• Three Civil War Letters -- Frozen Foot, Toe Falls Off, Child Soldier Dies

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    Offering three unrelated Civil War letters, two by soldiers and one being from the home front, 10 pp.  Highlights of the letters is a discussion about guarding the banks of the Occoquan River in Virginia because “Rebel Cavalry could ford the river” and soldiers deserting by going on a “French furlough” to Canada.  A soldier writing another letter from U.S.A. Hospital and Summit House, Philadelphia, speaks of his brother, also in the army: “He has frozen one of his feet until his toe came off.” He also writes of losing his young brother who was about seven years old and remarks that his career was short.  There were instances of children enlisting in the Civil War, some as drummer boys. 


    Writing to his aunt from the hospital on February 7, 1864, James Barrett.  In part, “…I had a letter from my brother David last week. He was in good health but he has frozen one of his feet until his toe came off. He is talking about going home on furlough and I expect by this time, he is at home. He has seen some pretty hard times since he has been in the army. I have lost one of my brothers since I last wrote to you. The one next to the youngest was buried this day two weeks ago. He was about seven years old.  Poor little fellow. His career in the world was short but he is in a better world where sickness and sorrow, pain and death are feared no more…As for me reenlisting, you need not fear…I will wait a while. I must see my friends first…Uncle Sam has not money enough to buy me…I can go into any branch of the service that suits me…”


    February 1, 1865, our writer who signs with the initials SWJ, writing to George and Kate, from amp on the Bank of the Occoquan River, Virginia.  In part, “…Was out on the bank of the river, two miles from camp with 20 men.  It is at a place where the Rebel Cavalry could ford the river. There [was] no one there to stop them.  We had a good time. Did not think much about the Rebs but there was a house near by and some nice gals and they made us some warm biscuits for supper. It was first rate…Sunday the drums are just beating for meeting…You don’t know how muddy it was.  It is now considerable snow…Guess P don’t think it is Sunday as he is out to work on the road with 300 men. Makes quite a team. They are laying down logs, 6 miles, for teams to go on so that we can get our provision…We have just been paid off. We only got 1 month, 21 days…owe us yet 3 months pay…Our second lieutenant will go home if he lives to get well enough…We hear today that they are going to draft the 9 month men before they go home but I don’t see it. Reckon they will find some will take a French furlough and leave for Canada…”

    The third letter is from the home front, written on patriotic stationary, dated “5th Mo., 24th [18]63, with family news regarding childhood diseases and vaccinations as well as planting news.  “…I have been very busy this spring…planted more ground than usual…Expect to go sheering tomorrow if it does not rain…My mare has a colt which will be 3 weeks old tonight…Father has one nearly 2 weeks older than mine….I went to the mill and got 8 bushels of wheat ground…” Signed by his first name, which is difficult to decipher. 


    Overall readable.  Punctuation added for clarity.  Folds, toning, some soiling with a few edge tears.


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