This letter was written by William H. Forse [or Force]. I cannot find a military record for William, however—probably due to variations in the spelling of his surname. William’s writing is barely legible. I suspect William served in a New York or New Jersey regiment.
William wrote the letter to Lydia Anderson (1843-1872) was the daughter of blacksmith John Anderson (1814-Aft1860) and Helen (“Lena”) A. (1824-Aft1860) of Elizabeth (Ward 2), Union county, New Jersey. William and Lydia were married on 11 September 1863 in New York but she did not live long.
Addressed to Miss Lydia Anderson, Elisabeth, New Jersey
W_____ Green, Va.
Tuesday, July 23, 1862
My dear Lydia,
I sit down to write a few lines to let you know how I am. I am well at present and I hope you are the same. I have not heard from you since I left home. I would like to hear from you very much. Never mind. It can’t be helped. I will soon come to Washington. Then I’ll let you know [where to] write to me. When I come home again, I will never leave you again.
I was very sorry to leave you the last time but I had to come get my money But I ain’t got it yet. I started last week. We got here Friday morning, loaded right off and went to the valley about five miles from the rebels. I came back this morning and I am going away this afternoon again for there is going to be a battle in the valley. Since I left Washington, I have had nothing but coffee and crackers till this noon [when] we had some bean soup. Tell mother for me I have [ ] life in the camp since I left Washington. I think when I come back the [ ] will be transferred to sailors to take us. I don’t like it here at all. There will soon be fighting in the valley. Rebels in the valley.
Oh my dear Lydia, you know what we was to [ ] as it is that so it makes me laugh. Don’t tell nobody. Tell Mother I will be home in time to [ ]. When you write to Father, write something for me. So I bid you goodbye. To you I send my love to you and a kiss on the paper. But it is not so good as otherwise. I will keep it to you if it is not so.
This is from your true friend. For your eyes only.
From Mr. William H. Forse. My dear Miss Lydia A. Anderson. You and me forever and ever. Please excuse mistakes and the lead pencil.