This letter was written by Jacob Everett Brown (1838-1920), the son of Thomas Yardley Brown (1810-1899) and Mary Ann Everett (1818-1902) of Chatsworth, Livingston County, Illinois.
Jacob served in Company M, 9th Illinois Cavalry. Jacob enlisted at Onarga, Illinois in August 1862. He was mustered out of the service on 21 April 1864 with a disability. Jacob married Elizabeth Brown (“Brownie”) Pope on January 16, 1868. Granted a disability pension in 1873, Brown worked as a banker in Chatsworth, Illinois in later life. [Two of Brown’s letters are in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield]
I believe that Jacob wrote this letter to his future wife, Elizabeth Brown Pope.
Camp of the 9th, Company M
Near Helena [Arkansas]
November 2nd 1862
My friend Brown,
Monday morn. Last Saturday evening I came up to the camp so as to be with the boys for I have been so lonesome since Lieut. went home. I found the boys all well and lively. It is much pleasanter to be with them than to be in camp with the sick. Soon after I reached the camp I received yours dated the 26th and one from Sarah. I intended to answer yours yesterday by all means but 18 of Company M was ordered out on picket & as I never had performed any duty of that kind, I went out for the sake of curiosity. We stood on the outside post which is the most dangerous. I have always heard and read that the soldiers always wanted to stand on the most dangerous posts &c but never believed it. But I find it is the case, the more danger the more anxious they are.
Brown, I don’t believe you can read this miserable written letter but please excuse for I have nothing to write on but a shingle and sit on the ground at that. Bob is sitting by [my] side sewing up rips. It has been reported in camp that Col. [Albert Gallatin] Brackett has had the offer of taking this regiment to Alton for Provost Guard during the winter but I don’t believe it. We can’t have as good luck as that.
I can’t give you any news for I have none. The boys have ate all the young pigs, chickens, turkeys, & geese in the country. I see by the papers that a battle is expected at Helena but I can’t see anything that looks like it. I guess the rebels will find it in our possession for some time to come. Helena is well fortified. Besides, we have a guard of 5,000 all the time. The way the guards are posted, they will stand a good fight by themselves.
I’ve not got time to write much more before the mail goes out. I trust you will excuse back writing blobs &c. I wrote to Will last Thursday hoping he will answer them sooner than before.
Brown, I’m very obliged for the stamps but I had much rather send you stamps than for you to send to me. We are all quite well out here. I can eat all the time.
I heard this afternoon that Henry Phelps is sick again & is going up the river probably for St. Louis or Keokuk (Iowa). Some of Company M are at St. Louis & some at Keokuk. If Henry has a relapse, I’m afraid that he will never reach home.
I hope Miss Mary B. will remain contented in Illinois.
The boys all send love &c. Give my respects to all the family &c.
Believe me your friend, — J. E. Brown