Letter from Barnard, Job

Soldier: Barnard, Job
Allegiance: Union
Unit/Service Branch: 73rd Infantry
Home State: Indiana
Date Written: Monday, May 15th, 1865
Location: Camden, AL
Correspondence Type: Letter
Subjects: Daily Life, Home, Negro Soldiers, Politics, Prisoner Camp, Slavery, Western Theater
COVER: US 3 Cent tied with May 18, Nashville, Ten cancel.

My Dear Flora,

I was made twice glad this morning by the reception of your dear letter of the 7th inst. and by the arrival of Perry and our long absent Captain Phelps. They are in good health and were glad to get back again. Cynthia went back home some days ago.

It is evening now and I have been so busy all day talking and listening that I couldn't get a chance to answer you but as I just wrote yesterday, perhaps I could have nothing of interest to write again so soon.

I am sorry indeed to hear of your illness but hope you may soon be convalescent. You musn't be sick very long, at least you mustn't get down-hearted nor feel despondent because you are sick else you will continue indesposed for a long while, perhaps. That is the way at least with us soldiers when we get the "blues" with sickness.

Perry has just been talking to a squad of negroes who have come across the Tennessee River from the Rebel Salt Petre Works where they have been kept at work. They had a pass from the Captain Commanding the Nitre works and were to report to their Master, C.C.Clay in Madison country, Alabama. Perry told them to call no man master but to report to Provost Marshal in Huntsville and that the same C.C.Clay whom they call master was one of the men who helped to murder President Lincoln and he is now in Canada. It made us all mad to think that in Alabama yet lived such men as those who traffic in flesh and blood. They seem loth to give up the idea of slavery and hang on as long as they can keep up even a shadow of reality. But the Colored populace have nearly all learned by this time that "Massa Lincoln" broke off their fetters and bid them be free.

Capt. Phelps has been telling me of Prison Life in Columbia, Macon, Savannah and Charleston, and a long tedious term he had of it. He just left home just a few days ago and saw my friend Ed and his sisters in Michigan City. They were in good health.

The weather is very warm and the mosquitoes are bad again. I haven't any file or I would try your recipe for getting rid of the pesky insects. Please to excuse me for tonight and I will finish this in the morning. So good night and many kind wishes.

16th May P.M.

Good afternoon. Captain and Perry have gone down to Larkinsville today and I thought I should be alone a little while and have a good opportunity to talk with you during the day but the train had scarce got out of sight before Captain J.J.Stevens of the 18th Mich. Brigade Inspector, came here to Inspect the company and is going to remain uintil the evening train. The Inspection is over and the Captain has become somewhat interested in "Views Afoot" by Wilkie Collins, so while he reads, I'll finish my letter. It is still quite warm.

We had the great pleasure of hearing this morning in the yesterday's Nashville paper that Jeff Davis, his family and Staff were all captured. This is good news yet. When Gen. Kirby Smith surrenders his army, l think the work of "Mustering out" will begin more linely in this western army. We expect to be home by the 4th of July at fartherst and I hope before. When we have nothing to do, soldiering is a dull occupation. Why we have no special need of guard, picket, patrol or any kind of duty - here, were it not that it has become a habit and from habit we still continue these duties. Some of the boys have been out in the country today some 4 or 5 miles where 2 weeks ago they would been all captured or killed by the numerous Bushwackers who infested the place. The angel of Peace seems already to hover o'er this Rebellious section and restore her blessings. The citizens say they can't yet realize the change.

Dew berries are getting ripe and in a few days we can begin to look for the Blackberries among the many red ones,

My Algebra is quite interesting yet and I shall probably finish it this week. I have been reading a Poem called Hettie McEwen of Nashville which I will send you. I was well acquainted with another son of Hettie's while in Nashville. His name was Robert McEwen and a Lawyer by Profession. But I am at the corner of my sheet and must close. Hoping you may be well again in a few days and write soon. I subscribe myself, yours with much love, Job (Barnard)