Thanks to Deidre Goode of Boston and Washington, D.C, who braved the inclement weather to make copies of these letters.
Letter of Jefferson James Asbill, approx. age 30.Company A, 19th Regiment SC Volunteers; Library of Congress, Civil War Manuscripts
Camp/date obscured by Library of Congress stamp.Reckoned to be somewhere around Chattanooga.August 11? 1862.
I once more embrace the present opportunity of dropping you a few lines as I am idle.I wrote a day or two ago.I have not done any duty since I came to the Regiment.I hope that these lines may find you and Bob (1) the same.I got to the Regiment the first day of August.I am as nearly as well as I ever was.When you left Mrs. P____I was lost and never was so lonesome in my life.I felt like [I] had lost something but Mrs. P____ would tell me not to grieve about Mrs. Asbill but I have got well of that._____ we was (sic) allowed to get off the cars and boat but they would get off when they saw water ____or not.We had a bad time and they made not half enough to eat and our Company had to ride on the ?dect? (deck?) right in the sun and rain and ?smut?. You never saw so many black boys.We are in about fourteen miles of Chattanooga.We may stay here a week and we may leave tomorrow.We are going to Nashville.The yankey (sic) have left here when they found this army was coming.They are a’ feared of it and well they may be.I note that we get plenty to eat but I was too soon.Some days we don’t get anything but bread and today is one of them.It can’t be got they say is the cause.I hope that it will get better in a few days.The water is good enough. (Line obscured by Library of Congress stamp).
….and I am glad to hear it.You must be planning with everything and if you do sell a cow you had better get one that will give milk next year for things can’t be had for the money.You had better take care of the bacon that you have for I ?want? and not get any bacon and sometimes not enough of beef.I am just telling you so you may look ahead for we can’t cloth ourselves and send money home for I need a hat and can’t get it for less than eight or ten dollars, a month’s wages.I want you to have me a pair of shoes made and send them if you can.I should like to be there to eat fruit and watermelons. Tell Dan to save me a bottle of brandy.Nothing more but remain your loving husband.Let Laura see this.J.J. Asbill.
Dear Sister Laura, I drop you these few lines to let you know how am I getting on.I am nearly well again and thank God.We are in Tennessee near Chattanooga.I just want to whip you this time about not writing to me.I am where I can’t get paper to write which you may see by this.I want you to write.Don’t wait for me to answer them.Write all the news.I am in hopes that I can write more next time.Nothing more but remain your loving brother. J. J. Asbill
Direct your letters to Chattanooga, Tennessee.Colonel Lythgo19 Regiment fourth brigade reserve_____.
---------------------------------------------------------- (1) Ancestry.com shows J.J. in the 1860 census with a wife and a son named Robert.He also had a brother named Robert per Bennett Asbill history.
The History of Edgefield County by John Chapman has Jefferson J. Asbill, age 30, died of disease at Danville, Kentucky.
The 19th and 10th SC Infantry Regiments merged in Corinth, Mississippi in 1862.Fromthe Rolls and Historical Sketch of the SC 10th Infantry Regiment, by C.I. Walker, Chapter 3: Kentucky Campaign,