Unfortunately this letter contains too few clues to aid in the identification of its author who was undoubtedly a Confederate soldier writing from the defenses along the Yazoo River north of Vicksburg in mid-November 1864.
We learn from the letter that the soldier’s wife had just delivered a baby girl. He may have had other children old enough to write named Charlie and Willis. His signature appears to read, “Thomas R.”
The only officer named is “Smith” but his rank and command is not revealed.
November 17th 1862
My dear Darling,
I am on guard today. I write on a caisson chest while the balance of the company is out drilling. I received your letter of the 13th bearing the intelligence of the little stranger at home. I am more than glad to hear you were doing so well but sympathize with you deeply for I know you must have suffered a great deal having chill & fever at the time. Hope to hear in your next of your chill & fever being broken & you improving. I had much rather it had been a boy but however I can afford to send it a kiss until I can see it. Is it pretty or not? And what have you named her?
Darling, I have started a furlough [request] today but cannot give you any information whether it will be approved by Smith ¹ or not. I think there is a good deal of doubt whether it will get through or not approved.
Darling, when you get able to write, write me a short letter stating that you have no salt nor negro shoes & that you will soon want to kill hogs & negroes are needing their shoes very much & you
wish me to come home are sick and not able to attend to it & wish me to come home and attend to it for you. Write some news about the place & health &c. so I can send it up to Smith with a furlough [request] & hopefully he may approve it. If the furlough I send up today is not approved, I will try again & send you a letter with it. Probably it will be a week before I will hear from the one sent up today.
Let me know how you are frequently as I shall be anxious to know whether you are improving or not. Give my love to Ma. Keep the little babes. Tell Charlie & Willis to write to me. May God protect & restore your health is the sincere wish of your affectionate, Thos. R.
All of us are well here. Our detachment turns out every man but one.
¹ Possibly General Martin L. Smith who was in command of the Confederate defenses at Vicksburg at the time. the the fall of 1862, the Confederates sough to block Union access to the Yazoo River by planting batteries at Snyder’s Bluff north of Vicksburg.