This letter was written by Frederick Wilhelm Wild (1842-1923), the son of blacksmith George Wild (1804-18xx) and Caroline _____ (1810-Aft1850), emigrants of Prussia. Fred wrote the letter to his sister Jeanettie C. [Wild] Eisenbrandt (1838-Aft1910), the wife of Henry Raphael Eisenbrandt (1834-Aft1880), a Baltimore manufacturer of brass musical instruments. After the war, Fred married Bertha M. Fehleisen (1845-1926), mentioned in the letter.
During the Civil War, Frederick served in Alexander’s Battery, Baltimore Light Artillery [he authored a book on the battery that was published in 1912]. He was captured at the 2nd Battle of Winchester and spent several weeks in Libby Prison and Belle Island before being paroled.
Addressed to Mrs. Jeanettie C. Eisenbrandt, 78 W. Baltimore St., Baltimore, Md.
Camp Baltimore Battery
October 2d 1864
Dear Sister Nett,
I cannot find a more pleasant task for this Sunday morning than to answer your ever welcome letter of 26 of last month. From the heading of this you see that we have again moved back to our old camp that we left 6 weeks ago. As usual we got our orders for marching on a Sunday and we had a rough time of it getting up these hills with our weak-kneed horses. The gun I am on (No. 1) got up very well but had to go back to help Adam’s (No. 2 Gun) out. They had rolled down the side of the road about 20 feet with horses and all but luckily the driver jumped off and none were hurt. We had to leave it and went down the next morning to pull it out.
As we expect to stay here some time, perhaps all winter, me and [Fred] Miller have went to work and built a comfortable log cabin using our little dog kennel [tent] for a roof. We have got it all done but the fireplace and chimney, and then indeed I wouldn’t want to live pleasanter. We expect to get the fireplace done in a few days and I think I will keep a fire in it no matter how warm it is just because fire in the hearth looks so cheerful.
Yesterday I got a box from home. With a good homemade giant [ ] such as we always have on Sunday morning breakfast at home, we invited Charley [Eichelberger] and Adam [Gretzinger] to breakfast this morning (but they had to bring their own coffee) and to inaugurate our new dwelling. We had fried ham (some of Millers [ ] raising), fresh eggs and wheat bread, with apple butter and [ ], and were as sociable, happy and contented as—I was going to say Kings, but that wouldn’t be giving it credit enough for they ain’t generally contented nor are they always as healthy as we are.
I feel sorry for K___ has so much trouble getting along. I hope and pray that she and the children won’t have to suffer any this winter. I could not be contented in the army if I thought those at home and dear to me were in want.
Alfred has sent me her directions and I shall write to her some next time week. I cannot do it now unless I beg the paper and I do hate to pay the sutlers 4 cents for a sheet of paper like this. I have wrote to [ ] to send me some but it seems that he sent the box before he got the letter.
I do wish that I could see my little namesake Fred walk and as it is the general opinion that we will get home to vote in the state election, I am living in hopes to have that pleasure gratified but don’t tell Bertha [Fehleisen] that we expect to get home to vote. I want to surprise her and then in case I should be disappointed, I see no use in her being disappointed also.
I would not like to be with Gen. Sheridan now unless he has things arranged better than Gen. Hunter that went down there last spring and let some of the men starve, but that was never mentioned in the papers. We saw some of his horses that foraged off the country and if you could only have seen the skeletons. They eat the hair off of each other’s tails. Over 20 out of a hundred died and about 50 more are good for nothing. But it might be that Sheridan is successful in capturing Lynchburg and open communications with Grant. Then it won’t go quite so hard with the soldiers this time. But should they fail, it will be very hard on them.
Never before did the prospects of peace seem so bright as they do now, and I hope the way may be over by the time our 3 years are up, which will be a little over 10 months from now.
I will put a note in here for Brother H[enry] so to let them know that I got the box. With a kiss for ____ and the boys and my best wishes for you and Bub, I remain ever your soldier brother, — Fred
P. S. Charley and Adam join with me in sending their best respects to you an Bub.