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Gilmer Letters Civil War Letters of Russell County
Stanton June 10th 1861

Dear Parents,

     I will endeavor this morning, to write you a few lines to let you know where we are and how we are getting along &c.  We left Richmond on yesterday (sunday) and arrived at this place (Stanton) last night about 10 Oclock.  We are well and expect to proceed to some other point.  Probably we will start this morning.  I cannot tell where we will go.  
     We do not know where we are going to, sometimes till we are ready to start.  We start sometimes a few minutes after our Colonel gets the order and of course cannot tell where we are going before.  If you have written to Richmond we will not get your letter.  Reeves told you yesterday that we were going to start to Wheeling.  Some think we will proceed to Philippi.  Capt Hunt thinks that we will not leave here this morning.  If we go or when we go we will have to take it on foot.  I see there is one company of artillery at this place.  I have seen no excitement about the war yet.  All is quiet at this place.  I would like to hear from you very much.  Our movements are so uncertain that I fear I will not hear from you shortly.  About 520 of our Regiment are at this place.  You might write another letter and direct it to me at this place, probably I might get it.  If I do not it will not be much loss.  I am writing this on my knee and have not had breakfast.  As to our fare, I can say that it is very irregular and not very good.  Some go to eating houses and pay for their meals rather than eat their rations.  I believe Reeves is gone this morning to get his breakfast.  We eat our breakfast yesterday morning at Richmond Fair grounds and did not eat any more till 9 1/2 last night, a few miles below here.  The soldiers life is hard.  We see hard times yet all seem to enjoy themselves very well.  You will see by looking at the map that we are nearer home now that we were when at Richmond.  I don't like the way our officers act; they have not the business turn about them to get along right.  We had a pleasant ride yesterday, the road being lined with people almost from one end to the other, cheering and throwing their bouquetts.  I have just eaten my breakfast, which consisted of Crackers, good beef & coffee and it is after 10 O clock; so you see how it is.  I cannot grumble at what we had this morning, yet I expect to go 36 hours without eating before we are through.  Our company is civil generally speaking.  Of course we have some bad boys.  I suppose you know that judge Fulkerson is our Col.  I don't know whether we will get our uniform or not and dont care much; we can fight without it.  If we are victorious and get home to see you once more in life we will be satisfied.  You can all look on the map and see where we are and get a letter from us once in a while as long as we live.  This is as near as you can come seeing us.  You have my likeness & I wish you had Reeves; he has not had his taken yet & I dont know whether he will have the chance or not.  Love to all from May & Pa to Marcel and Pierce.  The boys are oiling their gun locks and I must close and oil mine.  I hope this will find all well.  None of you have any idea what a soldiers life is.  Tell George is it well he did not come, for it is harder on the married man than the single.  I am sorry for some three or four or our own married men.  I will write again when I can.

Your affectionate son
John E. Gilmer
Staunton, Augusta Co. Va
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