Of course many thousands of letters like this must have been sent to families all across the North and South after every battle. Both families and soldiers were always anxious to receive letters, but in some sad irony, this was not the letter that anybody ever expected to find at their doorstep.
Dear Friend Mary
I thought it my duty to drop you a few lines for your incouragement if I can tri as it is you have lost your all. You have lost that one that was near and dear unto you. The one that your comfert restet upon and often made you glad with him. But now he has been taken from you and has gon to the spirit world and hope he can exclame as the Samas did safe at home … there is no war but wheir all is love and picee and harmoney and he has left a bright testomony behind that he was prepaird to die. The last words I spoke with him was about about his eternal wellfair and I told him that if he was not yet fuly prepaird to die that I would erge him to be earnestly earge him to to pray much and look to god in faith and he would make him hole. He was getting on my beadside when I talket to him and the tears were flowing down his cheaks and when I gave him goodby I told him to pray for me and he said that I should pray for him that god should bless him and I promised him I would and so I did. But god has seen fit to call him from hour side never to see him in this world. But Mary let us try and prepare ourselves to meat him in another world when parting shall come no more. Let us live right and we shall die right. I have I hope you have not forgoten what you had begon that is serving the lord. I would say to you be faithful and you shall again meat your Dear husbent wheir you shall never part with him any more. But now he is gon shall we wish him back. I no but we will go to meat him. Hard it is to give him up but the will of the lord bee done. I think I can know how you feal to five your only true one up never to see him again. I know how you feal for I cant hardly rest day nor night since he was killed. It came to my heart like as if a spear had been stabed through me and it made me that sick that I could not sleep nor get up out of my bead. I suppose I cand give you more knews then of him then what I can for I did not see him but I spoke with hour Chaplain and he and Do Fisher beried him and he said that they dug a grave and laid him in and cover him with his blanket so that he is beried better than most. The most are piled on heaps in large holes but it matters not where the body is so the sole is safe in heaven and I trust he has gon safe over. Mary put your trust in god. May he chear and give you aid is my prayer. I must now close. I must say a word to my Dear Mother in this. This littel book give to Derbin. Write to me and tell me how you ar geting along.
The hand of god has again been laid heavyly been laid on your heart. No don’t but I hope he will help you to bear the cross tho it feals very heavy to part with such a Dear Brother but the lord only knows weather I ever shall see my Family any more. But my face is still … werd that if I shall never shall meat my Friends and Family on earth I hope to meat them hapy by and by. Mother we often have greaved your heart but in your old days we have bee the cause of many a tear fall from your cheaks. But may the lord help you to bear this cross is my prayer fo we are in the trap now and we must take what comes. I have some little hope of being discharge. Weather I will I don’t know but I will try. Good by Dear Friend,