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1863 July 10: A Letter from Sibley’s Expedition into Dakota Territory

July 10, 2013

A letter from Thomas F. Morton with Company C of the 7th Minnesota Infantry  in Dakota Territory, to W. H. C. Folsom in Taylor’s Falls, Minnesota.  The letter is dated July 10, 1863, but apparently arrived in Taylor’s Falls sometime in August, based on Folsom’s notation.  Morton used no punctuation at all (we have added it where it makes sense) and his spelling is so atrocious that it is sometimes difficult to know what he is saying.

The original letter is in the W. H. C. Folsom Papers (River Falls Mss S) in the University Archives and Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

[this is in a different hand and is probably Folsom’s notation]
Thomas F Morton
Aug 1863

Shayenne [sic] River

Dakota Tery. [Territory]

     July 10th / 63           The Exibishion [sic] of the Exposition of the grate [sic] Imposition, off about 50 miles to the N W of Fort Abercrombie

Dear Sir & most esteemed Friend and and [sic] Bro, I take this opportunity [sic] to write you a few lines as it may be the last chance for some time as we may not get a mail for some time after we leave hear [sic]. we come to this camp the 4th of this month, you thare fore [sic] see one of the Expositions.  Besides there is a good maney [sic] more that you don’t see.  the weather  is ver[y] dry whare [sic] fire gets a chance it runs like nov [?], it has run in our rear in sight of us for 4 or 5 days at a time.  Since we have bin [sic] out and the grass is as dry on the high lands as it ever will bee [sic].  Some places it has not started to grow at all, some some places it is 1 or 2 inches long and dride [sic].  in the sloughs and swamps is the only places whare [sic] we can get grass for the mules and Horses.  the Beef catle [sic] has [sic] a better chance for thay [sic] feed whenever thay [sic] come to grass.  The water has bin [sic] very bad for the last 100 miles, alkalie [sic] and minerls [sic] of other kinds.  Timber next to none, travel all day some days without seeing a t[r]ace.  A poor country this.  I wouldent [sic] gave 75 cts. for 100 sec [section?] of it.  It is good for the Hunter only.  It is cald [sic] about 150 miles to Devils Lake whare [sic] this imposison [sic] is suppos [sic] to go.  Tho you need not be disapointed [sic] if this Turns back before it gets half way from this place for that the wind is very strong from the north west and the smoke is so thick that we can but just see the sun at noon.  of corse [sic] the Indians is burning the grass a head [sic] of us and we are a laying still and hawling [sic] grass 5 or 6 m.  the hard bread is spoiling, alsso [sic] the pork, some of which the boine [?] has run out and the barel [sic] scrunk [sic] and the imposision [sic] [being?] still.  Did I say lying still, yes.  But how is it about red tape if the thing is cared [sic] on South as it is hear [sic] the sooner the Souther[n] Confederacy is acknowledged the better for we have no government there is nothing too low for these strate [sic] kneed jentry [sic] to sloose [?] too.  It is too tedious to under take.  it has bin [sic] a war of dress Parades hear [sic].  so fare with all the green back can begot.  government allows Every commissioned officer Pay and Rations for a servent [sic] if they imploy [sic] one and and so they detail Soldors [sic] and enter ficticous [sic] Names on the Pay Roles some times thay [sic] will Bord [sic] with the solders [sic] and pay nothing costs them nothing, draw a servents [sic] pay.  Details for servents [sic] is common and so Extensive that it Be weekens [sic] the army about 25 per cent.  [paragraph break added]

I would go on if I had Room but for the want of Room I must close.

Yours Respectfully

Thos. F. Morton

[to] W. H. C. Folsom
let me hear from you soon

Morton letter 1863-7-10

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