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Record 68/294
Letter and envelope addressed to Jane S. Taplin from William P. Taylor Co. E, 2nd Wis Inf.. Washington D.C. Jan. 11th, 1864 Mrs. J. S. Taplin Respected Madam Having just received your very interesting letter of the 1st Instant, and been much pleased in reading it, it would be wicked, to say the least, did I not reply to it immediately. Of all the letters I receive, none are more interesting. With none am I more pleased than with those from you and when I say this for myself, I must also include my father and friends at home, who manifest the livelyest interest in all that pertains to me. And when I am the recipeiant of such kind and good letters, full of wholsome advise and flattering testimonies of regard, it is a source of much pleasure to them, as of gratification to myself. My father never fails to mention your name in his letters to me, and [asks] me to forward all letters received from you to him. "When this Cruel War is Over" and I return to my native place, the enjoyment of the visit will not be made any the less, I assure you, on my parussing those letters. What a sad and gloomy, and [yet] what a joyous and Happy Christmas and "New Year" has been passed by families thoughout our land, North and South, East and West. Sad and gloomy to those, like yours, whose nearest and dearest have been torn from them in strife of terrible battle or in far hospitals. Joyous and happy to those whose brave and noble members have been spared to return to them, and fill that seat at the friends and [families] table, so long vacant, and whose absence, and exposure to to very danger, has caused many a sleepless night and many a tear shed. I have often thought of how far short of what it should be is the appreciation of the services rendered by all of us by the Soldier, in the manner they are treated in this city, by officials, and men in authority over them, but I have little opinion of it when I view it from a Wisconsin standpoint, and do hope and trust in our good Badger State, the hardships and sufferings they so patiently bear and have undergone for our country's welfare, are born in mind, and that every honor is paid them. I am a peculiarly fortunate Soldier, if I may claim the honor of the name. Since the Battle of Antietam, I have not knowingly experienced those hardships, and do not claim any of the said honors, but am willing, however, to do my utmost in their behalf. I am glad to learn that the past year has been one of health and prosperity with you, and that many more are in store for you, I wish. If you should conclude to visit the resting place of Osman, I hope you will inform me, that I may render you any service you require. I fear we are about to have much sickness. Many deaths in our midst this winter and spring. Small Pox, I [am[ assuming, a most alarming aspect in our city. No less than thirty cases are reported this morning in one hotel, the "Metropolitan." One young man, a friend of mine, former Hospital Steward of [the]2nd Wisconsin (E.R. Chapman) was taken down on Wednesday [and] died yesterday at 5 PM and was burried in a half an hour after. The worst form of the disease ever known. People are being vaccinated all over our city, and many are scarred half to death. The physicians say none are safe, being all exposed to it in hotels, street cars, theaters, and private homes. Scarcely abolck of the city has not from ten to twenty cases reported. I here that in Horicon[?] Wisconsin it is raging to some extent. Regiments are passing through the city everyday on their way home to recruit and reenlist for three more years. Clothing merchants and restraraunts, Jew pedlars, and Apple Women are making small fortunes in fleecing soldiers, whose money burns their pockets. They pay a little bootblack twenty, thirty, or fifty cents, as they happen to have change for, polishing their boots. Jew clothiers sell them things stuck together, and call it clothing, at enormous rates. Whiskey finds its share of devotees, and the guard houses, consequently, its occupants. The 6th Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers left on Sunday at 2 PM and the 2nd [Regiment] will soon follow I hear. If it does, I may be home with it. They (the 6th) have left behind them a name not soon to be forgotten, for sobriety, manly bearing, and fine appearence. They were here three days ago and not a single man was put in the guard house. The Colonel (Bragg of Fond du Lac) engaged seats at Ford's Theater for his whole command, 220 men, on Friday evening, and it was a good triumph for Wisconsin, and enough to make the heart of a Badger Jump for Joy to see those war worn veterans, just from the battlefield, and from the rough camp life of over two years, where they have been deprived of everything pertaining to civilization, sit there for four long hours and not one single unbecoming remark made. No clapping of hands, stamping of feet, unnessesarily. Proctor, the great tradgedean actor, was acting in the "Lion of the Forrest," and being cheered by the boys and called not, he complimented them highly. But Mrs. Taplin, I had almost forgotten myself. I am so much interested in the Soger Boys that I was growing elequent and might devote more of paper to them than was my intention. I had a letter from Bent Davids, some three weeks ago. He is, or was then, on Belle Island, near Richmond, a prisoner of war. He was well and wanted me to send him a box of provisions, but we heard an exchange was about being made at the time, of prisoners, and did not send him any. Poor Bent! I do wish something could be done for him and the rest of our suffering friends. [A side note appears above this paragraph written up-side-down] James Spencer was not murdered as reported, but is a prisoner on Belle Island or in one of the prisons in Richmond. His name was handed to me amoung others by a returned surgeon. I thought I could fill this sheet of foolscap, but must fail this time Please remember me to Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, to Mrs. Thompson, and all my aquaintences, and write me again at your convenience. I received a paper from you also this morning. [I] have not looked at it yet. I will hand it to some soldier when I read it. I have often heard Mr. Ryan of the "Foundry Church" in this city, but as he is so strangel tinctured with doctrine of a partial salvation to [illegible] weak, [illegible] man, I cannot possibly endure his preaching. He is an excessively violent exhorter. The seats of the church fairly tremble under his gesticulations and his loud voice, and from mourners [who] are scared into something they fancy is a change of heart. You know I am an Ultra universalist and have the utmost faith in the Unchangeable Promises of the Gospel. Hoping to hear from you again shortly. I will close my scribble and assure you that I am as before Very truly your friend, Wm. P. Taylor
Letter from William P. Taylor to Osman Taplin's mother. -THE CIVIL WAR -Copyright Oshkosh Public Museum

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