These two letters were written by twin brothers Jasper Roderick (1844-1863) and Perry Roderick (1844-1862), the eldest surviving sons of Daniel Roderick (1816-1901) and Nancy Shrouf (1818-1903) of Douglas county, Illinois.
The two brothers joined together in Co. B, 79th Illinois Infantry in August 1862 but neither of them survived the war. Perry died on 7 December 1862 and his brother Jasper died on 2 February 1863 — both in the hospital at Nashville, Tennessee.
The brothers probably saw combat in the Battle of Perryville in October 1862 but became ill and never went with the regiment beyond Nashville.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER ONE
Addressed to Mr. Daniel Roderick, Bourbon, Douglas county, Illinois
September 7, 1862
Dear Father and Mother,
It is with great pleasure that we take the opportunity to let you know we are well at present and well satisfied and we hope that these few lines may find you well and enjoying the same.
So we landed in Louisville & marched out about 5 miles and we had a tolerable dusty road to march. The Rebels burned a bridge last night within 12 miles of us and they had a battle there last night and our men run them but we have not learned how many lost. And we have not drawed our arms yet but will draw [them soon].
And we are in good faith yet but we do not know when we may have to leave here. This is the nicest place that I ever saw in all my life. The country [is] rolling and good water as I ever drank. The clay is close to the top of the earth.
The corn is [of] no account here — or at least I have not seen any yet. Oh yes, we are under a poplar tree just now and beech tree.
Yours truly, — Perry Roderick and Jasper Roderick
To all. Write soon. So no more at present.
More news. Our regiment is ordered away from here today but we do not know where to. So no more at present but remain yours truly, Perry Roderick [&] Jasper Roderick.
Address to 79th Reg. Illinois Vol., Camp near Louisville, Kentucky
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER TWO
Addressed to Mr. Daniel Roderick, Tuscola, Douglas county, Illinois
September 10th 1862
My dear father & mother,
It is with pleasure that I take my pen in hand to inform you that we are all well at present. My eyes is sore yet but I hope that these few lines may reach you & find you all the same.
The talk is that we will move from here today. We have not drawn our arms yet but they say that we will draw them today. It is very hot here but the water is pure and good. We are close to where they say that there was a battle fought and I suppose that it is true for the graves is here about 14 feet long and 6 across, about two or three hundred rods from us. There is a lot of dead horses & they say there is some dead men there yet.
Our fellows drew their teams yesterday. Their teams is small. They drew 4 horses to the wagon. Their wagons is larger than your wagon old wagon. Their horses — some of them — was ruined and some of them was broke. They bring out one at a time & scare them. If they run away, well and good.
We have just come in from drill. It is very warm. It would make you laugh to see the squad drill. We was out this morning.
The corn is very poor here. I saw some corn as come down here that was cut up. Our captain says that he will have us the best drilled in the regiment if he has to drill in the night. He is better drilled than the Colonel.
I will have [to] bring my letter [to] a close for I soon will have to go out on the regimental drill. We have to drill a great deal.
I would like for you to write to me as soon as these few lines come to hand. So no more at present.
[Direct in care of ] Capt. [Archibald] Van Deren, Co. B, 79th Illinois Volunteers, Louisville, Kentucky
To D. Roderick