*** I have renumbered the letters to correspond to their correct order...this letter is now #23.***
Unfortunately, this letter is written in lead pencil and is very difficult to read in some places. You will see my parenthetical blocks which indicate the illegibility of these parts of the letter.
One interesting note....He instructs his parents to ensure that any letter they pay for at the Barry Township post office in Pennsylvania have a stamp on it. Even though his parents paid the postage on this letter, the postal service at the hospital would not release it to him until he paid cash for the assumed postage due. Rather rough on a soldier to have Washington bureaucrats withholding mail from home to a wounded soldier due to the lack of a postage stamp!
Georgetown College Hospital
Ward No. 2 Washington
September 18, 1862
Dear Father and Mother,
I take my pencil in hand to inform this few lines to you to let you know that I am very well today on this evening it is, 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 you letter today and was very glad to hear from home and to hear that you are all well at present time for I haven’t heard from home for the 8 weeks all though I am sorry to hear that the baby died. But I can’t order it any. You didn’t mention how long it was sick or what his sickness was. Further I don’t know much to write this evening and I can’t write much because leg don’t heal for it. I wish you would tell Elizabeth that she should write a letter to me while I am here. Write soon. Again from your dear son.
John W. Derr
Direct your letter to John W. Derr Georgetown College Hospital Ward No. 2 Washington, D.C.
Further I must let you know that there are a few words in that letter that I can’t understand what the meaning is. But I don’t think that I do need any (unintelligible). If you do pay for your letter (unintelligible)…put them in (unintelligible)…post office then make them put a stamp on. This last letter you wrote and paid for, they (unintelligible) do but here was no stamp on and I had to pay it again here before they would give it to me.
John W. Derr