Letter from Louks, William A.
|Soldier: Louks, William A.
|Unit/Service Branch: 56th Infantry
|Home State: Ohio
|Date Written: Monday, August 31st, 1863
|Location: Carrolton, La.
|Correspondence Type: Letter
|Subjects: Combat Description, Comrades, Enemy, Politics, Secesh, Western Theater
I once more have the satisfaction of seating myself to answer your most welcome letter which came to hand a few days ago, and you may be sure I was glad to receive it and it was the first time I had heard from you since the 28th of April, though I had written several letters to you I could not tell you where to write to and some of them I reckon you did not get as the Rebs captured a good deal of the mail that the boys were sending home so probably they got to read one of my letters to you. Well I could not tell what
I said in any one that would answer any of them very much even should they --- to read it. I wrote to you a few days ago but as I was not very well at the time I wrote a very poor one though I thought that I would say something besides telling you where I was even if it did not amount to anything.
I reckon that the boys had some fun after old Morgan at least it seems to me like I could have fun plenty hunting rebels when most every body is friendly. I know that it would not be much like hunting rebels here where every woman and child that you see you must feel that they are your enemy and most of them even thirst for your blood for a good many of the women seem more blood thirsty than the men do.
You seem to think that you are learning what war is by what has went on around you up there. Well I expect you know pretty well what the excitement is but as to you getting any idea of what real war by that is more than I can see into. I think you could get a better idea by picturing in your mind a line of men 2 deep from 6 to 10 miles in length marching across a country to battle exchanging shots with the enemy every minute with from 2 to 3 miles between the two armies then just think of the situation with the inhabitants of that large scope of country. They are in twice the danger that soldiers is in for they must take the fire of both friend and foe for neither side can stop to save them but should they in an hour or two warning and have time to go out of the area with the clothes that they have on there backs and what little money they may have in ready cash but the fight goes on and soon their house is riddled with canon balls and every thing that is growing to eat is trampled into the earth by the marching of the men and artillery. But let us suppose that the battles over. Then every house shed and every place that can be found to shelter a man is some with wounded while from all parts of the field the most awful stench comes from the dead men and horses that lie bloating in the hot sun while every morsel of food the family may have left is devoured by the hungry wounded soldier and now what is left to the people of that section of country but famine for what more is there to sustain life than there is on the sandy desert. (more than there may be water there) and so from this faint picture (and
I can say with truth, it is only a faint picture to write I have really saw) you may guess whether you have had any more than the excitement or not.
Though Dearest Mary, you talk as though you were going to have a bloody and neighborhood war 0h! Mary if such should be the case I would tremble for you but who is going to commence this piece of murder? It cannot be the Union men. Were it so my heart would sink with in me to think so that a Union man would commit such foul deeds. It cannot be that a thing like the New York murder can take place in the country there because there are not enough of such characters in the country to get up such a thing, so I would ask again who is to commit the murder?
You ask me to look at the unconstitutional arrest. I wish you would have showed me one (though I do not doubt that a good many loyal men have been arrested and imprisoned by designing men who have went to the provost martial and swore lies to affect his purpose) yet we can not doubt that there has been a great deal of good done in the way of arbitrary arrests for there certainly has been a great many traitors arrested and may more be made to shut their mouths for fear they would be arrested Some object to this because it seems like taking away the liberty of speech, but should I or any other man be allowed to preach treason in the faces of loyal men. For instance, we will take Vallandigham. He claims to be even a Union man yet today he is worth more to the south than 20,000 men in the field would be. In the first place he is worth 10,000 men to them in the encouragement he gives them by sowing the seeds of dissension in the north and is worth 10,000 more to them by the desertions and discouragements he can throw in the way of the Union Army. This, the rebels very well understood when they had him in their lines and they hurried him out as soon as they could for they knew well enough that he would do them no good as long as he was kept within their lines.
We have some few Valandingham soldiers. They are so because they think that they might get home if he could be elected Governor of Ohio. They seem to have forgot their slain comrades, but for my part I can not forget mine. I too well remember the day I lay upon the ground with one of my comrades lying almost at my feet in his blood uttering his last groans while to my side lay two more, one mortally wounded while the other had a frightful shot clear across his shoulders and my right arm was paralyzed by a ball through my shoulder. But even then with balls flying thick and fast around me I did not feel like having peace on rebel terms and donít yet. But I hope to do what I did then, fight them with one hand if f can not use two. We have a peace that may be called peace.
Well, I have wrote too much of such stuff now but as you held forth the bait for a political speech I thought I would try my hand at it, so you must excuse me if I have said any thing that is offensive as political speeches is a great evil so much more so a political quarrel like the one the nation is engaged in.
But in most part I have given you my true sentiment if I am wrong I would like to be corrected but until I am shone that I am wrong in my views I expect to believe in them.
My health is good at the present and hope that when this reaches you it will also find you in good health and ready to write me a long reply to one of my longest letters and may the war that now keeps me far away soon cease and the Union soldiers be permitted to return home in peace to those they love.
We are expecting to move on in a few days towards Mobile where we will be apt to have several battles and lose more out of our little Regiment of 150 men to which we are reduced but in the mean time I will try to write if spared by my creator to do so hoping
this wearisome letter will be no offense. So good bye for the present.
But still remain your friend and lover
Wm. A. Louks
Direct to Co A. 56th OVI New Orleans, La