1864: George William Spurgin to Susan (Riley) Spurgin

This letter was written by George William Spurgin (1822-1877) to his wife Susannah Riley (1827-1902) of Fayette County, Illinois. Both William and his wife were born and raised in Ohio. They married in Ohio and had their first two children there before moving to a farm in Illinois around 1854.

George was a Lieutenant in Co. K, 98th Illinois Infantry. He served from 17 January 1865 until 27 June 1865. By March 1863, the regiment was converted to mounted infantry.


Addressed to Mrs. Susan Spurgin, Greenland, Fayette Co., Illinois

Camp in Field
Calhoun, East Tennessee
February 23d 1864

Dear Wife,

Once more I seat myself to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and hearty, hoping and trusting in God there few imperfect lines may find you and the children well when they reach you. I received your kind letter of February 13th in due time. I was truly glad to hear from you and more for it does me a heap of good to learn from you that you are well and doing well and that you are still mindful of your soul’s salvation and that you put your trust in God.

Our boys is most all out on a scout now down into Georgia. They will be gone for 3 or four days. I did not go this time for we had not horses enough for all to ride and Cap. made me stay to finish up the writing of our company books. I am now pretty well through with the writing. 2 or 3 more days will put me up.

If you see Marsh Kirk, you can tell him I had to make out monthly returns and quarterly reports of all of our men from the time we first enlisted till he resigned as all that was made out before was wrong and the old books was so badly kept that it was impossible to make the reports tally. I had to do the best I could and then I wrote a letter of advice to accompany the reports which will not reflect much credit on the former officers of Co. K as book keepers. Today I am making out a new muster roll, a copy of the original muster roll with all the remarks to show what has become of the men, It is quite a task as there is 85 men on the old rolls and we only report 45 now. So there is 40 men to account.

We have very fine weather here now. It was cold a few days back but is warm now and O, how I wish I was at home for to help farm such weather as this but I must not say much about home for me being in my tent day and night by myself (since the boys left) and this fine weather almost makes me homesick. But we trust the time is not far off when we will be permitted to return to you again.

I was sorry to think James Riley blamed me for sending him the hard tack and sow belly. I don’t think I could a been guilty of treating Jeff Davis or Vallandigham as mean (but at the same time I consider Jeff or Val as good Union men as Jim) and I think I must write him a few lines and put things straight again with him. I know it has hurt his mother and them old shoulders has shrugged up three or four inches more and if there is not something done to relieve her, that old linsey petticoat will not reach down to her knees &c. I should like to know how them Copperheads looks and feels since our Great Victory in East Tennessee. I hope you went to see Lt. [Alfred H.] Wood & shall expect to hear from you when he comes back.

I understand the peaches is all killed in Illinois but I hope the trees is not hurt. I also hope our cherries and grape vines is safe and apple trees also.

I should be pleased to have Sis write me. I want her to write so I can see if she improves in writing.

Tell Doc I shall write to him next week and that my thanks is ever due him for the attention he has paid to you and to our welfare and we hope the time will soon come when we can repay him for all his troubles.

I must close hoping to hear from you soon. (I will write soon again, a large letter too.)

As ever, your husband, — George W. Spurgin

to Susan Spurgin

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