Letter from Barnard, Job

Soldier: Barnard, Job
Allegiance: Union
Unit/Service Branch: 73rd Infantry
Home State: Indiana
Date Written: Tuesday, November 8th, 1864
Location: Athens, AL
Correspondence Type: Letter
Subjects: Comrades, Daily Life, Family, Friends, Guerillas, Home, Newspapers, Politics, Tactics, Western Theater
My Dear Flora,

Last night your soul-cheering, heart-warming words of 30th Oct. were read with pleasure and I now avail myself of an unemployed hour to reply. The same mail brought me your kind letter and one from home also. Yours, the very embodiment of happiness, breathing life, and lively emotions in every line, awakening a like feeling in my own heart. The other bringing the sad, crushing intelligence, the death of my dear Mother. She died on 27th Cot. after a sickness of some 4 weeks.

It was strange to me at first when Perry told me what his letter from Cynthia said. I could not comprehand. I was shocked sadly but could not weep. I came to my room, tore open my Father's letter, attempted to read it but my sorrow then poured forth in tears - bitter, blinding tears. John read me the letter. Althought so far absent, I felt the loneliness of "home without a Mother", and thought how lonesome must be Arbor to the dear folks now at home. She was buried just at the right of the entrance in the little graveyard by the school house, it being a spot selected by my father some years ago for the remains of our family deceased. She was so kind, so careful, so good that we all loved her so dearly and now she is the first of all our family circle to pass "over the River".

Eleven of us brothers and sisters live to mourn her departure, to think of her many virtues, her tender kindness, her affection, and to remember and I trust obey her early teachings and later councils. I have felt lonely indeed today but John and Perry - dear as my brothers are here to sympathize and mourn with me. I will bear it with a soldier's heart, if possible, remembering that God doeth nothing wrong.

The kind of weather you describe as having in Michigan is just such as we are now having here. I believe it has not failed to rain every day for the last 8. We are still holding this Post but yesterday sent away on train all of our heavy and surplus Baggage to Decatur and have orders, I believe, to evacuate the place whenever the enemy appears before it in force. The enemy is reported to be on the River about 15 miles below Decatur at Florence occupying both sides. How true this is I can not tell for we know nothing certain here. In fact there is no certainty in war.

Today is the great day, long to be remembered, A day by with interest to all our country and the lands beyond the ocean. The eyes of all Europe watch us as with a falcon's eye. The soldiers of Hood's army anxiously await the result of today's voting. At Decatur, during the fight, the Johnnies would come up to their "Gophger Holes" and hurrah for "Little Mac" with a zeal that showed who they would support today. Our boys would answer them with a "Hurrah for Lincoln," when their reply would be, "Why don't you hurrah for Jeff Davis?" I hope that all who have the privilege of voting today will prove themselves worthy to be American soldiers in the Union Army and if some who vote at home disgrace their nation by supporting the "Chicago Scaffold," let them suffer for it by being themselves disgraced ir in mild soldier phase,"shot to death with musketry at such time and place as Providence may direct." Perhaps I had better soften that sentence a little. Let them be an hour with Mosby and his Guerrillas and it will make good union men of most of them.

Today is the "last Rally," and by the way I was so fortunate as to come across siad poem by Trowbridge in one of the Nashville Papers. It is spendid truly. Thinking perhaps you might not have noticed it, I sent the paper containing it to you a few days ago. Yes, I did like it at first sight for it was full of poetry & patriotism.

I believe I met Mr. Douglas of whom you write at Val once while I was home. He is a small man or boy rather and looks for all the world like Joe Sherry who used to attendschool at the V.M. & F. I never heard of Miss Lottie Eaton. I believe not much prospect of coming home to "Recruit" any more for the 73d as our term of service expires in 9 months & 8 days more and we don't expect to re-enlist for a while.

Seeing that you all accuse me more or less of being the Author of those lines,"Waiting for the Mail," I'll tell you just the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Glidden wrote three stanza's brought them to me to criticise and I altered the first two and suggested he re-write the 3rd which he did & I corrected & remodeled it some and thus was the production written. You must still consider Henry as the author, I the critic. Well, no difference, if the ladies monopolize the Business of V- where the gents get home from war, they can wed the fair monopolists and form partnerships. Perhaps the business may become sufficiently lucrative as to support both husband and wife.

Your Poem, "Alone in the Dark" is quite nice. I have none I belive to send you in return this time so accept thanks. I have been reading nothing much but what papers can be obtained here and what are sent me from home. I saw some very beautiful Poetry in the last Harper's Weekly. I have not made much progress in music lately and because thereof, sold my flute to the Quartermaster the other evening, he promising to loan it to me whenever I felt particularly musical. The Ague has taken most of the music and mirth out of the company. Charley is away at Pulaski and I don't sing much now. Tell Clarence I wish him good success with his gun & that he will find ducks much more leasant to shoot at than Rebels. Give my kind Regards to all the members of your cheery "Home Circle" and pardon the partiality. Accept for yourself the True Love of Job.

Good bye, Flora. You're always thought of and I am always glad to hear from you. Be a good girl and I'll come back to "America" some of these "dry months." Job (Barnard)