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1863 September 28: “There is every indication of making Natchez a permanent first class military fort”

September 28, 2013

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.

Natchez, Miss. Sept 28th, 1863.

Dear Parents,

                        Last night, after an almost unendurable waiting, the mail boat came down and brought us your letter of the 6th instant.   It was a great relief and pleasure to hear from you again, as it was just 30 days since we had received a letter from you, and instead of one letter, there should have been two or three.  The boats are said to be taking Sherman’s [William T. Sherman] troops up the river to Rosecrans [William S. Rosecrans], and this will account, perhaps, for the non-arrival of mails lately.  According to our latest advices the rebels are massing on Rosecrans’ front and have succeeded in repulsing our advance, driving it back to Chattanooga.  The rebels under Bragg [Braxton Bragg] have been heavily reinforced from Richmond and Mobile and it is their evident intention to crush Rosey.  But Burnside’s [Ambrose E. Burnside] army is within easy supporting distance of him and troops from the Miss. are being hurried forward to him with all possible haste.  Conscious of their dangers, and of the importance and necessity of regaining East Tenn. they are massing for the most desperate, and perhaps, for the final struggle of the war.  I have no fears of the result, believing that Rosey possesses the sagacity and wisdom of a great general, and that his men are composed of a material that will withstand any blows of the rebels.  You may think me singular, but I can not but wish we were ordered to that vicinity, not that I have any preference of generals, or sections of country, but that I may be in more active service.  You think we are in danger enough now.  Well I suppose we are, but you can not wonder a soldier desires active service to ease, in such times as the present, though the danger increase with the change.  Can you?  I presume when operations commence on Mobile we shall have an opportunity to participate.  The 13th Corps are on their way to the Rio Grande, Texas.  The object of sending troops there, I think, is not merely the wiping out of rebellion there, but a movement in anticipation of foreign intervention.  We were transferred to the 17 Corps on coming down here.  I do not think the 4th Division will remain here more than a month longer.  The place is being very strongly fortified and the presence of one Brigade with the negro troops will be is all that will be needed.  Siege guns are at the levee to be mounted, and there is every indication of making Natchez a permanent first class military fort.  There is one full Regt. of negro soldiers organized, and a large number are to be used as heavy artillerists I might tell you much about the people of Natchez but I shall have to omit it till some other day.

The Capt. [Orrin T. Maxson] and I had a long conversation about medicine the other evening.  He thinks the Homoepathic [sic] Treatment a humbug and swindle; said he was once connected with an extensive firm of that kind, that the proprietor invariably sold the little pills without being medicated & that the effect was equally as curative, & for this reason namely, the people had such faith in it; that all Homoepathic [sic] physicians followed this practice.  In fact, with a long array of testimony from his own experience and observation while in that firm, he essayed to initiate me into “ropes” of the whole business, appealing to my good judgement, as he called it, if it were not true, it was a money making business, he said, & if he were going into business again, he should choose Homoepathy [sic].  I replied, I did not doubt he would.  But he did not shake make much out of me one way or the other.  As I had no array of facts, either way at command I neither said anything did not say much for, nor against the system.  I told him as I shall now tell you.  I am no doctor.  I know but little about medicine of any kind.  My limited knowledge of Homoepathy [sic] & experience therein lead me to say nothing against it, nor do I accept your testimony sooner than I would anothers.  I am no more more Homoepathic [sic] than Hydropathic¹ or Allopathic²—not predudiced in favor of any medicine.  I am no doctor — never tried to cure disease much, but have tried to prevent it & in a measure, have succeeded.  I act on the saying ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’  But if I were sick, it would not matter with me what medicine I took, provided it was not killing me nor breaking down my constitution, but positively working a cure, thoroughly, at least, if not speedily.  I don’t care if the medicine is nothing but faith itself, to which you ascribe the curative effects of the pills.  I then pitched into him, pointing out some of the defects of his own system, how it had killed once, that it had cured, or the doctors had with it that Homoepathy [sic] never killed, nor left its patients broken down; so much in favor it.  But more,—admitting that in Homoepaths [sic] it is faith alone that cures, that is more than you can claim for your medicine as a general thing.— But I stop for Homer—Write soon—Yours affectionately,

                             Edwin Levings

1.  Internal and external use of water as a therapeutic treatment for all forms of disease.
2.  The system of medical practice which treats disease by the use of remedies which produce effects different from those produced by the disease under treatment. Most medical doctors practice allopathic medicine.

Edwin Levings letter of September 28, 1863, 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 September 28, 1863, from the Edwin D. Levings Papers (River Falls Mss BO) in the University Archives & Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls

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