ADKINS TO MERRITT - CIVIL WAR LETTERS
(Theresa Stewart has graciously allowed us to copy family letters. The first are from S. Randolph Adkins to his uncle, Harvey Merritt and the next two from Randolph to his aunt, Sarah Adaline Thorne Merritt, wife of Harvey Merritt. We have left the spelling and punctuation as in the original but have omitted some parts because they are either insignificant or repetitious.)
February the 20 1863
Camp near Wilmington N.C.
Mr. H. Meritt, Dear Uncle, I gladly embrace the oppertunity for the first time to rite you a few lines to informyou of my helth and our situation. I am well at this time...the helth of the men is generly good at the present time my helth is good now as ever it was. I am a little sum what stouter man than I ever was we have but two men that is sick that is in our company we have a beutifull camp here we are camped her about 16 miles above Wilmington north carolina near the sadbury sound we can get as meny oyesters and crabbs as we want and we are in a mile and half of the saultworks and their is no prospect of any fiting here soon tho I was down on the cost the other day and I saw a yanke steemer but is no sine of a fit we have bin here nownearly two weeks we left Kinston this day was two weeks age and landed here on the next munday it is reported that we a going to charlston but I dont think we will...I dont think they can ever drive us from here for there is brestworks all round us we have a strong position her and we will fite the grand invaders here and will martch to thefeld of battle if it is required of us and we will hold it ordy a triing for we are a fiting on a just cause we are fiting for libertee and forour just rite and we are atriing toprotectour homes and our fiersides and to protectour famelesand friends our fourfahers that is not capable of rasing arms aganst there enemes and it isthe dute of evre man to turn out and fite for his cuntry...it is the generl opinion the intelegent men that wee will have peece again springbut I am a little dautfull...Uncle harve Iherd that you had met with a misfortion and had left grandfathers I am very sorry thatit hapend but tho I do not beleve it for I do not think that would be guilte of it I will join with you there and stand by you untill the last hour Dont you no that big black whiscerd mand that is a steping about there you had better watch him So I will begin to draw to a close so nothing more only remains my best respects to you and your family.
S.R. Adkins to Mr.Harve Merite, Direct your letters in this way rite soon
S.R. Adkins Co. H the 18 Redge S.C. Vol. in careof capt R.H. Glen Wilmington NC
Camp near Wilmington NC Martch the 21 1863
Mr. H. Merite
Dear uncle it is with grate plesure that I rite these few lines to you...they has bin a talk of peace in camps but I do not see any prospect of it yet but tho there is not any prospect of any fiting here evere is calm and quiet altho thay are a makeing all preparations to care on the war they a puting up a vesel here at Wilminton it is a iron clad and it is the gratest invension that I have ever saw and I sapose that when they get it dun they will be a call for volunteers to go on it and if they cum to our regement for voluneers they will get a good meney they weill get severl out of our company but I do not expect to go myself I dont think thatthey will be any fiting heare at this place the fortification are very strong heare...if the yankes dus attact us we will give then a good thrasion and send them back...I am rather afraide that they will take us back to Va. Dear uncle I am sorry very sorry that you have met with a misfortion and got into a difacutee and you rote that you thought that you had sum friends yet I will give you to understand that I am a friend of yours for I do not beleave that you are guite of the act that you are charged with I beleave that you annosent of it as a man in ____ I will cleare you of it and stand by you until the hour of death for I beleave that you are cleare of it but there is an other man a stepin about there that is guilte of it I supose that you no who it is so I will not say anything more and that wubject tell Ant Adaline that she must not forget to go see Milly...Tell your mother and dear sisters that I have not fogot them yet and that I send my best respects to tham and as Mr. W.C. Graham was the writer of your letter I allso send him and Mr. A. Graham that I send them my best respects...rite soon. S.R. Adkins to Mr. H.Mearte
Petersburg, Va. July 6, 1864
As I have not riten to you in sum time I will therefore take the opertunity this afternoon to rite a few lines which will inform you that I am yet on the land of the living and in tolerable good helth...the excuse that I have for not riting to you is that our communication is cut off the Railrode has been torn up from Petersbug to welldon and the mail has bin stoped weee have not had any mail for several days...Dear Ant I hardely no what to say to you as I am so dissturbed and fatigt we are yet in lne of battle has has bin ever since the 20 of May Wee have very strong fortifocations we are in tolerable close quarters with the yanks our lines are in seventy five yards of them in sum places wee have not had any generl engagement for severl days but tho the canonading and sharp shooteing is heavey we have suferd severly since wee came to Va. our company and Regt has redust almost one half we have gin a fiting and dying in brestwork and building fortifications until I am compleetely worn out but tho I am thankfulo that I have come through what I have have not bin hurt otherwise mee and brother Jasper has com through and has not bin hurt while othrs have sunk and is now under the clods of the earth and your husband is numbered with them He did not speake after he was shot I saw him after he was caired out He was shot throught the shoulder and the ball was (raingeing?)through his hart He was beryed neare the battle field I did not get anything that hee had with him He had bin serched his knapsack is with the bagage I will try and have it taken care of if I canbut the blanket that he had with him was stolden I will attend to his business as I promus to do and do the best that I can for you and send it to you So I will have to close for this time nothing more but sending my love and respect to you and the famely Direct your letters to Peetersburg S.R. Adkins to Mrs. S.A. Merritt
Peetersburg Va August the 29 1864
...I am yet on the land of the living and in modest helth at present but tho I have not bin well for sum time but though I have recovered alltho I am very weeke but still able to be with my command company and regt... I dont no that I have anything to communicate that will interest or amuse you I received a letter the other day whitch was riton to you husband and on the fifth day of last April and directed to Lake Sitty Floriday I did not receive mutch information by this lett as it has bin on the way sum time it was ritten about the time that uncle Harvey had the meesels so I will not anything more on that subject & all is quiet along the lines this morning except sharp shooteing and canonading that is a general thing but it dus not proove very disastrious for lines and the yankess are within one hudred yards aprt there has bin a gatedeel of sufering with us lately on the account of wett wether our trenches are as bad as a hogpen in the time of a rain but I sapose that there is no rest for the wicked Aunt Adaline I have not herd from you nor the peeple of that neighborhood in sum time it appears like the peele has all quite riting and has all forgottten the soldiers that is far from home and friends.
wee are a striveing for libertee and uppon sufering for the want of various things and it dus not appear like that it would be a very difacult matter to rite a fw lines to a friend at a lesure time but though I still have a hope that wee will get home yet I still have a hope tere is a better day approading There has been sum very hard fiting and ___ nite a few days ago but there has not been any demonstrations on our front in a few days the yanks are still in possession of the railroade leading from Peetersburg to Weldon our communications is cut off....Aun Adaline we have not draw any money for you yet and I can not say when Capt Glen will arange it but he will ____as soon as he can attend to it and then I will send it to you if I have to opertunity...Aunt Adaline I will say to you that I have lost my brother Jasper who was killed on the 30 of July he was killed dewring the time of the explosion that took place on that day** I cannot express the feelings that I have had when I found him he was stretched forth with his lovely countinance towards the Heavens he was killed by a enemy ball strikeing him directly in the forehead and the ball came out the back part of his head so I sapose that I had better draw to a close as I have written about all that of interest...Write soon direct letters to Petersburg Co H the 18th Regt care of Cap Glen, Evans Bregade
(To be continued)
**Blow up at the Crater, Petersburg Virginia July 30, 1864.
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