The Waukesha Freeman
April 12, 1863
Headquarters, 28th Regiment Wis. Vol.
On board steamer St. Louis,
Yazoo Pass, Miss., April 7, 1863
I find myself delaying to write to you, for the reason that every day finds me a few miles nearer home. - We evacuated our position before Greenwood on Sunday, April 4th. - The troops were composed of Generals Quinby's and Salomon's Brigades, - We are now within about 46 miles of Helena, Ark. Thomas Donaldson, died last night. He has had Typhoid Fever, but we thought he was getting well fast, he being out walking around during the day; along towards night he came in taking his bunk as usual in a state room, on a mattress lying on the floor; the Doctor was in about five minutes before he died, and asked him how he was; he said he felt better than he had for several days; in a few minutes he was dead. As a Sergeant in Co. G., he was esteemed by all as an honorable man, and a true soldier, always working for the good of the Company of which he was a member. The Company feels his loss as no other Company could feel it.
James Malloy, has Typhoid Fever and is not expected to live. - John Smith for whose welfare I have written this letter has for almost a month been under the weather - he now has a cough, and if it is not helped may prove fatal.
Although thus far I have enjoyed good health, my enjoyment is marred by seeing my fellow soldiers drop away and die far from home, when I can do them no good, only by doing them some little act of kindness such as I am doing at the present time.
People at home, you know nothing of war, I tell you truly, when I say I would rather fight the rebels day in and day out, and see our men look cheerful, robust and hearty, than to see them look the way they are - disheartened and sick. I can stand to see a wound from a rebel better than to see men die with no one to say a kind word to them, from home. I wish I were home again with some men's wealth, I would not stay there, but would come to the rescue of the disheartened and sick soldier, and spend my money to the last farthing to relieving their wants.
From the references to Co. G (Sgt. Donaldson was a member of Co. G and died April 6 onboard the St. Louis; Malloy and Smith were also Co. G members), the writer was probably James B. Brown, a Co. G musician who died June 9, 1863 at Helena, Ark.
Information transcribed from the Waukesha Freeman newspaper of 21 April 1863 and generously shared by Bruce Laine.