Wonderful Example of the Crazy Things that Soldiers Send Home as “Souvenirs” in their Letters – Henry F. Jackson Co. A, 121st Ohio Infantry
So no doubt you are wondering what crazy thing Henry sent home. We will go to that part of the letter right away:
Christiana, make a guess what kind of mineral this is before reading any further. It grows here in Georgia, in the ground, is called Isinglass. I thought I would send you it to remember the old state of Georgia if I should never return, but I must not think of these things. I must keep the bright side of the picture out & live in hopes of better days.
So what is Isinglass? It is a thin, transparent sheet of mica and Henry has enclosed a number of pieces of it… yes, still present with the letter. Afterall, who would throw out such a valuable souvenir?
The letter is headed, “Camp Near Chattahoochee River, Georgia. July 11th, A. D. 1864” and has some interesting content. The first paragraph concerns letters received and sent. The 121st Ohio had been going through hard fighting around Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia. He complains, “It was rather a melancholy letter that I wrote the fourth, but I could not help it for I never past as lonely & lonesome a day in all my life. I believe it seemed as though it was a week long.”
Henry had lost many of his friends, the 121st heavily hit on June 27th, 1864 at Kennesaw. Apparently Christiana, who he is writing, was his girlfriend and a friend of hers, Harriet, just received news of her brother being wounded:
- Yes, Christiana, Harriet may be thankful that Will was not wounded any worse than he was, for only think for a moment of the hundreds wounded & killed in the charge on the 27th of last month. I am truly thankful that I got off as well as I did. There was many a good soldier fell that day never to rise again in this world, but I trust their spirits will go to the God that gave it.
More good content:
- We are encamped just in front of the Rebels’ breastworks but they are gone crossed the river. They went across night before last.
- They burnt the railroad bridge across the river after they had all went across. The Rebels was very strong fortified this side of the river, but they had to skedaddle out of there.
- I can see the steeples on the house in Atlanta from our camp. As you read, there is not much news to write that I can think of. I trust that the day is not far when we will not simply with pen & paper to talk to each other, but that we will meet face to face to enjoy each other’s society.
- Christiana, make a guess what kind of mineral this is before reading any further. It grows here in Georgia, in the ground, is called Isinglass. I thought I would send you it to remember the old state of Georgia if I should never return, but I must not think of these things. I must keep the bright side of the picture out & live in hopes of better days. Ah, Christiana, my heart is too full. I can’t write anymore, so I will close. Good day. From your Faithful, Henry
- To Christiana, When the golden sun is sinking slowly down the gorgeous west, or its morning beams are drinking dew from off the roses breast, Still my thoughts are turning ever fondly turning unto thee, Whichever way I look still I ever think of thee. From: H. F. J. To: C. W.
The letter is 4 pages in nice dark ink, small size 4 x 6 inches and comes with its original envelope, minus the stamp. His friend that was wounded was probably William H. Creger, who received a wound in the left leg on June 27th and had it amputated.
This little letter when displayed with the isinglass makes for a curious presentation. Fine condition.
#L7-11-64OH – Price $225