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[recto, 1:] Drewys Bluff May 24th 1864

My dear Father

Yours of __ inst and of May 8th were duly received, the first enclosing three letters of credit to persons in the north for which, I am much oblidged[sic], to you and will preserve them carefully in the event of my being captured[.] A few days after our arrival in Vir we were sent to this point to meet and observe the enemy who were advancing upon Drewys Bluff in very heavy force, the service was extremely severe and dangerous, for ten days we were in the saddle almost day and night, within one to four hundreds yards of them all them all thes time and were oblidged to fight their skirmishers and drive in their pickets[.]

[verso, 1:] It was the most harassing and exhausting service that could be as we were in danger of being shot at any hour of the day or night and no chance to sleep or rest. We have been resting for several days lately as Gen Beauregard has driven the enemy inside of his entren[c]hments and has no use for cavalry but we expect to be sent to the other side of the River very soon. The enemy got possession of our outer lines of entrenchments here and had made wire fences and other obstructions in front of them which required the most gallant fighting on the part of our men to drive them out of, which they did almost without a pause, I saw a good deal of the fighting, it was a grand sight. [O]ur squadron was skirmishing with the Yankee Cavalry

[recto, 2:] most of the day on the the extreme right at long range, but only had a few horses shot. We have had but one man killed. We never have more than one hundred men for duty as there are several companys on detached service and two not yet arrived. I am very well pleased with the Regt. and feild officers, which are Col Shingles[,] Lt Col Alleck Glaskele and Maj Boykin. I suffered dreadfully from low spirits for six weeks but have entirely recovered, and am most thankful for it, it was a most miserable condition as to be in as no one knows better yourself. I suffered always most intensely in the morning and as evening approached got better invariably. I often sat up late at night because I was comfortable and knew the misery that awaited me in the morning [.] I think if it had not been for the daily long marches my health would have given away [.]

[verso, 2:] I have been elected Junior 2nd Lieut of this co by a vote of 45 to 10 and am much pleased as the life of a private in this service is a very hard one as I know from experience. I will need money and wish you to let me know how I can get it here what even I use here Ann must sell something to replace it with I have written her to that effect and she will advise with you what will be best to sell. I will have to buy a serviceable horse (which will cost some $8,000 probably, unless I can swap the one I have and give some too) and probably a thousand dollars of the necessary articles. I will spend as little as will possibly do, knowing how hard it is to get money, it may be that I can make the horse I have do and Ann can furnish me with home made cloth for a uniform +++ and I may not need so much money, but would like you to put me in position to get it if I should need it [at] once as we may ordered to northern [verso, 2 – written vertically:] Virginia at any moment. I have received some of the papers sent and am much oblidged for them. Pay the postage on them and I will get them with more certainty. I will much pleased to receive letters from you whenever you can find time to write.

Give my love to mother and ask her to write me occasionally Your Affect Son W E Johnson [__?]

Creation Date



Drewry's Bluff


Chesterfield County




United States

Creator Life Dates



W.E. Johnson, letter, soldier, Civil War

Date Digital


Document Type



American Studies | Military History | Other Rhetoric and Composition | Political History | Social History | United States History

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Letter: W.E. Johnson to W.E. Johnson, Sr., May 29, 1864