This letter was written by Joseph William Anno (1839-1912), the son of Thomas Anno (1798-1875) and Sarah Bunn (1804-1870). Joseph enlisted on 12 August 1861 in Co. E, 27th Illinois Infantry. He was later transferred into Co. E, 9th Illinois Infantry.
Joseph wrote the letter to his older brother, John F. Anno (1830-1864) who was married in 1857 to Laura Ann Bartram (1840-1911). In July 1862, John enlisted in Co. A, 85th Illinois Infantry. He was wounded at the Battle of Peach Tree Creek, Georgia, and died on 25 July 1864. He is buried in the Marietta National Cemetery.
Addressed to Mr. John Anno, Spring Lake, Mason county, Illinois
December the 21, 1861
Dear brother and sister,
I take my pen in hand to let you know how I am. I am well as rain. I received your letter this morning and was glad to hear from you. I also got one from Father and Mother. I was glad to hear from them. We had a grand review the 19th. the whole brigade was out. It was the grandest sight I ever saw. There was thirteen regiments out. We all moved at once. I wish you could have seen it. There is forty thousand here in camp here and [more] troops coming every day.
We have a good time here. We hain’t allowed to go out of camp. We are fixin’ to pay a visit to Columbus [Kentucky] to see what they are doing there. Columbus is just across the [Mississippi] river from Belmont. There are seventy thousand strong that are lying like bull snakes. But we will show them a different trick too that will make them eat fire or will do worse to that rattle snake flag.
Well, I haven’t got much to write this morning. It is sleeting like all the world. I want you to write and tell me all about how times [are] there — what corn is worth — and what wheat is. Corn at Columbus is worth seventy-five cents per bushel. Flour is from 8 to 9 dollars per barrel. They feed their prisoners on corn bread and it baked overnight and it [is] not sifted. We had one of our boys come from there yesterday — he fetched this news.
There’s nothing new. The general talk is South. I don’t hear a word hardly said about Christmas. I want you to take a Merry Christmas. Give my best regards to all enquirers and friends and especially to Father and Mother. I believe I must quit for this time. goodbye for awhile. Write as soon as you get this without fail.
— Joseph Ano
To Joseph Ano and family
This world is not my home. This world is a howling wilderness. Bright winged birds. We come and I must go.
I received the present you sent me with the great applesauce.