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Home > Civil War Sesquicentennial > John French Punishment Transcript

John French Punishment Transcript

January 28 1862
Dear Brother,

I received your letter of the 12th & 19th, and, was glad to hear from you but sorry to hear that Lois is still in a feeble state. I am well, but have no news of importance to write, the weather is still morderat, and muddy, and, about all we have to do is to eat, smoke, sleep, read the papers, tell stories, sing songs, and—but I guess I shall make out that we do considerable if I keep on, but then, it ain’t likely that we do all of those things at once oh! no of course not. Our regiment is quite healthy now with the exception of one case; thare is one case of the small pox broke out in Company E but the victim was removed out of the regiment as soon as it was discovered and every precaution has been taken to prevent it from spreading, all visiting from one regiment to an other is prohibited and as it has been nearly a week since this case was removed and no other has yet come to light it is hoped that it is stoped, but then the small pox aint a very bad disease to handle now days & the Drs say they had rather have it than to have the itch or measles. but then it would be rather a pull back if it should happen to get to spreading through the army in case we should want to "pich in" to "secession."

You wrote about Joseph Spencer’s company running away they ought to be out here to try that on and if they didn’t get enough of that fun, why! then “I’ll sell out” if a private is caught one mile from his camp without a proper pass, that is one signed by his Colonel, he is arrested and put in the guard house, and if it is his first offense and if he is a good fellow he won’t get punished much. but if he keeps at it they punish him according to his offense. Sometimes they will stand him on a barrel with a 32 pound ball suspended to his neck by a chain. rogues are punished pretty severely here I tell you, one of our boys stole some money & the Colonel made him walk over the encampment under a guard three or four days with a big card on his back which covered it all over & an other one on his breast with the following inscription on them “Jim Malony, Thief.” “by golly” I had rather be shot and would be before I stand that. But if a fellow does his duty & minds his own business he will get along well enough here, and as for that matter he will anywhare. as for my self I have never yet ben punished or even as much as reprimanded or rebuked, nor do I intend to be for disobedience or bad conduct. and although I say it myself I am quite a favorite of with my captain and he has complimented me several times on my perfection in handling the musket. he has also selected me as a drill master to instruct the recruits & those which are deficient in drilling. he also made me a present of a volum of the new united States infantry tacsi tactics, and taking this for the truth you can judge whether I am doing my duty or not. You also warned me to avoid bad habits. I will say that, although I am surrounded by all kinds of vices, I neather drink rum gamble or steal. and if a man is amind to make it so the army is the best school he can go to, but if he gives way to to many kinds of vices by which he is surrounded it will surely ruin him for any other station but that of a common soldier. but thank god I have so far kept clear of them & I have not the least fear but what I shall continue to. But I must stop give my love to all kiss little May for me tell all hands to write and write again soon yourself but I must now close as my paper is about full. I got a letter from Maria last night which I will answer soon so good bye
your brother
John S. French

I suppose the young folks are having a good time to the dancing school. I should think Jordan would make a splendid appearance on the floor. I should like to be there to one dance by golly.