26 January 1863: “…for my part I want them all free and I should like that the war was over for I would like to be at home…”

Item description: This letter, dated 26 January 1863, was written by Andrew Sproul to his wife in Ohio. Sproul, a private in the Union Army, describes activities near the mouth of the Yazoo River in Mississippi. Of particular interest are Sproul’s comments on black soldiers and Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

Item citation: From folder 2 of the Andrew J. Sproul Papers, #1877, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

Mississipie January the 26th 1863 Near the mouth of Yazoo river

My Dear wife i take up my pen in hand to in form you that i am not very well but able to step round and my back is is bad to but i am thankfull to god for sparing me so far and for the health that i have and hoping, that [torn] may find you and the rest of the family all well I received your letter dated on the 3 yesterday and glad to hare that you are all well I have sent you three letters and this is the forth one since we had the battle at Vicksburg and i have told you about all that i can onely we are here about 3 days and in the last 48 hours the river has rizen fifteen feet and i think that if our men gets that chanell cut thrugh that the[y] are working at i will make it way thru and i think that the[y] will finish it our gun boats and artillery is with the boys to protect them while at work and we here them firing pretty keen for the last too days but i cant tell you what the[y] are going to do or any thing about it but one thing i do know that is that we never can close the ware by fighting for we have too much ground to get over and the[y] have lots of good solders and lots to eat and lots of darkeys to work for them and fight for them the fight as good as any white man but one thing is that the most of the boys is getting tired and the[y] are down on this Proclamision of the Presidence the boys are afraid to freeing the negro and that is the cry the[y] do [torn] want the darkies free So for my part i want them all free and i should like that the war was over for i would like to be at home and i should like that the[y] would stop for it is a hard sight to se so many strong young men cut of like alot of hogs that is fat [torn] the nife and it looks harder than you think of but if one was in the battlefield and see them fall as i did then you would say so and the woonded not cared for by one as the[y] ought to be.

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