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John McCoy, letter, to Martha McCoy, 1864 July 12
McCoy, John

Dear Wife

your favor of the 24th June came to
hand on the 5th inst. and as usual it was thankfully
Recd. I was very glad to hear you and the children were
all well also father & mother. the Doctors favorable opin
-ion of M-Janes Recovery I hope will is well foun
-ded— But Gardner Poor Alick I shudder when
I think of his name. his cruel fate, if true but
I still have hopes yet that he still survives. that
the report that he fell on the third of June I cannot
believe. Since I received your last letter I sent to the
news room for the "N.Y. Herald" that continued the casu
-alities of the 2 & 3 June I read over & over every name
of those that belonged to the 8th N.Y. Gardners name
I could not see the 1st Liue in his company was killed
and also Col. Porter in command of the Regt I saw the
list before to satisfy myself as above I examined it again
and I repeat I have hopes. and as for Brother Tom his
career is hid behind a dark cloud Greggs Division has
been in action several times but further I know not
delay not one moment in giving me any information
concerning either of them as I will be uneasy until I hear more
of them. but bad news from that quarter would not
dispoint me much— With regard to my own health I have
nothing to report very favorable for the last three or four
days I have a slight attact of the chronic Diarehia
which still continues but as yet I consider I am in no dan
-ger. when last I wrote on the 2d inst I was on the sick
report with my eyes & canker in the mouth, tho got better
but infact the weather is so warm at present that general
debility prevails among the Troop. as for myself I feel
very weak. the rations are good enough. but I cannot
eat salt meat although we have excellent boiled ham
as I ever saw. we give the most of our grub to negrow
Boys for washing our dishes. we get tea every evening
for supper the only thing I relish when I mix it with
milk which I purchase at 20 cents per quart. indeed since
pay day I have bought nearly all I eat you may think
it extravigant but I think it is better to spend a little
in order if pofsible to give me a little strength until
the extreme hot weather is over. the men in our Regt. is dying
very fast the firing over the graves is heard to often for me
you may be on guard with a man to day tomorrow or
next day you will hear he is dead with Typhoid Fever
Frequently the men drop in the ranks with sun
stroke and carried of to hospital on a stretcher
most of them is moved next to the grave yard—-
It is still rumored that we are to gow to the front
we are all ordered by the commanding officer to draw
what clothing we want as we may be ordered to march
in a minutes notice. Troop came into the city yesterday
from the north it is supposed to take our place. but
I still think we will be kept here for some time yet as the
2d Mass. is the only Regt. qualified to defend the fortification
around the city. and this place is of considerable impor
-tance to the government on [illegible: [guess (MKR): a/c]] of the revenue aris
-ing from the confiscated estates. and the
cotton crop looks splendid (to good for the rebels
to harvest). The slaughter at richmond is awful
but I am satisfied the will fight it out this sum
-mer. I think this is the last campaign of the War
but the Troops will suffer severely on both sides before
anything decisive can be accomplished. you still owe
me three letters previous to this dated June 19th 23rd
July 2d I sent you 40 dollars on June 21st. I
should have heard from you by this time as I have
only 30 days to file my application for indemnification
as per insurance. I think my letters is neglected
as Chateaugay or you would receive them quicker
Albert is old enough to go to the post office for a
letter and I think you might send him
and not depend on the casual call of strangers
at the office and the necessary delay of remiting
them to you after. for some time past I have
written to you regular and I hope I will be able
to continue to do so therefore you should make
arrangements to receive them regular. I expect
two months pay soon that is for May & June I will
remit all I can spare as soon as paid. Gold
has run so high that in fact there is no stated
value for it. be as careful of the money as
you can for I still think Green Backs will
come up yet I mentioned to you in a former
letter about buying a heifer for Beef that of
course you will use your own Judgment
about. all I can say be careful at the same
so long as you have any money keep your
self and the children as comfortable as you
can. please let me know what you pay
for things at Chateaugay and how markets are
in general. I hope you are wise enough not
to neglect sending the Boys to school. I am afra
-id you may let them work round for a mere
nothing and thus spend their time when the
might be more advantageous employed at school.
you have had ample experience how the Boys
were used previous to this summer and I hope you
will have sense enough not to play the same
game over again- you will try and cut
the dam as early as pofsible you might make
a little bee as I think there is men enough
that owes me for past favors if the have
not forgot it to cut it all you and the Boys
can take care of it and get some person
to draw it in. I think there will be enough
to feed Both cows if you save it right I
want you to winter them Both if possible as
the manure will be worth something I hope
I will be home in the spring to use it myself
fix the stable early in the fall so that you
can save all the manure- Give my love
to my father and mother and all the rest
of the family tell Davy that he is very slow
in answering my letter perhaps he is [illegible]
to write any if so I must excuse him—-
I am shure father will fret about Gardner
if his untimely death is confirmed (as God
send that it may not) the unknown
fate as yet Tom will naturally cause
him trouble advise him to take matters as
easy as possible. he may pine and fret
but it will not recall one iota of the deeds or
trasactions of the past nor will it bear any
influence on the fate of the future. he must bear
no mind that according to the common course
of nature he is very liable to have that unavoid
-able enemy death declare war against him
at any time therefore during his little time
of probation here he ought to make himself
comfortable as possible. give me all the
particulars how the old man & old women get
along. write me all about the children seperately
I want to hear how pip can talk. tell me how
the Boys behave themselves and in Fact were I
in your place I could find material enough
to wirte a letter every day but as the mail
is closing I must close to.
So adieu
for the present yours as usual
Jno. MCoy
This postscript appears at the top of page 4r
If I had time I would devote a whole letter recounting
the incidents of camp life on pay day and
a few subsequent days together with the doings
on the 4th July I think it would amuse
HomeJohn McCoy, letter, to Martha McCoy, 1864 July 12
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