Wednesday, January 30, 2013

1863 January 23 Petersburg, Va.

                                                    Petersburg, Va
                                                               Jany 23d 1863
Gen Jno H.Cocke
                My Dear Bro.,
                                       Your very kind and affectionate
note of the 17th inst was yesterday received.  I have been
long expecting to hear from you.  I was afraid you
were sick, and felt exceedingly anxious to came to
your bedside if such had been the fact -- I am truly
glad therefore to hear from you, and hope the blessing
of God may continue to smile upon you - and
preserve you for some time to come; to continue to
be a blessing to your family and friends.
The receipt within will show, that I have given over
your donation to the Evangelical Tract Society of
Petersburg, as you directed.  It was well received.
I requested them to send you by mail, a few copies
of their Tract, which I hope you have received-
such I have been circulating, I trust, with success
here in Hospitals and in Camps.  Many precious
souls have found Jesus precious to their souls
by the reading of these and other Tracts

[page 2]
But the other day, a lovely young man, from N.C.
told me that a tract by Dr Jeter, "a mothers parting
words to her soldier boy," had led his heart to
embrace the Gospel --So with hundreds, have these
messengers blessed and saved-
O, my dear Bro, I could relate many instances,
thrilling and affecting, to show the value of tract
distribution. But I must wait, till, as I hope, I see
you face to face -.
You very kindly ask, "what have the prospects before
you and Sister Young for future subsistence and
usefulness" -- You know I am in the army, and I
hope I am doing good- I have been in this work
since April 1860.- I left Williamsburg with Mrs
Y in may 1862, and a kind providence brought
us here - we lost all we had.  My beautiful Library
worth about $2000, was taken by the enemy, and
sold in New York - all my furniture &c was
taken and destroyed - our beautiful church is now a
wreck, and our ancient city mutilated and disfigured.
I have been getting along very well up to the present
time. But now Board is rising so rapidly

[page 3]
I am beginning to be uneasy and unhappy.
I have $120 per month, and our Room and
Board amount to $100 - our Board is cheap
compared with some other places, indeed all
other houses, as far as I can find out-
While I am satisfied just to live, and willing to
make all the sacrifices I can, yet I am fearful
I can not do even as much as to live here.
What to do I cannot tell.  I am willing to labor
in the army, and yet, if Board continues to rise
I shall be compelled either to settle over some
church, if God in his providence will open a
door for me, or else, try some business, which
I shudder to think about - My faith & trust is in
God - I am determined to confide in his sovereign
will and saving grace - I am just now, where
I was 11 years since when I entered the ministry
without books, and without money-
thus, my Dear Bro. I have opened my heart to you-
I have but little hope of ever returning to Williamsburg
My Dear people are scattered, and many will
never return again-

[page 4]
I mean to continue in the good work of
trying to save  souls.  I have but few acquaintances
here, for I confine myself mainly to the
work of the Hospitals and Camps-
Mrs Young is very well - she keeps up a good
heart - Has strong faith in our cause, and
feels, with myself, that God will fight for us.
  As to the times, I must admit, after reading
and hearing opinions expressed, the mind
is still in the depth of uncertainty.  There is truly an
end to all this, but when; That is the question.
One thing is clear, if the enemy should not
fill up the ranks of his army, by the 1st of may, the
time, when many will relieved, he will be forced
to make some terms of peace to us.  But I fear
he will recruit his army, and out struggle
will be prolonged - I feel assured however
they never can conquer us - The day is
[just?] for that - Their cause will not prosper -
"Our God will fight for us" - Neh[emiah]-4 chap
Mrs Young sends very kind regards - and desires
much with myself to see you once more
in the flesh - Write soon - I shall be most
happy to hear from you -
                                Yours affectionately
                                Wm M Young

[page 5]
I might add, that the Evangelical Tract
Society represents all christian denomanations[sic]
in its Tracts - It does not publish anything
offensive to any christian mind -
It is doing a good work in this way. It
has published over 100 different Tracts -
Man of which have been blessed to the good
of souls - Our excellent Bro Dickenson is
also engaged in a good for the Baptists-
He represents the Baptist Sunday school
and Publication Board, which also is
largely engaged in circulating Tracts
among the Soldiers - Ican but believe
that such efforts will be largely blessed to the
good of our Army.
Since the 1st of Oct. over 100 souls have
professed conversion in the Hospitals
in this City. = Another fact - many
of our soldiers can neither read nor
write - I think, after mingling with
about 25000 of our men, and taking them
as a fair specimen of our men generally,
that about 1/2 of our army cannot write their

[page 6]
own names, and about 1/4 can
neither read nor write - I have given
attention to this fact, and have begun
the good work of teaching men to read -
about 460 men have learned to
read in our Hospitals - one old
Man about 55 years, began to learn
his letters, and in five weeks, could
read his Primer through - He went
home rejoicing = I collect money
from friends when I need it to purchase
Primers - I find more difficulty in getting
the books, than I do the money-
It is interesting to see, as I often see, about
20 or 30 of all ages trying to learn
their letters, or learning how to
spell, and, but, dog, cat, &c
Yet you would often see it here,
if you were present-
These men will do good, if spared to
reach their homes, and will become the
warm advocates of education-
They are mostly from N.C. Geo, and
Ala - some from Va-------
                 Aff Yours
                         John M. Young

MSS 640

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