October 11, 1862 - Fort Scott, Kansas
I again write you a few lines and let you know where we are. We arrived here yesterday about noon after seven days of very hard marching for it rained on us for two days and nights. While we were at Leavenworth I got kicked on leg, my leg was so sore that I had to get another man to drive my team and I rode in wagon, we leave here in the morning for Missouri, my leg is better so that I shall drive my team from here, we are to guard a freight train down to our army in Missouri, my leg is better. We expected to stay here for awhile and I was a going to try and go home, but as it is I can't but I expect we will be back here in about a month and if we do I shall try hard to go home. I could not see any chance to send you any goods from Leavenworth after I got my money for we had to start rite off down here. We have all us boys been to the express office to-day and have sent our money home. I sent you 35 dollars. I sent it to Fick and Eskridge Emporia, you had better have John take the team and take you and Eunice to Emporia when you hear the money is there so that you can do your trading. He likely will want to go to for Nathan has sent him 25 dollars. I tried to make him send more but he has spent some of it foolishly. I can't have much influence over him, let John have as much of the money as you think you can spare after paying Frank and it maybe you will have to pay Mr. Hill that dollar I owe him. I don't believe that you can pay for that thrashing this time. I think I will be able to send home some more in about a month if we are where we can be paid off. I will put a dollar in this letter for you to buy you some coffee with. I wish I could have the coffee that is wasted in this camp it would more than do you. I was very sorry that I could not send you home what you needed from Leavenworth for I could of bought them so much cheaper than you can in Emporia. Sarah, Will is going to write to Horatio Pritchard to have him send for that box of things that we had in Leavenworth now I want you to pay Rashhe my share which is fifty cents. Walter is going to send his share with Will in the letter. I have never had a letter from you yet but I think I will get one perhaps today. I will back an envelope and put in this letter so that you may know how to direct to me. I would send you some letter stamps but there is none here to be had. Kiss the children for me and may god Bless you all.
From your affectionate husband.
Sarah Norton John A. Norton
P. S. There was two men who deserted from our regiment last night they took two mules with them and there was a lot of wagons after them and if they catch them woe be unto them.
October 23, 1862
I wrote you from this place to let you know where we are. We had a very hard march from Fort Cotton averaged 25 miles a day which made it very hard on the boys. We joined General Blunt four days ago since then we have marched for this place. Marching two nights all night. The enemy is known to be encamped here. General Cloud attacked them early this yesterday morning the battle was commenced by the Kansas 2nd Rabbs battery attaching the enemy at the time the battle began our regiment was 4 miles off but hearing the firing they was ordered to charge double quick which they did for the whole 4 miles but when our boys come pouring over the ridge on a double quick the enemy saw them coming and broke and fled, so our boys was ordered to halt and lay down and rest the battle was short but decisive. We have taken four pieces of cannon to the celebrated Texas battery and some small arms. Our loss is four lives and 6 or 8 wounded. The rebel loss must have been heavy for our men have burried 3 and there is 2 more laying dead in the brush that was found later this evening besides they was none to have carried off their dead and there is 3 or 4 houses along the road they went that is full of their wounded there is three in a house close by us. One poor fellow shot through the breast, he was praying all the afternoon and sent for our chaplin this evening perhaps is dead by this time. We have taken some thirty prisoners besides some that have come in of their own accord. Six of them have joined the Kansas sixth regiment. Our own cavalry persued the enemy and cut them up badly. I was back some 20 miles with the wagon trains we started on and as it was light presently we heard the cannons firing about nine o'clock. We received orders to rush on and such whipping as we done you never see we got up with the army about 3 o'clock but was afraid that some guerrilla party would attack us and burn up the trains as we had but a small guard. I still drive a team and expect I shall get 25 cents a day extra pay which will make my wages a little over 20 dollars a month. I never was heartier in my life we have plenty to eat-beef, pork, mutton, chicken, apples honey and cook it with fence rails we take them from the rebels. I expect that we will persue the rebels on down into Arkansas the troops are anxious to follow them and whale thunder out of them. I will quit for to-night for it is getting late.
For my affectionate wife and family.
Sarah Norton John A. Norton
Saturday 25th - 1862
having not finished I will write a few lines more. Yesterday we went out foraging, we got two loads of oats 8 stands of bees and geese and chicken with our numbers some sweet potatoes some apples, so you see that we have plenty of good things to eat, the bushwackers killed six of our Indian pickets yesterday, last night it snowed a little but to-day it is pleasant. Walt is fifer and Nate is drummer for the company (notation: this is not Camp Blunt, but Ft. Wayne) we are encamped on the ground that we drove the enemy off from at same day.
November 9th, 1862 - Browns Mills Arkansas
My dear wife:
Your letter dated Oct. 12th followed me up and came to hand about one hour ago and I hasten to answer it. I was very sorry to hear that you had never had a letter from me for I have written you before then. I wrote to you at Fort Scott and put a dollar bill in the letter. I also expressed 35 dollars to Fick and Eskridge for you which I hope you got if you did not God only knows what you will do this winter, but I am in hopes that you will have gotten it before. I have ten dollars now that I wish you had but I can't see any way of sending it to you at present I was very sorry to hear that my little boy was having ague. You say that he often speaks of me no doubt you all do. Well don't let him forget me for I have a faint hope that I will see you all in a few months. There is talk that we will go back to Fort Scott before long but I don't know and the soldiers won't know until we start. You must keep up good cheer wife for I know that you feel lonely with out me, but you know that it wasn't because I wanted to leave home that I come at war to serve my country which I am doing as a faithful soldier if I could only know that you had plenty of clothes I could be satisfied. Now Sarah I want you to write as soon as you get this and tell me all how you are getting along. Are the hogs fattening and when you killed them and how the colts get along and if you get much good out of the cows this fall and if you got that hay stacked and if father or George has gathered in the corn and all the particulars. Give my respect to my relatives and also the neighbors and tell me how they are all getting along. Now a little about myself two companys of our regiment and the Kansas second was sent out here four days ago to scout the country for wheat and eatables which we are doing with a good will. We have hauled in a good deal of wheat, which we make the old Sesesh miller grind for us. It goes rather tough but he has to stand it and I tell you we live on the fat of the land beef, pork, mutton, chicken and honey, molasses dried apples and green apples and besides we have a nigger to cook it. We are destroying a good deal sesesh property we have burned 2 large tanneries and all the leather goods that was tanning. We have taken all the oxen wagons, horses, mules and the officers are going to give them to Union families and negroes that want to go north. I am still driving team I go out with my team on nearly all the foraging expeditions and haul in the plunder a lot of them having the diarrhea for two or three days but are all right now. I will send you some money the first chance. Nate has been having the ague. He has got it broke out and is having himself the diaerrah some at this time. Poor Jerry Musgrove he shot himself through the neck and bled to death poor fellow. Well, I must quit and go feed the mules.
May God bless you all.
Sarah Norton John A. Norton
Direct to Fort Scott Co. D 119th regiment
November 19th, 1862 - In camp on Flint Hill Creek, Arkansas
I write again to tell you of my health which is fine at this time. I wrote to you a few days ago but having a little time this afternoon I thought I would write again. My company has again got with the regiment and we have moved about 20 miles north and within the Fort Wayne we are within 10 miles of the Cherokee Cone it has been raining for three days which has made the roads very bad but this afternoon it has cleared off. I have been hauling rails all day not to build a fence with but to burn. That is what we do with rails that have not taken to (--?) I can't see what we are staying down here for there is no enemy to fight that we can hear of. Comd---has gone out at this time riding with 2 or 3 hundred men to see if he can find the enemy in enemy force. If he does not (and I think he won't) then we will move north either up into Missouri or Fort Scott. If we do move north I will try hard to go and see you. Walt had a hard chill last night and feels quite bad to- day, I think it is on account of the wet weather. Will is hearty, Harry and George and Humphrey are well. Niram Norton and Silas Martin are well. Harding is quite sick and is in the hospital John Hensley was taken sick and has been sent to Fort Scott with a provision train. Ben is also well. We are looking for another train in a few weeks from Fort Scott. I am really very anxious for it to come for I think I will get 2 or 3 letters from you. I am very anxious to know whether you got the money or not and how things are a getting along. I suppose you would like to know how I like the army well I like it full but not like I expected I would. I wish I was out of it I would not join from the fact that I don't believe that we was needed for we are doing no good down here only devastating the country. What the sesesh familys are to do here this winter is more than I know. I think that as soon as we leave that a great many of them will come home. Well I must quit and feed my mules. I will try and write some more before I send this a day.
Yours both now and forever.
Sarah Norton John A. Norton
Saturday 22nd (November 1862)
Well we are still here and our train has not been heard of and we fear it has been cut off. To-day I attended the funeral of one of the men. He was shot by a bushwacker day before yesterday three of our men went out scouting on their own hook, they got out about 10 miles and was fired on from the brush, the one was killed, another was wounded with 2 buck shot and the third had his cap shot off so you see what they got by being fool hardy.
December 11, 1862 - Cane Hill, Arkansas
I wrote you a few days ago but since then there has been a bloody battle fought in which our army have been victorious it was fought on last Sunday 7th, it commenced about 10 o'clock and they fought until dark. Owing to the good management of our officers our own regiment loss was lite only 3 killed and 30 wounded none of our Verdegris boys are hurt. Walt was struck in the small of the back by a (minnie?) ball and knocked down but it did not break the skin. There was 2 of our company wounded our whole loss on our side is about 700 killed and wounded. The rebel loss is from twenty to twenty-five hundred they have now been four days burying their dead and they are not done yet. I can not give a full description of the battle as I was with my team about ten miles off but we could hear the continued thunder of the cannon you will see a full account of the battle in the Emporia news. I have a chance to send you a letter to Emporia by a man that is going directly there I will send you ten dollars which you must use as you think best. I want you to send me in your next letter 7 or 8 postage stamps I can't get any here I would to God that I could know how you are at this time. I am in hopes that we will get some more mail before long. I would like to hear from you often and I will write oftener than I have. I have no stamps to pay the postage with so you will have to pay the postage on this letter. I don't know that we will have anymore fighting down here for a awhile perhaps none at all for the enemy are disbanded and are coming in and giving themselves up by the hundred. To-day there was a whole company come in with their arms and horses and have joined our army. We will either go on to Fort Smith before long or else turn back north we can't stay here long for there is not much to eat in way of animals as we have got our camp close by the enemies hospital is close by the where we are camped. It is a sight to see, we have to feed them the wounded they say they will never fight again. Wife take good care of family and yourself and don't worry about me. May God speed the time that I may be permitted to see you. I send you and the children my best love. I would of sent you more money but we have not been paid yet. We are all well. Direct letter to Fort Scott Co. D 11th Regiment. Hiram Norton wants you to tell his wife how to direct. If you see Cranes wife tell her he is well and how to direct it.
Your affectionate husband.
Sarah Norton John A. Norton
December 25th 1862 - Cane Hill, Arkansas
Dear wife and children:
Having time to-day I thought I would again write to let you know that I am still alive and tolerable. Well I have had the sore eyes for a few days but not very bad, they are still weak. I have not much news to write we are at the same place that we were when I wrote last the army had done nothing since the last battle that I wrote you about there is considerable sickness in our regiment at this time. I think everyone is eating so much fresh hog. I wish that we would move from here and keep moving, for the soldiers are healthier when they are on the march than they are lying in camps. I am sorry to inform you of the death of Crane, he died I think of the brain fever he was buried day before yesterday. Will is going to write his wife the rest of the boys are well. Will has been promoted he is orderly Sergent. Walt and Ben are at Fayetteville where our main hospital is. I heard from them yesterday. They are well only Walt is still weak. To-day is Christmas but a dull one it is for it has rained all day and is still raining. You must write how you spent Christmas what kind of a day it was and if I was there to eat supper with you wouldn't I be a happy man. You can judge if I would by your own feelings. If I was there now I would call for a fancy supper and what do you think it would be why mush and milk but instead of that I must eat beef and beans, coffee and hard bread. I want you to write what luck you had selling your pork and if you are comfortably clothed this winter and tell me if Moore fixed up the house or not and what you have done with colts if you have not sold them and can possibly keep them I would rather you would. I wrote a letter some two weeks ago and put ten dollars in it and sent it by a man by the name of Wm. Rosson he went home to see his family to Emporia he promised to put the letter in the office at Elemendaro. Will and several of the boys sent letters by him all to be mailed there we mailed them to Madison if you get it use it as you think best. Write if father or George gathered the corn and how much you have left tell me if Bob Dincan ever paid you that five bushel of corn that he borrowed of me or not. J.S. Rose also owed me ten bushels of corn tell me what corn is worth there this winter write about everything and everybody. We are looking for a train in before long then we expect to get some letters. I long to hear from you again. I can't think of anything more to write at this time so good-by and may God bless you and bring me safe back to you again is my prayer.
Sarah Norton John A. Norton
Home Page for the
Kansas State Library
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project