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21st Virginia Infantry - Killed at Kernstown

Item CON-8578
January 26, 1862 John W. Hamlet
Price: $385.00


Original Civil War soldier's letter. 2 pages, written in period pencil.

Romney [Virginia]
January 26, 1862

Dear Father,

I write you a few lines this morning but have no news of importance. We came into this place day before yesterday and are now quartered in very good houses. But so much crowded that I would prefer remaining in tents although the weather is very disagreeable indeed and the snow is about 4 inches deep.

We have regular picket duty to perform now. Which is by no means a pleasant business. But I have been fortunate enough to get on the color guard which exempts me from all duty except marching with the flag. Tom Hancock went on picket this morning and will be out 24 hours. Our farthest post is seven miles. But scouting parties are going all the time beyond our picket. A party of cavalry came upon the enemy’s cavalry day before yesterday about 10 miles from here and had some fighting. But nobody was hurt on either side. The Yankees were put to flight although they had more than double as many men as we had. I think it strange the Yankees left this place, as they were fortified and certainly might have held it unless their supplies had been cut off.

We have a good many cases of sickness in our regiment and only about 20 men of our company for duty. Freeman More is very sick. The others confined mostly with mumps. About a dozen of the company have been sent back to Winchester with mumps. One of Captain Mustein’s men died very suddenly last night. There has been some suspicion that he was poisoned by a Union man. He bought a roasted fowl and ate some of the dressing and died within an hour afterwards.

January 27th. I received yours of the 20th yesterday evening. Am glad to hear that you are well. The letter you mentioned was written, I think, from Cross Roads, Morgan County. The enemy left Romney about the time I wrote. But instead of advancing on Winchester as was reported, they went the other way in such haste that they did not even take time to destroy what provisions they could not take with them.

The report probably started from a scouting party of Yankees which went out about ten miles towards Winchester and destroyed a great deal of property along the road.

I received a letter from brother written before you reached Manassas Station that he was well. Write as often as convenient. Give my love to the family.

Your son,

J. W. Hamlet

P.S. I was sorry to hear of the death of James Nash this morning. He was well when we left him in Staunton. I am in hopes that Tom will be able to get a furlough soon, as there is no probability of a fight now. General Jackson has withdrawn with his brigade to Winchester.