From the Archives: Civil War Letter
In the Trenches before Atlanta
Georgia Sunday Aug 21, 1864
The mail of yesterday brought me the tobacco you sent for which you will please accept my heartfelt thanks for your kindness. your letter I got 5 or 6 days since + would have answered it sooner, but I thought I would wait untill [sic] the Tobacco came, The Rebels have been cutting our Rail Roads + we have not had a mail for 5 days untill [sic] yesterday and I tell you gloomy countenances + lonesome soldier boys grew plenty. We remain in the same place yet, will but little + some days no picket fireing [sic] at all two or three days ago being out of Tobacco I thought i would see if the Rebs had any to spare so I took a bag of coffee and went out on the Skirmish line + hollered to the Rebs + asked them if they wanted to trade. They did not say anything but judging from the old adage that “Silence gives Council” I proceeded on my journey + soon found myself between the Rebel Skirmish line + their strong Earthworks I concluded I had gone far Enough + turned back to their skirmish pits I met a Reb with a warm salutation + a shake of the hand . Which made me feel as though he were my brother we exchanged coffee for Tobacco and after talking aver war matters to some extent “ in which he felt satisfied of our whipping them out” we parted, I tell you when I found out my position at first I thought I was as the Rebs term it “ a gobbled Yankee” a few nights since tha [sic] Rebels burned and houre [sic] right in front of our Skirmish Lines and we could hear womens singing from a fort night in front of us real plain but mind you they were singing no Patriotic Airs for our side I hope that our folks drill kept the R Road open for it brings us down our small rations my bunk mate + I [cooked - word struck out] fried some fresh beef this morning in water for much of greane [sic] and our rations are small at the [cannot read word] there is a rumor of our going to the rear on the R Road this [time?] for guard duty I hope it will prove true. The paper you sent me has not yet arrived I am looking for it daily, the weather is not as warm as of late but very Rainy + showery. You say my habit of Chewing is a bad one Indeed it is but that is all the comport on takes here if you are friends to break me off from it when I return , all will be well I know I am a bad boy. When away from home but not to bad to reform There is but little fireing [sic] along our lines + I guess the Rebels are content with lying still and minding their own business their is nothing but Militia + myzers [?] in front of me + we do not fear such soldiers as those. it is the old troops that attracts our attention and we dont care for them if they choose to fight us we are always ready for them you may send me by mail 25 or 50 cigars the expense by mail is trifling + not trouble when I get paid I will try + not bother you to much I would like to smoke one of your Havanas once more it would taste natural again accept kind Regards for yourself + Mrs Tripp + answer soon Truly Yours James Neumann.