This letter was written by 18 year-old Morgan B. Hofius (1846-1903) of Co. D, 211th Pennsylvania Infantry. He was mustered in on September 6, 1864 and mustered out on June 2, 1865. Company records indicate that he was wounded on 2 April 1865 during the final breakthrough assault at Petersburg near Fort Mahone.
Morgan was the son of Henry Hofius (1799-1866) and Mary Reno (1801-1851) of Hickory, Mercer County, Pennsylvania. After Henry’s first wife died, he married Charlotte Bishop Austin (1809-1885). In 1871, Morgan married Clair McClentic (1850-1932). I later years, Morgan worked as mine boss for the Sharon Coal Company.
December the 2nd 1864
Camp of the 211 Regiment encamped near Petersburg
I now sit down to let you know that I am well and hope this will wind you all the same. Since I last wrote, we have been on the march and I hadn’t time to write. We went first to Petersburg, then to the extreme left of the line which is about 7 miles left of here where we were put into the Ninth Corps. Then we marched back here which is about 2 miles to the right of Petersburg and only half a mile from the Rebel line. There is a railroad runs from City Point to the front of our line and it is only a short distance from our camp to us. We don’t know know when we will have to leave here. The report is that we belong to the Corps which is going to Charleston, South Carolina. Burnside is the commander of ours and he won’t fight in Virginia. As soon as I know where we are bound, I will write to you again.
I suppose that you are about sending my box. Send it as soon as you can. It fill follow the regiment wherever it goes and if you hain’t sent any money yet, send five dollars as soon as you can.
It is a curious place here. There has been a big fight here since the war broke out and the graves are thick as can be. In some places the dead men’s feet is sticking out of the ground. It is a sickening sight. God grant it will soon be over. I hain’t heard from Jasper Graham ¹ since he was taken prisoner. That is about all at present. Write as soon as you can. So good bye.
From your son, — Morg
Give my respects to all at home.
¹ Company records indicate that Jasper Graham was taken prisoner at Bermuda Hundred on 17 November 1864. Jasper must have died in prison. His mother filed for a pension on 30 November 1866 claiming her son was dead. Like his friend Morgan, Jasper was also from Hickory Township, Mercer County, Pennsylvania.