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Ira Conine Papers: Transcripts - MS 673
Office Provost Marshal
Jan 1st 1863
Miss Jennie Bysel
I received yours of 27th this morning also one from home they were both such good letters I had to read them over the second time. Yours in particular it was the best letter I believe I ever read. I had nothing to do today so I thought I would answer them I answered mother's first then father's then one to Sallie a few lines to Han and Tom. Now I will answer yours and quit for today it is a hard task for me to set down and write three or four letters all to the same place the same day and have them all read different but I will do the best I can. Well Jennie I suppose while I am writing to you and placing all my thoughts upon you, you are eating turkey or enjoying yourself just the best kind and scarcely think of me I hope you are at least, for if you are troubled with such feelings toward me as I am about you at times I pity you and any body else that is troubled with such feelings I sometimes get a horse ride out in the country, call on some lady, or get in some crowd where they are having some kind of amusement, but still I cannot suppress such feelings enough to enjoy myself I may go to the dance or the party but I cannot see Jennie there it don't seem like home in short I may go where I will, be where I may get in what I would call good company were I home and I cant enjoy myself as I did when I was where I could step over and see as I believe the best friend I have in the world "Jennie". But I am bound to enjoy myself the best I can and I want you to do the same.
Jennie you stated that it was nonsense to tell you that I got lonesome in the presence of that pretty girl of mine there is no doubt but she is pretty but I cant enjoy myself with her as I need to enjoy myself with Jennie, she is pretty and she is rich but when that is said it is all said. If any one asks you again if you ain't afraid that girl or any other will cut you out tell them for me that ain't in the power of any lady that I have ever seen and I have seen a great many and some were what I call handsome. You say that if that girl superceed's you, bad luck to her and me too. Now Jennie if you would marry tomorrow I would'nt say bad luck to you or even your husband. I should consider it good luck for him and bad luck to me, and would wish you all the good luck in the world do what you will I cant wish you anything but good luck. Well Jennie you thought I would'nt enjoy myself there now it was so muddy that would'nt make any difference to me if I could only be in company with you, but you ought to hear what old Parker told me I wrote it in ma's letter go over and read it, Jennie he told you a story about me getting letters from Miss Bradford just get him to tell you about an Irish burying there was down here while he was here. Tell George next time you write if he don't answer my letter before long I will send after him and have him give an account of himself I wrote Mahlon Lawrence a letter the other day, and one to you Dec 28th don't forget to answer.
Well Miss, you wrote a great long string about me not being modest I must confess I never was very modest when in company with you but the reason was just this, I am sorry to say it but it is true and you know it, I always looked on you as being the oldest and thought it was your place to set an example which you did, but it was always such an unmodest example I was almost ashamed to follow it, but I had it to do and no getting around it so you see it was'nt my fault but its all right, no harm done I hope. Well Jennie enough of this for it is impossible for me to write to you without writing some foolishness but you must do as the fellow done when the jackass kicked him, consider the source. It may be Jennie you would like to know my reason for putting some such stuff in each one of my letters if so I will tell you, it is to keep you from showing them to every tom dick and Harrie that comes in, just remember that will you.
I am glad to hear that you have finally come to the conclusion that I have been sincere in what I have told you and that you wont ask me to not go with other girls for if you did I would have to do it and then I would'nt live till war was over no way at all and I know you would rather I would go with some respectable ladies here and come back safe and sound than to have me die off here and never get back I have plenty of lady friends here and them that are respectable too and you say too that I know just how far to go that honor will teach me that, I always have acted honorable with any lady I might be with and I hope to continue so. No more write soon your, Ira B Conine!!!!!! Jane I am going to send you a novel along with this letter title female spy.
Head Qrs Exchange Camp
Jan. 11th/ 1863
Miss Jennie M. Bysel
Well my dear little "Slim"
How are you this eve? For my part I must say that I am well, I have been having the sore throat for more than a week & it don't appear to be improving very much. I believe your letter done me more good than all the medicine I could use ... Indeed it appeared to me an age since I last heard from you. I had written two letters to you that was yet unheard from and I had sat down with the determination not to write again untill I heard from you let it be soon or late at last the long looked for is received came in this evening mail. Indeed I had formed all kind of conjectures about the mail. I sometimes thought it was in account of the irregularity our mails, and then again I thought there certainly must be wrong with the females. But your letter is here which reveals all. Indeed I don't blame you one bit, if you was enjoying yourself so much attending your balls and oyster suppers. I was getting along well enough and where was the use of you missing a good sleighride a good oyster supper or a good visit for the sake of writing to a poor lonesome wretch in the army who perhaps may be alive today and killed tomorrow. Better look a little after those that you know are safe when I look at human nature in its real character how could I blame you: now if we had oyster suppers & balls sure, and plenty of sleighing and I had plenty of young ladies to romp with, and entertain me I don't believe I would ever think of you consequently as soon as you are blest with all these enjoyments I shant blame you in the least if I don't hear from you again this winter. You heard I was married & believed it well I shant deny it as it is a common occurrence here for the women to marry soldiers for 6 months or during the war, & as I have eight months yet to serve I cant see why I should'nt marry for six months of that time as you say you are to marry me and then lose me and marry another so to be even with you I will marry another for a little while before I marry you. But I doubt very much whether you get me if you are only getting me to love and then marry another & as to the children you speak of that light haired man will certainly have to father them for I declare I wont. I think that was a considerable of a fortune & you hoped the future might come as true as what he told you of the past. Now I don't hope so for in the future you are to love me and I don't want to be lost. Andrew Mc is married and who to? You think I better be careful how I call that lady a Yaller Gall, indeed if she denies her color her father is yet living and I will also send to Africa for her grandfather if she gets too cantankerous and puts on too many airs. Lieut. received and answered her letter.
Mrs Libbie Shaw may be a very particular friend of yours, but don't think of resigning me into her hands or I might be like old Dunahoe when the minister prayed "That he might be relieved by death or some other means" "I swear I wont go." You say you are to be married within 15 months, if you marry the one who has your promise you will marry in much less than that for I heard him say not long since he would never sleep alone another winter & as for telling the fellow's disposition I doubt that very much for no one knows his disposition but himself, it is so changeable. Think I put no more confidence in you that to think you would tell a story. Indeed you are such a modest, truthful creature that I could'nt think of you telling an untruth. In reading over the old letters I brought home [written cross-linear] was some letters from Anderson that were pretty spicy. I guess they was'nt the only spicy ones I took home. I have either lost some letters or they are with that package that I would rather have with me-- Anderson is away in Illinois cooking beautiful business for a soldier, but everyman to his profession if a man is a Granny let him follow his business if he is something else let him follow something else for my part I am a Jack at all trades do anything if it does'nt mingle too much with virtue, modesty, and honesty, for I am all of that--Well it has been about 3 weeks since I last wrote to you and I expect it would have been 3 weeks longer if I had'nt recieved this letter. I have'nt written home but once since I left and that was about the 20th of November. I guess they will think I am lost but I am going to write home in a day or two. Indeed I have been so busy since my return I have'nt had time to do anything. I have issued clothing to over 600 convalescents and escaped prisoners and made out the necessary papers besides tending to my commissary duties. I wrote (25) twenty five communications to officers comdg different companies & regiments last Sunday keeps me busy all the time. Lieut wont have a clerk to help us--got one once to make out his papers to sent to Washington and they all came back for correction since then he wont have one. I have it all to do alone-- I had a couple of very good novels laid by for you awaiting the to road open again but as you have quit reading them I will not send them. I think that poetry was rich but you should see some my clerks field correspondent sends me she is a tramp. Miss Conkle has'nt written to me yet guess she thinks me rather still and I dont blame her--How does J.C. get along who is he [illegible] his distresses to! don't you think Amelia would just suit him! I presume him and Angie have completely fizled? Hoping to hear from you as soon as sleighing is gone, oyster suppers played out, and it gets too muddy to go visiting with exceptions of [illegible]. I am well--hoping this may find you enjoying health and entertaining some "little boy friend" or some "old school mate". I beg one kiss and I will retire for the night as it is now 12 oclock.
I remain as ever, Sam
Jan 23rd/ '63
Head Qrs Detachment 118 Regt O.V.I.
I think you are as contrary as the _____. You say I refused you addressing me as a friend which I never did but merely told you to not head your letter with my Dear Friend Ira if such you will allow me to call you. I think it sounds rather flat. It would also sound flat to say Dear Ira although I can show letters written by you that were headed with My Dearest Ira which is worse and to say my Dear Husband would still be worse for that is uncertain, and you wanted to know how you should head them Jennie you can head them with friend Ira or you can head them with Ira and leave out the friend. Well Jennie you can head them any way you wish just so you don't head another one as you did this for I indeed had 10 notions to one to not answer it. I just think you have but little to do when you are making light of my letters as you did my last and if you ever write me another such a letter you need not look for an answer. I just tell you when I read the first page of that letter I felt a little bored I did'nt know what to think or say at first I thought I would'nt answer it, then I thought that would be too bad. I just thought if my letters were not worth your reading I would write to someone else for I am not pushed neither am I any ways hard up I told you once if you did'nt like them, you could burn them and I say so yet. Well now for something else in the first place they have moved two comp's of the 118th Regt to Paris Maj Young was ordered there to command the Post he wanted me to go with him so Tuesday we packed up and came to Paris that evening I got on the cars went back to Cynthiana stayed there until this morning then came back to Paris we have not got fixed up here very comfortable yet, I have a miserable place to write. Paris not like other towns we have passed through is very pleasantly situated on Stone River 90 miles south of Cincinnati it is quite a business place. Omnibusses and buggies of all descriptions are are running here every hour in the day it looks a little more like living up in this part of Ky negroes 500 to the acre.
Jane you stated in your last that you would like to correspond with P.H. McGinnis, of course you can do as you choose for you know you always[s] did and what is to hinder you from doing so now. Jane you stated that there had 6 inches of snow fell there why that was nothing in comparison to the snow that fell at Falmouth snow fell there 20 inches deep on the level and 6 inches deep at Paris. Jane I am going to send you a letter I received from one of my Ky girls also a copy of the answer in return.
No more at present the less I write the less you will have to criticise on.
From Ira Conine
Please answer if you think it worthwhile
Jan 26/ '63
Well Jennie I have been moved again we are camped one week at Paris Saturday 24th Lieut. Col Walker-of our Regt took Maj Young's place I went up town got that picture you have been fretting so much about. I also set to have 1/2 dozen photographs taken I will send you this picture and if it don't suit you please hand it to mother I am going to report to my comp for duty tomorrow I got another letter from my duck out here in Ky I will send it to you to keep for me I am also going to send you a picture of L.H. the time he jumped the picket fence no more at present. I am well.
Ira B. Conine
Feb. 3rd/ '63
H'dQrs 118th Regt
Col Mott Comanding
I got your letter of Jan 27th[?] Jan 29th in which I think you declared yourself pretty independent. Indeed I like to see a lady independent and I dislike to contradict a lady but I certainly cannot agree with you respecting yours of Jan 29th of which [illegible] you a pretty short [illegible] sometimes I think [illegible] fast [illegible] and then again [illegible] In yours of Jan [illegible] to think you had'nt written to me --- I said you had and that I was writing things that were false, or in other words I had lied. Now Jane I am not going to dispute with you but I shall try to convince you that I am right and if I cant do it I shall keep those letters till I come home and then I think if you see it in your own hand write you will believe it. Jennie you say I give you better reasons to not answer my letter than you did me to not answer yours. I don't doubt but what I did but you gave me, the first of course I would have to respond. You say you cant compel me to [illegible] our letters and if I don't answer them you will put up with it of course you cant compel me to write but you needn't think you will get rid of me that easy for I am bound to write to you whether want me to or not. Then you think you wouldn't trifles get the better of you as I did of me Jane I don't consider that I have let trifles get the better of me neither do I expect to next thing I see is something concerning corresponding - you think there are girls that I could correspond with that would make much better correspondents than you Jennie there are enough girls that I could [illegible] there is any better than you I [illegible] yet I have just [illegible] corresponding with [illegible] but you it don't pay[?] I haven't [illegible] One's letter yet neither will [illegible] you thought so much of that letter you had to dream of it.
Then you didn't look for a letter from me thought I had no stamps but if I understand your letter you had to pay 3 cents before you could get my letter out of the office I don't see how that came for I am sure I never had sent a letter yet without putting a stamp on it. I suppose when you read it you almost wish you had left it in the office and I don't blame you. Now Jennie you say you didn't say you wished to correspond with P.H. McGinnis to be sure you didn't come right out and say you wished to correspond with him but this you did say you said I wrote I didn't know anything about P.H. McGinnis and cared less (I don't deny that) and you said that implied that you might correspond with him if you choose now if that is not saying you wished to correspond with him I would like to know what is. Now if you think I have lied I will keep these letters till I come home and then we will see whether I have lied or not but enough of this I have not reported to the comp for duty yet I was acting orderly of a courtmartial yesterday. Today I've been doing nothing hav'nt done any army duty since 24th of November neither do I expect to very soon Surgeon Philips wants me to drive an ambulance guess I will take [illegible] have nothing to do but take care of two horses never have to march through the mud and always[s] in the dry and get 21 dollars a month instead of $13, have no knapsack to carry Apgar wants me to get the birth[berth?] for him he is well and is getting as fat as a bear he is getting some photographs taken hav'nt got mine from Paris yet looking for them this evening the health of the comp is generally good now and then one deserting there has 4 deserted from our comp but that is nothing there is found[?] 15 deserted from some companies but if war would last 40 years I would'nt desert it just suits me when my time is out in this Regt I am going to volunteer with the regulars nothing suits me better a soldier has nothing to care about but himself keeps him busy to do that well I guess I have written about enough for this time just got a letter from Sallie it appears that you don't know where to direct your letters yet well I will tell you Direct to S.I.B. Conine Company G 118th Regt O.V.I. in care of Capt. Samuel Howard Cynthiana Ky on Central Ky R.R. 60 miles south of Covington Ky Post Office is situated on Main street between Grey Eagle Hotel and Livery Stable.
I got a letter from John Mathias he is well told me all about the fight at Murfreesboro he said there was but 4 Commissioned Officers but that were either killed or wounded in that Regt he said he almost wished it wasn't him. There was 4 of his comp killed 11 wounded he said the girls were getting rather frisky up in Hancock and Putnam thought him and I could tame them if we were back there I am going to answer his letter tomorrow
Don't forget to answer this and don't forget the Directions
Ira B. Conine
Feb 12th/ '63
I recieved yours of Feb 6th yesterday also one from home which I answered last evening I will try to answer yours which seems to me an awful task you know I always was a poor hand to write and I aint much better yet when I was in the office at Falmouth I wrote a great many letters for I had nothing to do and writing to some friend was all the company I had but since I came back to the comp there is always something going on to amuse a person so that I hardly ever think of home, much less writing to any person but if I don't write I cant expect to receive any letters why to tell you the truth I had a notion to get a letter book and copy off a letter to you then I was afraid I couldn't find one that would sound anything like my writing and you would detect me for you would have known I couldnt get up such a letter and you would have told me you could read plenty such letters in the book and that would save postage and paper you need'nt look for much for it is all the time one thing over and over, every day alike, (only some days it rains some days it snows and some days it don't do either.) We don't travel any consequently we see nothing, therefore I have nothing much to write. When you think I am to[o] good hearted to write any more such letters as that of Jan 23rd Jennie I believe I am myself for write what you may you will get no more such Jane indeed I had to laugh when I read your letter when I came to that clause where you reminded me of that story I told you about the party at Gilboa. I remember that as though it was but yesterday. But that is the only story I ever told you and that was only told in jest. Then you got a valentine from the army and thought it was from me I would like to see it very much please keep it till I come home I want to see it I sent you 2 or 3 that I thought was nice but if someone has sent you one so much nicer I would like to see it you said something of Irene Morrison does she go to the same school you do? If so give her my love and tell her to write me a letter I would like to hear from her very much. You want me to let you have one of those photographs I sent them to Findlay today directed them to Sallie I want her to give them to mother if she lets you and Sallie have one it is all right but I think you and Sallie are very keen to get my miniature and are clear of sending me yours or even saying anything about it.
Then you think you will lay in a complaint about the time I go to volunteer in the regular service and put me into a different kind of regular service I would like to know what kind of regular service you would put me in so there is nothing suits me as well as soldiering for here I have nothing to care for but myself so you see that just suits me I wrote a great long letter to John Mathias last week you ought to see the one I got from him I'll bet you would laugh John said he heard James Burns was married is it so or not, also Henry Epley[?] to Lucinda Davis how is the girls down in our neighborhood get along those directions came through
Riting[Writing] no more
But remain ever yours
Feb 19th/ '63
I received yours of Feb 14th yesterday but had not time to answer it, yesterday and today we have been moving. We finished the blockhouses at Kimbroes bridge last week. Monday we received marching orders, the citizens in and around Cynthiana got up petition sent it up to Maj General Wright (at Lexington) requesting him to leave us on the road in preference to the Regt that would take our place he granted us the privilege of remaining here as long as we wished. Yesterday the Col ordered us to move from the bridge to Cynthiana. They had to leave 12 men out of each comp in the blockhouses as guards 10 privates sergt and corp was detailed out of our comp or volunteered rather 10 privates one corp and a Lieut out of comp B the ballance of the men moved on a hill 1/4 of a mile from Cynthiana to drill scout and stand guard I volunteered to stay in the blockhouse Oscar is our sergt Apger the corp we have just more than got a nice place to stay and nothing to do and only 1/4 of a mile from a house where there is three young women Smith is the name I tell you they are clippers one of them sent me a valentine
Harrie and me went over there last Sunday night didn't get back till after 12 oclock. We just more than had a good time. They had their negroes build a fire in the parlor invited us in, we went into the parlore sat there and talked with the girls till about 7 oclock in came a little negro told us to come to supper we went to supper and I don't think I ever set down to a better table, eat our suppers went back into the parlor listened to the girls play on the Piano awhile then kited the girls around the room a while they put me more in mind of Alwards girls than any girls I ever seen we stayed there till we got tired then went to camp. Oscar, Harrie, Corp Morgan and Corp Steelsmith and myself are invited over there to a party next Saturday night We are just more than having big times here in Kentucky who could blame a fellow for wanting to be a soldier, not I. Well Jennie I have had my supper I will now finish my letter.
When you think the boys in the army don't think of their friends at home once a fortnight don't flatter yourself with such ideas as that for there is not a minute in the day what my thoughts are of you and at night I dream of you so you see my thoughts are constantly on you both night and day. Jennie I was on guard the other night I got to thinking about what times we used to have Saturday nights and Sundays I thought of all that had ever transpired between us I just thought if I had them times to live over again I never would do as I have done but I thank God that it is no worse than it is, but for all that we have had some glorious old times if I did use you a little mean sometimes but it is all over now if not forgotten which I hope it is, Jane. Anderson got a letter from his uncle he is a Doctor lives in Gallion Apger is going to write to him and ask him if he knows Julia Traul just wait till I write to her don't you think I would get a slashing answer I do, Jennie I never will forget the time I sparked her at Christian Sholty's but she was all right if she was just she was a great deal worse than ever I was and I thought I was always bad enough for anybody. You say you want one of those photographs I suppose of course you will have to have one you are a perfect little tease you always was teasing me for something but I don't care you are more the worse of that it is all right you shall have to have one if you want it. You say you will send me your miniature if I really want it Jane you know I want it or I never would have sent for it I would rather have an ambrotype than a photograph it would be much handier to carry than a photograph now please send it to me as soon as you can tell Sallie I want her to get her picture taken and send it to me. Jennie it appears that you don't want me to join the regular service Jennie there is no danger of that I like soldiering but I like my girl a great deal better. I guess if I have to stay here and soldier 3 years I will see enough of the army I have 2 and 1/2 years to serve uncle Sam yet and then I will come home and serve you the rest of my life which would be much nicer than serving uncle Sam, but you need'nt look for me home till this war is stopped and all these cursed Rebels sent to ______ we are just more than catching Rebels here now men that have served their time out in the southern army and come home I tell you it looks hard to take men after they are willing to come home and behave themselves and quit fighting us to take them and send them back over the lines taking them away from their wives and children this war is a mighty cruel thing you said in your letter that you had been to church Jennie I havnt been to church for 3 months that is a good while to not hear a sermon but I havnt been where I could attend church the boys would rather set down and play cards than go to meeting there is not a man in comp G but what plays cards preachers churchmember and all but it is no harm to play cards in the army parlor amusement I wish I had been there to help you eat your cosy dainty little breakfast then you think if I had been there it would have kept you busy baking I believe you do you remember the Sunday Algers young folks was at your house when I eat[ate] the buckwheat cakes? You say you are going into the examination class next Saturday I hope you will have all the luck in the world but don't forget to send me your picture and you may have all them photographs if you want them and I will send mother another half dozen any way to keep peace in the family but I think if you get a photograph album you will have enough of my pictures to fill it but suit yourself and it will suit me for you know I was always was satisfied with anything you done. but enough of this I want you to just spread yourself when you go to get that picture taken well I guess I will have to stop writing for the present it is bedtime the boys are all in bed write immediately on receipt of this and don't forget the picture
yours Ira Conine
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