Special thanks to Warren
Archer, a descendant of George Goodge, for
transcribing the letters and for his permission to post these.
Note: A a few name spelling corrections, contained mostly in parentheses, were added by the 42nd web author for clarity.
26 December 1861, Calhoun, Kentucky
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Dear Brother, James (James W. Goodge age 16)
I received that box yesterday and I was very glad to here from home. I had to serve on guard yesterday for a Christmas gift but I did not care much. There was eight of our company detailed on guard and sergeant Messick along with us. We were sent to the river. and as we were going to the river we met William coming to camp with my box. I went on to the river and when we got all fixed there Sergeant Messick said I might go back to camp and see what was in my box. (oh dear the poor guards it is just pouring down rain. I am so glad that I am off guard.) Well to go on Robert Headen wanted to come to camp with me and so Mr. Mesick said that he might go to well we came on out to camp and William gave me my box and I took it up to my tent and took the lid of just as quick as it was of the boys commenced grinning and said they knowed there was something good in there. Well sure enough there was. The papers was off in a second and lo and behold there was a sight. Well we could not help looking at it. I gave the apples all away but one for I did not want to be hoggish and took a few nuts out. And then I shut up the box and told the boys to keep it till tomorrow. And Bob and I went down to the river again it was a beautiful day yesterday and very warm last night I thought it would rain to day and sure enough it did rain. The 42 is not fit for duty there is not more than 8 hundred able to drill there is a great many of our boys got the measles and most of them is been vaccinated lately. And there is a good many sick through eating ginger bread. I made a dollar last week for building chimneys for the band boys. And I have got the half a dollar yet that father gave me the last time I was home. I have not drawed any tickets yet. Some of our boys have drawed 18 dollars and spent all of it. I do not like to send home for so many things but I cannot help and so you must put up with it. I would like for you to send me up about a dozen stamps and they would last me a good while. Bob Headen (Headon?) got 9 or 10 the other day in a letter. I have quit chewing tobacco and do not intend to chew any more as long as I live. I took that nice silk handkerchief out to use it the other Sunday and before night it was gone and I have not heard or seen anything of it since I do not know whether I lost it or whether it was stolen. Tell father the very day that John Trimble is paid off I will get that money and send it right home. I guess governor Morton forget that there was a bloody 42 in the field or else we would gave gotten our money long ago. One of our tent mates is sick and William Carter is a complaining. I expect he will have the measles we cut the chicken up today for dinner. The boys thank me so kindly for a share that I was as well satisfied as if I had eaten it all myself the butter was relished by me more than any thing else I am very thank full for what you sent me. William says he will have a box every week or to as long as we are here I guess we will have to loose our band. The boys in my tent sends there thanks to you for the chicken. Bob Headen and John Web and Will Carter sends there best respects to you all. I got a note from Bob Smith requesting me to write to him but as he is there every Sunday he can here from me. Write soon and send me a long letter.
I remain your affectionate brother
G W Goodge
21 February, 1862, Paducah, Kentucky
We are laying at Paducah a waiting for orders. There is about 20 or 25 steamers all laden with soldiers and more a coming all the time. I had the pleasure of seeing uniformed rebels this morning. There is about a hundred on a boat lying beside us and Clay Stinston of Evansville is a prisoner on her. He is a rebel captain, and our Dewit (DeWitt) Evans is his first Cousin. He went on to see him and he could hardly face him. He had got his wife on the boat with him and I had the pleasure of seeing General Buckner who is a prisoner on the same boat. He does not feel very good I can tell you. The privates are the sauciest rascals that you ever saw. I heard from Fred Smith, he is safe and so is George Woodruff. There was only 15 men of 25 killed and 99 wounded. It is a pleasant day and we are a having nice times. I never had a sight that is so fearful as to just go up on the hurricane deck and look at 2,000 acres all full of soldiers and the streets of Paducah crowded with them. The ______ is here, I will quit till tomorrow.
22 February, 1862, Paducah, Kentucky
Dear friends at home,
We are still in Paducah on the steamer Monarch. This day 6 months ago I went in to camp. It is Sunday morning and it is very beautiful and warm. We started from Paducah this morning and we are on our way to Nashville up the Cumberland River. We will, I think, pass Fort Donaldson. I am well and feel hearty. If we stay on this boat until tomorrow dinner, we will be on it just a week. The boys are all well. I hope this letter will find you the same. I send my love to you and my best respects to all my friends. I expect that we will help to take Nashville, I hope so anyhow. Good by for this time. I will write again as soon as we land.
I remain yours
G. W. Goodge
March 23, 1862, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Dear friends at home
I take this opportunity of writing you a few lines. I am well and hearty at present. We left Nashville on last Monday for this place and we had a nice time. The roads are all pike and we had our knapsacks hauled. This is a most beautiful country and the peach and apple trees are out in bloom. I see May apples three inches high today. The rebels burnt three bridges in there retreat from Nashville and we had to march 15 miles further to get to Murfreesboro. The railroad bridge and two pike bridges, they are only a quarter of a mile from this place. They are across a little river called Stone River. We are working on the railroad bridge, building it up again. I have been a working all day today but we cannot build another one as good as the one that was there, for the wood work was all cedar. A coming through I see cedar trees a 100 and 125 feet high. We are in Mitchellís Division now and Gerard (James Gerrard) Jones is Col. again but they have got quartermaster (far?) away from us now. He is division quartermaster in another division. The citizens of this place are pretty well mixed. One of them told one of our boys that he was a submissive Union man. Two weeks ago he was a rebel now he is a submissive Union man. The only chance I have of sending this letter is by our __________. I do not know whether I will get any from you if you do send any, for we will go on to Alabama as soon as this railroad bridge is completed and that will not be more than a week but you must send me word how you get along at home, if there is any possible chance. I have not heard from you since I got that letter from Mr. Talbot. We left him at Nashville sick and John Webb and a lot more. Robert Headen sleeps with Lieu. Trimble and William Carter and I have the tent to ourselves. We have got a plank in the middle of our tent and one half of it full of leaves and we sleep as warm as pigs and not very unlike the brutes. It is just 30 miles from here to Nashville the nearest. You must excuse my writing for I had no desk to write on. This is all for this time.
I remain yours forever
G. W. Goodge
6 April 1862, Shelbyville, Tennessee
Dear Old home,
I will take this opportunity to write you a few lines to inform you that
I am well at present. I was glad to
hear that father arrived home safe. We
have moved from Murfreesboro to Shelbyville, 30 miles due south. There is two more bridges to build that the rebels burned.
I expect that we will stay here until they are built and then we will go
further south. The weather is very
warm here, the grass is nice and green and the wheat is 6 inch high.
There is a nice little river close to ___________________ is handy.
Shelbyville is a beautiful little place and more of a Union feeling
showed than I have seen anywhere since I left Evansville.
I was utterly surprised to see the ladies shake little Union flags at us
and cheer us. It just went directly
to our hearts and o how we did yell and cheer and they shook their flags and
smiled and we thought that we was at home again.
One old woman clapped her hands and said God bless you and when she saw
our little drummer she said God bless that little drummer boy.
William does not feel very well this morning.
Mr. Brown is with us and is well. He
gave me that parcel and I was very (glad?) to hear from you, but you did not
tell me that father had been sick. I
do not want you to keep anything from me because it is not right.
I want fatherís ideas about the war.
I want to know whether he thinks that the war will be over before fall or
not. I want to know whether there
is any business a going on in Evansville and I want him to take out of my money
what I got of him when I saw him last and he has got me a dollarís worth of
letter stamps and several other things. I
have written 5 or 6 letters since I came to Nashville and have got but 2 answers
and one of them Talbot brought me and the other Brown gave me.
The other day time we was at Murfreesboro _____ was sent to guard two
railroad bridges and instead of going in to our tents we camped in the house of
a rebel and there we had good times. We
had milk for our coffee and eggs and butter and potatoes. We stayed there a
week. William Carter is as fat as
ever, he cut his finger nearly off the other day.
Most of the farmers here have got their corn in.
I got a weekly Journal last night dated the 27.
I sent my two undershirts home by Sam Wolsey.
You must tell me whether you got them or not.
I want to know what John Davidson is a going to tell Charley that he must
not load his pistol and kill himself with it.
If I had it here I could sell it for $15 if it was a Colts.
Emily, if you write me the next letter I want you to write a full letter
and give some news. Why I know that
if I was there and you was here that I could write you an interesting letter.
I would like to know how Moley is getting along and all of my friends.
I wear no drawers now and I throwed them away to make myself and my
knapsack lighter. I am sure that I
do not intend to join the regulars for this is regular enough for me.
Now I want to get home again and get my trade learned.
Spring has made me feel like I wanted to lay brick again.
Tell me who has got my money and how it is put out.
Emily, I wish you would give a dollar of it to the missionary society for
me. I guess there is one in the Presbyterian Sunday School.
Emily, I am glad that you are trying to be a better girl.
Try on and do not stop trying until you are a better girl and may God be
with you. I find it very hard to do
my duty as I ought to in the Army, there is so many temptations but I will do my
best, God helping me. Excuse my
short letter for this time. I send my love to you all, including Moly and my
girl. And my best respects to all
Write as soon as you get this letter and direct it to Shelbyville, Tennessee, 2nd Reg. Com. A in care of Cap. Olmstead.
I remain your brother truly and forever
George W. Goodge
26 May 1862, Fayetteville, Tennessee
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Dear Friends at home
Yesterday was my day for writing to you but I was on guard and so I will write you a few lines today. I am well at present, and I hope that these few lines will find you the same. Will Carter is well and so is William Lant. We have had beautiful weather lately down here. It is not very much warmer here than it is at Evansville. I do not think there is no earthly sign of us leaving here yet as I can see. I got a paper from home on night before last. It was dated the 15 of this month and it had that letter in it that Cap Saunders wrote home to his brother. It was half lies all the men that reads it says oh what a liar he is. I think that we will get our money this week. You may look for $20 more. I will keep $6 for I can hardly do without buying pies and light bread once and while. I have sent more money home anyhow than any other young man that I know of. But still because another person does not have any that is no reason why I should not. We have not heard any thing from Corinth lately they are very slow I think to attack that place. I am sure I do not know what write to you the fact is there is nothing happened the last week of any count. General Mitchell has just arrived here from Huntsville he brought 1 cannon with him and 1 company of cavalry and one company of infantry I expect that he will leave their field piece here for us and leave us some cavalry for scouts. There was 100 _________ wagons passed here yesterday on there way to Shelbyville for provisions I expect they will return this evening, stay here all night and start for Huntsville tomorrow morning and I suppose that the general will go back with them. We have not got our white gloves yet. It is just a little over a month till the 4th and I expect that we are as likely to spend it here as anywhere else. The only thing I do not like is that the people here are to much selfish to give us a good dinner. At Shelbyville the Citizens gave a dinner to the soldiers about 3 weeks ago, they got every thing that they wanted and plenty of it. I tell you that is a union place all over. Well I must quit for this time you must excuse my short letter this tie I have told you the most that you want to know and that is about my health. If there is any fighting done you here about it before I do nay how. write soon and direct your letter to this place and write me a long letter. I send my love to you all and my best respects to all inquiring friends. Mother wants to know who my girl is will I do not know who she is just any body so she wears a dress I am not very particular for I think when the war is over I will take one of these rich planters daughters. Hi ho my sheet is full. Good by I remain yours affectionately.
G W Goodge
30 November 1862, Camp Lane, Tyree Springs
Dear friends at home,It is Sunday morning and everything is going on quiet in camp. I am well and hearty as usual. William Lant is well also. I have not received a letter from you for too many months with the exception of two and they was 3 or 4 weeks old. I donít know what is the reason, you surely have not quit writing to me have you? I wrote to you for a pair of boots and two shirts but I have not received a letter from you and therefore I do not know whether you are a going to send them or whether you have sent them. The General is afraid that we will be attacked and so we have to be on the color line every morning at an hour before day break and stay there until after daylight. The boys have all drawed overcoats and so we are very comfortable. If I can put my overcoat to any service this winter ______ do it for I have got one that will last me this winter. Perhaps you can send me them things by some of the boys, if you cannot, by express. I would like very much to have the boots and shirts and if you can send me a Waiverly magazine I would be very glad. We do not get any news here hardly and no letters and I feel lonesome. Oh yes, I am getting short of letter paper and envelopes again so I wish that the first chance that you get you would send me some if you have not sent me any gloves do not for I got a pair from Short. His father sent him about 80 pair and they was all gone in an hour. We live now principally on bones and sheet iron crackers and coffee and sugar and some times a few beans and very seldom we have a little rice. We drill one hour in the morning and one in the afternoon and we have very heavy guard duty. Col. Shanklin has not got back yet. I suppose that father saw him in Evansville. We are a looking for him and the _________ officers every day now. William Lant gets about 4 letters to my one. It is all foolishness for Emily (Georgeís 18 year old sister) to put _____ the letters. Please forward this letter to the 42 Regiment, but after this she must put the number of the division and the number of the brigade. It is the 3rd Division and 17th Brigade and the Army of the Cumberland. I have no hope now of getting home before next fall any how, if then, but what is worse the furloughs is played out. I am all right any how, if I only can get a letter from you once and a while and keep well. All of our brigade is here. The 42nd and 88th Ind, the 10th and 3rd Ohio and the 15th Kentucky and the first Michigan battery, one of the best in the service. I expect it will be some time yet before we move on to Nashville. We got the Evansville Weekly Journal of the 27th yesterday and it was very welcome here. Lieu. Vickery is still acting quartermaster and he makes one of the (best?) quartermasters that this regiment ever had. We are going to have another chaplain in this regiment. The officers held an election the other evening and the Rev. M. Patterson of the blue grass circuit is our chaplain. Well I must get some dinner for it is dinnertime and every man gets his own meals. Well I am done (with) my dinner and so I will finish this letter. William McCutcheon has just got here from Evansville, he says that he never saw any of you all the time he was there three weeks. He left there last Wednesday. The boys are a laying around in the tent some reading and some trying to snooze. I am the only one a writing. I expect that our regiment will go to the Edgefield Junction tomorrow to guard a wagon train and we will not be back till day after tomorrow. Well I believe that I will quit for this time. Do not forget to send me that writing paper and envelopes and some stamps and a Waverly if you can. And you will oblige me very much my boots and shirts. I expect you have sent (them) before this time. I want you to write to me as soon as you get this letter and tell me all about them things. I believe this _______ for this time so good by. I send my love to you all and my best respects to all inquiring friends.
I remain yours affectionately
G. W. Goodge