1864 Letter: February 10

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1864 Letter: February 10

February 10 Larkinsville

Letter of February 10, 1864 from Larkinsville
The letter has not be corrected in any way, but reproduced as written by William Samuel Craig to his wife, Levica Payne Craig.

My Dear Loving Wife,

I just received your kind and welcome letter the 10 of this month that gave me great satisfaction to hear that you was well. As for my part I never enjoyed as good health in all of my life. I am fat, dirty, and lousy and don't care for anybody hardly but you.

Well, I care for those of my good friends that is at home but I do not know whether to care for them or not. No one don't write to me but you and hardly you for I have sent you some 4 letters since Christmas, and this is the answer to one. It seems like you ought to write more than you do. You certainly have a good chance to write.

We just have come off of another little trip of 125. We was gone fifteen days. We had a very pretty little March. We got out all the forage that we wanted. There had never been no soldiers in that part of the country but rebels, so we took a great many prisoners and bandards came to us starved and naked.

It is hard to see the suffering of the southern people. Both men and women and children. Thousands of them must starve. I don't see any other remedy for them. The union troops have taken everything that is edible so they can't help but suffer. There is going to one more campaign I think then the war will end between this and July the whole army is advancing toward the enemy and the enemy has evacuated several very important places.

I understand that they are evacuating Richmond. I don't much believe that. I also heard that that Jeff Davis had moved his headquarters to another state. I don't recollect now what state. I think that is so so I think there will be one more campaign and thing will stop and I think that our brigade will stay right here. The rest of our army corps is gone. Some one way and some another.

I have heard more good news in the last two months than I ever heard since I have been in the army.

My dear, I want to come home and see you all but I believe I had rather stay till I can come to Stay. It will cost right smart and so I had better save my money for you and my babies. If I was to get with you I would rather die than to leave you again. It has been death to me a hundred times since I left.

Anyway, my dear, you have not written to me as you should and while tell the good, I must now tell the bad. I have been banished from you, my dear, for eighteen months and it has been death to me. I have suffered death a thousand times. If you had have died it would not been any worse with me. Therefore you should endeavor to write often. I want you to write plainer. You don't write as well as you used to. I can scarcely read your letters at all.

I will draw some money the 15 of this month and I will send it to you. I am looking for a letter from you today. The train is just landed. I want you, my dear, to keep enough money with you to buy sugar and coffee. I want you to have plenty of that as you love it so well. I will finish on another sheet.

How many payments do you have to make on the land. Do you pay half down and the rest in six months? I want you to keep enough of money. One has to buy such things as you need.

If I live to get out of the army I want a good wagon and nice set of harnesses and a good spare of horses. And there is enough of money owing to us to have all of those things if we could get it. Have you learned anything about that money the Samples owes us? I want to know who has got them notes. It is time and high time too, that you had that money. It is 62 or 63 dollars and the interest. Write to them that has got them and then collect if possible have you your can has House paid you the money.

If I have good luck I will send you 50 dollars this time. I wish that Papa would go and get our horses and use them and then he could get our money and other things. I will pay all of the expenses.

So, dear, I will close for the present hoping this may find you well as it leaves me. Here is 2 rings of my own make. Take them and remember me. I made them out a missile shell. I am afraid that they are too small. So farewell my dear loving wife.

(signed) WILLIAM CRAIG

Give my respect to all of inquiring friends if there be any.

[ 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 ]