March 28, 1863
I will now answer your letter of the 22nd. Today I am off duty having been on guard yesterday and last night. There is nothing of interest to write about this time. I told you all of the news in my last.
The weather is rainy and warm. Last night it rained most all night and was dark as pitch after the moon went down—the darkest night that I have been in the service. The guards were stationed out a piece from the camp more for the purpose of giving alarm than anything else, there being only 5 of them on a relief and one of them was stationed at the forage pile. It was rather scaly business creeping around amongst the briars and it raining all the time to relieve the guard. But everything came out right in the morn.
I did not write to you because it was your turn and I was waiting for an answer to the one I wrote you and another thing, we were moving and busy most of the time. I am well as usual and have been. I have not received but three—I was going to say two letters but I am mistaken—and I have written three to you. I mean to go home sometime between this and fall if I can.
I see that I am a poor hand at describing anything. I shall now tell you how large the fort ¹ is. It is about ten rods [55 yards] wide at the widest place and thirty rods [165 yards] long. The negroes are at work on it still; so are the soldiers. They will finish it in a day or two more. Yesterday a man came up to look at the fort and Capt. [William H.] Garrett ² ordered him arrested and sent him to the Colonel to prove his loyalty but he failing to prove the same, was sent to town to the Provost Marshal. Pretty soon another one came loitering around when the captain ordered him to take a spade and go to work, saying at the same time that sending men to the Provost Marshal had “played out.”
I think that the war prospects are brighter every day. I must write some to Minerva.
Your brother, — Lyman
March 28th 1863
Dear Sister Minerva,
This paper is awful dirty but you know paper that is carried in a knapsack cannot be kept as clean as paper kept in a bureau drawer at home. Merve, I believe you are getting to be like Aunt Sarah—warring and stewing all of the time. Why in the world can’t you settle down and take comfort. You are a great deal better off than a good many others. Your brothers are not in any more danger than they were at home as I can see. If you keep stewing all of the time, you know it makes your husband and yourself also miserable. If one will only [look] at things in the best light possible and make up their minds to take things just as they come, they will be happy and live comfortable. It don’t look right for me to lecture you but I don’t want you to trouble yourself about me for it will not help me any.
I am afraid [your husband] Al[bert] will be troubled with his side and I think he ought to seek medical advice before it is too late.
I have been in the service almost 8 months but it does not seem so long to me. Time passes away very fast with us and even three years will soon come to an end. I hope and trust that the war will be closed before that time. Things look brighter every day. We are bound to whip and scatter the rebel hordes and as soon as that is done, all will be well. We are not going to give up to a dynasty that had its origin in slavery is fastened in iniquity.
Write as often as you can. You will have plenty of time in these long summer days. They are making the niggers work for Uncle Sam and they seem to like it very well. Last night a boat load of hay came in and the Provost Guards were sent out to hunt up nigs to unload it. Things have to get when “Uncle Sam” sets go. The nigs that are at work on the fort are a happy set—talking and laughing.
Write again soon to your brother, — Lyman
¹ We learn from this letter that Fort Boone was constructed in March 1863 by members of the 103rd OVI as well as by local slave labor.
² William H. Garrett (1826-1868) was the captain of Co. K, 103rd OVI. He remained with the regiment until 23 February 1864 when he resigned his commission and was discharged on a certificate of disability. Garrett was a shoemaker by occupation.