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Gilmer Letters Civil War Letters of Russell County
Laurell Hill July 8 1861
Dear Pa;
     I received a letter from your hand this morning, it being the only one that I have got from you and it was out of date - being written on the 22nd of June. Martha's & Sarah's directed to Philippi, I got first, then Martha's & Haye's was only three days coming, I got them on the 5th. We have got three letters from home up to this date and none from any other quarter. You can tell now wheter all of your letters have come to us or not. We will get all your letters while we are here if you will direct them right.
There was a partial attack made on us yesterday (Sunday) - nothing much was done more than a great deal of fireing at each other a great distance. We lost one man and two wounded. It is said that one of the Georgians got a bullet out of his shoulder and shot it back at them. The fireing commenced yesterday morning and is still going on. I hear a few fires once and a while. The enemy have moved within two miles of us. I know not how many there are. I could tell the reported number; but it is useless, because we cannot hear the truth. I was out on picket guard, from Saturday evening 6 O'clock to Sunday night 9 O'clock and no attack was made on our position. Rives was on the same that I was. Picket guard is the most dangerous duty of the soldier in this traitorous part of the country. One Yankee was taken by us yesterday and a store keeper and a doctor. I got some tobacco of the store keeper a few days ago and he is now under guard. There is no telling how many traitors in this section, but I think we can manage them all. I expect to have the chance at shooting at a yankee before tomorrow morning. According to camp regulations I and Rives get to rest today, that is from being on any kind of guard. It is no time for me to be writing a letter to you when I hear two or three muskets fire, every line that I write and I don't write slow. Those that are fireing now are our scouts. I don't know how many of the enemy have been killed and wounded since yesterday morning, and no one else knows but themselves. Where there is a large force at one place it is hard for the soldier to find out how many of his own side are killed or wounded. I expect to go out tonight and be awake all night. I am well, so is Rives with the exciption of a cold and that is a general thing here. Some have bad coughs. There are several very sick men in our company with measels. Two more canons came in last night making six, at this place. I have not fired my musket yet and am eager to try it, to see if it kicks much.
One of Capt. Hunts men got shot in the but yesterday by accident - now don't go to laughing about it, like I am - though. I mean no harm. Pinnion was handling an old revolver and it went off striking a man by the name of Coe, in the side of his well. I think he will get well in a few days. A great many guns go off accidentally. Some of us can write great news home in a few days - no doubt. I would like to see you all the best kind, yet I and you must wait and probably a long time. If I could just see you one half hour it would do me good. I must bring this to a close with what news I have. We may have a hard battle before this time tomorrow. Write often and tell our friends to write. Marthas & Hayse's letter were very interesting indeed. All is right at home and your two boys are well and that is all we ask. Your affectionate son
J. E. Gilmer
To all at Home
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