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Gilmer Letters Civil War Letters of Russell County
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Rives is well Cowans and Gilmers are all well with the exception of colds, and we don't call that much sickness so long as it does not lay us up and keep us from duty. If the weather was fine we could do very well without tents. You have no idea what kind of places we sleep in. This is not a filthy place at all yet like the camp at Richmond, The air is rather too fresh here today. I am too cold now to sit here long, on the ground. I expect you have cool weather too at this time. I have seen but one good looking field of corn since I came here. The grain is not beginning to turn here yet. A few accidents have happened on our road and here. David Jones shot the end of his trigger finger off a week or two back - some think he did it on purpose. I think so too. Another mans musket went off the other day - shooting a large hole in his hand. A great many guns go off accidentally, but the punishment that such men recieve will stop such accidents.
The worst accident yet is that a man was shot dead a day or two ago, not in our regiment though. One of the sentinels shot him in the left side - killing him instantly. I saw him a few minutes after it was done. The instructions that the sentinel received required him to shoot. I can't make you understand it without writing too much. I have been on camp guard about 4 nights, Picket guard 3 nights and scout 1 night - last night. You must put up with this letter it is the best that I can do this time. I want you to write to us often and as much news as you can. I have written several letters but have got but one in return yet. If you can, please send us a good [...] pair of pants apiece and a shirt apiece, Colico, dark small flow red something that will not fade nor show dirt. You can't do this untill you can make them before our uniform starts. I had my hair cut off close yesterday and I have saved a small bunch to send to you. Rives will send you a bunch of his. Receive this as a token of remembrance and love, to one as much as another at home. With this I will close, eager to hear from home and friends at all times. Please pay attention to writing to us, let the news be what it may. We can bear most anything these times.
Your affectionate sons and brothers
J. E. Gilmer
W. R. Gilmer
P.S. you can direct to Philippi Barbour Co Va or to Beverly Randolph Co Va or to Laurell Hill either of the three will do. Barbour Co Va
Excuse mstakes for I have time to look over to correct.

John E. Gilmer
Barbour Co Va
Mr John E. Gilmer

P. S. 12 Oclock I have just seen our Capt, and he says that we have orders to leave here at 6 in the morning (Tuesday). We are going to Philippi in Bourbon county to meet the yankees. We will go on foot - there is no railroad from here there. I would not be so particular in writing to you all if it were not that I know it will afford you great satisfaction to hear from us. There are a great many here and we have to write on our knee. We are looking for Wise's Regiment to go on with us. I dont know how many will leave with us. I think one company of artillery will go with us. Some say it will take us ten days to go. Waggons are here now to take our baggage. We are a great distance from home and are still going further, yet we are not troubled in the least. We cook provissions today to do us tomorrow. We are getting to be fine cooks, though we do no particular cooking. Nothing but boiling or frying meat and making coffee. It is hardly possible that we will all get back home. Of course we know not who the unfortunate ones will be God only knows. And I trust in Him only to preserve us in the hour of danger. I wish I could tell you all that we seen and gone through with since we left home. It would take more than a quire of paper to give you even a sketch. You must not only put up with, but must be glad to get what little news we can give you. I would like to write to all my friends. I can write to but few. God bless all my good friends. I know they feel concerned about us all. If I were just over my cold, I would be fat in a few days, my health is good, Let all read my letters who want to.
Fare-well J.E.G.

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