Interior views of Fort Sumter, S.C. taken by a Confederate photographer in 1864 [i.e. 1863] (Library of Congress)
Washington County Tenn
Feb 16th 1863
Dear Father and mother
I avail myself of the fineses opportunity to let you know that I am well hoping that these few lines may find you and all of the family & friends enjoying the same blessing (there was a hole in the paper) kind providence it is raining here today and is warm and pleasent James Crawford is still very very low but is a little better than he was the last time that I wrote but is not out of danger yet George Loyd is sick yet and I do not know what is the matter with him A M Cook has got into camp again and is a gitting right smart better Capt moore has gone to Knoxville and has been for several days I think that he will be in tonight he will come home in a day or two after he comes to camp cousin Robert Alexander is well and uncle Wyly is also the health of our Batt is tolerable good at this time Samuel Justice is sick but is a gitting better When I heard that you had come to Macon to see me I was very sorrow that I had not have stayed there a few days longer I could have stayed until monday if I had of tried to have done it We are a gitting a plenty to eat at this time and tolerable plenty for our horses there will be four or five men that will come with Capt Moore when he comes home but I do not know who they will be I do handly expect I will get to (hole in paper) I think I will come about fifth of this month I have been to (hole) today we have a chaplain now I hope that he will stay with and not do like the other one that we had He stayed until he drawed a hundred or two dollars and only preached one sermon but I do not think that the one we have got is a very clever man his name is Harris We have had preaching every Sabbath for three or four weeks as it is a gitting late I will bring my few lines to a close write soon and give me the news Address Jonesborough Tennessee 65th NC Reg our battalion has been turned to a Regm
give my respects to all of the friends and relatives
so no more at present but remains your affection son as ever
to H. M. Penland
Two things jump out at me from this letter-the amount of sickness he talks about-and that his family made a long trip to see him-but didn't get there in time. Can you imagine how they must have felt when they realized they only missed him by a day or so? And how he must have felt to know he almost got to see them? The near miss seems especially poignant after reading the last letter and knowing he was longing for home.
What jumps out at you?