061. Willis Keith to Anna Bell Keith -- July 20, 1862

  • Image 01
    July 20th, 1862 My Dear Mama, I am almost in despaire of hearing from you at all. I have not received a single letter since the battle. The last that I received was commenced on the 21st of June, one month ago, and finished on the 23rd. This is the fourth letter that I have written to you this month, and I have written once to Papa. I thought that it must be that the Post Office in Richmond was choked up by the rush of mails after the battle, but the others are all getting letters now, except Dr. Prioleau and myself. You say that you wish I could get a week or ten days furlough, and run down this to you. You can not wish it more devoutly than I do, but it is utterly impossible. They will not grant even sick furloughs now. I never was so tired of any life since I was born than I am of this. It is the hardest life that a man could possibly have to lead. I have lost 12 pounds since I have been in Virginia. But the hardest thing of all is not receiving any of your letters. I have plenty of money, more that I want, although living here is much more expensive that it is in South Carolina. But I have not bought any clothing, as I will not want any in camp. I am very threadbare of course, but it is best to be so out[End Page 1] here. I have just drawn my money for May and June. Where is Johny now, and how is he getting on? Is he better off in a pecuniary point of view than he used to be when I was down there? I have often intended to ask you, but have forgotten to, who keeps my watch for me? I hope that it is safe. I suppose that Papa got the chain from [Haden's?]. Do give my love to all the family when you write to them, and tell me how they are getting on. Paris is desperately home sick. I told you in my last letter how near he was falling into the hands of the enemy. I have had quite enough of war, and do not desire to be in any more battles. It is a very disagreeable thing to hear the balls whistling about your ears, and to know that at any moment you may be launched into eternity. The field of battle, as I have told you in other letters before, is a horrible sight on the next morning. Piles or rather strings of the dead, some of them most dreadfully mutilated. But I am thankful that there were generally more of the Yankees than of our men. But what was the most dreadful sight to me of all, was seeing some of our own men, just gasping out their last breath, half buried in the mud and, water, (for it rained two of the days and nights of the battle,) and know that they had lain in all the rain through the whole night on the open field, with the[End Page 2] dying and dead around them. Do when you write tell me if you have received all my letters. You seemed to get them regularly enough before the battles. Monday Morning. I finish this letter before breakfast this morning. I was again disappointed yesterday evening; there was no letter for me. Do my "Soldier's Letters" get to you just as promptly as the stamped ones? I put on a stamp whenever I have one. But that is very seldom out here. Does Papa still continue to go one week to Anderson, and the next to Charleston? I would give almost any thing to be transfered to a Regiment there. But I do not suppose that there is any chance of it. I am much obliged to you for making up those syrups for me. I wish I had them out here. If we could have two or three months more such [sweepes?] as [that?] last months it might end the war. But the Post Man will be round presently, and I must close. Do give my love to all. You Own Affectionate, W. [End Page 3]
  • Image 01
    July 20th, 1862 My Dear Mama, I am almost in despaire of hearing from you at all. I have not received a single letter since the battle. The last that I received was commenced on the 21st of June, one month ago, and finished on the 23rd. This is the fourth letter that I have written to you this month, and I have written once to Papa. I thought that it must be that the Post Office in Richmond was choked up by the rush of mails after the battle, but the others are all getting letters now, except Dr. Prioleau and myself. You say that you wish I could get a week or ten days furlough, and run down this to you. You can not wish it more devoutly than I do, but it is utterly impossible. They will not grant even sick furloughs now. I never was so tired of any life since I was born than I am of this. It is the hardest life that a man could possibly have to lead. I have lost 12 pounds since I have been in Virginia. But the hardest thing of all is not receiving any of your letters. I have plenty of money, more that I want, although living here is much more expensive that it is in South Carolina. But I have not bought any clothing, as I will not want any in camp. I am very threadbare of course, but it is best to be so out[End Page 1] here. I have just drawn my money for May and June. Where is Johny now, and how is he getting on? Is he better off in a pecuniary point of view than he used to be when I was down there? I have often intended to ask you, but have forgotten to, who keeps my watch for me? I hope that it is safe. I suppose that Papa got the chain from [Haden's?]. Do give my love to all the family when you write to them, and tell me how they are getting on. Paris is desperately home sick. I told you in my last letter how near he was falling into the hands of the enemy. I have had quite enough of war, and do not desire to be in any more battles. It is a very disagreeable thing to hear the balls whistling about your ears, and to know that at any moment you may be launched into eternity. The field of battle, as I have told you in other letters before, is a horrible sight on the next morning. Piles or rather strings of the dead, some of them most dreadfully mutilated. But I am thankful that there were generally more of the Yankees than of our men. But what was the most dreadful sight to me of all, was seeing some of our own men, just gasping out their last breath, half buried in the mud and, water, (for it rained two of the days and nights of the battle,) and know that they had lain in all the rain through the whole night on the open field, with the[End Page 2] dying and dead around them. Do when you write tell me if you have received all my letters. You seemed to get them regularly enough before the battles. Monday Morning. I finish this letter before breakfast this morning. I was again disappointed yesterday evening; there was no letter for me. Do my "Soldier's Letters" get to you just as promptly as the stamped ones? I put on a stamp whenever I have one. But that is very seldom out here. Does Papa still continue to go one week to Anderson, and the next to Charleston? I would give almost any thing to be transfered to a Regiment there. But I do not suppose that there is any chance of it. I am much obliged to you for making up those syrups for me. I wish I had them out here. If we could have two or three months more such [sweepes?] as [that?] last months it might end the war. But the Post Man will be round presently, and I must close. Do give my love to all. You Own Affectionate, W. [End Page 3]
  • Image 01
    July 20th, 1862 My Dear Mama, I am almost in despaire of hearing from you at all. I have not received a single letter since the battle. The last that I received was commenced on the 21st of June, one month ago, and finished on the 23rd. This is the fourth letter that I have written to you this month, and I have written once to Papa. I thought that it must be that the Post Office in Richmond was choked up by the rush of mails after the battle, but the others are all getting letters now, except Dr. Prioleau and myself. You say that you wish I could get a week or ten days furlough, and run down this to you. You can not wish it more devoutly than I do, but it is utterly impossible. They will not grant even sick furloughs now. I never was so tired of any life since I was born than I am of this. It is the hardest life that a man could possibly have to lead. I have lost 12 pounds since I have been in Virginia. But the hardest thing of all is not receiving any of your letters. I have plenty of money, more that I want, although living here is much more expensive that it is in South Carolina. But I have not bought any clothing, as I will not want any in camp. I am very threadbare of course, but it is best to be so out[End Page 1] here. I have just drawn my money for May and June. Where is Johny now, and how is he getting on? Is he better off in a pecuniary point of view than he used to be when I was down there? I have often intended to ask you, but have forgotten to, who keeps my watch for me? I hope that it is safe. I suppose that Papa got the chain from [Haden's?]. Do give my love to all the family when you write to them, and tell me how they are getting on. Paris is desperately home sick. I told you in my last letter how near he was falling into the hands of the enemy. I have had quite enough of war, and do not desire to be in any more battles. It is a very disagreeable thing to hear the balls whistling about your ears, and to know that at any moment you may be launched into eternity. The field of battle, as I have told you in other letters before, is a horrible sight on the next morning. Piles or rather strings of the dead, some of them most dreadfully mutilated. But I am thankful that there were generally more of the Yankees than of our men. But what was the most dreadful sight to me of all, was seeing some of our own men, just gasping out their last breath, half buried in the mud and, water, (for it rained two of the days and nights of the battle,) and know that they had lain in all the rain through the whole night on the open field, with the[End Page 2] dying and dead around them. Do when you write tell me if you have received all my letters. You seemed to get them regularly enough before the battles. Monday Morning. I finish this letter before breakfast this morning. I was again disappointed yesterday evening; there was no letter for me. Do my "Soldier's Letters" get to you just as promptly as the stamped ones? I put on a stamp whenever I have one. But that is very seldom out here. Does Papa still continue to go one week to Anderson, and the next to Charleston? I would give almost any thing to be transfered to a Regiment there. But I do not suppose that there is any chance of it. I am much obliged to you for making up those syrups for me. I wish I had them out here. If we could have two or three months more such [sweepes?] as [that?] last months it might end the war. But the Post Man will be round presently, and I must close. Do give my love to all. You Own Affectionate, W. [End Page 3]
Title:
061. Willis Keith to Anna Bell Keith -- July 20, 1862
Creator:
Wilkinson and Keith Families
Date:
1862-07-20
Description:
Willis writes of the privations of camp, that he wishes to fight no longer, his homesickness, and that of Paris, his slave.
Collection:
Wilkinson-Keith Family Papers
Contributing Institution:
College of Charleston Libraries
Media Type:
Manuscripts
Personal or Corporate Subject:
Confederate States of America. Army
Topical Subject:
Slaves
Geographic Subject:
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1864
Shelving Locator:
Mss 0111
S.C. County:
Charleston County (S.C.)
Internet Media Type:
image/jpeg
Digitization Specifications:
600 ppi, 24-bit depth, color, Epson Expression 10000XL scanner, Archival Master is a tiff.
Copyright Status Statement:
Digital image copyright 2010, The College of Charleston Libraries. All rights reserved. For more information contact The College of Charleston Library, Charleston, SC 29424.