This letter was written by Stacy C. Jones (1845-1927) who enlisted in Co. E, 148th Pennsylvania Infantry on 2 February 1864 and was appointed regimental clerk. He was transferred to Co. E, 53rd Pennsylvania Infantry on 1 June 1865.
Stacy was the son of John Paul Jones (1815-1896) and Margaret C. Craft (1818-1896) of Upper Merion, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania. It appears that Stacy was born in Maryland in 1846. In the 1860 US Census, Stacy was enumerated in Brookville, Jefferson county, Pennsylvania, where he was employed as a printer apprentice. He resided with the John Beagher family. After the war, Stacy worked as a railroad agent/clerk and he married Lois M. Sampson (1853-1871) in 1869.
Camp of 148th Pa. Vols.
Near Berksville [Burkeville], Virginia
April 19, 1865
Dear Friend C.,
I was studying yesterday whether I had received a letter since writing to you or not, but I can’t remember anything about it. It makes no difference though. Although the campaign has virtually closed, yet I’ve not had much chance to write sooner. I have written but two letters since the campaign opened, and they were both to Mother — or rather home. This is the fifth day in camp since Lee’s armitulations and would have been fixed up in a good camp but yesterday we had to move camp about two miles southwest of Burkeville Junction.
This being the day appointed for the funeral of the late President, it was ordered that nothing should be done, and does not seem like Sunday. Wasn’t the assassination of President Lincoln a terrible thing? There is no punishment too severe for the assassins or their backers. One of the drafted men in the regiment who is noted for being smart, when he heard of Lincoln’s death, said “Now there’ll be no more draft.” There is great surmising among the men now at to what comes next on the programme — that is, after Sherman serves [Joseph E.] Johns[t]on like we served Lee. It is a standing report that he, Johns[t]on, has surrendered but I feel confident that is not the case. My opinion is that Johns[t]on’s Army is destined to go the road of all the other Rebels, but how soon in very uncertain.
I could tell a good deal about the chase after and capture of Lee, but will leave that for some future time. The country is full if disbanded rebels returning to their homes. Last Sunday I talked to some boys from Baltimore who had been serving that delusion called C. S. for four years as artillerymen. They were decidedly the decentest Rebels I’ve seen, but still I detest them. It seems too bad that they can go back to their friends again after serving Jeff Davis. Their punishment is to come tho’.
We are in the very back part of “Old Virginia.” Our camp is between the South-side and Danville Railroads, west of the South-side Railroad, almost in sight of both roads. Our men are using the South Side road between here and Petersburg, but before doing so had to narrow the road four inches. There is plenty of rolling stock on the road but the Rebs run to the west end of the road and burned some bridges so that left this end of the road to shift for itself. Twelve miles from here — west — is the High Bridge which is rightly named. It has twenty-two columns made of brick each 70 feet high and a very high bridge on top of them. We drove the Rebs from it but not before they had fired it. The fire we extinguished, however, with the loss of [only] three spans.
The late campaign was not long, but very severe — that is, the marching was severe. The loss in men was small compared with the other campaigns. My regiment loss will not exceed fifty and my company lost more than all the other companies in killed, having four men killed dead on the field and five wounded, and the average for duty during the campaign was fifteen. On the 7th April, the Rebs severest trial, we pressed them so hard that for miles the roads were lines with burning wagons, cannon, caissons, baggage, medical stores, dead horses, and stragglers. We would [have] caught Lee’s army on that day if night had not come on so soon, I think.
I wish the army could be disbanded now. I am more than anxious to get home.
That Lieut. [Samuel] Everhart ¹ I mentioned in one of my former letters was killed with a ball in his forehead on the 29th March. I felt very sorry for him. He was a brave man.
I received a letter from Evans the other day. He seems to be doing very well and mentioned something about me coming there if I get out of the army. It don’t take though. I never want to go to Western Pennsylvania to make my home. Although I did not fare so well while in Chester county, yet I have quite a notion for it.
Today is very warm. It is only 10 a.m. and I am very lazy already. What will be the consequence again 4 p. m. You must excuse the color of this sheet. It was very dirty when I commenced. We have drawn no paper for the 1st Quarter of ’65 and it is scarce. The summer of 1864 I carried a portfolio and plenty of paper, but I have become so old a soldier that I hardly carry grub enough. The longer a man is in the service, the less he will carry. Carrying a knapsack, weighing from ten to twenty pounds on a hot day is no small matter. Eatables are scarce just now. Pork, Coffee, Sugar, and hard-tack — beef and pork alternately — constitute our diet. When marching that is just the rations a soldier requires but in camp, something not so strong is best.
Enclosed find ten dollars for credit on account. As you are a pretty honest, I shall not require a receipt. Such money is plenty. Truly your friend, — Stacy C. Jones
C. J. A.
¹ Samuel Everhart enlisted in Co. G, 148th Pennsylvania Infantry on 4 August 1862. He was mustered in as a corporal but promoted to sergeant in January 1863. In October 1864, he was transferred to Co. C and made 1st Lieutenant. He was wounded at Po river on 12 May 1864 but recovered only to be killed on 29 March 1865. He was from Boalsburg, Pennsylvania.