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.
The weather for the last few days has been intensely hot. It is very dry, and I hope we shall soon have some rain. My health is excellent. We get plenty of blackberries, and all we need is plenty of sugar to go with them. I expect we shall soon go back to Petersburg, but I am informed that Kershaw’s Brigade and several thousand cavalry have left for the Valley. This indicates that the seat of war may soon be around Washington instead of Richmond. I hope we will not be sent to the Valley again, for I detest those tedious marches. However, I am willing to do anything to whip out the Yankees.
Matters are comparatively quiet at present, although we hear more or less cannonading somewhere every day. At this moment I hear the booming of cannon away down on the James River. We are so quiet now that we have nothing to think about but home and our loved ones.
Word was sent from the headquarters of Wilcox’s Brigade to McGowan’s that a negro was captured at Petersburg the day Grant’s mine was sprung (July 30), who claims to belong to a medical officer of McGowan’s Brigade. On the provost marshal’s register is the name of “William Wilson of New York.” He always claimed that to be his name. I believe it may be my servant, Wilson. If so, the remarkable part of it is that he was captured charging on our breastworks. If I get him, I shall regard him as something of a curiosity in the future.
I received more pay on the 5th, and will send you one or two hundred dollars. I sent Bob the ten dollars for your catskin shoes. I bought an excellent pair of pants from the quartermaster for $12.50. They are made of merino wool. We shall soon have some fine gray cloth issued to the brigade for officers’ uniforms. There will not be enough for all, so we will draw lots for it. If I am lucky enough to get any, I will send it to you.
I am very anxious to get a long letter from you giving me all the news. When I can hear from you regularly and know that you are safe and well, I feel satisfied.1