Letter from James L. Inghram, prob. Sept/Oct. 1861

[This letter is undated, but most likely written near Camp Tenally or Pierpont in either September or October of 1861. – Transcribed by Brendon Stead]

8 O’Clock at night

I have a little time tonight to add a few more lines to my letter. On Sunday we are freed from drill and all fatigue duty. At 9 O’Clock there is regimental inspection at which all have to appear with clothes in perfect trim. Coat and pants must be well brushed. Shoes cleaned – Gun [missing] and so clean inside as to bounce a rammer clean of the muzzle. 

Everything must be neatly kept and if not – the person is reprimanded. My old friend and school mate, Hoge was here today. He looks fine and says he enjoys soldiering finely. He is Company Commissary and is much liked by the men. 

I rec’d by todays mail a letter from George – which pleased me very well. I wish he and Mems would write to me often – all they need is just to set about it and write me any and everything going on about home and the country. How all my neighbors are getting along. I rec’d from Irving Lindsey the county papers, in one of which my letter to Dr. Colver is published. I am not desirous of making myself conspicuous – but thinking they might be interesting to persons having friends here, I have said nothing against their publication.  Hereafter I shall be more particular, and write so that it will look better in print – in case he should send them up for publication.

Tomorrow morning at 9’o clock our Regt starts for the “Big Falls”, twelve miles up the Potomac. We are to relieve the 9th Regt and remain there for eight days. I have no fears about the Rebels attempting to cross the River – Yet doubtless we will get to see some of them. I will take pencil and paper with me and if anything important occurs I shall write you immediately. Tell Kendall’s folks – + Crayne’s, that both Jim and Ike are well.1

It is growing late and I must close so as to be able for tomorrow duties. My love to all at home, and to our neighbors. Our Regt was paid off a few time we are to be paid by the united states. I have now about $14 and have about $40 due me from the U.S. I shall send home the first opportunity. For the present “good bye” Jim.

3rd Page.

We are being drilled now pretty severely. We have Company Skirmish drill from 8 in the morning until 11 which is all done in “double quick” time and sometimes a full  run – so you may know it is no easy work. We drill as Skirmishers – load and fire (Blank Cartridges) and charge bayonets on each other – in irritation of each Battles. We have some exciting and interesting times I tell you. In the afternoon we have Battalion Drill – This too in double quick under charge of the Colonel so there is no dropping out of ranks but each man must stay to his place. After this comes guard monitoring then dress parade which close about dark. At 9 O Clock we have roll call – after which all turn in to bed. 

Those who are too lazy to drills and miss roll calls are made do the work about 6 a.m and stand guard which of course they don’t like much. 

4th Page.

New regiments are constantly coming in – so that the whole country is covered with the white tents of the soldiers. I am getting prouder every day of our Regt it is undoubtedly one among the best and is highly commanded by Gen. McCall. I saw our Brig Gen. Reynolds yesterday. He is a fine looking – pleasant man – and bears the reputation of being  a splendid officer. He caused the head of about 25 lager beer barrels to be knocked in yesterday to prevent the soldiers from using it. Johnny Rex[?] was here two or three days. Will Lindsey will be out on Monday and will leave for home on Thursday. I am sorry that he is going to leave here. Charley Hawkins arrived here tonight from Greene County. I have not seen him Kendall nor Ike Crayne for some time but hear from them often. They are both well. 

I should like to be at home – to attend Johns wedding in case I had an invitation. Say to him I hope he may live long and happily – with his Bride. I see by the papers that three more companies have left Greene County – Well done little Greene! I am glad to hear that your harvest this season was good and hope they may continue so. If you could only see what an awful looking country this is about here – or rather a little distance from this you would think our old place a perfect paradise. Such poor farms, and such poor living I never saw. I wrote to Hiram for Maria to send me Kittys Picture – please send it soon. Take some of the money I sent home, and subscribe for Harpers Weekly as they now contain many interesting pictures and news of the war. Please write again soon. With love to all I remain – Yours Brotherly, Jim. 

  1. Reference to Privates James R. Kendall and Issac B. Crayne, both of Company F, 1st Pennsylvania Reserve Cavalry from Greene County.