Unhappy and Upset – Letters 9 and 10 of James DICKERSON

Civil War Balloon 'Intrepid'

In Letter 9, James wants information from Clary to change his situation in the military stating that he ‘can’t live this life’.  His possesions include a blanket, napsack and discarded knife.

In Letter 10 the strain of separation from his wife is manifest.  It would be so interesting to know what Clary said in her letter dated June 4th.  We can only imagine  it expressed displeasure and some distrust after Letter 5 where James wrote about the women he had seen and his desire to go fishing with Clary.  James ends letter 10 rather cold and business like.

The National Park Service website astutely describes the average soldier of the civil war;  ‘They would face diseases they had never known and wounds they had never imagined. And through it all, these common-folk-turned-soldiers would endure homesickness to a degree none of them had ever envisioned.’

Letter 9

Richmond Virginia    June the 10 1862

Dier wife      I take the plesier of droping you a few lines to informe you that I am well at this time and I hope this will find you injoing the blesing      I want you to rite to mee as soon as you git this leter      I want you to rite to mee what ridment Wiley [1] is in Va and all about it for I don’t aime to sta her      I can get a transfer to my brother anewher you can fine out from J. Grant [2] and from Any Brown [3] the life I live      I cant live this life      I have got one blanket and my napsack and the knife that lutie give to Brown the time of the retreat he throde it away and I pick it up and I am a going to fetch it home if I cane      Nothing more at present only I remane youre husban until death

by D.J. Proctor to Mrs. C. Dickerson

J.H. DICKERSON

[1] Wiley is James’ younger brother born 8 Oct 1835.  He enlisted in the 32nd Confederate Infantry Regiment, Company H.

[2] J. Grant is probably J.L. Grant found living in Proctor, Monroe County, GA at the time of the 1860 census.  He was born about 1825, was married and had 5 children.

[3] Any Brown is most likely Andrew J. Brown who enlisted in Company H of the 32nd GA Infantry Regiment on 6 May 1862 just as Wiley DICKERSON.

Letter 10

Virginia Richmond    June the 14 1862

Dier wife      I seat my self to informe you that I am well at this time      I reseved yore leter dated the 4 witch I was sorry to her that you was displeise with the one I sent you [1]     I ment no harme of it      you did not understand it about not being at home when you rote      I had no blank look nor the old man and wher did you git it and william Brown [2] told me that he heard your brother Henry say  that he was going to move you closer to his hous and I rote to you I would be glad to be at home so mee and you could go afishing witch was no harme      I have no spise ther [spies there] and I dont want you to rite to mee about none of youre Dam spise and if cant [d]o so I dont want you to rite at all you can use youre one plesier about it      I think that the war will come to a close      I am as hapy as if were soner      I see yankes every Day tha have berloones [3]      you dont rite whether you ar making any corne or not       So good evening      Nothing more at presant

J. H. DICKERSON

[1] Letter 5 dated May 24

[2] William Brown was from Monroe County GA and enlisted in Jame’s regiment on th 4 Mar 1862

[3] Union army balloons were a common site in the Richmond area.  The ‘Gazelle’ and ‘Intrepid’ were two balloons used at this time.

From ‘Seven Days War Ballooning in the Civil War’ by James Green we learn:

” . . nearly daily balloon ascensions at Yorktown attracted much attention from the Confederates with the balloon being a constant target for their guns. Lowe stated, “the enemy opened upon it with their heavy siege guns or rifled field pieces, until it had attained an altitude to be out of reach, and repeated this fire when the balloon descended, until it was concealed by the woods.”

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