Headquarters United States Forces,
on Rio Grand. Office Judge Advocate
and Provost Marshal
January 27th, 1864
I have received two letters from you without answering them. Your last one I got a day or so ago and a good long one it was, too. Last night I put two letters in the office, one for Sallie and one for Lue.
What are you doing this morning? John, are you on your road to the school house with your dinner in your hand and your skates slung across your shoulders? Or are you in the shop trying to sell somebody a tin cup? Or maybe you are doing what I used to do every now and then. Take off from school and get a ducking in the river? Then go home and get a pretty strong reprimand in the way of a peach sprout or a hazel bush.
I should like to have been there the day you had such a big skating party, but I was a little differently engaged on Christmas. I went in swimming along with Ed. Robinson and some others.
I haven't seen a flake of snow this winter and no ice at all except in a wash pan, and wasn't even a quarter of an inch thick. This morning seems just like a May morning at home. Just as though it was a going to give us a little shower. I wish that you was down here to help me eat some oranges. I have them all the time and all that I want.
Well, John, you must write often for it takes a long time for a letter to come from Danville here. Just a month today since you wrote your last letter. Tell Mother I will write to her this evening or tomorrow. Direct your letters to Brownsville, Texas in care of Capt. N.M.Curran, Provost Marshal, for I am clerking in his office now.
Your Affectionate Brother,
February 3rd, 1864
I think that it is high time that I was writing to you. I have received two letters from you and haven't answered either as yet. I am kept so busy here in the office that I hardly ever have time to write and when I do get time, I don't like to commence a letter for fear that I will get tired and quit it. But today I haven't been quite as busy as usual and feel a little more like writing.
I am well all except for a very sore tooth. For the last two or three days I have had a tooth ache a good deal. Last night I couldn't get to sleep until I got out of bed and went to see the Doctor of the 20th Wis. and got something to put on it. But I can afford to suffer a little with the tooth ache. It has been so long since I have had it.
Let me tell you how warm the weather is down here. On the last day of January the thermometer stood 80 degrees above zero in the shade and it has been about the same ever since.
Enclosed you will find a Mexican piece of money. It is one fourth of a bit and is called a quartore.
I was in Matamoras the other day but saw nothing but some old dirty looking houses.
Mother, I must bring my letter to a close. Much love to all. Tell Father to write and tell me all about which kind of a building he is a going to erect in the Spring.
Your ever Affectionate Son,
Care Capt. N. W. Curran
* A Mexican "Real" ,(was worth 12 1/2 cents American.) It was called a "Bit". When the U.S. quarter was coined it was called "Two Bits".
April 9th, 1864
Mother received a letter from you this morning of the 29th last month, I believe.
I suppose that you know that I have been home for about two weeks. I got home yesterday two weeks ago on my veteran furlough of thirty days.
A good many boys have enlisted in our Company since we have been here. I will give you some of their names. Ralph McCormack, Will Reed, Will Current, John Layton, Milt Stewart, Stamper Lamn, Wilson Clark, Bill Barker, Bill Delay and others that I can't think of.
We are having a good time here at home. We will go down by Natchez in two or three weeks and I want you to watch.
Write soon to your Brother,
T. Reeves Brown
Co. T, 4th Cav. Ill. Vols.
TRAVELING ON THE STEAMER 'BELLE OF ST. LOUIS' THEY LEFT CHICAGO ON APRIL 25th AND ARRIVING MEMPHIS, TENN. APRIL 29th, WHERE COL. BLACK TOOK HIS BRIGADE AGAINST GENERAL FOREST. HE FORCED HIS RETREAT INTO THE INTERIOR OF THE STATE, THEN HEADED BACK TO MEMPHIS.
April 29th, 1864
We arrived here about 4 O'clock this p.m. after a very pleasant trip from Cairo, through a very pleasant shower, on a very pleasant and good steamer called the "Belle of Saint Louis." We left Chicago on the 25th. Arrived in Cairo on the morning of the 27th. Left there on the evening of the same day.
The talk on board now is that we will lay here at Memphis until an expedition is fitted out that is preparing to go in search of Forrest and his gang. Join that and take a pleasant little walk to see some of the pretty country Tennessee boasts so much of. Well, we shall all like it very much, all but the pleasant little walk which as a matter of course the Vets won't like. Although I am in hopes the recruits will, as they are not quite so used to the business as we are.
All of the boys are well and seem to like it very much. We met Fred Reisser at this place on his way South. It isn't quite so pleasant soldiering as it is laying around home doing nothing, but I think that it is a great deal healthier and more beneficial to ourselves and to the country we love so much. But I am getting too "patriotic" and "solemncoly" on the subject.
Let's talk a little about the weather or something else. Strike up on some thing. Ask me if I ain't sorry that I reenlisted and see if I answer with a yes or a no. Which do you think I would say? But of course, wouldn't I, didn't I say at home every time you asked. Hate to leave home and the dear ones in Danville and see if I don't say Yes. Why, of course I would.
Hoping that this "cruel war" will soon be over. I am your most
TOM BROWN AND HIS REGIMENT EMBARKED ON THE 'GREY EAGLE', MAY 10th, ARRIVING AT NATCHEZ EARLY THE NEXT DAY. TOM LEFT THE BOAT TO VISIT HIS YOUNGER BROTHER, JOHN, OF THE 4TH CAVALRY.
ON THE 12th THE REGIMENT BOARDED THE"MARRINER" AND WENT TO THE MOUTH OF THE RED RIVER, DISEMBARKED FOR THE NIGHT AND THE RIGHT WING BOARDED THE "IDAHO", THE LEFT WING THE "HAZEL DEL". STEAMED UP THE RED RIVER TO THE MOUTH OF THE ATCHAFALAYA AND UP THAT RIVER FOR ABOUT 10 OR 12 MILES, CAMPING FOR THE NEXT THREE WEEKS.
June 9th, 1864
I don't owe you a letter neither am I agoing to write one. I just want to tell you how I felt this morning. For about a week I have been looking (Oh how anxiously) for mail, confident that I would receive three or four letters. Well, this morning brought forth an unusual large mail, but do you think that there was any for Thos. R. Brown? Nary a one was there and I feel so disappointed, more so than I did the morning that you forgot to wake Willie and I up the Fourth of July when we were going to Lafayette. I am in hopes that the next mail will bring me at least six good long letters. The two that I spoke of the other day are getting very lonesome.
The boys are all quite well and all except Will Current, like it first rate.
My love to all. Be sure and write often to your affectionate son.
Tom. R. Brown
"K Co., 37TH Ill. Vet. Vols.".
June 13th, 1864
My Dear Mother,
This morning brought forth your very kind and interesting letter dated at home May 22nd, 64. Was glad to hear from you. But was very sorry to hear that Father and Sallie had been having such a bad time. I hope that they are better ere this. Tell them both that I intend either tomorrow or next day to write each of them a good long letter.
I am glad that Lue is looking so fine. Kiss her little one for me. Tell Father that as soon as I get some money he shall have the twenty dollars that I owe Al White.
You ask me how I like my new office. I will tell you I had the place given me while out on the Memphis Scout. I kept the place until we got back to Memphis when I took a gun and went to doing duty in the Co. I didn't like it one bit. So I got permission of the Col. to go into the Co. which I like decidely better. I received a letter from John Palmer yesterday, dated the 9th. He says he had a letter from Ed Robinson a few days before. He was quite well, but gave no news.
My love to all. Write soon.
Affectionately Your Son,
June 19th, 1864
I have not heard from you for so long a time that I am very uneasy. You are on my mind day & night, so that I am like a half crazy person. All the other sons write their parents. Have any of them Mothers who love them with a more enduring love than you have? Any who would do more for her children, has a higher ambition for him? I cannot live with such a pressure upon me. I pray for you constantly, not only that He would spare your life, but that He would keep you from sin, and from harm of all kind.
Last Wednesday, Mr. Norton received a letter from a lady nurse in the Hospital at Chattanoga informing him of the death of his son, John Norton. Poor boy, he has gone to a world not to be affected by the changes of time any more.
The weather has been very dry and very sultry with us for a long time, but this morning it is raining delightfully.
How often I have thought of you as perhaps lying neglected in a hospital, or toiling beneath a burning sun, or -- I will not enumerate any more of the imaginary evils that present themselves. But I hope that all is well with you. Night before last I had a very gloomy dream about you. And it occurred three times during the same night or, rather morning. It was that you were dead. Now you know that the dream was on the account of the great anxiety of mine.
Perhaps you have not had any of our letters. I have directed mine the best I could. The last one to New Orleans, as I heard all the letters that came were mailed there. We had two letters from John last week. He said he was well.
Tommy, when you do write, tell me some of the news of the reg't. What has happened of importance, etc. You are a good letter writer. And all the friends are anxious to know all they can. I do not mean that, that should not be known, that, would injure any one of your number for I know you would have more honor. But I mean the Journeyings, the accidents, or incidents or adventures you as a reg't. have met with..
Now the churchbells are ringing to summon all to the place of worship. The Sabbath School had a picnic last Thursday out at the Moss Bank. I was there with Lu's children & Charlie, but my thoughts were away down the Mississippi with those who are dearer to me than all else. Besides, I feel a pride in having you re-enlist, if it does not unsettle you, and -- shall I say it -- Tommie, I hear there is too much wickedness in the army. Try to be on watch.
This rain is doing this thirsty earth of ours a great deal of good. The crops will be all the better for it.
The 135TH, hundred day men, have gone to Pilot Knob, to do scouting & guard duty. Judge Peters is their Q.M. Mrs. McMahan is lying very ill of the erysipelas & not expected to live. Sallie is very feeble. All the rest in moderate health. I must now quit and go downstairs & get dinner. I must tell you that Sallie occupies the parlor, Aunt Lizzie & Emma the bedroom below. Charlie, the room you slept in while at home. Lue & children, the one Sallie & Emma had, and your father & I the one over the parlor. Thus the house is full.
Church is out, and the word that Mrs. McMahan is dead. Poor woman, she leaves three little ones.
June 27th, 1864
Your letter of the 12th and 13th inst. was received day before yesterday. I was very sorry to learn that you had received so few letters from me. Only one since I left, you say, and I expect that I have written at least nine or ten, either to you or to some of the family. Be assured, Mother, that if you don't receive but one letter every month that it is no fault of mine, because I intend to be even more prompt about writing than I was the other two years and a half that I was out. And you told me that I was very good about writing then.
There is no news of any importance here. Every thing is dull. The 11TH "A" Co. has been broken up, and our Regiment has been assigned to the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division of the 19th Army Corps. And please so direct your letters for I will receive them a great deal sooner.
You asked me in your letter who my Captain and Lieutenant's were. Will Black is still our Capt., though not with the Co. Tom Chapman is the only Lieut. we have, he is the one that had the small pox while at home. And a fine and good officer he is, too.
The boys are all quite well and in fine spirits. We have received no pay as yet. I have been at work on the pay rolls for May and June all morning.
Mr. Hedge is Sutler of the 23RD Iowa, which is in our brigade. He trusts us for anything we want.
Remember me kindly to sisters Sallie and Lue. Aunts Emma and Lizzie, to Father, Charlie and the children. I wrote to both Father and Sallie a few days ago. Love to all.
Tom. R. Brown
P.S. There is no postage stamps to be had for either love or money.
U.S. Barracks Hospital
July 15th, 1864
We are here in the Hospital on full Rations and it is a very pleasant place. I have not mutch to wright about. I want you to Send me my mail if Any comes to the Regiment for me. If there is any news in Camp that will be interesting please send. Ships wants his mail sent also.
Tom, if their Should be any Sutch good luck as the Reg. being paid I wish you would get what money is own to me and send it to me by mail. There is no sutch thing as geting any money here. I well give you the names of thoes that owe me. Pleas collect it if the boys feel disposed to pay it.
Ham Myers. 5.00
W.O. Morgan1 pr. drawers .90
Fred Reisser1 pr drawers .90
1 lb. crackers .40
1 can peaches .60
1 fruit 1.00
Whole Amt. $2.65
Tom Brown 2.00
You can do as you like about sending what you owe me. If I get the rest I will not need it.
Stub, of Co. "D" wants you to tell his Orderly to send his mail. Richard Lee of Co. B. wants his mail.
I have not got to go out in the City yet. I think this is Rather a dry place. I have not any thing in the way of news this time. I want you to wright to me and tell me if the Regiment has moved and where it has gone to.
Address: W.W. Current
U.S. Barracks Hospital
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