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Ira Conine Papers: Transcripts - MS 673
Wednesday Morning November 16, 1864
This morning finds me well though somewhat fatigued after the loss of several nights' sleep. Train ran off the track last night but no one hurt. My Regt is at Johnsonville, Tenn. I saw Lieut. Curtis of my Regt this morning he is in charge of an ambulance train (the same Lieut I was with at Boston Mass). Mud here is only about shoe mouth deep and yet raining. My furlough expired last night but I had no trouble in procuring transportation this morning although there are a great many getting picked up both here and at Lousiville. They are like Anderson go [galking] along the street and the first thing they know there is a guard at their heels and they find their selves in the barracks under guard. I leave here for Chatanooga [Chattanooga] at 8:15 this PM. There are a great many here and at Louisville on their way home or furlough but this late order from the War Department revoking all furloughs and prohibiting the issuing anymore stops them and they are sent back. I got home just in time. I believe I am one of the luckiest bummers there is out any how, don't you? Have to ride to night again without sleep. If I have to lie over anytime at Chatanooga I will send you a line from there and immediately on the receipt of it I want you to write me if you don't send more than half dozen lines but write me all the news for I am indeed anxious to hear from you when our folks went home and all the men generally I am going to write Miss Conkle when I get to Knoxville if you have no affections!
Please accept my love and believe me to be ever yours,
Ira B. Conine
Jennie, I wish you would get some photographs taken from that picture in that cedar frame if you can get some real good ones and send me three of four of them. I want one for Wallace one for Col. Young
Excuse mistakes and blots for this was written in a hurry.
November 17, 1864
You will see by the heading of this that I am with Wallace this evening. I arrived here 7:30 PM, did'nt [didn't] stop in Chatanooga so I thought I would write you ere I retired for the night although I feel somewhat fatigued-need sleep. I came here found Wallace all right side up he had 5 letters for me two of them from you of course I shant answer them for I have saw you since they were written but I must say the last one is the best letter I ever read without any exceptions. Well I must tell you about our breakdown. We left Nashville Wednesday 2 PM for Chatanooga got within ½ mile of Stephenson, Alabama (there was but one passenger coach attached to the train which was filled with officers, clerks, and ladies the car attached to the rear of the train) something broke loose about the car and down we all went together. The car rolling down a bank about 15 feet, some got their arms broken, others their legs, one lady got one [___ ___] her colar [collar] bone and four ribs broken. Left her with several others at Stephenson, Alabama for surgical treatment. I came out with a gash cut in my forehead left should a little jammed and right ankle sprained the least hurt of anyone in the car. Yet thing was no one killed. I felt very thankful that I got out with my life. They say a fool for luck and a poor man for ____. Well, I feel the jar some but think I will be all right in a day or two. I haven't reported to the hospital yet but will in the morning where they can make such disposal of me as they see fit. Wallace is going to try to have me detailed with him again whether he will make it or not I cant say. I don't think I shall do anything for a day or two-quite exciting times here at present the rebs were between our forces and the plains today I have'nt [haven't] time to write to ma at present but will write her as soon as I know what my doom is to be. I wish you would send her this letter to read if you have an opportunity. Wallace says till ma if all them butter makers are for [marry] they must send him at least 5 lbs. butter each and he will judge who is to the elect. Of course you will excuse me for not writing more for you know I need sleep. I have rode every night since I left all night came through in four days and nights a distance of 735 miles lay over ½ day at Cin. ½ day at Seymour, Indiana, ½ day at Louisville, KY, 1/2 days at Nashville, Tenn, had too breakdowns and still live.
I remain as ever,
P.S. Tell our folks to enquire [inquire] of Findlay for a letter for me it is from Wallace open and read it and then you will please preserve the letter for me.
P.S. [___ ___]
Knoxville, Tenn Care Wallace untill I write you differently
found a letter here from [miss] Armstrong also one from E. ____ please write immediately to Ira.
November 27, 1864
My Dearest Jennie:
This has indeed been a long and lonely Sabbath. I have received no letters since I returned, presume they are all waiting to hear from me first. I received a Jeffersonian this morning and Lieut Wallace received a letter from his "Yaller [Gall]." Letter was mailed at Toledo. Since I have returned to this city there has been nothing but incessant rain, snow, and mud accompanied with cold weather, which you know makes every thing gloomy. But my work being almost invariably indoors I cannot complain, there is considerable excitement in this vicinity concerning Breckenridge who is getting pretty bold and somewhat troublesome in the vicinity of Strawberry Plains, New Market, and [Mopy] Creek. But General Stonewall is here fitting out an army to make a raid up in that direction and purposes starting in a day or two. The first Ohio [Heavy] are here. They are going on the raid Fred staid all night with me last night. They don't like it very well say they did'nt enlist to march and carry knapsacks. "They enlisted to garrison forts around Cincinnati." "Poor fellows I feel sorry for them in a [horn]. They have been out one year, never drew [butter] have to sleep on the cold damp ground, marched all the way over the mountains and now have to march on this raid and never have a bed to sleep in." Just think of the hardships the featherbed Regiment has to endure. Indeed they are so nice it is a pity they--but hold, I may have said already too much. There is some talk that Lieut Wallace will be appointed Brigade Commissary on this expedition, if so, I am going as Brigade Commissary Sargeant, such being the case wont I have a gay time, get to ride all over the country I marched over last winter! I fear the news are too good to be true, Col Shannon will have a chance to try the metal of his niggers as they are going. Two negro solders were shot in town today. One killed instantly the others severely wounded, one of them was pressing in all the citizen negroes to go into this 1st [U.S.C.A.Hy?] when he ran across one that was waiting on an officer in the 1st O.H.A. The officer saw him and told the guard (nigger) to release him (his waiter), which the guard refused to do and brought his gun down to a charge bayonet, when the Lieut presented a pistol and relieved the guard of his march, and longer stay in this world by putting two pistol balls through him killing him instantly. The other was severely wounded by a pistol shot from a boy he was fooling with. Awful this place for shooting men, last Friday night a Lieut of I. Penn. Cav. and the Lieut Col of the 18th Penn Cav. were at the Franklin house drinking pretty heavy when some little dispute occurred between them, the Lieut drew a revolver and shot the Col through the body, the ball coming out at the small of his back distracting two of his ribs from his back bone, the Col is yet alive but cant live long, the Lieut was lodged in jail where he yet resides. We have some loud times here and some that are not so loud. Men have to carry themselves pretty straight or they are sure to get shot, as shooting is getting to be quite common. Well Slim, there now excuse me Slim, I meant Jennie do you ever hear from my Scotch [maggot], how does Gail and [Dunn] prosper. And do you ever hear anything of my little school mate Miss Amelia? I have'nt written her yet. I presume it would be useless for me to ask how [___ ___ ___] and [___ ___ ___] get along you would only tell me you knew nothing about them of course so to keep you from telling a story I will not ask you, but you will allow me to ask how my war widdow Mrs Shaw is getting along as she is a particular friend of yours? Every time I think of her I think of the expression the duck Preacher made about Frank Sousley laying all jokes aside I took quite a fancy to Mrs Shaw and I verily believe if you was dead and her husband was dead I would be after marrying her. As it is you may only give her my regards and tell her if she is ever so unfortunate as to be a widder to bear in mind that I'm in market, for I believe I heard you say something about dying. My head is well again but it leaves quite a scar in my forehead. I am well as usual. Wallace has just called me to come and hear the answer he has written to Miss Maggie's letter excuse me a moment will you? Well his letter is pretty good did you ever show Maggie that photo of Lieut Wallace and did you tell her who it was ? Have you saw the letter he (Wallace) wrote to me yet and what do you think of it? I wrote to William McKinnis a few days ago perhaps he told you he heard from me. I am looking for a letter from you this week and I assure you nothing could come more welcome for I have thought of you an million times I am sure since I left and dream of you every night. Oh! Jennie I am going to send you a novel, I believe it is the best I ever read. "Title, Elfrida" Give my respect to all, and you will please accept my love.
And believe me to be ever your own,
December 8, 1864
My own dear Jennie,
This is the sixteenth day since my arrival and I hav'nt received a line from any one yet. It would be useless to tell you I am lonely for you certainly must know that I am. Tongue or pen are totally incompetent to express the great anxiety I have to hear from you, and yet how much longer must I be deprived the pleasure of again persuing one of your most interesting and ever welcome, aye! thrice welcome missives! The Rebel General Hood has again cut the road between Nashville and Chatanooga, and it will probably be weeks ere it can again be repaired. Who knows the trouble and suspense, the individual is in, who is separated from friends most dear, and bound by honor to remain in their present, and I might almost say forlorn and disconsolate condition cut off from every means of communication, but those who have tasted "that bitter cup." I dare say if God had granted every curse that has been ushered from the soldiers heart, there is not a rebel now in existence but would have been in the bottommost pits of Hell, long ere this. Indeed I sometimes think a man would be in possession of an iron clad constitution who can endure the toils and privatious incidents to a soldier life; for indeed he has everything to encounter. Since my return I have been very busy bringing up my papers, but I have at last nearly caught up another day or two writing will complete them then I will get some rest. Owing to Hood wending his way into Middle Tenn., General Tillson has been ordered to remain at Knoxville with his forces. Consequently Lieut Wallace and I were cut out of our anticipated trip with General Stoneman. The first Ohio Heavy (featherbed) are at Strawberry Plains. The Rebels at [Pew] Market, nine miles above the Plains. It is supposed the Johnnies want Knoxville, and they ought to have it, for you know the Lord has said "knock and it shall be opened unto you, ask and ye shall receive." But I fear if they knock here we shant be able to take them in. My opinion is the "Yanks" as they call us have about cleaned them out of house and home. "And they know not where to go or whither to take up their abode." Well I must lay aside my writing for the present as a couple of young ladies have just rode up for the purpose of visiting their brother, who is a ____ at these Head Quarters. He is not here at present so I shall have to act as substitute. They are Parson Hines daughters, I expect to be somewhat embarrassed but here they are so excuse me.
Well after the departure of my lady visitors I received an order to furnish rations, quarters, and clothing for another squad of escaped prisoners which I most cheerfully done as they came barefooted, bareheaded, and no trowsers [trousers], coat, or jackets on each had a pair of drawers and an old quilt which they had become in possession of by being (as soldiers generally pretty long fingered-- Their hair long and tangled, assuming rather the uncivilized than civilized appearance. As I looked at them, I thought to myself I have soldiered two years and yet how little do I know of the toils and privations of a soldier life in comparison to some of my comrades! I believe I would rather suffer death than to fall in the hands of the rebels. I think I shall serve the remainder of my enlistment in Knoxville or some other good place, but it is bed time and I must retire, I will go to bed and dream of you. Tomorrow is Sabbath and I shall be at home alone all day, wish you would come down and see me, I have a great many things to tell you of that I cant write. I am well and wishing you the same I bid you good night.
I remain as ever yours,
Ira B. Conine
I will put this in the office but when you will get it I cant say. Now a kiss and then by-by,
From your Ira
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