Will Fisher to his mother
Elk River RR bridge, Tennessee
March 14, 1864

Dear Mother,

Although I have rec’d no word from you since one of Feb. 17th only on wrapper of package of papers, but think I will write again. The mail will come in in about half an hour, & I am in hopes I will hear William G. Fisher sung out as one of the lucky individuals. There is certainly letters enough due me to receive one every night for two weeks. Very much obliged to you for those papers & would thank Uncle Zina for his kindness in behalf of Lemuel & myself, for sending us the Instructor. We have rec’d one copy, with the address printed on very nicely. I think it must have been him who sent me that soda, don’t know of anyone else it could have been. He is very kind to me, & I am very grateful for his many favors.
I rec’d a very good letter from my sister a day or so ago, the first she has written. She says Aunt Eliza wrote to her, asking where I was, & I wrote to Philad. some time ago, which cannot have reached them. I directed to 806 Race St. That was Aunt’s residence when I was there. If they have moved I should like to know the address. The reason I did direct to John’s place of business, 610 Chestnut St. was because I was not so certain about that being the right figures as in the other case. If there is any way to learn their address, I wish you would tell me, but perhaps when I hear from John again, I shall know.
Laura writes me an excellent letter &, from that letter, I judge she is an accomplished lady, she writes splendidly. Her & Cousin Fan are the best writers I know. She apologizes abundantly for their long silence & has tried to have John write. I think a great deal of her so so far as I have had an opportunity of knowing. I hope John will do well & be something of which we shall be proud.
But the mail train has just gone by & the mail bag thrown off for the 123rd is uncommon full & I kind of “feel in my bones” that there is a letter for me. I will suspend till I see.

Feb 16th, 1864
I closed to see if the mail contained anything for such a poor mortal as I & lo! And behold it did come laden with a most welcome epistle from you of date of 4th, 5th, & 6th respectively, & I assure you it was a rich (not rare) treat. I never see the beat of the manner in which time passes now. A week passes before I know if its presence.
We have quite a little excitement here about guerrillas. They have cut up quite a bold plot since my last writing. Yesterday, about two miles north of here, a band of these robbers, about seventy five in number, came upon the track, took up a rail & laid concealed for the train to come along, which finally made its appearance. On the train was John Stevenson & Willson Arnold of Co. G, coming from Tullahoma where they had been on a pass. Also on board was George Henry Eddie who carries the mail, but fortunately, he did not have any mail with him. It was a freight train & in the rear car was several officers. When they arrived at the broken rail the engineer by a miracle bounded along the length of the rail which was removed & struck the other rail all right but the cars ran off & the guerrillas commenced firing into the train & killed three negroes (brakemen) & wounded another, also wounding the engineer & fireman & commenced a wholesale robbery taking $700 from some quartermaster who was aboard & over $300 from a lieut. from brigade hd. qrs.
It seems that our boys had jumped off on the other side of the train & run, but some of them saw them & took after them catching up demanded their money & overcoats & firing on them all the time they were chasing. At this juncture, Co. E who were out looking for their patrol, who had also been captured, came upon the friends & as soon as they saw each other, Co. E fired a volley at them & our fellows who were captured laid down so that none of them were hit & the guerrillas fled precipitately, leaving everything except the valuables they had taken. They took Eddie’s watch & four dollars & overcoat from Johnny Stevenson. They took coat & twenty dollars & about $5.00 from Arnold.
We had to fall into line this morning at daylight & renew our vigilance on duty. Everything else is quiet. We do not know anything more definitely about staying here this summer.
There was a report in the papers that Gen. Grant, when at Washington, advised the taking of Richmond as a preliminary step to the great campaign & that he would send the 11th, 12th 15th & 17th Corps to the Potomac to assist, but I think it is a hoax as he is not a man who publishes any of his intended movements. What do the people think of Gen. Grant? I think he will make the Rebs smell gunpowder this summer.
I was sorry to hear of the failure of Col. Dahlgren’s expedition against Richmond. They were a brave set of fellows, but I think too headstrong, & unless the Rebel papers have added a good deal to their facsimiles of the orders found upon the body of Col. D___, I think they were going too far, & I anticipate some bloody times in the way of retaliation on both sides unless it is speedy settled.
We rec’d another paper today from the “C.C.”
Lem is well & all the rest.
When Clark Darrow comes back, I wish, if you could, you would send me a doz. bottles of that diarrhea medicine & will sell it, for double the money, & perhaps save lives, it is a great thing.
Lots of love to Aunt Sarah from L. & me & lots to you. Lib & Nate both owe me letters sometime, remind them. Love to Sarah Jane.

From your loving son,