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16th & 78th Illinois Infantry - Assistant Surgeon

Item LTR-6645
April 1, 1864 William H. Githens
Price: $245.00


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

Medical Department 78th Regiment Illinois Volunteers
Near Rossville, Ga.
April 1st 1864

Dear Wife,

Although this is the first of April, yet it is cold, wet and drizzly and has been all day. Although yesterday was nice and pleasant and it was well it was, for we had a grand review of all the troops of our Division by Generals Thomas and Palmer. It was a beautiful sight to see so many thousand well drilled troops going through their evolutions. Everything went off finely and I think our commanders may well be proud of such troops. The most of them have been tired and they know very well that they alone can be depended on when wanted.

The worst part of it was the doctors were ordered to appear in dress swords, sash, and white gloves. We managed to get swords that were very passable but I was sorry that I did not get me new gloves. If these reviews are to continue, I expect that I shall have to get a dress sword, though we are not called on to wear them except on reviews or dress parades. I like to conform to the regulations in regard to such things and at the same time, make a neat appearance.

Yet, I hardly know how I can afford to spare the money, especially after spending so much money and now that I have concluded to get you some kind home. When I accomplish that I will feel more like taking something to myself. I do hope that we will once more have a home of our own, even if it is humble or plain. I think we will appreciate a home now if we should get one. If you can get the Hamilton place, I should like very much to have some grapes set out at the corners of the beds and along the walks. Yet, we will talk over the matter when we have the thing more under our control. I have the promise of what money I need to pay for that or any place of about the same value that you may choose. I would like to have a few plants or shrubs growing on the graves too but I suppose you can’t well get over to attend to it. I would not try to get to Hamilton to see Mr. Humphrey. If you will send him a note, he will call and see you as he is in Keokuk often and I think will give you very favorable terms.

The first thing I want you to do is to get a cow, when you get where you can keep one – live on milk and fruit – and you will healthy and handsome be. The baby will be hearty and we will all be happy.

I do not think we will move from here soon on account of the bad condition of the roads. Though I understand that working parties have been building bridges across the little streams and improving the roads to some extent. And it is generally understood that when there is a grand review, there is pretty apt to be a grand move. We are just as ready as we will ever be and if hard times are to come, I would rather they would come before hot weather sets in.

Captain Allen’s resignation has been accepted and he leaves us tomorrow. I don’t know whether he intends to go home now or not. If he does, he will get there before this reaches you. We are all very sorry to lose him. There are quite a number of resignations in our regiment and a good many promotions. I hope my time will come next, then I would be ready to come home.

Wishing for that good time, I remain as ever your affectionate, W. H. G.