July 3, 1863

Camp 20th Me. near Warrenton Pa.

My dear friends at Home—

Again have I recd a kind letter from home of the date [illeg. paragraph]

We are leaving quite [illeg. word] now, but I expect that we shall move again [illeg. phrase].  It is cloudy today [illeg. passage].  … Corps lost so many horses.  The army had to stop & rest a while [illeg. phrase] up its horses if nothing more & besides the men were getting raggedy everything needed rest, sweet rest.  [illeg. passage]  on the field of battle; I do not know but what you will think it is strange there can be a glimmer of peace[?] amidst such scenes but there nevertheless is; as only after a day of conflict & excitement as we lay ourselves down on the ground, with perhaps a stone for a pillow, & when all is still, & we look up to Heaven & thank our Heavenly Father that our lives have been spared; this then that a feeling of peace steals over us … when we are in camp for a few days … a neighboring Band strikes up in strains of sweet music, first some National Air, then some lively tune, & again some soft melodious strains, ‘tis then that a feeling of peace steals over us … when the Cannon is booming, in the fierceness of battle we can look for peace, for peace can only come to our beni[gh]ted country through these, & these alone.

If you could steal up to our camp fire some night unseen, & then watch & listen a while, you would not think that a soldier’s life was so gloomy & sad;– After a time we became inured to the hardships, &  privations of a Soldiers life so that things seem like home, we look upon our camp as our home.  And we can sit in our little tent 5 feet square at the base, 4 feet from the ridge pole to the ground; & look forward to the time when we shall be free from all these things & be permitted to once more behold the faces of those that we love.  I cannot see any other way than that we shall have to serve out our whole 3 years although I think that all the fighting will be done this fall.

Did you get a letter in which I asked for a lead pencil, & 3$ in money? As you have not mentioned it in any of your letters I thought likely that you did not get the letter.

Give my respects to all enquiring friends.  Henry’s health is good as ever, he got a letter last night too, in the same mail that I got mine.

My health is good, as usual & I hope that it will continue so.  I must now close now by sending much love to all, & remaining as ever your affectionate Son & Bro. …

Elisha Coan to family [Elisha Coan Collection]


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