The Civil War Letters of John E. Richardson
January 5-14 1863
"After a loss of about 2,000 men [at Chickasaw Bayou], Gen. Sherman withdrew his army, and on the 4th of January, 1863, was relieved by Gen. McClernand... Gen. McClernand soon after ordered the army to Arkansas Post."
John A. Bering & Thomas Montgomery, 1880
"i sopoes that you have got the news of the battle last sunday. it was not much of a battle altho it amounted to a goodeal in the end."
John E. Richardson
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Up Whit river Arkansas January 12th 1863
Mi Dear wife with pleasure i seat miself to rite you a few lines to let you know that i am alive but not very well at present for i have ben having the fevor and ague. i am geting pretty smart agane. the last shake i had was last friday morning before daylite. it was a pretty hard one i tel you. it lasted about four ours. perhaps i was luckey in having it but i did not think so at the time for thar was another battle yesterday. our men tock the fort and nine thousand prisners so i have ben told. i have not sean the capt yet. we had one man kild in our compney and non wonded. i exspect you know the one that was kild. it was george blar por fellow. i feal sory for his folks for thay thot i goodeal of him. i was not able to go and to tel the truth i was not very sory. i received one letter from you since we left memphis. that has ben almost a month but iexspect that i have two or three on the road somwhar. thar is no regalatin with the mail now. it cums and gos gest as it hapens. every time that i her of a boat going up the river i rite a letter. i have ritten three befor this one and i exspect that i wil get an answer to the first one on the next boat that cums down the river from memphis. i hope so for i am geting a little homesick since i lost your likeness but i wil get over that i ges when i get wal agane and hear from home once mor. i exspect that we wil go from her to little rock. it is about one hundred miles from her on this river. thar is a smal fort thar to take and when we get that i exspect that we wil go back to memphis. but i dont no. it is hard teling whar we wil go. when we started from memphis every body thot that we was going to take vicksburg but it turned out a difernt thing altogether. to be shure we foutht them to or three days but that was to blind them and to get them to draw thar men from this plase and little rock so that we could take theas plases with out much trubble. wal we have got one and if we get the other as esy as we got this one i shal be glad. i think that i wil be able to march in a day or to and when i am i shal be glad for thar is so manney sick on this boat. you se thar is another regament on this boat. it is the 108 ill and thay have not ben away from home but alittle while and thar is about one third of them sick. sum little boys that had better be at home going to scholl and the men that brot them her oet to be cort martial and hung slitley if not mor.
i have gest heard that thar is a mail cum but it has not cum to this boat yet. i exspect it every minit but it ma not cum before night and i heard to that thar was a boat agoing up the river to day. if it goes before the mail is distribited i shal send this anehow becos thar ma not be another chance for sometime and i sopoes that you will hear of this battle and wil be a woring yourself about me. i think this letter wil get thar pretty soon after the news of the battle. dont beleve the first news you get in the paors or the sechont ether for thar is no truth in them. for instance at the battle of vicksburg thar was a rumer that the 48th charged a battery and lost half of thar men. now we never fiard a gun exsept on picket and then thar was not half of them that see anything to fiar at but mos on the trees and bushes. we had good beds to lay on when we was down thar in the cypres swamps. the mos groes on the trees and hangs down twenty feat in som plases. cut down a tree and get mos anuf for the hole compney to lay on. in mi other letter i roat that if sam ice could wate until i was paid for the months Januwary and febuary i thot we could pay him but if he wil wate to months longer it think it would be better. and about that lumber. henry was to furnish the logs and he sad that he would them up to the mill when he hald the lumber for teals barn. he could do it as well as not he sad. i thot that i would not rite anymore until i see whether i got a letter or not but i ges i had better finish it so as to be shure and get it on the boat.
now i stil beleve that this war wil not last much longer so ceep up your corrage like a sencable woman as you ar and i will be at home some time next spring and i shal be very glad to get home i tel you. wal i cant think of anything mor to rite so good by for the present.
rite al the news and rite often. give mi respects to al. mi luve to al the friends and kis the baby. O how i should like to be thar to help take cair of her but i cant cum for a few days. wal good by. rite son and oblige your affectionate
John E Richardson
to Rosetty Richardson
ps. the reson i send this without a is becos i cant get any her. the mail is cuming but the other mail wont wate. good by J.E.R.
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Napolion January 18th 1863
Mi Dear wife with pleasure i sit down to rite you a few lines to let you know that i am alive but not very well. in mi last letter i roat that i had the ague. wal i had another shake day before yesterday. i feal pretty well to day only i am rather weak. i got a letter from you the other day and was very glad to her that you was al well and i hop that you al will ceep wel. i am glad you got the monney for i sopoes you needed it. i sent al i had but thre dollars and that is al gon now and i sopes yours is to. wal never mind. i wil get sommor somtime. i think that i wil ceep a little mor with me the next time we are paid. i sopoes that you have got the news of the battle last sunday. it was not much of a battle altho it amounted to a goodeal in the end. we did not take as menney prisners as i roat to you but we got betwen 6 and 7 thousand gray backs and only 2 men kiled and 14[?] wonded in the 48th. that was doing pretty well i think dont you? i sopoes that we have to go back to vicksburg agane. i hope that we will have better luck this time for i think if we can get that plase the war will be over in this part of rebeldom and then thair wil be a smal chance for the 48 to cum home. we have not got more than 200 men fit for duty any how and they wont have them long unles thay take better car of us. we have had a pretty hard time of it for the last weak. last monday night it commenst raning and it raned until wensday night when it turnd to snow and it about six inchs deep on a level. i got a place in the cabin but som of the por fellows had to lay out in the snow and ran[rain] and a good menney of them got sick. it is geting warmmer today and i dont think we wil have anymor cold snaps down her in dixsey. i heard that old abe was agoing to put his procklaymation in forse and if that is so i shal be reddy to desert the first chance i get. i did not cum down her to free the nigers for thar ar a goodeal better off whar thay ar than they ever will be anywhar else and thar is a good menney that thinks as i do about it. wal i was glad to her from sister anna and the children and mi brothers. i dont see whi thay dont rite to me. perhaps thay did not get mi last. so Julius is marrid at last. that tock me bi surprise. i had cum to the conclusion that he never intended to get marred. it seams to me that i have heard that name but i cant tel it now from angother name. wal when you rite to anna send our respects luve and al them kind of things and tel them that if i live and have mi helth i think that we wil cum down and make them a short visit when the war is over yet. if you can get the directions about that land i would be glad. i think that i could get to go and see it when we go back up the river. i could try it anyhow and i dont know hardley what to rite about miself. i get a little homesick now and then but i find that dont do any good so i take things as they cum, good and bad. i sopes that ophelia is runing al around by this time. i should like to be thar to help you take car of her but as i ant thar i wil not say much about it. only one thing. never promes her anything without fulfiling your promes. i dont want her brot up the way that Johney was or the way Cal uses his children. i sopoes that they both think they don rite but i think that they ar both rong one one way and one the other. wal good by. giv mi luv to al the frends and you wil oblige your affectionate husband
John E Richardson to Rosettey Richardson
ps. i sopoes thoes things that cal sent ar at memphis and i dont no whether i wil get them or not. do you know whether thay was in a box by them selves or with sombod else things? Good by. J.E.R.
John E. Richardson's letters are published here with the generous permission
of Ralph Baughn, Rochester Hills, MI. Ralph owns the original letters and retains
the exclusive copyright to them. They may not be reproduced in any form
without his explicit permission.
Many thanks to Sue Boggs for providing the background
information on the Richardson family.
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