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LT: October 30, 1864 James P. Elliott (1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery)

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.

Battery 4

Dear Mother

Your kind favor came to hand to day and as ever I was glad to hear from you. I am sorry that you have so much trouble and that I can do so little to assist you, perhaps Austin will be able to do something when he gets home. I think he might cut some of my small wood that would help along some –

I know that it is going to be hard times this winter for poor people and I am willing to do what I can to help you and to let you know that I mean what I say. I will here state that I have given up making payment on my place at present, and therefore if you need a part of my $50.00 to use why you are at liberty to use it receiving enough to pay the $18.00 interest that will be due the 1st of January. My reason for giving up making a payment on the place is this, I presume that sometime between this and next April I shall get a Commission, and if that should be the case why I must have some money to get an outfit and if I use mine on the place, I should have to borrow and rather than do that I think best to postpone the payment. I expect to have what I shall need here and that will leave you $30.00 to use if you think best.

This is a beautiful morning and everything is quiet here, there is some firing in the direction of Richmond.

With love to you all I close James

I got a little a head of my time for I thought I had written on this page –

I am happy to inform you that I am well that the ague thinks me a very poor subject to work on and therefore gave it up as a bad job. I think the fight of Thursday [October 27, 1864] we got the worst of it although we cannot get anything definite1— I had a letter from I Wheeler’s mother this morning she sends her love to you –

Who could look out on the face of Nature this beautiful morning and dream of desolating war being in the land, running on with its cruel crushing power? none. The trees of the forest have assumed their gayest dress of Autumn and you know I admire them very much. What will be the next move would be hard to tell, we shall soon see if nothing happens [ up the side of the page ] I may not write again until next Sunday – James2


  1. SOPO Editor’s Note: Elliott is referring to the October 27, 1864 Battle of Fair Oaks and Darbytown Road.  The Army of the James butted heads quite ineffectively against the Confederate earthworks guarding Richmond.
  2. Elliott, James P. “Battery 4.” Letter to “Dear Mother” 30 Oct. 1864. MS. Battery 4. This letter appears here due to the express written consent of Chris Wehner, owner of SoldierStudies.org and may not be used without his permission.  All rights reserved.
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