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1862 December 2: “I can give you no idea of the magnitude of this army”

December 2, 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.

Camp near Lumpkin’s Mills
Mississippi, Dec 2nd 1862.

Dear Parents;

                            I hasten to address you a letter and am glad I can do so from this State.  I know your anxiety and it gives me pleasure that I have no bad news for you.  We are now 7 miles from south of Holly Springs and 7 from the Tallahatchie river, Price’s [Sterling Price] stronghold.  We left Lagrange [sic] the 28th ult arriving here the 30th, so we are 32 miles further south.  We have a tremendous big army along, besides Sherman’s army is somewhere west of us, said to be trying to get into the rear of the rebels.  I can give you no idea of the magnitude of this army.  I believe, & so does every body else, that it has been raised to clean the whole State of rebels & every thing else.  On Sunday our advance drove the rebels from here to the river.  There was a good deal of artillery firing — the rebels lost several cannon, some prisoners & killed — our loss was trifling.  The rebels have 2 forts on this side of the river & 6 on the other.  The report is that the rebels are evacuating as fast as they can, they have abandoned the forts this side the river — they set fire to the wagon bridge but the Jayhawkers drove them off and put out the fire.  [paragraph break added]

We got marching orders yesterday but they were countermanded.  It has has rained considerably, yesterday & today and I fear there will be no general advance till the roads are dryer, but I don’t know.  We are in front & may be ordered at any moment to go forward.  Coming here the left, or Corinth army was ahead.  We marched through the ranks of the Wis boys the 8th, 16th, 18th, 17 18, and 14th Regts, they cheered us  lustily.  I tell you & there was a good deal happy feelings at meeting old friends.  The 8th boys carry a large gray eagle as their banner, & when they cheered us, it was an imposing sight to see the eagle spreading its wings as if to cover us all.  [paragraph break added]

We were detailed yesterday, as guard for a foraging train.  The teams of three brigades were along.   Our teams went 5 or 6 miles north west to an old secesh & cleaned him out.  Had a splendid time.  He had corn & fodder in abundance, turkeys, chickens, hogs, apples, fresh pork,  molasses, potatoes &c.  Every body helped himself freely.  We got fresh pork and 2 canteens of molasses as our spoils. The old secesh planter looked as though he had lost all his friends.  It does me good to bleed these old wealthy planters who have brought this trouble on & I say let “em bleed” don’t you?  There is no other way to humble them and make them better.

(3rd — Wednesday morning.)  We are perfectly confident of victory if the rebels make a stand.  Holly Spring is decidedly a most beautiful place — as large as Hastings [Minn.] —splendid residences as I ever saw.  This is the most hilly country I have seen—well wooded & very rolling — looks as if it were made for war purposes.  We have formed the acquaintance of a Mr. Rice who is from Ill. — Hamilton-Hancock Co.¹ — is well acquainted with uncle’s folks — is a very agreeable, fine sort of a man — is in the Ill. 32nd, of our Brigade.  [paragraph break added]

I must close, for I am in a hurry — we march in an hour or two.  Now, Dear Father and Mother & Grandmother, do not be uneasy about us.  It will all be well with us, & if one or both of us fall do not weep.  We are in God’s hands.  May he bless & preserve you & may we meet finally in a better world.

Don’t wait for us to write, write as soon as you get this.  Direct to Lagrange, Tennessee.  Remember us to all inquiring cordially. Yours with much love

P.S.                                            Edwin
We are both well            {Co A 12th R. W. V.
& hearty.  Homer           {3rd Brigade, 4th Div
sends his love to             {McPherson’s Corps, Grant’s Army
all.                                      {Mississippi

1.  Hamilton is a city in Hancock County, Illinois.

Edwin Levings letter of November 18, 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

Edwin Levings letter of December 2, 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

One Comment leave one →
  1. Shirley Gilpin permalink
    January 8, 2013 9:49 am

    Totally fascinating! I have a great-great-great- uncle who was in the trenches in the same region at the same time.

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