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

Post image for Army letters of Oliver Willcox Norton.

Army letters of Oliver Willcox Norton.

November 19, 2013

Army letters of Oliver Willcox Norton (Eighty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers)

National Hotel, Washington,
Nov. 19, 1863.

Dear Sister L.:—

Perhaps you think my long silence bodes no good. If you do, dispossess yourself of that idea immediately.

I am half “luny” with delight. Do not think that because I would not allow myself to think or speak of coming home, or listen to you, that I cared nothing for my home or my friends. No, indeed! But now times are altered and I shall be with you next week, God willing. “How? Why?” Because I am “First Lieutenant, Eighth Regiment, United States Colored Troops, Philadelphia. Pennsylvania.” and have leave of absence for fifteen days, signed by the Secretary of War, in my pocket.

I shall go to New York to-night to buy some clothes and see my friends. I shall stay till Monday night. Then I come to you. I will stop on my way to Michigan to call for E. and take him home with me.

This is good news to you, I know. It is to me. I hardly expected to get home, but last night I went down to see Major Foster, stated my case and asked ten days. “Why, you can’t go to Michigan in ten days; it will take you all the time to go and come.” I thought, you see, that if I asked too much, I wouldn’t get anything. “Make your application in writing and I will see what I can do for you.” I made the application this morning for fifteen days and got my papers through the whole red tape in an hour.

E. made the most sensible remark I have read since the talk of my promotion. Said he, “I shall think no more of you than I did when you carried a musket, but the world will.” Straps are honored, and already I see the advantage of wearing them, though I have not got them on.

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