May 16, 1864

Fredericksburg, VA
May 16th 1864

My Dear Wife:

I now again embrace the first opportunity of writing to you a few lines to let you know that I am well. Hoping that these few lines will find you the same and the children.

I wrote to you a letter when on the battlefield. I have not got any letters from you since March. We are doing Provost Duty in the City. [We are] the only Regiment that is here; the first ones in the City.

The Army is out 16 miles from here on to Richmond. This time I now begin to think there is some prospect of getting to Richmond. They are still fighting every day. It is an awful battle. I assure you the like was never known. There is no use of saying any more as I suppose you know more about it than I do as you get the papers and we do not.

I mentioned in my last letter that we have got our Colonel killed. His name is Alford B. Chapman. You can see him in the Camp Journal I sent to you. He was a good man to his boys.

No more this time. My love to you and the children and all inquiring friends, especially to my mother.

From your ever true and affectionate husband, 
John Bryden, Jr.


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This is written in pencil on lined 8” x 10” paper, folded in half along the short axis to form a four-page signature. There is a watermark on each side of the fold at the top center. The watermark is in the shape of a shield, topped by a crown. The device on the shield is unclear; it may be a bend or a cross saltire.

The battlefield John refers to in this letter could be either the Battle of the Wilderness or the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse.  Alford B. Chapman had been killed on May 5 during the Battle of the Wilderness.