NP: November 21, 1864 Cleveland Plain Dealer: Army Correspondence, Morale

   

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in November 1864

Editor’s Note: This article was provided by John Hennessy and transcribed by Jackie Martin.

Army Correspondence.

__________

BEFORE PETERSBURG, VA.,
Nov. 15, 1864.

DEAR DEALER—It has been so long since I’ve written you a line, that I presume that I am entirely forgotten by your readers as your Army Correspondent.  However, I’ve not forgotten you, and now that I have taken up my pen again, I will “remember” you occasionally, to say the least.

If I remember right, the last letter I wrote you was sent from Brandy Station, about the first of May.  It would be a painful and sorrowful task to follow, even in imagination, the footsteps of our noble army, since, to the present time.  All was bright and glorious in the future then.  I remember, that when I saw this army take up its line of march, I thought that Richmond would be ours within sixty days.

Well, it is not the fault of our brave soldiers that it was not.  The pen of the historian has no greater deeds of valor and daring to record than has been performed since by our men in arms.  The army has been under fire ever since, and is yet.  There has not been a day nor an hour that our front lines has not been in actual combat with the foe.  And even now, as I write, the rattle of the musketry on the picket line is as lively as if strangers had met a stranger foe.  Where can the student find a parallel to this in the warfare of any age or people?  And this does not tell the first line of the story.  It is likely and probable it will go on thus without cessation all this winter.  I saw a Richmond paper to-day and it says their soldiers are fitting for winter quarters in their trenches.  I presume it would be considered contraband news to say anything about what is going on this side of their works, but it may not be so to state that a general rumor prevails in the army, that we have but little farther to go this winter.

We are three-fourths of a mile from Petersburg, and can hear the church-bells toll and see the time of day on the dial of the town clock.  Our pickets can converse with them any time without speaking in an unnatural key.  And here are our fortifications and breastworks and there are theirs.  If you want to get ventilation in your hat, just stick it above the embankment, and some Johny will accommodate you by putting a ball hole through it; and from the present appearance of things, this seems to be the settled state of affairs.

The weather is glorious, and seems to be as substantially settled as military matters; but as both are changeable, and as I am no prophet, I’ll not venture.  But here am I to “take notes,” and you are there to “print ‘em.”  And whenever anything turns up worthy of your time and space, you shall have it from your old correspondent.

JOHN.1

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Source:

  1. “Army Correspondence.” Cleveland Plain Dealer. November 21, 1864, p. ? col. ?

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