This letter was written by Pvt. Joseph Henry Nevitt (1836-1871) of Company F, 35th Iowa Infantry. Joseph was the son of Thomas Nevitt (1789-1871) and Eve Earnest (1782-1842). He was married to Lucinda (“Linny”) A. Thompson (1838-1914) in 1858. Joseph made his living as a shoemaker in Grandview, Louisa County, Iowa, before he enlisted in August 1862. The Nevitt’s had at two daughters — Sarah Ovanda Nevitt (1859-1941) and Florence Anne Nevitt (1861-1936).
The 35th Iowa Volunteer Infantry regiment was mustered into service at Camp Strong (Muscatine County) in September 1862. After garrison duty in Cairo, the Iowans were sent to cover the rear of Grant’s siege lines surrounding Vicksburg. The regiment was involved in significant action during 1864 the Red River Campaign, followed by the Tupelo battle, Sterling Price’s Missouri expedition, Nashville, and Mobile.
Addressed to Mrs. L. A. Nevitt, Grandview, Louisa County, Iowa
Postmarked New Orleans, Louisiana
December 12th 1864
Well, my dear Linny, I did not get all on the other sheet so I will finish my letter now as it is after reveille. Well, I put out my wash today. I washed two shirts and three pair of drawers and one pair socks and one handkerchief. I have my clothes all clean now and after I got done my washing out, I made up a mess of biscuit for dinner. We had a good dinner. I will tell you what we had. We had nice fried beef stake and flour gravy and nice biscuit and good butter and coffee. We thought that was a good dinner but I would like to be up there to eat one of your dinners. I think it would suit my appetite about right now.
Well Linny, I would like to be up there the best kind. I would give almost anything if I was there tonight with you and the sweet little gals. Oh how I would love to see you and the little gals so well. Balis says he had a great deal of fun when he was up there. He thinks a great deal of the little girls. He says they are smart little girls. Well, I must stop.
Give my love to all the friends but keep a large portion for you and the dear little girls. Kiss the little ones. Tell them to be good girls till Pa comes home. Good bye for a while. May God bless you all is my prayer. Write soon and oblige your own true boy. — J. H. Nevitt