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[The following are verbatim transcripts of actual Civil War letters written by Union soldiers serving in the Lafourche area, all previously unpublished, from my personal collection. Please bear in mind that the language used is that of the writers, and that it is unfair to judge their content by modern standards.]

April 11th, 1863 Camp Farr
Near New Orleans

Dear Father & Mother

I suppose you begun to think that i was sick or some thing els. But not so. My company has been to a place name Thibodaux a bout 80 miles from [sic] ever since Feb 23 and up thire is no Post Office. but I had a fine time i tell you. I lived with a lady by name of Mrs Donelson on a plantation I was a niger driver I had about 300 nigers under me I was in the place of overseers. I lived in house and had a good bed and food. when I left on the morning of the 10th I felt as bad as I left home. thay wher nice people thay gave me when I left a new pair of Shoes and 10 dolls [dollars]. we arrived at New Orleans about 4 o clock to joyn the Reg. we will be paid of [off] in bout 1 week. and we expect to start for home in about 5 weeks we are geting ready now. all we do is drill 1 hour a day. I do not hear of anyhing New. wile i was with Mrs Donelson i went to Berwick Bay and wile i was thire i saw a fight betwen the 2 Mass cavly and the Rebels. the Mass had 4 horses kiled that is all the Rebels had 2 men kiled 1 wonded 5 captured. I am well evry way am almost Black and tough. I hope you are all well at home. I have got a fine horse. i rise on horse Back evry day and thay ant nobody in the Company can beat me. you would laugh if you saw us Marching from homer [Houma] some had caps some hats some boots with Pants in them some shoes some dress coats some Bloues [blouses, i.e., sack coats] all raged [ragged] when we where in homer we lived high we shot pigs and hens in the street and kild cows when we wanted to I do not know of any thing more to write so by by biding you good By. I send my love to all. direct yours letters to New Orleans Co. E. 47. Reg Mass Vols.
from your Son
Charles H. Neal

P.S. I forgot to Say that i got that box you sent but the bottle got Brocken the cake all mould. this morning received Letters dated Feb 4 & 10 March 8 old news (write soon) I have not got any Postage stamps
Mr. Charles H. Neal
of Charlestown

N.B. I have got a niger boy to wate on me

Napoleonville La August 22nd/64

Mr. Andrew Boss Esq.

Dear Cousin it is With Pleasure I take my pen in hand to Inform you that I am Well and hope that These few Lines may find you the same.

I was very glad to get your letter as I began to think you had forgot me all together a letter here in this Country is a great thing some times we dont get no news for two months you spoke of the Southern men coming up north you might Ride all Day and you would not see a man Except newtrel french and negroes We have Some lively times here we go out and pay the Johny a visit and then they come and make us trouble and whip them a Little and send them back but they Beat us the other Day We sent out some despatch Carriers and [they] fired on them killing two and Wounding three only one escaping out of five but the next time we get hold of them We will string up a few of them for their good Conduct

You spoke of sending you an Emblem of Dixey but all the Emblems I can send you is Louisiana mud and Rain water is all we have to drink I have not had a good Drink of watter since I left home

You spoke of Joshiway Shaffrs He is well and Doing well he is Company Horse fairier in Co K 12 Reg Ill Cav Vollunteer he said he would write right away

I got a letter from Sarah Webb she was well and so was the Rest of the folks she wants you to write to her Well I will close so you must write soon
from your Sincere friend and Cousin

J. Wes Augustine D Co 12 Cav Regt Ill Vollunteers
J. Wes. Augustine

Thibodaux La
Parish Lafourche
Nov. 4th 1864

Dear Father

I seat myself to drop you a few lines. My health is still good as I could ask for. also the health of the Co. is good. well we are now Releived from detatched service. we have joined our reg. and are in winter quarters doing nothing but picket duty and pressing negroes for to work for the Government evrything here is quiet Major Conover is at New Orleans, on court marshals. he is judge advocate Uncle Jim is still at Head quarters General Cameron is a Brother in law of Governor Morton and a splended officer. Morris and Miller are on picket today. Morris is as fat as a hog at Christmas. the news seems to be good from all quarters. we have had a great sight of Rain in the last month an of course a great deal of mud. tell Bert McCrea if he has not started Back to stay 4 weeks longer if he wants to Caps mustered him absent with leave

tell him to stay until he gets stout any way Caps is one of the Best men out it is some pleasure to soldier with sutch a Captain. I suppose you are hard at work getting in your Corn. I was glad to hear of those infernal Butternuts being drafted. and then to think you was fool enough to give $75.00 to clear sutch mens shoulders from baring the blunt I would rather heard of you giving $500 to get them into the service you had better look ahead a little and ask yourself if I was to be wounded whether you would be so free to pull out $75.00 to buy me a cork leg or an arm. This is plain words but I want you to take it home and Remember past days.

I shal always reccolect these things. I would of thought a great deal more of it if you had presented $75.00 to the Government Instead of giveing in the way you did what do you suppose men that have gone out will think of sutch work. I can tell you. they feel just as I do, well I must close. we are looking for the pay master in a few day's. my love to all the family tell matt to write often and you try and do better.

Your affectionate Son
J. E. Toner

Camp Near Franklin City Louisiana March 6 1864

Dear Father & Mother

Again I take my pen to write to you a few more lines to let you know how I am getting along There is considerable sickness just now the mumps and measels are going through the whole regiment It is estimated that the regiment cannot muster more than four hundred men fit for duty as for my health it is very good and I am very thankfull for it

It is rumored here in camp that the regiment is going to march in the course of a week or two We may go or we may not ther is no telling when or where a soldier is going untill [he] starts We have packed our dress coats and they are agoing to be stored here through the hot weather and we have got nothing but shelter tents and evry indicates that our regiment is going into an active campaign I wish we would leave this place for it is anything but a healthy place here the land is low and leavel and the water is very poor that is what is makes so many of the men sick if we only get good water I believe there would not be so many men sick as there is here

I have slept on the ground here all the time since I have been here untill about a week ago the Capt came into my tent and told that us that we must not lay on the ground any longer and that if we could not find boards we must go into the woods and cut some poles Accordingly John Carver and Albert Leavitt and myself started off to cut some poles we had not gone far before we met some boys with a lot of boards and thay told us we was a mind to go about 2 miles we could [find] some so we started off through the woods after some boards We finely got there but we got cheated out of our boards and had to take up with pickets off of the fence At the place where we went there was a nice house finished out side and in the very best style and when we got there the boys had striped that house out side and in and had got a fire built up under it and in less than half an hour that house was a heap of ashes I can tell you what it is if you want to see destruction come out here I have been in the army long enough to find out one thing and that it no place to improve a young mans morals to go into the army I dont want you to think I am homesick for I am not but I write just as I think

We have to practice shooting at target mondays wednesdays & Fridays and then we have to drill twice a day and have dress parade evry day and our time about all taken up and I dont find much tome to write except Sunday I am looking for a letter from you evry day for I think it is about time I had one what do you think about my being transfered if it is a possible thing have it done but dont know as it is now be sure and answer my letters as soon as you receive them for I am very anxious to here from you there has been a rumor in camp that the Col was a going to try to get up to washington but we dont any of us believe it for we dont think we should have been sent down here if we want a going to stay here I want you to do as I wrote about my being transfered and possible it can be done I must now close for it is most time for dress parade

Write as soon as you receive this and write all the news from your son
Oscar L Johnson

PS I guess you will have hard work to read this last page for I wrote at lightning speed Tell Fred to be a good boy and help Father all he can

[Oscar L. Johnson was a private in the 30th Maine Infantry Regiment. The envelope was addressed to "Mr. Abizer Johnson Esq., Turner, Maine" and was postmarked March 11, 1864 from New Orleans. Pvt. Johnson was later killed in action.]