Civil War Letter

               W.B. Gould to Sarah S. Gould


Camp Jackson, Ark
October the 2nd 1861
Dear Wife,
I received your letter of September the 10th on yesterday and hasten this
morning to answer the same. Your letter gave me pleasure to hear from
you and to hear that you were well and it gave me pain to hear that some
of you were chilling. It also pained me to see the disposition you have
of grumbling at me. It is true you are somewhat are in a bad situation but
I had thought that we would make corn enough and to spare that you could
sell enough to supply all the money you would need to buy your neccessaries
and had hoped that Tarpley had paid you the money he so faithfully
promised to do and I had insurance from several that you should have plenty
of meat to do you and if their promises are all complied with I can't see
why you can't get along comfortable for one year and my wages here during
the year will enable me when I get home to buy a place where we can again
be settled and have a house of our own. I feel for you. I know you are
lonesome and feel distressed about me but I will try to take good care of
myself as I can in (the) hope to meet you all in good health again at the
expiration of my term of service and think will never part from you again
during life.

You also grumble about me not writing oftner (sic). I have wrote (sic), I
think this is eight times, and have only received two letters from you and
then you complain about having to pay the postage. This is hard but I don't
see how I can help it and did not know it was the case until lately and
can't help it there (is) no post office here, and they won't receive any
... money from us to prepay postage as our letters goes (sic) by express
from here to Fort Smith where they are mailed. You must try to sell wheat
or corn enough to pay your postage. Others write to their husbands here and
write like they were contented and satisfied with their husbands being in
the army, but I will say no more. It has pained me to say this much.

My health has been bad for this last ten days. Have had some fever but are
(sic) improving and getting well. We received the package of clothing you
sent us which is thankfully received. We have no news to write. We have not
been outside of the Encampment since we came to this place and I have no
doubt that it hurts me to be absent from home as much as any of you and
with the advantages you have of keeping comfortable and dry at home. I am
suffering more than any of you, and now while writing this morning with no
chair to sit upon, down on the flat ground, my back nearly breaks (in-two)
to write one letter. I have not seen a cup and saucer and chair or table
since I left home. Eat standing up or on the ground with a tin cup for my
coffee and a tin plate with my pocket knife for knife and fork to say
nothing of the rain and winds and storms. It is raining hard this morning
while I am writing and can hardly keep my paper dry enough to write upon.
Our tent leaks badly and should we have to camp in tents all winter we will
have a pretty rough time of it. It is rough at best so you see we have a
plenty of troubles of our own, a thousand and one that you have no idea.

Off and under these circumstances it would be refreshing to hear that our
wives and children were happy and contented at home and would give us
consolation in our troubles and dangers which (are) so far from them. I
would like very much that Nathan or Horace one would live near you though I
have faith in Jerome that he will do all he can to make you comfortable and
will try to make a good crop. Tell him to do his best and if I am
discharged in Missouri I will try to buy a good horse to go home upon and
he will probably get it for his own when I get home. Tell Nathan I will pay
him for all his extra trouble in gathering and taking care of the crop.

(?) ... men or a great many of them are still sick but are improving some.
Capt. Black & Floyd are sick and have gone out into the country until
they get well. Lieut. McCollum is well and has not been sick but very
little since he left home. Baldwin is in good health now, has been sick a
few days. We do not know how long we may stay here or where we may be sent
from here but are determined to try and discharge our duty knowing that it
is our duty to our country honestly and faithfully until we are honorably
discharged the service and can return in honor (?) ... to our family and
(?) ... against our having left you so long and do hope you will not grieve
so much. Have more fortitude and hope for the best and put your trust in
God who is able to protect the widow and the orphans and who has promised
he will do it and never see the Righteous forsaken or his seed begging

I want you (to) write how the crop turned out and how you are getting along
and how you are going to make a crop, whether Nathan or Horace is going to
crop with you, and whether or not you have sowed dry wheat and your
prospects for meat which Joe Hutson promised me, if hogs did not get fat he
would let you have the hogs to fatten yourself, and I certainly think we
have made corn enough to fatten meat and have a plenty to do you besides
and probably some to sell. All I can say is do the best you can under the
circumstances and maybe all will be right some day. Give my best love and
respects to all the children and Cass, Nathan, and (?) ..., Horace and
Nancy, Dave and Polly and all of their children and all inquiring friends
and for yourself accept the warmest love of your absent but ever devoted

                                 W.B. Gould
To Sarah S. Gould
P.S. Write as often as you can. I would be glad to hear from you often.
Tell Horace, Nathan, Joe and Dave all to write for it is a long time
between letters having only received (?) ... it is nearly (?) ... make
an effort for volunteers and I would advise all our boys, that is Nathan,
Joe and Horace to stay at home as I do not see any great necessity for
troops here, and it is a hard rough life enough so to nearly kill a man who
has not got a good constitution.

Write soon. Your affectionate husband.

                                 W.B. Gould

Letter, W.B. Gould to Sarah S. Gould, Carol Ditmore, Phoenix, Arizona
postmarked 30 Apr 2000.

Update 03.25.01              David Kelley 1997                 CVL-0021.HTM