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1865 January 29: From South Carolina — “We expect to start on a campaign soon, perhaps to morrow; we have not got any orders yet but preparations are being made for something”

January 29, 2015

Pocotaligo, South Carolina, was the closest depot to Port Royal Island and was a sought-after target for Union troops to disrupt railroad service.  It fell to Union General William T. Sherman in early 1865 shortly after his army’s capture of Savannah in Christmas 1864. Very little of the community remains today.

This letter by Homer Levings includes a postscript written by his brother, Edwin, continued from Ed’s letter of the same day.  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.

Pocotaligo S. C.
Jan. 29th 1865.

Dear Parents,

                           Yours of the 8th inst. was read last night.  It was the first that we have had from you while at this place.  The mails are so irregular that it takes along [sic] time to get an answer to a letter as the mail only comes from N.Y. once in eight days.  Mother you must not worry so much about us when you do not hear from us, for if anything happens to us you would hear of it all the sooner.  There are often circumstances arrising [sic] so as to prevent us from writing, as we cannot expect to have communication with the rest of the world, when we are makeing [sic] raids through the Confederacy.  [paragraph break added]

About the money we have sent home, you wished to know the amount we had sent as it is a matter of little  consequence, I never trouble my mind about it, and am unable to say as to the amount, though perhaps Ed will remember.  I think that Gov. Bonds are the safest way to invest money at the present time, or while the war lasts.  I think it is poor business for Soldiers or any one that is exempted from service, by military law, paying taxes, to induce cowards to enlist.  I am perfectly willing you should sell the land if you think best, and invest the money in any that seems best to you, you need not wait to consult us on the subject.  If you see a chance it is not best to let it slip, we will be satisfied any way, and if you want the money to use for your own comfort, I shall not be satisfied unless you use it.  [paragraph break added]

How does the colt get along, does he bid fare to make a good horse or is he like his owner of little promise, but as Grandmother used to tell me that there was “no telling the lack of a lousy calf,” we may both take a turn yet.  It is rumored that there will be no more mail sent from here, that the last mail has gone, but I think there will yet be an opportunity before we leave here.  [paragraph break added]

We expect to start on a campaign soon, perhaps to morrow; we have not got any orders yet but preparations are being made for something.  We have mad[e] there reconnoisances [sic] while here to get across the river, the Sancachee [Salkehatchie], but did not accomplish anything on account of the river being so high.  As it is dinner time noon I must stop and help get dinner.  We drew codfish, salt pork, hard tack &c, yesterday.  We draw three days more rations this afternoon.  The report is that the rebels have fell back eight miles from their works.  [paragraph break added]

Now if you do not hear from us do not look on the dark side but hope for the best.  We are well clothed now and have got new tenets.  With much love to all I will close,

From Your Affectionate Son,
Homer.

Well, I sold $166.50 worth of gold pens for Dale [Wilber P. Dale] & yesterday expressed by E.O. Cleveland our Div. Postmaster $155.00 to N.Y. for him.

We have all the money we can use.  Messrs. Fowler & Wells sent me a lot of journals telling me I might remit $1 & order as many more as I could sell.  I sent $4 for more & received 30.  I sell them at 30 cts.  We will send you 3 numbers by next mail.  Let us know how you like them &c.  I may have a chance to add more to this before mailing & for the present will close.

Yours affectionately—Edwin

Homer Levings letter of January 29, 1865, 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 Levings letter of January 29, 1865, 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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