28 September 1862: “I believe it would take a hundred pound shell through the top of my tent top to make me make a quick move.”

Item description: Letter, 28 September 1862, from Union soldier Stephen Tippet Andrews to his beloved, Margaret (Maggie) Little. Stephen Tippet Andrews enlisted in the 85th New York Infantry Regiment on 26 August 1861. He helped organize Company F, and was mustered in as first sergeant of the company in the second half of 1861.

For an introduction to the correspondence between Andrews and Little, please see our post of 11 February 1862.

Item citation: In the Stephen Tippet Andrews Letters #5324, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

Newport News Va Sept 28, 1862

My Dear Maggie

I have written to you every Sunday for a long time and I must not fore go that pleasure today- but till I do not feel much like writing today – the truth is I think I am getting lazy. “You always was lazy enough” I think I hear you say Well I will not contradict you – but I am getting so I do not feel like doing anything I am not obliged to do, I feel listless, careless, Shiftless and in a devil may – care kind of mood. I believe it would take a hundred pound shell through the top of my tent top to make me make a quick move. I have been sitting for the past hour – with my pipe in my mouth – debating in my mind whether I should (write) this letter or wait untill evening; but I have finally plucked up courage and ambition enough to make a start and if I do not write a letter fit to be read; please forgive me this time and I will try to do better next time I would not have you think it is lack of interest in or indifference twords you that makes me feel so – for it is not – every day I live only tends to increase my interest in your own dear self – for it brings me one day nearer to the happy time when I hope to call you mine – all mine – but it is this idle, listless life we are at present leading. I almost wish we could be ordered into the field again. Inaction is a great bore to a soldier,

It is a beautiful afternoon just the kind for a pleasant drive or ride; but as we have no horse and buggy of course we cannot enjoy a drive

We went down to the river just after dinner to take a sail; but there was not wind enough to fill the sails of our little yacht so we had to abandon the trip – Perhaps it was that which makes me feel so “down in the mouth.” Oh by the way I must tell you of a sail we took yesterday; A party of about a dozen paid a visit to the Minnesota a large man of war which is wonders of the great ship we embarked for home; but alas! how vain were our hopes of a fine sail home the wind suddenly died away and we were at the mercy of the tide which was setting out pretty strong; and in a short time we found ourselves several miles to the lea of the Minnasota with a fair prospect of a nights lodging on the water – when the commander of the M. who had been watching our attempts to make landing kindly sent a steam tug to our assistance which soon brought us into port; to be laughed at by our friends who had been the pleasure of seeing us towed in by a government boat – declaring that we had been trying to run the blockade

but the drum has sounded for dress parade so I shall have to bring my letter to a close, I have not received any letters from you this week What is the matter Maggie? I feel lost without your dear letters Write soon and accept a good long kiss

From your own true


P.S. In directing your letters please leave off the Brigade and Division and directly mearly to Co F 85th NYV Fortress Monroe Va.   Steve

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