The letter is signed by “Wm J B…..” and dated “October the 5 : 18 and fast asleep.” The author tells us he’s writing from camp near the Rapidan River in Orange County, Virginia. The writer is most like William and in the correspondence he mentions a letter from his cousin John Lyons and gives Johns’ address in care of the 48th Mississippi Regiment, Poseys’ Brigade, Andersons’ Division (official records confirm a John W Lyons as a soldier of the 48th Miss). The 48th Miss was not organized until November 1862, so the October 6 date of this letter would have to be 1863 or 64. Since it’s more than likely William was also from Mississippi, checking the rosters of Miss. units present in the Rapidan/Orange County area on these dates should result in a short list of Wm J. B’s who might have written the letter. If anyone finds anything out please let me know as I would like to add this letter to the archive once the soldier is identified.
Camp near the Rappidan River Orange County Va
My Dear and Devoted Wife I seat myself to day to write you a few lines if I can but I feel vary badly I have bin sick for sevrell days and I don’t get no better I think some times that I will go to the Doctor But then I give it But if I ant no better to morrow morning I shall go to the doctor and see if he cant doo something for me Seven of my Company went to the Doctor this morning and in fact we have more men in our regiment sick at this time then we ever did have at one time sence we have been in service If I get sick enough to bee sent off to the hospital I will try and get home if I can I am going to doo evry thing I can to get home by Christmas and if I don’t get home then I don’t recon that I will come before my time is out Then I am coming just as surtin as I am living
I recon by this you begin to want another pair of shoes and if you doo you get fit to make them in time I don’t want you to go barfooted don’t get shoes only but get eny thing that you wants. Here is another thing I [want] you to doo if you can / if you ever see William Baugh(?) tell him to pay you the five dollars that he os me and I want you to write me word weather you ever got from me with 2 pen points in it or not I sent a letter by Jack Forster some time ago with 2 pen points in it and he sead that he left the letter at Austin Gentrys. I also received a letter from cousin John Lyons the outher day He was well and sead that he was very glad to get a letter from victory for he sead he hadent heard from non of you all since he saw me He sends his love to the family and Anty and says that you must write to him I don’t recon you all know how to direct you letters Direct your letters to the 48 miss regiment Poseys Brigade Anderson Division.
You sead in you last letter that you recon I was standing in need of socks No my Dear I don’t need them very bad yet But I ____(?) I would let you know of it in time to give you good time to knitte them
I must com to a close my dear for the present. May God bless you and guide you thru this life Give my love to the family I remain your Husband until Death
October the 5 : 18 and fast asleep Wm J. B……..