Pvt. Robert Aitchinson’s Letter Home
Image of Robert Aitchison
Robert Aitchison, a Scottish weaver, enlisted as a private in company B, 40th Indiana Infantry on Sept. 19, 1861. The 33 year old was living in the Mexico area, Miami County, Indiana. Robert was killed by an artillery shell during the fighting at Stones River, Dec. 31, 1862. Below is what may have been Robert’s last letter home to his wife Sarah.
Camp Near Nashville, Tennessee
As it is snowing this morning, and we can’t go out on drill; thought I would write you a few lines. The(y) had what they call grand review yesterday. General Rosecrans reviewed us himself, he seems to be a good man, at least he has the appearance While he was riding along our lines, he would stop and ask the men how they fared, if they got enough to eat, and if they had drawn overcoats yet. While he was passing me, he pointed down to a mans feet, and said that his shoe would last him about a four days, he passed some pleasant remarks all along the line. I think he will make a better General than Buell did. He is a man about 45 years old, dresses very plain, there are not near as much style about him, as there is about some of his Aide (de) Camp. It is supposed we will make a forward movement before long, if we don’t, the roads will get so bad, it will be almost impassable to get our teams and batteries along. The soil is a kind of clay substance and when it does get muddy, it is very bad.
Sarah, I asked Willard if he had got those things that Uncle Frank expressed to him, he said he did not know that there was anything expressed to him. He had not received any letters from home since the 15th of last month. I would like (if) he would get them as I am about out of socks and can’t get any here.
Sarah, how I would like to be at home now, but there is no sense of thinking about it, and the prospect of getting home, looks to me, to be as far off, as it was when I first enlisted. I will conclude this by sending my respect to all enquiring friends.
Robert, to his wife Sarah Aitchison
(P.S.) Tell Clarance that he must learn to read and write, so as he can write to Pa.
Source: Stone’s River National Battlefield Park; 40th Ind. Regimental Files – Pvt. Robert Aitchison Letter