[New Orleans?]: January 9, 1864. pp. on a bifolium, plus docketing. Previously folded. Light toning and scattered foxing. Very good. Item #438
An interesting Civil War letter by Private William Ellsworth of the First Louisiana Union Cavalry. Ellsworth, writing to a woman named June Mason in his hometown of Brookfield, in upstate New York, reports that he has just been released from a Confederate prison and has resumed duties with his unit, and discusses the condition of the enemy as well. Though Ellsworth was a native of New York, it is likely that he was a resident of New Orleans at the time of the formation of the 1st Louisiana Cavalry there by General Benjamin Butler in August 1862. The letter reads, in part:
"We are having pretty rough times here now. We are on the advance post and we are constantly annoyed by the enemy. Their pickets are in sight of our one. We are about one hundred miles from New Orleans. I have just got back to my Regt. having bin a prisnor for t[w]o months with the Confederates. I do not think the was war will last much longer. The Confederate solgers are getting sick of fighting. They are deserting all most every day and coming into our lines and taking the oath of alegence and a great many join the Yankey army as they call us. There is a vast difference between the way their army subsists and our army. All they get is corn meal but they have to cok [sic] it them selves, they have to cloth them selves, find thare horses and get eleven dollars a month in Confederate money which is not worth but ten sense to the dollar. In thare one lines they would give ten dollars of thare money for one of our money.... How are times up in old Brookfield? How did the draft rate? I have the list of the men drafted in Brookfield. Thare is some names which I was glad to see, but I suppose a good many of them paid the three hundred dollars and staid to home."