Civil War Letters of James Henry Lauriston Hull
Red River County, Texas Jan. 24, 1862
My Dear Daddy & Mammy,
I have got me some great big paper and I am going to begin me a great big lette.r, but don't know when I will finish it. I'm thinking you are getting tolerable tired seeing great long letters unless there is more important matter in them.
.... Lt. Col. Barton got a letter from Gen. McIntosh at Fort Smith. He said something of General McCullouch having been transferred to Virginia, and that there was money in Fort Smith for this Regiment. It seems from that that we belong to Gen. McIntosh. Maj. Ector of our Regiment says as soon as Col. Locke gets back there will be a paymaster sent to Fort Smith after our pay! I suppose we will get it about the last of February or the first of March. Some think we will go to Fort Smith shortly after Col. Locke gets back. I heard our Quarter Master say so. I tell you, you need not be at all surprised at anything you may hear, for I have heard of several things that I know never did transpire. I saw it published down in Jefferson that the two companies from Wood County had a difficulty and that there were 16 killed and 18 wounded, etc. Now that is all a big lie and so are many things you may hear concerning this Regiment.
The next thing I will tell you is something of more importance to me… that is I am well. I reckon I might tell you something about what is going on in camps. Today we have drawn our ten days rations. Coffee-sugar-candles-soap- beef-pork-flour-meal, etc. We fare pretty well in camps. ….Booty and John Hardy have gone off on a fishing frolic. Isn't it a wonder I wasn't in it? Well, I didn't want to go. They expect to be gone 2 or 3 days, so we will have larger rations.
What do you reckon I heard the other day? That you and Mrs. Parker were putting up a wool factory. Is there anything of it? I hear you have already got up a workshop, etc. I haven't told you anything about Joe Bell in a long time and I suppose he never tells you anything about himself. Well, he is well & fat. His horse is about like he was when he was at home. He lives in the other end of the Company & tells as big lies as ever. I hardly ever see him long enough to speak to him unless he is telling some big yarns.
Here comes a load of fodder, and Sergeant as I am, I must go & issue it out. I tell you what's a fact--the Sergeant’s office don't pay and blast me if I ever get my foot out of it, if I ever get into such a …….again, I would not be Company Quarter Master, Orderly Sergeant, or any other kind of a sergeant again for "big pay." – Good evening for the present.
Good evening again to you. This is Sunday the 26th/62 since I last spoke to you. I have been on a Regimental Drill. I don't like them. This division of Companies don't please the Regiment atall--each Company likes to be mustered by its respective commander. I have heard that there has been big fighting going on in Kentucky and judging from the general talk in camps, I think it highly probable that we will go to Kentucky as soon as Col. Locke comes back.
28th. This is a cold disagreeable cloudy day. We have had cloudy weather for several days. I think the wet spell for winter is about to set in & if it does now we are in bad condition. All our tents are thin, dry-weather tents, and the first heavy rain comes, they will look like a riddle.
Let me tell you something about our religious privileges, etc. We have preaching every Sunday morning, prayer meeting at Cap. Martin's Company every Sunday evening, prayer meeting every Sunday night at Headquarters, also every Thursday night at some Company. We have got some splendid songsters in the Regiment.
Jan. 29th. Now for a few more words. This is a very wet, cold, sleeting night. One of Capt. Whetstone's men died last week. One of our men named Prince has been very low for several days and has lost his mind, & there is but little or no hope of him ever recovering! I thank a kind God that has bles't me with good health. I have been well all the time I have been in camp nearly. I have nearly filled this sheet yet there is nothing on it worth reading, but you can save this, father, untill some Sunday evening when you feel like taking a “napp” then you can read yourself to sleep, for you know you always take the Governor’s ….. or some thing of the kind to put you to sleep. Well; a little more news (for Uncle Tom’s eye too). There have been three letters received from Col. Locke. The first one to Lt. Col. Barton says we have never been known in Richmond. Chilton never reported us there. Locke did though, and in his second letter (the one to the Adjutant) he says he has procured service in three different places, Mo., Ky., and Mobile. I suppose we have our choice of places. He says we may get off by the 16th of Feb. In the other letter to ……, he tells him to meet him at home immediately. I suppose he will be here by the 5th or 6th of Feb. I don't think we will stay here long after he returns.
Some of the boys of the Regiment coming from town today … met a negro of the Regiment driving a team of mules. They cut the mules out of the gears, got after the negro and ran him off too, then came into camps. I haven't heard from them yet. I think I will send this to town tomorrow to go by mail. I am very cold. Good night.
Jan. 30th. Col. Barton received a letter from Gen. McIntosh today saying for this Regiment to come to Ft. Smith immediately. … Walker and other knowing ones say we will start in about a week or a week and a half. Hold!! While I was writing this, John Hardy coming in, … who has just seen the … tells him a man will be sent out from each company tomorrow to bring in the furloughed. This report is true. He says Col. Barton says we will start in 10 days!! Major Ector says 5 days!! for Ft. Smith.
31st Jan./62. Several of the boys have just arrived, Walker, Scott, Melton, etc. They brought me letters from my affectionate sisters and cousin, & Col. Flemming, I was so glad to hear you were all well. I have just heard Col. Booty was murdered and Capt. Blake was dead. I do feel thankful to my God for our health.