This letter was written by Corporal James B. Conkey of Co. K. (4th Mich.) to Miss Vina Brower in Howell, Michigan.
August 21, 1861
As I have a short time to spare, I will improve it by writing a few lines to inform you how I am getting along in my soldier life. Well Vine, it is no very enviable life to live but it is no worse than I expected when I enlisted.
I am here in about five miles of the enemy and must do the best I can for my beloved country and those good Old Stars and Stripes that has so gloriously floated over our country. We expect to have an attack every day for the enemy is coming this way every day. But let them come — I repeat — let them come, and if they do not get one of the beatefullest whippings, then I am no son of a prophet for we are fully prepared to meet them and we will have a chance at them better than we did at Bull Run. They will not have any entrenchments to get behind.
We have over one hundred thousand men in Virginia well armed and equipped, ready for action any day or hour. It will be a severe battle. The loss on both sides must inevitably be very severe, but it will be the means of helping to settle the contest one way or the other and I hope it will so we can come home [and go] about our business once more.
The weather has been very warm for a spell back — warmer than I ever saw it in Michigan. But for several days it has been quite cool weather. I think the warmest weather is past this season — at least I hope it is.
My health is not very good. I have chills and fever. I don’t know whether it is the dumb ague or chill fever but I hope I have it pretty near broken up. There is quite a number sick in the regiment. Eugene’s health is good. He is a tough one for a boy. There is not one in the company that stands it better than he does and he is always feeling jovial and merry.
George Crane is quite sick. He is in the hospital at Georgetown. I have not heard from him in quite a number of days for we are not permitted to go any distance from camp. Nothing more that I think of at present. Give my respects to Mr. Brower and any that you see that knows me.
From a friend, — J. B. Conkey
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