Lot of 13 letters identified to John McGraw, who served with Co. A, 6th Michigan Infantry, first as a private (August 1861-November 1864), then corporal (November 1864-August 1865), written to his brothers and sisters from various camps and locations throughout the deep south. The detailed letters date from March 1862 to May 1865.
In a March 31, 1862 letter written to his sister from Manchac Pass, LA, McGraw relates a skirmish with the rebels resulting in the rebels being driven out of Ponchatoula, LA. In regards to the spoils of war, he said “ I lifted a splendid revolver and a good bowie knife...Then we went in and took what we could find from the town. ” He describes “... trussel work in the swamp and the alagaters ais thick a nugh to walk on... ”
From New Orleans, McGraw said he had the “ Ague ” [ fever ] but was recovering. He also said he had his picture taken for his mother but the ague had made it appear “ not first trait .”
Friend John Moore in July 1863 reports that “ Port Hudson and Vicksburg are taken at last. ”
A letter requesting butter is sent by McGraw to his brother and sister...“ for the butter we get here is not worth a thing. ” He notes that he sent $30 home and that seems quite common among Civil War soldiers.
On November 15, 1863 McGraw tells his sister his thoughts on the Army Of The Potomac, which “ has gone into winter quarters...thay might as well for thay get licked pirty near every time .”
On the last day of 1863, McGraw’s tent burned up. Letters seem to indicate that the McGraw brothers ask their sister for information that might lead to possible dates.
In early March of 1864, McGraw tells his sister that he has been sick “ spewing ” and has lost 20 pounds. He believes he will be home soon. He desires milk and something fresh. McGraw tells his sister that “ [General] Banks is got Mobile surrounded and there is a lotts of prisoners...most naked and starved .”
In June of 1864 J.H. McGraw describes his return to the regiment. Confederate artillery fired on the Gunboat Adams between the shore and McGraw’s ship. “ One of the six pound balls went clean throo the Adams and rolled up on the deck of our boat and stopped right between my feet. One of the maits gave me a dollar for it... ” At the close of his letter, McGraw writes, “ Pleas excuse all the mistacks .”
McGraw said he believes his regiment will work on the railroad. He speaks of Yellow Fever in New Orleans and “ By what we do hear we think that things is not going on all together wright around Richmond .” He complains of sick soldiers “ laing on the ground. ”
John McGraw noted in March 1865, “ We are going on this expedition up to Mobile we are going with a morter battery I think that we will have a little fun if they don’t vacuate the place. ”
On May 16, 1865 John McGraw tells his brother and sister that he had sent $140 and wants them to write as soon as they receive it. He is concerned about having “ a good place that could be gotten or rented...just speak for it for me. The rebellion is plaid out and I guess I will not be sorry when we get out of it for good . John added, “ I would just give five dollars for all the good milk I could drink tonight. ” Napoleon said “An army marches on its stomach.” That certainly proved accurate in the Civil War.