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134th Pennsylvania Infantry

Item LTR-5940
August 17, 1862 Henderson Shannon


Original Civil War soldier's letter. 4 pages written in period ink.

Camp Simmons
Near Harrisburg

August 17th 1862

Dear Mother,

I take pen to hand to inform you that I am well at present, hoping these few lines may find you all enjoying the same blessing.

Our company is all in good spirits for Captain Lyon’s company came in this morning from Butler. We have nothing further done than swimming. I suppose when the other Butler company comes in we will be formed into a regiment and then I suppose we will leave immediately. You would hardly believe the way the regiments are leaving yesterday. There was four regiments left all equipped for Baltimore and toward Washington. Curt McClelland and I have just got back from the river where we were washing. The boys are all sitting around me eating dinner and they are disturbing me so that I cannot write. We had preaching at 10 o’clock this morning and again at 3 o’clock. I think that Storer will be our Chaplain as we had papers out for Storer and Waters of Prospect and Storer scored unanimous. The Prospect captain and ours are both Storites.

I think I have wrote home twice since. Now I want you to answer this soon before we leave. As we may not leave in a week and again in 48 hours.

Last night there were six men poisoned on guard duty and I heard since that 4 of them are dead. The fellow came along with water in the inside of camp and told them that he was sent around to water the guard. And as soon as they drank they commenced to vomit and could not stand. There was six of them drank before they discovered it. The officer of the day went around and told them to take his life any way at all so as they killed him. Some was also poisoned with pie. There was everyday about a thousand in selling pies, pears, apples and everything and after they poisoned some of the men you would of laughed to of seen the soldiers kicking them out of camp. The baskets flew sky high. An old fellow was selling patent medicine and they got after him and broke his bottles all to smash. And smashed his buggy all to pieces. And he made a narrow escape himself. So you may imagine we have to run a great risk in all the water we drink. As it is almost as dangerous as down in Virginia.

Now do not forget to write soon. Tell father that I will send an order on the commissioner for $25.00, which I want him to receive and keep for me if I am spared to get home and if not, make whatever use of it he can. I think we will fill the orders tomorrow. Well, I must close. Do not forget to write soon. My respects to all. Nothing more.

Remain your affectionate son,

Henderson Shannon