The Civil War Letters of John E. Richardson

February - December 1864

Red River Campaign,
Capture & Exchange



The regiment was ordered back to Western Louisiana in late February, arriving in Berwick City on the 26th.

"The Government had offered a bounty of $400 to all who had served over two years, if they would enlist for another term of three years, and in addition they were to receive a furlough for thirty days, and the Regiment be entitled to the name of 'Veterans.'"

"AS soon as the Regiment had been sworn in as veterans, letters were immediately dispatched home, to prepare for our reception on the promised furlough. But we were badly disappointed. Instead of receiving our furlough, we were ordered to Franklin, where the troops of the Gulf Department were concentrating for an expedition up Red river..."

John A. Bering & Thomas Montgomery, 1880

"now rosa i exspect you wil scold me but i could not help it but dont do it until i get home and then i wil exsplane maters and things better than i can on paper. i have enlisted agane for three years or the war..."

"thar is not agoing to be anney mor fighting on the west side of the missisippy river."

John E. Richardson

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



Algers Febuary 25 1864

Mi Dear wife it is with pleasure i seat miself 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 got 2 letters from you last saturday but i was in texas then and thot i would answer them the next day but in the morning we got orders to go on the boat at 12 o clock and i had no time to write until to day and not much time now as we have to start for brasier sitty at 10 o clock to day. we had very plesent wether cuming acrost the gulf. we was three days cuming acrost. thay put us on a little old boat that i beleve would ov sunk if the wind had blod very hard but we was luckey and i am very thankful. we got her at 12 oclock last knight and i did not get much sleep so i cant write very strate. this plase is rite acrost the river from new orleans but thay wont let us go acrost the river but i dont car anney thing about that for i have got no monney to buy anney thing with. now rosa i exspect you wil scold me but i could not help it but dont do it until i get home and then i wil exsplane maters and things better than i can on paper. i have enlisted agane for three years or the war but i dont beleve that i wil have to stay anney longer than i would if i hadent and we ar to get a furlow and to tel the truth i was getting home sick but i did not lik to say anney thing about it when thar was no chance to go hom. but now i think that we wil get to start home about the last of march. perhaps not as sone. i cant tel until we get to franklin. i shal write from thar as son as we get thar. we have not ben paid yet but exspect we wil be as sone as we get settled down agane. thar is not agoing to be anney mor fighting on the west side of the missisippy river. wal rosa dear i am so slepy and tiard that i cant think of anney thing mor to write. i wil try and do better next time. so good by. writ often to your affectionate husband
John E Richardson
PS i hope that fathers foot has got wel by this time. mi luv to al. J E R




Franklin La March 10th 1864

Mi Dear wife
I received your letter of the 19th of last month this morning and hason to answer it. i was very sorry to her that your unwell. as you say i dont understand that diseas nor whare it affects but think It mite be curd if taken in time. you should not let Sutch things run along without doing somthing forit For thar mite be danger in it and then anney kind of A diseas is easer curd at first than it is after so i Advise you to have somthing don for it rite away. I told you in mi last that i exspected to start Home in a short time if not sonner but we have not started yet but that is no sign that we wont. Most of the offecers ar confident that we wil get Our furlow in a few days. i hope so for i think that i am needed at home now for a few days very Much. accorden to your letter your ar getting in to Pretty clost quarters for som things thar[?]. i sent you 2 dollars in mi last letter and wil send you a dollar in this. we wil get paid now befor long I am pretty serten and then i wil send you som mor if i dont get to cum and fetch it miself but i think that we will get started in about 10 days but cant tel for serten. somthing mite turn up to keep us a spel longer. other regements get thar furlows and i dont see whi we should not Get ours. the rest of the boys ar discoragd And say that we wil not get a furlow. i Am not. but if we dont get a furlow i cant See as it wil do me anney good to be down Hearted about it do you? you can ceep on writing until i send you word that we have started home which i hope i shal be able to do in mi next letter. I was a going to write to you from burwick last Sunday but we got orders to turn over everything that we could not care and be redey to march At half past six the next morning and i had no time until now. we was tow days getting her And it rand al day yesterday. it is rather disagreable now when it ranes for we have no tents exsept A little shelter tent. we col them dog tents. thar About larg anuf for a large dog to stay in and No rome to spar but thay ar better than nothing. We ar about 4 miles above franklin a very nise Plase for a camp. plenty of good watter wood And pretty good rasions but it has not alwas Ben so but i am alive and well yet and wil live through if nothing hapens mor than i know ove. At present i dont see as i can help you much Now. onley with promesses. i wish it was diferent And think it wil be befor long. i never thot you Would suffor for anney thing but things Wil hapen that we ar powerless to prevent. I am trying now to get promoted to a quarter Master sergent but dont know whether i wil Get the plase or not. if i get it i wil have a horse to ride and no gun or knapsack to carrey and that wil be a grat help to me
wal rosa dear it is getting dark and i have no plase to write by Candle light so ceep up your corrag and beleve me your affectionate Husband
John E Richardson
to Rosetta Richardson




Baton Rouge July th 26th 1864

Mrs Rosetta Richardson Bye request i take the presant opportunity of writeing afew to you for Mr. John E. Richardson. I can inform you that he is well and a prisner of war. he is at Camp ford near tilar texes[Tyler, Texas] and a doing about as well as could be exspected of a prisner. their was about 900 prisners exchanged for on the 22d of this inst and probily the exchage wil go on and if it does John will be exchanged for before agreat while. Then he can write for himself. he would be glad to hear from you and the rest of his connection and friends. So i will close. this was writen Bye request.
Madison G. Bryant
Co A 19th Ky




New Orleans Oct 25 1864

Mi Dear wife it has ben a long time sence i have writen to you or heard from you but i hope it wont be long before i shal have the plesure of folding you in mi arms once more. as we ar promest our furlow in a few days for sertin and then i wil tel you of what i have past through in the last seven months for i cant begin to write it. i have had the scurvy so bad that mi teeth ware al loose and could hardley get about on mi legs and mi fase has turnd black in spots but i hope it wil turn to its naturl color befor i get home. onley think of living for six months on a pint of corn meal and half a pound of fresh beaf a day and the meal not sifted. but thank God i am alive yet but not very well. we started from camp ford in texas the first of this month and got her last knight. i sopoes you have heard that we war al kild. i did and i should writen to you onley for tow resons. we exspectded to be exchanged in a few days and then i had nothing to write on for we lost every thing we had exsept what we had on at the time we war taken. our knapsacks war only a 100 yards of but thay would not let us get them. i wil pay them for it yet. i see that i have ben writing as if i had heard from you onley yesterday but i have not heard from you sence the 13th of last march. somtimes i think perhaps i have no wife and child but i drive sutch thots out of mi head as much as i can and try to beleve that when i do her from you that you ar al alive and well. i sopoes if the balence of our regement was her i should her from you but thay are not her and i dont know as we wil get to see them before we go home. we ma start in a weak and perhaps not for 2 weaks. i cant tel anney thing for sertin. when we wil start i may get thar befor this letter does. i wish i was thar now but wishing does no good at present. but thar is one thing certin. we ar not agoing to do anney anney mor fighting until after we get our furlow. thay tel us that we wil get a furlow of sixty days in our own state and we need that much time to get the corn bread and beaf out of our boans. well rosey dear trusting that you ar al alive and wel i wil send this on to let you know that i am alive and hope to clasp you in mi arms in les than a month at the farthest. everything is in confusion her this morning. thar is six hundred of us almos naked lousey and dirty exspecting our new clothing and trying to hear somthing from our frends and luvd ons at home. if you get this befor i get home you need not answer it for i shant be far behind it. so good by for the present from your affectionate husband
John E Richardson




Natcheze Mis Dec 6 1864
Mi Dear wife at last 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 know that i have don rong in not writing before but we have ben exspecting to start home every day for the last month and last knight our papers came back disapproved. i think that it is to bad dont you? we have tried five times and are agoing to ceep trying until we get our furlows. capt thinks that we wil get them this time. it wil take six days to go the rounds. i wil give them ten and if thay dont cum then i wil write agane. if we can get started by the 16th and have no bad luck we can get home the 24th and that is the time i should like to cal at your house if i can find it. but i have not much hopes of getting started before that time so dont be disapointed for we ar bound to be thar some time this winter. now rosy dear i have so much to tel you that i dont know whare to begin so i wil let it be until i get home. from your affectionate husband John E Richardson
[Written on the reverse side of the page in Rosetta's(?) handwriting]
By a recent Marriage in the town of Columbia the Mother became the Sister and the Grandmother the mother of the Bride and the Sister the Mother of the Bridegroom. how did this happen? A pretty Riddle. A gentleman who was paying his addresses to a Lady at length summoned Courage to ask if his Suit was agreeable to her and whether he flatter himself with a chance of its ultimate success? The lady replied, “Strefes” telling the gentleman to transpose the letters So as to form out of them her answer. The reader who can find out the secret need never be afraid being nonplused by a lady. those who cannot discover the puzzle must either wait until they can overcome the difficulty or give up all thoughts of successful wooing. for a soarthroat dissolve a teaspoonful of Chlorate of Potash in a tumblerful of watter after which wash the throat. a refreshing drink in hot weather is made by takeing 20 grains of carbonate of Soda and an equal part of white Sugar and 25 grains of Lemon or tartaric acid. mix this in two glasses of water as usual or either Substitute half a lemon for the acid.
An excellent toothpowder
mix togther one ounce and a half of prepared chalk half an ounce of powder of bark and a quarter of an ounce of camphor
Lotion for freckels take a teacupful of Sour Milk. Scrape into it a quantity of horseradish into it. let it stand 6 or 12 hours then strain and apply 2 or 3 times a day.


John Richardson returned to his regiment and participated in the final battle of the war at Fort Blakeley, Alabama. He was stationed in Texas when his company was discharged in January 1865.





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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