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

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

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

October 9, 2013

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

Letter No. XVIII.

Camp Near Chattanooga,
October 9th, 1863.

To Little Stark And Mary West:

I have a nice little piece of paper which I took from a Yankee port-folio on the battlefield of Chickamauga, and thought it would be a good time to send you a little letter. You must be good children and learn to read and write, so that you can answer this letter and read to me when I come home. We have been policing our camp to-day, and that means to sweep and clean up just like our negroes sweep and clean the yard. The soldiers make brooms out of the brush and sweep the leaves and trash into a pile and burn it, and then we have nice clean ground to sit and to sleep on at night. We have little tents which we took from the Yankees, and they keep the frost and rain off of our heads. Every night I go to sleep with my clothes on and my hat over my face, and sometimes I stay awake nearly all night and think about you and mamma and wonder if you are all well, and if you obey and mind mamma all the time, and say your prayers. God has given you a good mamma, and you ought to love Him very much and ask Him to take care of her. God takes care of the soldiers, too, and of all good people.

The soldier who carried our flag in the last battle was killed, and Mr. Makeig took the flag and carried it until he was shot through the neck. Mr. Makeig’s father lives near Waco, and you must let him know what a brave soldier his son is. He is loved by all the company and is a splendid soldier. We are very near to the Yankees now and I stand guard within sixty or one hundred yards of them, and get water out of the same creek. We talk with them and exchange newspapers, and swap tobacco for coffee. They are very tired of the war, and want to go home as badly as we do.

Your grandpa and Aunt Decca, in Columbia, got a letter from mamma and sent it to me. You must kiss mamma for me and be good children.

Your father truly,
John C. West.

Previous post:

Next post: