Letter from a soldier to his parents during the Civil War

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Letter written by Civil War soldier, Wilber H. Merrill, to his parents.

This is a scanned version of the original image in Special Collections and Archives at Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vt.



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Camp of the 44th [NYSA?] in front of Petersburg VA August 14 64 Dear Parents Once more I am presented to answer your kind & most welcome letter which arrived some nights ago It found me rather under the weather. I had a severe atact [sic] of the feaver [sic] which lasted me pretty severe for three dayes. [sic] The night that I was the sickest I was on picket I never suffered so much with a head ache as I did that night - my eyse [sic] seemed started from their socket - next morn came in I sent for some medicine took a good quantity of quinine & clover powders Soon felt better I am quite well now So that I can eat

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& Some say that Butler was drove back Cant tell anything about what you hear There is heavy cannonading there now while I am writing I think myself that there is something going on. There was quite a number came to the Regt yesterday Some that were wounded in the wilderness. I have just finished supper guess what I had, Codfish made up into as good gravy as ever you saw & a good cup of tea The flyes [sic] almost mrder [sic] us every day I dont think the Boys will avrage [sic] more than one drop of bloat spice in their veins flys [sic] are just like a swarm of bees around ones head & if you sit still a moment or stop fighting them they nearly take sweet life We have been paid off I got too [sic] months pay I have a $20 allotment in my jacket but

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shant send it this time wait a little till the rush of money gets away & there wont be quite as much risk to run hard blase Had a letter from hom [sic] writen [sic] the same night that his mother died he took it verry [sic]calm But he feels sad it seems wors [sic] on acount [sic] of his time being so near out But it was so ordered & could not be other wise Leman sayes I must name that little girl I tell him to call on some of its numerous aunts - dont you think that fair? If it had been of the other sex then I would not of hesitated You know that I dont have ennything [sic] to with the girls to now We have just 40 dayes & night to stop in the wilderness yet then look for three cheers & a loud tiger I must close for it is dark read this if you can if not send it back & I will write again (Quinine stirs up the nerves) Remember me to all [except [sic] express ?] my love & best wishes Wib

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Camp of the 44th in front of Petersburg August 14, 1864

Dear Parents

Once more I am promoted to answer your kind & most welcome letter which arrived some nights ago It found me rather under the weather I had a severe atack of the fever which lasted me pretty severe for three days The night that I was the sickest I was on picket I nvere suffered so much with a head ache as I did that night my eyes seemed started from their sockets next morn came in & sent for some medicine Took a good quantity of quinine & dover powders Soon felt better I am quite well now So that I can eat a regular meal you know that I can stand it ias long as I can ear & when I cant I play out Today is Sunday & a verry warm day It as been About three Oclock we were favored with a splendid shower which lasted about 2 hours. we have also has a feast of watermelons they only sel for a 1.50 thats all But we must have a taste cost what it may Dewit Smith was hear today he looks healthe & tough I believe he reinlisted heis nearly as heavy as I am

There is some prospects of our moving soon Some where Where I cant say We keep four days rations on hand for enny emergency yesterday there was heavy cannonading on our rite Some report that our men captured a fort & 16 guns & some say that Butler was drove back Cant tell enny thing about what you hear There is heavy cannonading there now while I am writing I think my self that there is something going on There was quite a number came to the Regt yesterday Some that wer wounded in the wilderness. I have just finished supper guess what I had. Codfish made up into a good gravy as you saw & a good cup of tea The flyes almost murder us enny day I dont think the Boys will average more than one drop of blood apiece in their arms Flyes are Just like a swarm of bees around ones head & if you sit still a moment or stop fighting them they nearly take sweet life We have been paid off I got too months pay I have a $20 allotment in my packet but shaant send it this time wait a little till the rush of money gets away & there wont be wuite as much rish to run Hard Blair had a letter from home writen the same night that his mother died he took it very calm But he feels sad it seemes wors on account of his time being so near out But is was so ordered & could not be other wise Heman Sayes I must marre that little girl I tell him to call on Some of its numerons onnly dont you think that fair if it had bee of the other sex then I would not of hesitated You know that I dont have enny thing to with the girls now We have just 40 days dayes & night to stop in the wilderness yet then look for three Cheers & a loud tiger I must close for it is dark read this if you can if not send it back & i will write again (quinnine stirs up the nerves) Remember me to all except my love & Best wishes Wilb-----

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