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59th Illinois Infantry

Item LTR-5416
August 6, 1864 William McAdams


4 pages, original Civil War Union letter written in period ink and war dated.

Near Vining’s Station, Ga
Aug 6th 1864

Dear Harriet,

Your letter of July 17th came to hand a day or two since. I was glad to hear that you and Willie were well and that the folks were getting along very well with their harvesting. I received several letters along with yours and the writers all complain of having to work hard through harvest, and of scarcity of hands, high wages, etc. I suppose the hard work will be over by the time this reaches you for this summer and I hope all of you will enjoy the fruits of your labor. I hope rain came in due season so that you will have plenty of potatoes and other vegetables.
I have not been up to the Regt. nor seen the boys since the 19th of July but I hear from them often and none of the Donica Pt boys have been hurt that I have heard of since I last saw them.
There is some fighting going on nearly every day on some part of the line. Our men are pressing in quite close to Atlanta but it may be some time before our forces can take it. I have not seen brother Johnnie since July 1st. Their corps is some 12 or 15 miles from here and I have not had an opportunity of seeing him lately.

I think you sometimes get very inauthentic accounts of the casualties in our Regt. But there was several killed and wounded in our Regt. In a charge near Marietta on the 4th of July and I suppose that was the time it lost 19 killed & wounded which you speak of in your letter. The casualties has been very light in our Regt. Since the charge. I do not think you need be troubled about me having to go to the Regt for some time for the Quarter Master of the 59th is unable for field service and I do not think he will be up to the Regt. until his term of service expires which will be between the middle and last of Sept. He is tired of the service and will stay no longer than the time he is mustered in for. And I expect that I will act as Q. M. until a new one is commissioned.

You seemed troubled for fear I might become intemperate or commit some other wicked act.
I neither swear, drink spirituous liquors or gamble. The teachings of my Mother was averse to this and a gentle monitor within tells me that this is very wrong. I never swore but one or two oaths in my life that I have any recollection of and that was when I lived in Ohio and happened to be in company for some time with on or two bad boys. I was then a mere boy and it so shocked my sensitive nature that I will recollect it as long as I live. I am conscientiously and emphatically opposed to swearing.

I have not and I never will gamble (or play cards). I never use ardent spirits except as a medicine. I used some whiskey and quinine a few days since a preparation prepared by our Regt. Surgeon to counteract the disease of which I spoke in the letter preceding this one. But what does it signify if brother Johnnie or Jimmie does swear, drink, and gamble? This does not influence me to do either. But it makes me more averse to it. But notwithstanding my aversion to the wicked practices resorted to in the Army yet it may be that I may be overcome by temptation and yield to the influences to which I am daily exposed. Therefore, I desire you to be unceasing in your prayers in my behalf. It is quite evident that I cannot have that religious enjoyment here that I could if placed in different circumstances. But I pray that I may enjoy a sense of religion and live religious from principle, though the greater part of the army may oppose me. And may the grace of God so enlighten our understanding that we may always be on the side of right and may we ever learn to approach Him with child-like simplicity whenever we stand in need of a fresh supply, that our wants may be supplied from His unbounded fullness.

I am glad to hear that Willie is learning. May the Lord bless him and you and may He prepare us for a home in Heaven.

I am sending my best wishes to all the family.

Your affectionate Husband,
Wm McAdams

P.S. I think that produce and eatables and goods are getting high at home. The price of rations have been increased of late. We now pay 44cts per lb for coffee, 201/2 for ham, 20 for sugar, 162/3 for pickle pork & bacon.
I was glad to hear that you had another opportunity of hearing brother Buckner preach.
I hope you enjoyed the meeting.
Lt Mc

I have improved very fast since writing my letter of Aug 1st and I am nearly well again.