September 8 Camp Sherman, Miss
October 13 the railroad leading from Memphis to Corinth
October 18 Juka Camp, Mississippi
September the 8, 1863 - home, home, Lord
Camp Sherman, Miss.
My dear and beloved wife, it is through the hands of providence
that I have this privilege of writing to you and more in order
to let you know I am getting along. I am still in the land
of the living blessed with a reasonable portion of health.
At this time my health has been very poor till now and, my
dear, I hope these few lines may find you enjoying the very
best of health and all of the connection.
My dear, I dreamt of you and them babies last night and I
thought that you was mad at me and said that I should not kiss
Harriet. I know that will not be the case dear. I must write
my dreams or I can't say much. I should always fill up the
sheet with something.
I have been looking for a furlough for several days and it
has not come yet and I do not know whether it ever will come
or not. That is unknown to me. My furlough is sent into headquarters.
I may get it and I may not. I can't tell, dear, much about
it. My captain says I shall go and see my family.
We have a new captain. His name is [--unreadable--]ickles
Jessiman Company L 116 RG Ill. You can hereafter direct in
his care. He has been our first lieutenant and is now our captain.
He is a fine man. He said I had been such a good soldier that
I should go and see my family.
I am told the crops is all ruined by the frost in Illinois.
I saw a letter yesterday from Mo. stating that there was the
best crops that ever was raised in the state of Mo. I am glad
of that my dear hoping I may reap some of the benefits of it.
Tell Papa to save plenty and some to spare. Notwithstanding
I may never see that country but save plenty for you and my
children. Still if God spares me, I will see you all if I have
to desert. It is ten months today since I parted with you,
my dear, at the hour of midnight. I never shall forget the
grasp of that sweet hand of yours and the sweet kiss off that
[--unreadable--] beautiful cheek of yours. Oh, that we may
be [--unreadable--] permitted to meet again in the land of
the living with our friends and children. It would be the happiest
hour I ever spent on earth if I could meet with my dear wife
and children and father and mother, sisters, and brother, and
all my social friends once more.
My dear don't let me deceive you at all. When you see me coming
then it is time to look, but the probability is that I will
come between this and Christmas. I want a good pot of mush
and milk and you get that up in a few minutes. I will come
to Carrollton first. You can write one I want to hear from
you the worst way. I have only got one letter from you since
I cam to this place. Dear, when you direct your letter, direct
in this way. William Craig, Vicksburg, Miss. Company F 116
Illinois Volunteers in the care of Captain Nicelas Jeschuand.
The last letter I got from you was mailed at Carrollton July
the 29 and it was 8 days coming so you may suppose I would
like to hear from you.
My dear, we have been getting a great deal of good news about
the war that is very favorable if the newspapers is true. They
speak of peace more and more. Mobile is still falling by pieces
[--unreadable--] Richmond is the same. Charleston is [--unreadable--]
gone. Our log is floating over the rebels [--unreadable--].
We must gain those places and I think it will be done without
our help. Our division commander will take charge of this post
at Vicksburg. I think then we will stay there a long time.
I think that is the talk now.
Well, dear, I reckon I have wrote enough for this time so
I will close and dream of you again tonight hoping I may dream
of you being in a good humor. It is now bedtime and I must
crawl on my cane bed and rest. So, my dear, I will close by
saying to you, take good care of yourself.
William Craig to My Loving Wife
October 13, 1863
My dear loving wife it is with pleasure and more that I have
the privilege of writing to you and more I am still in the
land of the living and I am well hoping this letter may find
you enjoying the same. Dear, I just received your kind letter
this evening which gave me great pleasure to hear that you
was well such news always does me good. Your letter was dated
September the 15 and this is October the 13.
A few days after I read that letter we started for Memphis
and stayed there about a week and then we took the corps and
come to Corinth about 100 miles from Memphis. We are moving
about 3 miles from town. I don't know how long we will stay
here. We are [--unreadable--] the railroad leading from Memphis
to Corinth. It is probably we will stay here during the winter
but dear that is hard for me to tell.
I have wrote you several letters in the last week. I intend
to fill this big sheet of paper. I always love to occupy my
time in this way. It is the pleasure that I can take is when
I can write to you dear you seem to think that I am dissatisfied
it is the case. I am if I was a single man I had just as leave
be in the service as anywhere else. Still soldiering is a hardship
but it is you that calls my attention. It is you that I want
to live with and be with.
I guess that you have got that letter that I wrote about getting
a letter from James. I just received a letter from Sister Lis.
She wrote me a good letter. She said that she was expecting
that they would have war there any day. Bob never wrote a word.
Neither do I want him I hope that I may never see him. I heard
that he had sold his farm. Lis did not say anything about it.
She said that they were going to Innand to see John Wood and
Mary. Lis said Mary had a fine daughter. She did not say how
old it was but she call it Lisabeth Samples that is a very
appropriate name. Lis said that she was very lonesome after
we left there. Lis did not treat us all together right but
it was Bob's fault. Poor Lis seems to have a hard time. She
wrote me a good letter. I have a notion to send it to you and
dear [--unreadable--] must I answer it or not you wanted to
know what had become of Elick Hillman. He is still living but
this spring he like to have died he has no health at all.
I am going to ask you some question and that is this. Tell
me where Frank lives and Dick Rigill and who is living with
your father. I have wrote this question some several times
what has become Huss Keath and all of that family [--unreadable--]
what has become of them. Give me the full history of that country
as well as you can. Things that is old to you would be new
to me. You seem to think war will close soon. Well I think
it will, too, but there will be another hard fight and I learned
that they are at it now at Chattanooga that is in Tennessee.
Rasincrance [--Rosecran--] is fighting the rebels there big
they had him surrounded but he fought his way out and is now
holding them in their [--unreadable--] there has been thousand
and thousand going to reinforce him. I heard that he said that
he had all the reinforcements that he wanted. The rebels are
calling their troops to that point. They have evacuated several
valuable points in order to hold that point if we gone that
place which I pray we will the southern confederacy will and
must stop. We have a band of rebels here to whip and there
was 250 hundred captured yesterday. They want to destroy this
railroad to cut off Rosecran's supplies but they can't do that.
So now my dear I have wrote enough about the war. I guess
I want you to have your likeness taken and the 2 little babies
and send to me. I have that old one yet of yours it does me
good to look at it. I would give the world to see you and two
little babies. It is you my dear that call my attention. I
want you to write every week and oftener if you can. I don't
get half as many letters from you as I should. Dear I still
lives in hopes of getting to come home this winter on a furlough.
I would like to be there about hog killing time so that you
could roast a rib in the stove.
Dear my living is hard crackers and the oldest bacon that
can be found and sometimes beef and coffee. Such living you
know a person would get tired of. Can my little boy say Ma.
Dear you don't know what I would give to see them 2 babies.
I don't have any idea that I would know James at all. Oh, yes
dear, I have seen James Tompson he said Lotta was living with
his father. He said that he had never been at home since he
left. He asked me about you and said that he would like to
see you. Dear I have wrote enough this time so I will bring
my letter to a close by saying give my best love and respect
to any inquiring friends if there be and and receive a portion
yourself. Write soon as you get this. So farewell my dear and
belove wife and children.
From William Craig to Levica Craig
October 13, 1863
Direct to Memphis, Tennessee. I can send my money by express
and tell me what to express it to.
October the 18, 1863
Juka Camp, Mississippi
Dear, I am on a march and have drawn some money and I will
send it to you in two letters. It is twelve o'clock and we
have to leave this place at once so I can't write much. I will
send you 60 dollars this time. Tell if it gets thru safe. We
left Corinth three days ago. I do not know how much further
that we are going. Dear, I am tolerable well except my head
cold. I hope this may find you well.
[ Note: I am the great-granddaughter of William Samuel
Craig. These letters from the Civil War were in
the possession of his grandson, Jerry Craig, and they were
loaned to me during a visit to his home in Norborne, Missouri.
All of these letters were difficult to "translate" from
the decorative script-writing; some have areas of blanks
which were impossible to decipher. Each letter retains
some of its original spelling and grammar; some punctuation
has been added for clarity; paragraphs have been created
for easier reading. Where a word or phrase could not be read, "[--unreadable--]" is
inserted; some words, such as places and names, may have "[Sherman]" immediately
following. ---Joyce Kohl ]