April 18, 2012
This edition of Letters From War Wednesday takes us back to the Civil War, and Union infantryman, William Kimmel. Writing from a “Pine Woods near Richmond,” Kimmel concluded his three-year correspondence with girlfriend, Leah, following the Battle of the Wilderness in June 1864.
“We have been having a hard campaign of it—since the 8th of May but thanks to Providence and our doughty little Lieut-Gen we have been so far successful and with every prospect of continuing so. We are now within eight miles of Richmond. I am writing this about three hundred yards from the rebel works. They are laying very quiet just now. About sundown we will have a little excitement. That is the time that we generally advance our skirmish line and always have a little fight over it. …I have just been out in the trenches. We can count six rebel flags from there. …We expect to be in Columbus, Ohio by the 24th of the month. If so, I will be at home on the 4th of July. Hoping that I may weather the storm until then and see you personally. I close my last soldier letter to you.”
Although Kimmel did not make it home by the Fourth, he did return to Albion, Indiana. William and Leah were married shortly after. They raised four sons.