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2nd & 15th New Jersey Infantry

Item LTR-8327
May 16, 1862 John B. Wilson
Price: $245.00


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

Kent County
Pamunkey River
May 16, 1862

Dear Parents,

I am quite unwell today. Our marches are so long and today it is four weeks since I have had only one loaf of soft bread. Yet I must go to Richmond City if I have but one leg before I will stop. It’s quite a nice place we are now encamped. It is on the place where Washington got his wife. If you do look on the map of the United States of America then you can see where I have got a very soft bed at night to lay on, soft after marching some 48 hours. Up night and day, a soldier’s life is a hard one. Now I tell you, you need not fear for me. For they can’t hit me no how. They don’t shoot straight enough. As for Jeff Davis, is out of the question, for he does travel too fast for my rifle. Although it does throw a plume of fire over 8 hundred yards, so I shall ------ I am afraid to say yet. But unless I do get nearer to them, I won’t never kill one Secesh at all, while I am out here. This is quite a fertile country. I don’t want you to send your money out to the heathen. But send it out to Kent County, VA. Where it will do good here. Better than to send it so far off, where you do know it will do some good. Go to these poor blacks. Of all the ignorance, superstitions vice. Don’t know their right hand from their left, that is true as I write so I stopped now to go to the woods to cut some wood for our regiment to burn.

Sunday, May 18th, Pamunkey River

Now I will try to finish my letter to you. The news today of the war is good. Our army is encamped on the old Augusta Property. Where George Washington got his wife, near the White House of Old Virginia. The palace of General Lee’s son in the secesh army. Gone to Richmond City. The news is today that the city is in our possession, which I have doubt is true. The weather is very hot out here in old Virginia. Too warm for me. I am very unwell again today. Our General is very poor. Now out in the army not half enough to eat. No bread at all, everything is so scarce and high out here. Cheese 30 to 40 cents a pound. Butter 50 cents, coffee is 30 to 40, its no flour at any price to be had, at no price. Corn cakes is all you can get here.

Secesh is a hard place to live. I don’t wonder that God has sent such a curse on the people of the South to stop their one wicked course here and put down this traitor’s design of those poor ignorant human race. Such sights as I do see are too cruel for the naked eye to behold and you don’t know nothing about the poor of this earth. I will send you a paper to read. Then you can have all the news of the battles out here of our little Army of the Potomac. The Jersey boys. I will now stop. Write soon as possible.

Direct to:
John B. Wilson Pioneer Corps
Capt. Weibecke, Company E
2nd Regiment, New Jersey Volunteers
Your dutiful son,

John B. Wilson