The signature of the soldier writing this letter looks like it might read, ” J. F. Hall” and there is a a second signature following a post script that looks like “Foote”—possibly his middle name. However, I have not had any luck confirming his identity. He refers to Col. William Elisha Peters and informs us that he has a horse so I’m inclined to believe he is a member of the 21st Virginia Cavalry. There was a John Hall in Co. B of that regiment; there was also a John F. Hall in Co. K of the 22nd Virginia Cavalry. I’m leaning toward the latter (if it’s not the same person) since these two regiments rode together in the last month of the war in McCausland’s Brigade.
The letter was addressed to Joel Cormany (1826-1900, the son of John Peter Cormany (1795-1863) and Christina Weaver of Wythe county, Virginia. Joel was married to Barbara Ann Buck in 1850 and remained in Mt. Airy (now Rural Retreat), Wythe County, as a farmer the remainder of his life.
March 27, 1865
I got to Lynchburg three hours after my Brigade left so I stayed in town all night and had fun. From Lynchburg I went to Charlottesville to Gordonsville to____ C. H. to Hanover C. H., then overtook my Brigade in four miles of Richmond. On Sunday we pass through the City of Richmond. There is fighting going on now in five or six miles of this place. We will get into it tomorrow.
Men are going over to the Yankees. I do not know what to think of this war. Gen. Lee has the finest fortifications in the world.
My horse stood the trip. I do wish I was at your house so I could get something good to eat & drink. We got a little meal & bacon, three handful of corn for our horses.
If I am not kill[ed] or taken prisoner, I am coming home this summer. Keep me a little good whiskey. Excuse this as it has been done in a hurry.
My love to all the family and Uncle John Staley,
Your very best friend, — J. F. Hall
I will write to you again just as soon as I find out where we go. Col. [William Elisha] Peters says we go to North Carolina. — Foote