1863 Letter by Wounded Soldier Recovering at Carver Hospital, Washington - "tell me it does not require patriotism at the rate of about sixty lbs to the square inch to keep a fellow from swearing"

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1863 Letter by Wounded Soldier Recovering at Carver Hospital, Washington - "tell me it does not require patriotism at the rate of about sixty lbs to the square inch to keep a fellow from swearing"

70.00

Item No. 7848504

An interesting 1863 letter from an unidentified soldier who was recovering from a wound at the Carver General Hospital in Washington, DC. Writing to his brother, the author mentions having received a letter from “Sallie” that “unless I come home I may soon expect to hear of her being in the insane asylum. They want me to come home badly, but it is impossible for me now unless I run off.” His request for furlough was denied, however, because his wound was too close to being healed. He then expressed his desire to be transferred to the Commissary Department. “I don’t think I will return to my Regiment again,” he wrote. The author closes the letter with a lengthy rant about the difficulties of soldier life:

Suppose you had to march a day like this day the distance of twenty or twenty five miles, mud half way up your ankle every step, raining, snowing, and blowing so as to make it almost impossible to see. Besides that a heavy knapsack on your back, a haversack hanging at your side with four or five days rations [and] a musket and accoutrements, cartridge box with fifty or sixty rounds of cartridge in it, and rest perhaps a half an hour at noon and eat a few hard crackers.

After all the discomforts and inconveniences, “tell me it does not require patriotism at the rate of about sixty lbs to the square inch to keep a fellow from swearing,” he wrote. The letter ends somewhat abruptly, and it’s possible that additional pages were separated at some point in history.

The letter was written on four pages of 5” x 7 3/4” stationery. It is in very good condition with light foxing and toning. Creased where folded. There is edge separation on the centerfold extending about one inch.

The full transcript of the letter follows:

Carver Hospital
January 27th 1863

Dear Brother
If my memory serves me right I have never received an answer to my last letter to you. However it is a matter of some consideration to find means to occupy their time in a hospital [in] such weather as this. Therefore I thought I would address a few lines to you and refresh your memory a little.

It has been raining, snowing, & storming constantly almost for the last several days, which causes it to be too disagreeable to be out of the ward for the mud is knee deep. I received a letter from Sallie last evening stating the folks all well when she wrote, but she says unless I come home I may soon expect to hear of her being in the insane asylum. They want me to come home badly, but it is impossible for me now unless I run off. I was before the board of examination some days ago to get a furlough, but my wound was too near healed for me to pass. If I had of been examined a week or two sooner I could of got a furlough without any trouble. But for my part I did not have much desire to go home and wanted to wait until I got my pay and then it was too late.

I had a letter from Howard a few days ago wanting to know when I would be fit for duty again, in order for him to get my detail and then I could report to John Musser and get in the Commissary department. I don’t think I will return to my Regiment again for it is likely John Morris can have me detailed if Musser can’t.

Jim, if the weather is anything like it is here up your way, you can form some idea of what we have to endure out in the field. Suppose you had to march a day like this day the distance of twenty or twenty five miles, mud half way up your ankle every step, raining, snowing, and blowing so as to make it almost impossible to see. Besides that a heavy knapsack on your back, a haversack hanging at your side with four or five days rations [and] a musket and accoutrements, cartridge box with fifty or sixty rounds of cartridge in it, and rest perhaps a half an hour at noon and eat a few hard crackers. However, that depends entirely on the importance of the move, the resting part. And when night comes turn into a muddy field, put up a few yards of corse muslin in the shape of a tent, have to get on your hands and knees to get in, spread your blanket in the mud and wet, cook and eat your grub the best you can, and bunk in for the night for pleasant dreams, and then tell me it does not require patriotism at the rate of about sixty lbs to the square inch to keep a fellow from swearing. Such I have had the pleasure experiencing frequently, but it is nothing after you get used to it. But you must recollect soldiering has its bright as well as its dark sides. Occasionally when you lay in a nice camp, the weather good and nothing to do, it is much pleasanter. However, we don’t see that much in our soldiering now days.

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