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John M. Jackson Letters

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Document Type: Autograph Letter Signed

Author: John M. Jackson
Date: July 1, 1864
Place: Near Petersburg, Virginia
To: Joseph Jackson

Physical Description: Ink on paper; 4 pages (21 x 13 cm.) on 1 folded sheet

Number: MSN CW 5017-21

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Page 1      Images: 150 DPI100 DPI72 DPI

In the woods near Petersburg Va July 1st 1864
Dear Father.

     I have not heard from home for some time but I must continue to write to you. I was quite disappointed this morn for I thought certainly I should get some mail. Yesterday we were mustered for pay as we have to be every two months & Sergt. Ham [i.e., Sergeant John L. Ham, Co. D, 32nd Maine Infantry] & myself had the rolls to make out alone. I assure we were tired last night. We worked as fast as we could for two days & the Leut. that has partially had command of us for some time laid back & did not help us at all. I was somewhat vexed withal, but I am learning to bear any thing that any body has a mind to put upon me. even to insulting me. If I live to get home I fear I shall not have spunk to assert my rights
     Oh! I should so like to enjoy the quiet for a little while. That time will come

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if I live. They cannot always stand here front to front & pass the shots across each others lives. I am expecting such a Celebration on the "4th" that "glorious 4th" as I have never yet witnessed, perhaps however it is all "moonshine" but it seems to me Gen. Grant is preparing to open about them & let the "Johnies" see what the "Yankees" can do. I dont think he will set us to charging & if he dont I have not so much dread of it.
     This morn. the bells of Petersburg were rung I dont of course know the cause. I hope it was not on account of any victory to their arms. Before this reaches you the "4th" will be past & I shall know what (or part of what) takes place here. We shall go forward into the pits again tonight, I suppose, & probably our Regt. will go on picket tonight as we do picket duty by Regt. I rather like the time for our Brig. will be relieved, according to our usual arrangement, on the night of the 3d so we shall be resting the 4th unless there is a general engagement in that case

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we shall play our hand. I wish you could see our fortifications through here. I dont see how we ever drove the "Johnies" from such works as they had through here but the dead bodies that were for some two days above ground showed that they were not easily frightened back. while the brave fellows that fell by our sides gave ample testimony that it was no boy's play, I look upon war as I never did before. I always knew it was a horrid thing, but each hour reveals new horrors. In my own case I dont realize it so much for I hope if I fall it is only to commence a more glorious life & another thing I have no family that will be thrown on the charities of a selfish & unfeeling world if I die & yet another & by no means a small item to me is that soon we should all be reunited in that glorious Land where we shall never be parted more. I hope & trust this is our case. I see so much sin in my heart & I sometimes hardly see how I can have any hopes

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of meeting you all there but Christ died for sinners & He, not poor John, is worthy I am not going die or at least I have no expectation that I shall die out here. I expect to live to spend many years near the friends I love so well. I only was thinking of this in connection with the tens of thousands that fall without that Glorious Respect in view. I heard a fellow say the other day in regard to getting killed that he was acquainted in this world & was not in the next. I told him that I had almost as many acquaintances in the other world as I had in this. "Well" said he "perhaps you may not be together." I told that a great portion of my friends had gone where I hoped to go. Since that I have been thinking over more what friends I have in that bright world & certainly I believe I have more friends across than I have remaining, but my dearest earthly friends have not crossed yet. I dont see why you dont write to me but I suppose you are very tired nearly all the time. Our boys, what few we have & that is only ten muskets all told, feel langrid all the time. The best & most animated that I feel at all is while I am writing & after I have written to my friends. I seem then to be more nearly connected with those I love & I seem to feel more the animation that I should feel if I could meet with you around the "old hearth stone" I do wish I could kneel with you all around the Family alter once more in that quiet home where the continual "boom" "boom" "boom" is never heard I can hardly imagine what pleasure it would be to meet again in the social prayer greeting where every thing is still & lovely. Oh! those past happy seasons how I long to have a repitition of them & I believe I shall next season I am writing a longer letter than you will want to read I guess but I hope you will write me as long or longer one. How do you progress with your farming? I hardly think I will help you in haying this season. Remember me in your prayers. Hoping soon to hear from you I remain as ever your very affectionate Son

John M Jackson

Transcription last modified: 11 Nov 2004 at 11:05 AM EST

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