January 2015 Document of the Month

January 1865 says to students of the American Civil that “Appomattox” is just around the corner. And, while participants in the drama did not have our gift of hindsight, recent events and developments – Sherman’s March to the Sea, the catastrophic end to John Bell Hood’s Tennessee Campaign, and a spike in Confederate desertion – suggested that the war indeed might be nearing a close.

Writing on January 30, 1865, the self-described “crippled soldier” Robert Watkins predicted that the war would soon “come to a Terminus” and his mind turned to the question of how he would make a living after it did. His letter to his sergeant (himself an amputee) about post-war job prospects is part of a collection 315 letters that were captured by Federal troops and never delivered to their intended recipients.

An article about these letters will be featured in a forthcoming issue of Civil War Monitor magazine. Click on either image to view the letter in greater detail. 


Transcript retaining original spelling and (lack of) punctuation.

Lauderdale Station miss January 30th 1865

Sargeant Snead dear Sir I seat myself for the purpose of write you a Few lines which leaves me well as Comon hope you Enjoy the Same degree of blessing I have nothing new to write to You I am in {Law?} hospital at Lauderdale Springs in Mississippi there has been a great many Soldiers hear wounded but the most of them is furloughed home I came to this hospital Shortly after you was wounded I was verry much Supprised and verry Sorry that your leg had to be amputated but I hope you will get well and live long to Enjoy the Sociaty of our Friends I think Sargent from Everry Indication that peace will Soon be made So we poor Crippled Soldiers Can get home to our Families the Reason I write to You is in the first place I had not heard from you since you left in the next place I am like yourself a disabled Soldier

I have always taken you for one of my Best Friends and i think i Can Still depend on you as a Friend I think the war will soon and I will have to make a Living and i wish to ingage your Kindness in in percuring a Situation in Your vilage i would like a place where i would not have to Labour hard as i can only use one Arm you told me once that you thought you knew a place that would Suit me in case the war should stop I hope you will Favour me with your Influence Plese Rite to me Soon and tel me if You think You can help me my Post office Address is {Law??} hospital Lauderdale Station Miss I will Close hoping to hear From you soon i am Your Friend as Ever

Robert [A.?] Watkins

Sargt John Snead

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Please also visit our Artifact of the Month page.

Document of the Month Archives

Click on the images or links below to learn more about past Documents of the Month.


December 2014


November 2014

October 2014

September 2014


August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013


August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

Jackson Letter   Transcription

Livingston Letter   Transcription


Booker 1862 Booker 1863

Letter Descriptions

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

June 2012

Document   Explanation/Transcription

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012