In 1864 while serving in the 143rd. Regiment, Company F, Illinois Volunteers, 16 year old William Buzzard wrote the following letter to a friend, Martha E. Taylor, in Fayette County.
The 143rd Infantry was organized at Mattoon by Colonel Dudley C. Smith, and mustered in June 11, 1864, for 100 days. On 16 June, they moved for Memphis, Tennessee and were assigned to the Fourth Brigade, District of Memphis, Colonel Buttrick commanding. The 143rd was assigned to Third Brigade, Colonel John Wood, 137th Illinois, commmanding on 12 July. Then on 27 July they were ordered to report to Brigadier General Buford, commanding District of East Arkansas, at Helena, Arkansas, where they were assigned to garrison duty. The regiment mustered out at Mattoon, Illinois, on September 26, 1864.
William Buzzard, born 19 Dec 1847 in Holmes Co., Ohio, was the eldest of 14 children of Daniel and Mary Frazier Buzzard. The other children were born in Fayette Co., Illinois. Daniel Buzzard b 29 Sep 1823 Knox Co, Ohio, son of George Buzzard and Mary Eleanor Barcus, d 4 Aug 1889 Fayette Co,Illinois, m. 11 Oct 1846 Mary Frazier b 21 Mar 1825 Clinton Co, New York, dau of William Frazier, d 11 Aug 1918, Fayette Co, Illinois.
Martha E. Taylor, recipient of the letter, was the daughter of William W. and Rebecca Taylor. In 1866 she married Thomas McNeely. William Buzzard married Martha's younger sister, Rebecca Jane (Cousin Jane of the letter) 26 Apr 1867 in Fayette Co. William and Rebecca Jane were parents of five children, all born in Fayette Co:
William Buzzard died 17 Mar 1875 at age 27. Rebecca Jane died 14 Nov 1881 from burns of her lower extremities. She was burned when her skirts caught on fire while she was making lye soap. They are buried at Bob Doane Cemetery.
According to the company roster, "Nick" mentioned in the letter is Nicholas Wood. "Milt" is either Milen Cochran or Milen Dial, both of Howard's Point. "Bery" is likely Asbury E. Hoover of Greenland. Both George W. Arnold and William Buzzard were listed as residing at Howard's Point. The letter was transcribed with all its spelling and grammatical errors although punctuation was added for clarity.
Miss Martha E. Taylor
It is with respect and pleasure that (I) once more seat myself for the purpose of answering your very kind and welcom letter which I received yesterday. It gave me much pleasure to get a letter from one that I esteem so highly. It found me in good health. Nick is at Memphis yet--Washington Hospital ward H. He is mending some. I tell you he has been very low. He looks the worst I ever saw him but I think he will get along. But he will not be abel for duty in this 100 days. Well that all abot him. Now Bery, he is at the Regimental Hospital which is out with the regt. It is abowt a half a qarter from the regt. His health is good but his leg has got so bad that he can't walk. He hant done any thing since he come here and the doctor says he won't in this survace. Milt is a litel under the weather but I gess he will come all rite. The rest of the boys is well, all but George Arnold. Well I was very glad to hear how well you was all getting a long. I gess you all can do first rate with out us. We will have half of our time in the first of August, but we don't expect to get home in less than 30 day after our time is out. But we may if I can keep my health. I don't care so we get back against Christmas but we have one long and sickley month to go threwe yet. The time goes off awful fast with us. We have meeting every Thursday night and on Sabbath at 10 and Sunday scool at 1 AM. We sould be very glad to see you folks come down and take a part with us. It ant more than 600 miles. They is some talk ofus taking a trip to Chicago to take some prisioners up but I don't think we will get the job.
Well booly for Parz. Tell Cozen Jane that I wish her good sucksess in hur undertaking. But she mite wait til we get back if we ever do, and if we dont, wy send the rest of the boys as fast asthey get big anoughf.
Well Milt and me has got our house fixt up quite handy. Our tents is jest big a noughf for too and we stay togeather. I want some of you girls to give Milt a litel encouragement. We wastalking the other day about our wives and Milt sayd he did not expect he would ever get a wifunless it was some old ripe that no body else would have, and she would have to do all thesparking. Well this is a noughf of such as that. Now about that that prize(?); I will fetch it about the first of Dec. Some of the girls said that oll had got us out of the notion but I gess that ant it. We can't get to town at that. Milt got his. I hant seen Nick but twice since we come here. I believe this is all the time. This is very porly wrote. We have no ____(?) to write here. Read what you can and gess at the rest as stamp is hard to get here. We wil both send this togeather. Write if you think proper and don't be afraid of any one elses write. I have no particlar claim butwe will see when we get back. I gess no 1 has give us up. Dick Fleming got a letter from his. Good by for the present.
Your friend and schoolmate,
Thanks to Kathryn Frailey Lampertz for this contribution.
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