101st Pennsylvania Infantry - Captured at Plymouth, NC
May 23, 1863
William R. Cameron
4 page original Civil War soldier's letter, written in period ink and war dated.
May 23rd 1863
I received your kind letter yesterday and was happy to hear that you were all enjoying good health and am thankful to say that I am still enjoying the same great blessing. We are having it very pleasant here now. We have a great deal of work to do but it is not hard and it will soon be over and we will have nothing but picket and guard duty to do and that is not hard. I received a letter form John a few days ago and was glad to see the rapid progress he is making in writing. I will write to him soon. He says the stock are all thriving. He also tells me that you have sold the colts. Am glad of that if you got what they are worth. Next time you write let me know who got them and what you got for them. I am glad you got rid of them if you got anything like the price of them. I was afraid they would be a good deal of trouble to you this summer. But I suppose they are out of the way now. I know a little about how it goes to have green?
We are having very hot weather here so hot that the men are fatigued, have to stop work at 11 o-clock and lay still until the afternoon. So we don’t have it so hard after all.
Our regiment is being broken up. Three companies are to remain and two are going into a fort about a mile from here. Some are going to Roanoke Island but I am for my part I would rather stay here. And another fellow by the name of tommy has bought a house and is living very comfortably. We are getting flour now and have to bake our loaves. There are four of us that got a little negro boy to do our cooking. He makes biscuits and pancakes. He also does our washing. We give him $2.00 per month, which is less than we could get our washing done for Father. I have a pipe. I wish I could send it to you. It is one that I took out of an old rebel’s house but I shall try and keep it till I get home.
Well, Mother, I have not sent anything to you in a great while but I suppose you can excuse me when you think how much I have to do in the line of writing. I am sitting in my shanty which is a nice one for a soldier. I have been at work on the fortifications this fore noon. And this is a very warm afternoon.
I am trying to write something that will interest you all but I fear I am making poor head way. But I can’t write news every time. I fear there are some of my letters that you will never get because there were two mail boat captures by the rebels. One was going north and the other going south. One was the mail boat Emilie and the other Arrow. They were captured about 15 miles from here. There was a gun boat started after them to try and retake them but I think their efforts will be in vain. Mother, it would afford me great pleasure to come home once more and see you all and am in hopes it will soon be time for all to meet once more. I want you to have Father, write and let me know all about how things are going around home and how John gets along with the horses and how he takes care of things around home. If he knew as much about the world as I do, he would be contented at home. If I could see him and talk with him about home. Dear Mother, I never can forget home. There is something about that word which every person taken away from home feels a warmness in his heart and his thoughts shoot like a rescued bird across the many miles which lies between him and the place of his childhood. Many times as I stand at my post on picket does my thoughts wander back to old times and linger there, sometimes for hours at a time or until I am relieved by the next watch. But I am afraid if I keep on you will think that I am home sick. But I feel satisfied with my lot in life. But when I get writing home I don’t know when to stop. There are a great many things that I would like to say but shall have to wait until I get home.
I must close, now more at present but remain your affectionate son,
To my Father and mother
But I haven’t forgotten Arthur. I hope he will be a good boy until I get home and I can’t come home to get a pear off his trees. But I bought a few at the sutler and thought of him while I ate it.