Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

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John C. West–A Texan in Search of a Fight.

May 25, 2013

John C. West–A Texan in Search of a Fight.

Letter No. II.

Camp On The Rapidan,
May 25th, 1863.

My Precious Wife:

I have written to you by every opportunity I have had since I left home, and have sent letters by mail and by individuals. I wrote to you yesterday by mail and to-day I am writing again because Mr. Robertson, of Texas, in our company, is going home on sixty days furlough and will take the letter to Waco. My letters are in substance pretty much the same because I felt so uncertain about your getting them that I repeated things which I was anxious for you to know; so you must not think that I am especially “exercised” en a particular subject of any character because it is mentioned in successive letters. We are camped in a beautiful grove of large chestnut trees on a hillside, about a mile from Raccoon Ford. We have no tents and the ground is hard and a little rocky. My fine blanket and shawl were stolen between Branchville and Columbia.

I have left my overcoat with Miss Mary E. Fisher, Franklin Street, between Sixth and Seventh, at Richmond, and all of my other effects, except a change of clothing, at Columbia; and since I have come to camp and gotten a haversack (there are no knapsacks) I have taken out one suit of underwear and put all my remaining effects in my carpetsack to be sent to Richmond; so you see my load is quite light. You need never trouble yourself to send me anything but letters and cheerful hopes. We cannot fight and carry baggage, and my supply will last for three years with what mother can send me. It is no use to have clothes which must be thrown away on every march. We are now about to change our camp and have four days rations cooked, but do not know what we are to do or where to go.

I saw Tom Lipscomb yesterday. He is a major in Hampton’s Brigade. He told me that Lamar Stark was taken prisoner in the same fight in which Gillespie Thornwell was killed. Some of them have been exchanged and Lamar will soon be. He is being well treated. This is reported by some of the exchanged prisoners. All of the Waco boys are well except Allen Killingsworth. He has been very dangerously sick with flux and high fever. He is not altogether out of danger but a great deal better. We are trying to find a private house for him as we are to leave here to-day. I have said something in previous letters about your coming to Columbia, and have stated my plans so fully in two letters, one by mail and the other by hand, that I will only say here that if it is as easy for you to get through as when I left you may try it if you choose, but leave all the servants at home. You must get a good escort to Jackson, Mississippi.

I opened my Bible on the first day I arrived at camp, and the first place my eyes fell upon was the 104th Psalm. Cannot a God of such power preserve me and you, or take care of you without me. Be cheerful and do not borrow trouble on my account. I forgot to say that we have plenty of bread and meat and the finest water I ever saw. To-day is a chilly, damp day, and it is raining a little. We will sleep wet to-night as there is no way to keep blankets dry. Aunt Mary Stark gave me a blanket in Columbia. Kiss the little darlings for me, and be assured that whatever befalls or awaits me is all right. God does it and He does all things well. Your husband, faithfully ever,

John C. West.

P. S.—John Darby, my old classmate, is our division surgeon, and gives general satisfaction to every one. He is very much in love with Miss M —— P —— .

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