Jefferds, Robert B. – August 8, 1861

Michigan Civil War Collection Letters

Click here for this soldier’s biography:

Regiment: 3rd Michigan Infantry

Battles Mentioned: Bull Run, Virginia

Historical Figures:

Hunter’s Place, N.E. Virginia
August 8th 1861

Dear Sister and Brother,

I have long thought I would write you a few lines to let you know that I was yet in
the land of desolation and death. I would have written long before this if I had
thought any one would have cared to learn anything more about me than the mere
part that I was away from home. And as I received a letter you sent to Eliza, you
manifested some interest in me yet I thought I would not let it die out. You are the
only one who has even made any inquiry about me for the last 2 ½ years and you
but once before and as a matter of course. It could not be expected by you or any of
the friends, knowing of what stuff we are all made, that you would hear from me.
Yes if it had come to pass that I was only a curse of vexation to my friends. It was
high time that I was where any influence would not trouble anyone. And it was
under the depressing feeling of kind that I made up my mind to find peace among
the excitement of a war. The like of which for savage barbarism and brutal atrocity
on the one side never was and I hope never will be equaled. I speak from experience
of what I have seen. You have no idea of the depressed state of mind I was in when
the chance of this kind presented itself. Feeling that I was not cared for by any one
being on earth and that I was a little crippled suffering boy. Now it was under the
circumstances I came away and I know no better until I came to the time of final
leave taking. Then I found out that my wife and daughter too loved me. And that
had I known as well before. I knew them and more that I should be with them now,
although I am getting more wages than I would have gotten at home as I am Captain
of my company. I get $18.50 per month. I can support my family perhaps and pay
my debts a little sooner. Now you may tell my father and mother that they need not
be afraid of my not doing my duty to my country faithfully and to the best of my
ability. Give them my love. Now you have probably heard of our great defeat at
Bulls Run. Now that Battle was on from Thursday noon until Sunday night and
assure you that it was no very great sport although it was lively work. I came
off unscathed but many a have a man bit the dust on the last day. Now my
regiment is encamped across the Potomac from Washington and if you should
consider this of sufficient interest to you to answer. Direct to Captain R. B.
Jefferds, Co C, Third Regiment Michigan Infantry, Washington DC. It is
necessary to put all that on in order that I get it. Goodbye. We are in daily
expectation of another severe battle at the city and we shall have to fight like devils’
incarnates to save the National Capitol. Goodbye. Give my love to all who may feel
interest to inquire about.

Your Brother
R. B. Jefferds