This next batch of letters are from two brothers — Jeremiah (Jr.) and Henry Wilsey, both of whom served in Company I of the Fourth Michigan Infantry. I wish to keep the letters together as if they were from a single writer. Additionally, there will be a pair of letters that should be posted in this letter grouping that were from two other sources but their relevance to the Wilseys will be obvious to you when you see them.
Most of the letters written by Jeremiah and Henry were to their parents Jeremiah (Sr.) and Betsy Wilsey. As you will see, some of the letters were jointly written or written on behalf of both soldiers by one or the other of them.
Henry and Jeremiah were both captured on July 2, 1863 during the battle of Gettysburg. Both were sent to Richmond as prisoners where Henry would die of disease on January 29, 1864. Jeremiah would eventually be sent from Richmond to Vicksburg, Miss. and from there to Jefferson Barracks, Mo. In April of 1864 he would leave Jefferson Barracks and be sent to Benton Barracks and then on to Camp Chase, Ohio.
October 15, 1861
Dear Father & Mother,
I have been here ever since Friday but have not written to you but I will try and tell you how we get along. We are well at present and enjoying good health and hope you are the same.
We are drilling fives hours a day but we can stand it for we get a plenty to eat. We expect to fight every day. We have shot shells at them today but have not been shot at yet. I expect that [Gen’l] Smith will have a fight today. I can not wait half enough now. I will write in a few days.
Write and direct to Henry Wilsey, Co. I, Michigan 4th Regiment, Washington
From your sons, J. & H. Wilsey
January 4th 1862
I take my pen in hand to inform you that we are both well at present and enjoying good health. I received a letter from you night before last for the first time in about four weeks. I was very glad to hear from you and to hear that you received Henry’s money. I was sorry to hear that father had a bad cold but I hope that these few lines will find him better. Lyman told us that William had cut his foot. I was sorry to hear that. But I hope that he is getting along.
I cannot think of much to tell you at present about the warfare. It is very still at present. We was mustered in for our pay today. We shall get it home to you soon after we get it. I must tell you something about Christmas and New Years. We had a first rate time both days. We had a good time Christmas. We had a good dinner of chickens. I cannot think of much more to tell you so I must close my letter. This is from your son Jerry to his father and mother. Write soon. Goodbye. I send my love to all. Goodbye.
I left this side for Henry but he says that he cannot think of anything to tell you so I thought that I would write some more about the fire in the West. We see a large fire in the West. They say that it is Drainsville. I hope that it is for my part. If it is, we shall hear some good news before long. Alick McCorthy wants you to write to him and tell him some news. Tell William that Alick sends his love to him and all of the rest of you.
Brother William, I want you to write to us and tell us all about how you get along with your foot and how you come to cut your foot.
Friend Albert, I thought I would write and tell you the reason that I did not write to you. The reason I did not write to you was I wanted to hear from you before I could write anything. But I must close my letter so goodbye to all. I am going to write some more to you in a few days. Albert Harlow. I send my love to all of you good boys and girls, friends, & to all of his. — Jeremiah Wilsey
(I am all well at present. Hope you [are] the same. — Henry Wilsey. Goodbye all.)
January 26, 1862
Dear parents — father & mother,
I sit down to write a few lines to you to let you know that we are pretty well at present. I received a letter from you last night with great pleasure and a box of pills. You sent them to Henry but I sent for them. It does not make any difference to us at all. I cannot think of much to write to you. I do not hear of anything about the war at present — although we have sent off some of our things. I understand that we are a going to leave this camp before long. we went out on picket Thursday and came off yesterday and it rained all of the time pretty much and froze. We was covered with ice from head to foot, but we had oil cloths so that we did not get wet through. It is froze up now but I think that it will not stay so long for the sun shines very bright today.
We have not got our pay yet but we expect to get it in a few days now. I will enclose in this letter a twenty shilling gold piece for you and you can keep it to remember me if you wish. When we get our pay, I shall get thirty-nine dollars and that will make me square with Henry. I will look out for number one. You wished to know our captain’s name. His name is J. D. Slocum. D. A. Woodbury [is our] colonel.
I must close, — J. W.
January 26, 1862
Father & Mother,
As Jary [Jerry] has written to you, so I thought that I would write to you. I am all well & hope you are the same. You say that father is not very well but I hope that these few lines will find him better.
We are in the same place yet, camped on the same hill in Virginia. It is very cold here. The ground is frozen up at present. It is Sunday today. We have been in our tent most of the day. I hope that you will write as soon as you get this letter. Write all the news. Tell the boys to write to me. Yours from H. Wilsey
Mother, if father gets any worse, let us know soon. Write all the news [and] war news. Tell Isaiah to write. Eliza, I received a letter from you last night. I was glad to hear from you. I want you to write [as] often as you can to me and I will do the same. This is from your affectionate brothers, — Jeremiah & Henry Wilsey
I send my love to all of you. When mother writes, write on the same sheet or put it in the same envelope. It will save your money every time. You can put two sheets in one envelope just as well as not.
Miner’s Hill, Fairfax Co., Va. State
February 3rd 1862
Father & Mother,
I will write to you and tell you that we are in the same place yet on the same campground that we have been ever since we got here. We are well now and hope you [are] the same.
The weather is quite cold now here. It snows here today. The snow is about 9 inches deep now. It has rain[ed] for some time here. The mud is very bad now. The snow and mud is about one foot deep. We are in our tents today. We don’t drill any now-days for the mud is so bad that we cannot drill so we get our pay and sit in our tents. Pay day comes without drilling for it.
The boys think that they are doing better here than they could be at home this winter. The boys is well here now that come with us from there. We received a letter from you and Eliza yesterday and one from Albert Harlow. We was glad to hear from you and to hear that father was better. I can’t think of anymore this time — only that we have got our pay and I will send you twenty dollars in this letter and keep the rest of it. I got twenty-six dollars this time and Jerry got 37 dollars. He is writing to you now and will send you $35 this time.
I wrote to Lyman yesterday and to Albert in the same letter. Now a few lines to Eliza. Well, Eliza, I will write to you and tell you the same story that I have written to father and mother so you can read this letter and it will do just as well as for me to write to you. So I will close now. Goodbye all for this time.
I forgot to tell you to write to me but I will tell you to write. Write soon. Tell the folks to write to me. Write all. This is from Henry Wilsey, your son.
April 27, 1862
Camp near Yorktown
I sit down to write a few lines to you to let you know that we are well at present and hoping that these few lines will find you the same. Dear father & mother, I can’t think of much to tell you this time but I will try and do the best that I can. I can say that I feel willing to do my duty whenever I am called upon to do so. The rebels are within a mile of us. They throw now and then a shell at our gunboats. They cannot throw to them. Their balls fall short some distance.
Henry was on guard last night. He has laid down to sleep some. I have got that old crick which I had when I was at home that is to shirk. They can’t do anything with me when I undertake to get rid of it. They say that I can be either sick or well just as I wish.
The regiment has gone out on picket today. They tried to have me go too but I told them that I had the bellyache and that I had it sure enough. I find that there is nothing like shirking here.
I heard that the ball was going off tomorrow. We do not mind it anymore than so we was going out to play ball. We go up with a light foot every time when we gout on skirmish exercise. I have had the bullets whiz all round me. I told them to blaze away — they could not hit me at all. I could dodge the smoke every time.
I have not heard anything from you in some time. The last letter that I got from you was dated the 30th of March. I begin to think that it has got to be an old story. I shall write every week until I hear from you. They say that we get our pay Tuesday. I tell them that I think very likely that we would get it where we didn’t want it.
I cannot think of any more at present so I will close these few lines by bidding you goodbye for this time. Write soon to us for I want to hear from you very much indeed. This is from your son, — Jeremiah Wilsey
to his Father & Mother, Jeremiah & Betsy Wilsey.
[sketch of Union Troop Deployment before Yorktown]
Camp near Richmond
May 30th 1862
Dear Father & Mother,
It is [with] joy that I write these few lines to you to let you know how we are. We are well at present and hope these lines will find you the same. We have just got a letter from you and one from Eliza and one from Isaiah. We have written to you on yesterday, but as we have just received a letter, so I will write now.
We are [in] camp about 7 miles from Richmond in Va. Here we are today but we may be somewhere else tomorrow. This is the way in war. I will try to tell you what we have been doing for some time since.
On the morning of the 24th, we went out on a [s]cout. We went to the Chickahominy river where we found a nest of the rebels opening fire on us. They was on one side of the river when we come upon them. We fired at them for some time when we had to cross the river. We went across at a charge. The river was about 4 feet deep. The fighting lasted for 2 hours, 8 minutes — the rebels driven back. Their loss was 107 killed, 38 wounded. Our loss was very light — 2 killed, 7 wounded. When we had driven them back, then we went to camp. Here we had to change our clothes. Then we went to bed.
On the 27th. we went out again [and] had another fight. The details of this fight is as follows: Rebel loss 1,000. Our loss in 300. We was not in the fight but we was where we could see all of it. We was drawn up in line of battle where we stood for some time. When the fir[ing] stopped, then the rebels fell back. We burnt their railroad bridge. They lost one train of cars. We got them. They was loaded with sugar and flour. We got it, then we came back to the camp. Here we are yet. This [is] about all the news I can think of.
You say that Jane is very sick. I hope these lines will find her better. I will write to her soon as I can. This is all for this time. Goodbye from Henry Wilsey to his Father and Mother and Betsy.
Jeremiah Wilsey. Mother in the letter that we got from you today was 8 stamps. About two weeks ago we got 8 in a letter. They come very good to us for they are very scarce here. Goodbye for this time.
Gaine’s Mills, Va.
June 23rd 1862
I sit down to write a few lines to you to let you know that I am well and in good spirits. I received your very kind letter of the 13th on Saturday the 21st eve. I was glad to hear that you was well then. We had to go on picket [the] 22nd [at] 4 A.M. so we could not write until now. It is one P.M. now. We had a good time out on picket. We exchanged papers with the rebels. They are as friendly as you please. They are glad that they can get our paper.
Our Lieutenant Gordon had a long talk with one of their officers. Lieut. Gordon gave him a segar and then they say down and smoked together. Then he gave Lieut. his name. Then they got up and saluted each other and then retreated to their posts.
We have received a letter from you dated the 17th June. You say you are all well. I am glad to hear from you. You say that you are a going to send some butter and cheese to us. Mother, it would come to us if we was in quarters but we are not so it will not come to us if you send it so mother, you need not send anything to us at present. If I want anything from home, I will let you know.
Mother, I will enclose 5 dollars in this letter to you. You can keep it for me or use it just as you please.
We expect that we shall have a hard fight before we get Richmond. It will tell the story. This [is] all at present. Remaining your son, — Jay Wilsey.
June 23rd, 2 o’clock
Dear brother & sister,
I sit down to write a few lines to you to let you know that we are both well at present and in good spirits. I received a letter from you last week. I was very glad to hear from you and to hear that you was well and the babies too. I have just received another letter from you today. I am glad to hear from you. You do not tell me what you are doing this summer at all. Please tell me what your employment is.
O can’t think of much to write to you this time. I can say that we have good times here this summer. We have a good deal of work to do but that is nothing for us. There is so many of us, we can work just as we please nearly. I cannot think of any more this time so I will close by bidding you goodbye. Remaining your brother, — Jay Wilsey, Jr.
Write soon to us.
Miss Eliza Wilsey
June 23, 1862
I sit down to write a few lines to let you know that we are well at present and in good spirits.
I have just received a letter from you. I was very glad to hear from you and to hear that you was well. You spoke of having a strawberry short cake for dinner. O how I wish I could have been there to help you eat it. O don’t I. Blackberry’s is getting ripe now. I had a pretty mess of them out on picket. We ran all around the field where the rebels were same as if it was within six rods of them. We talked with them. We asked them how they liked soldiering. The reply was sick of it and they wished that the head leaders had to fight it out.
We have had the hardest storm that I have seen yet. It has just passed over. This is all this time. So I will close by bidding you goodbye for this time. Remaining your brother, — Jay Wilsey
3 o’clock p.m. (this is all)
Write soon to me. I will close by bidding you goodbye for this time. I send my love to all. J. J. Give this dollar to Billey. Tell him to keep it to remember me, his brother Jay.
It is very warm today.
Michigan 4th Regt.
Camp in the Woods near the James River in Va.
July 4th 1862
Dear Father & Mother, and all the rest of the folks that [read] this,
I will write to you to let you know that I am well at present and hope that these few lines will find you all well. We have been on the move for some time back. We have had some fighting for the past eek. We was in the fight 4 days out of six. I will not write anything about the battles now. I will write soon again as I can. We have lost the whole of our things so we have to write with a pencil this time.
Now I will tell you about the boys that come from there. Henry, Stone, Robert, Horton, James, Parkhurst, Jeremiah and myself is all well and in good spirits. Thomas Sturthow [?] was kill[ed] on the first of July. He was shot dead. This is all that I will write this time so I will say goodbye for this time. This is from your son, — Henry Wilsey
to Jeremiah and Betsy Wilsey
This is the fourth and I hope you will have a good time and enjoy yourself this [day] in the state of Michigan.
I forgot to tell you that we received a letter from Ann on the battlefield about one hour before the fight began. Tell Ann and Lyman that I will write them soon as I can. Tell them the letter that I got on the battlefield I will keep as long as I can. Tell Ann & Lyman to write to us. Tell all the folks that we are well. — Henry Wilsey
The following letter is owned by and is presented here courtesy of the Lenawee County Historical Museum.
City Point on the James River, Va.
July 7, 1862
Dear parents. I take my pen in hand to let you know that we are well and in good spirits. Dear father & mother, we have had a hard time for the last ten days. We fought on the 26th & 27th of June and on the 1st of July. We had to fall back some ways for we was compelled to do so. The rebels had ten to our one. Our division fought against Beauregard’s whole force. Dear parents, today is the first that I have felt like writing to you so I thought I would write a few lines to inform you that we was alive and well. We have lost our Colonel. He was killed on the first day of July. Also we have lost nearly half of our regiment. Dear parents, it is hard for me to meet the foe face to face and fight for nearly 2 hours without stopping. I had my gun stock shot in two after I shot twenty rounds. Then I went to the head of the column and got another gun, returned to my place, and fired twenty rounds more]. Then we was relieved by the 12th New York Regt. They fought as well as we did. Then the whole force went in. We made good time while we was in. We lost all that we had but just what was on our backs. We have just drawed our blankets today. I think that we will get all of our suit this week.
Mother, you tell Ann that I received her letter on the 28 while I was on the battlefield. Tell her that I will write to her as soon as I can get some paper and envelopes. Ken has gone down to the river this afternoon to see if he could get something to eat. I gave him 2 dollars the other day and told him to use it if he wanted it.
I have money enough but it is not worth anything to me because I can’t eat it. — J. & H. Wilsey to his father & mother.
Henry was struck with a buckshot in the leg. It cut a hole nearly one inch long. It was sore one or two days. This is all this time so I will close by bidding you goodbye for this time. Write soon to us. Goodbye.
July 22, 1862
Dear Father & Mother,
I sit down to write a few lines to you to let you know that we are well as usual and in good spirits. We received your kind letter of the 13th last night with great pleasure and joy. I also received a letter from Isaiah dated the 13 July. You say that you heard that I was wounded but that is not so. But Henry got wounded on the 26th of June with a buckshot in the leg. But that is well now. We are both together here. We have got some large tents. We received them the 21st of July.
We are encamped on the James River, Harrison’s Landing. It is a splendid place — cool and wholesome for us. Mother, if I knew how long we were a going to stay here, I would have you send us some things but I do not know how long we shall stay here — maybe until tomorrow — maybe until fall. It is uncertain how long we shall stay here so I will not send for anything at present.
I am very sorry that my money has not reached you, but never mind that. I am fighting for my country — not for money.
Mother, you say that you received six dollars in a letter dated the 23rd of June. That is alright. Did you give William that gold dollar that was in it? If you did not, do so. Tell William to be a good boy and obey his beloved father in his old days. Also tell him to stay with you for all of enlisting. I can see now in here I missed it.
This is all this time so I will close these few lines by bidding you goodbye for this time. — Jay Wilsey, Jr.
to his parents, Jeremiah Wilsey & Betsy Wilsey.
Jay Wilsey & H. Wilsey
Washington D. C.
4th Michigan Regt., Co. I Vol.
Harrison’s Landing, Va.
July 27, 1862
Quarter past 3
I sit down to write a few lines to you to let you know that we are well at present and in good spirits. We received your kind letters of the 13th July with great pleasure and joy. I was very glad to hear that you was all well. I understand that David Bivins tried to get one hundred dollars to get me. Father, if I get wounded, I can get home rather cheaper than that all comes to, You tell Dave Bivins that he need not try to do anything like that around you. Father, if I have good luck, I shall come home this fall on a furlough to see how things are going on. I would come home now if I could but they will not let me go at present.
Mother, Henry received a letter dated July 18th and I received one from Eliza of the same date. We was very glad to hear from you indeed and to hear that you was all well at that time. We have very good times here now. It is very warm here indeed. It rained here last night a very little. The boys is all well that came with us and feel pretty good indeed. Everything seems very quite indeed.
Those stamps were in that letter of the 18th. This sheet of paper was in Ann’s letter [of] 20 July. Perhaps that this will seem very singular to you that I write so. Perhaps that you have heard all about the battles that we were in and the details, so I will not speak of it as present.
Mother, tell Eliza that I will write to her in a few days. Now I will write a few lines to Isaiah & Sarah Lucas. Dear brother & sister, I thought that I would write to let you know that I have not forgotten you and to let you know that we are all well and in good spirits. Isaiah, write soon as you get this and tell me how things are in Woodstock and tell us how you are getting along with your work. Tell me how my ponies are and how my pony works. You must maker her earn her board for maybe that will be all that you will get. This is all this time so I will close by bidding you goodbye for this time. — Jay Wilsey, Jr.
Mother, write as soon as you get this letter and tell us how father is getting along with his work and tell us how his mower works because it will be interesting to us to know how things are. This is all at present so I will close by bidding you goodbye for this time. This from your son, — Jay Wilsey, Jr. & H. W.
to their parents, Jeremiah & Betsy Wilsey
4th Michigan Camp
Near Sharpsburg, Maryland
October 22, 1862
It is with great pleasure that I sit down to write a few lines to you to let you know that we are both well at present and to let you know that we have just received your kind letters of the 12th with great pleasure and joy. I am on guard today and have not got much time to write but I will try and do the best that I can to let you know how things is go[ing] on at present and everything else.
You wished me to write and tell about taking the battery. I expect that you know that we had a hard time taking it. We took 7 pieces off when we first stopped here, and then on the 16 of this month we went out on a reconnoitering party and came in on 17th evening and the Rebels followed us up very close and then we showed them a Yankee trick. Our cavalry and infantry fell out one side and let them follow up and then we closed in on them and took three pieces more. That is the last that we have done.
I can’t think of much more to write this time. Mother, if we get in winter quarters, I shall send for some butter and some dried fruit such as you have. If I was sure of staying here, I would send right away but we are not sure of staying here so I will not send yet awhile.
I did think some of trying to get a furlough but it would take some time to get it so I guess that I will stay and tough it out.
This is all that I can think of this time so I will close this short letter by bidding you goodbye for this time.
This is from your affectionate son, — Jeremiah Wilsey, Jr. to his parents, Jeremiah & Betsy Wilsey
Camp 4th Michigan
November 24th 1862
Dear Father & Mother,
I have just received a letter from you with joy. I was glad to hear from you and to hear that you was well and to hear that you was getting along with your work so well.
It has been a long time since I have written to you for we have been on the march for some time. You want to know what the reason [is] we don’t write. It is because we don’t carry anything with us now. You say that you will send us a box but it will be of no use now for we are on the march now and will be for some time I expect. We will not got our pay since we was at Harrison’s Landing but we expect it every day. I have got some money yet — say $3 or such a matter — so you need not send any to me yet for there is nothing in this part of the state to buy with money.
This is all this time so I will bid you goodbye. Your son, — Henry Wilsey
December 3rd 1862
Camped near Famouth, Va.
It is with great pleasure that I sit down to write a few lines to you to let you know that we are both well at present and in good spirits, and to let you know that we received your kind letters with great joy. I have just come in from drilling and it is pretty cold here today. The boys are all well that came from Woodstock and in good spirits.
Mother, please write and tell us how the weather is there and what the general opinion of the people is about the war. And if you think it proper, to send us some butter and dried fruit [if] you can, but do not be in a hurry. Mother, tell Lyman that Alexander McCartha [?] would like to have him see Jeff White and have him send him some butter and some fruit and he says that he will pay the fruit on them as soon as he gets his pay. Mother, do not send over one hundred pounds of stuff for I do not know whether we shall stay here or not and if that comes through safe, I shall send for more. So when you start them, start a letter too so that we will know when to look for them.
We think of fixing up our tent today so that we can have a fire in it and keep comfortable. Mother, send each of us a comforter in the box. Direct to Jeremiah Wilsey, 4th Michigan Regiment, Co. I, General Grifin’s Division, Washington D. C.
Pay the Express. This is all that I can think of this time so goodbye for this time. Dear parents, write soon. Your son — Jay Wilsey
December 27, 1862
Dear Father & Mother,
It is [with] pleasure that I write to you to let you know that I am well and in good health and I hope you are the same and all of the folks is well that come with us except Henry Stone. He was wounded at the battle on the 13th of this month. I wrote to you once before about it. Probably you have heard of it before this. There is no news here at present. This is about all that I can think of this time so goodbye. This is from your son, — Henry Wilsey
This short letter I will send in Betsey’s letter. I will write soon again.
Please give this to Father — folks — and oblige me. — Henry Wilsey
Michigan 4th Regt.
Camp near Falmouth, Va.
January 11, 1863
It is with pleasure that I send these few lines to you to inform you that I received those comforters that you sent by Mr. Wilcox. They are very acceptable indeed.
I am on guard today at the division quartermaster’s headquarters. Times are about the same as usual. We have not received our pay yet. The army is getting discouraged and I don’t know how we shall make out. The Rebels say that they never shall come back to the Union. They say that they are good for us and they mean to hold their own.
This is all that I can think of this time so I will close by bidding you goodbye for this time.
Dear parents, I send this by Mr. Wilcox for it was his wishes. This is from your affectionate sons, Jary [Jerry] & Henry Wilsey
Send the box.
The following letter is owned by and is presented here courtesy of the Lenawee County Historical Museum.
Michigan 4th Regiment
Camped near Falmouth, Va.
January 27, 1863
It is with pleasure that I sit down to write a few lines to let you know that we are well as usual and hoping that there few lines will find you the same joy. I received your kind letter of the 20th with great pleasure. It came through in 4 days.
We took up the line of march on the 20th and got stuck in the mud and had to come back to the old camp. And here we are and it is raining very hard. The boys are all well and feel as if they wanted to get home and let the Negroes free themselves if they want to be freed for I never enlisted for the purpose of freeing the Nigger. That is what the matter is, and therefore, I will not fight anymore for them. But if they will drop the Negro Question and fight for the Union, I will fight just as hard as I have.
Gen. Hooker has command of the Army of the Potomac and what do you think he says? He says that he is a going to make one move and drive the army in hell or somewhere else. Also he says that the army is demoralized and that they will not fight and I do believe him for the army acts as if they was crazy. There was forty that deserted out of Gen. Griffin’s Battery last night.
We have got 4 months pay but I will not send any home yet. Our doctor has gone home on a visit and when he gets back, I am a going to see what I can do. I wish that Father would go and see him while he is home and see if he can’t get me home. The Dr. lives in Hudson. His name is Chamberlain. I have the piles very bad all the while and I am in pain sitting down so I will close by bidding you goodbye for this time.
Dear parents, excuse this writing for my hand trembles. This is all this time. Tis from your son, — Jay Wilsey
Michigan 4th Regiment
Camped near Falmouth, Va.
I take the opportunity to write a few lines to inform you that we are well as usual and to let you know that I received your kind letter of the 15th with great pleasure and joy. I was glad to hear that you was well as usual at that time. I have written a letter to you with 20 dollars in it and if you receive it, write to me. It was dated the 10th.
Times are very still at present. We shall be mustered in for our pay Saturday or Monday for 4 months pay. We are under marching orders to march in a moment’s notice. It is raining very hard now. The Rebs have a dash near Alexandria. I guess they did not make much.
I have been on guard three days this week. I received a letter from Clinton. John’s folks was all well as usual. I have just answered their letter today. I cannot think of much to write this time but I will write all that I can think of.
Mother, you say that father has been and seen the Doctor. I wish that I could get a furlough for awhile but I cannot get one at present for there is two home on furlough now and that is all that can be allowed at once. Just as soon as they get back, I shall apply for a furlough. I would not care about it if I was well of this disease. Some days I am nearly down sick with it. Today I feel pretty good. Perhaps tomorrow I will be nearly dead with it. That is the way that it works on me — one day feel first rate and the next day I am nearly dead with pain. I have been to the doctor several times but he never gives me satisfaction. Whether he can do me any good or not. I have both kinds. When I am regular, then I have the bloody [diarrhea]. And when I am not regular, then I have the sore piles.
This is all that I can think of this time so I will close this short letter by bidding you goodbye for this time. Dear parents, write soon to me. Your son, — Jay Wilsey
Friday, [March 6th, 1863] — the day has passed all quiet. Lay in camp all day with the toothache. Bought one paper 10 cts. Sent to Kane. Saturday, 7th — worked around hospitals all day. Nothing new has passed today. Sunday, 8th — the day has been very quiet. Wrote a letter home to father. Monday, 9th — very pleasant. Cut wood for Lieut. Tuesday, 10th — on camp guard today. It has rained all day. Stood at colonel’s tent. Went after wood. Did not get it. No news to day. Wednesday, 11th — very pleasant but rather chilly tonight. Friday, 13th — very pleasant but rather chilly. Went down to R. R. after sawdust for Capt. Saturday, 14th — been ditto. The same. Sunday, 15th — rather chilly and cloudy with some rain and snow. Monday, 16th — been very pleasant on guard. All quiet. Received a letter from Martha Clinton. Tuesday, 17th — very pleasant. Had sack race in company. A sad accident happened running horses. Two horses killed themselves [when they ] ran together. Off from duty. Wednesday, 18th — been very pleasant. Had inspection of arms. Received a letter from home stating all well. Thursday, 18th — very quiet. Rather chilly. Had Battalion Drill. Friday, 20th — very unpleasant. Snowed all day and night. Wrote a letter to Martha Clinton. Saturday, 21st — on guard today. Snowed and rained all day. Sent letter to Clinton. Sunday, 22nd — off from duty today. Very pleasant. Had Company Drill a.m. and Battalion drill in p.m. Tuesday, 29th — been very mild. Rather cloudy. Had company drill in a.m. and brigade drill in p.m. Wednesday, 25th — been very pleasant. On fatigue and played ball. Thursday, 26th — detailed for guard at depot R. R. Stood one trick from 5 to 7 P.M. The day has been rather cold with some snow. All quiet. Friday, 27th — very pleasant. On guard. Stood two tricks from 5 to 7 A.M. [and] from 3 to 5 P.M. Saturday, 28th — been rather unpleasant. Rained all day. On guard. Stood two tricks from 1 o’clock to 3 A.M. and from 11 o’clock til 1 o’clock P.M. Sunday, 29th — very clear and cold. On guard from 11 to 1 o’cloc day and from 8 to 11 p.m. Received a letter from home and one from ___ Lucas. Regt. went on picket. Monday, 30th — on guard at R. R. Very clear until night. Clouds up and at 1 o’clock A.M. snows and stood post from 7 to 9 A.M. and from 1 to 3 A.M. on the 31st. Tuesday, 31st — very unpleasant. Snowed in the day some. Cleared off at 3 P.M. Looks some as if we was a going to have some good weather. On guard. Stood from 1 to 3 P.M.
Wednesday, April 1st  — on guard. Clear and cold. Regt. came in off picket. Thursday, 2nd — on guard today. Clear and windy. Stood two tricks. Friday, 3rd — relieved off guard. Clear and cold. Saturday, 4th — clear and cold. Nothing new has passed today. This is a memoranda of what has passed since Friday, March 6th up to this date, April 4, 1863. I send mother one sheet that goes with this. Please keep this for me. — Jay Wilsey
Michigan 4th Regt.
Camped near Falmouth, Va.
April 12th 1863
I take the opportunity to write a few lines to you to inform you that we are well as usual. I write these few lines to you because I have 20 dollars to send to you and to hear from you. We were mustered for pay today. I think that we shall get pay tomorrow so I will send 20 dollars now as soon as we get pay, and I think best I will send some more to you.
Times are very quiet at present but I think that we shall leave here before long. but whether to fight or not, I do not know but I think not to fight. The cavalry has all moved today across the river. I think that we shall hear from them in a few days. They intend to make a ride out to Culpepper Court House. I expect James A. P. is well as usual.
Robert Horton is well and in our tent talking about the war. We are all anxious to have this horrible war closed. They are having pretty hard times down at Charleston, S. C. They have been bombarding for some time.
I am excused [from duty] today by the doctor of my disease. I do not think that I can march this summer. I cannot think of any more this time so I will close by bidding you goodbye, dear parents, for this time. I send my best respects [to] all. Write as soon as you get this.
From your son — Jeremiah Wilsey
Camp near Falmouth, Va.
April 16th 1863
This is a memoranda from April 4. Sunday, April 5 — snowed all night last night. The weather has been very unpleasant. drew 1 shirt and 2 pairs of drawers and 1 pair of shoes. Monday, April 6th — lay in camp all day. Very pleasant today. Nothing new has passed. Tuesday, April 7th — rather cold and unpleasant. Had review by the President, Wednesday, April 8th — rather chilly. Had Corps Review by the President near Falmouth. Received a letter from Betsy Kane. Thursday, April 9th — on camp guard today. Very pleasant. Stood at Colonel’s tent. Friday, April 10th — off duty today. Had muster of regiment. Very pleasant. Saturday, April 11th — very pleasant. Played ball. Sunday, April 12th — very pleasant. Review by a Swiss general at 3 o’clock P.M Rains now at night. Monday, April 13th — very pleasant. Excused [from duty] by Dr. Signed par roll for 4 months pay. Wrote a letter home [but] didn’t send it. Tuesday, April 14th — very pleasant. Received pay — 82 dollars. Got pictures taken [for] 1.50 cents. Sent 20 dollars home to mother. Received eleven dollars of Capt. of borrowed money. Wednesday, April 15th — rainy and unpleasant. Lay in tent all day. Bought 1.25 cents worth of butter and .25 cents of postage stamps. Thursday, April 16th — cloudy and looks like rain. Bought .25 worth of apples. Had marching orders and sent off clothing. Friday, April 17th — very pleasant. Had inspection. Nothing new. Shaved for the first time. Saturday, April 18th — very pleasant today. Lay in camp all day. Received a letter from home and one from I. Lucas. Also six stamps enclosed in the one from home. Tuesday, April 21st — on guard today. Rather chilly. Stood at commissaries. Wednesday, April 22nd — off duty today. Very pleasant. Done some washing. Nothing new has passed today. April 23rd — rainy and unpleasant. Wrote a letter home. Nothing new has passed today. April 24th — very windy with some snow. Went to R. R. and bought .75 cts. worth of oysters. Paid chaplain 0.5 cents for hymn book. April 15 — been very pleasant. Lay in camp. Received bill of clothing on 24th which is the amount of 43 dollars and 15 cents. April 26th — very pleasant. On picket today. Nothing new has passed. April 27 — returned off picket and took up line of march at 12 o’clock. Marched nearly 12 miles, near the brick church. Tuesday, April 28 — marched from church to the Rappahannock or near this. Distance I do not know. Wednesday, April 29th — marched from the Rappahannock to the Rapidan river. The distance I do not know. Thursday 30th — marched from the Rapidan to within 7 miles of Fredericksburg.
Friday, May 1st — marched all day. Went within 3 miles of Fredericksburg and got cut off from our corps and then marched all night and returned to corps. At daylight, near the U. S. Ford. There [we] laid in line of battle all day. Saturday, [May] 2nd — built breastworks. Fighting on our right very heavy. Sunday, [May] 3rd — lay in line of battle all day and night. Lay in rear of battle. Monday, [May] 4th — skirmishing has commenced on our left. 3 o’clock now. Now we had a skirmish with the rebels. The report is 3 killed and 10 wounded. We had one wounded. R. P. H. wounded. Tuesday [May] 5th — on guard. The regiment lay in line of battle skirmishing all day with the pickets. Wednesday, [May] 6th — the evacuation of breastworks at 3 o’clock in the morning. Marched all day and returned to old camp near Falmouth at night. Thursday, [May] 7th — lay in old camp all day. Nothing new has passed today. Received a letter from home dated 26 April stating that they received 20 dollars in my letter of the 13th of April. This is a memoranda from April 4th up to May 8th 1863.
— Jeremiah Wilsey, Jr.
Camp near Falmouth, Va.
May 8, 1863
It is with pleasure that I sit down to write a few lines to you to inform you that we are well as usual and to inform you that we have had a very hard march since you heard from us. We have marched nearly 100 miles. We had one skirmish on Monday the 4th of May. Our army has done some very hard fighting for the last 8 days.
I received your kind letter of the 26th April with great pleasure and joy. I was glad to hear that you was well but sorry to hear that Lyman is sick. I hope that these few lines will find you all well. Also, I am very glad that you received my letter of the 13th of April which contained 20 dollars. Now I shall enclose 20 dollars in this for you and as soon as you get this, I will send some more.
We are under marching orders and I cannot write a very long letter to you this time but I will state that we took a great many prisoners. I do not know how many. Also the prisoners say that we killed a great many of their men. They said that when we opened our volleys, they fell very fast. We threw grape and shrapnel. All the fighting that was done was done in the woods. We had a cleared field and we had the opposite side from them. On Saturday we fortified the field and the rebs did not know it so on Sunday [when] they came out, our pickets fell back slowly and drew them out in the open field. They came out closed en masse. Them we opened 2 batteries on them which…. [remainder of letter missing].
— [Jeremiah Wilsey]
Michigan 4th Infantry
Camp at Kelly’s Ford
June 3rd 1863
This is my time to send some of my pay to you and probably the only time that I shall have so I thought that I would send eighty dollars to you. Jary [Jerry] had some so he thought that he would send ten dollars to you. So we put it in the same packed together — the sum of ninety dollars in all.
We are well now. Goodbye this time.
Your son, — Henry Wilsey
Michigan 4th Regt.
Camp at Kelly’s Ford, Va.
June 8th 1863
Dear Father & Mother,
This letter I wrote to you the other day and sent it to be Express at Washington but when it started, it was in the hands of our preacher. He started with it on Monday morning. When he rode some 11 miles when he was halted and ordered to surrender by three of the rebels. But he told them he would [not], so they shot at him. The shot took affect in him but didn’t kill him. When they had done this, he turned his horse [around] and rode back as fast as he could for his life. When he rode some ways, he found our wagon train here. He was taken care of by our men. Soon the news came to us all the money come back to us so I shan’t send it by Express this time so you need not look for any.
Jeremiah wrote to you and told you that we had sent it. I write this so you will not look for it.
Our men cross[ed] the river this morning. There is some firing now. What it will amount to, I don’t know. This is all so goodbye. From Henry Wilsey
Michigan State Military Agency
No. 10 North Fifth Street
St. Louis, May 12, 1865
Mrs. B. Wilsey, Addison, Michigan
Jeremiah Wilsey, 4th Michigan Infantry, was sent to Parole Camp from Hospital [on] April 23 and should be home by this date.
Respectfully, — Weston Flint, military agent
This letter was written by Private William H. Allen, a member of Company I of the Fourth Michigan Infantry. He writes to his comrade, Private Jeremiah Wilsey, with regard to the death of Jeremiah’s brother, Private Henry Wilsey, also of Company I, and a debt that Private Allen still owed. Like William, both Henry and Jeremiah had been taken prisoner at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863 and were held as POW’s in Richmond.
Camp Stoneman near Washington D. C.
Sunday, May 29th 1865
Co. I, 1st Regt. V. V.
1st Army Corps
As I received a letter from your sister & believe I will answer the same to you for being a friend to me. I was glad to hear that you had got home alive. I hope you will recover from all bad usage which you received at the Rebels hands. Jeremiah, the business that is between us I cannot settle at present but will get as soon as it will be convenient. My time will be out the twentieth of February next and then I shall come that way and see you and probably pay you what I owe you. Jary, I often thought of you after I was exchanged how you was suffering in that Hell Hole but my thoughts did not do you any good. You know that & had better times than you in prison and you know too that I did not suck [?] around any rebel to get my position in the hospital either.
Jerry, I helped you all I could and tried several times to get you outside to work in the hospital but did not succeed [in] my undertaking. You must thank me a little for giving you clothes when you was destitute of the same. Jary, when I was at home, your sister, mother, and brother came to see me at Mrs. Conne’s about Henry and I was very sorrowful to tell your sister of the death of Henry so much so that I hesitated almost. Your sister and old folk was very much grieved to hear those words confirmed. Henry dead? How did he die? In a hospital> From the effects of cruel treatment? Jary, I thought you never to see your parents again for I thought you never to live through. But you are fortunate and got through safe. I am very glad the news is good all over. Must close. Goodbye. And when you receive this, you must write me a good long letter and tell me about things after I was exchanged and do not fail, will you, and oblige me.
I am ever your friend, — William H. Allen