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1862 August 22: “If Pierce Co. has raised so many more men than her quota why can she not give this company a lift—say 25 men? Is it true she has no interest in Co. A?”

August 22, 2012

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.

Humboldt [Tenn.], Friday Aug 22nd/’62

Dear Parents;

                            Yours of the 15th is just received, enclosing postage stamps; and be assured its receipt caused great satisfaction, looking, as we were, daily for a letter and wishing to learn more about the enlistments.

I have just been making bread and it is now baking in the oven—the first time I ever had any hands in dough. —I must go and look at it this moment.  Well! it is done, and with the exception of a slight burn on top, is tip top and good enough for anybody.  It has a most ludicrous look.  During baking the loaves burst open so much that they look like huge boulders, or like the peaks of Popocatapetl,1 but like Mothers pound cake, they are soft to the touch and pleasant to the taste.  It illustrates the triumph of mind over matter as one of the boys has it, and when I get home, I will show you how I can make bread.

I am surprised at the success which has attended volunteering in old Pierce.  If Pierce Co. has raised so many more men than her quota why can she not give this company a lift—say 25 men?  Is it true she has no interest in Co. A?  I am provoked that so many up there are so partial minded as to still to court the idea that Norman [Norman McLeod] was all right.  I do not see why such injustice should yet be shown us, when we have vindicated our honor.  Because we asserted our rights & would have them and rid ourselves of a heartless, vengeful  man and imposter we must be treated regarded as having forfeited all claim to consideration.  We laid ourselves liable to court martial & severe punishment, every one of us and for our manly course our friends speak coldly & disparagingly of us.  If any of the boys wish to join our company I fear those recruiting officers are stuffing the idea into their heads that they can not enlist in an old Regt.  We shall have volunteers or conscripts — now which do  you desire to see in the company?  I know of but two who are intending to join us.  There are but 8 or 10 who have joined the Regt.

News of the battle at Baton Rouge has reached us.  The rebels were thoroughly whipped & the Arkansas is no more.  The 4th Regt. was engaged & lost had 10 or 12 wounded, killed unknown.  We are considered safe from the rebels at the Hatchee river,  a force of 2 or 3 Regts having gone down to Brownville 25 miles from here on the Memphis road.  That you may not be uneasy about us I will give you some idea of the number of our daily guard vigilence [sic] used here.  Our guard detail for picket camp & Provost guard is over 200 daily besides Cavalry.  An attack was expected 3 miles below here the other night, the rebels intending, as was thought, to have the long bridge.  A train & locomotive stays here every night ready for any emergency. [paragraph break added]

We have things comfortable about us and neat.  The whole camp is daily swept, & inspected by the Officer of the Day.  We have a nice large bower in front of our tents as shade.  Our bread is hereafter to be baked for us at the Bakery.  We have a short drill daily in the loading & firing exercise & a Dress Parade.  That is the sum of our duties, but harder things are doubtless in store for us & we shall meanwhile make ourselves as efficient as possible.  The rebels are in earnest & desperate,  but it is evident that these onsets are but the dying death struggles of the monster.  If the government & her officers do right, let the consequences be what they may, the rebellion will be over before a year from next fall.

Write us soon and tell us all the news.  When do you expect Grandmother home?  We are very thankful for those stamps.  Give our respects to those enquiring. — Yours in health & love, Edwin

Sunday the 24th;

                                   We send you a paper showing you our exact condition and numerical deficiency which is about 30 men.  Quite a number of our boys are complaining of illness.  4 or 5 are in the Hospital—none from the Falls.  About a dozen others are suffering from physical debility, diarrhrea [sic] & bilious disorders.  Homer requests me to say he would write to-day but he is a little unwell, feeling weak & stupid.  He is not really sick, and will soon be as vigorous & lively as usual.  Is taking Cham & Puls.  Will you send us a bottle of Veratrum, which we omitted to send for the other time.  We feel as though we were proof to fevers &c while we have this medicine & Brandreth Pills.  There is talk of our leaving here sometime this week for some other place, as yet unknown others new trop being expected to take our place.  Direct as before.  I wish we could be with you to-day, but we can not & my prayer is that you may find peace & happiness in God alone who can sustain & cheer.

Ever yours &c,
Edwin & Homer

1.  Popocatépetl is an active volcano located in Central Mexico.

Edwin Levings letter of August 22, 1862, 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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