Everybody Read This: July 16, 1864


Everybody Read This

Headquarters, 1st U.S.Col. Troops 

Petersburg, VA.
July 4th, 1864


Christian Recorder: July 16, 1864

Mr. Editor: I wish to inform the relatives and friends of the soldiers of this regiment, that they will confer a favor upon us, by directing their letters to this regiment according to its established name; which name is, 1st regiment, U.S. Col. Troops, or they may say, 1st U.S. Col. Troops, and not as some directs them, U.S. Col. Troops, and several other directions which nobody can understand but themselves. And I will also embrace this opportunity of remarking that the friends and relations will confer another favor upon the regiment in answering all letters as speedily as possible, which are sent to them from the regiment. No one knows, in civil life, how much a soldier appreciates a letter from those whom he regards as near and dear to him. In many instances our soldiers will beg paper and ink enough to write to some dearly beloved wife, brother, sister or friend who would apparently shake their hand off at home, and after receiving their letter, they are too contemptibly lazy to answer it.

I know this from experience; for often; when I am traveling, persons will say to me, Chaplain, tell such a one, I received his two or three letters, and he must write again. They don’t know that some of the letters sent to them cost a very big price, for many of the soldiers who can’t write themselves, have to pay others to do it for them. And sometimes, it is almost impossible for a soldier either to get paper, ink, pen, or pencil. Any wife that is a wife, or friend that is a friend, or relative that is a relative, should never think it too much to write to a soldier two three or four times, before getting an answer from him. For that very soldier probably can’t get means to write with, as he may be on picket duty for 48 hours, where every moment demands the greatest vigilance to keep himself out of the way of sharp shooters, or being detected by his own men, for sleeping on post is certain death. And by the time the soldier gets back to where he might possibly write a few words, he is so exhausted, that without even eating, probably, he falls to sleep, and when he wakes, some thief, likely, has stolen his paper, ink and pen, or it has rained and destroyed his paper, and thus he can’t write after all; but I can not now enumerate half the obstacles labored under by a soldier.

But this I do say—that all persons receiving letters from soldiers, should answer them immediately, and if they care anything about the brave defenders of justice, right and equity, they should write to their husbands, brothers, and sons without being written to first. I have seen soldiers go from day to day, asking for letters, and on a continual answer in the negatives, they would look so downhearted; that I would feel sorry for them in my heart. I have seen others, after a long suspense, get a letter, and it seemed to have illuminated their very souls with joy. Let the friends of the soldier write to him, and if you know of the whereabouts of the regiment, write to him first, and then write again. And cheer him up, while lying from day to day under the ball and shell of your and his enemy, and do away with that lazy timber-headed sluggishness.

A certain friend wrote to me a few days ago, and sent me some envelopes, pens, and postage stamps. I thought highly of the favor; if the example were adopted by the soldiers’ friends generally, it would be a great blessing to both parties. I have the honor to be,

H.M. Turner,

Chaplain 1st U.S. Col. Troops