This letter was written by Pvt. William C. Evans (1832-1903) of Co. F, 82nd Pennsylvania Volunteers. William was drafted and mustered into the regiment in late August 1863. The “Descriptive List of Drafted Men called” from Pine Creek District, Jefferson county, Pennsylvania, indicates that William C. Evans was 31 years old, had blue eyes, brown hair, a light complexion, and stood 5′ 7″ tall. He was transferred from Co. F to Co. A on 4 September 1864. The letter is dated “Wednesday 25/63” and the only month on which the 25th falls on a Wednesday between September and December 1863 is November.
William was the son of Jared B. Evans (1808-1891) and Jane McCreight (1811-1870). Jared Evans opened the first store in Brookville in 1830 and was appointed the postmaster. In 1850, he was appointed associate judge to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Judge Jenks and was subsequently elected. He built a large brick block on No. 65 on Main Street in Brookville which was destroyed by fire in 1874.
William C. Evans was married on 10 July 1851 at Brookville, Jefferson county, Pennsylvania, to Sarah G. Johnston (1822-1910). They had two sons at the time this letter was written — Charles (b. 1859) and John (b. 1861). After the war, William worked as a tanner in Jefferson county, Pennsylvania.
Camp near Brandy Station [Virginia
Wednesday, [November] 25, 1863
Dear Wife & Children,
Thank God I am still well as usual. I have now a few spare moments so I thought I would write a few lines to let you know how I was. I am still contented. I have not forgotten my wife & children at home nor I cannot. I have nothing new to write about. It has rained & we had marching orders but when it rains, we cannot move on account of the mud. It gets awfully muddy down in this country. They cannot move the artillery at all so they will have to lay still till it dries up. We have to go about a mile for wood to cook our coffee till Frend Butter [?]. That it is a very different country & soil from ours & when there is hundreds of wagons & thousands of men & horses traveling over the roads, they become impassable entirely. It is far different from what I thought it was. I feel this morning that the good Lord is with me & I feel His presence & support, thanks be to His Holy name. I want you to be of good cheer & pray to Jesus for my safe return home to you all.
From all accounts, I think that this rebellion is fast coming to an end, thanks be to God. I shall not be sorry how soon but greatly pleased. God grant that it may end speedily is my prayer. He can command & work & no one can hinder, thank God.
Please find out if Harry Matson ¹ got fifty dollars that I sent to him by Express & let me know & let me know about the watch & if he has got my policy fixed all right or not. Let me know all the news & how you are getting along & if Father sends you anything from home or not & if you got two one-dollar bills I sent to you in two different letters & what kind of potatoes you have got & how you like the [hired] girl you have or if you have one or not. And how you are getting along keeping the cow & how much milk she gives & if the well is still dry or not.
I will now close by telling you all that I am still cheerful & well as usual. I want you to be sure & have the children to pray night & morning & talk to them about Jesus, our Lord & Savior, & that He made all things — the sun, moon, & stars & clouds, earth, & every living thing.
Now God bless you all & all the friends. From your husband, — Wm. C. Evans
¹ Harrison (“Harry”) A. Matson (1822-1895) was a merchant in Brookville, Jefferson county, Pennsylvania — the son of Irish immigrants.