May 11 - 1864
Dear Emma -
I received your letter by Shepp a few days ago. Was very glad to hear that you were all well. The letter you sent by Joe, I have never received. This leaves me well or in tolerable health. I have been absent from the command for the last few days with the train. The command is ordered this morning to Marksville. We have been expecting a fight for several days. We are below the enemy. We have taken several guns, boats and transports since we have been down here. I will try and send two rings, one for the baby, if the other won't fit you or Helen, you can give it to Pats. I have some envelopes and paper I will send the first opportunity. I would like the best in the world to see you all, but there is no chance at present.
I suppose you have heard of the death of Doc. Elliott. He died above Natchitoches. The last time I saw him I loaned him 15 dollars. I thought he would die when I saw him. Nat Sledge was wounded at Pleasant Hill and died. I did not know it until a few days ago. I did not get to see him. Uncle ____________ and his two daughters came to see him, but he was dead. I was there at the same time, but did not see any of them. Gessie Gunn told me all about it. He also told me that Aunt ???ly's husband was in another division. Cutright is in Lane's regiment the same that Nat belongs to. You must write soon and often. Kiss the children and tell them something.
My respects to all
Yours as ever J. L. Moss
I have only a typed transcription of this letter. I do not know who has the original letter, nor who did the transcription.
J. L. Moss is James Lundy Moss. Emma is his wife, Emma Margaret Sale Moss.
James enlisted in Company A, 28th Louisiana Infantry (Gray's). He was mustered in at Monroe, La., May 8, 1862. James and Emma lived in Bienville Parish at this time. After the war, they removed to Linden, Texas (Cass County) where James died February 14, 1869. Emma returned to Claiborne Parish, lived with her brother S. A. Sale in Haynesville, and taught school for a number of years. She is buried in Old Town Cemetery, Haynesville, La.
This letter is written after the Battles of Mansfield and Pleasant Hill. The 28th Louisiana is in pursuit of General Nathaniel Banks' army. In just 5 days they will catch up with him at Mansura and two days later they will fight their last and bloodiest battle at Yellow Bayou.
"Helen" is Helen Carter Sale Moss, Emma's sister who is married to James' brother Gabriel.
"The baby" is Fannie Burch Moss, James' youngest child and only daughter at the time. She was born after James left for war and is under 2 at the time this letter is written. Her brother Gabe is 6 and her brother Bill is 4. James and Emma will have another son, James, and another daughter, Lula Emma, after the war.
Nat Sledge is likely James' first cousin, son of his mother's sister, Rebecca Lundy and Mims Sledge. Nathaniel Sledge died April 14, 1864 at the Battle of Pleasant Hill. The name the transcriber could not read is probably "Uncle Mims". The "two daughters" would be Nat's sisters, Susan and Virginia.
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