Editor’s Note: The Soldier Studies web site (http://www.soldierstudies.org) collects and publishes letters written during the Civil War. Owner/editor Chris Wehner was kind enough to grant me written permission to publish a selection of letters from his site which focus on the Siege of Petersburg. Look for letters to appear here during the 150th anniversary of the Siege of Petersburg and beyond. These letters may not be reused without the express written consent of Chris Wehner. All rights reserved.
Head Quarters, 9th N[ew].H[ampshire].V[olunteers].
My own dear Mary,
Thinking you would like to hear from your absent boy he thought he would write you a few lines. My health is very good and I hope it will remain so for a while longer and then I hope to be able to get out of this and go home. Oh how I long for the time to come when I can say that I am a free man once more, a happy time that I assure you if I can once get out of the service it will take a smarter man than I am to get me into it again. If the people at the North would either come themselves or send out men that were men, I should feel better satisfied to stay, but instead of sending out men or coming themselves they are sending out foreigners of all nations and I have got heartily disgusted with fighting with such a class of men. One cannot trust them. They will not stand up and fight as men will that came out two and three years ago, but let me once get out of this and then they may send out as many such men as they like, that is if they can get them just as soon as the army suspended active operations, then I shall try hard to get out of it. We have had no fighting since the 1st of Oct. and I hope we never shall have any more while I stay in the service. We thought we were going to have another brush last Saturday. We struck tents and packed up every thing and stood under arms from seven o’clock in the morning till five o’clock in the evening, then the order came for us to pitch our tents again in our old place and we a happy set of fellows when we found that [we] had not got to fight any that day. Since that time we have been lying quietly in camp with the usual routine of camp duty which consists of a goodly amount of picket duty getting up every morning an hour before daylight and standing under arms till after sun rise which by the way is very pleasant cold mornings, drilling four hours a day when we are not on other duty. We are having very cool nights here just at the present time. I suppose Lieut. Allen has got home before this. Well I hope he will have a pleasant time while he is at home. We lost two thirds of the men that we went in with on the 30th. [He is referring to the battles around Poplar Springs Church, Va.] I am in command of [the] regiment yet as neither of the field officers have got back yet, but I wish some of them would come for I have got heartily sick of commanding a regiment when it is on an active campaign. The responsibilities are too great for one like me, but I expect the Col. will be back in a few days and when he gets back I hope I shall have a little easier time of it than I have for the last two months. How does Captain Case manage to get along while he was at home. Was the town of Newport large enough to hold him with his two bars on his shoulders. I expect he will be here tomorrow for his time was up today. He was very fortunate in getting his leave just as he did for he got rid of a very hard fight. I sent you two hundred dollars by Express a few days ago and if you have not got rid of them before you get this you may keep them for the interest on them is more than you can get from the savings bank. Have you heard anything of the one hundred and fifty dollars that I sent eight or ten weeks ago. I have not heard a word from you for a long time. What might the reason be. Well I will now close hoping to hear from you often. Give my love to Mother and accept this from your affectionate Husband,
Jno. B. Cooper1
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