The house I am in now is full of bullet holes...





"Fredericksburg, V.A. May the 13th, 1864

My ever Dear Margaret.  I hope you will excuse me for writing you so soon again but I am setting up with the wounded men and want something to keep me from sleeping.

Dear Margaret, I have you in my mind day and night and my prayers are ever with you and my children.  We have very good news from the front.  It is reported that Richmond is taken and that we have got over nine thousand prisoners and have Maj. General Stuart and Maj. General Johnston.  But I do not know how true it is but I hope it is true.  We are of the opinion that the war is now about over and I hope it is.  But may the will of the Lord be done.

As for my sore shoulder, it does not trouble me much now but is very black and blue yet but will be all right in a few days.  Mr. Thorn's leg is very sore.  He cannot walk on it and the two last times I dressed it, there was some small pieces of bone came out.  But he is very patient.  When he gets to Washington, he is going to try to get a furlough to go home.  And if he does, he has promised to take his wife and go and see you for me.  And then he can tell you all about the war.  He is one of the finest men in the world, or at least I think so.  There has no one ever dressed his wound but me and he says he does not know what he would do if it was not for me to tend to him. 

Dear Margaret, I hope that when this war is over, we may enjoy the comforts of this world together and live happy, don't you?  If I was there now I could tell you a long story of what I have seen since I left home, for you can not have any idea how things look here.  The house I am in now is full of bullet holes and others are stove in with shells and some have been burnt.  And it is a distracted looking city and the people are the same, what few there is left here.  There is no one here but some old men and the women and children.

Well, Dear Margaret, I will now bring this to a close for this time but it will be of no use for you to write to me yet.  This from your ever kind husband.  John Marsh
To Margaret Marsh
A kiss for you"

Private John Marsh was drafted into Company D of the 63rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry on September 7, 1863.  He was joining the ranks just months before a number of the men were making the decision to re-enlist or take an honorable discharge in 1864.  Based on the address of the cover letter and since no other information was recovered in any research, Marsh was probably from Erie, Pennsylvania.  He was wounded at Wilderness along with his friend and fellow draftee, Fayette Thorn (whom he speaks of in the letter), also of Erie County.  Thorn had his leg amputated and was discharged on account of his wounds in early 1865.  Private Marsh continued to serve and in September of 1864, after a year of service, was transferred with the rest of the 63rd Pennsylvania into the ranks of the 105th Pennsylvania Infantry.  Shortly after this transition, Private Marsh was killed in action on October 1, 1864 at Petersburg.  The details of his death are unknown and will probably forever remain a mystery.  He was buried originally at Meade Station and then re-interred in grave number 0678 at Poplar Grove National Cemetery, Petersburg, Virginia. 

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