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2 August 1861

Jefferson City, [Missouri]
August 2nd 1861

Dear Mother,

I received your kind letter on the 22nd. I am glad to hear of you being in good health. I never felt better in all my life. I now for the first time realize that I am in an enemy’s country. We are encamped about two miles from the Capitol in a beautiful place called the Fair Ground. When I last wrote to you, it was from Chicago but now in another state. We first removed to Quincy and from there to Saint Louis where I received your letter and the day following we came out here.

I am glad to hear that you have raised a Union flag at the Center. I must say it reflects great credit on you as well as the young ladies who assisted you in the difficult task. There is but few Union flags here—not any except what we have raised. This place is nearly deserted. All those who profess to be secessionists have left. There is a few Union people in town. Governor [Caleb] Jackson, the leader of the Rebel forces in Missouri, is concentrating all his forces south in this state preparing for a grand attack which it is hoped with decide the question. The brave General Lyon is on his track.

August 3rd. Dear mother, I sit down with a sorrowful heart to record the death of my brave Captain, Francis McMurray. ¹ A better man never stood—a braver man never drew a sword. He was the star of the regiment & his loss has cast a gloom over the whole encampment. Yesterday afternoon he left us full of life and vigor, and about 3 o’clock while I was writing the first part of this letter, it was suddenly rumored through the encampment that Captain McMurray had been poisoned. But it was afterwards ascertained that he was not poisoned. After doing business around the camp, he started for the depot at Jefferson City to take the cars for St. Louis to order our United States Uniform but was sun struck before he reached the depot. But with the assistance of his friends, he went on board the cars thinking he would feel better soon and had got about 25 miles from the city when he became so much worse that the physician took him from the cars and had him conveyed to a hotel where he died in about half an hour. And at six o’clock last evening, ten of our companies were called out to guard his remains from the depot into camp. When we reached the depot, the cars had not come & we had to wait until about 1 o’clock in the morning before he came in. He is to be sent home to Chicago today.

You will please state in your next how they are all doing around Springfield [Crossroads] and how the crops are.

We have received our arms and equipments shortly after I wrote you from Cottage Grove, Chicago. You will please write & let me know how your health is. I have been very anxious ever since I received your last for I did not think that the writing looked like yours and I feared something had happened to you. Dear mother, I wish you would write oftener & not wait for me to write as I do not have opportunity.

Change the direction of my letter to the care of Lieut. P. Higgins in place of McMurray.

— E. M. Whipple


¹ An obituary notice was placed in the 17 August 1861 issue of the Irish American Weekly for Captain Francis McMurray of Co. C, Chicago Jackson Guards, of the “Irish Brigade.”

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