The following letter is in the Local History Collection of the Waterford Foundation. It was written by James Dickinson, a Union soldier of the 9th Division, bivouacked in Waterford, one of thousands of Yankee troops on their way south. James Dickinson’s home state was Michigan. His unit had only recently been mustered. For the most part, the original spelling and grammar of the letter have not been changed. Our thanks to John Souders for providing the history of the letter writer and identifying him..
Waterford Ver Mar the 1 1862
I have a fine chance know[sic] to write you a few lines to let you know how we get along We are all well know[sic] and in good spirits we are four miles in advance of our forces on picket Guard. It is a splendid country and we have first rate times. The weather is very pleasant and warm. We are in a beautiful little grove where the walnuts are in abundance, aunt, perhaps that you would like it. Now what we had for Breakfast that perhaps that you know that while we are in the Enemys country that what we can get comes without money or without price. This morning there were twenty-eight very nice chickens came into our camp and only 20 of us to eat them so we fared first rate. We had chickens, pork, peas, sauce and coffee [illegible] hard bread for our breakfast and it relished first rate to [illegible] it is not very often that we are favored with such blessings as these here. We can crack nuts and apples, pears and chickens and thore [there] is a very nice spring of water not but a few feet from our tents. Aunt, this seems most like home of anything that I have had since we left home. You see we are left as a reserve so that if the rest of the pickets are driven(?) in we are to support them, so that we do not have to have but one man out of twenty to stand guard. Well Aunt you may think it strange that I do not write oftener but we are bothered most to. death to get postage stamps here and we have to divide them amongst our friends as equal as we can. Well, Aunt, I don’t know as I can think of anything more to write. At present I have just written home but have not received any letter from there in a long time. I must close. Give my love to all inquiring friends and don’t forget to accept a share for yourself. Good Buy [sic].
From J D Dickinson
Image of unknown Union soldier courtesy of the Library of Congress.