Burns, Robert – February 22, 1865

Michigan Civil War Collection Letters

Click here for this soldier’s biography:

Regiment: 4th Michigan Cavalry

Battles Mentioned:

Historical Figures: Robert H. Minty, William T. Sherman

Head-Quarters Second Brigade, Second Division Cavalry, Corps
Military Division of the Mississippi
North West Corner of “Alabamy” Feb 22 1865

My dear Davidson
We still remain
in the identical spot where we dropped
down on the 25th of last month. Our
huts, kennels and stables are now
all completed and we may fairly be
said to be in winter quarters though
that is somewhat of a misnomer now,
the weather being as warm and pleasant
as will you on the tenth of May. Col
Minty and I are living in a log hut 16 x 12
with a canvas roof. Our seats are made of
barrels stuffed with hay and covered with
gunny bags. Our tables of cracker boxes, fash-
ioned anew. We have a mantel piece and a
fire place. Our chimney like that of all true
Southrons is built of sticks and mud
and fastened on to the end of our shanty.
We have a wooden door with the latch string
hanging out, a floor of sawed lumber, and

a cracked looking glass. On the mantel piece are
a huttle of “sozodont” my pipe engraved with
the manes of some of the numerous battles in
which I have participated, a clothes brush, and
a bale of smoking tobacco nearly used up. Above
the mantel piece are suspended my pistol and
our swords, mine looking very differently
from what it did when I received it in De-
troit. There it was bright and shining; now it
is battered, bruised, rusty, and exceedingly hard
to draw. Col Minty is writing to his wife
and I having none writ to you, yours, + Mother
You can readily perceive by my manner
of communicating this that I have nothing new
to tell you, no hair breadth scapes, no sur-
mises as to our future. “no nothing” We
are here, what for we can not imagine whe-
ther to start for Mobile or New Orleans is be-
yond our [ ? ]. There is supposed to be no
force of rebels any where near us. On the
opposite bank of the Tennessee are a few
guerillas, who amuse themselves with shooting
at our men on the landing. We can hear the

popping of their rifles every day. It is sup-
posed that we shall start in two or three
weeks for the centre of Alabama and traverse
the state as Sherman did Georgia.
We received a mail yesterday, the first in
eight days. By it we see that the above named
General is steadily marching along, gobbling up
Branchville, Orangeburg, Florence, etc. Long may he
wave. I am sorry we could not have gone with
him, as some of us might be Brig Genls by
this time if we had. A batch of his Colonels
have been promoted, I see. I am afraid I
shall have to be content with simple “Major”
for the rest of my term of service. If I could
put a tail to the end of it in the shape of
“Genl” the ambition of all of us would be
satisfied, wouldn’t it?
Yours of 22n ult I received a few
days after I wrote you. Since then we
have been doing literally nothing. The
time however passes quite as rapidly, as
if we were more dangerously employed. Only
six months and six days more before we

will be citizens. I hope then not many more
soldiers will be needed. You can after that
time prepare my room as soon as you please
as I shall probably stop a day or two with
you. We almost expect to return to the North
by way of Mobile and New York. I hope we
may. I heard from Willy a few weeks
ago. He had not yet decided what
to do.    Give my love to
Mother + Madge. Write to me soon.
Your affecly
J. Davidson Burns Esq

Direct to Nashville

[On Envelope:]

J. Davidson Burns Esq