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Ira Conine Papers: Transcripts - MS 673
Jan 25th /64
It has been some time since I have had the pleasure of conversing with you by letter as this is my first opportunity since Jan. 1st Jennie dont think it is neglect for it is not we have been either retreating or advancing or skirmishing every day and night since I last wrote --- we are now stationed 4 miles north of Knoxville we are ordered to turn over all our mules wagons and Horses and go into winter quarters and recruit up our Regt a little rest for since they crossed the mountains they have drew but 1/4 rations and have been on the move all the time out Regt begin to look small when we left Ky it mustered nearly 900 men, it now musters nearly 500 men quite a decrease as yet I have been well --- Rarrie is in Hospital I think Anderson will be home as soon as he is able to ride he is in good spirits and is mending fast We have been having quite exciting times here for last two or three months how we will get through I cant tell but I hope all right I dont think this cursed Rebellion can hold out much longer I think they have about played out there was Rebel Cavalry force made a dash on some of our men last night about 4 miles from here and took in eleven of them They were Michigan men they got These are nice nights for raids the moon shining so bright I don't want the Rebel devils to get me I assure you Jennie what is the reason I cant hear from you I have recieved but three letters from you since I left one dated Nov. 16th one Nov. 25th the other Dec. 1st I have recieved but one from home that was from Ham dated Dec. 16th and two from Oscar The last one was written Jan. 1st he said the folks were all well and that Jennie had vacation dancing out the Hollidays we have a ball here every few days but they are leaded balls dont dance very much Oscar says about all the compliments he can pay on Jennie is, she is a mighty enticing little girl and if I want to will her away I shall will her to him but unless I hear from you before long I dont known what I might do I might come home to see what's the matter I hav'nt got a letter from you 5 weeks but I am bound to live in hopes now Jennie write as often as you can and I shall do the same
No more but remain yours
Feb, 12.. /64
Yours of Jan, 30.. was recieved yesterday had'nt heard from you before since I received yours of Dec 1st I really thought you had given me up entirely But I guess you think of me once in a while yet I am glad your school is so near out perhaps you will have time to write oftener I can't begin to get along with one letter a month ---"not if you have time to write oftener"
I sent of few lines to you by Anderson on his return I want you to send me a great long, long, letter and don't forget to enclose your Photograph now I shall look for it now please dont disappoint me --- I recieved a letter from mother Wednesday answered it last night first letter I have got from her since I left home how is'nt it to bad my letters certainly do not come through or you are all getting verry slack about writing and I cant think you are ---- well here is the mail again and I must look for an anther letter --- the mail is distributed and behold another letter from Jennie dated Jan 14 and a good letter it is too dont care now how long the was lasts nothing does a soldier as much good as to recieve a letter from home or from some intimate friend Jennie if I could recieve a letter from you every day I dont believe I would be satisfied I would then want to see you But God knows this wicked Rebellion cant last always Oh! Then what joy there will be It will be equal to that great day when there shall be no more waiting or gnashing of teeth It is then we shall cease to hear the roar of cannon The rattle of musketry or the clashing of Bayonets; "God Speed the day"
Hell I presume Ham and Miss Apger do not feel so badly by this time as Anderson is home and they find him not dangerous by wounded: Anderson is a brave and noble boy and has so distinguished himself that he will never be forgotten by his comrades ---
You write that the 21st is home and mother wrote that Dillworth was married and dont say to whom? I wish when you write such things you would write the particulars I presume you are having gay times sleighing up there we dont go sleighing down here have no snow when we want to go any place here we walk or take a government wagon I would like to have attended some of you spellings like to happen in and spell down your school
You said you almost dreaded to hear from me afraid of hearing bad news I assure you if I have no good news to write I shall not write the bad You thought several times you would not hear from me again don't borrow any trouble on that account you will not get rid of me so easy of course I have seen some varry hard times since I left home but I have been well all the time and that is almost all a soldier need ask for good health is a great blessing but all are not blessed with it Smallpox is raging verry high here at present: There is not a gay but the toll of the Death bell can be heard some poor soldier has gone the way of all the earth from some mortal wound or fever and often from homesickness There is a great deal of sickness here --- and is it any wonder the ground that was once green and beautiful around Knoxville is now covered with dead mules, horses, cows, calves, dogs, oxen and men The men are supposed to be burried but there they lay some with their feet, other with their faces and some with nearly their whole from exposed God forbid that I should ever be burried in such a place --- Jennie tell Anderson I recieved two letters for him to day I shall keep them not do as he done with mine from Julia Grave one of them is from his girl the other from Upper Sandusky since my Communications has been cut off I hav'nt heard from Miss Julia neither have I written to her you say Isaac Mullen and Dan Oren came near fighting going to fight about their girls I suppose hard up for a fight better come out and fight for their Country They would get tired of it if they were done here they would her as tame as any body in a short time It is enough to tame the oldest man in America here Jennie you wished to share my hardship? God bless your little soul if you could see how we live and do here you would never wish to be in this God forsaken land You say I directed all my letters to McComb, not all of then Jennie, I directed several to Ottawa and if you hav'nt recieved then they may come yet you think it is hard enough at home to not hear from your friends and it was much more so down here where we can see nothing but blue jackets and Rebs?
To be sure it is verry lonely here when you cant hear from home but dont flatter your self that we dont see nothing here but blue jackets and Rebs for there is some as pretty Lass's in Old Tennessee as ever the sun shone upon But as J.C. says They can chew tobacco and smoke I have had several say to me --- Why dont you neither chew tobacco or smoke? I tell them I never saw a woman smoke or chew tobacco till I came to Tennessee but that the women in the north get most Gloriously drunk very often; They think it must be awful to see a woman drunk think that is worse than chewing tobacco --- I tell them some awful yarns about the northern women and their habits Poor Sallie had to have both fingers taken off how lost she must feel without the use of her hand you say George and John Shaw have not gone in to the service yet neither will they go in if they know when they are well off
The Jennie you think we cant settle after I get home you appear to want it settles to suit you whether it suits me or not, I think you are a little particular But I guess we wont quarrel about it --- You think you will not drop any of your Correspondents that you might want to pick them up again true enough Jennie I think from the reading of your of the 14th you are rather gaining then dropping off of Correspondents while mine have all played out since I came in to Tennessee with the exceptions of yours and mother I could'nt write to so many and do them justice while I had so much marching to do Consequently I let a few of the least thoughts of slide and I think if every person would do the same they could write much oftener to those they think more of, not insinuating on you at all --- and yet it is quite seldom that I hear from you ---
I am afraid that if I should see Mr. Randall he would tell the same tale J.C. had to tell when I saw him he would say well Ira? When did you hear from Jennie B last? Well is had been some time since I heard from here; why! I just got a letter from her she is well now you mus'nt think hard of me for Corresponding with her for she wrote to me first and it would be ungentlemanly in me not to answer of course if he would tell me that he had recieved a letter from you and had not answered it or did'nt intend to answer I should take it as an insult would think he was slighting you dont know but I should be tempted to hit the little cuss --- I think you are getting to be quite a noted correspondent recieving letters from gentlemen that you never saw I have hard coaxing to get those the are well aquatinted with me to me much less those that I never saw --- Jennie when you send your Photograph please send Mollie Coates's along I have a pocket album and I will take the best of care of it --- You said yourself and Sallie Ham and father were all going to Licking Co this spring on a visit I would like to be with you verry much but you know that is impossible but if I cant be with you remember my heart is with you --- I wish you a safe journey and a pleasant time along with a good visit and I assure you, you will have that if you for I never saw a Conine but was a great talker (I was about the only one but what was always more gab than ____,) you know I am generally pretty docile
Now dont forget those Photographs and write often I hav'nt time to write any more at present excuse all insinuations mistakes and bad writing and I shall try to do better next time
Awaiting an answer
I remain ever yours
Ira B. Conine
Jennie tell Anderson to bring me a [?] of this quality of paper and oblige you show him the letter and he will know what to get he can get it as he comes through Cincinnati as we cant get any here paper here is worth $1,00 a [?] and poor stuff at that
When you get this letter please mention the date so I will know you have recieved it
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