About this Letter

Marvin Green, writing to his brother John Sterns Green on August 11, 1863, shares his experiences of serving in the army during the American Civil War. He expresses his happiness to receive a letter from his brother and inquires about his well-being. He informs his brother that he and his friend Levi are in good health and hopes to receive a similar update from him.

Marvin reflects on his time in the army and mentions that he wishes he could be working on a farm instead of serving in the army. He acknowledges that they have only two years left to stay in the army and are currently enjoying their time as they only have to drill with a saber and perform guard duty. However, he warns his brother that a march can be difficult and advises him to enlist in the cavalry instead of marching on foot if he ever decides to join the army.

Marvin suggests that it would be better for John to stay at home and work on a farm for ten dollars a month as it would be more cost-effective and he would have access to better food. He laments about the number of pedlars in the army and their limited access to good food, mentioning that he would pay five dollars for one good meal.

In conclusion, this letter provides valuable insights into the life of a soldier during the American Civil War. Marvin’s experiences and advice highlight the difficulties of serving in the army, especially during a march, and the importance of considering one’s personal circumstances before making the decision to enlist.

Letter Transcript


Camp at Manassas Junction Dear brother I recieved your letter last night and glad I was to here from you I am well and so is Levi and I hope this will find you the same well Sterns you said that you had worked 3 months and had got 3 months to work Well I am glad that your are a doing so well as you are I wish that I had nothing mroe to do than to work every day on a farm I would think that I was fed and hapy but I will stand it if I can for we have got only 2 years longer to stay in the army We are a having good times now all we have to do is drill with the saber and do our guard duty but when we are on a march then is when the pinch comes but now we are transfered into Cavelry and now we can ride and Sterns if you ever enlist I want you to enlist into cavelry for you could never stand to march on foot but you must not enlist at all if you can do a good deal better to stay at home and work on a farm for 10 dollars per month for you don’t have to spend so mutch for things that you don’t nead there is so many pedlers here that you can’t har step without stepping on them and another thing is that you have better things to eat than we do and it is cooked so that you can eat it so you see I would give five dollars for one good meal no better than you have every day well Sterns I don’t think of anything more this time so good By for this time, this is from Marvin Green to John Sterns Green