1863: Nathan Gould to Mary Martha Ewings

This letter was written by Nathan Gould (1840-18xx) who enlisted on 14 August 1862 in Co. E, 28th Iowa Infantry. He mustered out of the service with the regiment at Savannah, Georgia, on 31 July 1865.

Nathan wrote the letter to Mary Martha Ewings (1841-1915), the daughter of Thomas Ewings (1797-1872) and Amy Bailey (1799-1857) of North Liberty, Johnson county, Iowa. Mary married James A. Gould (1843-1914) in 1874.

Nathan’s letter datelined from Helena, Arkansas

Addressed to Miss Mary M. Ewings, North Liberty, Johnson County, Iowa

Helena, Arkansas
March 2nd, 1863

Dear friend,

It is once more that I sit down to let you know that I am well at this present time and hoping that these few lines may find you enjoying the same health at this present time.

I received a letter from you last week and was glad to hear that [you] were well at that time. The weather is very warm here now and we have some very nice fun here now but then we dob’t know how long that will last with us, and in fact we don’t care for we are as well-suited here as if we was at home. Now you must take good care of the boys that is left there until the boys come home. But then I don’t think that I will come home when the war is over for now I think that I shall join the Regulars after I get my discharge for this is the kind of work that suits me. I hain’t been the least bit unwell since I enlisted and I am about the only one that hain’t been sick since they enlisted. I had about as soon be here as there.

And you wanted to know what we was doing here and that is more than I can tell—only we have plenty of guarding to do now and we will got out in the morning and don’t come in to camp until the next morning and we have to stay there rain or not. They don’t care as they don’t have to stay there with us.

And they hain’t no white men down here. They are all black people that lives here. And we have to stand there and let them shoot at them but then they don’t do us any harm for they know that we will burn their houses for them and they won’t have any place to stay.

And about James Ewings, ¹ I hain’t heard from him for a long time and then he was getting some better than he was and I hope that he will get home and stay there for he can’t stand it here now. I shan’t write much this time. I will close my letter by asking you to write soon and let me know all that is going on there. So I [will say] goodbye.

From Nathan Gould

[to] Mary M. Ewings

¹ James Ewings (1839-1863) also served in Co. E, 28th Iowa Volunteers. He died of disease at Keokuk, Iowa, on 15 February 1863. James was an older brother of Mary Ewings.

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