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1865 March 29: “I presume that as soon as the army can get clothed and get rations enough that we will start out again to explore the unknown regions of the Confederacy”

March 29, 2015

A double letter from Homer and Edwin Levings, to their parents in River Falls, Wisconsin.  Homer starts the letter and, as usual, his spelling is not very good.  Some misspellings he uses frequently in letters include supose and verry.

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.

Goldsboro N. C. March 29th / 65.

Dear Father and Mother,

                                              We are settled down in camp again and now we must make up for lost time that we will not be behind in writing.  We have cleared up three camp grounds since we came here, and now I supose [sic] they have found a place suitable for us to stop in while we are here, but I supose [sic] our stay will be short.  I presume that as soon as the army can get clothed and get rations enough that we will start out again to explore the unknown regions of the Confederacy.

I am glad they are going to build a wollen [sic] factory up there, if they get the Rail Road there also it will make [a] nice place of the Falls.¹  I supose [sic] you have had cold winter this winter but with us it has been verry [sic] mild with the exception of rain which we have had an abundance of.  A good many of our sick and wounded men that were back have come up since we came here.²  I[t] seems to be the general impression that we have but one more march to make and that will be the end the war.  I hope they will start on a campaign as soon as they can get ready, for we seldom have enough to eat when we are in camp.  I never see this army so sadly off for clothes as they were on the last campaign.  A great many were barefooted, and clad in rebel clothing.  But I was more fortunate than a good many, I only went barefooted one day, then I succeded [sic] in getting a pair of shoes.  I am wearing my a rebel uniform now which I found in the country, I and the fourth pair of pants sin[c]e  we started.  [paragraph break added]

I reed [sic] a letter from Jut since we come in, here [sic] he’s well.  It [is] imposible [sic] for me to write any thing  to-day so I will wait til my head [is] clearer, so you must excuse this scribble.  And I will try and do better next time.

With much love for all, I remain your Afectionate [sic] son,


[Homer’s brother Edwin adds on the bottom of Homer’s letter:]

Yours of the 5th inst. is just recd. in which you speak of John Dale’s operations in recruiting for R. F.  Well, the more you trust such men the more you will come to grief.  For my part, I never could see what virtue he possessed that he should retain such a hold on the people of Pierce Co.

Another thing.  If you would elect men to office who have served in the army, look well to their fitness for it beforehand.  Don’t elect them because they have fought for their country, or you may get “sold”.  This may sound conceited coming from a fellow like me, I would not have said it but for you statement lately, and for the fact that there are thousands of men now in the army who after their return home will come into notice & into office without the requisite qualifications, and then the cry will be “What’s the matter”.  I shall never vote for a man because he exercised a little authority in the army, certainly never for one who was a Q. M. or a C.,³ if I know it.  Enough, though.  Fruit trees are in blossom, the weather is warm.

Write soon,
.               .E. D. Levings

1.  Homer tends to call the village of River Falls, Wisconsin, just “the Falls.”
2.  Soldiers left behind to recuperate in hospitals—“were back”—and are now well, have been brought up to the front lines to rejoin their units.
3.  Quarter Master and Captain.

Homer (left) and Edwin (right) Levings letters of March 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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