Transcribed and submitted by
Great Great Granddaughter of Charles Hennrich
July 13, 1863
Your letter, which you wrote the 3rd of July, I received the 12th and see that you are all still well, as I, thank God, also am.
We were on a bushwacker chase again the 12th. About 250 men from the whole regiment and a company of the 5th Illinois Cavalry. We marched four miles where we halted. The cavalry went on ahead and searched through the brush and cornfields. But the bushwackers know every hole to crawl into and likewise how to come out again when they are hard pressed. We lay there almost all day. Toward evening our commander left 50 men under Captain Hulbruk there on the ground. They had to lie on the ground and if the bushwackers should come again they were to give them a warm reception. The rest of us marched back again. After marching two miles we came upon a very nice orchard. Our commander allowed us to halt and told us we should stack arms and could go into the orchard and fill our haversacks with apples. We were ready to do so at once. That lasted less than 15 minutes when one could scarcely see an apple on the trees. After all had filled their haversacks with ripe apples we started lustily off to Moscow.
There is plenty of fruit here in the south. Apples and peaches are now ripe. Plums are all gone.
We did not celebrate the 4th as heartily as last year. But we had enough beer to drink. At 12 o'clock 35 cannon shots were fired. In the evening, at the time that young people usually go to the ball, we had to shoulder our arms and march along the Memphis and Charleston Railroad four miles and had to stand guard there all night against guerrillas. At 2 o'clock some of the gentlemen came along. We sent them a "good morning" at once but it was too dark to really aim. When the powder smoke cleared away we could no longer see or hear anything. We then marched back.
The other day a Negro came and said he had seen a bushwacker in the brush who had been shot dead. That is another one that has come over to the Union.
Every farmer who had not taken the oath before the 4th of July is having everything taken away from him; sheep, cattle, swine, horses, and mules. The 6th of July 20 men of our regiment and 20 cavalry went out. We took sheep and cattle. As we were on our way back we had 200 head of sheep and 50 head of cattle. The women and the children shrieked and cried that we should leave the cows. One man went into the herd of cattle and wanted to get his two cows out. One of the cavalrymen told him to get out or he would bring him out. But the Sesech paid no attention. Then the cavalryman rode toward him and struck him on the head with his saber so that the blood spurted. The captain asked who had given him the wound and he said, "One of the cavalrymen". The captain said that he could not help it, that he should have stayed out. Now we are not short of mutton.
Dear parents, I wrote to Phillip Dock the 23rd of June but have, up to now, received no reply. The message came by telegraph on the 6th of July that Vicksburg had surrendered to General Grant on the morning of the 4th of July. On the 7th 13 cannon were fired.
The messages show strength on all sides. General Meade, who commands the Army of the Potomac, has shown General Lee how he got that way. General Rosencrans is giving it to General Bragg on the pants. I think that if things keep progressing so the war will soon be over.
Dear Parents, I have sent my coat home. I forgot to write it in my last letter and I gather from your last letter that you do not have the coat and shirt as yet because Minnie and Elizabeth are still howling that they have received no pen and I know that the coat and shirt have not arrived for I folded several pens into the bundle with them. If you do not have things by now then you must make it known to Fleck at Guttenberg.
Dear parents, would you be so kind as to send Kasper Hoffman's address as I would like to write him a few lines.
Dear parents, I would like to join the United States Regular Infantry, but one must enlist for five years. Major-general Hurlbut had it in the Memphis Bulletin that anyone who enlists for five years will receive four hundred dollars bounty money besides his monthly pay. I have a strong desire to join.
I received the paper the 9th of July. I will close now with greetings to all of you. Greet Ernst for me and remind him that he does not let himself be heard from.
Many greetings to all of you.
From your son,
Dear parents, you might send a few postage stamps again if you will be so kind.
NOTES: Minnie and Elizabeth were twins and sisters of Charles Hennrich. Ernst was a brother. Kasper Hoffman, from Clayton County, Iowa was a member of the 6th Iowa Cavalry on duty at Fort Pierre, Dakota Territory during July 1863.