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Home > Civil War Sesquicentennial > Grafton Norris in Richmond Transcript

Grafton Norris in Richmond Transcript

Camp 11th Maine Volunteers
Richmond, Va   May 11 1865

Friend Luther

I have been promising myself that I would write you for more than a month but have never got at it. But to night we are having a find shower and it has not only rained out of doors but into my bed with has rendered it anything but comfortable and I now find myself writing you instead of attempting to sleep in wet sheets – ie (shoddy blankets)  The war is over and I am alive for which I trust I am duly thankful.  Our part of the campaign was short but sharp.  We pitched in at Petersburg and helped bread the lines we then took after enemy with a will and got in ahead of him at Appomatox Court House on th eLynchburg road and brought him to a halt upon which he concluded twas better to surrender than die.  Where is the boasted determination to fight while there is life?  The South didn’t possess it.  A man thinks more of life than he is willing to own.  Here we are at Richmond where we have been trying to get for four years and was the result nothing but the possession of the city we should be poorly paid Richmond is a beautiful town though considerable of it was burned on the evacuation   The people are rather a sober looking set at present though there are indications of their becoming more joyous after their state government is regularly at work again and we poor soldiers are no longer here with our military law which to American citizens is tyranical however temperately it may be enforced.  Probably there has not been a city in the South which we have captured that been so tenderly handled: where the inhabitants have been allowed to do so near as they would under civil law, as this same Richmond, and I hope our government will treat the whole South as easily as it can consistently with safety.  The soldiers bear the South no ill will such as home patriots of the North express.  We know the South erred but it has suffered and in the humiliation of being conquered it suffers more now than it has before. This satiates our vengeance and certainly those that remained at home should ask for nothing more.  Conciliation may be poor policy in open revolt but it is the cement which alone can unite firmly the two parts of a nation when the one is humiliated by defeat.  There appears to be considerable talk on the Mexican Question just now and I should not be surprised to see many of our boys, after being mustered out, travelling in that direction   I sometimes think I should like to see how the subjects of an Emperer would stand before an army of Republicans. There is not much prospect of our Corps being mustered out for some months yet and if such is the case we shall probably remain about here until the State government is reorganized.

The people at home appear to have forgotten me and I dont wonder much for I am a poor correspondent in reality though intentionally there is none better.  Are there any lecturers about? If so I shold like to be home so that I could hear them.  I have a slight weakness for such individuals.  Have you seen father and mother lately?  I have not heard from them for a month.  You are farming I supose and enjoying life.  I wonder if I shall take to Agriculture naturally after I get through soldiering?

Luther I want you to write me if you can find time at this to you busy season and tell me how people are generally. This climate has thrown vegetation somewhat ahead of yours in Maine.  Wheat here in many fields is headed and looks finely but for all of that New England is the place where men can enjoy life and it truly has many advantages of the South which I believe I could appreciate if people did not have to work quite so many hours in a day for taking all things into consideration I can’t make up my mind to settle any whe else so I suppose you will see men there sometime this summer and then I must stop my rambling propensity make up my mind live as others do and see if I am not a farmer. Write!  My regards to your wife and all friends.

Yours truly
Graf Norris