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1865 April 4: “We are to draw new saddles, &c, carbines and Cavalry suits, and are to act as escort to Gen. Leggett”

April 4, 2015

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.  April 4th, 1865.

My Dear Parents;

                                 Yours of the 5th and 12th are at hand, the letter received yesterday.  I must now answer while there is opportunity, for, as you must know, a soldier’s time is not always at his own pleasure.

We were greatly surprised to hear of Jack’s reinlistment [sic].  I had supposed he would marry and settle down.  Well, he is an admirable substitute, and will honor the service and his country as he ever has.  He is not the man to withhold his service from his country, thinking he has done enough, at the time when his presence will do most good.  I would like to grasp his hand for that act.  How different such conduct from that of men who go about in the disguise of an exalted patriotism swindling towns out of their quotas of men and pocketing their money.  To such men there must come a day of retribution.

I am going to surprise you now.  Guess what has happened, if you can, — but you can not do it, so I will tell you.  We are both detailed as Provost guards at Div. Hd. Qrs. and are mounted.  The order came yesterday as we came in from picket.  We have drawn our horses and saddles and are enjoying the change greatly, you may be assured.  Our knapsacks are to be carried for us.  I understand we are to draw new saddles, &c, carbines and Cavalry suits, and are to act as escort to Gen. Leggett [Mortimer D. Leggett], who has just returned from the North with two stars on his shoulder.  If so, our duties will be light & pleasant, — a little guard duty, carrying dispatches &c.  I am as agreeably surprised as you will be when you hear of it, for, in all probability, if the Capt. had been in camp when the order came, he would have sent some sick men, only to have them ordered back.  Lt. Kelsey [Wallace Kelsey] said good healthy men, men who had always done their duties and would not disgrace their country, were wanted, and that we might go.  Of course we felt complemented and at once accepted the chance.  Homer rides a spirited white horse, I, a bay.  7 men from the Regt. were detailed and we all mess together, ~ a colored gentleman to cook for us & carry cooking utensils.

Gen. Force [Manning F. Force], our old Brig. Commander, who, in the absense [sic] of Gen. Leggett, commanded the Div., now assumes command of the 1st Div., vice Gen. Mower [Joseph A. Mower] promoted to command of the 20th A. C. [Army Corps].  The boys feel bad that Gen. Force is to leave them, for so endeared is he to them, that they believe if there ever was a real true man & Christian General he is one.  All loved him.  I love to look upon him, kind, sympathetic with the men, brave.  I shall always remember a little incident that occurred at Orangeburg. We were leaving the town,—some negro quarters were on fire and fearing the flames would reach a dwelling inhabited by some white people, we were ordered to arrest the fire.  The fire was checked, and a secesh lady, inquired of the Gen. whom she should thank, not knowing who he was.  His reply was, “That is no matter, Madam, no matter.”

Carletta copyGen. Leggett is also a man of sterling worth but with him I am not so well acquainted.

The price of clothing (army) has nearly doubled, so that a man’s single outfit will cost him more than his yearly allowance $42.  Something wrong in legislation, I will send a price list soon.

We expect to draw pay shortly which you can convert in Gov’t bonds if you choose.  We received the handkerchiefs, and they are nice ; and the little tract — “Carletta.”¹  I must stop, no good light.  —Edwin

1.  “Carletta, or Going to Sing in Heaven,” Pocket Tract No. 13 (New York: Nelson & Phillips, 1800).

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Edwin Levings letter of April 4, 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

Edwin Levings letter of April 4, 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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