This letter was written by 41 year-old Corporal Elymus Hackett (1822-1915) of Co. F, 210th Pennsylvania Infantry. During Lee’s invasion of Pennsylvania during the summer of 1863, Elymus responded to the Governor’s call by serving briefly in Co. F, 37th Pennsylvania Militia.
Elymus was the son of John E. Hackett (1787-1863) and Ruth H. Baker (1790-1873). He wrote the letter to his younger sister, Louisa Hackett (1830-1902).
A very well written biographical sketch of Elymus Hackett by Andy Osterdahl may be found on his blog The Strangest Names in American Political History. The sketch includes a post-war photograph of Hackett.
Addressed to Miss Louisa Hackett, Ulysses, Potter county, Pennsylvania
Headquarters of the Army of the Potomac
March 13th 1865
Dear Sister Louisa,
I now take this opportunity to write a few lines to you and hope this to find you and all the rest in good health as this leaves me. I am well at present but have not got very strong yet. I am rather weak but able to do my duty. We are not encamped on the new land taken on the last raid near Stoney Creek and about 18 miles from City Point by railroad, We have a railroad right by our camp. Grant builds railroads as fast as the army moves. They build about one mile per day. One month ago, about ¾ of the land around here was heavy pine timber. But now the woods have nearly all disappeared and the white tents are to be seen in every direction. The country here is not cleared as much as Ulysses but are larger farms but very few.
The battle here on the last raid was in the woods. I was sick at the time so that I could not go with the regiment but perhaps I shall not be lucky enough or unlucky to keep out of the next which time is not far distant.
I like the country very well or the climate in the winter but may not like it as well in the summer. We have not had more than ½ inch of snow this winter but have had a few cold days but not many at a time. It has only been froze hard enough to bear up wagons and horses more than four or five days at a time this winter and now we are having warm June days but about May nights—very cold for the days.
I think the rebellion is fast playing out unless our army does have some bad luck, which I hope we shall not have anymore as we have had enough years past. You may think that I ought to have wrote to you before but will try to do better hereafter if you will answer this. I am very busy all the time.
Goodbye with my best wishes, — E. H.
Oh Louisa, I forgot to wish you much joy with your new brother. How do you like him? and how does he look? Where does he live and where are they a going to live? Are they going to keeping house this summer or not? Tell Roselin to write a few lines with yours and I will send her some books to read from the Christian Commission as I can get some as well as not.
This from your brother, — E. Hackett
My time in the army is one half out. Then I can go home and see you all. Give my respects to Mother.