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1864 September 18-19: Ed Levings — “All the talk is about the elections and the military campaigns”

September 18, 2014

A letter started by Homer Levings and finished by his older brother Edwin.  The original letter is in the Edwin D. Papers (River Falls Mss BO), in the University Archives and Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

Camp near Atlanta Ga, Sept 18th

Dear Parents,

                          It has been a long time since I have had the pleasure writing to you, but I hope that we will have the privilege of writing to you now, for a while a[t] least, though I do no expect we that we [sic] shall lay here long.  I do not propose to write any news however, for Ed has told you everything.  It is Sunday and everything quiet, we are having a nice shower at the present time.  It reminds that the rainy season is upon us again.  It will be bad, I think, for this army, without tents and exposed to all kinds of weather.  I see a¹ good many of the boys are coming down with the ague [fever] again, it is a dreadful sickness.  Ed told you to send me some allumb² but I shall not need it now, for I have some sinc [sic].³  [paragraph break added]

He wrote, [“]We read yours of the 29th ult., last night[”], it must have been delayed somewhere, for we have had letters of a later date.  You speak of buying Comodores’ team, I think by the discription [sic]  you gave of them that it would be a good piece of property to own, but I suppose it would be necessary to dispose of the mare and colt, and I do not suppose that it would be very easy matter while the fear of the draft prevails.  I see that most of a good many of the papers [are] anxious to have the draft postponed so that the quotas may be filled by volunteering.  I think that it is the worst thing that can be done for it gives those miserable cowards and copperheads a chance to stay at home, while if there was a draft they would stand a chance [to] come into the field well as the rest.

[Edwin takes over:] 19th.  Homer says to me close his letter for him as he does not feel first rate this afternoon. I will add a word or so.

We expect to be paid this week.  Whether we shall receive any installments of bounty, I can not tell.

You speak of Commodore’s horses.  If they suit you and you could do better by buying them than keeping the mare & colt, then you should make the trade.  Were I you, I would make the trade if I though I could better myself by so doing.  We can soon aid you with what money you want for what purpose, or anything else.

Every body in the army now, the Tenn. army, at least, is in confident mood as to speedy end of the rebellion.  All the talk is about the elections and the military campaigns.  Maine & Vermont have given heavy Union majorities and it is believed the other States will do likewise.  Lincoln [Abraham Lincoln] & Johnson’s [Andrew Johnson] election is looked upon now with far more confidence than awhile ago.  The hellish designs of the Peace Democracy & Copperheads are clearly understood.  We know what they intend.  The Chicago platform of these men is a very nice thing on the outside.  The Union they mean is the “Union as it was,” that is, with slavery which is to again resume sway over the nation.  McClellan [George B. McClellan] says he will make “the Constitution and the laws the rule of his conduct.”  Yes, he knows that to outstep the limits of the Constitution as Mr. Lincoln is doing, will crush the rebellion forever.  He knows this is the only & right way to do it, but for the sake of policy, the interest of the Democry [sic], both North & South, that it may rise into power, he pledges himself to make the “Constitution & laws the rule of his conduct.”  No wonder his supporters are pleased, “The Union of all hazards.”  They would make it appear that a Union on the basis of dishonorable peace, though they do not say so, is far better than that the war should go on till the rebels are made to accept our own terms & the Union be thus preserved !  Their platform is only a mask of their real designs.  [paragraph break added]

We are in good spirits.  We have delayed our letters longer than intended.  Write soon.  Yours &c., E.D. & H.W. Levings

1.  Homer’s poor handwriting makes this look like one word: Iseea.
2.  If you have never read a “Homer letter,” he was a terrible speller. This is alum, which was used to treat fever, among other things.
3.  This was probably another misspelling by Homer and should be zinc, which was also used to cure fevers.

Homer Levings letter of September 18, 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

Homer and Edwin Levings letter of September 18, 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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