The following letter is from Edward C. Reap to his mother Rachel Gladney Reap in Bradley County, AR. Edward served with Co. B. (Old Co. K) 9th AR Infantry as a private.
The letter appears courtesy of Bettye Hogue Bond. Corrections and explanatory information are included in the letter below.
Oct 8, 1861 Obion, Tenn.
I now take my pen in hand to inform you that I am in tolerable good health at the present hoping these few lines may find you all enjoying the same blessing.
Ma, we have a pet yankey in camp now, he is bare footed, slightly clothed and both of his hands is cut off above his wrists. We all think he is sent out for a spy. He is acting "a possom" about it. He says he cut his hands off for his own salvation. He is stout, hardy looking yankey, he has a good color and his trial comes off today. We will see what will be his penalty. He says that he never heard of Mr. Abe until he came into this Regt..but we all know that we can't find a man but what has heard something about Abe.
There was a gun boat sunk at Columbus yesterday, they either killed or made way (?) with the yankeys that was on it. There was but one of our men killed and that by awkardness on our side. There was two car loads of soldiers went down south yesterday, there is some talk of us going to Mobile when we do start to move. It will be a good deal warmer there.
We got our arms and new napsacks but I have got my old one with me yet. Richard (brother.. Richard G. Reap) was going to get a furlow to go and see Aunt Mary Phillips, but we got orders to leave and he did not go. R. N. McLaw and M. B. McCain went to Troy the other day and they said she was married to a man by the name of Philips, she lives about 12 miles from here. I don't know nothing about the family more than that.
We have very bad water here. We can get plenty of wiggletail soup and get plenty to eat, such as flower, pickle, pork, sugar, coffee, and rice. My mess partners is George Stafford, Tom Luster and myself. Stafford is our cook, I did try to cook a while but I always would burn the bread. I can make coffee or fry meat or cook rice.
We have a noble drill ground. Well, as I have nothing more to say I will come to a close. Give my respects to all of the family and receive a portion of it yourself. Tell Aunt Patience howedy and tell her S (?) aint forgot her.
ECR to his Mother (Edward C. Reap to Rachel Gladney Reap)
Direct your letter to Union City, Obion County in care of W. H. (?) 9th ARK INF
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