Difficult Times But He Will Continue
In Bivouac 4 miles from Ripley,
Dear Sister Mat. [Martha Jane Banks]
Heres a piece of paper I have carried in my pocket several days thinking to write a line or two whenever I could.
I wrote day before yesterday and mailed my letter at Ripley a beautiful place, the county seat of Tippah.
Col. Holland has just sent for me I found him with jacket, pants and shirt he had his horse shot under him at Iuka; lost all of clothing twas the same pony he thought so much of at Columbus. I have not seen Davis for several days. The last time I met him, I thought he was really handsome. He always looked so neat and clean, by the side of us poor dirty soldiers for the information of one at home I will add that he has turned out his whiskers, they are of a beautiful rich, black, and add wonderfully to his appearance.
See such a difference between an officer and a private, that I would apply most certainly for a cadetship or any other position if I was at home, so that I could attend to it would make application anyhow if twere not for troubling pa, hes getting old and I dislike to annoy him with my affairs. We have been here and still are seeing terrible times marching all day and sleeping out without shelter of any kind from the weather at night. The dew is almost like a shower of rain, never saw it so heavy as twas last night.
I dread this winter very much Many a poor fellow in our company will yield his carcass to the dust before tis over I can stand it as well as any of them I believe that twill be no childs play for any of us. Infantry have an easy time in camp, but it is fully compensated for when, after a heavy march of a hundred or two miles, the bloody conflict comes on I do not regret one particle, enlisting, if twere to do over I would volunteer again, but would not go as a private But enough of this, I will not repine at the past, but hope that before another moon shall have passed to strike a blow for my country that will tell. Although, we have so many hardships to undergo, if I am but able to render any assistance to the land of my nativity either by sending a Yankee home with a bug in his ear or merely by following General Price on another wild goose chase, then all of my tolls will be repaid Cannot write more now remember I write under very disparaging circumstances, i. e. soiled paper, nothing but my knee to write upon, and lastly with the certainty of a hard days march before me.
Adieu More anon [Robert W. Banks]
Civil War Letters of Robert W. Banks, Journal of Mississippi History; 5 (July, 1943) : 146
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