Item description: In this letter, dated 18 August 1861, James Keen Munnerlyn describes the poor condition of his company, particularly the poor health of the officers, “Our Captain is sick our 1st Liet., acting Agt. Gen., our 2nd sick so we are commanded by the 3rd Liet. who is very young and inexperienced so if we were to have a fight soon we would be in a bad fix.”
[Item transcription available below images.]
Near Vienna August 18th 1861
My Dear Sister,
I am again writing to you on Picquit. I have stroled off from the Company to a farmers house and am enjoying the luxury of a chair and table. Last night while on Post I was looking at the moon and I thought that you too might be looking at the same object. I stayd about a half hour looking at it and thinking of you and the loved ones at home until a cloud came under it and I was vexed with it for disturbing my dream, but after all it did me a service for I had forgotten the important post I held and a Yankee might have slipped up and put a knife in my back and that is what I would have got from moongazing. We are in very much the same possition as when I last wrote you, our Pickets have skermishes evry day with the Enemy. They killed two of them yesterday. Our Brigade is suffering very much with Tifoid fever in our Regt. composing over nine hundred men there are not more than three hundred fit for active duty. How did you hear that our Company was in a bad condition for clothes. Our uniform has become very shabbie but we are we are very well off in other respects, and can make out very well until cold weather. Our Captain is sick our 1st Liet., acting Agt. Gen., our 2nd sick so we are commanded by the 3rd Liet. who is very young and inexperienced so if we were to have a fight soon we would be in a bad fix. lthough I beleave the Cap would leave his bedd to lead us into a fight in fact I believe being out of a fight and doing nothing is what has made him sick. Can you tell me what is the matter with them at home that they do not write to me I have not received a letter from any one but you since the battle. I have written but they either will not answer them or have not received my letters.
[A letter of 21 August 1861 begins at the bottom of this page.]