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Civil War Letters of

John Hughes

October, 1862


Contributed by Tom Caulley

Rolla, Mo
Oct 4th, 1862

Dear Wife  I set myself down to write you a few lines to let you know that I am still well and in tollerable good spirit and I hope when this letter reaches you it may find you all well and enjoying the blessings with which you are surrounded.

I received a letter from you one day this week. I was very glad to hear from you but was very sorry to hear you was sick. I would like very much to get home to see you once more. I think if I could see you and talk with you you would better satisfied. I am very sorry to learn from your letters that you are so dissatisfied. It causes me to be more dissatisfied than I would [be]. I think that you ought to feel yourself greatly blessed. While you [are] at home with the children and have plenty to eat with the liberty of going anywhere you please. It is not like being compelled to stay away from home and having to go where you are ordered and having to eat just what you can get without being invited to go anywhere without a pass.

I do not want you to understand me to be complaining for I knew all about things before I went into it, but I want you to look [at] how much better you aree situated than myself. It is true it is bad to be left in your condition and especially sick without me being at home but that is not like being away from all your friends and exposed to all the dangers of war and liable to sick without any friend near to comfrot you.

Oh hush this complaining and it will add to my comfort as well as your own. You seem to blame our officers for my not getting to come home but you are wrong. it is an order from the war deptartment forbiding any more furlos being given. It is more than our officers can do to give furlos for if they could they would. You have no idea how much good it would do me to get home again if I thought I could get to stay but I do not want to be in the malitia nor would I stay in it, if I was. I want you to try to content yourself and do the best you can until I get home again. I donot know when I will get home but I will come as soon as I can. There is some talk of peace being made. If it is true we will get to come home to stay. May the Lord speed the time.

I was at Rolla yesterday and saw several soldiers in the fort with balls and chains on them. There is about 40 such villians there. We had not go to camp before the cannon commemnced firing for something. News perhaps. I want to write you as often as you can. If we can't see each other thank the Lord we can hear from each other. And I want you to suit yourself about wether you stay on the farm or not. If you are too lonesome I would not have you to stay on the farm for all that is on it. Make yourself and the children as comfortable as you can.

I did not get to finish my letter yesterday. I am still well today. We have no news  worth notice in camp. We are still at Rolla and expect to stay here some time. I  cannot say where we will go Sunday Oct. 5th, 1862 I wish I could get to see          
••••• [letter incomplete]


Rolla, Mo.
Oct. 8th, 1862

Dear wife and children it is with the greatest of pleasure that I set down to answer your letter of the 4th which I received last night (and) which gave me great  pleasuere to hear from you. I am truly glad to hear you are all getting better for if you was sick and I could not get home, it would go very hard with me. It is hard enough to stay away when all is going right at home.

I am well today. I have been unwell since I left home. I took cold when I first went  to the baracks with a bad cough and never got over it since we came here and took some medicine. I think I will get along pretty well now. I hope this letter will find you all in as good health as I now enjoy.

I have no news of much importance to write to you. You have the papers and if you  read them you know as much as I do about what is going on. Schofield has run the  rebels out west and it is belived that we will not have to go any further west. I am in hopes that we will not for we could not go any other way that would be as hard on  us, I belive, We will either go to Salem or back to St. Louis. We are still in the  same place 3 miles west of Rolla.

I wish to the Lord that I could get to see you and the children once more but there is no chance for that. We have been notified that there wil not be any more furlows  given and we are forbidden to ask for a furlow. I wish the head officers was all hung and we had men of some feelings and principal in their place. It is not our officers  that in [are] in fault for if General Fisk could he would let us go home. It is the district commander General Curtis that is in Fault. We have splendid company officers and a good company of men but our Lt. Col. is not the man he ought to be. He takes liberty that he ought not.

I do not know whether I will get to come home this fall or not but I hope there will be different arrangements made before long. If I ever get in reach of you I want you  to come and see me and If I ever get a chance I will come home. I have only one day  to stay.  it would be more pleasure to me to see you than anything in this world but  one great consolation is I will not have to stay in the army always. If my staying in the army for three years would kill all the rebels I would be willing to stay for when I think what has brought all this on us I have no love for rebels.

Oct 10th I did not get to finish my letter yesterday on account of having to go to Rolla on duty. I am tollerably well today considering everything. I had to stand out in all the rain and cold without any fire or sleep and but little to eat. I had to start from camp at seven o'clock yesterday without breakfast but I got a good supper for 20¢ and got back to camp about 12 o'clock today. I hope it will not make me sick. It has rained 2 days and nights.

I have not any news of importance but the cavalry brought in some of the southern villans yesterday and put them in the fort. I wish they was all dead. General Fisk is here now but I donot know what he is going to do nor do I know how long we are to stay here.  we have all been presented with a nice testament and hymnbook by General Fisk and his wife which was very acceptable to me •••••••

Letter is incomplete


Rolla Mo.
Oct 15th. 1862

Dear Wife and children May the Lord bless you all. I have set down again to write you a few 1ines to let you know how I am getting along. I thank the Lord that I am well in body and tollerably well ln spirlt and hope when this reaches you it may find you all well both bodily and spiritually.

We are still at Rolley but are under marching orders. I do not know where we are going but it is generally belived we are going to Salem and I hope we may or if we go there I think I will stand a chance to see you. I will let you know where we are going as soon as I find out myself and if we get to Salem and I do not get to come home I want you to try to come and see me. Our lieutenant promised me to try to get a permit for him and me to get out on a recruiting expedition but our having to march Will knock that all in the head at this time but I may get out when we stop again but you need not look for me until you see me.

I want to see you very badly indeed but all I can do is to want. Yet I live in hope that the good Lord will provide some answer before long. Everything seems to be working in our favor. The rebels are getting whipped badly in every battle and are getting tired of the war. Last night's paper gave an account of the capture of 16 or 18 thousand rebels in Kentucky. There is a general dissatisfaction among the rebel soldiers. read the papers for yourself. I hope they will make peace soon for I am very tired of war. but when I say I want peace I mean I want the rebels to lay down thelr arms and ask pardon for what they have done and I want government to hang all the leading men and and make the rest pay the expence of this war. My home is very dear to me and I love my famlly better than anything on this earth but I do not think I can live by any of the rebels for when I think what has been the cause of all this war and sufferlng it would not do for a rebel to cross me. I fear lf the rebels are not driven out of our country we will have trouble after peace is made.

I want you to try and keep in good spirits and all will be right after aWhlle. I received your letter of the 5 of Oct. last sunday night. I was very glad to hear from you and to hear that you was all getting well. I have received 7 letters. from you and one from Edney. You may see that I have got all the letters you have sent to me and you can also see I have not heard from you in 10 days. I wish you would write oftener if you can for that is the only way we have of talking together and I thank the Lord for the liberty of writing. If it was not for this liberty we have our condition would be a great deal worse than it is although it is bad enough now. then while we have this liberty let us enjoy it then write often and a heap of it at a time. You need not be afraid of tiring me by reading your letters for I will read all you can write with pleasure.

Our regiment is not in very good health. There is about one man out of every 8 on the sick list. Diarrhea is the principal complaint. There is but very few bad cases now. There has been 13 deaths in the regiment. There has been one death in our company, a young man by the name of A.J. Nuse (Noose) died day before yesterday. He was not sick more than 36 hours. I will be glad when we get away from this place. I do not think the water is healthy here. There is some little dissatisfation in camp on the account of our lieutenant colonel. He is almost too cross to get along well with a set of men who knows as much as he does. But I think we will get shed of him before long. If our old Colonel was with us all would go on well. I think he will be with us before long.

They are sending all the sick to Rolla to the General Hospital and all that is able will march soon. I wish wish I could get to see you and the children for it seems like a year since I left home. The time is rolling on when I shall see you at home on Earth or in Heaven and one thing is very certain wether we all meet on Earth or not we will soon meet in the world to come and what a happy meeting it will be. if we are found on the Lord's side Oh then my dear wife live in the fear of the Lord. Put your trust in him and pray the Lord give you richly in the holy spirit to uphold and sustain you in all your trials and temptations and troubles. May the Lord speed you on your way to the heavenly land. May he help you to bring our children along with you so that we may be one undivided family in our fathers house and to you my dear little boys be good children. obey your mother and fear the Lord. Remeber, he sees you at all times. He hears every word you say. It is the Lord that gives you your lives and it will be through his mercy if I ever get home to see you again. And if I never get home, I want you to remember that I have often prayed for you and still continue to pray for you and I am determined to live for the Lord. Let others do as they may. By the grace of God I am determined to make my way to heaven. Oh then wife and children live for God. Religion is good to live by and is far better to die by. If I neve see you on Earth, I hope to meet you all in heaven. May the grace of our good Lord Jesus Christ be be with you all and bring off more than conquer through him that loved us is my prayer.

8 O'Clock at night the 15th. We haye just heard news that we will march to Salem day after tomorrow. I will write again as soon as we have stopped and let you know where we are and how long we will stay. If we do go to Salem will be in a days ride of home. I hope it is true for I would rather go there than anywhere else except the Knob I will crose hoping to hear from you soon.

(Fragment found between letters dated October 15 and October 20)

...long and dull. If I could get to see you once in awhile I would be tollerable well satisfied with my condition. It is my duty to defend our country so that our children may have a good government to live in. So that they will not have to suffer what we are suffering. I thank the Lord that while I am seperated from them that is dearer to me than all the other things on thiS earth and have to suffer all the hardships and privations of war exposed to dangers and hardships. I still have a hope of one day gett1ng to a better world than this. I hope that if I never am permitted to return to enjoy your society and share with you the comforts and ills of life I shall soon meet you on the banks of sweet deliverence where all tears will be wiped away. I thank the Lord for the privilege we enjoy here. We have meeting in our company every night and the interest is increasing. May the Lord speed on the work.

Hariet live religious. trust in the Lord and he will give you grace sufficient for your day and trials. Our lives is but short at best If we shall never meet on Earth it will be but afew days til we meet in heaven. My lov1ng wife donot greive for me be resigned of the will of the Lord.Pray for me. boys mind your mother in all things and be good boys. I hope that I will get home befofe long to help you with your work. Learn your books. Harlet if you have a chance send the boys to school.

I must close. Please write often. I wlll come home whenever I can. Give my love to all the Union friends and tell the Rebels they all ought to be hung. May God bless you all.

John C. Hughes to his loving wife Hariet Hughes, Farewell.

Write as soon as you get this.


Dent County, Salem, Mo.
Oct. the 20th, 1862

My dear Wife,

It is with the greatest pleasure I set down to answer your kind letter of the 15th of Oct. which I received last night. I was very glad indeed to hear from you but sorry to hear that you have the chills again. I am glad to say to you that I am in better health than I have been since I left home and I hope this may find you all well and in good spirits enjoying the blessings that surround you.

I begin to feel like I was getting back towards home again. We are camped about a mile north of Salem and if I was at liberty I could start and walk home in a day but I have not that priviledge of doing so but I have the promise of getting off after awhile if we stay here long. our first lieutenant says he will get me out on a furlo after he gets back from St. Louis. He will be gone fifteen days or more and it maybe sometime after he comes back before he can get me off and we may not stay here long enough for me to go home. After he comes back.

there is no telling where we will go when we leave here. But it is the opinion of most of the regiment that we will go to the Knob when we leave here. We are fixing our camp like we might stay here sometime. We have a beautiful place to camp and as good water as ever run out of the earth. We got here yesterday. I would like very much to see you and the children but you know that it is out of my power to get home now. I still live in hopes that some unseen way may come around and I will yet get to see you before I have to clear away. If you are able to ride this far I would be glad if you would come and see me least we should go farther away and I shall not get to see you at all. You can ride here in a day if you had some one to help you cary the child or you could stay at Paten McMurtry's all night and come the rest of the way the next day. I do not think you would be in any danger to come and see me. If you come soon for fear we might leave here and you would have your trip for nothing.

I wrote you a letter on the 15th but you had not received it when you wrote your last. I want you to continue to write as often as you can.

(Letter MAY be incomplete considering the lack of his traditional closing)


Salem Mo.
Oct the 25th 1862

My dear Wife and Children May the Lord bless you all in my prayer amen.

I have set·down to write you a few lines to let you know I am well this morning and doing the best I can but the best is not anything to brag about. We have plenty to eat but we are camped out in tents and it has snowed and it is very dissagreeable and cold. I hope this may find you in good health and enjoying the blesssngs of your homes and firesides. We are camped a mile north of Salem and from all I can learn we will stay here sometime. The officers are bulding chimneys to their tents like they expected to winter here. We got here last Sunday. I am now 25 miles nearer home than I was when I was at Rolla and I could walk home in a day if I was at liberty to do so.

I received your letter of the 15th one day this week. I was glad to hear from you but was very sorry to hear you was sick again. I hope you are well before this time. I fear you expose yourself too much. You must quit fretting and take care of yourself or you will have the chills all winter.

I also received 2 letters from the girls. was glad to hear from them. I wrote you a letter this week which you ought to get today but I was afraid you would not get and would try to go to Rolla to see me. I would be very glad to see you and if you think you you can stand the trip I wish you would come and see me for I do not know when I will get home. You can come to Paten McMurtry's in one day then you will be in 10 miles to here. If you come you had better come as soon as you can for fear we might leave here though there is no prospect of leaving here soon. Yet we may leave here.


I have the promise of getting on detached service if we stay here long. You can guess if I do get off I will up and scadaddle home in a hurry.

Times is quiet in this part and perhaps (it) will remain so. There is not any rebels any where near here except afew thieves that scout around in the brush. Nine is the most that has been seen in any place. I saw Pat McMurtry the other day, He says there is no danger in citizens passing the road from here to Belleview. There is some trouble in sending letters from here home. There is no mail from here to Caledonia and all our letters have to go and come by Rolla and St. Louis And I am just out of stamps and do no know where I will get any more.

If you have plenty, I wish you would send me a few so I can write to you. If you get this before you come I want you to bring me some tobaco if there is any of what I left. It cost about a dollar a pound here and I wish you would take good care of what was raised for it will be very dear.

you have not said anything about wether the boys are going to school or not If there is any school. I want you to send the boys to school all you can.

If you come to see me, I want yo to bring my gloves for it will cost me a dollar and a half to buy a pair here. the people ask it all for anything they have to sell and if we buy anything we must spend 50¢ or they will not change a bill.

You will have to make arrangements about getting the corn gathered for I can not get home to see to anything for you. And do not pay money or coin for anything if you can help it. Sell any of the stock you can spare. kill the most of the hogs if they get fat. wean the mule if you can not sell it. I wish you would not turn any stock in the orchard. That will hurt the apple trees.

You have but little idea how bad I want you and the children but I cannot. Boys I want you to be good boys and mind your maw. Feed the stock and keep good fires and nurse Valentine. I do not want to hear of you being bad boys while I am gone but if I can hear of you being (good) children Oh how glad I will be. Learn you books all you can. May the Lord bless you is the prayer of your father.

Hariet, pray for me that the Lord may give me grace to bear me up in the midst of all the temptations of camp life for it is a hard place for a Christian to live. But thank the Lord I feel no inclination to fall in with any of the weakness of the army. We have not had our prayer meetings since we came here but I think we must make a start againt before long. I want you to write to me as often as you can and do not fret about me being gone for the Lord will take care of me. And I think I will get to come home to stay by spring. I hear a strong talk of peace being mad. Trust in the Lord in all things. No more this time but remain your loving husband John C. Hughes to my dear wife, Hariet Hughes and children.

When this you see then pray for me and if on Earth we no more meet ­an interest in your prayers I crave that we may meet beyond the grave. Oh that the Lord would take charge of you all and guide you in the way of all truth and help both you and me to live into a coming judgement. Then when our days are over we will all have a happy home where we will part no more but will unite in singing redeeming love and dying grace. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all is my prayer, amen.

I hope to see or hear from.you soon. I am somewhat dissapointed tonight for I expected to get a letter from you but it has not come. It is a cold night and I am setting on a pumpkin writing on a cracker box. You must write and direct to John C. Hughes Co. I 33rd Mo. Vol to the care of Capt. Tracy. You see the letter has to come around by Rolla. Good night my loving wife and children. I wish I could stay with you til morning but I must go back to camp.

Home Sweet Home.


Camp Near Salem, MO
Oct. the 31st, 1862

Dear Wife and Children it is with great pleasure that I set down to write you a few lines to let you know that I am still alive and in good health and I hope you are all enjoying the same blessings.

I hardly know how or what to write. I have been looking for you and am still looking but it seems to be all in vain. You have not come and I am pestered. I received your letter of the 19th and was glad to hear you was all well and getting along as well as you are. I am glad you did not start to Rolla. It would have been a hard and tiresome trip and worst than all it would have now been over now. We was not situated to keep you there.

We are still at Salem but I do not know how ling we will stay here. I have (Bryan) been appointed as one of the hospital nurses. I think I will like the business much better than doing camp and pickett duty. I only have watch 6 out of 24 hours and have the best that is going to eat. And get $7.50 more on the month. I do not have to carry any gun and hve my napsack hauled. George Bryand is one if the nursemates. Him and me sleeps together.

I would be mighty glad to see you and the children once more somehow. It runs in my head that you will be here yet today. If you could come now I wish you would come along. Thompson Hutchens (Hutchings) is here and will go home tomorrow. I will send my likeness by him to Allen Buxton's. you can get it from there.

I do not know how long we will stay here nor where we will be going when we leave here and if you want to see me half as bad as I want to see you, you would lose no time in coming to see me. Perhaps this will be the last chance you will have. I do not know for certain wether I will get to come home or not this winter. I will come as soon as I can.

I will now close my letter beliving I will see you before you will see this. Write soon and come sooner. Give my respects to good union people and hate the rebels for me. When this you see remember me John C. Hughes to the wife whom I love. Pray that we may all get safe home again so farewell my friends, farewell.

To Mariett Hughes
Direct to John C. Hughes
Co. I, 33rd Mo. Vol. Rolla, Mo.


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