The Civil War Letters of John E. Richardson
July - August 1863
Once Grant's army crossed the Mississippi at Bruinsburg, he cut off all communications with his supply base. He reestablished communications when he invested Vicksburg in late May. John's letters resume on July 4th, 1863, the day Vicksburg fell.
"in the first plase i am well and harty as ever and the next plase vicksburg is ours. it serrenderd to day at ten oclock... wal rosa we had a very good forth of July."
John E. Richardson
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[...]burg July 4 1863
Mi Dear wife
it is with the gratest pleasure i take mi pen in hand to write you a few lines to let you know how we are getting along. in the first plase i am well and harty as ever and the next plase vicksburg is ours. it serrenderd to day at ten oclock. thay was completly starved out. i went over inside of thar works this afternoon. thay ar a hard looking set of rebels i tel you. thay told me thay had ben eating mule meat for the last eight days. that is pretty hard ant it? Som of the rebs came over into our camp. i gave them a coffa sack ful of hard bread and it maid them laf rite outloud. this paper is secesh and envelop also. i had 75 dollars confed monney that dident cost me anything and i got a watch and a revolver. i paid 40 dol[...] watch and 35 for the revolver. the boys got a lot of fierworks and thar ar agoing to fier them of now and i mus stop and look at them. wal rosa we had a very good forth of July. you spoak of going to defiance the forth. i hope you enjoyed your self if you did go for i enjoyed mi self firstrate exsepting you was not with me. i thot of you often to day. next fourth we wil tri and be togeter. now this plase is tacen i dont know whare we wil go next but i exspect we wil be sent after Johnson. he is out at black river but it wont take long to whip him if he wil wate for us. perhaps we wil be sent to port hudson or to washington. i cant tel enything about it but wil know in a few days. our compney is on provost gard at preseat. if it hadent ben for that i was going in to the sitty to find that silk dress you spoke of but i could not beaway long at a time and now thay have got gards on so we cant get in anney mor. i think it is real mean after we have ben fighting her for six weaks to send us off somwhar elce and let other troops that have not ben in the fight go in and take poseshion of the plase but we ma not have to go but the order is to be redda to march in the morning. we got 18 thousand prisners besides the sick and wouded and thar is ten or twelve thousand of them. i her that the rebs have got in to pinselvaney[Pennsylvania]. i hope thay have. perhaps thay wil do somthing besides talk and grumble at the adminastraion. i believe thay wil fight for thar homes if nothing elce. i exspect that we wil have to go thar yet after we get them clend out down her. if thay cant rase men anuf thar to doit. i sent you 25 dollers by exspress and ten dollars in a letter but i dont know as i sead anney thing about the ten dollars in the letter. i hope you wil get the monney al safe. let me know as son as you get it. perhaps i sead somthing in mi last letter that hurt your felings. if so i hope you wil forgive me. i was about half crasy with the tooth ache and the heat. al that i can recolect now is that i cum down pretty hard on the trators at home and one thing another. we wil make that al rite when i get home wont we? wal rosa ceep up your corage. the ware is neer its latter end. it cind a makes me mad to hear about the buternuts but stil i like to know what is agoing on so write al the news and i wil try and bar it until i get home which i hope wil be soon if not sooner. kiss the little gal and luve to frends. good by John E Richardson
to Rosetta Richardson
PS i have not heard a word from the mager yet. has he got home? i am afraid it wil go hard with him. J E R
[Major Virgil Moats was wounded in the assault on Vicksburg on May 22nd and died of his wounds in Cinncinnati, Ohio on July 11.]
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Vicksburg July 25th 1863
Mi Dear wife
i once mor hasen to inform you that i am alive and well exsept mi eyes which ar very soar as you can see by this writing but thay ar not as bad as thay was. the last letter i roat you was dated the 4 of July the day vicksburg was serrenderd. i think i stated in that letter that we was under marching orders. wal we started the next morning at five oclock for Jackson. we was not aloud to take aney thing but our guns haversacks cantens and it was hard work to carey that much i tel you. we had a hard time of it but we got back last knight al tiard out and the dirtest lot of men you ever see. i would of ritten before this time but i had nothing to write with and we did not exspect to be gon mor than a weak when we started. wal i sopoes you have heard al about what we don out thar and as it hurts mi eyes i wil not write moor than is nesessary. i got 2 letters from you sence i roat and look for another one the next male. i dont know what to say about your working out. i dont beleve you ar strong anuf to do hard work and i dont beleve your could stay away from ophelia a weak at a time but if you can find som plase clost at home whar the work is not to hard i have no objections if you think you must work out. i herd yesterday that the rebels had got in to ohio but i dont know how tru it is. if it is so i hope some of them coperheads wil get thar fil of them. wal rosa i dont know whare we wil go but we wil go somwhar in a day or two eather up or down the river. but i think it wil be up. wal i must stop for mi eyes ar very weak yet so kiss ophelia and ceep cool and write often to your affectionate husband John E Richardson
i wil try and write mor next time J.E.R.
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Vicksburg Aug 13th 1863
My Dear wife
I received your kind letter of the 28 and was very glad to her from you as i had not herd from you for about two weaks. i had begun to be somwhat unesa about you. wal my helth is pretty good. i have the diaree once in a while and my eyes ar very weake yet so you must forgive me if i send you short letters until thay get well agane which i hope wont be long. i think thay ar improving a little. i roat to you that i thot the war was over but i will give it up. thar is no teling when it wil end. if the goverment dont put a stop to some of the procedings in the north it wil never end. as near as i can find out thar is one party that want the south to whip us. that party aut to be sent south and then thar is another party that talk about fighting as long as thar is a drop of blud left. that is if thay can get sombodey to do it for them. al we ask of them is this. if thay dont want to fight for thar rites just ceep thar infernel mouths shut and we wil do it for them. both republicans and democrats ar to blame. wal rosa dear i wil not say anney thing mor about for feer i wil say to much but if i should cum home and thay should talk to me as i her thay do to sum whi it wont be helthy for them that is al. our regement has ben transfered in to another brigade and another division so i dont know war we wil go but it is generaley thot that we wil go up the river somwhar. i hope so for i dont want to go anney further south until it gets a little colder. so you did not work out very long. wal you must use your own judgement about it as i sead befor. if you can stand it i have no objectsions. i got annas letter and sent it to you to answer as mi eyes was very bad at that time but i see you had writen to her befor you got it. wal no mater. i wil write after awhile. i dont know whether we wil get anney mor furlows or not. if we dont mi time wil be out the first of next July. i would like to cum home and see you al if it was not for cuming back agane. so ophelia is lerning to talk pretty fast is she? wal that is al right and i wish i was thar to hear her talk but for god sake dont lether lern anney of thoes hard words that i ust to her once in a while when i was at home. wal i must stop for i can hardley see the lines anney mor so give mi luve to al the frends and kiss our little girl for me. o yess i am very thankful for being forgiven and wil try and do so no mor but i had rather thay would not open your letters. it mite save some trubel for i am apt to write what i think to be the truth. wal good by. write as often as you can to your luving husband
John E Richardson
PS i sent you three papers last weak
J E R
direct your letters the same as before
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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