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Captured And Feeling Melancholy In A Prison Camp

Johnson’s Island. Jan. 3rd 1863
[Should be 1864]

Dear Sister;

Had I not been told that mail facilities did not reach Jackson, I should have written long since. I send this as an experimental letter. Despite the terrible weather we have had and still have, my health is good. I was captured in Chester Gap, July 24th, 4 miles from Front Royal, by cavalry. Was very feeble at the time. Through a letter read by Lieut Erskine Watkins, I have learned that Claudia is married; though neither to whom or when, Please tell me all about it; — were you pleased &c. She was worthy (just as dear Puss was, and got) the choice of the best young men of the country. Time passes with varying step, here; now swiftly, now slowly. I am fighting off ennui — that “familiar demon of vacant minds and cold imaginations”— by studying German and teaching french. Smith — Mr. Boddie’s engineer — was captured with me. He had been wounded, at Gettysburg, in the stomach by a minie ball, which passed through his cartridge box & canteen. Is well now, and is at Point Lookout. I saw George Moore at the old capitol, in Washington, I have clothes enough to keep me from suffering during the winter. My anxiety is great to know what has become of my negroes; of whom I have not heard a word since Grant’s occupation of Jackson. Bro. Robert might have written me a line on the subject. Miss M. wrote me that Mr. Boddie suffered but little loss, whilst John Boddie has lost a good deal. Did Capt. Fontaine really take the oath? Poor dear Ma, I heard that her house was sacked. Can that be true? Give her my best love; and tell her that, though she may lose all, if I live she shall never want an arm to lean upon. My word for that. Where is Arch? If Puss is with you kiss my dear, sweet old playmate for me. We are growing old, Puss, dear; older than when we caressed the fawn Mr. Coleman gave you. I feel as if I could cry right heartily, as memory sweeps back over receding years. Many have found the peace which passed understanding, in a late revival. Every eye of faith & hope must now be fixed on the “mercy seat.” My love to Mr. B. and all the rest. Remember me to Simon, and tell him to remember me kindly to any of my servants he may see. Do write me a full, complete, newsletter. Good bye & God bless you, Sister.

Your affectionate Bro,
James B. Clark

NOTATION ON BACK:
Send confederate stamps.
Address:
Lieut. J. B. Clark
Johnson’s Island
(Near Sandusky) Ohio.
Block 5, Mess 2

James Clark Papers, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Jackson.

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