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10th Michigan Cavalry

Item LTR-5848
June 22, 1864 Eli Foglesang
Price: $325.00


Original Civil War soldier's letter. 4 pages written in period ink.

Strawberry Plains, East Tennessee
June 22nd 1864

Dear Emeline,

We are here and as it highly necessary that troops must be kept here and we being now the only regiment here altogether, it seems very likely as we will remain here quite a while. The regiment are now gone out and have been off. This is the eight day on a raid among the rebels we heard from them that they had captured about 20 some days ago and the rebs had captured a union colonel named Fry and we suppose it likely that our regiment is trying to recapture the colonel. The regiment lately captured seventy and killed some and lost some of our men. I have been left in charge of Captain Bailey and Lieutenant Farnham quarters and effects. I am about middling well. We rode lately about two hundred miles and very strange to relate it. It rained on us every single day we traveled. I have waited a while before writing. Believing a letter from you would follow me from Nicholasville. But have received none yet except one you wrote a long time ago. It was here on my arrival as well as several other letters from other persons. I hope you are well and happier than I am. If you are not more happy than I am I shall feel sorry enough for you. For in all my life I never was in a situation I deplored as this not that I am afraid to face the enemy or despise to defend my country. Nothing at all of that but being all the time in hearing of the most vulgar and lowest, coarsest language and that continually and among men and boys all the time. Without the society of a single woman except those abandoned one that follow the army everywhere and who are bolder than even the beast of the field. And thus far I have never yet spoken a single word to a single one of them and one day is a sample of every day. And yet we have some very fine good hearted men and boys and it is not vain or idle boasting when I say that they all invariably respect me and my strong friends and that I have not a known enemy in the whole regiment. And left at many warm friends at camp Nelson as any man ever had there. Strawberry Plains you would naturally infer was a nice level piece of land and so the people here do call it. But think of the hilliest place you ever seen in Ohio or Michigan and that is about as level as these plains. They are right among the mountains. We can stand upon them and look over into North Carolina, forty two miles thence. In another direction about thirty miles, we can see Virginia all mountain. However the Holston River, larger than the Grand River, runs through these plains which are not over two miles square. A rail road passes from Knoxville to Virginia through here and a dozen houses and a college not quite as good a building at Lansing Schoolhouse are here and it is 15 miles from Knoxville. And in short Emeline, the whole country looks to me just as though they might had never been here since the day he finished it and that he only had created it for his amusement. The weather is good and warm and the country very healthy and water good. And there is in some places good land but the people are nearly starved to death every day they come to beg part of the soldier’s pitiful rations of hard tack and meat and coffee. One thing I know which is you have not a single housefly this year in Michigan because they are all here. I took out my little sugar sack and in less time than it takes me to write about it, it was literally covered with flies. So o one could see any part of the sack.

Light bread sells here for a dollar and even a dollar and a half a loaf myself and mess mate bout a loaf for a dollar and it was poor and part corn. At that if I ever get back and can just as well go into a fence corner or behind a stump and there set up housekeeping and will be just as ell off as here. Provided I can take home my furniture to wit my knife, forth, spoon, tin cup, haversack and tent. And just set up housekeeping in ten minutes and lay down on the ground, boots, pants, and all. For month after month I did not undress to go to bed in over two months. We, however, lucky in hunting in that situation, catch more game. This game be it, remembered is always in our clothes and the best of us are often possessed of it. But I boil mine every few days and destroy them, hide tallow and tail for a short time. Our regiment’s wounded are returning and have killed some rebs in Virginia and had several of our men wounded and the arm of one taken off. Now Emeline, I hope to be home before long. My opinion about the end of the war is growing stronger every day. Richmond will soon be taken and all will be soon over then. I would be happy to see you and be happy to return home if I have any. I don’t know anything else to write now of interest to you nor do I know where you are. Therefore, I write to the care of Mr. Wood. You said in a letter you wanted to visit our old place. So do I. I could enjoy myself better there than at the new one. To this many would say foolish, but not so with me. I hope I will see it again. So for the present I wish you well and remain your friend.


Eli Foglesang

Ms. Emeline Foglesang