Civil War Letters of James Henry Lauriston Hull
My very dear parents,
You can't appreciate the pleasure and gratification it afforded me to hear one time from you after so long silence. When I was home from school, I thought it pleased me to hear from home, but I could then form no idea of the pleasure it affords to hear from home while at war. I was so glad to hear that you were all well. I did not expect to hear of anything else but that you were all sick from bad colds and excessive labor. You did not know how it grieved me to see you have to work so hard, and already so nigh sick. It has been for that reason I have been sorely anxious to hear from home. You could have heard me singing and whistling quarter of a mile across the prairie when I heard from you and that all was well. I reckon you think that those (Linsay) shirts, yarn gloves, blanket, etc., helped to make me 'sing out.' Well expect it helped to clear out my musical organ, but I would so (….. make a bread pipe of it by cashing in a piece of cake that) my music or tune was set to short metre. Don't you reason that way?
Often I had eaten a piece of that delicious cake then had to go to dinner (such as it was). I felt about half vext at either you or the cake (the cake I’m sure), but I expect I will get over it before I get any more. You like to have spoiled me the cake was so good, the dinner was so bad, and then you cast a damp over me any way. I had got to thinking I was a good hand on biscuit - till I eat cake. Accept humble thanks for the welcome favors - the gloves too.
Uncle Thomas has a furlough to go home today, and I thought of going with him, but I did not start out with the intentions of coming back in 12 months, and since I have heard you are all well and father was getting along so well with his affairs, I am well contented as circumstances will permit. I am in the very flower of health and enjoying myself as well as any person in camps I expect, and if you know that any of them enjoy it if I am weill will have my share.
Well, I have just been out to see who was
going home with Uncle Tom. I think it is O. L. Johnson and perhaps James Hooker
will go with him. I am sitting in the tent which has fell down in front, so I
am closed in sitting on a blanket on the ground writing as usual on the bread
pan. I expect
Day before yesterday we were surprised by a severe norther - it commenced about dark with thunder and lightning, and about 2 hours before day it commenced raining and the wind commenced blowing, and I tell you it did blow, for it was away here on the prairie as far as you can see, and the mud stuck to our feet and that of our horses so we could scarcely lift them, but Uncle Tom can tell you all about it. I am in a hurry, for they have called me to dinner and Uncle Tom will start immediately after.
While it was raining we could not get warm at tents so we went about a quarter and found some pecan trees and cut them and all got our pockets full of pecans. They are as fine as I ever saw, I have given Uncle Tom some for the children, tell them Bud …. sent them if Uncle
Tom don't eat them or throw them away. That is as much present as a soldier in camps can give.
Well, I wrote to you that I was in a mess with the 3 Hilliard boys, Jackson & Bill Hill; but yesterday I concluded to go in a mess with the 2 Booty boys, Watt Smith of Carthage, Uncle Tom and one Grissom. I am well pleased with camp life as might be expected. I don't like the idea of being officer of the night. I had no watch of my own last night and borrowed one and was not allowed to lend it to the guards. You see after I put out the guard I am allowed to sleep 2 hours but they would come to me every 35 or 40 minutes after the first Y2 hour, so I did not sleep much last night. I want a watch if you please.
Well, I don't like Prairie country atall. I will tell you more what I think about the country when I come back. Uncle Tom will tell you all about where we are going.
Well, I close for the present. I had nothing to write at the start and have wrote nothing, so you must excuse this foolish thing.
You must tell all the people that are kind enough to write to me sure, especially the young ladies. I would be so pleased to get a few lines of encouragement from any of them if they will let me know that they are willing, I will take pleasure in writing to them.
Give my respects to old Col. Flemming and Lady Tom and the others, and my little sweetheart in particular.
I don't exactly recollect what I said about Miss …. reading my letters, but I did not want her to try to read that one or this either. When I write to her I want more time.
My love to all inquiring friends (if any). Tell them I would like to hear from them.
You must be sure to write to me by Uncle Tom. Write soon, write often. I love to hear form home.
I remain as every your aft. Devoted son.
J. H. L. Hull
I don't know whether I will have any boots to last through the campaign or not. I would like to have a watch. I need it very bad.