Summary of Content: Discusses the health of Martha’s brother, Robert, who has been sent home from his regiment to recuperate. Talks about recent Union victories at the battles of Vicksburg and Port Hudson and predicts that ”a few more blows...& the rebelion will be on a parr with our stock in the Bull Run fight.” Writes about the effect of the climate on the good health of soldiers. Mentions that soldiers practicing guerrilla warfare are ”scattered through the country, but they do more good than evil for they live off the citizens, who are professionaly Union men but practically trecherous cowards.” Mentions Lee’s failed raid into Pennsylvania and claims that Confederate failures will ”show two classes of men the Elephant. The Copperheads will see the Elephant in the waste of there supplies as consumed by an invading friend The Southern rebels will finde an Elephant in the cowardise of theire Northern allies.” Congratulates Martha on her engagement to Mattie Cook.
Background: William Brunt was, at the start of the correspondence, a soldier in the 83rd Regiment, Ft. Donelson, Tennessee. He was later made Captain of Company Division 16th Colored Infantry. Brunt’s wife, Olive, and his two children virtually accompanied him to war, living in the nearby camps while Brunt was on the battlefield. William and Olive had lived in Kentucky prior to the war, but were disliked for their strong support of Union politics. By 1864, Olive was helping to run a contraband camp with Brunt, but by 1865 the two had divorced after Olive was unfaithful to William. Brunt retained custody of their two children and, despite the emotional strain which came from marriage of one and the death of the other, remained devoted as a soldier and anti-slavery advocate., Brunt refers to the Copperheads, Democrats in the North who were often sympathetic towards the Southern cause and did not support the war. ”Seeing the elephant” was popular slang for getting into more than one expected, learning a difficult lesson, or experiencing battle for the first time.