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7th Louisiana Volunteers - African Descent & 64th United States Colored Troops - Surgeon

Item MED-9908
December 15, 1863 Thurslow J. Wright


Original Civil War soldier's letter. 4 pages, written in period ink.
Contraband Camp
Memphis, Tennessee

December 15, 1863

My Dear Sisters,

I have to inform you that I am under orders to report to Colonel Thomas at Vicksburg, Mississippi. I expect to leave the coming week. My labors in that field will differ somewhat from those I have been rendering here. The Department of Tennessee including Arkansas, is to be, or rather is, by an order of S. Thomas, Adjutant General, USA, separated from the Military and Medical Authorities, so far as the appointing power is concerned. General Thomas has appointed Colonel Eaton Superintendent with power to appoint such persons as he may deem proper. He has appointed Surgeon McCord, Medical Director for the Medical Department. I am next in rank (Major) in consequence of which my office will be more of a business than medical in character. I am in other words the Senior Surgeon and no one can outrank me but Surgeon McCord, who fills an office intimately related to mine.

The hospital building in which I expect a room and an office is situated in the center of Vicksburg. And in all probability, I shall have more comfortable quarters there than here. I shall be from necessity in the very midst of the gay and fashionable men of the army. In consequence of which, I shall have to mingle more than I have heretofore done with the outside world. And must as a matter of necessity, spend more money in dress than I have lately done. As well as money in the form of pocket change. My business will compel me to keep a horse, which I have not always done. I am also entitled to fee for three horses according to regulations.

When I reach Vicksburg, I shall also be better supplied with servants than heretofore. In consequence of which, I expect to meet with someone who can wash white shirts better than it has been in my good fortune to meet with thus far. Please send me about half a dozen shirts and a few more neck ties such as I wore in Cincinnati. In addition to my dress coat, which I have ordered you to get made for me, will perhaps be all that my immediate wants demand. Should you procure for me a pair of shoulder straps (which I leave to you entirely, so that they may be put on by the tailor). Please purchase none but plain Major’s straps unless the letter M. S. are worked in silver as the wreath is in gold. The letters you sent me I have not worn. I can either wear straps with the letters referred to or without, at pleasure. By far the greater number of Majors in the Medical Department wear their straps without the letters.

In consequence of the order, which I have received to report to Colonel Thomas at Vicksburg, I think it would be your best plan to send my trunk by Express to Vicksburg direct. Otherwise, I fear it will be double trouble to ship it at Cincinnati to the care of Mr. Oliver and company, and some delay in consequence. You can consult Mr. Oliver upon the subject.

Direct it to T. J. Wright, Surgeon, 7th Regiment Louisiana Volunteers of African Descent, Vicksburg, Mississippi. You will also from this time direct all letters and papers as above, till ordered otherwise.

As soon after my arrival as possible, I shall write you and let you know how I like my new location. I shall not leave for several days and may, before I take my departure, write you another letter.

Very Respectfully,
Your obedient servant,

T. J. Wright
7th Regiment
Louisiana Volunteers, African Descent