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Howard, Richard L. (fl. 1863) to Brother Grover and Bird

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC06382.02 Author/Creator: Howard, Richard L. (fl. 1863) Place Written: Vicksburg, Mississippi Type: Autograph letter signed Date: circa 12 July 1863 Pagination: 2 p. ; 57.7 x 91 cm.

Summary of Content: Howard, Chaplain of the 124th Illinois Infantry, writes an enormous and colorful letter on a Confederate muster sheet he refers to as "a secesh sheet." One on side, writes to Brother Grover. Mentions Clara. Writing after the fall of Vicksburg, Mississippi, states "It is our harvest time...The great sheaf-gathering time of the Army under Grant." Recently received official news of the Union defeat of Port Hudson, Louisiana. Recalls his joy on the fourth (4 July 1863, when Vicksburg fell). Describes in detail the aftermath of the siege of Vicksburg, commenting on the holes where Confederates hid (some during the entire duration of the siege). Mentions the clay-like soil, and the multitude of graves. Referring to John Briggs, a mutual acquaintance and Confederate, hops "that next time we meet, it may be under the olive & not the thorn." Assumes that when reflecting on defeats at Port Hudson and Vicksburg, Confederates "would all willingly go back to their states at the beginning of the war, if they could, and behave themselves. But that they cannot do..." Mentions Generals John Alexander Logan, and relates a false report regarding the death of General Peter Joseph Osterhaus. Discusses the hot weather, Grover's recent transition from business to farming, Psalm 91, and the importance of patriots at home. Includes a note to Sister Grover regarding his distaste for coffee, and a note to Miss Sou. Signs as a friend in Christ. On verso, writes to his wife, whom he calls Bird. Relates that he wrote this entire letter on a 16 inch Company book, not a table. Discusses mosquitoes in Vicksburg, his recent ill health, and sleeping on the ground. Referring to acquaintances in the Confederate army, states "But I would not shrink from taking up arms against by brother in this cause, were he opposing my country... " Misses his wife extremely. Mentions his duties, including creating payroll for troops. Notes that regimental bands are playing continuously. Discusses mutual acquaintances at length.

People: Howard, R. S., fl. 1863
Logan, John Alexander, 1826-1886

Historical Era: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877

Subjects: Civil WarMilitary HistoryUnion ForcesBattle of VicksburgBattleMuster Rolls and ReturnsConfederate States of AmericaUnion GeneralBattle of Port HudsonFourth of JulyDeathAgriculture and Animal HusbandryDiet and nutritionMilitary CampHealth and MedicalMarriageSoldier's PayMusicReligion

Sub Era: The American Civil War

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