1865 April 9: “Richmond, Petersburg, guns and ironclads with them, and many thousand prisoners are now ours”
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.
Hd. Qrs. 3rd Div. 17th A. C.
Goldsboro, N. C. April 9th, 1865.
The latest letter from you is that of the 20th ult., which was received several days ago. I must write you to-day, for to-morrow may demand my time for something else.
You may be sure that any news from home is more to us that a meal of hard tack, as you say, for I know not what can fill their place better. But I love hard tack and think sometimes I will take a box home. Your nice fixings might take the preference, though, for a while, but a hard tack now and then would be acceptable. A few days more at most and we shall procure our living off the country as heretofore, though we shall not be without Government rations.
This week, doubtless, we shall move after Johnson [sic: Joseph E. Johnston]. I was up to Gen. Sherman’s Hd. Qrs. last evening and heard Col. Strong [William E. Strong], our old Major, read Grant’s dispatch from Burksville Vir. to Sherman; and I know we shall move. Grant [Ulysses S. Grant] said he was there pushing the rebels hard, who were fleeing to their homes by thousands; that Lee was making for Danville where Jeff [Jefferson Davis] had gone — he directed Billy [William T. Sherman] to push Johnson [sic] immediately. Uncle Billy said he was not used to speaking and would talk to us after the war was over. If you would know what Sherman’s character is, see the April No. of Harper’s Magazine. Richmond, Petersburg, guns and ironclads with them, and many thousand prisoners are now ours. Does any one say Grant is not a general as well as Sherman? I do not know but the Fourth of July will celebrate the rebellion ended. Grant’s victory will be enough to feed the public desire like we can do something here. What points we may make for you know as well as we, and we don’t know.
So we are now at Div. Hd. Qrs. and mounted, we can make a march with ease and pleasure. I like the change from inftry. and hope we may remain here till the close of the war. I have a good horse, and feed him plenty of oats ~ that is all, for there is no hay, or corn blades, this side of the rebs; but in a few days he shall have enough. I think he has speed sufficient to soon take me beyond reach of the rebs if ever chased by them, but we do not expect to have any skirmishes. We are learning the Cav. drill, though, to be ready for rebs if ever called upon.
I think we shall leave to-morrow morning. I have a couple of books which I mean to mail you if possible, as I shall not find time to use them as intended. One of them is a late work on Astronomy which I took from the Printing Office at Fayetteville. If Cousins L or H can use them it, they it are perfectly welcome to them. If Cousins L [Lottie] or H [Hattie] can use them, they may, for they may never be of use to us. — I must now close. Edward Pratt is over here to see us — he is all right.
Write soon to us.
E. D. Levings, Co. A 12th Wis. Vol.