1862 November 22: “Co. G is now detached from the regiment, to act as the artillery company”
Jerry writes to his cousin Mira Powell about many of the same things he recently wrote to his mother and brother about. Jerry includes some rather “gloomy feelings,” probably because he has just attended the funeral of yet another Company G soldier.
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 La
Nov. 22nd 1862
Dear Cousin Mira;
I have wondered much of late that I got no letter from you, indeed I have almost begun to think that you had forgotten that we once considered ourselves pretty good friends. But to day the long looked for steamer was reported off the “Bar” with passengers and mails.
Some how or other I felt just as though there was a letter for me, and sure enough it came. I don’t know how it is but I always feel more interested in getting a letter from you than anyone else. Not that I think less than I should of the rest of my cousins, for I certainly prize their friendship highly, but as we were thrown much together after our first acquaintance, I learned to look upon you as a sister, and when I get a little disgusted with life and wish I had some one to talk with it is very natural for me to think of you first.
The news from the north to day is very discouraging. I am afraid the removal of McClellan [George B. McClellan] will cause another defeat of our army and if we are driven back over the Potomac again, I am afraid that our cause will be lost—that the lives of many friends will have been given up in vain.
The news of the death of Isaac and Dick made us feel very sad. To-day we attended the funeral of another of the best soldiers in our company. His name was Madison from Stillwater. There was not a healthier man among us, when we left Hudson than he, but diseases peculiar to this southern climate laid hold of him and he is gone. The makes thirteen men we have lost since leaving Hudson, twelve of them within the last six months. All but one, killed in action at Vicksburg, have died from disease. As I was thinking it over to day I could not help wondering whether it was to be my lot to return or to be laid beside my comrades here.¹ It seems sometimes as though it was almost impossible, and yet, I cannot but hope that I may see you all again.
But I must not weary you with such things for I suppose such gloomy feelings should be kept to myself. I shall be happy to comply with your wishes in regards to my money, it I can be so lucky as to save enough to do you any good. I am not the most economical fellow in the world although I am trying to do a little better than [ ?]² now. Up to the time we left Baltimore I never saved a penny and when we left that place I owed about two months pay to the boys. From the time we left that place in Feb. we were not paid until the last of July. So you see that by not having any money I couldn’t spend and that is how I came to the amount I sent Phineas. I have more than once formed a resolution that I would not spend so much when it was not doing me any good but was (in a moral point of view at least) doing me much harm. But my good resolutions have generally failed, as you are well aware, mine nearly always do.
While in Baltimore, the temptation to pass away time jovially was too great to be resisted, and New Orleans for pleasure is not far behind.
It has not been over two weeks since I received thirty dollars and it is now nearly half gone. I can hardly tell where.
Of course, you shall burn this immediately and if anyone should ask you to see it tell them when I want them to see my letters I will write to them.
There is no news of very great importance at present. We hear constant rumors of an attack on this place by the enemy, but I guess there is not much danger yet. Should they come they can count upon having a warm reception.
Co. G is now detached from the regiment, to act as the artillery company. I do not know for how long we are detached, but presume it will be all winter and hope it will be for the remainder of our term. I like to handle the “big” guns much better than the “little” ones. Some of our boys will start home on the next outward bound steamer having been discharged. Reuben Gray and George Peabody.³ Reuben’s health has been poor all summer and doctors say he will never be any better in this climate. We all dislike to have him leave for he is a great favorite in the company.
I suppose that after the river closes our mail will be less frequent than ever, so you must write enough oftener to make it up.
It seems strange to talk about the rivers freezing up while down here the weather is almost like summer.
I shall try and write to Charley and Sarah4 so as to send by the next mail.
Please tender my respects to the “little one.”
1. Isaac N. Nichols and Richard Lovell, both from River Falls, both in Company F of the 1st Wisconsin Infantry and both killed in action October 8th, 1862, at the Battle of Perryville. Swan Madison, from Stillwater, Minnesota, died November 21, 1862; he was in Jerry’s Company.
The thirteen from Company G of the 4th Wisconsin are:
- Gilbert Allen (Hudson) died November 28, 1862, from disease.
- Francis Danforth (Farmington) died November 3, 1861, from disease.
- William E. Dexter (Boston, Mass.) died August 15, 1862, from disease.
- Oliver Peter Dwyer (Malone) died November 3, 1862.
- William W. Hatch (Handy, Mich.) died August 23, 1862, from disease.
- William F. Johnson (River Falls) died November 13, 1861, from disease.
- Wilson McAllister (Trimbelle) died October 22, 1862, from disease.
- Swan Madison (Stillwater) died November 21, 1862, from disease.
- Albion P. Palmer (Somerset) was killed July 15, 1862.
- Robert R. Pettijohn (Hudson) died October 2, 1862, from disease.
- George T. Randall (River Falls) died August 7, 1862.
- Edward C. Silverthorn (Oakland) died August 2, 1862.
- Charles D. Wade (Hudson) died September 2, 1862, from disease.
2. This word is really hard to read because it is at the end of a line and Jerry squished the letters together so that they all fit on the line! It is possibly a surname rather than a word; some possibilities are Cornman, Corman, Cormen, or Cormer.
3. Reuben Gray was from Pleasant Valley; he was not discharged, but rather mustered out with Company G in 1866. George Peabody was from Hammond; he will be discharged, but not until May 3, 1863. Rather than being officially discharged, the two men were probably sent home on a medical furlough to see if they could recover.