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11th New Hampshire Infantry

Item LTR-8150
September 25, 1863 Cyrus W. Sargent
Price: $185.00


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

Headquarters of the 11th New Hampshire Volunteers
Camp Loundon

September 25th 1863

No. 1

Dear Cousin Hattie,

Receiving your very kind letter of September 12, I will now improve a few moments in trying to answer it. Although, I well know I cannot write anything that will interest you half so much as your letters do me. But I must answer them. If not, you will not write to me. I am glad to hear that you are having so good [a time] but I guess I have the best time. For all we have to do is, if we are under marching orders, is to put our house on our back and three days rations in our haversacks and a canteen of water, then we are ready for a day’s enjoyment of a march of 16 or 17 miles. Still, this I not a bad school for one to go to, for we get acquainted with different rivers and railroads and etc.. But I wish this cruel was over so I could go to Mount Vernon to school this winter. Not because I have got sick of soldiering, for I like that as well as ever I did.

You wish to know how I lived and if we had enough to eat. The last question I answered in the affirmative. But the kind of victuals is not what I should like. Still it’s as good as we can expect. It is fat pork and hard tack. For the last few days, we have drawn some fresh beef and for dinner today, we had quite a rarity. It was a good soup with potatoes in it. But I would like to take dinner with you some day to see if you could beat the soldiers in cooking. For all made up our minds that if we live to get home, we can get along by cooking ourselves. So the girls may as well make up their minds to be old maids first as last. For such will be their fate. And if we want anyone, we can get them out [of] Kentucky. I tell you would have some fun to hear some of the Kentucky ladies talk. The words that [they] use most is if they fetch anything into camp and ask them if it is good, they will tell you it is mighty good. And I can say it is not hardly fit, or at least we should not think so at home. The fact is they do not know how to cook unless it is corncake.

Since I last wrote you, we have had about 70 miles march. Passing the Lancaster and Crab Orchards, where we stopped a few days, then on we went. And I will tell you if you would like to see some rocky roads and rough country, you have only to coax that gent of yours to go to Kentucky and pass through the town of Mount Vernon. I do not think it looks much like Mount Vernon in New Hampshire.

We have a very pleasant camp ground here and our duty consists in doing fatigue duty one day, the next day but one guard duty. I am guarding some rebel prisoners today. There is a coal mine but a short distance from camp and the boys have to work there some. There [were] 2200 rebel prisoners went by here a week ago. They were some that Burnside caught at Cumberland Gap. The most of them appeared to be glad to get into our hands, and there is 24 more come in this afternoon, so I guess our work will be to guard prisoners mostly while here.

We have cheering news from Rosecrans. It said that he has driven Bragg to that bad place which the Bible speaks of.

You must excuse this. For I have wrote to my Brother today and besides my duty takes about all my time. We have had some nice weather for a few days, but it looks like rain now. But I must draw this to a close by asking you to give my regards to all the young ladies and all the rest of my acquaintances that you chance to meet, remembering to keep the largest share for yourself.

Every your truly affectionate cousin and well wisher,

C. W. Sargent

If it would be your mind so to do, I would like to have you number your letters. Then I should know if I received them all and how many you wrote. Remember me and write often and you tell Dan in your next that I wrote to him last and I want him to write me. Do not let anyone see this but the fire.