Center for Archival Collections

Reference Services | Manuscripts by Subject | CAC Homepage

Ira Conine Papers: Transcripts - MS 673

Ira B. Conine Correspondence - July-August 1864

July 2, 1864

Knoxville Tenn
July 2 1864


As Ritter starts for [?] tomorrow morning I though I would'nt get a better chance to send my old letter so here they come

Please take care of them as you have the rest I have requested Charley to come to see you and present you those letters which he had promised to do he can tell you all about me circumstances here better than I can write

I have a nice berth here and don't propose leaving it I am well as usual and enjoy myself as well as circumstances will advise which is none the best no society here worth a cup -- was going to the country to a party to night but it rained so it goes

My best to your father and mother and believe me [?] as ever

July 10, 1864

Knoxville Tenn
July 10 1864


Well after a most pleasant ride to the country, I have returned and as you will see, seated myself to drop you a line as it is Sabbath eve, and I generally try to write to you every Sabbath and sometimes through the week O Jennie I had a gay old time to day; went our home with a Tennessee soldier a teamster at these H'dqrts, and a second Rufus Jones for sport lives ten miles South of Knoxville He has two fine looking Sisters and they are just as lively as he is I was the most modest in the party Leave you to judge what kind of time I had But one think lacking to make the thing complete --- It was the absence of "Than gall I left behind me." Ed' Parker had just come in from London going back on train in the morning, came over to stay all night with me so I shall have to stop and chat with him awhile

Well, Parker and myself are through chattering and it is eleven oclock, Parker gone to bed and I will finish my letter before I retire You know Parker as well as myself is a great tatter and the evening was well spent well to night is the first I have saw a mosqueto or heard them their sing since I left Ky, last summer for Boston They never have any mosquitoes or horseflies here 'till about the middle of July --- As tomorrow is a busy day with me (Ration Day) and it is now quite late you will excuse me if I should drop off writing for this time by merely saying am well and expect to go to the front shortly as I understand there is a n order issued to break up convalescent camp those unfit for duty transfered to invalid corps, The remainder sent to the front However I shall write again before leaving and give you my address until then you will continue to Direct Convalescent Camp I do have some gay old times here; often think how lucky I have been since in the service, Same to be on detail somewhere and why not I Some person has to sell them and if I get the detail it is my good luck "better to be born lucky than rich," (fool for luck, poor man for children, [?] for days) Give my compliments to the ladies of Ottawa and tell them if they want a scientific letter from a festive soldier in Uncle Sam's service, who has fought, bleed, and died three or four times for his country Just send a line to Sam, and I will guarentee an answer

Yours as ever

July 13, 1864

Knoxville Tenn
July 13 1864

Miss B!

Though I have written you twice within the last week Yet another of your most interesting missives is rec' and awaits a response I know of nothing now or interesting to write yet I will endeavor to send you something For if I set my wits to work I think I can do it dont you Well you wanted to know what I was doing in the commissary? Well I am commissary sergt of the convalescent camp and a nice berth it is too --- I have my horse to ride when I want it, a general pass to pass myself and Teamsters where I choose and when I choose The Quarter Master and myself miss together and I have a cook detailed from my own camp and Righ; have a little farm house for a kitchen live just as well as I could where I at home Quarter Master drew two Officer tents one for me the other for himself had a nice bunk made for each of us, floor in out tents, a chair and a table to write on, I have but one days work to do in ten and that it to write, cypher and boss; so you see tht is not hard have a man or two detailed when I want then to handle rations --- I often think of ("Pa's little pigs and one old sow who lives happier than we do now"!) I am afraid it is to good to last --- We have four hundred and fifty men in this camp at present men from a great many different Regt's

Had a fine rain here to day air feels quite cool this evening I slept all day thought I would write to night flies would'nt be so bad but I dont know which is the worst "flies" or these cursed little millers flying through my candle and lighting on my paper but one consolation I an not alone with them, Then quartermaster ("being a young widower") is in the joining tent also writing to his sweetheart and I judge from an occasional ejaculation the he (the Lieut) is not a man of God and none the less bothered by the millers --- Indeed it is really laughable to hear him ---

He is a gay and festive soldier and what he does'nt know is'nt worth knowing untill this rebellion he was a soldier in the regular army, his time elapsed and went into the volunteer service as Lieut he is a whole foled fellow with a heart as big as any of, full of mirth and ever ready to crack a joke on propper occasions Lieut has gone to bed Hear him getting up says, Ira I've got a grayback, bring him in to my candle be he turns out to be a miller instead --- He says if any of the ladies of Ottawa want a gay correspondent their time will not be regretted or lost in introducing themselves by sending a line to John W. Wallace first Lieut and a.a.g.m. Knoxville Tenn --- and I assure you if he cant write a letter it is useless in any one else trying --- If you see Ritter Charley tell him we would like to hear from him --- Well unless I stop soon I will have this sheet filled and your letter wont be answered wither when I continued I never know when to stop you will excuse that very bad fault; will you? you ask if I remember where we were 4 years a go the forth of this month Indeed I must confess I have forgotten but I'll bet we had a gay time let is be where we might --- Indeed you should'nt blame me having great deal to say about that Photograph I prize it [?] highly and there who has a better right to say a great deal about it than I? I just think if the original was half so good it would do well enough You was always to stubborn and headstrong to be good "And yet I kinder like you a little for all" indeed it was your fault if I said any bad words not was'nt it? dont tell a story --- Oh of course I can say you never used any bad language in my presence but you know I can say almost any thing to clear you Poor Lou Jenkins I fear is a little soft or at least I used to think so when she thought in ...

[missing rest of letter]

July 19, 1864

Knoxville Tenn
July 19 1864

Miss B.,

This evening finds me sending you another line, Though I hav'nt heard from you for several days You see I dont wait for answers I ree'd a letter from home this morning They stated that Dilworth was killed the seventh of the month; Poor fellow leaves a wife to morn the loss of a brave and festive soldier ---- I always respected Dillworth very much though a rival Though none the loss of him for that; considering it his privilege --- Yet there was one thing I always would have held him accountable for; And had we ever meet in the service it would have been settled but as it is it saves trouble I will not state the cause as you are already aware of that, and was my informant --- Perhaps it is all for the best --- Charley is home and I presume ere this you have rec'd that package of letters --- Am I not clever to send you all your letters as well as the letters of others --- am I not putting a great deal of confidence in you and again, why should'nt I? Mother said your father ("our pap") had sent me a Gold pen with Anderson and as he could not come through he had sent the pen home --- She asked if she should send the pen by letter? As I have an excellent pen I shall direct her to give the pen to you for me, You will please give your father my respect and tell him I thank him very much for the present and as my recieving the pen by letter would be very uncertain I have thought it proper to present you with the pen; as I consider that the same as though I had recieved it in person ("as you and I are one") Now is'nt that saying a great deal for myself? dont give you a chance to say a word --- But I guess it is fair --- Me thinks I hear you say while reading I dont believe he has got a good pen --- writing does'nt show it that is not criterioa I have written so much lately I am getting careless if you can read it I know you wont scold for you know I never was a pen man --- And soldiering does'nt help my writing one bit --- within the last two or three weeks I have written you some pretty heavy letters when you answer dont give your name as I will readily understand the author Now if I did'nt send Eliza H- a lively letter dated July 17 I'll quit when you see her ask her to see mine of July 17 tell her you rec'd one about the same time and I said I had just finished one to Eliza She sent me her Photograph it is real nice

Every one that looks at yours, asks if you are not a Catholic as you are wearing a cross? Sometimes I say you are and again I say you are not --- Had a nice dream last night dreamed of you Though I was home and we were out buggy riding --- How I wish it were reality --- The evening are so beautiful makes me almost homesick If I should be so lucky as ever to return and get forgiveness one trip I assure you I will never be caught in another such a scrape Think I shall take care of number one from this time forward and if I dont get through there is no use of any one else trying to get through by good management It will only be luck if I dont get through and any one else does Dilworth poor fellow is the only one that has ever been call out of our neighborhood to meet his "maker" from the battle field --- "Some must fall" well it is getting latte when I sat down I did'nt [?] but a few lines I have done pretty well for me to fo hoping to hear from you soon I will close this uninteresting

My respect to your father and mother
S. I. B. Conine

P.S. forgot to say I was well

July 31, 1864

Knoxville Tenn
July 31 1864

Miss B.

Again I find myself seated for the purpose of penning you a few lines I wrote two letters last week one to you the other to Miss J. M. C. of your place did she get it that you know of I hav'nt recieved a line from any one for a week guess they have all forsaken me, indeed you know not how lonesome it is a way off here away from friends or relatives and one week and maybe two without a line from any one now had not out friends ought to think more of us and write at least once a week? Indeed I think they should, if I only had a letter from you to read to night I should almost think myself at home Now please say you will, hereafter write me at least once a week and I assure you, you will not be forgotten I am sending you a copy of my letter to the Hancock Courier tell your mother here is another of their long letters from B. J. S. Euinde[?] and she may read it, I wrote to mother concerning that pen she will give it you O dear Jennie this has been another of them long and lone by Sabbath we are accustomed to in the army. While I was in Ky I never got so lonely on the Sabbath there I would either go over to Ms. Smiths, Everett's or Bradford's and spend the Sabbaths Since I left home the last time I have either corresponded with or kept company with any woman except my own connections now hav'nt been good

This to my friend Jennie
S. I. B. Conine

Monday morning, and it is an hour till mail time I shant send this until the mail comes in Lieut Mallace just came in and said I should just say for him that he had'nt heard from Miss Stanton yet --- I do wish she would answer that note I would like to have you see some of his letter a siting --- He can beat any man I believe I ever saw he is a good scholar and used to edit a paper before coming into the service --- in addition to his (Lieut Mallace's) G. M. duties he is also Commander of this Camp You will please excuse this envelope as I have no other at present My Phiz'?] I will send you by a man who is coming home on furlough, he belongs to my camp and Regt. He is cooking for me at this camp having lost his speech last winter and not able for active duty in field --- He had applied for furlough and I think he will get it, if so I will send the picture ---- Other wise I will send it by express

Well the mail is here but not letter, I will close with my best to [?] friends

I am Jennie
Your most Obedient

August 4, 1864

Knoxville Tenn
August 4 1864

Miss B

You will no doubt think I am writing pretty often without any reply, as another mail has arrived and not a word from you, why is it? I cant think it is any fault on your part perhaps I hav'nt written enough to you (in all my letters) for you to think it worth while commencing an answer yet? I scarcely ever apologize, yet I must say I am no letter writter, I can either write a Christian, feeling interesting or love letter, I can usely say I am well, always know where I am, "what I am doing." and try to post myself as to how things are going on in general, and can tell it when I have said that, I have said all Leave you to get your love letter from Lieut Epliy, Capt J.C. Mathias, I. H. Randall and I. H. McKinnis. Now am I ever clever? For if I should try to write a Christian feeling, or loving letter it would prove a failure Afraid to say as much as "My Dear Jennie" or "My Dear Friend," in heading my letters, afraid it would elicit commiseration and comment from that ever true, much loved, and ever worthy Miss, my affections have so long been centered upon, You know I never has the faculty of pleading love and innocency as some have, Visa versa, would plead hatred and guilt, and then say "A shamed of Jesus Sooues[?] far;" Indeed I confess I was a bad boy, and entirely unworthy your affections, Why is it that those least worthy invariably gain the affections of the fairer sex while those most worthy are left to "pine in forgetfulness?" Well to change the subject --- to day as you will remember was a day set apart by our President for fasting and prayer --- nothing astis, stores all closed, you would think half Knoxville dead, The other half dying, taking it all in all forming rather a gloomy appearance which you know does'nt suit me at all, to night I am as usual whiling away my time writing to you and why should'nt I? but I must stop here as there are some boys coming from the house (clerks, orderlies, Sergent Maj and Chief Gasdener of Sanitary Commission with violin and flute, singing their patriotic songs) Serenading

With My respects to your father and mother --- Jennie will please accept my love --- I subscribe myself

Truly Yours
Ira B. Conine

Miss Jennie Bysel
Ottawa Ohio

August 9, 1864

Convalescent Camp
Knoxville Tenn
August 9 1864

My ----,

I seat myself to acknowledge the receipt of yours of August 2'' though quite limited yet none the less welcome it found me well as usual --- Another squad left this camp for the front this morning I have been sleeping all day long, dreamed two or three good dreams of you! Thought I was home but when I waked I found myself still at Knoxville I wrote to you a great long letter Sunday evening, more foolishness I'll bet than you have heard for some time before I am looking for an answer from Miss C. every morning I am so afraid she will not get it as it did not come in the same mail with yours and I would'nt have it lost for a pretty thing because I anticipate a heavy answer from that how I would like to be peeking in the window about the time she is reading it (eavesdropping) Her mother being sick at present may delay the answer for a time but if I know she has recieved it I can patiently await the answer as I know it will be good when it does come I hope she will not be afraid to speak her sentiments when she answers If she dont like such a letter she will just say dont write so again and I wont Why should I say more concerning your Correspondents I have already said too much about that which does not concern me as you say "we are not one." Now dont disappoint Mallace in that letter have her write him one letter just to hear his description which is sure to come --- Dont tell Eliza I sent her letters to you, she might not like it very well Jennie have I not trusted you a good ways? but I guess your honest would'nt steal a fellows heart and then abuse it would you?

Wish I was there to help you set up with your mother wonder if she would scold us and say we were sitting up to late! dear girl I know you must get tired and not a living soul there to cheer you, but I speak to fast, I dont know that you are living in town now and there are plenty of fellows there who never refuse good entertainment but I am also living in town if you get much a head of me you will do well so go in [?]

I as ever''
Yours Sam''

MS 673 - Ira B. Conine Papers, Introduction | Transcript List
Manuscripts by Subject | Civil War Collections