Menu
YOUR CART 0 items - $0.00
THE EXCELSIOR BRIGADE Integrity-Quality-Service ESTABLISHED 2001
Roll over image to enlarge (scroll to zoom)

99th New York Infantry - NEW

Item LTR-8706
November 8, 1864 John B. Watkins
Price: $245.00

Description

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


99th N.Y. Vols
Nov 8, 1864

My Dear Sister Nellie

In a letter from Father I discovered a letter written to me by my little Sister Nellie. Not so little either, I judge. But no matter about the size just now, I was glad to receive the letter, which was quite long and written very well. You say that you allowed Nettie to read my last letter and that she said I was very mean to write so about her. It was mean I acknowledge, but you must tell Miss Nettie that I am a mean fellow to make the best of me. And you see if she does not say that’s so. I am glad to hear that our Mother was gaining. I only hope that she will soon be entirely well. You must do all in your power for her. Mother will rely upon you a great deal now for you are the oldest girl and upon no consideration must you disappoint her.
I have shot a great many squirrels but have not saved any of the skins as I had nothing to cure them with. Some of the skins were very fine ones and had beautiful bushy tails. I had to laugh when I read what Issie said about the horses. That is that they were all sack-a-bones. I have not heard that expression for three years. But I thought it sounded just like that little filly mixen Issie. I would like to have her out here with me for the remaining month I have to stay. Can’t you send little Issie out here in your next letter. I have got a hut all to myself and have plenty of room for her. Then I can show here around Dixie a little and some Reb’s. I know she would like to see some of those animals and when I come home I can bring her with me. Now don’t forget to send her. If she should not behave herself after I get her here, I would put her outside the lines.
You see that I did escape from the clutches of the yellow fever. Jack Frost came upon the field with a whole army of soldiers all arrayed in white and no weapons but icicles. But in the contest yellow Jack was defeated and the victory claimed by Frost. You say Major (not sergeant major I suppose; was the dog named after me or I after the dog) was barking at the moon to frighten it away. He did not succeed very well for I saw the moon last night and she did not look much frightened either.
You say that you should like to come south to see the fine scenery and the large plantations. I wouldn’t go 2 miles to see all the scenery and plantations. The scenery consists of cypress trees and pine trees from which they get turpentine etc., etc. Swamps full of reptiles etc. You can stand at your back door and look up into the orchard and see a finer view than you can see anywhere about here. So much for scenery, now for plantations: imagine a large tract of land a mile or two square, half of it covered with fallen trees that have died and been blown down and one left to decay. The second half imagine swamp bog holes in which are copperhead snakes, moccasin snakes, lizards, etc. and through which one can hardly pass on account of the cane breaks and briars and tangled mass of undergrowth and all bound together by grape vines running in every direction.

A large cornfield, a cotton patch a sweet potato patch weeds everywhere 6 or 8 feet high. Somewhere on the place a row of old log huts, some 8 or 10 of them there may be, and an old house hid in the grove of huge trees and you have your plantation. I have seen all the plantations that I want to see. I would rather go to look at a small well-kept farm north than all their Southern plantations. It is all named like the “Southern Confederacy”. If you want to see fine scenery, the White Mts. of New Hampshire is the place.

There is a little girl (negro) that lives at Richardson’s about half a mile from here that every time she sees me go through the yard calls out to me in a drawling tone, “how do you do Sergeant Major Watkins?” It makes me so mad that I would like to shoot her. She is a regular monkey looking and acting thing.

It will be as you say about my coming home. I suppose my time will come soon as you say that Chas Peabody has got home. You know that I came near going with him and no doubt should have if it had not been for Mother and Nettie. The excuse being that I should have to stay for three years. But it seems that I have had to stay just as long in this volunteer service. Now, Nellie, write me again and I will answer.
Your Brother, J. B. Watkins