This letter was written by Robert Guyton (1838-1915), the son of John Guyton (1810-1886) and Elizabeth Jane Hazlett (1812-1890) of McCandless, Allegheny county, Pennsylvania. Robert enlisted in Co. F, 139th Pennsylvania Infantry on 1 September 1862. He was promoted from corporal to sergeant in June 1864 and mustered out with the company in June 1865. After the war, Robert returned home, married Nancy A. Robinson (1840-1888), and resumed farming.
Camp near White Oak Church, Va.
April 5th 1863
I received your kind letter of 28th of March an evening or two ago and one from Father this morning dated the 20th. I am very glad to hear that you have all got right well again. I am in very good health now and so is John Wallace and all the rest of the boys from our neighborhood. This is a very rough day here. It commenced to snow last evening about dark and last night was about as stormy a night as ever I saw but I think after this storm is past we will have good weather.
I suppose you are all busy eating eggs today. I would not care if I had a few here today. I think I could eat them without much trouble. Some of the sutlers have them at 50 cents per dozen but that does not suit us so long after the paymaster has been here.
Our Captain William W. Dyer ¹ started to Alleghany City this morning on a furlough of ten days. He will leave the carpet sack that you sent out with Charles Osborn at Sample’s Book Store on Federal Street near the depot and Father can get it someday when he is in town. I would have sent it back with Osborn when he went home but John Wallace ² was talking about getting a furlough and he wanted it to take some things home in but as has not got a furlough yet and will not for a while, I thought I would let the Captain have it as he had nothing of the kind to carry his clothes in.
Enclosed in this letter I send Father a little bit of Rebel tobacco which the [Rebels] sent across the Rappahannock river the last time our regiment was on picket. They built a kind of boat and rigged it off with sails and would send it over to our side of the river with newspapers, tobacco, and so forth, and our fellows would sed them over coffee, pork, and so on. They were very willing to trade anything they had but when the officers came along, both sides had to stop sending their boats over. Joseph Borland got a piece of tobacco that was sent over in one of their boats and he gave me this piece and I thought I would send Father a chew of the Reb tobacco. I had one of the papers that they sent over and I will give you a list of the prices of some things in Richmond as taken from the Richmond Sentinel of March 30th.
[list of commodities and prices]
But I must stop. Your brother, — R. Guyton
¹ Capt. William W. Dyer was promoted from 1st Lt. to the command of Co. F, 139th Pennsylvania on14 January 1863. He died on 13 June 1864 from wounds received at Cold Harbor on 2 June. He is buried in Uniondale Cemetery in Allegheny City, Pa.
² John Wallace enlisted as sergeant in Co. F, 139th Pennsylvania in September 1862. He was transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps on 10 March 1864.