White House Landing, with Union troops swimming in the Pamunkey River

Camp near the Chickahominy River
May 22nd 1862

Dear Father & Mother

I will now Set down and try to Answer your kind letter which I received in due time    I was glad to hear that you was well and in good health as this leaves me in at the present    we are now within 10 miles of Richmond on the banks of the River    it is a very pleasant place to camp    we are in the woods our Regt is and it is just as cool and nice but come to go out where the sun will strike you it will almost roast me down    it is so hot why you folks there in the north don’t know any thing about hot weather and it aint near so hot here now as it will be in two months from now    about 2 weeks ago we was encamped on the banks of a River    there was a lots of our boys went in swiming and Sam Smith dident cool himself off before he went in and he had got about 4 rods from the shore a swiming away as nice as could be when the cramp catched him in his knee and he went down and when he came up he began to cry for help and there was a fellow by the name of Ed King and I went to save him and before we got to him he went down again and when he came up again Ed King grabed him by one of his hand and I got behind him and grabed him around his body and held him up and Ed towed him ashore    you never saw so scart a fellow as sammy was    he dident go in swiming again that day    well sir there was ove[r] two hundred big men a swiming around there and there wasent one that would try to save him    if it hadent been for Ed and I he would have drownded    Father if I live thrugh the battle of Richmond I shall be to home just as soon as that battle is over    I have lived thrugh two battles and I hope I shall this one but this will be the hardest battle that was ever fought    the Rebels are agoing to fight desperately to save their capitol    but I must stop for this time    write as soon as you get this    from your son
Forrest

now do write
direct where you always do

-- Next Letter: July 8, 1862

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