Letter from Barnard, Job

Soldier: Barnard, Job
Allegiance: Union
Unit/Service Branch: 73rd Infantry
Home State: Indiana
Date Written: Monday, November 14th, 1864
Location: Athens, AL
Correspondence Type: Letter
Subjects: Camp Life, Comrades, Daily Life, Family, Friends, Home, Politics, Slavery, Warfare, Western Theater
 
COVER: US 3 Cent tied with Nov 17, 1864 Nashville, Ten cancel.

My Dear Flora,

We have not been driven from our Pose here yet though we still have the same orders to leave whenever a large force threatens the place. The rain has ceased and the murky clouds have been scattered to the four winds of heaven while "Old Phoebus" again asserts his supremacy and rules the day. Autumn has now fairly asserted her power. The forest and chestnut groves which two weeks ago were clad in the many colored tints are now barren as winter and the November gales moan among their branches and pile the dead leaves about their trunks. Still, as I sit in my cozy "shanty", I hear the sounds of singing birds much the same as we hear them in Indiana in early Spring. The Blue Bird, Robin, Jay, and even occasionally the Mocking Bird greet us with their familiar and sweet warbling songs. There are days even in the mid Winter which sometimes come and make one wish to live in this climate. Whenever the sunshines and the winds are still we have very pleasant, I might say warm weather here, but then the nights of winter are cold.

I have just come in from drawing rations. Drew 3 days which is all the rations we have now having moved off everything bulky on the trains to Decatur. Perry is with the Baggage and all the Convalescents of the Regiment also which leaves company K with only 18 men present.

We have heard from a few States since Election and are confident of the Success of Lincoln & Johnson. Last night on Dress Parade, Col Wade told us it was certain that Abraham Lincoln was again elected and when Parade was dismissed the air was rent with the cheers of our soldiers. We yelled so that many of the townsfolk thought the Rebels were coming in and John went down to the house of a colored family to get some corn bread we were having baked there, shortly afterward, and found one of the boys hid under the house for fear of being killed by the Rebs. He told them what the cheering was for and they were then more pleased than frightened for they think "Massa Linkum" is a mighty fine kind of a man.

We don't hear anything more of Mr. Hood and his Army, neither do we know of the whereabouts of Sherman. All of Sherman's Army that we know anything about is the 4th Corps which came by here and is now lying between here and Nashville. I think Mr. Sherman will take care of himself and it maybe when we hear of him that he will be right in the midst of the Southern Confederacy or else clean through it at Mobile or some other city on the coast. But what his movements are for certain the future only can develop for he keeps his plans mysteriously to himself. We will, however, dare to hope for something good.

I had a letter from Lizzie Greene the other day. Her brother Ed of the 21st Ind. Battery was at home on furlough. She told me also that our former schoolmate, Miss Stae Whitlock, was dead having been out to a great Democratic Rally and caught cold from the effect of which she died. Eb Merryfield had come back from Washington and gone to farming somewhere not far from Val. I presume, from what she said, Mr. Gurney had been up to North Liberty making a speechin the course of which he introduced the following lines. Has he improved the original any? by Miss Percy, I believe.

"Perhaps the violets o'er the soldier's dust.

Will half betray their buried trust;

And say their blue eyes full of dew,

We loved our country better than you do."

I also received a letter from Aunt Nancy Williams of Westville. She gave me an account of my Mother's death and burial. My brothers in Illinois were telegraphed for and were there at the funeral 2 o'clock P.M. of the 29th. A quaker preacher from Iowa by the name of Bailey, who had been visiting friends in Michigan, preached the Funeral Sermon. Aunt Nancy says of it, "He preached one of the best Funeral Sermons I ever heard, just touching every heart. It was the most solemn time I ever saw." Clinton was not present being in Iowa at the time. Rachel was getting quite well again so that she was able to be about most of the time. The Westville Soldier's Aid Society was still flourishing and Aunt trusted was doing much good.

These two letters are the extent of my receipts since I wrote in answer to yours of 30. the other day but being lonesome a little and having leisure, I concluded an hour with you, dear girl, would be a very pleasant passtime so thus have I been chattering. I don't like these little sheets of note paper though at all and never can write on one of them with half the freedom of pen and thought that I can on the "Congress Letter." I left all my paper in the desk and sent it off thinking that I would soon follow it but we are looking now for the baggage all totally ordered back again soon. Here is a little "tearing" I send you. I am obliged to get it out of the paper in this kind of style because I was so unfortunate as to loose my good knife and I lent Perry my "Florence Percy" knife and he lost that so that I am now knifeless.

Will you be so kind as to send me the words of "Kitty Wells" if you have them. I have heard it a few times and have an opportunity of learning the music if you will write off the ballad & send me. The song of "Johnny Smoker" I have heard fragments of such as Perry sings. It was a favorite "Libby Prison" air together with "Ham Fat Man." Long life to your little songster "Johnny Smoker." I presume that you Pa, having quit the habit of smoking himself, named the bird what he did in order to have one smoker yet in the family circle.

Rick. W. Valndigham, like his great name sake Chief of the "Sons of Liberty", has been left behind you told me. I think that "Lincoln's hireling", McClellan, is now left in the same manner.

Excuse this scrawling but this is the extent of my paper.

I will expect another kind letter from you soon. In the meantime, will rest content if the Rebs don't come in force to Athens. My best wishes & sincere affections are as ever yours, dear Flora, and my thoughts oft play truant leaving "Casey", Athens & the Southland to seek Flora in her village home in Michigan.

For today, Goodbye, Job (Barnard)


 

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