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Civil War Letters of

John Hughes

January, 1863

Contributed by Tom Caulley

Columbus Kentucky,
January the 1st 1863

Dear Wife It is with the greatest of pleasure that I have sit down to answer your kind letters which I have received since I came to this place. I have received 3 letters from you since I landed at this place. I recieived a letter tonight dated Dec. the 26th. I was very glad to hear from you but very sorry to hear that you and Valentine was sick. I feel bad to think I have to absent from you while [you] are all well but when I know that you or the children are sick and I can't get home to see you it is very hard thing to stand. You need not think strange that I forgot to inform you that I am well ever since we left Hartsvill. I was very sorry when we had to leave St. Louis for I expected to get to go home but it seems erverthing works against my getting home. But we must hope for the better.

We are at Columbus Kentucky but I cannot say how long we will Stay here. We may stay a month or two and we may leave here in a few days. There has been considerable excitement here but I think it all will amount to nothing. The evening we landed here we heard that there was forty thousand Secesh marching on this place but they have not got here yet. We had quite a stir today but no fighting and I think there is as much danger of St. Louis being attacked as Columbus. It would take a mighty force to whip us herer and the Rebels are well aware of it. I cannot tell you how many troops there is at this place but there is several thousand. Oliver and Joseph Kirk (Kirkpatrick) is here but I have not saw them since we come here. I have not had time to go to see them. I expect you will hear many frightful tales from this part of the country but I want you not to get scared for you can't hear the truth as far as you can see. I expect the news has gone to St. Louis that we was fighting here today. When you hear any of those frightful stories wait until you hear from me and I assure you I will tell you the truth and if anything should happen to me I have friends that will let you know and that will care for me. I hope you will excuse me for not writing sooner. I have heen waiting to see the results of this excitement and to hear from home again. I was afraid when I heard what was the matter with Valentine that you had waited too long before you sent for a doctor but as he is better I have some hope that he will get well. If it was in my power I would go home and see you but it is useless to talk about a furlo or even think about such a thing. But if I ever get back to St. Louis I will go home if it cost me my life. The prospect for Peace is not much better than it was when I left home. And had I had knew how things was agoing to work I would have stayed at home or if I had known that I would not have not got to go home to see to things.

January the 2nd 1863 I am still well this morning and nothing new has occured since yesterday. Had I have known that I could not have go┬▒ a furlo I never would have joined the army and if I ever get out I will stay at home the rest of my life. Had I the time and space I could write you many things but this is all the paper I have got and no money to buy more. It is now time that the paymaster was herebut I have not saw him yet but I have heard he is in town. I hope we will get out money soon. If we do I will send you all I Can. If I get what is due me I will get sixty dollars. Perhaps I can send you fifty dollars and if I do I want you to keep what you need and pay the rest to Campbell if he must have his money. Tell your father not to give himself any trouble about that matter. And if Campbell pushes for money to give up my property to satisfy the execution and I will try to send money to redeem it. and if he sells it I will see if I can't bring him to tow. Tell your father to rest easy and to let me know how the thing is going. I think Campbell must be a Rebel by his pushing on me at this time. Let me know if he does push and I will make it all right. If I send you any money I don't want you to get scared and pay it all out to him.

I have just heard that we are to get our pay next Monday. If so you may look for some money in the next letter. Watch the office I will not risk sending it all in one leter or fear of losing it.

God bless you all. How bad I want to see you. I think if I was at home I could be a great help in sickness as I have had considerable experience in sicknes since I left home. We have nearly all kinds of diseases to work with. The Belleview boys is all well except Will Woods. You may think that my business would not be healthy but the boys says that I look better than they ever saw me. Don't be scared if you hear of going into battle for I will not have to fight.

It seems like they have changed the design the war and are going to turn the Negros loose and if that be the case the government will loose most of its army. I don't think the men will stand it longer than the first of March without a great change in affairs. The most of the men have it in their heads to go home in the spring and I believe they will go. There is hundreds of Negros here that had left their masters. Many of whom are living in the misserable huts dug in the hillsides.

I have not room to write any more so I will close for the present hoping to be permitted to see you and the children ere long. Please write often and long and do not be discouraged because I am in Dixie.

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