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.
Feb 8, 1862 Bowling Green, Warren County, KY
Dear Mother (Rachel Gladney Reap)
I now take my pen in hand to tell you that I am well at present. Hoping these few lines may find you all enjoying the same great blessing. I received your kind letter on the fifth and was glad to hear from you all, for it was the first one that I had received since before Christmas. I received one from Samuel (brother..PVT Samuel H. Reap Co I 1st Ark Inf) he says he is well and that he has reenlisted for the term of two years. He said that he was going to start home within the month.
There was a battle at Fort Henry on the seventh of the month and it is reported here that the yankeys has possession of it all way to the Tenn. bridge. There was 17 Regiments left here to go there, when they all get there they will make the little follows (...can't make word out)...as Charley says. There is no prospects of a fight here but I tell you Ma when they do come, I think we are pretty well prepared for them...there is a high hill fortified.
Things is very high (expensive) here, these merchants will just size your pile and take it all, provided it is a big pile and if it aint, they don't traid (trade). I believe about 2/3 of the rascals is yankeys, anyhow whenever they hear of the yankeys getting the best of us the whole town gets in good spirits, that is a good sign for yanks.
We have had a good bit of work to do, but we are getting pretty well done with it now. We have a good bit of guarding to do, we furnish police guard and fort guard and town guard. That takes a good many, where there is few (few men must do lots of work)
We have lost 15 out of our company 10 to die and 5 discharged. Poor John Goins is departed this life on the third of this month. He was sick for about ten days and died with typhoid fever. Bill Thornton and the two Whitacre boys got into camp on the seventh and old Arter too, I forgot him. I received my shirt when they come and I was very glad you sent it.
Well Ma, as I am out of news I will come to a close. Nothing more at present. I remain your son until death E.C.R (Edward C. Reap)
on back was a poem:
Stand firmly by your cannon;
Let your ball and grapeshot fly;
Trust in God and Davis
and "keep your powder dry."
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