Willard Reynolds

Willard Reynolds enlisted in Company F of the Reorganized 4th Mich. Inf. on Oct. 5, 1864. He died at of disease at Huntsville, Alabama on Feb. 3, 1865.

The original letters are the property of the Arkansas History Commision.


Decatur, Alabama
Sept. 30 [1864]

Dear Wife,

I now seat myself to let you know how I am and what I am doing. I am well and fighting — rather chasing — the rebels. A brief account of our journey; we started from there just a week [ago] yesterday and stopped at Nashville two days and then came here. When we got here the rebs was trying to storm the fort but we held them in check till yesterday. Then General Tomas came here. And then last night we started for them but they had most of them left so that we did not have much fun. I have sent you this bill for it can’t pass here. Please send the same in greenbacks. Address to Decatur Alabama Co. F. Please write soon.

No more for this time so goodbye, — W. Reynolds

Huntsville, Alabama
[October] the 20 [1864]

Dear wife,

My cough is pretty severe and the doctor thinks he will send me to the hospital where I can be taken care of. I can walk around but can’t do much. The writer of mine thinks I will get better soon by good care. Send me in the box such as you think would be good for me. My friend will finish this after I am gone to Huntsville, which is 4 or 5 miles off. Write often. I will try to [do] the same. So goodbye for this time.
Yours truly,
Willard Reynolds to Louisa Reynolds of Blissfield, Lenawee Co., Mich.

Mrs. Reynolds,

I have written the other side of the letter while your husband sat with me. He wishes me to write and send this after he left for the hospital. He left last night just before sundown. He was quite as well as usual. [I] helped him to the wagon and bid him goodbye. I thought he would never see home again unless he got a better place than this. He is in a good hospital and most likely will mend up in a short time. He is too free hearted. I would send him a little money and things at a time and after he will write after and let you know how he is. I have planned to come and see him at your home when we all get home. [I] should be happy to have you to go up to Ransom, Hills[dale] Co., near Fener Palmers and see my wife. Her name is Susan Ainsworth.

Yours with respects, — A. D. Ainsworth
of Co. F 4 Michigan Infantry near Huntsville

Whitfield [?], Alabama Hosp.
[October 1864?]

Dear wife,

I now seat myself to write you the second time not knowing that the first was received by you knowing that you must be anxious to hear from me. I am well and hope that these few lines will find you enjoying the same blessings fore it is truly a great blessing — especially in the army where you can’t have kind friends to take care of you.

We left Decatur last Saturday and came here on the gunboats after a very pleasant ride. I sent three dollars with the last letter and please let me know whether you have received it or not. Write all about the news and the war news. I send this more to know whether you have received the last expecting an immediate answer. Address to Huntsville, Alabama Fourth Michigan Infantry Co. F

Yours truly. — L. Reynolds

Scottsborough, Ala.
Nov. 17, 1864

Dear and ever remembered companion,

It is with the sweetest pleasure that I seat myself to inform you of my whereabouts [and] also of my health — which is good at present, wishing you the same. I have written you two letters but have received no answer, but hope ere this reaches you that I shall hear from you. We have seen pretty hard times lately. We have been on the go very nearly all the time since we left home but are stationed now where we expect to stay all winter.

I am in hopes that this war will end before a great while so I can be at home to enjoy the comforts of home once more. The folks around here thinks that the Rebels can’t hold out much longer. We took some prisoners at Decatur. All they had in their haversacks was ears of corn and they are a ragged looking set. The prisoners say that they have got very near through fighting. I think that all the fighting we will have is a little bushwhacking.

We are stationed in good quarters but we don’t have much to eat. We have a little hard tack and that wormy and moldy. We have once in a while a small piece of fresh beef and a little coffee.

Well the train has just passed. It had on board one hundred and fifty six rebels. They are coming into our lines from every direction. If they keep coming in our lines in this way the war will not last much longer.

Here is a piece of cotton such as grows in this state. You had ought to see the style of women in this country. They are so much different from our country. They ride on horseback all together. We don’t see a wagon [but] once in a month. The places are all desolated. There is not any business done in places that years ago was a smart little town and done a good business. The women here are [a] ragged-looking set. They make hoe cakes and bring them for us and trade them to us for coffee. They taste a little better than hard tack.

Now keep up good courage and I will try and do the same and we will meet again sometime. When I see you I can tell you more than I can write. Now I must close this letter by bidding you goodbye. Now don’t fail to write every week and I will do the same. Don’t forget to send me some postage stamps in every letter you write for I can’t get any stamps here at all. My kindest love to you and a kiss to the dear little children. Never fail to write my love to all the folks.

So goodbye. Don’t forget the stamps.

From your ever affectionate husband, — Willard Reynolds
Direct to 4th Mich. Inft., Nashville, Tenn.

To follow Reg.

Southville, [Alabama]
Nov. 22,’64

Absent- wife,

With pleasure this morning do I write a few lines to you hoping that they may find you well — even better than it leaves me. I am rather unwell at present. I caught cold and am having one of them coughing spells but I am in hopes to be better soon. The weather has been rather rough but it is getting more pleasant. The boys all feel pretty good, the most of them.

A part of our company has been on a march hard hard time but all of them returned unhurt. They engaged the enemy, had a brisk time with them, succeeded in routing them, capturing about 70 head of cattle, lots of sheep, and other things besides, killing about 17 of them and taking about the same number of prisoners. In regard to our being captured, is no such thing. You need not give yourself any trouble about us. You need not believe half of the reports you hear about us. The railroad is often tore up near us by bushwhackers, but further than that, we don’t expect to be troubled.

Maybe you would like to know how I like soldiering? Well, if I had good health and could stand it. I don’t know as I would complain but as it is, I think if I was back with you and my children, I could be contented to stay. But we all feel encouraged here. We don’t think the war will last more than a year at the longest as there is an effort being made for peace, and we all think that between now and next April there will be something done that will bring around peace.

When you write to me tell me all the news you can think of about the war, politics, and everything else. Take good care of the children.

All is quiet around here, plenty to eat — such as it is — but no end to hard tack. I think if I were with you this morning and ate a good breakfast with my family, it would do my soul good as well as my stomach but as this cannot be, I will try and be content and hope you may do the same.

I will close this by telling you I have written four letters to you but rec’d only one. I will try to write to you as often as I can and let me tell you that any letter you write me, send in me a stamp or two. That money you sent me came very acceptable. I intend to save my money while I am in the army. What when a fellow is sick he has got to have something to eat besides what the government furnishes us. I know you have more chances to write than I do and I want you to write to my folks. I was sorry I was not there to see Mayette but tell her I send my best respects to her. This is all at present. Give my best respects to all inquiring and my undying love to yourself. Kisses to the children and don’t except yourself. Write soon.

Direct your letter to Willard Reynolds
Co. F, Mich. 4th Inft., Larkinsville, Ala.

Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Dec. 24th 1864

Dear wife,

I once more take my pen in hand to write you a few lines to inform you that I am still alive but not very well. I have been sick but am now getting better. I have just received a letter from you and now I am agoing to answer it. The reason I haven’t wrote before was because our communication was cut off by the Rebels. They have been between us and Nashville for the last three weeks and we have been on half rations for three weeks and are still on short rations. But we probably will have full rations in a few days. Then I shall feel more at home than before when we was shut up here in this place.

The news here are good generally. Old [General] Hood is whipped and drove away from here and we have taken about twenty thousand prisoners from him. There is no use of my writing you the war news for you will hear them in the papers sooner than you can get a letter from me.

Well, I would like to have you send me five dollars if you can and send a greenback for there won’t any other pass here. I send my respects to my father and mother and all the rest of the folks there. You must take good care of yourself and the children. I am glad to hear that you are all well and a doing well. No more at present.

From your most affectionate husband, — W. Reynolds

Direct to me, Co. F 4th Regt. M.V. I. , Nashville, Tenn.


Huntsville [Alabama]
January 18, ‘65

Dear wife,

By the hand of a friend I seat myself to write to you. I am as well as usual but had a bad cough and have had dysentery and ague. [I] have been in the hospital two or three weeks, but am able to march a little yet. [I] was tired last night when I arrived here but this is a pleasant day and a pleasant place. I feel some better.

We are to build good quarters here — little log huts 7 by 10 feet of logs and tent covers. Direct your letters to Huntsville, 4th Michigan Regiment, Co F, Alabama.

I was very happy to receive a letter from you the other day with five dollars in it. I was needy and it came good. I wish you would send me a box of provisions such as a tea, ½ pound, tobacco, 1 ¼ pounds fine cut, a few onions — they’ll be good for my cough, a couple pounds of butter, apples — dry and green if handy. I would [like] a few fried cakes and so forth as you think fit. Put on the box well painted on: Willard Reynolds, Co. F 4th Mich. Infantry, Huntsville, Alabama. Send [it] by Adams Express Co. and prepay it if you can.

Give my respects to Father, Mother, and the friends. Tell them I hope and believe the war will soon be over and will have a happy meeting once more. Kiss my children for me and I don’t forget you my dear and much respected wife. You wanted to know about your likeness. I have it and it’s dear to me. I will try to write as often as I can and you will not forget me and write after. Send some stamps. I have paper. [I] could get other things but the village is five miles and a half off and I can’t get there without a pass. Perhaps you had better send a little more money as I may not get pay for a while. But I guess we shall get pay soon. I have suffered a good deal with hunger and sickness. I will send home some money [as] soon as we get pay, then you will know that I have money. Now goodbye to you. [That is] all for this time.

Yours with great respect, — Willard Reynolds, 4th Michigan Infantry
Huntsville, Alabama