1862 August 3: Jerry Flint Tells His Brother Not to Enlist
In his first few paragraphs, Jerry describes the same fight with the gunboat Tyler that Charlie Allyn did in his letter of July 3.
The original of Jerry’s letter is in the Jerry E. Flint Papers (River Falls Mss BN)
Baton Rouge, Aug. 3rd 1862
I suppose that in this you begin to accuse me of negligence again but you must excuse me for until within of a five days I have bag had neither paper or envelopes, nor any way of getting any.
Immediately after writing you last, from this place we started on an expedition up the river to Vicksburg and have but just returned. The regiment is nearly half in the Hospital and the rest in a fair way to go there. Co. G cannot turn out even 25 men for duty. We burried [sic] one man last night.1 He was none of your acquaintence [sic] having enlisted in our company at Racine. We had one man killed while acting as sharpshooter on the gunboat Tyler by the bursting of a shell thrown from the rebel ram Arkansas. His name was A. P. Palmer of St. Croix Falls.2
You have probably heard through the papers of the feat performed by this ram. I stood right on the bank of the river and saw the whole performance. The fleet, all except the Tyler was laying at anchor or they would easily have stopped it. It will probably do no more harm for if it ventures over from under the guns of Vicksburg it will be captured.
We have daily rumors of a large force approaching this place but as yet we have not been molested.
I suppose that by this time you are right in the midst of harvesting. I would like to be with you for I think I have not forgotten how to tie up bundles yet. There was a time when I thought perhaps I might be home by the time grain was ripe but since our defeat at Richmond the prospect is not quite so bright and the war bids fair to last another year.
If I am doomed to stay another year in this sultry climate there is but one thing I desire, and that is good health. With my health as good as it has been, or is now I am good for heat or anything else but with sickness there is but little show for a man.
I have not heard from you since I last wrote, but am looking for a letter every mail. I received a letter from Eunice a few days ago, and shall answer it soon. I shall go to the express office tomorrow and forward to your address fifty dollars ($50). I wish you to give Mother 5 dollars and take the rest in charge for you and I to have a spree on when I come home. Of course I expect you will use it now but just keep track of it, that’s all.
I wish if convenient you would send me fifty cents worth of stamps. I can’t get them here. Give me love to Mother and Helen if she is still with you. I think of you all often and that is all I can do for to be with you is impossible.
Since the President’s call for more men I have been thinking that perhaps you would try to arrange things so you could enlist. I don’t know how this is because I don’t hear from you often enough to know. If you do think of it, please accept a little advice from me. Unless your health is better than it was the last year before I came away, a soldier’s life would use you up in three months. I know you could not stand it, although you may feel first-rate while around home. Besides as long as White and I are both in the service I think the family is pretty fully represented being only three of us any way. Now I don’t want you to enlist and if I ever see you I will give you more reasons yet.3
Tell me when you write if you hear anything from White. He has never written to me.
No more at present.
Direct to Baton Rouge.
1. Edward C. Silverthorn died August 2, 1862, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was from Oakland, in Jefferson County, which is fairly close to Racine County.
2. Albion P. Palmer was killed July 15, 1862, on the Yazoo River in Mississippi. The official roster says he was from Somerset, not Saint Croix Falls.
3. On August 5, 1862, before he received Jerry’s letter, Phineas C. Flint enlisted in the 30th Wisconsin Infantry. Jerry was right about Phineas’ health; he was discharged on December 22, 1862.