W.H. Jackson Letters, 53rd P.V.I.

Letters from Sergeant William H. Jackson, Company “F”, 53rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, written from a hospital near Alexandria, Virginia. Jackson subsequently was transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps on March 13, 1864. Thanks to Joel Peterson and Scott Kunkle for obtaining a transcript of these letters as published in our February through April 1999 newsletters.

Oct 1861

Dear Mother
I am in camp Curtain and am tolible well except the soar throat and a bad coald just in from duty and it is raining so I have a little time to write, as Jabez is home I would like you to send some Butter Down by him tell him to hury back for we have drawed our overcoats and tent tell our folkes to write as soone as possible I am in a hury so good by

(on a back quarter is written: “Direct your letters to camp Curtain Harrisburg in care of captain rice.

Head Quarters
Nov 26 1862
Falmouth Va

Dear Brothers

I now Sit me down for a (few) momentes to converse with you. Feeling myself very much indebted to you. I rec’d your letter the 24 and was much pleased to hear from you I feel very happy to Know that you arived at home Safe once more Well Hear we are on the bank of the Rapahanock I reg’t has the honor of guarding the town. We are situated in a church on an elivated Spot favoring us with a very good sight at the Rebs we can see their guns their pickets and considerable of their force, it is the grandest Sight at them we have ever had but the more I see of them the more I hate them. Well we came here by way of the Valey Came through several towns, (not worth mensioning) except Warintown, we came below the Junction about three miles. The weather is qiute wet and cold and has been for some time, I presume you have heard of the removal of McClellan and the promotion of Burnside.

Well I dont expect now that we Will see winter Quarters in a month if at all, if I can judg I think we will moove Shortly. I am honored with the position of comisary Sargent so you see I am free from guard duty &c I have been drawing today and they bother me so I can hardly write We have not seen the Paymaster in Five months and the thing loocks just as dark as ever you Know how it is, no money no stamps &c. I will have to Send my letters without Stamps for their is no use trying to get any thing from home we have had but one mail in three weeks. and no way of Sending any out but I will try you need not expect us to write very often unless something happens but you must write as often as posible for you know how much good it does a Soldier to hear from home but out mail rout is rather unhandy at preasant for the Rebs are in our Rear. O How I would like to See you I wish I could come home and See Pa and Ma and the rest of the folks for I am geting so tiared of this war that I am geting Some what homesick, but I am so glad you are home and more wheir you can get attended to and I hope soone to hear that you are well as ever, Then I shall expect to see you hear or wheirever We may chance to be tell Father to save them Chestnuts for me untill I send for them. then send me the price and I will send the money for them.

You can hardly read my scribbling for I have been in so much of a hurry the candle is very dim. Their is three Companys in the church and it is a perfect thunder all the time I cant hear myself think so I will close for the preasant Give my love to all inquiring friends With these few lines I close hoping they may find you as they leave me

Well Write soone
From your Most affectionate Brother Will.
A soldier of the 53rd reg’t Comp. F.

No more

(fragment of letter, probably late Dec. 62 or January 63)

Some one called for Supper and I must close for a few moments I thought I would write some more of the perticulars We have the first detailes of the fight if there is any others we have not heard them so I will tell the first, Handcocks Divison went on the field with 6600 and came out with 1800 So you may by this ee wheather their was any thing like fighting done or not fifteen thousand is the reported lost of our Side——- Now I will tell you what I think of Burnsides first move I think he Sat a time to bucher and he made a good Job of it. If {?}alimon hall had been in comand I should not have thought so much of it and I think the sooner Burnside is kicked out the better it will be for us you said in adds letter you thought I was getting discouraged yes I am more and eavery day I am Sick of this war and the loss of my only friend makes me more so than eaver. I dont believe it will eaver amount to a pinch of Sh—t and its nothing anyway but the acurssed Nigger, its all fudge and I am mad. You was saying in your letter that I said nothing about your Coat or {?} in the Q M hands Well our coats are not charged to us and all that wanted any drawed them but they was charged us so I thought I would not draw one for you for I could not send it to you Now for the money. I went to the Q.M. with Quatermaster Rice and Laffingwell said he didnt {oew scratched out} owe you a red Sent but that you owed him $15 and he would streighten it up someday. That was all the Satisfaction he gave me you must See to that yourself for I dont know much about the matter(.)

Well I must close But their is that butter if you can get a good price for it you had better Sell it and not run the risk but if I had it I could Sell it for 56 cts lbs and the chestnuts I will send for when I get money Please tell my friends that I escaped with a whole hide much more than I expected

I will close with sending my love from your affet and loving Brother Will

to J.C. Jackson(,) Carverton(,) Luz. Co. Penna

P.S. Excuse me I will give you the directiones(.) all you want is the Divison and Corps
” Hancocks Divison
” Couches Corps

excuse haste & mistakes I recieved those stamps

Camp Near Falmouth

April 12th /63

Dear Brother

I rec’d your Kind letter I was glad to hear you were all well. I fear you are going to have the smallpox in the country you must guard against it by vaxinating Their has been a few cases of it in the army and but few we are all well A. Vanderberg Jabez and Henry was just here they are all well as usual The weather for a few dayes has been very warm We had a grand Review By the President last week He loocks as though he was hard at work he is very poor “Bodily” We have recieved your letters and stamps safe. I have a piece that I wish you to read I think its as true as any thing I have seen lately it is the truth and they are my sentaments I understand that Henry was call a secesh for talking these same sentiments if so you may call me one or a Democrat for upholding McClellean But I can assure you I am no Democrat, but I am a McCellean man and have good reason for so doing He is the best General we ever had in the field and perhaps ever will have unless he returnes I suppose you know we attempted to raise Addie, but met with poore sucsess we could not find him the grave that was marked for his was some Older man that had but little hair we gave it up for a bad job Their is not any news so I will close for the present hoping the time is not far distant when I may be enabled to return to my native land. No more From Your Most affectionate Brother
Will H Jackson

To: ER Jackson Carverton Luzerne Co.

Baltimore {indistinguishable} Hospital
July 11th /63

Dear Parents
As I have a {indistinguishable} moment I thought of dropping a line to you I think we will leave for Philadelphia today Sometime their I will send home for JC if he is not at home Send for him I have not heard from either him nor home since we left Rapahanock have him bring some money if possible I am felling quite well this morning my wound is in the right thigh it just passed the Bone but I can barely {put} weight on it. I think after I get to Phil I shall write oftener and I would like very much to hear from home O I will be so glad to get away from this {indistinguishable} hospital its what I call very poor one I hope to fare better for time to come Just tell my friends of Carverton I have not forgotten them But I cant write much untill I get {indistinguishable} out You need not answer my letters untill I say so in particular I will write soone as I get to my journeys end I must close

Good by From Will


Aug 12/63
USA Broad & Cherry hospital Ward F {indistinguishable}

Dear Parents

I was thinking this morning perhapse you would like to hear from me so I thought I would scratch aline or two I am getting smarter every day I hope to be able to leave my bed next week if not soone the weather has been so very warm that my wound has not healed as fast as it would if it was cooler weather the thermometer as high ninty five I have some of the best of care so you need not feel in the least concearned I am going to try and get a ferlough as soone as I get able Cant say how I will make out but you know I must come home If I am compelled to take a french, so be it(.)

I received a package of Old letters the other day their was two from JC Aire from Pitston two from Carverton, I cant say who sent them but I had 18 cts to pay for them Their wasa great fire in the city last night we could see the light in the heavens it lighted the whole City we have not heard what it was yet Well I will close by sending my best wishes to all my inquireing friends I want you to write soone

I remaine as ever your aff — Love Will H. Jackson

Philadellphia Aug 18/63
USA Broad & Cherry hospital Ward F No. 420

Dear Sister Jenny
I rec’d your letter in due time but have neglected to answer Well this morning finds me quite well so as to leave my bed on crutches yesterday I went in the other room I am gaining strength every day Mrs. Ruckus was in last week She is comeing today or tomorow She wants me to go home with her the last of the week but I fear I shall not be able She is going to bring Baker and I some green corn I guess that would be nice; har har My wound is healing slowly I am going to try for a furlough as soone as I am able that will not be this month I am ceartain I was somewhat lonesome after you left but I soone overcame that when Miss Raymond would come She would allways fetch me something so I was allways imployed with something to keep me busy I am Here comes Peter Culp One of our company. I have had a real good visit with him learned all the news &c Yes here comes Annie “—– again another bunch of flowers for “— She sends her respects to all Their is not much news in the city. The news of the fall of Fort Sumter how true it is I cannot tell I wish you would tell wheather if I was drafted or not in June next I must close for now

Seend my best wishes to the good folks of Carverton

My love to the family write soon to your aff—
brother Will H

Philadelphia September 12
Broad and Cherry Hospital

Dear Mother & All –

Having a few leasure moments: I thought a line from me would be excep able at most any time I am so far recovered that I am walking without a cane around the house &c Thursday the 11th I was at Mrs Ruckwises had a splendid visit they are all well I think I must give them another call it seames so much like home ‘ , I am getting so tiared Staying in the hospital I am thinking some of taking a french for a week or so Or would you rather not see me then have me come home that way if so I will set my little hart at rest and return to my regt and that shortly unless I change my mind We have been payed since I recieved that money of JC George Thompson gave me ten dollars and a letter from them I received one dollar from S{?}Now I will send $10 ten dollars if Jabe wants it again Let him have it if not do with it as you see fit Tell Jenny I will send my picture as soone as I get them I would send more money but I fear to risk too much at once. Maybe I will get a furlough one of these odd days I think I could have enjoyed myself so well at camp meeting I suppose you worryed yourself almost sick I understand Father enjoyed himself firstrate I was so plseaed to hear that —–it allways makes me feel well to hear you are well and enjoying yourselves Tell Jenny I forgot to take her letter to Mrs. Ruckhw But I told her & that is all the same

Well their is not much news so I will close by sending my love to all my respected to all my friends if any their be Tell Earl I have not forgotten him if I havent written I would like to know what trade he thinks of having No more at present from your unworthy but affectionate son
Will H Jackson

Broad and Cherry

Philadelphia October 24/63
Broad & Cherry St Hospital

Dear Brother & all

I arrived in the City at eight that night was happy to find all things moving so well Baker was in the best of spirits I now feel very well myself for several reasons one is I am to go to my regt tomorrow their is about twenty going Baker & I with the rest Cant get clear I can’t get out or I would go to the camp & they might {indistiguishable, possibly Risk}my foot — I expect well stay at convalesent Camp for Some time. You need not write untill you hear from me. I’ll play the rools for them if such a thing is posible I havent heard any news since my arrival for I havent been out in fact I am hardly able but I am bound to leave this place now I am not able for duty I shall not do any

Adieu my kind regards to all yours as ever Will

Camp Convalescent Near Alexandria Va Nov 1/63

Dear Brother & All
As I am at leasure & nothing to busy myself with I thought I would improve myself in writing home We left Philadelphia on the 26th after dinner we lay in the care tent right near Wilmington without supper Started the next morning without breakfast. I reached Baltimore that night where we got our first meal. At ten that night we left for Washington Ate breakfast in ” ” Then left for camp which we reached at 11 Oclock I was pretty well worn =out- when we got in quarters. we have very good quarters but I dont like place much I would be very lonesome but I found two of my Company here George Thompson Lester Rac{indistingusishable} Old messmates I don’t know what they are going to do with me yet neither do I care much I would like to join the invalid Corps but I donUt know as I can now I am not very well that pain in my Side Still continues & my leg is very weak yet: in fact I never was so near broke down in my life as now Baker was taken sick with the fever just before we left so he was left behind he was very Sick when I left him I havent heard from him Since I am loocking for a letter soone The news was yesterday that the army was fighting near the Rapahanock I havent heard today it dont trouble me much as long as I am out of it the news today is that their is a bill before the House to Muster out of the Service all of the first Seventy five thousand the first of January It is generally thought here that it will pass for their time is out so earley in the Spring that they cant do anythng & that will Save wintering them & cost less No more news of importance Please write soone & tell me what conclusion you have come too about Coming My love to all & kind regardes to inquiring friends
Will J

(on the remainder of the page Jackson has drawn his initials made to look like twigs)

Convalescent Camp January 18/ 64

Dear Mother
Its but a day or two since I wrote home but then I feel just like saying a word or two more So I take this Blessed priviledge I have been listening today to a Temperance Lecture from the honorable J.B. Gough; selabrated for his great Elequonce. & I think it would have done some of our Carverton folks good to have heard it. (I know it did me). 2nd I have become one of the members of the society. Not thinking but what I could a Good soldier a good Citizen a good Boy , without. But you know I am out in a world of temptation & sin, & I thought by so doing I might be strengthened to resist Temptations & I thnk ”God” that he has followed me so long with his tender mercies. Next, I have resolved to return to my capital Blessed master once more, to return to my first love again O how much have I to be thankfull for. When I think of it i can hardly retain my feelings. Tears of gratitude & penitence & Sorow will flow from my eyes. Some of my correspondences Sayes to me: Rwhy are you so demure {indistinguishable}

Ah Dear Mother when I think of my past life: my ungreatefullness: my unfaithfullness: &c and I cannot help being sad & thoughtfull. Whare is the young man that has kind and praying parents: that does not remember their earnest pleadings and when they parted for Him to be. Better Sones & does not heed them that does not hear them ringing in his ears that, gives no heed to them RAha Dear Parents, its not yours that does not I love you ”too much; to turn a deaf ear to your entreatyes, ”far from it” But, My heart is too full for utterance. Words fail to describe my feeling. Pen was never yet made that could write them. Again they say, “Wake up: don’t be so drowsey Thank “God” I am waking up to the Sense that I am a great Sinner. God is a great Savior. Now I hope you may get my meaning from this I wish I could be their perhapse I might explain my Self to a better advantage. I know I would like to have a good long conversation with you. Now Some people have a great ‘detest against a Soldier: Some I Say: not all they have the idea they are all {indistiguishable} But caster & the rubbish of the whole Countrys But, they are far in err. On the other Hand they are the prime of the very ‘Essence of the Land We have some of the best Educated & Soundest minded men in the Country in the Ranks. If I had time I could point you to several cases I know personally. One in particular I will State.

He is a New Yorker now a private he was once offered fifteen hundreed dollores by the government for one speech at New York. Now he is content with thirteen dollares a month. Courtesy for his country Ah; I am proud that I serve. Soldiers for one of the greatest and best governments on the face of the Earth. Yes I have endured the privation & spill my blood……What more, Ah! I will not name them. You know too well already. But, I could talk all night. I must now close with my best wishes for your happiness. I pray for the better days to come.

Please remember to all my friends of C–. I ask the prayers of my ever dutiful and loving Parents. Hoping soone to hear from you. no more

Good by, Gods blessings is the prayers of your aff

WH Jackson Soldier Boy