This letter was written by Henry Benedict (1842-1864) who enlisted on 17 September 1861 as a private in Co. A, 11th Iowa Infantry. Henry did not survive the war. He suffered a severe wound in the right arm on 22 July 1864 in front of Atlanta and died three weeks later at Marietta.
By the time Henry wrote this letter, he had seen the elephant a time or two and passed through some long marches in Mississippi. He datelined his letter from Memphis but erred in giving the date as 1862. It should have been 1863—a very common mistake. The regiment moved to Memphis on January 12th, four days prior this letter, and soon afterward went to Lake Providence where they remained until the Vicksburg Campaign. During the war, the regiment lost 5 officers and 86 enlisted men who were killed in action or who died of their wounds and 2 officers and 166 enlisted men who died of disease, for a total of 259 fatalities.
This letter is from the private collection of Mike Huston and is published on Spared & Shared by express consent.
January 16, 1862 [should be 1863]
It is with pleasure that I take my pen in hand to write you a few lines informing you that I am well and hope when these few lines reaches you, they may find you enjoying the same blessing. George is well. He stands soldiering first rate. The boys have just got their pay and are having a regular spree in town. I do not know when we will leave. We are laying here in camp. There is some talk of us going to Vicksburg soon but I do not know whether we will or not. We have had a regular snowstorm here for the last 3 days. The snow is now 6 inches deep and it is as cold as Iowa. This is the second snowstorm we have had this winter and it is very disagreeable for us to live in open tents while there is so much snow.
I would have answered your letter sooner but I could not get any paper or envelopes for we left our knapsacks at Grand Junction about two months ago and we have not got them yet and I do not know whether we ever will see them again or not.
Memphis is quite a nice town. It is about twice as large as Muscatine and there is some very nice buildings in town.
Well, I cannot think of anything more to write at present so I will close. No more but I remain your affectionate brother—Henry Benedict