July 20th, 1862
Fred Reisser just brought a letter from the Adjutant's tent. Thomas R. Brown from his Mother and it was a welcome letter I tell you. I was writing a letter at the time to one of the boys in Danville, and as quick as I finished that I went to work writing to you.
Lt. Hicks has got back and with him came a letter from Father. Hicks tells me that Capt. Frisbie took his carpet sacks along with him and if he did, my likeness is not lost yet.
I will try and write a letter to both Nellie Prince and Cousin Irene.
That drafting business is something that I glory in. There are just plenty of men in Illinois yet that ought to have enlisted long before today. Some such as Gerald Buller, Perry Copeland, Seymour Crinessa and a few more.
We have a very pretty camping place in Springfield which is one of the prettiest towns that I was ever in. It is not quite as large as Danville, but there are a great many more shade trees in it.
I can't think of anything to write. The drums are just beating for guard mounting. I wish that you were here just to see how we go on guard and are relieved. This is short - but it may do you some good. Much love to all from your affectionate son.
T. R. B.
Aug. 1st, 1862
My dearly loved brother,
As Mother has a letter in readiness to mail this A.M., I thought perhaps you would not take offense if your sister enclosed a short chat from her pen. It is not that I have any items of news or special interest to communicate to you that I am prompted to include this, but to assure you I think of you & love you.
I do hope Uncle Sam has transmitted our letters of last Saturday to my far off brother and his heart cheered thereby. I well know home letters ever receive a warm welcome from soldiers & I assure you the reception of tidings from our loved "soger" boys is a talked of event with all of us. Tommie, I will propose to write you a letter weekly if you will agree to do the same - with the proviso, if I am able so to do, there is so much of the time lately that I am entirely unable to guide the pen. Then I can only succumb to the necessity of being silent to the absent.
Did you receive my letter sent by H. Myers and the papers containing the notices of Willie's death? We are very solicitous to know.
Charlie Palmer returned from school to join his uncles O. Gilbert's company. He is here now for the purpose of procuring horses for the officer of reg. - his uncle has been promoted to Col., and Jerome Fuller is Capt.
Mr. Palmer made a large party in honor of Charlie last evening as Charlie leaves this A.M. I guess if some of you boys ever reach home you will be feted no little and will think yourselves "some lions".
I do trust you will escape the sore eyes. Be very careful to not use the same wash basin or towel by any that are so afflicted.
There is considerable sickness here among children. Eddie Brown & Ella Prince are quite ailing. Mrs. H. Forbes is still living but continues poorly. I suppose you have heard of Mr. Wright's sudden death from heart disease. We have had no tidings from Nettie since her exit East. I am almost sick to hear from Web. He was so poorly when he last wrote.
Do you have blackberries in Mo.? There is a super abundance of them here, & indeed of all fruits.
Have you had any skirmishes with guerrilla bands? They are committing diabolic deprivations in some parts of Mo. as well as in Kentucky.
I do hope your likeness will come to hand, for we are anxious to see how your phiz now looks. I did not recognize Ed Robinsons. He has changed so greatly.
There is some improvements going up in town (notwithstanding the war ), Judge Tury is building between the Presbyterian church and Mr Payne. Dr. Scott has purchased the yellow brick where Tury now resides. Me. Cubbertson is building him a bachelor home at the "old Home place". J.P. Short designs a building next summer on the Alexander place.
I must write to Charlie Vance this morning to send by P. Palmer - to Cairo - so will close your desultory chat for the present. Hoping to hear from you right soon -
I am your loving sister,
P.S. I enclose these newspaper scraps.
August 18th, 1862
I received your letter of the 12th yesterday and John, it is really too bad that I have not written to you before now but I will write you a good long one this time to make up for it.
On the 15th, Company "A', along with a detail from each of the other companies started for Forsyth in search of a very large Jayhawking band. We took four wagons along so that half of us could ride at a time. I was on the first relief and consequently got in the wagon first. I rode 5 miles and then walked 5 miles, got in again and rode. We went in camp about 1/2 past 9:00 p.m. that night, making a distance of 20 miles from Ozark. We had not much more got to sleep when Lieut. Hick's called for Co. "K" to fall in and draw your horses. We fell in and sure enough each Co. was to draw ten horses from some State Militia that was along. But I did not happen to be one of the ten not being very used to horses. Well, the next day, abut 8:00 or 9:00 o'clock, we reached Forsyth and more dreary deserted looking place you never saw. Not a single soul to be seen anywhere. Nobody living in the town at all.
We rested there a couple of hours or more and then part of the infantry and all of the cavalry under command of Adj. Bandy started up over the hills - not hills but mountains. We went about a couple of miles, halted, then sent back for the rest of the infantry and the artillery of which we had one piece. Then went some 23 miles farther and sent out a party to reconnoiter. But they found nothing so we came back to town, took supper there and left for our old camp. But before leaving we sent two or three shells over on a very high bluff where the enemy had been seen.
Well, Johnnie, I am getting tired so I will stop.
Much love to all, your affect. brother,
August 23rd, 1862
I received your very kind and welcome letter by Lieut. Fithian, also Mother's likeness which I thought was very good. It made me think of home, I tell you, when I looked at it. And father some time when you get a good opportunity, I wish that you would send me yours.
Speaking of our being paid off, I will tell you what I do with my money. In the first place, the commissary has not had any clothing for some time and I have had to buy a great deal of my clothing. They have been scarce of provisions at times too. So every once in awhile I go and get a good warm meal at some house and pay a quarter for it.
The regt. at present is out on a scout with 14 days rations and this is the first time that I have ever missed being with the Co. at any time or any place. But this time I couldn't help it. My feet were so sore, having only a day or two before marched from Forsyth up here. As it was, I started with them and went eight miles when I had to turn around and come back.
Father, I don't want you to ever enlist for you are entirely too old to go a soldering. Let some of the younger ones do the fighting. Everything is lonesome here since the regiment left.
I suppose that Wm. Smith is home by this time. He got a furlough on account of his eyes. The boys are all well.
Much love to all. Your affectionate son,
Co."K", 37th Ill. Vols.
Saturday, Sept. 27th, 1862
Monday morning we started for Little Rock, Ark. We have been ordered from the breast-works and are all ready to leave. The 20th Iowa Inf., 1st Iowa Cav., the 1st Mo. Cav., the 1st Mo. Light-Artillery and the 37th Illinois forms the 2nd Brigade.
I have just given $5.00 towards buying a team to carry our knapsacks in. The boys are in good spirits.
Give my love to all.
P.S. Enclosed you will find $1.00. Please send me the worth of it in stamps.
Camp near Newtonia, Mo.
October 6th, 1862
Having an opportunity to send a letter tomorrow morning I thought that I would drop you a very few lines.
I am well and have just been relieved from picket guard.
We got into Newtonia day before yesterday just in time to see the rebels retreating across on the other side of town, over fields, through lines, on by-roads and every other way imaginable. Our battery fired 3 shots at them, but without much effect.
When we first got on to the SENECA, we expected to have a big fight but nary fight would they. Tomorrow we march at 10 o'clock for parts unknown to me, but not to our Officers. One thing, Mother, we are under a man for a General that is General Totten. He is a man that will look after his men.
I am keeping a diary of this march and some time when I get a good chance I will write it and send it to you.
Write soon. Write often to your affectionate son.
Co. "K", 37th Ills.
Camp near Newtonia, Mo.
Oct. 9th, 1862
Dear Sister Sallie,
Some time ago I received a short letter from you and should have answered it long ago, but owing to circumstances I could not do it very well.
We have been marching some little lately. Newtonia is one of the prettiest little towns that there is in Mo. I guess it is a mile and half from timber at any point.
While I was on picket the other night, our headquarters were in the front yard of a Dr. Harmon's lot and as a matter of course I had to go in to the house where I got acquainted with Miss Toka Harmon, a young lady of about 18 summers. She had a very nice piano and she not only played but sang. But they were all Southern songs. I passed the day very pleasantly.
In one of your letters, Sallie, you hoped that I would never get the sore eyes and I kept them off for a good while, but when I got up this morning I discovered that my left eye was very sore and it pains me very much. I take care of it as well as I can.
I received a Plaindealer by yesterdays mail from you and in it I saw a letter from Co. "K". Do you know who wrote that letter? If you do I wish that YOU would write and tell me.
The boys are all well. Much love to all friends.
Your Affectionate brother.
P.S. The order has just come to be ready to march at day light tomorrow morning. Strike tents at 4.
Camp at Gadfly, Mo.
October 11th, 1862
I received a very kind and welcome letter from you by the last mail which, by the bye, has been several days ago and as I have a little time at present I thought that I would answer it.
I am well (that is all except my eye, which I suppose Sallie told you was sore) and in exceedingly good spirits. You made the wish in your last letter that I would keep a diary and so I have. Ever since we left Springfield. I have plenty of paper so I will write it down for you.
Sept. 29th - Broke up camp at Springfield, Mo. about 4 o'clock p.m. and camped one mile and half from Little York, a distance of 12 or 13 miles from Springfield.
Sept. 30th - For reasons unknown to me we did not march any today.
Oct. 1st - We left our last camp about noon. Marched 14 or 15 miles which brought us within 8 miles of Mt. Vernon.
Oct. 2nd - Broke up camp early in the morning & marched on through Mt. Vernon and 12 miles farther on. Got into camp between 8 & 9 o'clock, tired and hungry.
Oct. 3rd - During the day the whole army fired off their arms. Went into camp in the afternoon expecting to lay there awhile, but at 7 o'clock we had to strike tents and march. Marched all night long and this morning of the 4th - found us at Jollyfication. Still amarching on to Newtonia. Got into Newtonia just in time to see the rebel army under Coffee, Shelby, Cooper and some more retreating across the prairie on the other side of town. We laid in town until near 4 o'clock p.m., then marched one mile and a half south and camped.
Oct. 5th - I was detailed this morning for picket guard. Stood that night. Got up in the morning, all right again.
Monday, Oct. 6th - The day passed off very pleasantly, was releived from guard at 6 o'clock, came into bed and had pleasant dreams until morning of the 7th.
Oct. 7th - Today we has division drill and it was one of the finest military displays that I ever saw. The division consisting of 4 regiments of infantry, 2 of cavalry and 2 pieces of artillery and was commanded by General Totten. Nothing more of importence occured throughout the day.
Oct. 8th - It rained all day and night steady.
Thursday, Oct. 9th - Struck tents at 6 o'clock a.m., marched at 8, was in the rear of the division. Roads almost impossible, raining all the time. Marched to Gadfly 12 miles distant from Newtonia. The roads being so bad a condition had to do without our tents. Stood up around fires and took the rain all night.
Oct. 10th - Not marching any today on account of roads. Rebels reported to be within 7 miles and Gen. Blunt at Cassville. Wagons got up about 3 o'clock p.m., everything wet. Dried out our blankets by the fire, pitched tents, cut leaves made our beds down, got in and slept sound until morning of the 11th and for reasons we are not marching any today.
I will try and keep a diary from now on until I get home once more. I can't think of anything more of importance to write. The boys are all well. Much love to Father and everybody else - from your affectionate son.
Camp at Osage Springs, Near Bentonville, Ark.
October 31st, 1862
This morning the mail got in for the first time in a long while and with it came a letter to me from you. The mail has been robbed twice since we left Springfield.
We have been doing considerable marching since I last wrote. We left Elkhorn and marched 28 hours with halting only now and then to take a little rest. We went down close to Huntsville and then back here 12 miles from where we started from, Elkhorn Tavern, making about 90 miles that we traveled to get 12. We laid here a day or two and then marched down to Fayetteville. Laid there a couple of days and marched back here again.
We got the secesh mail. I got several letters and read them - some very interesting ones. Enclosed you will find a southern letter stamped. It takes two of them to send a letter and also an envelope that I found.
Fayetteville is a very pretty place. When we left there some 10 or 12 families came with us, all going into Ill.
In your last letter you stated that Mr. Prince was not expected to live. By some of the boys I learned that he has since died. Poor fellow. How I pity Lu. He was as good a man as ever was. I should liked to have seen him very much before he left this world. But he is gone, never more to be seen on this earth. There surely is a great deal of sickness about home now. Every letter that I have received lately has the tidings of some ones death.
Give my love and consolations to Sister Lu and kiss each of the three children for me.
You know that picture I thought Lieut. Hick's lost of mine. Adjt. Bandy has it in his trunk. I had it directed to Lu and if ever get a chance I will send it to her. My love to Father, Johnnie & Charlie and large share for yourself from your ever affectionate son.
Thomas R. Brown
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