Monday, January 16, 2012

Letter #6 -- Fort Hatteras, Camp Winfield, North Carolina -- January 16, 1862

The letter of January 16, 1862 is an interesting look into the mood and attitude of JWD where he displays a longing for the comfort of home.   JWD had just received a package from his parents...probably a Christmas package.  Owing to the length of time it took to transport mail and parcels in those days, the food arrived...more or good shape in a few weeks.  After a steady army diet of crackers, coffee, corn, bread, etc..., the package from home was a real treat.   John's parents must have sent certain items to him to convey a sense of home and comfort.  It was a thoughtful package.  JWD reminisces about each item and what they mean to him.  This is one of my favorite letters.  It shows the sentimental side of JWD...a view rarely available to descendants.

                                                                                    Fort Hatteras,
                                                                                    Camp Winfield,
                                                                                    North Carolina,
                                                                                    January the 16, 1862

My Dear Father,
            I take my pencil in hand write these few lines to you to let you know that I am well at present time and I hope that these few lines will find you in the same state of good health.  I wish you would take my Sunday clothes out of my trunk and hang them out in the air every once-in-a-while so that they don’t get moldy.  Further I let you know that I got my box this day while I was writing this letter to you.  I let you know that I got my box in safety.  Everything was nice and clean but the pie as a little moldy but I ate them and didn’t mind it.  And I was very glad to have them.  But I will you the pudding and sausage went like hot cakes.  I let you know that when I eat the chestnuts it reminds me of Christmas and when I see the sausage it reminds me of New Years and when I saw the pie and bread and butter it reminded me of Sunday morning and when I saw the apples it reminded me of Sundays at ten oclock.  Further I will let you know that I was well satisfied at least and I will try to satisfy you too the next pay day my kind mother.  Tell Josiah M. Fetterolf that I would send my best respects to him and to all the rest and the same Slotterbach’s family and to all the rest of the neighbors.  And let Ester know that I am well as present time, and I want you to write a letter to me as soon as you get this from me and let me know whether she is well or not.  Tell Josiah Fetterolf to write a letter to me and he should write a good deal of news to me.  You can show him the directions in this letter.  But now I must come to a close.

                                                                                    So much of your dear son,
                                                                                    John W. Derr

Direct your letter to John W. Derr, Fort Clarke, Hatteras Inlet, Company “D”, 48th Regiment, Pa., North Carolina via Fortress Monroe, in care of Capt. William W. Potts.

Jim D.

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