CIVIL WAR LETTERS
JOHN W. MATHENY
13 Aug 1863 - 1 Aug 1865
“The U.S. CHRISTIAN COMMISSION
sends this sheet as a messenger between the soldier
and his home. Let it hasten to those who wait for tidings.”
Louisville Dec 27th / 64
I am sick in Foundry hospital in this city. have had a fever but am
getting better. I am well cared for & have kind nurses & Dr. write soon & tell me any news that you think would interest me Direct to Foundry hospital Louisville Ky Your affectionate Brother
John w. Matheny
Waldo F Brown
Delegate Christian Commission
Brown Hospital, ward 6
Louisville, Kentucky, January 13, 1865
once more I am permitted to write to you. I have been sick for a good spell with lung fever. but am some better now. It come in my right side this time I don’t think I will be fit for duty this winter and very likely never for field service again. I was taken sick on the boat and lost my pocket book it had no money in
it but 4 or 5 stamps. consequently I will have to send this without any stamp we have the poorest boarding here that I have had since I have been in the service. we have nothing but bread and coffe for breakfast and supper and not half enough of that for anyone that has a good appetite but mine is poor. for dinner we have bread and a small piece of beef half boiled and onion soup when we first got here I was sent to the
foundry hospital in town and when I was there before I got able to set up there was a man come to me that belonged to the christian commission and asked me if I would not like to have a letter wrote and I told him I would like to have him write to you and he sayed he
would but I dont know whether he did or not. I never got any answer if he did. as soon as I got able to be up they transfered me to Brown hospital where I now am staying. I have not drew any pay for nearly 9 months and I kneed some money the worst kind in such a place as this. if you could spare me about $5 I will pay you back well when I draw my wages. I am sorry to have to be under the kneedcessity of asking you for money for I
know you kneed all you have got. I hope this may find you and all the rest of the friends well and doing well. tell aunt polly I think that fortune teller has hit my case pretty well so far. I will have to close by asking you to write as soon as you get this and if you can
accommodate me I would be glad if you would do it. write soon and direct your letter to Brown hospital ward 6 Louisville, ky.
give my respects to all enquiring friends
John W. Matheny
Brown hospital louisville ky January 27th 65
Dear father and mother
I seat myself to answer your letter of the 23d. I guess it had no date but it was mailed the 24th. I was glad to hear from you although you did not say whether you and the rest of the family was well or not I suppose you are or you would
sayed so. I am about the same as I was when I last wrote. I dont believe I will ever be much better as long as I live although I may. I am just as well satisfied as if I was as stout as sampson. when this comes to hand I hope it may find you in good health mother in particular. I wish I had been at home to go with you to quarterly meeting, but wishing dont do any good it will all all work around right by and by. 18 months longer will let me out of the service if I live that long. then I can go when I please and come back when I get ready. the weather is very cold but no snow to amount to any thing. there has been no sledding here yet. I can think of nothing of interest to write at present I have wrote so much lately but before I quit I will tell you that todays paper states that there has been a telegraph dispatch from lee picked up by our men stating that ft. fisher and wilmington must be held at all hazards and if they fell that he would be forced to evacuate richmond. I dont know whether it is true or not. I wish you would send me some tobacco you can
wrap it up and direct it to the same as a letter and send it by mail. it is so dear here that a person with a fine taste mighte taste the green backs in it. I will have to close for my fingers are getting so cold I cant hardly write write soon.
John w. Matheny
Louisvile, Ky. February 10th 1865
dear father I take my seat again to write you a few lines to let you know how I am getting along. I am pretty well today but not quite as well as I have been
for the last few days. I hope that when this reaches you it will find you all well. I have wrote 2 or 3 letters to you several days ago but have received no answer from them as yet. I waited until I got tired and today I thought I would write again. I have nothing of
much importance to write. it is warm enough for a person to go in their shirt sleeves today. there is no snow at all. there is a new chaplain here now he preached to us last Sunday. I think he is a good preacher you will see his name on the envelop. the small pox is as thick here as hops I dont think I will take them for I cant get vaxination to work on me a bit. I want to go to Memphis as soon as the river opens and I dread the trip too they call it 1000 miles from here and it will take me about 2 weeks to go down on
the boat. when I get to camp I think I will get payed off. the last of this month they will owe me $160. I want to send about $100 of that home unless I am in debt for clothing more than I am aware of. I cant write much till I get a letter from you. I would like to know if they still expect the draft to go off in Indiana or not. I dont think there is any use of drafting at all. I think we have got men enough in the field now to clean the rebs out by fall at the furthest. I will beg off from writing any more at present and send you a nice
piece of poetry that will be more interesting than any thing I can write at present.
please write soon and direct as before
As ever yours,
John W. Matheny
Brown hospital ward 6, louisville, ky.
Feb. the 14th 65
dear father I take the pleasure of answering your kind letter of the 5th and 6th which came to hand about 2 an hour ago. I was very glad to hear from you
for it has been some time since I have heard from you. I am able to be around but I am not well yet. I hope that this will find you all well. I was not a little surprised to learn that you had sent me a box of necessaries. I am very thankful to you for it. although I would rather you had not went to the trouble and expense of sending it you did not say what company you sent it by but I can find it if it comes through. I am glad I got your letter today for if I had not I was going to start to Memphis tomorrow and then my box would have been lost. if you think the draft is likely go off you had better pay the $200 if
you can do it without suffering too much if you could raise it at all you would not suffer as bad as you would if you was drafted I think the rebellion is about played. to days paper state that the rebs are evacuating richmond and charleston bouth and are going to concentrate their forces in South Carolina to try and crush Sherman. if they undertake that there will be a general crushing all round for if they come out of their strong holds our men will just sweep them like chaff and they are anxious for the chance to do it. tell nancy to hurry and learn to write so she can write me a letter tell eva I dont like chicken much any more I eat so many Secesh chickens last fall that I am tired of them. I cannot tell you how much I would like to be at home but I dont expect to get home for some time yet may be not until my time is out. now I will tell you what I think of Mo. there is some of the nicest land along the pacific railroad that I ever saw I believe. and some as
ornry hilly and stony. I cant say much about Kansas I was not over 300 yds over the line. we camped on the Mo. and kansas line. I went over into kansas a piece and got some corn for my horse I fed him in Mo. and made my bed and slept in kansas that night. but the poorest country I ever saw in my life that is to take it all over is arkansas. You did not say whether uncle george was living with John yet or not but I recon he is. if John is drafted I recon he will send george in his place and he can run the farm while he is gone. I believe I have wrote all the news at present. I will write again as soon as I get that box.
Write soon, John W. Matheny
James Metheny Plymouth
Brown hospital Louisville Ky,
Feb. 18th, 1865
Dear father I once more take my pen in hand to write to you. I am in tolerable good health at present. and I hope that this may find you all in good health.
to day is warm and nice over head but yesterday it rained nearly all day. I was at the express office yesterday to get my box but it had not come yet. I hope it will get along soon for I want to go to Memphis and that is all I am waiting on. I would like to get with
the regiment and get my pay again it has nearly 10 months since I have had any pay from the government. I was looking strong for a letter today but none came. I dreamed night before last of getting a letter I thought it was in a red envelop and had a stamp in
it I dont know who it was from I dont think I ever dreamed a plainer dream in my life. that is what made me look strong for a letter today. I cannot think of much to write to day and it has only been 3 or 4 days since I wrote to you before. there is not much war
news today more than common. Sherman has cut the last railroad charleston and richmond and his left wing is within 2 miles of charleston. Feb 20th today I seat myself to finish writing. the weather is nice and warm the ground is drying off fast. yesterday I got a letter from lidy gray and today I got one from aunt polly and 2 papers from you. I have not had a letter from you for nearly a week. I was mighty glad to get them papers it does me good to read the old marshall county republican again. I have not been to the
express office since the 17th I dont know whether my box has come yet or not but I should think it had I am going to get a pass in a day or two and go and see. I will soon have to close for I have 3 more letters to write as soon as I can. please write soon.
yours as ever, John W. Matheny
Hospital 15, 3d division Nashville.
Feb. 24th 1865
Dear father it is with pleasure that I seat myself to write you a few lines to let you know that I am as well as common and hope that this may find you enjoying the same blessing. on the 22d I was transfered to this place where I am now on duty. the day I had to leave louisville I went to the express office to get my box but it had not come yet so with a heavy heart I had to go away without it. you had better make the company at plymouth pay for it. I am very sorry that I did not get it but there is no help for spilt milk. I have no news much to write at present but I thought I would write and let you know where I am. the report is today that lee has whipped grant and drove him back but I cant believe it yet. there is considerable canonading going on today but I dont know what it is for. I suppose you have heard of the fall of charleston before this time. there
was 100 guns fired in Louisville in honor of Shermans recent victories. I believe I will close for today. please write soon and direct to hospital No. 15 field branch Nashville Tenn
John W. Matheny
Hospital 15 Division 3 Nashville Tenn.
Apr 19th 1865
Dear father it is with the greatest of pleasure that I seat myself to answer your welcome letter of the 11th inst which came to hand a few minutes ago. I was very glad to hear from you for I thought the time pretty long. I was sorry to hear that uncle andy was grafted into our noble army. but I think he will make a good hand to help bust up the rebellion. I am reasonably well at present for me and hope this may find you all enjoying a reasonable portion of health. the first I to tell you is that I got my box on the 14th inst it came to my tent while I was eating dinner. the apples and sausage was spoilt and there was a broken bottle in
the box that you sayed nothing about but I suppose it had some kind of preserves in it. but the butter and socks and tobacco was all right. John Lowry was at Nashville on the 8th inst. and wrote me a few lines stating that he had forwarded it from Louisville.
the freight was $1.05 he sayed he would like to a come and seen me but he had not time he left the same day for his regiment. I would like to know if he is the man that Eli Demer sued for assault it was about the first trial that was had in our house. the weather
is very warm and there has been a heap of rain and the waters are high. it is not worth while for me to say any thing about richmond or lees army, but I will say that mobile is also in our hands and we are listening every day to hear of Johnsons surrender. they are
enlisting regulars here for 5 years and I would not be much surprised if I would be at home by the 4th of July. but if not so be it. I think the rebellion is about played out. we have lots of good news and lots of bad news on the 15th we got the news that Lincoln was killed and Seward and his son were wounded and not
expected to live. when the news came all flags was dressed in black and put at half mask. it has been the gloomiest time since that I most ever saw. there was a man got stabbed down in town for saying it was a fine thing that lincoln was dead. he was at the table eating dinner and the waiter ordered him out and he would
not go. so he just socked the butcher knife in him. I believe I have wrote all that I know of interest at present so I will close by asking you to write soon as you get this.
J. W. Matheny
P.S. I want to know if eva wrote that little piece of paper with her name on it
Cumberland hospital ward 19 Nashville Tenn
May 20th 1865
Dear father it is with pleasure that I seat myself to pen you a few lines to let you know that I am well at present and hope these few lines may find you enjoying
the same blessing. I have nothing of importance to write but I thought I would write a few lines and tell you that I have moved. I am now in the cumberland hospital Ward 19. we moved here yesterday No 15 hospital is broken up and a great many of the men
discharged. I expect we will all be mustered out in a month or so and for fear you will be disappointed I will tell you to look for me 2 months from to day and may be I will be at home then and may be not. I will come as soon as I can at any rate I want to come mighty bad since they have commenced talking about it but nevertheless I am taking thngs as cool as the nature of the weather will admit. this is a very nice place and every thing handy. there is a chaplain stationed here and he preaches twice a week and there is such preaching every friday. besides all this they keep the best kind of a library that we can go to and get books to read when ever we want to. we had a heavy rain storm last
night and I heard today that there was 4 railroad bridges blowed down between here and Louisville. I saw some corn yesterday that that was about knee high. we have green onions green sallet green peas in abundance. I tell you now if I was at home I would have a mess of squirrels before night. I will have to bring my letter to a close for supper is nearly ready. excuse me this time and write soon Direct your letters to cumberland
hospital Ward 19 Nashville Tenn
yours John W. Matheny
P.S. this is the last stamp I have and no money. give my best respects to all the friends
J. W. M.
Aug. 1st 1865
Dear father I seat myself onc more to pen you a few lines in answer to yours of June 28th which came to hand this morning. I was very glad to hear from you again and to hear that you was all well. I am well and hearty and in good spirits. I got here on the 29th of June and the next day we mustered for pay but the pay has not come yet. we have drawed new horses arms and equipments our guns shoots 7 times without stopping to load. our companies all have different colored horses and every thing fixed nice. we are the best fixed now that we have ever been. we are expecting to
march from here in a few days but I dont know where we will go to. Some says to texas and some says to New orleans to be reviewed and mustered out. but there is no telling what will be done. this is the hottest country that I was ever in. if you was here you could see a great many things that you cant see up north. such as figs in their natural state, quinces, palm leaf like they make hats of, and aligators. I expect you have heard that Jess Merical has deserted. he left the regiment on the night of the 3rd of July there was 7 or 8 others went with him they took their horses and equipments with them and the next day there was a scout sent out in persuit of them they rode about 40 miles
when they came up with them. they had a right sharp little fight. one of the scouts was killed and one wounded and the balance came back without any prisoners. I believe I can think of nothing more at present I will wite again as soon as I can. eva and nancy will
have to excuse me this time for I have not time to write now write as soon as you get this.
Direct to Alexandria, La
Letters 1 to 10
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