1864: Unidentified “Will” to Friend “Jennie”

Unfortunately there are no clues in this letter to aid in the identity of this soldier writing from Brandy Station where troops were being amassed in the weeks before Grant’s Overland Campaign. He wrote the letter to his friend “Jennie” who apparently was a school teacher. My hunch is that she and the soldier were from New York State.


Brandy Station
March 25, 1864


I received your kind letter of the 17th with feelings of interest and pleasure. I had thought to await your return but now you perceive with what stability of purpose I have to govern my absolute sway. I could not wait no longer. Therefore, excuse the old soldier for intruding upon your time while among your friends in Pennsylvania.

It strikes me, school ma’am, that this visit has been in contemplation for a long time. Some three years ago you were going to Pennsylvania a visiting. I never have heard of your going but if that one has been made & this one an extra, then you must laugh & call me green for being behind the times.

Well, enough on this subject. Times passes very well with me, all things considered. Unusually dull times for soldiering—nothing much to busy old time with. But the time is not far distant when there will be no excuse. Soon we can bid goodbye to these quiet days & go forth upon the plains [of] Virginia to meet a foe, terrible & determined.

We received orders the other night to start out the order was countermanded. Gen’l Grant arrived in this department yesterday. The army is to be reorganized under his orders. A Grand Review is expected of the entire army which, of course, will be a big thing before he leaves.

Now a word upon a former question. Still there is no call for it as you are fully aware of it & know the circumstances concerning your letters. I was not sure that you knew it but I see that you are awake to the idea. I have not heard from Newt or Lib either since my return. I have written to both. It has been sometime since I heard from home. Your letter was the last that I received from that quarter. I wrote to Charley sometime ago but I do not receive any word from him. Perhaps the address was wrong. If you know what his address is, please inform & if I was wrong, I will try again.

Now with the congratulations upon your visit that nothing may serve to mar the pleasure of your project and purpose, I bid thee adieu for the present.

Respectfully your friend, — Will

[to] Jennie E. H.

Write soon

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s