know as the pay master wil ever cum her to pay us. i herd to day that our colonel was trying to get the privilige to take us up in to the Department of the Ohio and then give us a chance to enlist agane for three years longer and to thoes that wil enlist thay wil give 40 days furlow and $400 bounty and thoes that dont wil have to stay thair time out. now you need not be afraid that i wil enlist agane unles i am serten that the ware wil be over befor mi thre years is up oct 6th. wal rosa dear it commenst raning yester and it rand al night and i had no dry plase to write and dont you think i got three more letters from you last night but thay was old ones but i was glad to get them if thay was old for i am always glad to her about home. now i wil try and answer some of your questions. i have no objectiones to your going to parteys or anney plase whare you can enjoy your self onley be carful of your throt and be carful and not give tatlers a chance to tel bad stores altho thar stores would not have anney affect on me but you know what i mean. about mi religion i am afraid that i have not got much and i tel you it is a wonder that we have anney after pasing through what we have. i beleve in the salvation of the hole human race at some furtor time. i beleve that is univerlis doctrin or very ner it. dont be afraid to ask questions and i wil answer them if i can. i sopoes that ophelia is a very good little girl from what you say. wal that is the cind that i like to see and i wil have to fetch her a real dol baby when i cum home which i think wil be next april. thar is some talk of lieutenent Smith going home. if he goes i wil make som arrangments with him to pay you som monney. i have a verry pretty cegar box and bil says that he wil carrey it home for me if he goes and i am agoing to have him perches one of thoes shel boxes if he can find one and you can sel it for dubel what it cost if you dont want to ceep it. he wil cum and see you if he cums home and tel you al about me. that wil do almost as wel as tho i came miself wontit? i wil send you a smal flower basket that i got in the segar box. you see i am bying segars by the box and seling them out for five cents a peace. i make about a dollar on a box. i am afraid our cows wil be hard to winter if thay ar so por but do the best you can and then see if you cant do better. wal good by. write al the news and as often as you can and oblige your affectionate husband
John E Richardson to Rosetta Richardson




New Town November 15th 1863

Mi Dear wife i received your letter of october 23 last night and hason to answer it. i was very glad to her from you as i was somwhat unesey about you from what you roat about father being unwell. i am in hopes that he is intierley recoverd by this time. you wil see by the heading of this letter that we have advanst about 30 miles. it was rather a suden start. i had just returnd from picket and got mi dinner redey and was eating when the orders came to start immediatley. wal al the boys and fred and 2 mor went of to gard a boat the day before and left al thair things. i tel you we was in a peck of half bushels at last. we got permishion to stay until the compeney came back. thay came that night after dark and we got on a boat in the morning and got her night before last. we came pretty nier having a brush with the rebels. i saw them but thay did not fier at us and we let them be. thay fiard at a boat just ahead of us and wonded 4 men. i exspect thay got the worst of it and thot thay had better let us alone. i am verry glad thay thot so ant you? i dont think that we wil stay her but a few days and then go back to franklin but i cant tel whether we ar agoing anney plase until we start or whar we ar agoing to until we get thar. perhaps i did take a rong meaning from what you roat and if i have ronged anney bodey i am sorry for it. i dont know whether you knew it or not but i had mi felings hurt a good menney times and i sead nothing for the sake of pease. perhaps i am sencative. at anney rate i dont like to be mad fun of behind mi back and i know that has ben don but i had forgoten al about it and forgiven it al and hope thay wil do the same. i wish them well for your sake but i dont beleve that i could live in the same house with them as long as i have with out a fuss. i roat in mi last letter that bil Smith was cuming home to recrut but i guess it has fel through as i her nothing mor about it. i wil tel you how it was. the order came for so menney lieutenents and sergents to go home recruting. wal thar was one sergent from our compney. wal it was freds turn first and mine next and James eletts[Elliot's] the next. wal the capt stays up in town. he has the sore eyes very bad. bil went up and asked who he should send and he told him to send fred and if he did not want to go to send me. wal he came back and put down James eleotts name becos his father is ritch and thot he would have mor influence than me or fred on that acount. i think he got about 100 dollars for puting his name down and that is so hare[?] the influence is. i did not know anney thing about it until it was al over with and then it was to late to mak a fuss about it and i am glad i dident for i dont beleve thar wil anney bodey going.
wal rosa dear i wil have to say good by. kiss the baby. ceep up your corage and write as often as you can to your luving husband John E Richardson
PS give mi luve to al the frends. fred Spearker[Speaker] is alive and wel. he sleaps with me. James Miers was getting better the last i herd from him. J




New Iberia Nov 28th 1863

Mi Dear wife
with pleasure i seat mi self to answer your kind letter of the 5 and 10th of this month and i am glad to her that you are al able to be about. i got a letter from you the other day but did not answer it for the want of time. the reson was this. we got orderd to fix up for winter and as we have no tents we have to hunt up old boards. me and fred speakes[Speaker] had bilt a house about the sise of that hen house that i bilt and two other boys had bilt a nother one and we concluded to put them together and make it larger and make a fierplase. wal we got the old ones torn down when the orders came for the regt to go on a foraging expidishion. we had to drop everithing and start rite of. we went about six miles and got ten loads of boards to bild a hospatel. we got back about 4 oclock rather to tiard to work much on our new house. the next day i bild a fier plase. it was a nice one i tel you and it drawed like a balkey horse but i got som mor brick the next day to bild the chimney higher to ceep the nabors peskey boys from putting boards on the top of it and now it draws first rate onley when the dor is open. it has ben rather wet and nasty for the last weake and looks as tho we was agoing to have a wet spel of wether but we ar redey for it at last. i hope that we will get to stay her until spring but cant depent on staying long in one plase. i have a strong convickion that pease wil be declard this winter and then for home. dont you beleve them when thay tel you that our time wont be out until a year from next Summar but tel them that our time wil be out three years from the time of the first cal for three years men and that was the 15th of June i think. but we wil know al about it when the time comes. al that i am sertin of is i have ben in the servise 2 years one month and 4 days and can stay the ballence of mi time time if i have to but i had rater be som whar elce. i wil let you guess whar that would be. so granney is ded. you roat that she was sick and i exspected to her of her deth in the next letter for i know that she was geting very old. wal i dont know as i am sorrey for i beleve she has gon to a better plase. i wish that i could send you som monney but we have not ben paid yet and dont know as we wil be until in January somtime and then i dont know as i could send it home unless i send it in a letter and i dont like to send much that way. i have a little left yet and and wil send you part of it and if you can get what things you want at tuttls i wil not draw mi monney until i can send it safe. i wil send you a ring that i maid when i could not find anney thing elce to do and one for ophelia. i did not know as i could make such a nise one before, did you? one is maid from a cows horn and the other from a button. i had a nother one for Juliet but it got broke. write often as you can to your luving husband
J E Richarson




New Orleans Dec 8 1863

Mi Dear wife
It is with pleasure i take mi pen in hand to write you a few lines to let you know that i am alive and well and hope this wil find you the same. i presume you wil be surpriesd to her from me from this plase. i wil tel you how it happend. i was Detald one morning last friday morning i think to cum her for our tents and we got her saturday in the afternoon. the lieutenent that came with us went off and we have not sean him sence so we dont know long we wil stay her. i exspect that fred holtzel wil be her to day. he is going home recruting and i wil send this with him if i see him. we exspect to be paid the next day when i left and i wanted to stay and draw mi monney and send it home with fred but i could not. if i can see him when he pases through her i wil try and make som arrangments to let you have some monney if you need it.
i went and saw James Miers last Sunday. he looks pretty bad. he was able to be about and was up in the sitty about a month ago but got a backset. he says that he is better than he was. i would of tried to have him sent home but i am afraid it would kill him to go north this winter. it is so cold up thar. he wants his folks to writ to him. tel to direct to the merean[Marion] hospatal new orleans in ward H and not put the 48th oh. if thay do the letter wil cum to the regement. [James Myers died in Marion Hospital in January 1864.] wal rosa i exspect to find two or three letters from you when i get back to the regt. i hope so anyhow for i like to her from home and i want to get out of this plase as quick as i can. thar is so much nois her that i cant stand it long. i have sean a grate manney pretty things her that i would like to send to you if i had the monney to buy them with. we have just got the news of the grate battle in tenissee [Nashville]. inent gloerous news? one or two more such battles wil end the ware. now rosa you must not feal bad becos i did not cum home in plase of fred. her in the armey we have to take our turns and it was freds first chance altho thay cam pretty neer sending James eliot. i sopoes that i could ov had freds plase by paing twenty five or thirty dollars but i had no time for thay had got thar orders after i had started. wal it wil be mi next chance and i dont beleve that anney bodey wil get ahead of me. wal good by. write as often as you can and tel me how our little girl is and how you like your new plase and things generley and you wil oblige
your affectionate husband
to Rosetta Richardson            John E Richardson




New Orleans Dec 12 1862

Mi Dear wife
with pleasure i take mi pensel to inform you that i am alive and in firstrate helth. i started for the regement day befor yester day and mett them at brasier and got back her last night and ar orderd to get on a steam ship but whare we ar agoing i dont no but wil write and tel you as son as we get thar. the boys ar packing up the things so i must stop writing as we ar order to get on the boat immediaatly. it raind last night or i would of written you a long letter. i lost your likness agan. i left mi napsack with the regement and it got lost on the way her. wal rosa dear ceep up your corage and ever thing wil cum out rite in the end. fred sead he would let you have som monney until i could you som. good by. write often to your affectionate husband
John E Richardson
PS i got a letter from you last knight but haint time to answer it.


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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