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1862 November 13: “Disease is more to be feared in the army than the enemy’s ball”

November 13, 2012

Another letter from Jerry, this one to his brother, saying many of the same things as he wrote to his mother.  The original letter is in the Jerry E. Flint Papers (River Falls Mss BN) at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, University Archives and Area Research Center.

Camp Parapet  Nov. 13th 1862

My dear Brother;

                                     I was pleased to hear by Roossie’s¹ last letter that you were getting better, for after his first I had thought of you with a great deal of anxiety.

I am very thankful indeed that your disease came on before you got where you would have been obliged to lay in a hospital.  Do you intend to join your company as soon as your health will permit or, will you get your discharge?

I was afraid in the first place that your constitution was not strong enough to stand a soldier’s life and I feel almost certain of it now.  If you do go, be sure and not start until you fully regain your strength.  You may think you are able, but don’t be deceived.  I came very near throwing myself upon the bed the second time last winter by doing duty to[o] quick.  It requires a sound body to stand continual night duty, and this a soldier has always to do.

It was worth everything to having such a place as you have had to stay.  I cannot feel to[o] grateful to Mrs. Knowles² for her kindness, and you cannot overpay her for her trouble.  Don’t hesitate to draw from my fifty if you should need money.  We shall be paid again in a few days and I can send some more if you should need it.

As you have been out of business and on expense for some time it may be hard for you to get hold of what you want.  I sent Mother a little last payday and I mean to send her a little this.

We all feel sad at the news of the death of Isaac Nichols.  Henry feels lonely I assure you.³  We have lost two men from our company within the last three weeks.  Wilson McAllister and Peter Dwyer, both the best of soldiers.4  Peter died very suddenly.  He was taken with a severe Diarrhea but did not think it was dangerous until he got so he could keep nothing down that he eat, when he became very poor and died in a few days.  He is missed by the boys very much.  McAllister was sick only a few days.  His disease was softening of the brain.

I have been enjoying the best of health all the summer and fall.  If I can remain so it is all I ask.  Disease is more to be feared in the army than the enemy’s ball.

There is not much news with us at the present.  We go through our regular routine of guard duty and drill and wait patiently for news from the grand army.  We hear by the last steamer that McClellen [George B. McClellan] has crossed into Virginia.   I hope that ere this a decisive battle has been fought.

There has been great activity in the Gulf fleet of late and large acquisitions have been made.  The Flag Ship came up to the city yesterday.  The general opinion is that there is a hard blow to be struck somewhere very soon, but none  but those high in authority know where it is, but when Farrigut [David G. Farragut] strikes we are pretty sure of success.  With him to manage the fleet and Butler [Benjamin F. Butler] the land forces the rebels had better get out of the way.  The expedition sent from here to Texas has made cleen [sic] work of its march.  Our forces first met the rebels at Gesgie Landing and after a short fight dispersed since that there has been nothing but an occasionly [sic] skirmish.

 Do you hear from Helen often?  She has not written me for a long time.  I do not know why as I wrote her last.  Write me when you feel able.  Tell Elmira that I feel lonesome without.  I have a letter from her to look at once in a while.  I think I wrote to Eunice last.  I do not know because I have many more to write at present.

Hoping that you may be rested and healthy I remain as ever

Your Brother,


1.  Pratt.
2.  No doubt Warren P. Knowles’ mother, Betsy, who lived in River Falls.
3. Sergeant Isaac N. Nichols, from River Falls, was in Company F of the 1st Wisconsin Infantry and was killed in action October 8th, 1862, at the Battle of Perryville. The River Falls GAR Post will be named for him.  William Henry Nichols, who was 1st sergeant with Company G of the 4th Wisconsin Infantry, was his brother.
4.  Wilson McAllister, from Trimbelle, died October 22, 1862, at Carrollton, Louisiana, and Oliver Peter Dwyer, from Malone, died November 8, 1862, also in Carrollton.

Jerry Flint letter of November 13, 1862, from the Jerry E. Flint Paper (River Falls Mss BN) at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls University Archives & Area Research Center

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