The following Prisoner of War letter was written by Pvt. Josiah Lawson Rainey (1832-1905), the son of Thomas Muttor Rainey (1799-1859) and Mary Claiborne Echols (1797-1847) of Maury county, Tennessee. Josiah was married to Nancy Ann Jones (1837-1912) in June 1854 and by the time this letter was written in 1864, the couple had three young boys—William (b. 1857), Josiah (b. 1860), and John (b. 1862).
Josiah enlisted in October 1862 in Co. E. of Biffle’s 19th Regiment, Tennessee Cavalry [his name sometimes appearing as Raines on roster]. This regiment—usually known as “Biffle’s 9th Cavalry“—fought at Parker’s Cross Roads, Thompson’s Station, Brentwood, and Chickamauga. Later it skirmished in Tennessee and was then active in the Atlanta Campaign and Forrest’s operations during Hood’s Campaign. I could not find the date of Josiah’s capture but presume it was in 1864.
At the time of his release from prison, upon signing the Oath of Allegiance at Camp Morton on 25 October 1864, Josiah was described as standing 5’10” tall, with brown hair and grey eyes. After the war, Josiah settled in Henry county, Tennessee, where he served his community as a physician.
Camp Morton, Ind[ianapolis, Indiana]
Sunday evening, July 3rd 1864
My Dear Annie,
This is the 5th [letter] I shall have written you since receiving one from you. My health is much the same as when I wrote last. Mrs. Lawrence’s letter was dated June 3rd but she must have meant 23rd for your last was dated the 5th June. I immediately answered it and am much grieved that you are all sick and particularly that you are sick for when you are not able to wait upon the little children who are sick too, I fear that they and you will suffer for want of nursing. But I do hope that e’re this, you are all better, if not entirely well. I have a letter from Mug stating that sister was packed up and ready to start here to see me and then to go on to Tennessee, if able to travel. But she is in very bad health and I am very doubtful of her being able to go on to see you immediately. but if she is, she will go on without any more than necessary delay. In the mean time if you are able, you had better return home and make such arrangements for her reception and comfort as best you can for she will need all the attention that you will be able to give her. And should anything occur to prevent her going on, I will let you know it if possible. Please write to me immediately for it would seem that you had forgotten that I am intensely anxious always to hear from you and the poor “little ones.” Give them my love and kiss them by sister. Goodbye. Write soon.
Eternally, — Jo. L. Rainey
Address Jo. L. Rainey (Prisoner of War) Camp Morton, Indiana
to Mrs. Jo. L. Rainey, Culleoka, Tennessee
In care of commanding office of Post