Sunday, 11 November 2012

J. S. Walker's Thirty-Sixth Letter


Camp Deas, near Youngs Mill,
6th November, 1861

My dear Wife:

                I did not write to you by Lieut. Mills, who went up yesterday, as I did not have time and wrote to David.  I was a little unwell yesterday, but kept to my tent and fasted and am quite myself today.  There is nothing in the monotony of camp life that can interest you in a letter, and I will save all for the long winter nights of another winter, if we are all spared to meet around it.  I hope the Lord is going to give great success to our arms in other places, that he will make bare his might and let loose the muds of Heaven to put the armada under the waves, and thus cause the wicked to acknowledge his might.  I also hope he will give us quite on the Peninsular, since I have no confidence in those who in authority do not acknowledge Him.  If we live for Him it matters little to us whether we live or die, since he directs, controls, and at last receives.  Let us pray earnestly to the end.
                Lieut. Willis will be a favourable opportunity for you to send my gloves, socks, etc.  I want you also to send me my over-shoes, thick boots, cravat, clothes brush.  I should also like a good cap or hat for the winter, which Bro. David can select for you.  As regards eatables, some pickles, smoked sausage, tongue, beef, etc., butter, eggs, etc.  I can buy nothing in the world to eat here but sweet potatoes, fresh beef and bacon, and I am tired of them.  I also want a gallon of whiskey, a gallon of brandy, fine for medicinal purposes and the stomach’s sake.  Put all up in a box for Lieut. Willis to bring down to me.  He will come down in about ten days, sayd 16th of November, and if you leave the box at Geo. Bidgood’s with a letter he will get it and attend to it.  If you have sent nothing by express via Yorktown, do not do it now, but send to Grove Wharf by Steamer on James River on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and we will have a wagon to get all packages for our Regiment.  Willis will be the safest chance for you to send by.  Direct your letters via Grove Warf to Capt. J. S. W., 15th Regt. Va. Vols. and they will come more promptly.

                Kiss the children, love to all.

                                Yours very affectionately,

                                                Jno. S. Walker.

I have commenced numbering my letters.  I sent No. 1 a day or two ago.  You will find this No. 2.  If you will adopt the same plan we can tell whether our letters are all received, remember always to number them.

                We are now having a real thunder storm, lightening and the biggest hail I have seen for a long time, as big as partridge eggs. I hope the Lord’s hand is in it all and that he will scatter the fleet that would pour out our free blood on our own soil.  May the Lord have mercy upon them and then destroy them.

                                Yours very affectionately,

                                                Jno. S. Walker.


  1. Joe,
    I loved seeing you over the holidays! Wish you could visit more often.

    Your site is cool - but I am wondering if you would consider Lucy Otey as one of your (and our) Civil War Ancestors. She was apparently a formidable force in the Lynchburg Hospital scene, and (perhaps because I am a woman and a namesake) I have always found her fascinating. I have read bits and pieces about her over the years, and recently found this draft of a research paper (with documentation) that confirms that she was made a Captain in the Confederate Army in order to open a hospital.

    Just a thought! Her full name was Lucy Wilhelmina Norvell Otey - and John Stewart Walker was her son in law!

    your affectionate cousin,

  2. Hey Cousin, Lucy! Great seeing you over the holidays, and many thanks for the picture your brought me. I'm sure it will make an appearance here sooner or later.

    It has always been my intention to add Lucy Otey to the mix here. Previously though, I have been unable to find any reliable information about here (made more difficult my her sharing her name with her daughter). Many thanks for sending the link. I will explore it thoroughly!