This letter was written by Alexander R. Barker, a school teacher, who enlisted in the Union Army in Clay County, Illinois, sometime in 1861. Alexander was discharged in September 29, 1864, with a disability. I looked him up in the 1860 census to verify that this was him and that he was married to Sabilla. Her maiden name was Gilkerson (not sure of spelling) and she remarried after his death, to Daniel Wilson in 1867. I am sure that whatever his disability was, he did not survive long after his discharge. He was 25 years old when he died.
I have had this letter for almost 20 years and recently looked him up in the archives and contacted his home county for a death record. I felt a personal loss knowing he died so young, even if all I have ever had is this letter and know, no one else in the family. It is my wish to find a descendant of Alex so that I may give this letter to them.
**Many thanks to Pat Ward who submitted this information.
March 29th, 1864
Dear companion I again set down without hearing from you since writing my last, in order to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and I hope these lines may find you and Liza and Williams' folks all well.
I have no news to write at this time, that article called news is a stranger in our camp, at least it never comes around where we stay. We hear no war news, there is nothing going on in the way of putting down the rebellion, though there are great preparations going on now and all the veterans are receiving new arms.
Well Sabilla I quit writing last night and have resumed the pen for the purpose of writing a little more. I work say for the purpose of finishing for I never know here lately whether I am going to finish a letter when I commence it or not. I only know that I have commenced and may be I will finish this and may be I won't, it is uncertain. I was very anxious to get a letter from you. Yesterday the mail come but it brought no tidings from you. The consequence was that I went to bed and dreamed about seeing you and you had lots of news to tell me and I awoke and found myself in the land of cotton upon a bed of strait poles that I selected from the adjacent woods some days ago. I was very sorry that it was a dream, but nevertheless it is a dream and all things this side of Van-Deman's Land couldn't make it anything else. It is said we are coming up to Cairo to stay a couple of weeks and they had better have a strong guard if they don't want me to take a french furlough and go to see you but it is late and I will write tomorrow again.
Well Billa this is the last day of March and this letter was dated the 29th but I have been waiting thinking I would get a letter before finishing this so I could answer it but I have not got a letter from you since yours of the 11th. I have been thinking I would get a letter soon. I think we will get mail today and I shall be disappointed if I do not get a letter, but I feel certain I will get a letter. It is said we are going up the river and I am pretty certain we are going somewhere. All of our Division has gone but our brigade and it is suppose we are going to Cairo to organize our army corps for the Army of the Potomac. It is said we will stay at Cairo two weeks if we do, I wouldn't swear that I would stay there all the time. I want you to write to me and give all the news. Kiss Liza for me and tell her to be a good girl. I will bring her something nice. It is tolerable fair weather and warm. We are at our second camp now and are doing well. We draw plenty now of everything to eat and stand picket every third day. The boys are out on picket today and I have got a chance to finish my letter. Tell William and Elizabeth that I am right side up with care, I missed the ague entirely and I feel firstrate. I have not been paid yet and don't know when we will. It is supposed we will go to Cairo and be paid there, but I don't know anything about it. Write soon and give the news. I must quire you must write soon and often.
I am yours affectionately,
Direct Co. "F" 46 Ills, 2nd Brigade, 4th Division,. 17 A.C.
Return to Scrapbook page