1863-64: William C. Klice to Family

Screen Shot 2019-03-03 at 10.14.34 AM
The “Irish Seventh” receiving its flag at ceremony in Lexington, MO, in 1861

These two letters were written by William C. Klice (1841-19xx) who enlisted as a private in Co. A, 7th Missouri Infantry (Union)—the “Irish Seventh”—in June 1861 at St. Louis to serve three years. He was promoted to corporal by August 1863 and later to 3rd sergeant before he was discharged at the end of his term of service in 1864. Upon returning to New York State, he reenlisted in Co. L, 20th New York Cavalry and served with them for the balance of the war.

William’s parents were William Klice (1796-1880) and Eliza Albro (1806-1882) of Prattsburg, Steuben county, New York. William’s younger brother Henry Klice served in Co. E, 101st New York Infantry until he was discharged for disability in early 1863.


Saturday, February 21 [1863]
[Memphis, Tennessee]

Dear father and mother,

Our Division is on board the boats at Memphis and soon will be on our way to Vicksburg. I have not received no letter from you in a long time. I wrote one when we first came to Memphis. That is one month ago tomorrow. I sent twenty dollars in it. I am afraid that it has gone astray or been lost but I hope that it will reach there safe for I am very anxious about it. I have been looking a long time for an answer. I wrote the letter to Henry.

This leaves me well and in good health and hope that when this reaches you it will find you all the same. I got a letter from sister Kate a short time ago. They were all well. Ellery—he is getting quite well again.

We got on board of the boats last night a little before dark and we have a bad time of it. It rained all night last night and day to day. We shall be on the way in a half hour so I shall have to be in a hurry with my letter. They are going to pay us two months pay after we get started for they dare not pay us till we leave town for they would never get half of them out for you know what the Irish are when they get lickre [liquor]. But then the half of our regiment is on shore now and there is a guard hunting them up now. And [even] then there will be a good many left behind. And if we got six months pay before we left the city, I would be let behind too. When this month is out, they will owe us six months pay.

There is so much sickness down there and they have the small pox there to.

Henry, I hope you have got your discharge for I never expect to come back up the river again. But we will hope for the best. I have faced the cannon ball and I can face them again. Henry you must write back the minute that you get this and I wish you would send me one dollar’s worth of postage stamps for I have not got any nor no money. I do not know whether you can read this or not for I am writing it on my knee and a lot of drunken fellows around me. So goodbye.

Your son till death, — William Klice

Direct to Co. A, 7th Reg. No. Vol. Infantry
4th Brigade, Gen. Logan’s Division, 17th A. C.


Camp near Canton, Mississippi
February 28, 1864

Dear Father and Mother,

I take this opportunity in writing you a few lines to let you know that I am in the land of the living yet. We have been on a long march and have been across the state to Alabama to a place called Meridian and we are back as far as Canton within sixty miles of Vicksburg. But we are encamped here and the sick and them that is not able to march is to be sent in to Vicksburg so that looks like another march somewhere.

We left Vicksburg the first of the month and we have marched over three hundred miles. We have got no mail since we started and I don’t know when we will get any. We have no provisions but what we get off the country. We get a pint of corn meal for a day—pretty rough, I think. Our forage detail was attacked yesterday and they lost everything they had got and one man killed.

This leaves me well and in good health and hope that these few lines will find you the same. I do not know whether you will ever get this or not but I have a chance of sending it into Vicksburg. Its equal chances whether it ever gets through. We may be in Vicksburg in two or three weeks.

Direct your letters the same as before. I have no chance to write more now. I will wait until we get back at camp in Vicksburg. So goodbye.

This from your son, — William Klice


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s