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5th & 7th New Jersey Infantry

Item LTR-8936
April 28, 1865 William H. Poiwers
Price: $225.00


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

Camp of 7th New Jersey Volunteers
Near Burkesville, Virginia

April 28, 1865

My dear wife,

We have the good news that Johnston has surrendered on the terms given to General Lee. The dispatch came yesterday afternoon about 2 o’clock. We are sorry for Sherman’s mistake but when we learned that General Grant had gone to his Headquarters our mind was easy having confidence that “U.S.” would fix it. Last evening, the 2nd Brigade celebrated the event – speeches, salutes, cheering and “whiskey” were all on the programme. We are just like the Morristown people (our Brigade, I mean), except in a fight, very slow. We did get excited once. That was when Lee surrendered. That news came so suddenly and only a little while before we were pushing forward rapidly expecting every mile to find Lee’s rear guard and open the fight again. It was cheering for tired out men to find our work finished.

The pants and vest came yesterday morning, having made a very short trip. Packages are generally much long than letters on the way. I like them very well. I am fitted out now so that I can appear on dress parade and inspections looking respectable. I have a sword of my own too. I wrote you about Lewis Malloy. He came to me before he left and said I could have it for $19.00 and send him the money on pay day. It is a pretty one, steel hilt, blade and sheath and is six dollars cheaper than I could get one here for and it is worth $20 in New York.

An order came down from Army Headquarters two days ago giving Corps Commanders permission to grant furloughs and leave of absence, the same as last winter. I have a mind to try and get one next month. If you go visiting, you can keep me posted as to your whereabouts and I will find you, if I get home. Quite a number of officers are waiting leaves and I may not get home very soon. So, you had better go on with your visiting as though I am not coming. Don’t be afraid that I will not find you. For there is not room enough in New Jersey for you to hid, if you are little. I expect you will lay up a boxed cars for me for saying this, but I cannot help it.

Your letter of April 25th came a little while ago. So, I erased the first words of this paragraph. I was going to say that I thought there was no prospect of my coat coming by Protz. As it took letters so long to get home. But your letter settles that and I will get that is Protz goes for it. You do not seem to have taken a fancy to his picture. He isn’t the French gent you think him, by any means. You did not tell me what my coat will cost. The cloth is good enough. I did not care for the “shoulder straps” but no matter about that. I shall take good care of the whole suit and if I am mustered out before they are worn out, the pants and vest will do for a citizen and the coat can be made over easily. Tell me the price of the coat in your next.

I guess I deserved the scolding for my short letters. I was quite busy. Though making out an Ordnance Return for Colonel Price and that was one reason for my neglect. I am acting ordnance officer for Colonel Price now. He has no right, according to regulations to an ordnance officer but I like the duty pretty well. For it excuses me from all other camp duties, excepting dress parade and inspection.

Whiskey has got two officers in our regiment in trouble. Captain Wright and Lieutenant Gray are under arrest and have charges preferred against them for forging whiskey orders. Lieutenant Gray will get out of it. For it seems Colonel Price gave him permission to sign his name. there is not much chance of escape for Wright. He forged the Brigade Adjutant, Assistant Adjutant General’s name and has acknowledged it. Sergeant Courtright is in the scrape too and is now in irons at Division Headquarters. He tried to buy the whiskey and represented himself as Lieutenant Courtright of the 7th New Jersey Volunteers. It seems there is evidence that he has been buying whiskey and selling it to enlisted men at $5.00 per carton full. You will probably remember that Courtright was Acting Sergeant Major in my place when I came from furlough. It seems I gave you the impression that I was the only sober one on the morning of April 2nd. I think there was only one drunk that morning and 8 of us were on picket. It seems General McAllister saw him and must have judged us all by him.

I see you are going to Newark in May. Let’s not let any going home interfere with the management for as I have written already, it may be a long time before I can go.

The papers of the 24th, 25th and 26th came this morning. We get the papers here regularly now. So, it is not worthwhile sending the dailies any more. My respect to Ms. Tunis.

Your affectionate husband,

William H. Powers

Carrie D. Powers
Morristown, New Jersey

I drew this paper from the government. 30 sheets of paper, 12 envelopes, 1 pen holder, ½ dozen (miserable) pens and a piece of blotting paper is my allowance for 3 months when not commanding a company. Company Commanders draw about six times this amount.