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7th Mass. Light Artillery - Long 6 Page Letter Describing Vicksburg after the Fall - White River Landing, Ark. Sept. 9, '64

This letter was written by George D. Adams, an 18-year-old clerk from Lowell, Massachusetts.  Adams became the Quarter Master Sergt. of the regiment.  In this letter he is writing from White River Landing, Arkansas to his sister, Ellen, who lived in Vermont (envelope included, stamp missing).  Adams letter is long and gives great details. 

 

·         “We reached Natchez, Miss… I think it is one of the prettiest southern cities I have ever seen.  The
main part of the city cannot be seen from the river, it being situated behind a very high bluff, but
there is quite a little village near the river which is called Natchez under the hill.  The streets of the
main city are laid out very regularly and are well shaded.  The houses are also quite uniform and
are many of them of brick.  There is one of the strongest forts on the river situated at this place.  I
got the first good spring water there that I have had for many a month.  The bank of the river is
lined with springs.  We stopped there a little over two hours and started ahead again up the river.”  

 

·         “The next place of importance we arrived at was Vicksburg... It is located on a very high bluff, but
not as I had always supposed principally on the top, but it is on the slope towards the river although
 it extends clear to the top.  The streets run right along the side of the hill, which is steeper than
mother’s garden.  It is quite a large place and contains many fine buildings one of which is the court
house which is a large quite building with a very high steeple in which there is a clock.  It is situated
nearly on the top of the bluff, so it can be seen for miles around and was used as a target by our
artillery during the siege.  Many of the houses around are completely riddled with shot and shell.
 I
noticed two large windows in the front of a large church in which there was not a whole pane of glass.  
The top of the bluff for miles is one continual string of forts and beyond the country seems to have been
all dug up for miles.  I was well paid for my long walk in witnessing the scene of the greatest victory
we have gained in this war.”

  

A fine letter for the Massachusetts or Mississippi collector.

 

#L257 - Price $250

 

 


  
Transcription:
                                                                                               White River Landing, Ark. Sept. 9th, 1864

                 Dear Sister Ellen,

At last, thank heaven, I have got out of the department of the Gulf, and best of
all from the Post of Morganza.  We may not stay long but even if we do not stay more
than a week, it will be a relief.  We broke our camp and embarked aboard the river
transport Laurel Hill last Saturday morning, but the rest of the troops did not all
get embarked until late in the afternoon, so that we did not get away until the next
morning.  There were 8 transports in the fleet, carrying the whole second division of
the 19th Corps (a new division) to which we have been lately attached.  We reached
Natchez, Miss. about 5 o’clock Sunday afternoon and I think it is one of the prettiest
southern cities I have ever seen.  The main part of the city cannot be seen from the
river, it being situated behind a very high bluff, but there is quite a little village near
the river which is called Natchez under the hill.  The streets of the main city are laid
out very regularly and are well shaded.  The houses are also quite uniform and are
many of them of brick.  There is one of the strongest forts on the river situated at this
place.  I got the first good spring water there that I have had for many a month.  The
bank of the river is lined with springs.  We stopped there a little over two hours and
started ahead again up the river.  The next place of importance we arrived at was
Vicksburg, which was reached the next afternoon about two o’clock.  Of course you
have heard descriptions enough of the place so that you know pretty near how it
looks but still it will do no harm to tell you how it looked to me.  It is located on a
very high bluff, but not as I had always supposed principally on the top, but it is on
the slope towards the river although it extends clear to the top.  The streets run right
along the side of the hill, which is steeper than mother’s garden.  It is quite a large
place and contains many fine buildings one of which is the court house which is a
large quite building with a very high steeple in which there is a clock.  It is situated
nearly on the top of the bluff, so it can be seen for miles around and was used as a
target by our artillery during the siege.  Many of the houses around are completely
riddled with shot and shell.
 I noticed two large windows in the front of a large
church in which there was not a whole pane of glass.  The top of the bluff for miles is
one continual string of forts and beyond the country seems to have been all dug up for
miles.  I was well paid for my long walk in witnessing the scene of the greatest victory
we have gained in this war.  While there I had some business at the Depot
Quartermaster office, and as I was coming out I saw on the opposite door the name of
Capt. Geo. Q. White, A. Q. M., and happened to see the officer himself and noticing
that he had a false arm I took it for granted that it was Mary Janes beau, and so I of
course asked him and he said he was the same man, and he appeared quite pleased to
see me, and we talked over matters and things as long as my time would permit.  He
said that Mary Jane was visiting at Springfield the last letter he had from her.  He is
a very fine looking young man.  He introduced me to his brother who is I suppose his
head clerk.  He said he was going to New Orleans in a few days having gotten a
position.  We left Vicksburg that night after dark and arrived here yesterday morning
without stopping on the way.  We disembarked here and are now camped in a big
cotton field where we shall in all probability stop two or three days till we can get
small boats enough here to take us up White river that I think being our final
destination.  The transports we came on have gone back to Morganza after the rest
of the Corps.  There was quite a force went up the river a few days ago to join Steel
at Little Rock which is in all probability where we are going and likely enough we
shall move from there through the country to Shrewport.  We are now about 450
miles from Morganza.  Last night we were made about so happy a sort of fellows as
we could be easily by receiving a very large mail down the river.  I had 12 letters and
10 papers besides a pair of stockings and two towels, quite a nice little mail wasn’t it,
but I have not got the whole yet.  I have not got the one that you directed to
Washington and which you said contained some stamps and money, both of which
I am out of but it will be no doubt get here after a time.  There is quite a number that
the folks in Lowell have written that I have not received yet, but as you can believe I
was very glad indeed to get what I did and I had a fine time reading them.  I rec’d 7
from you, the latest date being Aug. 14.  I had two from Darius, one from Enos, one
from Nettie and one from Elizabeth.  The last was dated June 3rd at Carrollton, but
I do not think she is there now for I understand that Capt. Peabody he has been
relieved and assigned to some Western Department.  I should like to be stationed at
the same place.  My health is very good indeed and if we have plenty of marching to
do this fall, I do not fear but what I can keep it so especially if there is any apples or
other fruit around.  I would not find one word of fault if I did not get anything but
apples to eat for the next two months for I know I could keep my health and enjoy
myself all the time.  I eat everything in the fruit and vegetable line that I can find
and that is little enough.  I should like some of Mother’s summer harveys for
breakfast this morning.  You may direct your next letter to White River Landing,
Arkansas via Cairo.  Please give my love to all friends and take an extra ration at
home to pay for stockings and towels which I was in great need of.

                                                                                   From your affectionate brother,               

                                          Geo. D. Adams