1862: Unidentified Soldier to Cousin Molley

This letter was written by a sick soldier named “George” who datelined it from Batesville, Independence county, Arkansas. The letter was written on 12 June 1862 during the two-month occupation of Batesville by Union forces under the command of Brig. Gen. Samuel R. Curtis in what was called the “Army of the Southwest.” This army took possession of Batesville on 4 May 1862 and held it until late June. Mostly likely the author of this letter was in a temporary hospital in Batesville established during their occupation.

The Army of the Southwest included numerous regiments of infantry, cavalry, and artillery—mostly from Illinois, Missouri, Indiana and Iowa—but there is nothing in the letter that gives a hint as to which branch of service the author served in nor what state he was from.


Batesville, Independence County, Arkansas
June 12th 1862

Cousin Molley,

I sit me down on my bunk to answer your letter and Fred’s. I got them yesterday and was glad to hear from you and him although I am not well yet. You can see by my writing my hand trembles. I am very weak now. I don’t seem to gain at all hardly—I get better and then get worse again. That don’t seem to pay for me at least. I wish that I [was] at home. Then I think that I should get better there. They don’t have anything fit for a soldier sick person to eat here [except] corn meal and hard crackers and fresh beef with plenty of coffee. I can’t use coffee now at all.

Martha and Flora are as good girls as you can find every day. You will have to take up with a short one for this time for there is no news here.

This from Cousin George to Molley


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