The letter of July 16, 1862 is much like others during this period between the battles at New Berne, North Carolina and the eventual campaign that would lead to the 2nd Battle of Bull Run later in the summer. In this letter, JWD indicates that the 48th PVI has begun its movement out of North Carolina and back into Virginia. Interestingly, his letter head states "West Virginia" vs. Virginia. I find that interesting since West Virginia did not become a separate state until 1863! Did JWD have clairvoyance!? Anyway....these letters during the summer of 1862 do not shed much light on anything in particular, but provide a nice parallel to the true troop movements as documented in the official records. This letter also provides a bit of the country humor and exaggerations...these little attempts at humor probably made his family chuckle a bit as they read the letter....for example...
"But I let you know that it is very hot here. You may think that it is very hot here for we don’t need any fire to cook our beansoup and fix our coffee. We can just let it out in the sun and it will boil there. "
I appreciate all of you for your continued support and for following the blog even during these lull periods where the letters are not very interesting. I promise you that they become a bit more interesting after the 2nd Battle of Bull Run. The letters of September 1862 provide a much more intriguing look into a life changing event for JWD. But for now....Letter # 17 from New Port News, Virginia...
Newport News, State of
West Virginia, July 16, 1862
My Dear Father,
I take my pen in hand to inform this few lines to you to let you know that I am well at present time and I hope that this few lines will find you in the same state of good health. Further I let you know that I received your letter yesterday evening. While I was reading it we had a very hard rain storm but I was very glad to here from you and to hear that you are all well at present time. Further I let you know that we moved again. We was to go --- to Richmond to take it but then we only come to Newport News and there we are camped now and I don’t know where we will go next. But I let you know that it is very hot here. You may think that it is very hot here for we don’t need any fire to cook our beansoup and fix our coffee. We can just let it out in the sun and it will boil there. Further I wish you would let me know whether you did draw my last pay or not and would let me know how much money you got saved for me and then I can make a calculation about that what you wrote to me about, that is if you want to have her there. So I must come to a close and say good by for this time. Answer me this letter as soon as you get this from me.
John W. Derr
Solomey A. Derr
Soloma R. Derr
Direct your letter to John W. Derr, Burnsides Expedition Way, Fortress Monroe, Virginia