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Weddell Family Papers - MS 484 MF

John D. Muir Correspondence

May 29, 1864

May 29, 1864
Camp Smithers, Wilmington, Delaware

Cousin Will: [Ed. Note: William Weddell]

I thought I would write you a letter and let you know how we are getting along. I am well and hope this may find you all well, there is 3 in our Co. sick. That is David Kesson, John Basor, they are some better today. D. Kesson has got the ague. The other man is a stranger. We have a very nice camp, it is situated on the Broxilly (?) river. We can have a full view of the town of Wilmington and we can see a town in New Jersey on the other side of the Delaware River. It is a nice country around here. You can get on the hills and look for miles about. There is plenty of good Union folks here; I had a good dinner on Sunday at an abolition house. The old man and 2 of the sons is in the army and old lady has 2 good-looking daughters. They gave me a strong invitation to go back, I think I will accept it.

Capt. Smith got his supper at a citizen's house but not the same place as I got mine. He said there was a good-looking girl there. There is some very old farms here. The place where Capt. got his supper is 80 years old. That is a very old farm, they go from one generation to another. One of these farms is the Elliott farm, it is the same farm that we camp on and we have nice barracks here and plenty to eat and drink. John Wilson is the same old rip, he keeps the Capt. and the Lieut. Laughing all the time. There is only one Co. here, that is our Co., there was one company of the 1st Delaware here but it left last Saturday. I have not heard from George [Weddell, 1st Lieutenant Co.I, 144th OVI] since I came here.

News came yesterday that the 144th had gone to Washington. This news came from a man in our Co. that was left at Baltimore. He sent a letter to Lieutenant (Abraham) Keefer stating that the regiment had gone to Washington. I have to do duty every other day but it is light. I am officer of the day today and Lieutenant Keefer will be tomorrow. I have to do a good deal of drilling. There is no good drilled men in the company. Capt. Smith is commander of the post since the Delaware boys left but their boys come on duty every third day and have to drill 4 hours a day. It is very warm here and it makes the boys lazy. I suppose you have heard all the news before this time and I wrote to sister Mary last week and told her all the news so it will be needless to write the same thing over again. I want to know how you and Bell is getting along and how many big sparks you have had and then I will help you tell Bell to save me a piece of her Mutton cake. If she does yet get married, tell M.L. that I found her a monkey is a little black but what of that, he is better than none.

This is all the news, give my best respects to grandmothers and the rest of the folks and to the folks at home. So good by from your cousin John D. Muir. Write soon and tell me the news.

Direct to Camp Smithers, Wilmington, Delaware, Co.E, 144th Reg't.

June 19, 1864

June 19, 1864

Dear Cousin

I now sit down to answer your kind letter which I received June the 8th. I was glad to hear that you were all well. I am a little under the weather but I think I will be all right in a few days. I had a chill yesterday but I think it was caused by my swimming in the water, being rather cool. I think that was what caused it. The health of the Co. is good, there is none on the sick list. The weather here is very dry as we have had no rain for ten days. The boys are nearly all out picking cherries this afternoon, the most of them was at church this forenoon. John Wilson is at some of the neighbor's houses cutting up with some of the girls. The girls in the county are very thick. They are as thick as they are in Webster. How many they are in town I cannot tell for I have not been there over 3 or 4 times since I came here, but judging from appearances there is a good many.

Our duty here is still light but it is constant. There is but little more duty to do in town. I think they will get through this week, our drilling is considerably different than we had in the 3 years service (Ed. Note: Lt. Muir was previously in the 21st Ohio Inf.) and it takes some studying to learn the drill. We drill under Casey tactics. They learn very fast for the time they have had. Our 100 days will be half out tomorrow but I do not expect to get home at the expiration of our term. I think they will keep us until September. Will, I think you would like this soldiering for it is very easy compared with the soldiering we had taken when we was out. How long our good times will last I cannot tell but I think we will stay here our 100 days.

Well Bill, I have told you all the news. I will talk a little nonsense about the girls at home. You said that we thought the Delaware girls was better looking than the Ohio girls. For my part, I think we have just as good looking girls in Webster as there is here and don't know but better. You spoke about me writing to a certain young lady at home. I would like to know who she was. I heard that you was over to the Carnes' often. I hope you have not left Bell yet. If you have left Bell, write and let me know.

I will have to bring my letter to a close. Give my respects to all your folks. Write soon and tell me all the news. So good by from your cousin,

John D. Muir
Give my respects to Cousin Bell

July 8, 1864

July 8, 1864
Wilmington, Del.

Dear Cousin:

I now sit down to answer your kind letter which I have just received. We left Camp Smithers this morning for town. We are now quartered in town. The company that was here got marching orders at 3 P.M. for Baltimore. I do not like our new quarters as well as our old ones. We are right in the heart of town in a long brick house. Our duty will be to guard prisoners, deserters, and drafted men. We have 12 on hand now. Capt. Smith will take them to Baltimore on the 9th. There will be a detail out of our company to guard them.

The health of the Co. is good. There is not one man on the sick list. I will now tell you how we spent the 4th. In camp in the forenoon, in the afternoon there was a detail of 40 men to go on guard duty. There was a balloon ascension in the afternoon, there was 30 of the men sent to guard that. They were commanded by Lt. Keefer. I was sent to town with 10 men to keep down riots. I had no sooner arrived when I was called upon to put down one. I started through the broad the spot, there were about 100 gathered around the spot. They were gathering very fast but when they saw me coming they started for the woods in every direction. When I got to the spot there was not a dozen left. I stationed the guards all around the spot. This was not he same row started but it was soon put down. I will tell you the reason we have to guard such places. There is a great many Copperheads here and a great many soldiers that has been wounded in the late battles and a great many convalescents. They are apt to get tight if the Copperheads says anything they are sure to get into a fuss.

I will now tell you about the balloon. It went up 1000 feet on the 4th several times with 2 men in it. They worked it with ropes; on the 5th it went up to 1500 feet; on the 6th it passed over camp going towards Philadelphia. It was about 1 1/2 miles high, there was only 1 man in it. They say it is the one General Grant had. We had a visit from Admiral Du Pont and Lady this week. She gave the Capt. one jar of berries, one jar of blackberry jam, one jar of Curant jam and a basket of sweet cakes and a variety of religious papers to give to the soldiers. The eatables were very nice. They only live a short distance from camp. I had the pleasure of showing a young lady through camp the other day. She was from Marysville, Ohio. She was inquiring for the 86th OVI when they were after Morgan. They passed over her father's farm she come to visit her uncle who lives close to camp. He came over with her to camp so I had the good luck to go through camp with her.

Will, I wish you was here for we have very good times. I will have to close. I have not got a letter from home yet. The mail is 2 days late this week. We always got our mail on Wednesdays. I hope that Maggie has not got mad at me for writing to L.M. That is my sister Mary. I have seen the Independent, our correspondent seems to think I am going in heavy for the Del girls but it is not nearly as bad as all that. He told me he would have a good joke on me before long for I had one on him. I got a letter from your sister Maggie today. So good by from you cousin. My love to all, tell Maggie I will answer her soon.

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