LETTER 71 YEARS OLD|
Contributed by Claudia Groh
From Nashua Reporter, 30 May 1934
Newspaper clipping from March 28, 2013 was transcribed by Beverly Witmer
Click here to see newspaper clipping
To D. Kepple,
North Washington, Iowa.
P. L. Kepple of this city has in his possession a letter 71 years old, written by an uncle, Joe P. Byers, a brother of the late Sam’l Byers, former Nashua resident, well known to the older residents, while a paroled prisoner in the hospital at Annapolis, Md. Mr. Byers was wounded at the battle of Fredericksburg and laid for three days on the battlefield. A soldier of the Southern army picked him up and removed him to a hospital and years later Mr. Byers and this soldier met at a reunion of the Blue and the Grey. Mr. Kepple has presented the letterer, which we are printing below, to the Nashua public library for preservation. The letter follows: Yours with respect,
U. S. General Hospital,
Annapolis, Md., March 22, 1863
Dear Friends - I have not heard from you or anything about you since October last when I received a letter from you which I answered. I was ever anxious to hear from my sisters and brothers and that anxiety has increased very much since I joined the army.
I suppose you heard through our folks at home that I was wounded and taken prisoner, at the battle of Fredericksburg. The ball entered my right arm and passed through into my shoulder and was taken out of my back when my arm was amputated. I was prisoner in Richmond sixty-eight days and was treated better than I had expected. I longed to be released and felt very happy when we were brought back to our own clime and country again. My wound was a very serious one, the arm being disjointed at the shoulder, and it is now healing up finely, to the surprise of all surgeons who have seen it. I saw many with much slighter wounds who did not recover, and though I have met with a great loss I feel thankful that my life was spared. My health is and has been very good and I find that I can do much more with one hand than I supposed. Of my writing you have a specimen before you, which will admit of great improvement and I think by perseverance I can become an average penman.
This is by no means a lovely or pleasant place and I should be very happy to get away from it, but at present see no prospect for such a happy time. The future is unknown to me. I am paroled but not exchanged and there is no telling what will be done with us.
Hoping to hear from you soon I will close. Do not fail to write immediately. Let me know about Sam (Byers) and all the rest of the brothers and sisters. Direct U. S. General Hospital, Annapolis, Md.
J. P. BYERS,
Lieut. Co. F., 121 P. V.
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