Letters from John Mercer to Absalom & Elizabeth

    Contributed by: Ada Dunn



    Photo of John Mercer
    John Mercer corresponded with his brother and sister while serving his country during the Civil War. Three of the letters have survived and they are old and yellowed and appear to have been written on the backs of pages from a ledger or journal type paper. These three letters are transcribed as written, including strike-throughs and misspellings. On the front side of the the first letter dated July 30, 1863, John writes to his brother Absalom who was still at home at the time. On the back side, he writes to his sister, Elizabeth asking her to send him some clothing. July 30 18:63 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - near Culpeper VA Dear Brothe I seate myself here to rite you a few lines to let you no that I am well at this time hopeing theas few lines may reach your handes and fine you and the rest of the fameley all well and doing well I hant receve a leter from home sence the first of this month and it was it was rote the first of Joune I wold lik to hear from home ofener if I cold we left this place a bout the 15 of July on the 28 of July we return back to our ole camp ground we have hardtime time senc we left this place we have lost our Captin and severil other dear friendes our compan has lost a bout twelve men kill wonded and taken prisners Jobe was with the waggones and James Stokes they wente to hunt the redgment and got with a somes staf wagones they got up inthm to - - - - the yankes charge t on the wagones an tuck them Jobe stokes left the wagones and run stokes maid his a scape and he seas Jobe was taken prisner that is the las I have heard of him if you hear from him rite to me where he is he want well the last time I saw him as for the fiting you can hear more a bout hit then I can rite John Mercer to A J Mercer To your self Dear sister I must writ you a few lines to ans your last leter I you -------- that the sherif ha a judgment a gance Josha Messer and me and hit had to be paid in a short time or you have the his land sold an to pay the det and git some man to run it up tall. it will be a nuff to pay the ded or by it your self if you cant tend to it git some man to a tend to it for you and if the land dont bring anuf to pay the det you will have to payd what it like if you have got rite smart money more then will pay the clames that have come a gance me you had beter lone it out to some good man but kepe a hundred dollars on hand it will be a nuff to keep after paying the clames that is gance me now I want you to make me some cloveing if you can git wole for the close that we draw hant mutch a count if ther is any pasing done that you can send me some clovin send me one pare of pance one pare of drawers and one shirt pance I mean coten for theas seson I must come to a close by saing I remain your brothe tell al the famly John Mercer to Elisbeth Mercer The second letter dated December 29, 1863 was written to his sister Elizabeth while he was near Guinea Station in Virginia. December 29 1863 In camp near ginastation Dear sister I seate myself to rite you a few lines to lete you no that I am well at this time hopeing my few lines may reach you and fine you and all the rest well and doeing well they detailes come back last thursday JR Miller brout me one pare of pance one pare of drawers one vescut and sox some sosidy tators which I was glad to receive we are giting along vare well at this time I donte have mutch to due I have nothing of intrust to rite I wold be glad you wold fine out how meny notes ther is a gance JD Mercer with my name to them and hav got them if you cant your self git Hugh Maxwill or some other friend to sist you for I wante them paid and setled on the note that J D Mercer had gance me I wold be glad you wold go to Hugh Maxill and git his advise abou it and doe what he thinkes is best I have rote two leters a bout this and hante receve eny answer yit but I am in hope you will answer this give my respect to mothe and Brothers and sister Keepe the same. Elisbeth Mercer John Mercer A third letter dated January 9, 1864 is written to sister Elizabeth when John was near Guinea Station, Virginia. January 9 1864 In Camp near Ginna station VA Dear sister I seate my self to answer your leter that cam to hand the 6 ins it was rote the 29 day of Junuar 18:63. it found me well and this leave me well and I hope it will fine you and the rest of the fame ly well and doeing well. the Boyes is all well that is from that nabor hood. there is no nuse to rite times is quite and vary cole hear it was vary dul hear a Chrismus hardley hear the day cold I am in hopes this year will bring the ware to a close for i donte wante to be in camp a nother Chrismas I wante you to rite to me what you are going to doe a bou setlen the detes wher I am surty with J D Mercer I would be glad they cold be setled and give credit on the note he had a gance me I rote to you two or three times about it but you hante rote back what you wold due I would be glad you wold rite as quick as you receve this leter give My love to mother and brother and sisters keepe the same Elisabeth Mercer. John Mercer

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