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1864 January 7: “We both [re]enlisted … to see Uncle Sam safe out of this scrape”

January 7, 2014

The original letter is in the Edwin D. Levings Papers (River Falls Mss BO), in the University Archives and Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

Natchez Miss. Jan. 7th 1864

Dear Parents

                            We have had no letters from you for some time,we have been very anxious to hear from you, but there has not been much mail with in the past week.  I do not know however as I could reasonably expect any letters as I have not written to you very lately.  I presume you are waiting – anxious to hear from us, as you have not doubt heard of the late call, made by the government for Veteran Soldiers and you are anxious to know if your boys have reinlisted [sic], and I take this oportunity [sic]to releive [sic] your suspense.  We both enli[s]ted the 5th of this month, but not til we had thought of the it long enough to satisfy us that it was our duty to see Uncle Sam safe out of this scrape.  We would like to have heard from you before enlisting, and we waited til within about two hours before the recruiting stopped.  It was certainly a sacrifice for us, to enlist again and I presume it is on your part, but I do not believe that you will think it to [sic] great a sacrifice to make for our country.  Gen. Gresham [Walter Q. Gresham] made a speech to us on the evening of the 5th inst., he promised us that the regt. would stay at least four months in the state [Wisconsin], and that we should have at least 60 days furlough in the state.  There are 518 men enlisted in the vetteran [sic] service in the 12th R.W.V.  There are 46 in our company, there are only 12 men¹ left in the company, they will be transfered [sic] to some other regiment.  I think the regt. will start in a few days for Wisconsin.  I would hate to be left here when the regt. leaves, here, for those that stay here will be consolidated into companies, and regiments to serve out there [sic] time.  When they get home they will have to stand the draft besides as soldier can not be contented to stay at home while the war lasts, so I think we might as well get the $402.00 bounty, and we gain 10 months in three years, and the probability is that we will not have to serve three years.  [paragraph break added]

I supose [sic] you have plenty of cold weather and snow.  The weather down here, the citizens say is colder than it has been for a good many years.  I hope there will be snow enough for us to have a good sleigh ride.  I have about run out of items so I shall have to close my letter.  Father, you must feed the horse a plenty of oats and get the cutter in running order.  If you have any chickens you had better kill them before the soldiers come up there or you may loose them.

Jan. 8th.
Ed has had to stop writing and go & help the Lieut. & Orderly [Sergeant] make out the muster rolls.  I expect we shall start for Madison in a few days.  I shall have to stop writing.  Give my respects to every body.

Yours Affectionately
. . . . . . . . . Homer

1.  The twelve who mustered out when their terms expired were: James Balcom, Nathaniel Blaisdell, John Caruthers, Hollis N. Holman, Warren Libbey, Cornelius E. Meacham, John McMillan, Haskell Rider, Leonard C. Styles, John N. Whipple, Ira A. Williams, and John F. Young. Half of them were transferred to Company I before mustering out. Charles H. Ticknor was also transferred to Company I but he was discharged with a disability. Four more men who were transferred to Company C ended up reenlisting in December of 1864: Royal Garland, Sydney G. Hyatt, Morgan D. Kinney, and Pratt J. Wiley. Samuel Tripp was also transferred to Company C but he deserted on August 1, 1864.

Homer Levings letter (left) of January 7, 1864, from the Edwin D. Levings Papers (River Falls Mss BO) in the University Archives & Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Homer Levings letter (left) of January 7, 1864, from the Edwin D. Levings Papers (River Falls Mss BO) in the University Archives & Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls

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