We continue our series with letters and stories from the
Calhoun Historical Society’s book, “Calhoun County in the Civil War.”
Fort Leavinworth, Kansas
James P. Mcdonald, esq.
Your favor of the 28th of last month is at hand and I
was truly glad to hear from you.
Since writing to you I have had a hell of a time (to use
a plain expression) been in jail, tried for mutiny and everything else
that was mean, but thank God I am on my pegs once more. I suppose you
have heard that the 6th Va mutinied and was all to be shot and that sort
of stuff. Well we was ordered to cross the plains but we did not go, was
arrested and put in prison, charged with mutiny, a court of inquiry was
held, but the charges could not be proven. We are released and in camp
but we are not all here, part of the men went but I do not know how many
there is of them. They was 400 miles from here the 18th of this month
but I am of the opinion that they are on their way back here.
I do not know whether they intend to discharge us or
not. There is some talk of making us walk to the men that went. If they
undertake to do that I do not think that they will get many to go. About
150 have deserted since we came to this state.
This is a slashing fine country. The climate is about
the same as West Va and I think that the country is healthy. The most
fault that I have against the country is the society. They don’t think
nothing of killing a man here, robberies are of daily occurrence but the
time is not far distant when this will be among the richest of states.
The soil is from 3 to 5 feet deep and of the richest
quality. There is plenty of limestone here but not much coal. I have
seen plenty of Indians but they are civilized.
You ought to come out and see the country. The trip will
pay I know you cannot help liking the country. For my part I never
expect to live in Va. Money is plenty, wages is high, a common hand can
get $45 a month, a good mechanic can make from 75 to $100 per month.
Well when you get this you must answer it immediately
and give me the news.
This leaves me in good health and spirits, hoping it may
find you all enjoying the same. Give my respects to my enquiring
friends. No more but remain very Respectfully yours.
/s/ J. (Jacob) Morgan
letter in possession of Judy Morris, Calhoun County, West Virginia.)