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Record 145/294
Letter from William Henry Jenkyns (future brother-in-law), Company C, 1st Wisconsin Heavy Artillery: Direct to: W.H. Jenkyns "Co." "C" 1st Wis. H.A. Athens, East Tennessee Head Qrs. " Co" "C" 1st Wis H.A Mouse Creek Thursday April 15,65 Friend John, Yours of March 22 duly arrived and found us all well and full of the devil as ever. I see by the direc-tions that you are unacquainted with our departure from Chattanooga. We left there the 29th of March, and right glad we were to leave the confounded hole. We went to a place on the Knoxville R.R. eighty miles from Chattanooga by the name of Athens. There we stayed a week and then lit out for Mouse Creek where we are now stationed. I think next to Chatta-nooga, it is the worst place I have been in as [of] yet. It has been raining more or less for the past two weeks and it beats all mud holes out. It is in the country away from any other town and consists of a hotel, a few old houses, one whisky shop (minus the whisky) and a depot. The depot is a large building and is used by our company for barracks. A very nice thing for a dwelling house. Fancy to yourself about a hundred and twenty men in a barn and you will have a pretty good idea [of] how we are fixed. We have gay times I tell you. There is only our company at this place so we have full sway over everything. The duty is light and the most we have to do is picket duty. We go, when our turn comes out, about half a mile from camp and stay twenty hours and gay times we have. We go to some citizen's house, make ourselves at home, and tell some pretty long yarns. In return, we get something "dat aire good for de head" . It would make you laugh to hear some of them talk. They hate the Johnies a heap, but like the Yankees right smart . So they say there is right smart chance of girls here and we have a heap of fun with them. [We] bother them about their rebel sweethearts and then they wish we were in the region of his satanic majesty. They are not averse to the use of profane language or the use of tobacco. How would you like to go to bed [with] a bundle of to-bacco (ha, ha, I guess)? The principle part of the inhabitants about here are refugees from North Carolina. [They] claim to be union citizens (though I doubt their loyalty), but are merely so from necessity, and not from their own will. A great number of them, that have run so great in their praise of Grant's success, would today, if Lee was to march into Tennessee with an army, join him. I do not mean to say that all would, for there are exceptions in all cases. As the state differs, so does the people. When we were in Athens, we had a grand time. Our company and one belonging to the 2nd Ohio were having a parade. We were invited to the public square, where we had a speech by Colonel Brownlow , and then we were invited to drink the health of General Grant, which of course we all acceded to. We then gave three hearty cheers for the Union, [General] Grant, the citizens of Athens, and everything else. [We] then went to camp, though some were none the better for the beer they had drunk. We are now in hopes of coming home next fall and if all goes well I think [that] we shall. I do not know what [the] impression up north, is but the soldiers seem to have made up their minds that the Southern Confederacy has about wound up. I hope by the last of August to be able to bid soldiering goodbye and give you all a friendly shake of the hand. This [is] about all. The boys all send their respects. My respects to all. Write soon and oblige. Yours respectfully W.H. Jenkins
Letter from William Henry Jenkyns to John Heron -THE CIVIL WAR -Copyright Oshkosh Public Museum

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