25 December 1863: “the Boys have good time to day as it is Christmas I can not enjoy it myself…”

Item description: Letter, dated 25 December 1863, from Dexter S. Cowles to his “Dear Brother,” describing fighting conditions and weather near Vicksburg, Miss. He also discusses his difficulty communicating with family members, and notes the presence of African American regiments in the area.

[transcription available below images]

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Item Citation: From unit 56 of the Federal Soldiers’ Letters #3185, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

Hede Qartrers 75th [Hl bd.?] Inf seconde Brigade

17th Army Corps

Vickesburg Miss. Decb. 25 ’63

Dare Brother,

I received your very kinde letter this morninge right grate deal of satisfaction it is the firste that I have herde from you cince laste April I have written quite a number to you I sente my likeness to Ida you dide not say whether you had recieved it please lete me no in your next letter I am thankful to here that you are all well my health is good I feel truly thankful for it the Boys have good time to day as it is Christmas I can not enjoy it myself I feel very much disapointed in not here anny thinge from Adin I though you woulde here somthinge from him I have not recieve anny letter cince last June I have when a number to him it has wored me a good I can not express to you my feelings I wished that I coulde ben with him it semes to me that I coulde asisted him but was not to be so I feel very much caste down on his acounte this ware is a cruel thinge I wihed it was over it lookes to me that it will be some time before it is brought to close the Gurilles is [?] Boled down here firinge into Boates almoste every day alonge the river [Glut?] Gilkerson is will I hearde from Ella a short time ago she was well then wee have some col wether here now Ice has frozen about one inch thick it is quite healthy here now I thinke wee shal stay here this winter wee have gote this strongeley Fortified now ande mean to keep it wee hade a harde time to gete it I can asure you thare is good many of the olde solgers Reintshunge of the ware it takes a goode maney to keepe the Regt ful my Regt has now about three hundrede men wee have loste a good maney it is a harde country fer slgeringe as one is so much exposed Dear Brother I shoulde like very much to see you and se you as I do wante to see your litel cora you and Carolina and Ida muste kiss here for me tel here that here uncle Dexter will com and see here som time William give my love to Cintyha & all the rest my Friends I may note ever see aney of you in this worled againe I hope may meete you whare thare is no more parteings I feel Truly thankful to you and Caroline fer your Brotherley and Sisterley feelings towarde me if you only new how much good it does me when I gete a letre and a few kinde wordes you wouled satisfied to wite every day I thinke the ware newes that wee get here woulde not interest you as wee do note get much the Lates newes from Charleston is that our Forces has gote Posession of Charleston Harbour that is good newes Indede wee have a number of Regts of negroes here and thay make Goode Solgers thay Fighte like Tigers thay lern the Drill quite Easey more so than white Solgers

I am still Actinge Orderley For the Firste Surgeon of the Brigeade like it very well I shoulde feel in goode sperets if new that Adin was safe as it is I do not I hope you will here from him yet if you dide not get my likeness I will have a nother taken and send to Ida my love to you all good By fer this time I wishe soon

Your Afechionate


D. S. Cowles

Direct Vickesburg Miss. 95th Hl bol Inft. Co. E

bia cario

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