The postal envelope is not
Head Quarters Co. F.
45th Ill. Vol.
Jackson Tenn. July
31th [ 1862 ]
My Dear Wife,
Yours of the 24th Inst. Reached me
day before yesterday, and I should have answered it yesterday,
but I was on duty, consequently had not time. I wrote to you two weeks ago
last Sunday which letter you ought to have received before you wrote.
I hope you have got ere this, if not, I know you feel very uneasy about
I am not sick.
On the contrary,
I am first rate.
Better than I have been at any time since I came back.
In fact I was never better in my life, and hope that now I have got
climated my health will continue good.
I got a letter from Josiah a few days ago and he said the report was all
around there that I was sick in the hospital.
I have not been sick enough to have any thought of going to the hospital.
I do not see how rumor get started.
There is but a remnant of the 45th
in Jackson. Most men are out guarding railroads. There are but a few left
in our company.
They have been out over a week. I have not seen Edwin for that length of
time, though I heard from him yesterday. He was well.
Those of us that are left here are on guard duty most all the time.
What keeps us on so steadily is that we have been expecting an attack on
our forces at this point.
The secession element encouraged by its late successes is getting very
The confounded rebels have adopted a guerilla warfare and are exceedingly
troublesome. We can not get hold of them.
They are here today, and some where else tomorrow.
A day or two ago some of them attacked our guard on the R.R. and they were
thinly scattered, before we could concentrate, they were driven off.
While this was going on a citizen set fire and partially destroyed a
bridge., thus cutting off our communication with Columbus.
The bridge however was repaired next day, the bridge burner caught and I
expect hung. His house with one or two others of his secesh neighbors was
burned, and considerable corn and other property confiscated.
Well yesterday some of those good citizens came down to Gen. Logan and
asked to be paid for their property destroyed.
The Gen. very cooly told them he had no money, that lightning set fire to
and destroyed their property,
and that perhaps when they stopped burning railroad bridges the lightning
word stop burning their houses and I think very likely.
The most notorious band of guerillas that infests these parts is headed by
a son of
Dr. Jackson whom I told you of in my last as being sent north because he
refused to take the oath.
A few days ago he had the impudence to send a message to Gen Logan telling
him that he meant to take the town of
Jackson inside ten days; telling him also that he understood that he,
Logan, was encamped in a very nice grove, and he wished him to select the
cleanest limb there was to hang on.
Gen. Logan sent back that he might take the ground that Jackson stood on
but that he would never take the town.
He meant of course that he would destroy the town and I have not the
slightest doubt that if we were attacked here with our present small force
that he would do it.
I had the honor of searching Mrs. Dr. Jacksons house yesterday for
arms said to be concealed there,
We found nothing however but one old musket. You enter your house and
proceed to search it throughout, yet we do that here with perfect
I am in good spirits now although we seem to be beset on every hand.
I think we can hold our position until the was policy changes and we get
more men in the field.
Then I hope we shall make war in earnest and soon get the thing done.
The policy of the war must change or we may fight until there is not a man
left to fight and then be no nearer the end. I am more and more convinced
of that every day,
as I heard Gen. Strong say yesterday our course is to occupy, subjugate
and desolate, take and destroy everything.
Leave the country desolate, take the women and children, carry them south
of our lines and leave them.
They would then be in communication with their friends, and would not need
our soldiers to protect them.
Such a course seems harsh but it is the only one. We must make them feel
our power. We have tried to conciliate long enough. I got a letter from my
brother Richard a few days ago.
He was at home on furlough but did not know how long he would be able to
stay. I hope long enough to make a good visit.
He has been from home a good while, and seen some of the hardships of war.
He sent his respects to you. When did you hear from Morris.
When you write again tell me when you last heard from him, where his reg.
was stationed, the letter of his company and number of his regiment.
You must have cut a pretty figure falling off backward from a horse - well
Ill give up. I thought you was something of a rider.
I solemnly charge you never to get on horseback again until you have
learned how to ride - at any rate if you must fall off dont fall
by the way did you learn that in attending those female
lectures? But joking aside dear I wonder it had not hurt you.
You did not say whether it did or not. How is your health this summer?
Does you side trouble you any?
Keep up good spirits my loving wife. Dont be discouraged. A
soldiers wife, as well as a soldier, should be brave. Trust in God for the
He has been gracious and merciful to us in the past. He has carried me
safely through many dangers and I can safely repose full confidence in
We have some new clothes, same color as we had before. You must send me
your likeness as soon as you can.
I lost the back of my locket, and my wearing it and sweating so much has
spotted it so that it is nearly spoiled.
Send me one soon. I can not get along without it. I will direct this to
Poplar Grove as I think it will reach you there.
Give my love to Josiah. I shall write to him soon.
Tell the rest of the folks around there that I dont know as I have
Respects to send them.
Your loving Husband.
/s/ J. P. Jones
John P. Jones, author of this letter,
was mustered in Dec 29/61 as Sergeant in Co. F
45th Regiment, Illinois Volunteer
Later, he was Discharged as 1st Sgt. Co. F Apr, 1863. Commissioned to rank
[2nd Lieutenant] from Oct 1/62.
Mustered in to take effect from Apr. 9/63. Then on 8 November 1863
he was mustered in as 1st Lieutenant.
He was mustered out of service, 28 Dec 1864 at Savannah Georgia.
The above information is from John P. Jones service record from our
National Archives. Gordon McHenry dates
the letter as 1862.