1863: Cunningham Kerr to his Step-Mother

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This letter was written by Pvt. Cunningham Kerr (1839-Aft1888), a member of Co. C, 169th Pennsylvania (9-Months Drafted Militia). Cunningham was the son of Sampson Kerr (1801-1878) and Agnes Reed (1808-1842) of Raccoon, Beaver county, Pennsylvania.

Cunningham wrote the letter from Gloucester Point, Virginia, where the regiment was on duty until June, 1863. Note: Cunningham was sometimes carried on the rolls under the name “Carr.”

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Gloucester Point [Virginia]
May 16, 1863

Well Mother, I received your[s] today and was glad to hear from you and to hear that you was well. I thought I would pen a few lines to you to let you know that I am in the land of the living and I have a pretty bad cold but I am getting better, hoping these few lines will find you in good health and all the rest.

There was ten regiments of Stoneman’s Cavalry went on a scout ¹ and they have tore up all of the railroads around Richmond and burnt the cars and they have been inside of the entrenchments at Richmond and if they had another regiment, they could [have] taken the place and held it. General Hooker had a Battle at Fredericksburg and he has given them a good dressing. ² On the 6th of this month there was fifteen thousand of our troops went up past here towards Williamsburg.

There is one regiment of Stoneman’s Cavalry here with us and one in Yorktown that went and tore up the railroads. There is lots of Darkies coming in every day and now and then a white man that takes the oath of allegiance.

You must do the best you can till I get home and that will be only two months. I want you to get in all the grain you can. We girls, you must keep a stiff upper lip and Farly you must do all the farming you can being you are all the man about the house. I want you to ask Sam if he is so badly thronged that he can’t write in four months for I hain’t received but one or two letters from him since I left home and this is the first letter that I have got this month.

Write soon as you get this. So goodbye from — Cummingham Kerr

to his mother and all the rest. So goodbye.


¹ See Stoneman’s 1863 Raid.

² See Battle of Chancellorsville.

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