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January 4, 1863

Columbus, Ky Jan the 4th, 1863

Dear wife it is with pleasure that i sit down once more to let you know

that i am well now and hope you the same and Milton to . i wrote you a

letter yesterday and one to Mother to and told you in that letter that

there was a likehood of our _____ staying here for some time but was

mistaken that time for we have Marching orders for Halena Arkansas. We

will start to Night or tomorrow on a Boat Jim Gaston and T J(?) Bill

here today and Jim Paterson to. no more at presant. direct your

letters to Cario Ill as before

yours truly

John Loveless

i will write as soon as i get there

write soon

John A. Loveless

Helena, Arkansas is about 220 miles away from Columbus KY where John was located.  In later letters, John reveals that the orders had been rescinded and he continued to stay at Fort Halleck in Kentucky.  It was likely a great turn of fortune for John.  The Battle of Helena was a huge battle, on July 4, 1863, between the Union held town, run by General Prentiss with 20,000 troops.  Over crowding of the town was an issue, with the men re-naming the town “Hell-in Arkansas”.  The battle was planned by Confederate General Theophilus Holmes to take pressure off of the Vicksburg Campaign which began in December 1862 and ended July 4, 1863 – the same day as the Battle of Helena.  Vicksburg Mississippi, about 175 miles to the south of Helena, was a fortress city that protected the last Confederate controlled portion of the Mississippi River.  Ultimately, the Battle of Helena resulted in 239 Union losses and 1614 Confederate deaths.  The Vicksburg Siege resulted in nearly equal losses between sides at 805/6 – but the Union side, starting with 77,000 troops, had 164 men missing or captured while the Confederate side, starting with only 33,000 troops, had 29,620.  Over 29,000 of the Confederate losses were surrendered on the last day of the siege.  Much more information can be found about the Vicksburg Siege here.

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