Axtell, Julian H. – March 22, 1865

Michigan Civil War Collection Rare and Notable

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Regiment: 1st Michigan Infantry Battles Mentioned: Hatcher’s Run, Virginia Historical Figures: Abraham Lincoln Camp 1st Mich. V.V.I. Near Hatchers Run Va March 22nd 1865 Dear Nephew Yours of the 14th came to h[  ?  ] by this nights mail. I was expecting one in reply to me I mailed you on the 12th of Feb. but from your [     ?     ] I infere you never received it and your folks said a few days ago that you had not recd. a letter from me since I came back from Mich. am sorry I wrote that letter with a lead pencil while lying flat on my belly in a shelter but it was directed with a pencil and that is the reason perhaps it was lost. In it I gave an account of our battle of Feb. 6th at Hatchers Run. On the 14th of Feb. we came into this camp but expect to move at short notice some of these fine days or more likely nights I found every thing gay and lovely in Michigan. I could see some changes especially on the canal but the ground was cov- ered with snow and I could not get as good a view of the country as I would have liked but the sleighing was fine which made up amp- ly for all that. I had one of the best horses and cutters at my disposal no at my com- mand for I did not propose to dispose of it. I rushed around a good deal. I raided extensively made a descent on the school at Macomb breaking it up entirely capturing the entire garrison about 20 in number of of all arms. Mostly small arms no resistance was made as I took them completely by surprise. No terms were asked none were given the surrender was uncon- ditional. But the victor can afford to be mag- nanemous. So I paroled all the prisoners but one (the leader) and allowed them to take their side arms. I retained the leader of the gang of desperadoes as a hostage. No resistance was offered and I carried off my captive in triumph but no sooner had I withdrawn my forces from the state than things settled back into the old way I know the North could never be conquered as long as the public schools were permit- ted. My wife need, a letter from you while I was there dont know whether she has answered it or not. My health is first rate am in command of the Co just now Cap. Being home on a furlough I endorse your views on cheerful- ness. I have always made it a rule never to whine at what is set before us on this worlds table. We cant always expect to eat the white of this worlds egg I have had a goodly share of it though so far. Her haps my good resolution may fail me when I come to suffer such grief as some are called to bear. But there is one who has said “my grace is sufficient for thee” “Theus not a cloud but has a silver lining” said one and its even so, but we must mount on the wings of faith above the cloud in order to see this silver side we must mount above the pretty mists and fogs of trancient troubles as the Eagle is said to do in times of storm and tun- pest. He soars away above the war of the eliments and beholds with eye undazzled the king of day shining in all his glory so we must lean to soar away on the wings of faith. Surmounting the trials and temptations of this life and look with with the undazzled eye of faith to the king of kings. Seeking protection in the Rock that is higher than we ever the “Rock of ages.” I signed the pledge nearly a year ago. There is nothing doing here on the subject theres but little drunkeness here oweing to the scarcity of the article The Hd. Qts. of the Christian Commission for this Corps is near here they have a lent capable of seating 2 or 300. called “Quinipack Tabermicle.” where services are held every evening. There has been a great many conversions and I trust many have come to a saving knowl- edge of the Lord. I will finish tomor- row. Good night. Next morning. No doubt you have plenty to do now from what little experiance I have had a actg. Sgt. Maj. I know what you have to do.    You account of the “phe mile” Gueril- las I consider very remarkable I should like to see them. If you have seen them please give a little more detailed account of their actions and personal appearance. I suppose they always fought behind breast works or is cotton so scarce there that some of them had to take the open field? When the charged they could [    ?    ] their works night along with them. Perhaps some of them have small bodies of infantry concieled about their persons I would advise a search. I must tell old Abes. last, even if it is a little rough I guess a soldier can stand it I called “Old Abe, scope of thought.” He sat at the breakfast table one morning holding an egg between his thumb and finger he held it up and looked at I attentively for five or ten minutes when his wife said “why Abraham: what are you thinking about why dont you eat that egg.” he replied with a grave continauce Arabella did you know what a great scope of thought there is in that simple egg? She said no indeed nor do I care. Well he replies I will tell you “but day before yesterday that eggs was in a roosters belly yesterday it was in the hens belly. Today it will be in my belly and tomorrow—-he paused what of to- morrow said his wife tomorrow he continued it will be in your belly. If any one doubts that story send them to me. Or show them the papers for it. My best respects to Joseph Immeu when you see him. My compliments to Adj’t. Davis also. Yours &c J.H. Axtell