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Lewis Stafford to Kate Newland

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Camp Lincoln Fort Leavenworth

June [16th] 1861.

 

Dear Kate:

 

Your kind reply came to hand, and it was with pleasure that I [pereused] it contents.  All is excitement in Camp now.  It is 2’o’clock in the morning. At midnight,  six companies received orders to march to Kansas City.  The company to which I belong is one of the six.  We are to march in about two hours.  Thinking that it might not be inoportune to write you a few lines, I hastened to that object, while the Captain and Spalding are fast asleep by my side.  The Government sent some five or six companies of regulars to K. City yesterday.  The force will be some sixteen hundred strong.  It is presumed there will be no fighting.  However, it is determined to protect the Union men in Mo.  I have enjoyed camp life as well as could be expected.  But all I have seen of

 

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the Soldier’s life, has been the sunny side, and I am not prepared to judge how much I shall like it in the future.  I am sorry to learn that some of your kindred belong to the Confederate Army.  But many are now forced to join or loose their lives.  The discussion of this topic may not be pleasant to you.  I think that the Government will be sustained and those that lend their aid and assistance now, will not be forgotten by those who will follow after us.  I do not think me over ambitious or enthusiastic in this matter.  We need a Government, to have a home, to secure to us the rights that belong to us and history shows that it sometimes cost thousand’s of lives in order to secure these for the people. The boys are all enthusiasm just now.  [Henry] Cowan just came into our tent for an envelop for [Caming Saw], it is a good joke on Cunningham.  Perhaps Henry thinks he can fool some one.  The Major just called, he says that in his opinion, there will not be a gun fired.  This is certainly to be hoped for.

 

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Kate, I am happy to know that you love me, and are willing to express that fact to me.  I love you better than ever, since you propose to remain single two or three years, and go to school I am in hopes that by that time I shall be able to support a wife, and if God spares my life, I will remain true to you.  I would like to write some more, but all is now bustle in the tent, and I shall have to close.  You may judge that we feel over anxious to be on the march to the rebbles country, and will not write more.  It is not so, duty calls.  I have hastily written this by the light of a candle, while seated on the ground.  I will write when I arrive at our next station, and inform you where to send your letters, written to me.  I was in hopes to have come home before we went from this place.  I will write soon.

 

Yours Affectionately

Lewis Stafford.

 

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Excuse haste &c

L. S.

 

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Lexington Mo.

January 17th 1862.

 

My Dear Kate:

 

The Regt arrived at this place on the 12th inst.  We left the town of Tipton on New Years day, early in the morning, and proceeded on our way towards Kansas City expecting to have arrived there, before this date.  The weather is now, and has been verry cold, during the few days past.  It was soldiering, indeed, to march as we have done, through sleet and mud, snow and frozen ground, camping out wherever night overtook us.  I had no idea that I could endure what I have, or that others could do so.  But it seems an easy job to endure whatever hardships a soldier is or may be called upon to do.  We are in the heart of the enemy country, where secession has had a long

 

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but it is to be hoped its last day.  Our folks are executing some movements that take them the [XXXXX] by surprise, and not a few of the most noted of the rebble clan are at this moment, enjoying the luxuries of a prisons bare walls and iron chains.  It is the only way to bring them to a just appreciation of the powers of the Federal Government.  The Rebbels have held and had things all their own way in this place for a long time.  If the 1st [K.V.] were to stop here long, secession would get pretty well used up.  Should they attempt to fight us, they would not find “home guards” to contend with and their pretty town of Lexington would pay the folly of their rash undertaking.  We are enjoying ourselves verry finely, in doors.  But out of doors it is quite to cold to derive much pleasure from the few

 

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means we here possess, for making time pass easily from our hands.  I can hardly believe that nine months have passed since we bade each other good bye.  But whether we take note of time or not, there is always something soothing to the mind, to recall the last happy hours we enjoyed together.  The Regt. will proceed, shortly, to Kansas City.  When we arrive there, I will get as soon as is possible, a leave of absence, to go home.  I expect and hope you are enjoying yourself in the many pleasant parties and [rides] that are presented to you and your kind friends this winter.

 

Let the heart merry, merry be,

Show that thy brow from care is free,

While kind wishes were for thee.

Are doubly wished by the Subscribee.

 

Who is affectionately and truly yours

Lewis Stafford

 

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P.S.  I wrote a letter to send to you, when we left Tipton, but hearing that the R.Roads were torn up by the Rebbels, I thought I might see you before the letter would reach our place, and did not send it.  Tomorrow Capt Allen of the 8th Kansas Regt leaves us for home and I send this by him to put in the Office at Kansas City

 

Lewis Stafford

 

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Planters House

Leavenworth City, KS

February 6th 1862

 

My Dear Kate.

 

I recd your letter of the 3d inst. at this place.  We arrived here on Tuesday about 1 o’clock P.M.  It seemed that every man, woman and child came forth to greet the Regt. home.  We were received in this city as no other body of men ever we received.  Every thing was proper and fitting, and well did the “Gallant First” appreciate the ovation.  All was done that could have been done to make the weary soldier of this Regt happy.  It was a grand sight, and I for one shall never forget it.  As soon as Col Deitzler reported to Maj Genl Hunter, he received orders to proceed forthwith to

 

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Fort Scott.  But some of the prominent citizens of this City interceded in behalf of our coming here, with Hunter, and he countermanded the order so much as to let us come.  The Col gives all of us permission to be absent untill the 16th of the month, at which time we are to report, at Lawrence.  I intended to have gone home to-day, but have been so busy that I could not get away.  I shall leave tomorrow if it is possible.  You may look for me most any day I cannot say which.  Clayton has been made a Lieut Colonel in the 5th Regt. and leaves on Friday.  So far my time has been paid to looking after the affairs of the company.  I will be in a hurry untill I get where you are.  I am as anxious to hear the many things you wish   

 

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to tell me, as anyone could be.  We go to Fort Scott soon.  How long we may stay there is impossible for one to tell.  I want to say something in relation to our futer hopes and expectations, but will defer it untill I see you which will not be many days distant -.  Untill then I am as ever – Affectionately Yours

 

Lewis Stafford

 

P. S.  Excuse haste, a bad pen and the bluntness of a Soldier.

L. S.

 

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Fort Riley, Kansas.

May 10th 1862.

 

My Dear Kate:

 

Your letter of the 8th inst. came to hand a short time after I had written one in reply to yours of May 4th.  So near was your last of being received before I had answered the first, that I had the man, who carries the mail matter to and from the P.O. for the Regt. sit down in my tent and wait while I finished writing.  Your last letter has opened my eyes to that which I had never expected and never dreamed of even – I hardly know what to write, or how to write.  I really think I ought not to write, yet a fate impels me to do so.  I think I can tell now what you have been told – and, I only repeat, the assertions, of my other letter, that all you have heard are bare lies – no one, has ever heard me speak anything of the kind you intimate, as having been told you – I know of no one, who can for one moment pretend that, I ever said, the stuff they make me say – Who is it?  are they Topeka friends?  I never mentioned your name to any one that lives in that place – J. H. Bennett excepted, and never to him, only in the most respectful manner, as I know he will say. although not so good a friend as he might be – And, whenever, I have spoken your name to any of my G. Falls friends, it has been in answer to inquiries, and no one will dare say I ever said anything that would cause you to believe I did not love you – to casual acquaintances, they neither, know anything relating to our affairs –

 

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Kate, my love is no pretended love – It is as earnest and pure as ever emenated from mans heart – I love you for yourself – I loved you a long time before I told you as much – dating back as far as to my getting your ring – Since that time I have not ceased to love you, and respect you – When you replied to my first heart offerings the first I ever made, I thought my heart would burst at your reply – But after days of reflection, I considered, if I could not be a lover, I might and would be, a friend – I never expected any more than that, perhaps, you might consider me in the light of a poor friend – The rest you know well enough – It was near, if not just one year ago -Then the few words you spoke to me – no words of mine can express the joy I felt, as well as surprise – to know, you loved me, and did, at the time, I offered my love to you – You, “now,” “want an understanding” – to know whether I am playing the false lover, to deceive you – winning your affections to cast them aside after a time, as I would a bouquette of flowers – and assert,” if I am a going to do so, now is the time.  Oh, cruel crul words.  They struck my heart like a sharp knife – I will not tell you my feelings, for it would not be manlike – You will know, Kate, that three years was the time you set, before you would marry.  Last fall, you said you would marry at any time I might name, if I only would resign.  In the month of Feb. –

 

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in order to convince you that I am in earnest – I told you it would be better for me to remain in the Army a short time longer.  You said you would not marry as long as I remained in the army, and said you would like to go to school this summer – now if I am wrong in any particular, I pray you set me right – And what now, can I do to prove that, I love you better than my life?  What can I say that I have not said, that will convince you I never spoke one word in which, there was any disrespect toward you, or want of any love for you – I have recomited all, from the beginning briefly, to show you, that I have acted from pure motives, only – I really thought you would give me more credit for honesty than you have – I desire above all other things to retain your love and respect – Yet if you deem it right to forget me, I shall, as a matter of course, take it as philosophically and can, yet never shall I cease to remember, Kate.  It seems that I am fated not to enjoy your love.  But I ask you to recollect this, Kate, that so long as the blood courses in my veins and my heart to beat, I shall love you faithfully and dearly – Let my future actions speak, my approval or condemnation by you, if my past have not already done so – It is supposed to be the darkest just before day.  And, I hope the sunshine of love, will shine upon you, at all times.  And I pray your life may be one of happiness.  Excuse me for mistakes.  Write me soon and let me know if you are yet, convinced I am honest:   

 

Affectionately Yours

Lewis Stafford

 

P.S. Kate, will you give me the names of those who are making this muss, please do – Lewis.

 

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Sunday Morning –

 

The sun shines down verry hot, and there is to be a grand review and inspection of all the troops this morning at 8 ½ o’clock – I wish you were here to see it – Capt Walke’s and Lieut Tucker arrived here last night – Mrs Tucker is a resident of Topeka or near that place.

 

Kate, I have read and re-read your last letter, and then read it over and over again.  I believe you will believe me, for I never told you anything yet, but the truth.  I did not reply in the body of my letter, to your question.  want to know what your intention is?  Now, Kate, my intention is to do right and let the friends howl.  I propose to fulfill every portion of my promises to you and if they are fulfilled to do all I can as a man to make you happy – Could mortal do more – You must recollect the infirmity of humanity.  The weaknesses and shortcomings, and forgive him, who freely forgives all these.  I will write soon and hope in the mean time, you will write to me –

 

Yours with much love.

Lewis Stafford

 

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Trenton Tennesse

July 5th 1862

 

A dry old 4th it was for the Kansas First and other soldiers stationed at this place.  Dry to the whole, as to the majority of the boys because they could not do justice to so memorable day without getting on a “glorious bender” and there was nothing in this town at all calculated to elevate or stimulate their rapacious drinking propensities.  Dry as to amusements, and to those who love to shake the fantastic toe.  Dry as to good companions of the feminine gender.  Dry-dry-dry because we missed the smiling faces of those we love to pass such holidays with – Dry as to everything except the hot weather and of it there is a sufficiency -  We have been in this place one week – It is a pretty inland town of perhaps a Thousand inhabitants, were the citizens all at home – The country is thickly settled with good farmers.  But secessionism has passed its scorpion sting over this portion of the country and blasted the fair fruits of industry and peace – It is represented that this county has or had a majority of Union people in it, previous to the secession of the State.  Hundreds of the country people come to the Provost Marshall to take the oath of allegiance – It seems from their version of the affir that armed men from Alabama and Miss came here and forced them into the position they have occupied – But it seems strange that in a county where there was 900 majority against secession – that that majority would so quietly submit to have their rights thus quietly destroyed, without even making a demonstration against – no high handed proceedings as were taken by the secession party – Three Regt’s of Rebels were raised here –

 

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The people here are verry kind and sociable to the Lincolnites – But the officers and men of the troops here behave themselves properly and the citizens cannot help admiring us for our conduct – The citizens, freely say they had rather have the 1st Kansas here than any other troops they have seen, not excepting their own rebel regiments – In fact – men do not often get the praise that the 1st Kansans get – At first we were considered “Jayhawkers” but it did not take long to convince the people to the contrary.  The 7th Kansas, the Jayhawk Regiment, - has acted fully up to the name they acquired in Mo.  They are a disgrace to Kansas Soldiers – There are a few good men in that Regt. but they are hidden by the mass of rascaltities and villaines perpetrated by the majority.  They are in great disrespect with all the troops.  Several of their officers have been arrested for violating orders.  Col Anthony Capt Minick & Rafferty are among the members.  Their proceedings are worthy the acts of noted robbers, not of soldiers whose uniform they disgrace.  It is not a mere matter of stealing pigs and chickens, with the men of that Regt. but they visit the houses of the people and compel them to give up their money and other valuables.  Men tell me this who I have no reason to dispute – They are now on their way to Corinth and once under Genl. Halleck they will walk straight or catch the consequences – Last Friday there was a great commotion among the troops, caused by the telegraph news – all the troops hereabouts were ordered to Columbus – it is now supposed with the intention of sending us to Richmond.  A part of our Regt was started off and we got as far as Union City some 30 miles from this place, when we got orders to return to our Regt. – next day there seems to have been a great battle at Richmond but we get no details of the affair.  We believe Genl McClellan still holds his own

 

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I received a letter from  your Uncle Mr Rea[XXXXX] a few days since.  He gave me some valuable information.  I shall be happy when I return home to become better acquainted with him.  We have not had any mail matter here for several days.  What the reason for its detention is no one knows.  We have a dull time at present – but it is better than to be marching in the hot sun – There is one hour’s drill early in the morning.  Dress Parade at 6 o’clock [& the] Guard mounting immediately after – This is all we do that tastes of labor – The ballance of the time is passed in reading and strolling through town when it is not to warm to do so.  Then we go blackberrying as there is an abundance of them in this country and have been getting ripe for some time past .  Our Rail Road ride on the 1st July some what relieved us from the monotony that exists here.  It appears that the Secretary of War ordered 25000 troops from this department to the vicinity of Richmond.  I wish we had kept on after we got started, but they changed their minds for some reason and those of us who were on their way we ordered back and the order calling for the troops countermanded.  In front of our camp is to heard every morning, a mocking bird, singing after the manner of all birds and none in particular.  I often have wished that I had the noisy fellow and could send him to you –

 

It is reported here that there is a drought in Kansas this year, and that there are thousands of locusts eating up every green thing.  This if true is to be lamented – I saw by the papers that there was rain on the 22nd of June, but it may not have benefited the country much – Kansas will be depopulated should there be as great a drought this year as there was in 60.  It will be of no use to stop in such a country and try to get a living where the very elements are striving to starve the people – I hope it is not as bad as it has been represented.  If the rain falls on the just and unjust alike it seems there is an exception to the great rule in Kanas.

 

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We have plenty of rain here – not too much, yet enough to keep every growing thing fresh and green – Several of our officers proposed to resign.  They agreed to do so on the 4th of July.  I do not know if they did so.  But if they did it will only be the beginning.  I know one who will do as in such a case.  But they have talked about it so long that I begin to doubt them.  I hope soon to hear from you – it seems an age since your last letter.  Remember me as ever faithful in love I remain.

 

Affectionately Yours

 

Lewis Stafford

 

P.S. give my respects to your mother – excuse my bad writing.

 

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Trenton Tenn

July 31st 1862 –

 

My Dear Kate:

 

The rain is pattering on the roof of my tent, sweet music.  Our Regt still remains here.  We are enjoying good health, as usual – on Monday last the Hon Emmerson Etheridge addressed the citizens of this county, at this place.  The occasion was marred by a report of a fight with the rebels at Humbolt, about twelve miles from here – At 9 o’clock A.M. our Regt. formed in line, and with music playing and banners flying we were marched through the town of Trenton, in our best [sager] clothes and keeping step to the music that brought women and children to the doors & windows.

 

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Passing through the town and about a half a mile beyond to the woods we were halted and stacked arms.  We all expected to listen to the speaker as he is one of Tenn’s truest bravest union men.  The Col. in order to give all, an opportunity to hear the address, had caused the Cavalry & Artilery to be present under arms – We had been on the ground scarce 15 minutes before the assembley was sounded by the bugler, and a rush to arms was made with dispatch and energy – We then thought there was some fighting to be done.  But it turned out that we were marched back to camp and ordered to be in readiness to march at a moments notice.  Our leaving the meeting in so hurried a manner, the Cavalry going off in long lines as fast as horse flesh could carry them

 

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nerely finished the speaking – But soon learning the truth, the Citizens about 1000 remained and the object of the meeting accomplished.  This scare was caused by about 170 mounted guerrillas, who approached the R Road below Humbolt and set it on fire & then run.  They attacked a company of our cavalry and caused them to run after the most [XXXXX] McClellan style.  No one was seriously hurt as is generly the case with those who don’t stop to see who they are fighting.  A number of the citizens I learn, have been arrested in the neighborhood, where the  R-Road was burnt – The Road was soon put in running order and the rebs did not accomplish their purpose – There is fighting most every day on the line of R Road from Memphis to Corinth.  We learn Grand Junction

 

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was taken yesterday – The enemy have assumed the offensive since their success at Richmond.  While fedral troops are guarding the R-Roads in small detachments, they are doing everything to harass them to death – We have been as calm at this place as could be expected, but have been keeping wide awake, lest the rebels should come down some morning and pick us up before we had had our breakfast.  Col [Deitzler] will not permit his command here, to be surprised – I don’t really believe they will attempt to come so far North as this place.  I confidently believe there will be another battle soon in South Tenn, very soon else the rebels are only making a feint to cover some other movement – This war does not appear to be so near a close as when it first commenced.  I think it will be finished up immediately, or as soon as Jim Lane organizes his two Kansas Negro Regiments.  I think they and he will finish the business.  It will be a dark spot wherever they chance to be, and may be a good place for some men to go to cover up their wickedness – and sins – Darkness being preferable to Light

 

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Time, like a swift passing cloud is flying away – I often wish myself with you.  For, “dear art thou to me now, as in that hour when first Love’s wave of feeling, spray-like broke into bright utterance, and we said we loved” – My only anxiety, now is to be able to render, my Kate, happy with your womans counsel and my experience.  I feel as though we could smooth out a path in the worlds highway, and travel this life in comfort with happiness and love – What are your opinions, my love in reguard to an interesting subject of this kind – I suppose you will call me stupid for writing so often, so much that is uninteresting  Give my respects to your Mother and remember I am

 

Affectionately Yours

 

Lewis Stafford

 

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August 1st 1862

 

Since I began this letter, I have learned that the report, in relation to the taking Grand Junction & other places on the RRoad, had no foundation in truth.  All these places are in our possessive – Accept to-days offering of love, with my prayer for your happiness

 

Lewis

 

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Mouth of the [Zazoo] Miss River

January 24th 1863

 

My Dear Kate:

 

The fleet containing Genl McArthurs Division arrived at this place yesterday – Here we found Genl McClernands Army, some of the troops on land but most of them on the boats.  Nothing of interest transpired on our voyage down the river.  We passed Helena the second day from Memphis at which place I left a letter to be sent by mail to you – I had hoped, that at Helena I would find the 5th Kansas, the Regt. in which is Dwight Hillyr and Ed Pierce, as well as Col Clayton and many others whom I am acquainted with.  But the 5th had been gone some two weeks from then, on an expedition to Little Rock, Ark.  I know nothing of the intentions or purposes of our Army, and can scarcely give a definite oppinion.  But of all things they do attempt, I really hope, the plan is not to take Vicksburg by an assault.  We may succeede in such an attempt, but I doubt – men however brave they may be, will hesitate and falter when they have long beforehand, become convinced that almost certain death awaits them in an

 

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undertaking of the kind that will present itself at Vicksburg – It is well, that we do not understand the plans of our Genls.  But we only hope that their plans may be those of success – I thought long ago, I could not endure the service but a short time, and now I only would that I have been able to do so – There is not a day scarce an hour, in which my thoughts do not revert back to home and particulary thee – Kate, I do not know as I have [studed] your heart aright, but I believe it the embodiment of love, enduring patience and forgiveness – A love without selfishness, a patience linked with forgiveness, to endure the slights and neglects offered towards your warm and generous heart – forgiveness to forgive the short comings, and negligence to respond in an eaqual manner to the pure love of your warm heart offerings – Yes I believe all this and more.  I have often thought how strange a courtship ours has been with you to encite me to be noble and do right.  The false character others would dress me in, and the passing of youth, to restrain among those who would be my friends but in truth are my worst enemies, and in a place and under circumstances best adapted to bring disgrace and dishonor, upon our teachers and ourselves.  Amid all this covering of darkness, your image of love and forgiveness has shone resplendent, asking

 

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me to ever press onward, that the day was not far distant in which you would plight that love and faith to me, and that we might be happy – What would life be worth without happiness in knowing we posessed the love of the one, loved better than all the rest –The sum of all human happiness is love – Darkness begins with hatred.   “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick” – Indeed Kate nothing in this world would give me more pleasure than to grasp you once more by the hand and listen to your voice – this may seem like a school boys passion, but no - it is something more.  I would know if you entertain the same feelings towards me, as you once did.  That if time, my own actions, nor the actions of friends have wrought no change in your feelings – Do not think I distrust you – But the pleasure to hear the assurance that I am still loved by you, would be a real happiness.  And how anxiously I am waiting for the time to come in which I may be made glad by getting home – I have never yet thought, I should not return – I have no ambition to allay, that keeps me here.  I am here because circumstances compel it to be so – I hope these things soon will change.  Untill then remember me as

 

Affectionately Yours

 

Lewis Stafford

 

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We just now got orders to disembark and go into camp, but to hold ourselves in readiness to get aboard the boats at a moments warning – But what an awful country for the poor soldier.  Death stares him in the face, in more ways than one.  The country is low and flat the banks of the river are naturally overflowed, but the people have built levees or high embankments to keep the water from overflowing the whole country  Strange indeed look the trees covered with moss.  The moss is a dirty greenish color, and is pendant, hanging down to the ground often.  There is no natural scenery along the river, and the artificial looses its charms, when one thinks of the great evil, the war that is desolating the country  The river Mississippi is a picture of sublime grandeur, but the sameness of its banks, scenery gives it a dull sluggish appearance.  But O what a volume of water, it rolls on, and on, as it has done for centuries in its proud majesty, unaffected by the influences of civilization, and the angry passions of men – Boom, bang, there the Gun Boats are at it.  Our army is now engaged in digging across the bend, to turn the river away from Vicksburg -  Tomorrow it is expected it will be open.  What then.  I cant tell for none of us know  But good bye, write soon and think of him who so often thinks of you –

 

Lewis Stafford

 

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