1862 December 6: “I am beginning to think that my three years term will not see this war closed”
A newsy letter from Jerry Flint to his mother. Much of it is about family members and acquaintances. 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.
Dec 6th 1862
My Dear Mother;
It has been some time since I wrote you last but I was waiting to get a letter from Helen for I wished to know whether my other letters went straight. I received Helen’s letter a few days ago and have answered it.
I am somewhat tired today as I was on guard last night and it was a dreadful stormy night. I thought of you and was glad that I could feel sure that you had a comfortable place of abode. I was thinking as I sat gazing into the fire while the rain pouring down in torents [sic] of that winter that we first lived alone there in the old house in Vermont. It almost makes me shiver now. Do you remember it? How deep the snow, how cold the weather, with hardly a stick of wood at the door and not more their half enough to last. I believe that Hulled¹ corn, and milk was all we could muster and then we could hardly get fire enough to thaw the frozen milk. I remember too, when you sent me out to ask Asa Reynow² if he would draw a load of wood and trust us a short time, he said “Not a stick without the money.”
He is dead and I am glad of it.
I went over to the 7th Vermont one day to see Phineas Hinds. I found there one of Asa R.’s boys.² I shook hands with him as of course I must, but as I looked at him, I could not help hating him for he looked just like the old man. I have not been to see him since, nor do I intend to. I am afraid that I shall feel constrained to hit him a crack on the old man’s account. But I will not write anything more of this. I happened to be thinking about those old times and I thought I would just see if you remembered them.
There are considerable many troops here from Vt. as well as the rest of the eastern States. But I don’t like them. Southerners don’t like them. Western men don’t them. They have not that frank, open, freehearted manner about them, which characterizes Western and Southern people. There are only three Western regiments in this department, one from Michigan, one from Indiana and one from Wis. and they hang together like brothers, but they all hate the eastern men. Only a few nights ago I saw one of them stand for fifteen minutes and try to beat the milkman down one penny on a cup of milk.
I am glad to hear that you are well. Helen says that you have furnished yourself with extra under clothing. I am glad that you have for to a person of your age dressing warm is indispensable to health. I will send you five dollars in this which will help a little for spending money. I received a letter from Eunice yesterday, also one from Rossie.³ I believe the people are all as well as usual except Phineas4 and he is slowly recovering. They tell me Uncle W. Elmire, Kate Shehard5 and Mrs. Hale of Hastings [Minn.] are gong east giving concerts. I hope it will pay.
The news from the north amounts to nothing and I am getting anxious. It seems as though they would never do anything up there. I am beginning to think that my three years term will not see this war closed.
I am well, and have had good health this summer as I could ask. You must make Helen write as often as possible and I think if you hold the baby she cannot refuse. I shall write to Dean in a few days.
Give my respects to all. From your
1. This word is difficult to read and may be wrong.
2. Jerry is not spelling this surname the way the son did. Joseph Reyno served in Company I of the 7th Vermont Infantry. The family was apparently French Canadian and the name is spelled variously as “Reno” and “Raineau,” in addition to Reyno.
3. Roswell Platt had been in the band of the 1st Wisconsin Infantry (3 years). Most of the band was mustered out August 30, 1862, as bandsmen were no longer needed.
4. This Phineas is Jerry’s brother, Phineas Flint, who was recently discharged because he was too sick to serve.
5. Kate’s surname is difficult to read and could be slightly different.