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1864 February 16: “I am not certain whether I shall re-enlist or not … should I get a commission I shall surely stay”

February 16, 2014

Jerry Flint, currently a sergeant in Company G of the 4th Wisconsin Cavalry (the Hudson City Guards), is still in Wisconsin on his recruiting trip.  He is in Madison, with his recruits, getting ready to head back to the regiment.

The original letter is in the Frank D. Harding Papers (River Falls Mss AB), University of Wisconsin-River Falls University Archives & Area Research Center.

American House
Madison Wis. Feb. 16 ’64

Dear Brother¹

                           Here we are yet at the Capital of our glorious State paying $10.50 per week for board, and getting as usual 17 dollars per month.  But never mind, the decree has gone forth, and we start for the Department of the Gulf tomorrow.  I have got my own board bill paid.  The bill for my men I shall not be able to collect just now but shall leave it with Joe Elwell [Joseph S. Elwell] which will be all right.  You know I shall have six months pay due the 1st of March but we cannot get a cent until we get to the Regt.  I found all my Party waiting here when I arrived.  I had supposed that I was left all alone.

The first evening after we arrived we met arround [sic] the festal board and had a glorious reunion.  Last Saturday three of us, viz.² Sergts Sharpe,³ Cowan4 and myself, being tired of lazing too long in one place took a “French” and went to Milwaukee and spent the Sabbath.  Had a splendid time I’ll bet.  Saw all of Co. “A” 30th and spent a glorious nigh with “Gus.”  I tell you Phin he is a stand by.  Theodore & Al look tough and hearty.  By George it does me good to grip Old Nick by the paw.  He is worth a small fortune in himself.  [paragraph break added]

I have sit [sic] to day for some Photographs.  If I go away tomorrow before I can get them, I shall have them sent to you and you keep them subject to my order.  I have promised several and I will let you know who they are (Except one).  Keep still or I’ll break your neck.  [paragraph break added]

Ellsworth Burnett5 came down to night and I had the supreme pleasure of tipping a glass of Beer with him.  He has gone to a Dance to night but as I have been running the machine in tolerably good shape since I have been here I concluded to stay at my room and write to you.  I do not know whether I shall get a chance to see Helen or not.  [paragraph break added]

The Col. [Daniel J. Dill] said he was perfectly willing I should go on and meet the Party at Chicago but the Genl. Supt. would not give his permission.

I am not certain whether I shall re-enlist or not.  Sometimes I feel as though in your present state of health I ought to come home.  I do not think any one can accuse me of being a coward or not doing my duty if I serve three years and get an honorable discharge.  Should I get a commission I shall surely stay.  My sheet is full and I guess I will Flint letter, 1864-2-16, word001.  Love to all.  Tell Sarah to write.

Good night, Jerry

Direct your letters to the Regt. at Baton Rouge

Charly has gone to the Regt.6

1.  Jerry’s brother, Phineas, who used to be in Company A of the 30th Wisconsin Infantry, but was discharged for a disability.
2.  Viz., an abbreviation for videlicet, meaning “namely,” “that is to say,” “to wit,” “as follows.”
3.  Edward E. Sharpe, from Sheboygan, a sergeant in Company C of the 4th Wisconsin Cavalry.
4.  George F. Cowan, from Dartford, a sergeant in Company B of the 4th. No doubt the two sergeants, like Jerry, had been back home recruiting.
5.  Jerry’s cousin, who was still in Company A of the 30th at this time. The 30th had not yet left Madison.
6.  Probably Charles P. Nichols, from Hudson, who was a corporal in Company G of the 4th.

Jerry Flint letter of February 16, 1864, from the Jerry E. Flint Paper (River Falls Mss BN) at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls University Archives & Area Research Center

Jerry Flint letter of February 16, 1864, from the Jerry E. Flint Paper (River Falls Mss BN) at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls University Archives & Area Research Center

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