[Part one of two. Still besieging Vicksburg, and will be until its surrender on July 4. DPG here refers to “General McClerland” but I think he means McClernand, who Grant disliked and managed to get rid of during the Vicksburg campaign.]
In Field Rear of Vicksburg
May 30th 1863, Saturday Evening
My Dear Anna
Your exceedingly inter-esting Letter of the 20th May reached me day before yesterday. This Letter came quicker than any I have had the pleasure of receiving for some time back. We now have an open Mail communication by the way of Harris Bluff, and our mails come very regularly, though we are not able to send our letters away so readily, as there is only about one Boat a week leave for the North. I suppose you are still having a very busy time with the Preachers + the General Assembly, though probably by the time this reaches you they will all have departed and left old Peoria alone in its glory. [p2] I can well imagine the trouble + confusion you have had with all the crowd with you, and feel truly thankful that I am not there to see it all. A few Preachers around occasionly will do well enough, but such a heavy dose taken all together is rather to much of a good thing. I understand that the Assembly is unusually well represented this year, by young Preachers and I have no doubt but a great many have departed leaving their hearts behind them.
We are still lying up within a few yards of the Rebel Fortifications around Vicksburg, and still the Rebs hold out. We are making a regular Siege of it and I think before many days have passed, Vicksburg will be ours. I wish they would hurry up and surrender, for I would like to get into camp again and have a little quiet time [p3] after the tedious and exciting times we have been having during the last six weeks. Just think I have been engaged in four Battles during that time, and marched two hundred miles, and the last battle was the bloodiest and most desperate ever fought in this country. Gen McClerland said that the 77th had made the most brilliant + desperate charge he had ever heard of, either in ancient or modern times. I should think myself it was, for we lost nearly every other man and I have not yet been able to see how one solitary man of us got back alive, to tell the tale. Nothing will ever induce me again to take either myself or men into such a charge, for it is nothing more nor less than downright Murder, to go into such a place. I will give you one instance. Just after we had planted [p4] our Flag on the Fort, a Sergeant and Eleven men crossed over into the Fort. the Sergeant by running a bayonet through one Rebel, beating the Brains out with the But of his musket of another, succeeded in getting back. The Eleven men were every one of them Killed, from this you can imagine how desperately we fought, and this Kind of fighting we kept up from Eleven in the morning until seven in the evening, when darkness covered the proceedings, and left us masters of the field, and held it until we were ordered back at ten oclock at Night. We are now required every night to sleep on our Arms as it is confidently expected that the Rebs will try to cut their way through our lines, and make their escape, but we are all ready and waiting for them, and if they do come will give them one of [p5] the neatest receptions they ever had, before they get through some of them will think that the world has come to an end for some of them.
I see that you are very anxious for peace and as you say almost on any terms. Now I am very very anxious that the War should close, and allow me to enjoy a little quiet life, blessed with your love. I can not imagine anything that would be more delightful to me, than to be able to go home and live with you and for you alone, it certainly would be the happiest moment of my life, but still I do not want to see this war close, until this wicked Rebellion is crushed and the Traitors punished and severely punished for what they have already done