Camp near Vicksburgh,Miss.  June 12 1863


 Dear Bros & Sister,


   As The other Boys of our Unit have been writing all day, I thought I would sit down and drop you a few lines and only few ( for it is now sundown) to let you know where we are and what we have to do.  But in the first place would you like to know how we live out doors with out our tents – Yes well I will try to tell you the best I can.  Sometimes we lay our blankets down on the ground and sleep that way but we are learning to take the advantage of the times when we stop we brake to the canebrake and get a few loads of cane and to work we go.  To make a home we lay the floor with cane stacks roof it and weatherboard it with the same and finally we get what we call a pretty good rig good enough to keep the sun off but when it rains we have to make the best of it.  But enough of this and as it has been a long time since I have had time to write I will try to tell you some thing about our travels since we left Milliken’s Bend.  We left Milliken’s Bend the morning of the 22nd of April left our knapsacks, tent, and other camp equipage behind, marched across the country about (?) miles to fix the road for the wagon trains and artillery to pass.  We worked two days when we received orders to move on further down the river. The afternoon of the 26th the balance of the Brigade came up we dropped in their rear and marched that way four miles to a little town called Richmond where we camped for the night.  Resumed our march the 27th, 28th, & 29th.  Struck the river again the 29th passed the Rebel’s Fortifications at Grand Gulf and lay the 30th at the Boat landing below.  The next morning (the 1st) we got aboard the boats moved down the river about eight miles and landed on the Mississippi side.  By this time we could hear them fighting at Thompson’s Hill near Port Gibson, a distance of 15 miles.  Our Division was ordered forward on quick time having the 78th (Ohio) at the landing to load the Division Train with rations and guard it.  (?)  we loaded 250,000 rations and was ready to follow at noon we started and arrived on the Battlefield about ten o’clock that night.  We lay down (?)  a short nap & started the next morning in the advance to make the attack again But when we reached the Town we found They had evacuated in the night we followed them but could not overtake them until the evening of the fourth we came up to them, but a little to late, they had crossed Black River and destroyed the Bridge.  We fired a few shots at them and let them go.  We lay there two or three days, then started in the direction of Jackson Miss and on the morning of 12th we came on a force of them near Raymond (?) where we had a hard fight of about two hours with them after whipping them completely they retreated to Jackson.  We moved the next day to Clinton a distance of ten miles Camped for the night and destroyed the RailRoad.  The next day (14th) we pushed on towards Jackson where we expected a hard fight but Gen. Quimby’s Division in our advance made the attack and whipped them before we came up & took possession of the town.  We came up in sight of the town and camped for the night.  On the (?) 15th (?) we again took the back track for Vicksburgh marched that day 15 miles where we overtook 3 Divisions of Gen. McClernand’s command passed that night there and the next morning (16th) moved on again.  Not far had we gone till we could hear the rattle of musketry which gave evidence that McClernand was making the attack on the left.  We pushed forward and about ten o’clock came on the enemy at Champion’s Hill where we formed in line and moved steadily forward.  Presently we came on them in the woods where they had every advantage of us But by hard fighting of three or four hours we managed to give them a good grubbing captured two batteries and several prisoners.  Gen. McClernand followed them through the night and next day and in their attempt to cross Black River he captured 3000 prisoners and 18 pieces of artillery.  We followed them to their fortifications at Vicksburgh, lay under their fire 8 days, then took a scout of 40 miles toward Yazoo City, Destroyed the bridge across Black River, came back down the Yazoo and took our position again in the front of the fortifications But don’t have much to do.  Our men are fortifying both in front & rear, in the rear to prevent reinforcement and in front to better our position.  We have rifle pits within twenty steps of their front.  Our Regiment has skirmished with theirs in the rifle pits one day & since we were on the scout we were stationed about 250 yards from their fort in the rifle pits to watch their sharpshooter & keep them from picking off our cannoneers.  We have got so close that they dare not stick up their heads for fear of getting it knocked off.  This is I believe 24 days they have been bombarding their works and it is my opinion it will take 24 more.  Well, as my sheet is full I will quit, I could write all night and then not tell you half no more (?).  Write soon, Excuse all mistakes and bad writing, it is dark and the wind blows my candle so I can’t see.  I received your letters sent by Stevenson.  The things you sent are at Young’s Point and they will all be spoiled before we get them


 (here the last page ends, and the following is written upside down at the top of page one – there are 4 pages altogether)


 I answered Paps letter he sent by Capt. Stevenson. The money we sent home was all right Jake sent $35.00 and I sent $55.00 (?).  What made the difference was he sent his first payment and I sent none.  Write soon probably this is the last you will hear from us for some time




Seton Matsom