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1864 May 25: “I think there is no doubt but that we are going to the front”

May 25, 2014

Union General William T. Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign was already under way when Edwin D. Levings of Company A, 12th Wisconsin Infantry, wrote this letter.  His regiment is about to set off on a march to join the Campaign in Georgia.

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.

Huntsville Ala, May 25th, 1864

May Dear Father,

                                  As I have just written to Cousin Hattie, I had not determined to write to you so soon, or at the same time, but I thought would say a few words to you ere we march and enclose my photographs.

I did not write many letters yesterday.  After I finished my washing the Capt. made me work on the Muster Rolls till 11 o’clock last evening.  There was no release for me till it was done and now I must hurry off these lines for we march this forenoon.

I expect we have got to climb mountains and do many other difficult things.  The distance to Rome [Ga.], our supposed destination, is about 150 miles.  I think there is no doubt but that we are going to the front.  There is no bad news from Sherman, but I suppose he means to make every step firm and strike hard blows.

You must write every opportunity.  Do not fancy your letters will not get to me for they certainly will.  Gen. Sherman says in a public order that he wishes the soldiers to have the full benefit of the mail facilities & wants them and their friends to use them as much as desirable.  He despises nothing but the sensation correspondents who hang about the army, too cowardly to shoulder a musket, to puff officers.

We are now having clothing issued to us.  Some of the recruits, Jack¹ in particular, have some shoes that seem to cry aloud ~ are rather “done gone up” as the darkies say.

All the boys, those of the Falls [River Falls] especially, look tough & hearty.  I feel first rate now — better by far than when I went home and I think I can stand a march with its exposures, as well as any of them.

Homer you are lucky in not being down here for reasons you will understand.  Have a good time while home.  John Rice, says you need not be in a hurry to tell the officers when you are well, but of course I want to know you are well.

The weather is fine — not too warm — accompanied with occasional dashes of rain.

I must stop for the drums are beating to fall in.  So Good bye & God bless you all.

Edwin D. Levings

1.  This probably refers to John H. McConnell, from Prescott, who enlisted January 4, 1864, so would be a new recruit.

Edwin Levings letter of May 25, 1864, 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 May 25, 1864, 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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