Letters from
Jonas H. Roe
1861 - 1864


October 13, 1861 – Camp Butler, Illinois
"... My country calls for me and I leave all that I hold dear upon Earth and fully go to her assistance conscious that I embark on a holy and righteous cause..."

December 10, 1861 – Camp Butler, Illinois
"... Language is inadequate to convey my love and respect for the kindness and love which you have ever exhibited to and my our children..."

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January 11, 1862 – Lincoln Barracks
"... Congress has confired upon Joseph H Ramey of Cansess the title of Major General and he is to take charge of all troops west of the Mississippi River there is some talk now of this regiment being attached to that army..."

March 8, 1862 – Ironton, Missouri
"... overpowered them killing some and taking 40 prisoners I saw today a soldier of the 33rd Regiment of Illinois who was in the fight and was wounded in three places – Gen Price and Army have been here..."

March 21, 1862 – Greenville, Missouri
"... We have taken New Madrid and thoroughly Subdued Rebellion all through here..."

May 4, 1862 – Pocahontas, Arkansas
"... Gen Steel and his Army has gone south to Jacksonport and the fifth Reg. is to be divided and kept as guards to guard different points..."

June 18, 1862 – Pocahontas, Arkansas
"... It is reported that the secessionists are within 30 or 40 miles from here we were aroused by a false alarm one day last week by a report that some 5 thousand were Coming on us at night..."

June 18, 1862 – Pocahontas, Arkansas
"... skirmishing is going on now almost daily in the vicinity of Batesville and it is generally believed that we will have a big fight in the neighborhood of Batesville soon we have some thirty thousand soldiers that can be brought in action..."

July 2, 1862 – Arkansas
"... we have had several skirmishes and several on both sides have been killed on the march so far. The rebels have generally fired their cotton and their or our men have burned down most of the dwellings..."

July 4, 1862 – Augusta, Arkansas
"... on the morning before the battle the rebels took two of our men prisoner, and tied them to a tree and shot them 13 balls was shot through an orderly Sargent of the 11th Wisconsin Reg of Cav..."

July 12, 1862 – Helena, Arkansas
"... he died the death of a traitor and his body now lies in a trench by the side of his and vile associates in crime where they were deposited by their enemy. Jan Curtis denyed them the privilage of Burying their dead..."

August 25, 1862 – Helena, Arkansas
"... Curtis’s Army is laying here yet a large amount of his men are sick and they are dying off fast ... Gen. Heniman of Little Rock the commander of the Secess was killed by his own men in a revolt..."

September 2, 1862 – Helena, Arkansas
"... It is very sickly here now and in consequence of its being so sickly our Army has been laying still and I have no important knews to give you..."

September 9, 1862 – Helena, Arkansas
"... I think there will be a great armament of hard fighting there before the Rebels will give up it is said that their whole Army numbers two hundred and fifteen thousand it is no little job to wipe out such a formidable army..."

September 22, 1862 – Helena, Arkansas
"... I did not know when we would get into a battle in fact we were expecting an attack all the time and a blind horse is worse than none whare we have to jump fences ravines and bogs..."

October 9, 1862 – Helena, Arkansas
"... last Saturday week a short time before day the rebels attacked one of our Picket Posts and took the 42 men that were on guard all prisoners. We followed the next morning and over took the rebels and killed some and took some prisoners..."

October 27, 1862 – Helena, Arkansas
"... after we had got in the field and had our waggon about half full of corn about six hundred rebels attacked us with double barreled shot guns loaded with buck shot and commenced firing upon us..."

November 8, 1862 – Helena, Arkansas
"... All of our prisoners taken at that time have returned from Little Rock. They were Parolled they having lost all of their horses and horse equipments that morning that they had with them..."

November 17, 1862 – Helena, Arkansas
"... About 2 oclock yesterday morning our Reg. was called to arms that our picket had been attacked, We were soon mounted and off to where it was reported that the attack had been made..."

November 26, 1862 – Helena, Arkansas
"... Our Army is very large here now numbering 50 or 60 thousand and is increasing daily waiting to go down to Vicksburg as soon as the River gits high enough..."

December 8, 1862 – Helena, Arkansas
"... we had not less then ten thousand the sight was truly magnificent The sharp cracks of the Rifle and the booming of Cannon in our advance admonished us that the crash of arms the battle had commenced..."

December 19, 1862 – Helena, Arkansas
"... we had not marched over a mile when we came on a lot more of them from fifteen to twenty they just had been eating dinner they sprang upon their horses fired at our advance and turned to run..."

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January 1, 1863 – Helena, Arkansas
"... There is no worse form of slavery in the world than this African Slavery of ours and I am perfectly satisfied that the uniter of all good is now using the means to abolish that institution..."

January 8, 1863 – Helena, Arkansas
"... Tell Jos. Enterkin that I have been promoted to the Office of Comissary Sargent. My pay hereafter will be three dollars per month more than it has been..."

January 27, 1863 – Helena, Arkansas
"... 25 men of the 2nd Wisconsin Reg. was sent back from Big Creek to carry a message to Helena as they were crossing a Slough on the road the Rebels attacked them both before + behind numbering 135..."

March 02, 1863 – Helena, Arkansas
"... I believe that the hardest Battle that has ever been faught in America is now being faught at Vicksburg both armies are very large and the Secess will hold it as long as they can..."

March 6, 1863 – Helena, Arkansas
"... A man out of Co B of our Rig. died yesterday he had been shot in the knee + it mortified it was cut off + died soon after..."

March 26, 1863 – Helena, Arkansas
"... The secess Captain had been hit 9 times in all he recd 7 balls in the fight at Pitsburgh landing ... + he received one shot from us in a skirmish last fall the 9th time the Ball past through his Heart poor fellow he was a hero..."

April 05, 1863 – Helena, Arkansas
"... we are yet holding this Post and we have comfortable quarter I hope to remain here this summer if the war continues..."

April 21, 1863 – Helena, Arkansas
"... I owe nearly sixty dollars on my horses I paid for the one that I lost 40 dollars + forty two for the one that I now have..."

April 23, 1863 – Helena, Arkansas
"... speaking of the workings of that cursed Institution the slaves have been treated in many instances far worse than we treat our domestic animals of the North..."

April 30, 1863 – Helena, Arkansas
"... the Commander of the slave ship was recently tried in New York + found guilty...he would be Executed at a Certain time that he could receive no earthly help that he had violated the laws of a just + righteous Government and thereby he had forfeited his life upon the Gallows..."

May 15, 1863 – Helena, Arkansas
"... a Black man who was present during the the fight when one of the Kansas Boys fell Badly wounded took up his gun + through off his hat + took his position in the ranks + faught as brave as the bravest..."

May 21, 1863 – Helena, Arkansas
"... I have for my occupation the drawing of our provisions since I became Comisassary Sergent I do not have to stand guard any I have the best + easist officer below a Liutenant I draw provisions once every tuesdays + between time I have nothing much to do..."

May 27, 1863 – Helena, Arkansas
"... Gov. Rector of Arkansas has surrendered the State into the hands of Gen Carters and I think there will be no more fighting in the state and that we will be discharged soon I expect to be at home certainly by this 4th of July..."

June 3, 1863 – Vicksburg, Mississippi
"... Hainsbluff is about 15 miles North of Vicksburg on the Azoo River we have taken this strong hold of Rebeldom we will leave here about 12 thousand strong for Azoo City 60 miles accompanied by some Gun Boats..."

June 15, 1863 – Vicksburg, Arkansas
"... I had my horse shot dead. the Ball whent through him within an in or two of my thigh he fell so suddenly he fell on my right leg... The leaden balls passed through the air like hail stones in a hailstorm..."

June 17, 1863 – Vicksburg, Mississippi
"... The Rebel fortifications at Vicksburg are very strong our forces are counter fortifying + are constantly fighting the Rebels who are doing all that they can to hold their positions..."

July 15, 1863 – Vicksburg, Mississippi
"... in one of the charges of Gen Banks on Fort Hudson Col. Payne of a Colored Reg fell mortally wounded after our men had fallen back + Payne was left among the dead + wounded his men ...Wanted the privillage of going on the field + bring out the Body of their Commander..."

July 23, 1863 – Vicksburg, Mississippi
"... they had some hard fighting but the Rebels were whiped every time we took from two to three thousand prisoners all together among the prisoners taken were ten of those that were parolled at Vicksburg they were hung..."

September 24, 1863 – Cairo, Illinois
"... The Rebels conlisted every inch of soil for 5 miles but they were roughted thoroughly The Rebels retreated towards Red River I think our Reg is on Black River 20 miles west of Vicksburg..."

September 26, 1863 – Memphis, Tennessee
"... according to all reports both Northern + Southern, Rosencrants men stood as firm + as immovable by the hords of Rebels as the granate Rocks after the two days hard Battle was over + he had properly disposed of the dead + wounded he retreated back to Chattanooga..."

October 1, 1863 – Vicksburg, Mississippi
"... I promise to pay to the order of Capt A. S. Jessup the sum of Forty three 10/100 dollars for value received on two Equal payments on my receiving pay from the U.S. Paymaster..."

October 4, 1863 – Vicksburg, Mississippi
"... The Rebel force about 8 or 10 thousand strong now confront us but so far have refused to fight us when we have offered Battle. I think they will give us Battle soon but we will whip them as we did at Helena..."

October 27, 1863 – Vicksburg, Mississippi
"... we came on the Rebels about 2 miles east of Brownsville Miss. our Regt did the advance + the fighting was desperate but we drove them from the field but the fighting + skirmishing lasted until night the next day..."

Ocotber 30, 1863 – Vicksburg, Mississippi
"... I Recd pay the 28th amounting to $58.80. I paid on my horse $23. I have paid altogether since I came back $50. on my horse which leaves twenty unpaid to be paid next pay day..."

November 7, 1863 – Vicksburg, Mississippi
"... We sometimes are obliged to Ride very fast + if our horses give out we will be left behind to be taken as prisioners if we can by running keep up we will loose our horse equipments + Blankets +c that we have along..."

November 23, 1863 – Vicksburg, Mississippi
"... 1 horse + Equipment was taken in a Skirmish Oct 22nd 1862 - the second One died by hard usage Jan 15th 1863 The third one by being shot in a Skirmish June 5th 1863..."

December 19, 1863 – Vicksburg, Mississippi
"... we came in sight of the enemy They were strongly posted by a Bridge + the night being very dark + the enemy having a number peices of Cannon + went having along thought it best not to attack them in the night..."

December 27, 1863 – Vicksburg, Mississippi
"... This is an Independent Regt. and the men furnish their own Horses + horse Equipments and for the use of the same they receive forty cents per day besides their own pay thirteen dollars per month..."

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January 3, 1864 – Vicksburg, Mississippi
"... there was a considerable of talk of Uncle Sam's appraising branding and paying us for our horses + equipments and taking them from us - The Appraisers have appraised our horses + horse equipments but the horses have not yet been Branded..."

March 14, 1864 – Vicksburg, Mississippi
"... I think that the Union armies will overrun all of the Rebellious portions of the Country and effectively root out every vistage of Rebelldom within 19 months from to day..."

April 19, 1864 – Vicksburg, Mississippi
"... The Rebels are more savage + ferocious than the most barbarous savages + I am fully satisfied that a large proportion of those blood thirsty + murderous witches will have to be exterminated..."

May 10, 1864 – Vicksburg, Mississippi
"... We are now within the lines of Vicksburg. Our Regiment that was left here went out on a ten days scout on the third of the month the whole scout numbered about eight or ten thousand..."

June 29, 1864 – Vicksburg, Mississippi
"... The Government took our Horses and equipments from us last december so from the first of January afterward we do not receive twelve dollars for the use of our Horse and Equipments for each month as we did before..."

July 9, 1864 – Vicksburg, Mississippi
"... fortifycations have been erected a cross the bend severing it from the land and colored soldiers hold there Fortifycations and the Bend has become a home for freedmen the wives and children of the old and infirm of that unfortunate race..."

July 22, 1864 – Vicksburg, Mississippi
"... on the last scout in the vicinity of Jackson and Grand Gulf when our forces and the Rebs came into collusion and the blacks were ordered to charge the enemy they done so with the ferosity of Tigers..."

August 16, 1864 – Vicksburg, Mississippi
"... I am still confident that this vile Rebellion will finally be honorably put down and that to before the end of an other year and I can do well here if I would enlist again..."

August 29, 1864 – Vicksburg, Mississippi
"... I was mustered into the U. S- service on the 8th day of Dec. 1861 - I think if I live and keep my health - I will get home sometime in Sept or October at the fartherest..."

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