Civil War Letter

       Mrs. James C. Mansfield to James D. Mansfield

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                                           Pike county, Aug. 18th, 1863.

My Dear son,

I am permitted to seat myself to write a few lines to you informing you
that we enjoy common health. I hope this will soon come to your hand and
find(s) you well with you(r) mind composed and bearing your fate with
resignation and fortitude trusting yourself in the hands of God. He can do
more for you than I can. I know He is everywhere present and will turn no
one off if we go to him in the name of Jesus with a sincere heart. I try to
give you on to his care every day and how I hope and pray that God will
preserve you and cause peace to be made soon in some way speedily that you
can be released honorably and return home. Do not be disheartened this war
is for some great purpose. If we have lost Vicksburg and Fort Hudson they
must keep armies there to keep them which will weaken their forces. Members
of them died in that hot region. We hear but little news from over the
river since that defeat.

As Amanda has written to you we have not hear(d) from Booker since the 5th
of June. He was well and in with the recruits that Bragg sent to Johnson in
sixty miles of Vicksburg. We have not heard from Kil since he left Camden,
we fear he never got to Booker. He said he would write to us before he
crossed the river. We are all very uneasy about them but why should we be
when we know they are (as) all of us, in the hands of the Almighty. He
knows what is best for us. Why should we doubt when we know God has all
power in Heaven and on earth. If the people would submit to his laws (and)
lay down pride and speculation this war would soon close. We must be
humble. A few have got home from Fort Hudson. John Kelley for one. He has
been sick ever since he came. They will keep the officers until they are
exchanged. Their provisions gave out (and) they lived and fought,
sometime(s) on mules and horses before the surrender. We have not seen but
two boys from Vicksburg since it was surrendered. Grant and Johnson have
been fighting at Jackson, Mississippi.

It is in the paper Johnson retook Jackson and Grant had fallen back to
Black river. If Booker is alive he is there and Kil too if he got to them.

We received your welcome letter yesterday. We are glad to learn that your
health was tolerably good. I hope you will get well and not have to be in a
fight. If you get sick try to get a discharge or a furlough before you get
too weak to come home. As I wrote to you before tell them you are weak
bristed (sic) and subject to phthisic (sic) and can not stand camp life. Do
not be backward in telling your case plainly to your officers. If they will
not let you off no way perhaps they would detail you to some other
business. I hope you will be perserved some way. Ashley Kelley came by
(and) he looks very bad.

Mr. Nolan could not get to Vicksburg safe to get his son. I have not heard
whether his son is alone or not. We hear now that John Cloud was not hurt
but his cartridge bag was shot though. He is gone with the rest of the
officers some hear they took them to Orleans. Some say they were sent to
Illinois. I know you will think we have forgotten to write to you. We sent
a letter to Little. Your uncle Gilmer took one to Cook near a month ago. We
hear they started week before last and heard on their way that Cobbles Army
was ordered to the Rock (and) they came home. I heard that (they) was at
home last week. I am sorry they did not take all your letter(s). Clay Polk
was to start the 8th of this month (and) rode as far as town by Marion.
When he went there they put off starting until the 18th. Clay and some men
I suppose have started. I sent a blanket, one pair of socks, and a double
letter to Clay to take to you. If he will Marion is going today to take
another report and your things to Clay. I do not know whether he will carry
them or not. They have a wagon Marion says.

He got word from the Capt. by some man that came down lately that if his
ear was still running to stay until he got his winter clothing to take with
him. I hear(d) the man told Dr. Mauney this news (and) he had reported by
Cook and Little. Now he has reported by Clay some of you will certainly be
detailed to come for some winter clothes. Here is your overcoat, shirts,
and another pair of pants and socks. You can not do without them, unless
you can get some by drawing. Howard promised your Pa to make your boots as
soon as he can get leather. Leander will get you a hat as soon as he can.
He says it is a long time before they can be got after the hatter promises.
Leander has been sick (and) had not seen the man that has your watch. He
heard he had it and expected to get it the first time he sees him. Amanda
wrote to you last night by Clay. She dated her letter a day ahead. She told
you some news. Perhaps you may get this first. I will mail it to (the) fort
for fear you do not get those we have written by hand. This will start
tomorrow. I must come to a close. Your Pa is taking the second field of
fodder this week. Tell me if you need paper (and) write every chance. May
God bless you.

To James D. Mansfield.

                       James C. (&) Delila Mansfield
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Letter, Mrs. James C. Mansfield to James D. Mansfield, Arkansas, Pike
County, Biographies 1890, Goodspeed Reprint, Pike County: House of York,
Courtney & Gerlene York, San Jose, California,  Copyright 1974, page
44-48. "Our thanks to Mrs. Lawrence Delaney of Delight, Arkansas for giving
... permission to share this letter written during the Civil War by one of
her ancestors. Since this letter was written in Pike County we felt it has
historical value, therefore we have added it to this work."
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Update 03.24.01              David Kelley 1997                 CVL-0020.HTM