Civil War Love Letters: June 23, 1862
A large force of Union troops, including James’s 8th Kansas Infantry regiment, moved throughout Tennessee and Kentucky to fight Confederates led by General P. G. T. Beauregard. While proceeding from Union City, Tennessee, to Corinth, Mississippi, the 8th Kansas Infantry was ordered to Trenton, Tennessee, where the Union expected an enemy attack that never occurred.
Headquarters Eighth Regiment Kansas Volunteers
June 23d 1862
My Dear Molly
I have waited until I could report that I had safely joined the company. I done so this morning all safe after a long ride through Tennessee all by myself. I had a pleasant trip on the boat. Stopped some time at Cairo & got to Columbus early on Sunday morning & then to Hickman
Columbus June 24th When I got so far I got an order to start for this point forth with which I did by handcar on the railroad & here I am. I got a detail of eight men to run me down & we made the trip of 80 miles in 9 hours, so you see I pursue my devious way, & in the fullest sense of word cannot tell what a day may bring forth. Well to begin again, from Hickman I rode 60 miles to Trenton, through a very rough country & found plenty of Secesh & plenty Union folks. I was told by many folks that I was the first "Yankee" that passed that way (our troops had went another road) & they wanted to know how many more were coming & when, & seemed to think that they were innumerable. Ladies would glance out the door to see the passing horseman, & start in again in fear, such vandals they have been lead to believe we are. Children looked in open mouthed astonishment at me & shouted theres a Yankee - O, here's a Yankee. I got lost in a cypress swamp 2 hours, & expected to kill my horse every minute, & remain there myself a monument to all future time - of what? but I got in all safe - though not as I expected in one day. I stopped overnight with a secesh & done my best to convert them. They led me to believe that I succeeded - especially the young ladies. Ladies down here all talk politics - but I wouldn't trust them much. I slept sound with my pistol under my head, & rode on next morning. I got complimented for returning so soon & as I said sent off here in two hours after for reward with a good chance for another visit to your city, but not so. I go back tomorrow, having transacted my business already. So I shall surprise them again I hope tomorrow, unless they start for Humboldt in my absence, which I fear they will. We do not go much further south until the fall, unless something happens to Beauregard & Co. Our Brigade (3000) men has fixed all the Bridges along this road from Columbus to Memphis - & as we had just landed to day two locomotives from Louisville, we expect to run the cars tomorrow.
In the meantime I am well & enjoying myself, though it is hard work - & the Thermometer is about 90 in the shade with a scorching sun; I can now say positively there are plenty of good Union folks in old Tennessee in fact sometimes for 5 miles, you would find nothing else. I hope you are taking good care of yourself and not spoiling those bright eyes of yours. I got your letter, it arrived at camp only a few hours before me - & for it many thanks my Dear Girl & now with much love, I must postpone any further for the present.
I am ever sincerely yours,
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