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The Hugh Johnson Civil War Letters

Camp 5 miles South of Corinth Miss June 13th 1862 Dearest wife I take my pencil to inform you that I am in the enjoyment of middlin health[.] thanks be to God for his blessings[.] they are new every morning[.] he is ever present with us & we pray that he will be the Captain of our heart & lead us to victory[.] I hope this line may find you & the children well[.] it is over 2 weeks since I have received a letter from you[.] I have not been very well for 10 days[.] I am able to eat hearty now[.] I have been cooking to day[.] we had for diner pork[,] Been Soup[,] Coffe[,] Sugar & bread & apple Sauce[.] there is 11 of us eat together. I keep some tea[.] I have Some that I got in Davenport & when I dont feel well I make some for me. I get cheese[?] & pay 25 cts per lb for it[.] Dont eat much of it. butter 35 cts[,] eggs 30 cts per doz[.] I get plenty of tobacee[.] I have got to be quite a Smoker & Dont chew very much[.] Doing my own washing & mending goes a little hard with me & I don't do it often[.] I got a nigger to wash for me. but I will have to go at it again in a few days[.] well Cassy I will try & give you an account of what we are doing here[.] we are doing nothing to day[.] we came here last evening from near Boonville Some 25 south East of here[.] our regt was out 25 miles further & they found no Secesh[.] they Came back tuesday noon [.] we may fall back to the Tennesee river & recruit our horses[.] it is about 28 miles from here to the river & all the feed the horses eat if drawn from there[.] there is no corn[,] oats or hay in this country & a miserable looking Set of people[.] the negroes are more inteligent than the poor whites & there is not a few of either Class women & Children in a State of Starvation & their men in the Secesh army[.] the rebels are making South thinking to draw our army on to where there is neither provisions nor water & then get in our rear[,] but it is no go[.] General Hallack is wide awake & thinks it is better to march back to the provisions & feed than to draw it 50 or 100 miles to the army. & let the rebels try the waterless Country them Selves[.] our troops have the atlantic Coast also the Miss river & let the rebeldom try living this Sumer on her own resorce. the rebels are burning king Cotton on their retreat & Corn is scarce here in rebeldom[.] I would not take 1000 acres & be bound to live here[.] of any land I have seen in Miss although it is a great place for frut & Cotton[.] Corn they Can raise 1 stalk in hill[.] if more it will not ear[.] wheat you could hoe & not cut any up[.] it will yield 2 bushels per acre[,] corn about 10 bushels per acre[,] oats 0[.] we have had a very hard time since we came here hunting rebels & burning r road bridges[.] our officers Say we have seen our hardest Service in this war[.] I pray it may be So & that we my Soon be home to our loved ones to part no more[.] Dearest Cassy I wish you would write often & let me know of your health & the health of the children[.] take good care of the boy that I may have the pleasure of Seeing him[.] tell the boys to be good children till their pa comes home & tell Cis to be a good girl for She is her pa's pet[.] let me know what the prospect of hearvest is[.] keep 1 years provision of wheat So if the Crop fails you will have plenty to eat[.] I have not got my pay yet[.] I have $5.50 yet[.] I will only get about $23.00 next pay as I was in dett for clothing at the 1st of March[.] $11.00 if I can i will you the most of my pay when I get it & I want you to use it & keep yourself Comfortable[.] provide the Comforts of life for you & the children as far as my money goes[.] we may Soon all be home & we ,may not be home for 2 years to come[.] you know as much of how Soon the war will end as we do here & you know more of what is doing within 5 miles of us than we do for Madam rumor tells So many tales that we can believe nothing unless we see it or hear an order read by the adjutent[.] the papers keep you posted respecting the army movements[.] you have doutless read of the 2nd Iowa Cavelry & their fearless charge [,] also their patience & endurance [ ? ?} Col Elliott without a murmur & where he leads they follow[.] we know not when we move next nor where. we may Stay here for weeks & then it may not be hours[.] we always have plenty to eat & good of the kind[.] the rations are given in full[.] kiss the children for me[.] give my respects to the neighbors & Mr & Mrs Crasford & Mr & Mrs Mc[.] A C is on duty[.] so is J Mc[.] my love to you all[.] no more at present but I remain your husband to Death[.] Adieu H Johnson Direct ti Cairo Ill write Soon
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June 29, 1862 Camp near Booneville Miss

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June 1, 1862 Camp before Corinth

Index

HUGH JOHNSON entered the 2nd Iowa Cavalry, Company M from Andrew, Iowa. He left the family behind on the farm...his wife Catherine (Cassy) and four children. The oldest son, John, was but 12 years of age when his father went off to war. A fifth child, Hugh Elliot, was born approximately eight months after he left.. This child lived little more than a year. The constantly hoped for furlough that Hugh wished for was never granted, and he was killed on February 2, 1864, just north of West Point, MS. He was initially buried on the James Randall plantation, and later his body was transferred to the National Cemetery at Corinth.

Hugh Johnson Turnbull
hturnbul@lane.k12.or.us
1-541-895-4571

Hugh Johnson letters reprinted by permission of Hugh Johnson Turnbull from electronic, transcribed copies
submitted to Milton Sandy, Jr. April 1996



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