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98th Ohio Infantry

Item LTR-10341
April 30, 1864 James A. Stewart
Price: $225.00


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

Rossville, Georgia

April 30th 1864

Dear Father,

As this is likely to be a very busy day, and as I have this letter to write, I thought I would commence in time and perhaps between other duties, I would be able to finish it. This is Saturday morning before sunup and between roll call and breakfast. This morning is very warm and pleasant, but I am afraid it will be a wet day. We had three or four very heavy showers last night. Also, thundered and lightening. This is a very good growing weather and the first that we have had this spring.

After breakfast, I must go to work and clean up my old gun. It will be a pretty big job too. As I have not been paying much attention to it for some time. At 9 o’clock, we will have inspection and will also be mustered for pay. There are about 4 months’ pay due us.

I received your letter a few days ago and was very sorry to hear the condition of things. But I hope before this reaches you, you will all be well again. I understand the volunteer militia have all been called out for 100 days. If that be the case, it will make hands still scarcer, but will help our cause in field very much. There was a little fight out at Ringgold yesterday morning. Have not heard the particulars p yet. But Makinson says breakfast is about ready, so I must quit and get ready for it. 10 o’clock a.m. inspection and must of the 98th is all over and I shall try and finish this before I am called up again.

Makinson has gone on picket and Patten is cooking dinner. This is a pretty busy day with the officers who are getting the payrolls ready, fixing up all their extra baggage and getting it ready to be sent to the rear. We (the privates) had ours sent back some time ago. I had not to send though. There are great preparations going on for an active campaign. All the old broken guns, cartridge boxes, etc., are being turned over and new ones got in their place. It is reported that we have orders to be ready to march next Monday. I hardly think we will be ready against that time. Our wagons and mules have not come up yet – are on the way from Nashville.

Our surgeon [Frederick W. Marseilles] died last Sabbath on Lookout Mountain in the Officer’s Hospital. He has been sick for a long time. He died with a disease of the head. Companies F & B were detailed to attend his funeral on Monday. We started early in the morning and got back after dark. It was a very warm day and we took our time to it. He was buried in the soldier’s cemetery at Chattanooga. They are taking up all the dead on Mission Ridge and Chickamauga Battlefield and burying them in this cemetery. It is about one mile from town and will be a beautiful place when finished. We were in town but half the day. It beats all the amount of work there is going on there.

We are drawing rations today and I suppose it will be the last we will draw in this camp. Where we will be when the next 5 days are passed is hard to tell. When we built these houses the first of January, I did not think we would get to enjoy them as long as we have. Four months soon pass away. To look back to the time when we first came here, it does not seem half that time. Then we were on short rations, but now we get more than we can eat. We sold a lot of meat yesterday and will have 3 or 4 dollars’ worth of coffee to sell today, if only one comes in worthy to buy. We will have pretty near a wagon load of stuff that would be worth moving when we leave here. But all will have to be left behind except what will go in the small bounds of our knapsacks. We have had some pleasant times in our old camp near Rossville and it will long be remembered by all the boys.

Our Bower of worship will never be forgotten by those who have attended the meetings for the last two weeks. Have had preaching or prayer meeting every evening. It would be called by some a revival. Last Sabbath there was 4 or 5 baptized and perhaps will be some tomorrow. I think the meetings have been the means of doing much good. Many have been stopped on their downward road to ruins. It is coming very hard now and I am glad I am not on duty. I have not been on picket for nearly three weeks. Have always been lucky to get on some other detail. Have not much duty to do of any kind. Have more drilling to do than anything else. There is nothing lost by that. As there are a great many new recruits and it is very important that they should understand something about duty before we march. There is a large army in this department now and something will be done soon. Dinner is about ready and I must close with a wish to be remembered in all your prayers.

Your son,

J. A. Stewart

I endeavor to write home every week. But the girls never say when they write whether they receive them or not. Boys are all well. My health is very good. Write again soon.