These letters were written by Farner Elkenie Shaw (1844-1923), the only son of Henry W. Shaw (1812-1892) and Susan J. Sunderman (1821-1899). Farner was born in Dane County, Wisconsin, but relocated to Minnesota, prior to 1860, where he was enumerated with his parents in Freeman, Freeborn County. He enlisted in February 1862 as a private in Co. F, 4th Minnesota Infantry and re-enlisted as a corporal after two years service. He was discharged from the service in July 1865. [Note: service records sometimes refer to his as “Farmer Shaw”]
Shaw’s younger sisters included: Susan Shaw (1847-1925), Almina Shaw (b. 1848), Sarah Shaw (b. 1850), Rachel Shaw (1854-1935), and Julia Shaw (b. 1859). After the war, in 1868, Farner married Juliette Flemming (1849-1916) and had five children. They relocated to Iowa prior to the 1880 Census where Farner earned a living as a farmer like his father.
Farner wrote the letters to his cousins — the children of Jacob Waldruff (1813-aft1880) and Eliza Sunderman (1818-Aft1880) of Leeds, Columbia County, Wisconsin (previously in Cottage Grove, Dane County, Wisconsin). The Waldruff children included Mary Jane (b. 1839), William H. (b. 1843), Abigail (b. 1844), Jemima (b. 1846), Benton (b. 1849), Melinda (1852-1921), Milton (b. 1855), and Lovina (b. 1858). [Note: The Waldruff family is also spelled Waldruf]
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER ONE
This letter was written just days before the Battle of Iuka (Mississippi) in which the 4th Minnesota Infantry was engaged, losing 2 men killed and 41 wounded.
September the 1st, 1862
Dear cousin William H. Waldruff,
I now take my pen in my hand to let you know that I am well at present and hope that these few lines will find you in the same state of health. You mustn’t think hard of me for not writing to you for I didn’t know where to direct the letters.
Dear cousin, I am now in the service of our country which is a holy and a just cause but I can tell you that it is hard to be a soldier — hard living. But thank God it can’t last long and when it is done, we will see each other once more if we live to see that day and I hope that we will.
Now dear cousin, if you hain’t enlisted, [I beg] that you won’t if you can help it for I can tell you that it is better to stay at home for there is enough here now, I think, to make them give up if they go on and drive them to the end of the world for they are boogers to run. But some of [them] has to drop before they get a great ways.
I tell you that it has been warm here this summer. I am down here where the sun is right straight over our heads.
I don’t know of any more to write this time. I want you to write to me as soon as you get this letter and tell all the rest of the boys to write me and Will, tell Hif and Hank to write too as soon as they can. I heard once that Hif had enlisted but I hain’t heard anything since. When you write, tell me all about it.
No more this time. So goodbye to you all. All write soon without delay.
From Farner E. Shaw to my cousin William H. Waldruff
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER TWO
Camp near Helena, Arkansas
April the 11th, 1863
Dear Cousin Mary Jane Waldruff,
It is with great pleasure that I sit down to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well at the present time and hope that these few lines will find you all the same. I received your kind letter yesterday that you wrote March the 24th and I tell you, I was glad to hear from you and to hear that you was all well and glad to hear that you got my likeness. I got a letter from home yesterday and they was all well except father. He was not very well and I am sorry of that for it is hard for him to get along. He hain’t got any time to do anything and I don’t get any pay to help him with. We hain’t been paid for 6 months but I guess that we will soon get some. I hope so.
I tell you, I would like to have this war ended and get home but I don’t think that it will as long as there is so many copperheads as you know and peace cryers in the North as there is now. The South would have given up long ago if it hadn’t of been that they saw the North a crying for peace and that the North was a dividing and they never will give up as long as there is such business a going on in the North as there is now.
I hope that every devilish copperhead will get drafted. There is nothing but the poor class that is a fighting this war and the rich ones is at home a filling their pockets of what the poor men send home to their family and give them nothing for it. And they will sit in their stores or taverns and smoke their cigars and say, “Let them poor devils fight it out.” Them is the men I would like to see come into the ranks and shoulder their muskets and live on hard bread for one or two years.
Well, I will tell you a little about the weather and other [things] down here in Dixie land. The weather is very warm and everything is green. I have seen corn 3 inches high and wheat about 5 inches high. But I tell you that there ain’t much of either raised in the South this year. I suppose that you have heard about that great fleet a going down the Yazoo Pass. I was with them. We went to the Tallaha[tchie River] and stayed there about a week. We was within 3 miles of a rebel fort [Fort Pemberton] and we was so close to them that the pickets talked to each other but we hadn’t men enough to draw them out so we had to come back. And now I don’t know where we will go next but I guess it will be down to Vicksburg.
You said you hadn’t heard from Phillip for 6 weeks. I wrote him a letter about 2 months ago and hain’t had any answer yet. I look for one every mail. Well, I must write a few lines to Abigail so I must close these few lines by bidding you goodbye.
This is from your well-wishing cousin, Farner E. Shaw
I and Charley and O. B. sends our best.
Dear cousin Abigail,
It is with great pleasure that I write a few lines to let you know that I hain’t forgotten you yet. You must not think hard of me for not writing to you before for I had so many to write to that I can’t write to them every week and tell Aunt Eliza to not think hard of me for not writing to her. I will write to her and grandmother before long. You must all right as often as you can for you have a good chance and I will do the same. I tell you that I have no chance to write all that I have to write. If you don’t, you can try it and then you won’t blame me for not writing oftener.
Well, dear cousin, I want you to write to me and I will write as often as I can and I hope that the war will soon be over and then I am a going to try and come back there and see you all again. Well, I guess that I will have to close this letter for I have written two letters this forenoon and I am a getting tired. Well, I must close these few lines by bidding you goodbye. This from your cousin, — Farner E. Shaw
Please direct your letters the same as you have before and write often as you can. I send my best respects to all.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER THREE
Camp near Vicksburg, Mississippi
First Brigade, 7th Division, 17th Army Corps
June 12, 1863
Dear cousin Mary Jane Waldruff,
I now sit down to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well at the present time and hope that these few lines will find you the same and all the rest of my old neighbors well. It has been a long time since I have had a chance to write to you. You must not think hard of me for not writing to you for I have been a march[ing] and had no chance and I tell you that we had a hard time. We lived on the country and we had nothing to eat but corn meal and fresh beef and half the time no salt. And I will tell you how we had to cook. We had a tin plate and a tin cup and a cas nif [?]. Now how do you think that we looked. Well we have got a plenty to eat now and we must try to forget the hard times as fast as we get over them.
Well, we are camped now within a half mile of the 23rd Wisconsin. We see Hip and John about every other day. John looks very well. He is a fatting up very fast but I am afraid that if we stay here that we will be sick — a great many of us. It rained so hard the other day that it drowned us out of our shanties. We are laying in the hollows close to Vicksburg.
And now I will tell you how our regiment has changed since we came south. When we first come south, we had nine hundred and 62 men, and now we have got 2 hundred and 54 men left and I don’t think that there has been over a hundred and fifty that has had their discharge. I tell you that any man that gets out of this war safe and sound is a lucky fellow.
Well, I don’t think that it is worth writing anymore for you can’t read what I have wrote now. Well, I will have to close this letter. I will write another on to some of you before long if I get time. Well, Charley sends his best respects to you all. Well, no more this time. You must write often as you can. Well, no more this time. So I will close these few lines by bidding you goodbye. This from Farner E. Shaw
Direct the same.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER FOUR
Headquarters Company F, 4th Regiment
Minnesota Volunteer Infantry
Camp near Bridgeport
December 6th 1863
Dear Cousin Mary Jane Waldruff,
I now take the present opportunity to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and hope that these few lines will find you all the same. I received your kind letter the other day and was glad to hear from you and to hear that you was all well but sorry to hear that grandmother [Sarah S. Sunderman] had such a sore mouth. I should of wrote to you before but I will tell the reason.
We have been a marching for the last two month. We marches from Corinth to Chattanooga and there we got in another little fight. We had hard work to get at them but when we didm we made them get up and skedaddle. They said that when they found that we was the Vicksburg Veterans, that they wouldn’t stand and get killed and taken prisoners. And after we had drove them out, we followed them 15 miles and then went back and we had so many prisoners that we had to without anything to eat. We stayed there 4 days and then we started to come here and all I had for breakfast was a little corn meal. And we marched 23 miles and then had nothing to eat and then we got a little in the morning and started and got here. And I tell you, if there ever was a hungry division, it was this one — hungry and worn out. And we think we will have to go to Memphis and go in our old army corps and then go down to Mobile.
Our division has done more marching than any other in the service, I tell you. If I ever get out of this, I won’t get in again till all the damned copperheads get cleaned out of the North. It is a good thing if they all get drafted and shot.
Well, I can’t write any more this time. You must write as soon as you get this. If you see any friends of mine, tell them that I send my best respects. That is, if I have got any. Well, no more this time. Write often and send my best respects to Grandmother. No more.
This from your cousin, — Farner E. Shaw
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER FIVE
Camp near Montreal [?], Alabama
January the 19, 1864
Dear Cousin Mary Jane Waldruff,
I now set myself down to write you a few lines to inform you that I am well at the present time and hope that these few lines will find you the same. I received your kind letter a few days ago and was very glad to hear from you and to hear that you was all well but sorry to hear that Grandmother’s mouth was so sore. I hope that it will soon get well again. I haven’t heard from home for a long time, nor from Hip nor from Charley. I haven’t heard from Charles [Stewart of Co. H] since he left the regiment at Vicksburg. I should like to hear from him.
I hear that you have a very cold winter up there this winter. the weather down here is quite pleasant. We had a little snow here last night but it all melted off today. We have tolerable easy times here now. Very near all of the regiment has reenlisted in the veteran’s service and I think that I shall try it. I have been very healthy and I think that if I live, it will be a good for me and also for my father and mother and every soldier counts one. I think that the old soldiers enlisting will discourage the rebels very bad, don’t you think so? They will think that we are bound to stick to them and wipe them out.
You said that you wished me a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I didn’t have a very happy Christmas. I will tell you how happy it was. I was out in the rain without anything to eat. I don’t no whether you would call that happy or not. I didn’t. And New Year I had a common dinner for some folks. Stuffed turkey was the worst and I had sixty cents for that.
Well, I don’t know as I can right anymore this time. I send my best respects to enquiring friends. When you write to Henry again, tell him that I send my best respects and tell Grandmother that I wish her well and happy. Well, no more this time. This from your cousin, — Farner E. Shaw
Now goodbye to all, old friend. Write often.
Dear cousin Jemima Waldruff,
I will write you a few lines to let you know that I am well at the present time and hope that these few lines will find you the same. I received your kind letter the other day and I tell you, I was glad to hear from you and to hear that all was well. I begin to think that you and Jane is all the cousins that I have that thinks enough of me to write. I haven’t had a letter from anybody in Cottage Grove since I enlisted. Tell William that I would like to have him write to me once in awhile and all of the rest. I like to hear from you all.
I would write a great deal more than I do of I had the chance but I have no chance and I am such a poor writer that I am ashamed to write. I don’t know as you can read this but I will answer every letter that I get as soon as I can.
Well, I must stop for this time. Write often as you can and tell all the rest to do the same. Well, no more this time. This from your affectionate cousin, — Farner E. Shaw
To you all, goodbye. Write often.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER SIX
This letter was probably written by Mary Jane Waldruff of Leeds, Columbia County, Wisconsin to the brother of Charles Stewart of Co. H, 4th Minnesota. Charles was a native of Ohio who lived in South Bend, Watonwan, Minnesota, at the time of his enlistment in November 1861.
February 1, 1864
Once more I take the opportunity to write you a few lines to inform you that we are all well at the present time and hope that these few lines will reach you and find you still in the land of the living and enjoying all the blessings and comforts of life. The last we heard from you was the 22 of November — a long time ago indeed. We got a letter from Farner Shaw a few days ago. He was well and wrote that he had not heard from your brother Charles [Stewart of Co. H] since he left the regiment at Vicksburg about the 1st of October. He started to come north on a furlough and that was the last that he heard of him. We haven’t heard of him nor seen him in these parts as yet.
We also had a letter from Philip Hoffman a day or two ago. He was at Decrows [ [ in Texas. They was 40 miles from timber with nothing to eat but salt pork for the last 4 days when he wrote. Two of their men froze to death and he said that they would all perish if they didn’t get relieved soon.
[the remainder appears to be a poem]
Fellow Soldiers of the Cumberland, royal brave and true. Who have your Northern firesides Southern traitors to subdue. Let’s end home for a Copperhead, a regular blatant cuss — And the beauties of a soldiers like make him share with us. We’ll put him in a pup tent with the cold ground for his bed — With no rubber blanket underneath, no “government” over head. Let him shiver there till morning, sleepless and in pain. And each succeeding night should he the same thing do again. At breakfast time no dainty dish his appetite would tempt — For from such little luxuries most soldiers are exempt. Sow belly should he breakfast on, rusty poor and black, Accompanied by coffee weak and miserable, hard tack. Then preparation quickly made, get everything in trim — March him off on picket and may a Secesh “Pick at” him. May every bush a rebel seem, strange sounds salute his ears. And all he sees and all he hears but serve to wake his fears. Let him slosh round shoeless in the mud into the puddles fall. And always late to dinner be also at bugle call. While shivering round the camp fire may he burn his clothes. May the smoke blow always in his eyes and curl stinging up his nose. May he six months without money be, and no trusting sutler about. And should he get his canteen filled, may it somehow all leak out. May he never have a postage stamp and for his aching jaw of tobacco not quite half enough for even half a chaw. Forced marches may he have to make in rain & snow & mud, the driving rain his clothing soak the chill wind freeze his blood and that the duties of a march he might the better see rheumatic twingles all day have and the chronic diarrhea. From Nashville to Huntsville the coming summer days, let him hoof it on the duty pike beneath the suns hot rays — And I guess he’ll think a soldier’s lije is anything but tame. Infested may his clothing be with all the little fry — that the soil of Alabama can so abundantly supply. Have all his dirty shirts to was in water scant & black — shiftless & lazy, weeks to go, on clear rags for his back. And when the conflict rages fierce, keep him always in the front. Let him feel beside exposure the battle’s fiercest blunt. Let minies whistle round his head, shrieking shell burst near. Let him keenly feel the agonies which alone the guilty fear. And finally in the hospital minus a leg or so — somewhat emaciated & most dreadfully low. Well Coz, what’s left of “Copperhead” upon a dusty bunk to regain his wasted energies on weak tea and tough “junk.” To the call of Uncle Abraham we cheerfully all flew — severed the ties which bound hearts, bade cherished ones adieu. And we will not brook the insults which are heaped upon our heads by the traitorous Northern cowards, the shiny “Copperheads.”
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER SEVEN
Camp at Kingston, Georgia
July the 6th, 1864
Dear Cousin Jemima [Waldruff],
It is with great pleasure that I sit down to write you a few lines to let you know that I received your kind and welcome letter and was very glad to hear that you and the rest of your folks was all well. I am well at the present time and hope that those few lines will find you all the same.
We are a guarding the railroad. We left Huntsville [Alabama] June the 22. We thought that we was a going to the front but I don’t think that we are needed there. I never saw as many wounded men at one place as I have saw here and I heard last night that Atlanta was taken although I don’t believe it. But I hope that it is [true]. We are about thirty miles from there.
They had a hard fight there the 2nd and took between 5 and 6 thousand [prisoners] and they will be in here tonight at 5 o’clock. You said that Henry P. Bowers was in the 6th Wisconsin Battery. They are in our brigade. They are about one mile from here and I will go over there tomorrow and see if I can find him. They have been in our brigade for over a year.
You said that you had very dry weather up there. We have got very hot weather here now and I think that we are all a going to have hard times for the next year for I don’t think that there will be much raised to feed the army with although I hope that the war won’t last that long for I think that it has been a going about long enough to come to a close and the sooner the better for both sides. The folks are awful hard up down here. There is nobody left but the women to work for themselves and they pick blackberries and fetch them [ ] miles to get something to eat and their damned yellow-backed husbands are in the rebel army.
I heard that Charles Stewart was married although I don’t no whether it is so or not. He is at Saint Paul, Minnesota. Well, I must close these few lines for this time. Write often. I send my best respects to all. This from your unworthy cousin, — Farner E. Shaw
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER EIGHT
Camp at Altoona, Georgia
July the 29, 1864
Dear Cousin Jemima [Waldruff],
It is with great pleasure that I sit down to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well at the present time and hope that these few lines will find you all the same and to let you know that I received your kind letter and I was very glad to hear from you and to hear that you was well and glad to hear that you had some rain for I think that it was needed. We have very dry weather here now and very warm and we are in one of the worst places that we ever was camped in. We can’t see anything but mountains and I tell you, it is lonesome here and if it wasn’t for the ladies, I don’t know what I would do. There is about 300 co,es in here every day a peddling blackberries and milk and butter and apples. I tell you, they are hard up. Some of them come as far as ten miles. They want to trade for something to eat. I tell you that we have great times with them. Milk is 1 dollar a gallon and butter 50 cents per pound and we sell our rations according and if this war don’t stop, there is a going to be a great many of them that will starve.
We are now within 40 miles of Atlanta. We heard this morning that it was taken but I don’t know whether it is so or not although I hope that it is. I know that they had been a fighting hard there for the last 6 days for we could hear the cannonading plain 40 miles and there has some wounded went by here and a great many prisoners.
I haven’t heard from Charles Stewart since I left Vicksburg nor none of the rest of the boys. I saw Henry P. Bowers [6th Wisconsin Battery] sometime ago. He was well at that time.
Well, I han’t got anything to write about this time. I would like to know why William don’t write to me. You must all write to me. You must all write as often as you can for I like to hear from you all and as often as I can. You and Jane is all of my cousins that think enough of me to write to me. Well, I must close these few lines for this time. This is from your affectionate cousin, — Farner E. Shaw
To you all. Goodbye. Write soon.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER NINE
Camp at Altoona, Georgia
September the 14, 1864
Dear Cousin Mary J. Waldruff,
It is with the greatest of pleasure that I sit down to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and hoping that these few lines will find you all the same. I received your kind and much welcome letter day before yesterday and I can tell you that I was very glad to hear from you and to hear that you was as well as you are and sorry to hear that you had such sore eyes for I know what they are.
We have very nice weather here now and plenty of duty to do. we are on picket guard every other day. The regiment has been very healthy until lately. The fever and ague is getting very bad.
I suppose that you had heard about the great victory at Atlanta. There goes one more rebel down and a great many of the snakes too. Sherman is a sending all the secesh women out of the place and sending them down south so that their men will have to keep them and that is the best thing that has been done yet. I hope that they will commence and drive everything in the shape of a human person right along as fast as we go and make the South provide for them and that had ought of been done a long time ago for they ain’t fit to live among white people. I hain’t saw only one good-looking gal in the South and that was at Whitesburg, Alabama, and she liked me and I thought considerable of her. I would like to have you see some of those women down here. There ain’t one out of a hundred that don’t chaw tobacco. They have a plug of tobacco in one side of their mouth and a pipe in the other. Well no more of that.
I hope that the war will soon be over and then I can come up there and tell you all about it. Well, dear cousin, you must write as often as you can. I can give you the prize of writing the most letters to me of anyone that has written to me. Well, I must close these few lines for this time. I send my best respects to all friends. write soon. This from your affectionate cousin, — Farner E. Shaw
Goodbye to all. Write soon.
TRANSCRIPTION LEETER TEN
Camp at Goldsboro, North Carolina
March the 28, 1865
Dear Cousin Jemima [Waldruff],
It is with the greatest pleasure that I sit down to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and in good spirits and that I received your kind and much welcome letter last night about 10 o’clock and I was very glad to hear from you and to hear that you was all well. I hain’t got straightened around yet. I can tell you that we have had a hard time this winter coming through the little confederacy. We couldn’t get no mail nor nothing to eat — only what we got out of the country. I tell you that there is lots of poor women and children that will starve to death. Some of the soldiers got so hard-hearted that they took the last thing away from the women. I tell you, it is hard to see some of them with little children and not a mouthful of anything to eat and nowhere to get any. What is such people a going to do? And there is lots of such South yet for the soldiers had a grudge against South Carolina and they took revenge well.
What do you think about the war? I will tell you what I think. I think that the war will be at an end inside of four months. The fearful noise of the western arms — the heroes that has cleaned the rebels out of the West — and we have marched 8 hundred miles and are ready to march eight hundred more.
Well, I have something else to find out. Jemima, you said that there was a girl there that had written me a letter. I never got it if she did and I don’t know as I ever saw her and you gave me some directions to write to her and I am afraid that you are trying to fool me a little — although if she has wrote to me, I haven’t got it and you can tell her that I am much obliged to her [and] that she must excuse me and write another and I will receive and answer it with the greatest pleasure in the world for I like to get letters from most anyone and make that we will make a bargain when I get out of the war for I am a coming around there to see you all if you are willing and then I may call and see her — although she is mistaken about that likeness being a good-looking fellow. I tell you, it makes me feel big to have a good-looking lady speak so enticing as that and if that is her sincere belief, you tell her I am bound to see her.
Well, dear cousin, I must close these few foolish lines. You must write as soon as you get this. This is from a true and sincere cousin and friend — now, henceforth, and forever. — Farner E. Shaw
To cousin Jemima Waldruff. Goodbye. You must excuse all mistakes and bad writing for I have have to take it on a log and the wind blows so that it almost rolls the log over. Write soon without fail. Goodbye.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER ELEVEN
Camp at Raleigh, North Carolina
April the 28, 1865
Dear Cousin Jemima [Waldruff],
Your kind and much welcome letter came to hand last night and you may be sure that I was glad to hear from you and to hear that you was all well. I received the two letters from you last night. One was written April the 7th and the other was written the 11 and I hadn’t heard from you in a long time before and you said that you hadn’t heard from me. You must remember that we have been on a long campaign and so we couldn’t receive mail or send mail. Dear cousins, you must not think that I forget to write to you for I write as often as I can and you must do the same. I haven’t heard from home for very near two months.
You said you didn’t know whether that letter would reach me or not. I tell you, dear cousin, it came very near not to reach me. I have tried a prisoner’s life. I will tell you a little about it. On the 15th day of this month, I and 2 more good men went out in the country to get some horses for our company and we got most too bold and went out too far. And as we was in a little town and one of my noble comrades was fixing his saddle, there was 18 of General Wheeler’s Cavalry came around the other corner and we did not see them until they got right up to us and they commenced shooting at us and one of my partners run and he got away and they shot the other fellow in the leg and I started to get away and 8 of the cowardly dogs took after me a firing as hard as they could. But as good luck and the will of God, they did not hit me, and if you ever saw a horserace, that beat them all. I was bound to get away or die. They run me one mile and a half and then my luck turned. They shot my horse 3 times and he commenced to reel and they — 8 men — come all around me and told me to surrender or they would kill me. And then they went at me and took everything away from me and took me along with them and kept me one day and one night and then paroled me. Although I shan’t stop doing my duty, I won’t [ ].
Well, I can’t tell you anymore about it this time for the wind blows so that I can’t write. You must excuse this short and poor written letter and I will write again soon. Tell dear old Grandmother that [I] haven’t forgotten her yet and that I will write to her in a few days if we don’t leave here. I think that we will be a starting for home before a great while. Well, I must bring this poor letter to a close. You must [write[ as soon as you get this. Direct to Farner E. Shaw, Co. F, 4th Regt. Minn. Vet. volunteers, Raleigh, North Carolina.
This from your true and ever cousin, — Farner E. Shaw
To Jemima and all enquiring friends. Goodbye but not forever.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER TWELVE
Camp at Washington, District of Columbia
May the 25th 1865
Dear Cousin Jane [Waldruff],
It is [with] the greatest pleasure that I spend a few moments in writing a few lines to you to let you know that I am well and in good spirits and hoping that these few lines may find you all the same. I received your kind and much welcome letter that was written March the 20th and I was very glad to hear from you and to hear that you was well for I had not heard from you for a long time. Dear cousin Jane, I tell you that there is a difference in this country and the country which I have been in. I tell you, it seems like home and yet I am a long ways from home yet although I think that I shall soon get home. I think that we will get home by the first of July. I don’t know whether we will get discharged or not. Some says that the vets are not not a going to be discharged. They think that we will be sent to our state and then furloughed for sixty days on half pay but I don’t think so — at least I hope not.
We had a Grand Review yesterday. We marched through the great City of Washington and we marched past the big White House. I tell you, Jane, it is a nice house. It is all built of marble stone and every door and window and corner was fixed off with black crepe mourning for our noble president, Abraham Lincoln, which has carried the war through to the end and then was taken away to not enjoy the glory that he should have done although I hope that he has gone where there is no trouble.
Well, we have to go to work and fix up our camp and so I will close these few lines hoping that they will find you all well and enjoying life at the highest degree and I would like to have you write to me as soon as you get these few lines from me. I don’t [know] whether you can read it or not. Well, no more this time. This is from your cousin, — Farner E. Shaw
To Mary J. Waldruff. Write as soon as you get this. I send my love to all. Goodbye.