Private Nimrod Newton Nash, of the Minutemen of Attala, wrote to his wife, Mollie, from the vicinity of Leesburg on Aug. 25, 1861:
My Dearest One,
As [her brother] Mat has at last concluded to start for home, and it will be a good opportunity of sending a letter direct, I write you, although in great haste. I have been quite sick since I wrote you last, but am glad to inform you that I feel considerably better owing to the fact that I am comfortably quartered with an old Va. farmer in the rubarbs [sic] of this city where I receive every attention that a sick soldier requires, for which I am thankful to good luck.
[Her brother 5th Sergeant] Charles [Campbell] came out with me. He is getting well also. It is the effects of the measels that ails us both I think. We will return to camp in a few days, probably the day after tomorrow.
There is not much war news for you as it is impossible for any one to tell what is going to happen. One thing certain we are as close to the enemy as is healthy for they outnumber us two to one or more.
Our Artillery and that of the enemy fired on each other across the river yesterday, and this morning we had one man killed and one man wounded this morning. They were shot at a distance of nine hundred yards by the infernal devils with Minie Rifles, their artillery doing no damage.
There is no telling the loss on the side of the enemy of course, but [we] have been reliably informed that quite a number [have been], probably twenty or more. There was a number seen to fall by the artillery men who had command of a very prominent point on this side of the river.
Our pickets bring in some prisoners nearly every day from up about Harper’s Ferry. They are mostly union men, men who take sides with neither army.
We are treated the best in the world by the Virginians, from necessity I reckon, for they were pretty badly scarred before we came here. This is one of the wealthiest portions of the state and of course much interested in the matter. We get as much butter, chickens, eggs, and vegetables as we want at fair prices.
We will soon need our winter clothing as the nights are getting quite cool now, owing to so much [rain] that has fallen in the last few weeks. The health of the soldiers has not improved much of late.
Well darling I must close as it is now dark and Sam and Mat have to go back to camp to night. I will close by saying give my love to all enquiring friends and receive my verry best love for your big fat self. Remember me at the throne of grace and may we meet again on earth if not in heaven is the sincere wish of your ever devoted husband.
(You can make photocopies of Newt’s letters to Mollie at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in Jackson, MS.)