Byrns, William – October 22, 1862

Michigan Civil War Collection Letters

Click here for this soldier’s biography:

Regiment: 1st Michigan Infantry

Battles Mentioned: Fort Sumter, South Carolina

Historical Figures: Abraham Lincoln, George B. McClellan, Joseph Hooker, William B. Franklin

Camp near Sharpsburg Md
October 22nd 1862
My darling Florence
Tis is a cold rainy night + the
storm as it falls against my canvass house mak
ing music not calculated to cheer or elevate the
feelings. I am blue. Why I should feel depressed +
sad, I cannot tell. What right have I to indulge feeling;
I know its very wrong for me to allow an[     ?     ]
cheering influences to work on my nature
but I cannot help it. I am so lovely
though surrounded with thousands. Am sure they
all camp + have my feelings or they army
would be a mass of silence personified.
We my always to keep a show of good nature at
Least + are generally as careless as is proverbial
for soldiers to be but where not we stop + allow
thought  [  ?  ] range, the chances are greatly in
favor of wrong. Has it never occurred to your mind
that the tendency of our people is to look on the
bright side in all cares? I am sure that if
there was not a strong feeling that “all is well”
there would be more active measures taken in
the east to put down this rebellion. Why are
not our troops forwarded + placed in the field?
Why are the Veteran Regiments which came out a thous-
and strong allowed + obliged to remain inactive +
for example our Brigade of seven Regts will not average

2500 men. At least it has not for the past month +
We have received but very very few recruits.
Why is it that we see daily in the newspapers the headings
“Draft in blank state post[  ?  ] until blank.” Unless vigorous
measures are taken this was will [  ?  ] it’s the
country into ruin. Why do not the Governoss of the
Northern + Eastern States who progress loyality so loudly [  ?  ]
[  ?  ] us the needed men. Only one great reason
can be given. Until state elections are over men
are needed more by [    ?    ]. Than by the country
I enlisted in this service through patriotism because
our brethren + our property had been assailed by rebel
hands. No sooner had the echoes of the attack on Sumpter
reached us. Than I offered myself to go in defense
of our country + its institutions. I think the
as that time
motives that prompted action on our part ^ have
nearly all died. I greatly fear that action on our part
has is now governed more by policy than love of
country. Not that I think our General Government is
at fault. I believe Abram Lincoln a true man
a sincere worker for right, but he is hampered
+ is not supported + assisted as a cause so
great as one stems to demand.
Pardon me darling for giving you so
much of my grumbling, but I feel just
not at all good tonight.
We are under orders. Are ready to move. Do not
know which way + care but little.

Gen Hookes command has gone up the river. Gen Franklin
is also above us + I think that Seg’t + his new
[  ?  ] will have work before many days. We can hardly
think that we are to have much of campaigning. We may
join in the great movement for there is evidently one
[     ?     ] but I do not see how they will “bring us to
Bear” from our present position. We are ready but not
over anxious. The army is a unit on Lincoln + McClellen. All of
the “Shecials” regarding the “[  ?  ] for blood” + “eagerness for the [  ?  ]” [  ?  ]
in the eyes of the writer. Still all are willing + like the
patient when convinced that tis for his own good seva-
lows the enetic without a wry face so goes the
old “Army of the Potomoc “ into battle without flinching when
led by our own Mc.
Yours of the 8th came two days ago.
Thank you for the “8 page” + shall find no fault if you
Send them very often. I freely forgive you for not writing
before but always remember your letter are all that I
have to cheer me. Friends are kind but friendship I a bauble
bought + sold. I [  ?  ] the commonly read opinion of
[  ?  ]. Do not think me misanthropic for I try always
to look on the bright side of humanity + know there are
many [  ?  ] , good, hearts. Those who are really good + my
to act my part so that should I be spared I may
be worthy their companionship. You wish me
with you? Not more, darling, than I do. Would
there even no need of our being separated. I try
to think tis all for the best but tis hard sometimes

to say all is right + for good. When will this
trouble end. I cannot see that we are nearer peace
than we were a year since. You will not let me
go if once you get me fast. Of that I am not
sure I would give up all the cares-toils of
this soldier life quickly were I to allow my feelings
to judge me but I must not. Right demands that first
our lives should be given to our country all other
considerations to be lain aside. I will come to
you. Will claim you as mine but while our great
troubles last will you not give me to the service?
Tis hard to sacrifice so much I love you better
than my own life, but to defend our country I am
willing to sacrifice all happiness for the time. Do
you not think we will be happier off married?
Are you willing to give me up again after I come
for you? I shall make all exertions in my
power + have no double as to sucess for leaving
my Regt for a short time.
I write your father tonight. I shall expect
him to write me soon.
Write me very often, just as you always do.
Remember me to your Mother always + not
forget in your prayers that your soldier
Good night. God bless you
Always your
Will Byrns

[On Envelope:]

Miss Florecne Clark
Care A.B. Clark