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1864 June 20: “We could have stayed [in Chattanooga] two months in the convalescent camp if we had wanted to but the front is preferable”

June 20, 2014

Homer Levings—Edwin Levings’ brother—has finally returned to Company A, 12th Wisconsin Infantry, from sick leave.  In this letter he describes to his mother his trip to rejoin the Company, and briefly what the Company is doing.  As usual, Homer’s letter is full of misspelled words.  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.

Head Qquarters [sic] in the field
June 20th 1864

Dear Parents,

                           I supose [sic] watching every mail, but I presume that it brings no tidings from.  I prommised [sic] to write as often as I could, but I have not had an opportunity for to write before.  I arrived here last night.  I left Madison on 13th at 2 oclock [sic] & there were 9 men in the squad; we arrived at Chicago 9 oclock [sic] in the evening, and stoped [sic] at the Soldiers Rest, until 9 the next evening, when we left for Indianappolis [sic].  While at Chicago I called Mr. Buyington’s¹ and took tea.  They were all well.  Mrs. Buyinton made a strawberry short cake, which made me think of home.  Lottie is going to school, she expects to graduate next summer.  George is clerking.  Desire Dayton is there in the city clerking.  Arrived at Indianapolis the next day at 7 oclock [sic], and left at 8 for Jefersonville [sic].  We got there about 3 and crossed the Ohio river to Louisville, where we stayed all night at the Soldiers home, and started for Nashville, got there about half past five, and stopped for the night at the Soldiers Home, an[d] left the next day at 12 for Chattanoga [sic].  We traveled all day and night, and arrived at Chattanoga [sic] the next morning 6 oclock [sic], where we drawed [sic] our arms.  We could have stayed there two months in the convalescent camp if we had wanted to but the front is preferable.  [paragraph break added]

We left there on the train at 4 P. M. and arrived the next day about the same hour at Big Shanty which was only about 3 or 4 miles from the front; from there we walked to camp.  I found my valise pretty heavy.  I gave it to a soldier who helped me to carry it.  I found most all the boys well that were with the company.  Farnsworth² is at Chattanoga [sic], sick.  I gave the package that was sent to him, to a Mr. Weed, he said he would try and send it to him.  I shall keep the money until I can hear from him, as there would be to [sic] much risk in sending it by mail not knowing exactly where he is.  I supose [sic] he is in some convalescent camp.  Mr. Meachum  [sic] of Prescott sent $5.00, and some maple shugar [sic], by me to his son,³ but he is not here, so and I can not keep the shugar [sic].  [paragraph break added]

This is a hard country to take as it is in the mountains, but we gain on them slowly, our regt. is in front of a very high mountain, called Kensaw [sic] Peak.  We are on a verry [sic] high hill, it is most to [sic] far for musket shooting but it is just right for cannon.

21st — The batteries in our divssion [sic] silenced a battery on Kensaw [sic] Peak yesterday.  Hooker [Joseph Hooker] had some pretty hard fighting last night.  It is reported that he got drove back, but it is that he took two briggaades [sic] prisoners.  There has not been any heavy fighting to day.  We have a good deal of rain.  I wish you could have some of it up there.  But I do not feel like writing so I will stop.

Lieut. Kelsey4 sends his respects.  My health is good.  Ed’s also.  I have some photographs which I will send you.

Homer Levings

1.  Perhaps should be spelled “Byington.”
2.  Erastus G. Farnsworth, from River Falls, enlisted December 22, 1863, and will muster out with the Company in July of 1865.
3.  Corporal Cornelius E. Meacham—brother of Captain Edgar A. Meacham of the 30th Wisconsin—had enlisted September 21, 1861, and will muster out October 30, 1864, when his term expires.
4.  Wallace Kelsey is, at this time, the 2nd lieutenant of Company A, 12th Wisconsin.
.

Homer Levings letter of June 20, 1864, from the Edwin D. Levings Papers (River Falls Mss BO) at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls University Archives & Area Research Center

Homer Levings letter of June 20, 1864, from the Edwin D. Levings Papers (River Falls Mss BO) at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls University Archives & Area Research Center

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