Monday, May 30, 2016

A Memorial Day Smoke

The letter.
At the start of the American Civil War, my great-grandfather joined the Union Army, and served for the duration, leaving the service a corporal. I don't think his heart was in it though, especially after the gory picture he painted in a letter home, describing the battle of Fort Donelson.
Mostly his letters were about what he was going to do after the war, and, like all good Americans, making a buck.
In one letter home, he advises his younger brother, that rather than enlisting, he should sell tobacco to the troops: "... you can make more in tobacco than anything else, some of the boys at Jackson made fifteen to twenty dollars a box on plug tobacco. I know you can make a good deal selling segars where you are, for they sold well at Cairo, you can always double your money on one box."
Of course, his brother disregarded the advice and enlisted. He too survived the war, mustering out a sergeant. The brothers married sisters, Confederate sisters, and settled in the Southwest, under the Homestead Act, never to become tobacco barons.

My great-grandfather, in happier times.

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