1863 Letter - Lieutenant John E. Willey, 3rd Delaware Volunteers

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1863 Letter - Lieutenant John E. Willey, 3rd Delaware Volunteers

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Item No. 2139721

An interesting 1862 letter on patriotic stationery written by Lieutenant John E. Willey of the 3rd Delaware Infantry. It was written from Camp Fisher, near Camden, where the regiment’s recruits were gathered and trained. Shortly after writing this this letter, the regiment would move out for the Shenandoah Valley and would soon be engaged at Chantilly and Antietam. The letter reads:

Camp Fisher May 15th 1862

Dear Brother;
I seat myself now amid the noisy crowd of soldiers that are always ready to interrupt any one that would attempt to do good for themselves or others: for the purpose of answering your most welcome letter, which I received this morning; and I suppose that you think that I am rather dilatory in answering it; but when I tell you that I have been away for nine days on furlough, then you can account for my delay. I have been down to Uncle Sylvester’s and also to Joseph E. Uncle’s family were all well, but Mollie; Joseph’s wife was sick yesterday, but I think that there is nothing serious the matter. They all sent their love to you, and all the rest of the family.

Now I will turn the tenor of my subject.

This morning, when I broke your letter open, I thought it was Stansburg’s, until I saw the hand write, and then I knew who it was from, and I was glad to hear from you. I was reading away and when I got to the bottom of the first page I was somewhat interested, & when I turned over I was surprised to see something read and when I came to examine it - Behold! It was a one dollar note, the first one I have seen for some time, and you cannot imagine the joy I felt, for just that little dollar would do me more good now than five or ten would do at some other time and I now feel indebted to you almost beyond the power of recompense, but I hope that the day is not far in the distance when I will be able to compensate you for that act of charity. We expect the paymaster down tomorrow if nothing should happen to prevent.

We now have a brass band attached to the regiment.

A word in regard to my health. I can say with gladness that I feel better than I have felt since I came down, with the exception of the first week, and I hope that I now will have my health better. I now will bring my badly written epistle to a close, hoping to hear from you soon. Give my love to father, mother, brother and sister, and I send the same to you. No more but remain your affectionate friend and Brother.
John E. Willey

The letter was written on patriotic stationery featuring a eagle clutching an American flag and a banner reading “Union and the Constitution.” It measures about 4 3/4” x 7 3/4” and is in very good condition with light foxing and toning. Creased where originally folded.

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