This letter written by
James B. King
27th Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry, Company E,
was transcribed and submitted by Barbara King.
Moscow Tennessee 18 July--1863
Dear Cousin Rebecca,
I don't know that I have anything important to write today but it won't do to let your letter go any longer without your having an answer.
We still remain at Moscow at our old business of guarding Rail Road. We don't have any important adventures. The Colonel occasionally sends out a squad of us when he hears of any guerillas in the neighborhood but footmen don't stand much chance to catch mounted guerillas. A lot of us went out last Sunday and lay hid in the bushes along a narrow lane through which we expected some guerrillas to pass that night. We stayed all night but they didn't come. We have a small detachment of Cavalry here. They bring in some guerrillas every few days. Since we left Jackson the rebels have been trying hard to raise a force up north of us to come down and make a break in this railroad. Col. Hatch with about 1500 cavalry had a fight with a superior force of rebels in Jackson a few days ago. He whipped than, took over 100 prisoners and drove them out of town. If they ever get down in this part of Tennessee we will try to give them a warm reception but I don't think they will be here soon.
The weather is terribly hot most of the time tho' we have had a few cool days We have been living high on blackberries for the last three weeks. There has been a great abundance of them and they will not be all gone for more than a week yet. The Apples and Peaches have not begun to get ripe much yet, but there will be an abundance of them when they do get ripe.
I didn't have to "watch the measles" on the 4th as you say you did, but I had to watch for rebels. I was on Picket Guard that day. I didn't have a very lively time of it. The day was awful hot and our post was out in an open field with no shade but our tent so I didn't feel so gay as I have sometimes done on the 4th of July. We hadn't heard the good news from Vicksburg then.
Tell Sister Lorain that I do remember the currents. I will not soon forget any of my kind friends at Home.
I have my usual good health. The weather has been too hot for any one to feel as spry as in October--but I am as well as could be expected for this time of year. We don't have such cold weather here as you do in Iowa but I believe I like the cold better than the Heat of the South.
If I can have my own way I don't think I'll ever pass another summer further South than Iowa. Although I want very much to see you all, still I don't allow myself to get homesick. I wouldn't like soldiering for a business all of my life, but so long as Uncle Sam needs me he will be welcome to my poor services.
Sergt [William M.] Allyn has not been able to do his regular duty for two or three weeks. I don't really know what ails him--I suppose it is merely debility. I suppose that you have heard that George Ashline had got accidentally shot in the leg. It was done about a week ago by the carelessness of some one in another company. I don't suppose it will be anything very dangerous, but he will not be fit for duty for sometime. I send love to you, Robert and the children--to Mr. Angiers folks and friends generally. I believe that all your friends here are well except those I have mentioned.
Jas B. King
Next Letter dated August 16, 1863