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Arlington Heights [Virginia] July 29, 1861 Dear Jennie, I hardly feel like writing a line today although I begin to feel some better. Not that I have been down sick, but almost discouraged and worn out. Our march through Virginia, short rations, and the two battles we were in Thursday and Sunday, the retreat march of 30 miles about discouraged me, that part of me not discouraged is about worn out. Now to tell the truth, soldiering is not the nicest business that ever was, especially the way things seem to be managed here. Political Generals, leading us up before masked batteries is anything but fun. You have of course before this heard the particulars of the Battle of Sunday the 21st instant. The accounts you get are quite incorrect as many of them are individual experiences from someone that thinks they have achieved more heroic deeds and are anxious to blow their own trumpet. I do not know what the official description of the battle will be, but if it is correct, some of these Titanic heroes will dwindle away wonderfully. But you can rest assured it was a hard contested battle. The boys all fought well, remarkably well considering some of the [illegible]. And although [Jefferson] Davis won the day and our army was routed, [Pierre] Beauregard or Davis neither need attribute to themselves the praise for doing it. Twas not of confidence in leaders, and something else. That defeat is a terrible disaster to us and God only knows now where and when this thing will end. I wrote one letter to you soon after we got back, twas so discouraging I did not send it. This is plenty enough so. Let me hear from you. The retreat cost Captain [Bouck] and I all our store clothes, trunks, baggage, and all the fixings are gone. I have only two shirts and my gray suit left. Such is war. Yours truly, Lt. H. It's 4 PM. Your letter just this minute reached me. Thank you. Now you must stop all this anxiety and worrying. You certainly must, will you not! [illegible] never answer. As Lizzie says, you will worry yourself to death. Write H.
Letter from John Hancock to Jennie Reardon -THE CIVIL WAR -Copyright Oshkosh Public Museum
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