This letter was written by George W. Johnson of Co. K, 32nd Illinois Infantry. According to the company roster, George was from New Liberty, Pope county, Illinois. He joined the regiment early in 1862. We know that he survived the war as he applied for a pension in May 1879. He wrote the letter to his sister whom he does not name and since there is no accompanying envelope, nor additional clues in the letter, I have not been able to learn more about him.
August the 6th 1863
I once more avail myself of the present [opportunity] to drop you a few lines announcing my good health and desire these few lines may find you and the friends blessed with the best of health and in good heart and do it more quietly resting in the arms of King Emanuel. There the Christians hopes are stayed.
Sister, it has been some time since I have written to you and still longer since I have received any from you. Notwithstanding, I feel desirous to hear from you and to know how you are making your way through this world and what the general news is.
I saw William about the 15th of July. We were near Jackson [Mississippi]. I have not heard from him since. I am anxious to hear from him, I have written [him] and received no answer yet. I presume it is not necessary for me to say anything in regards to our trip to Jackson and back, supposing that you know all the matters of interest, although it was the hardest trip we ever had and suffered more from heat, want of water and provision, than we ever did. We are now under marching orders to Natchez. I suppose we will go in a few dats.
The health of the army is very hard this time but it is improving some. This day is a day set apart by the President for fasting and prayer to that God that rules both heaven and earth and all that are in them to whom we should feel to thank for all the blessings we receive — both temporal and spiritual — and for our many victories that we have gained of late for I feel assured that the termination of this rebellion is all under His control and that He will rule feeble men in the army as well as at our homes as one. I feel that the all seeing eye of Jehovah is over me here as well as when I was at home.
And blessed with all the sweets of a companions love and knowing the perils and dangers that surround me and believing that God is the only sure refuge that can save us from everlasting ruin and the only hope and comfort the Christian can have. Therefore, I put my trust in God and in Him confide and pray that through His blessings, that I may be permitted to return to my family again and not only myself but all those that are caused to be separated, that they may meet again. And if not on this earth the He will prepare them to meet where parting is no more.
Sister, be strong in the faith of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Let us depend on Him and He will do better by and for us than we can for ourselves. Therefore, be strong and cheer up and all will be well. Let me hear from you as often as you can. I will try to do the same. A word from a Christian friend does me a great deal of good. It helps to fill the aching void with the love of God and prepare the sole for future bliss.
Well, I must now close hoping you will excuse these short lines and my misgivings, and I commend you to God and the lamb and remain yours truly until death.
— G. W. Johnson
Direct to G. W. Johnson, Co. K, 32nd Regt. Ills. Vol. Infantry
Late at Vicksburgh