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
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 ]